Shopping While in Shutdown (Plague, Day 26, March 29, 2020)

It’s Sunday Shutdown. Some of you are struggling to stay awake while watching online mass. Others are checking in with extended family or going for a long hike. And many of you are shopping.

I totally approve of online shopping during the Pandemic. It keeps the economy moving. There’s not much evidence that the virus lives long on cardboard boxes. One report said that we should be leaving Amazon deliveries for medical emergencies, but I haven’t heard anybody else say that. So shop away!

There are some caveats. Don’t buy anything that you might need to return. Many states aren’t allowing returns on purchases. Besides, it would involve an unnecessary and risky trip to the post office. So, don’t buy anything that you’ll need to try on, or items that are super expensive.

  1. Buy things to supply your hobbies.
  • Steve and Jonah bought a bunch of new seeds. They’re going to spend the afternoon doubling their size of their backyard garden. They’re also growing extra for gifts for friends/family.
  • They usually get their seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, but they seem to be having virus issues right now. Steve got extra seeds this week from Amazon. Here are some good seed packages.
  • Of course you need a lighting system and little trays for the seeds.

2. Buy things to be comfy.

  • I had an irrational, intense need to buy fun lounge pants last week. I can’t explain. I always work from home, so this isn’t anything new for me, and jeans are my typical outfit. But last week, I had the itch for inexpensive lounge pants.
  • I picked up this pair on Amazon. I have to say that I love cheap Amazon clothes. Yes, it takes some effort to sort through the tacky stuff, but when you find good stuff, it is so much cheaper than anything in the malls.
  • Keeping in mind the inexpensive rule for online shopping, I bought these lounge pants at the J. Crew outlet and have been eying this pair at H and M.
  • Since I’m padding around the house in my socks a lot, I tossed out all my old socks and got new ones.

3. Buy things to cook.

(And remember, if you do buy something through Amazon, please use a link for anything from this blog. Thanks!)

24 thoughts on “Shopping While in Shutdown (Plague, Day 26, March 29, 2020)

  1. It’s very frustrating, having no libraries. I bought the Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain. Also we ordered a new vacuum, because the current one started emitting smoke.


      1. We bought a Kenmore. A model with bags for about $250. The decision was based on Consumer Reports and its being in the right price range.


    1. y81 said, “It’s very frustrating, having no libraries. I bought the Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain. Also we ordered a new vacuum, because the current one started emitting smoke.”

      Our local library is apparently about to start curbside pick-up.

      I’m very excited about this.


  2. Our libraries are closed. Am still buying books, but I’m soiled with same day delivery and it is annoying not to have it available (even though I do think Amazon should prioritize other purchases).


  3. I have so many books, though. I could occupy myself with them for the rest of my life, if need be.

    College kid started classes today, at 7 AM (a 10 AM class, in EST). This week is midterms.


    1. bj said, “College kid started classes today, at 7 AM (a 10 AM class, in EST). This week is midterms.”

      Wow. That’s unpleasant.

      Speaking of college, my auntie in WA who boards overseas Asian students so they can attend US community college as preparation for US 4-year colleges has had her 2 boarders (she normally has 2-4) fly back home. The students can take their online US classes just as well in East Asia and there aren’t as many restrictions as in WA. (I didn’t ask what country they’re from.)

      On the one hand, that’s a financial hit for auntie. On the other hand, I’m delighted that auntie (who is 70ish and lives with my nearly 95-year-old grandma) is going to have a smaller household with fewer people coming and going. It will be safer for both of them.

      I expect there are going to be a lot of consequences for US colleges, both in terms of loss of East Asian students and in terms of US parents being less eager or less able to have kids in college far away. The hassles of getting kids back from out-of-state/overseas have been pretty visible, even just in this online circle.


  4. Our library also has an ebook app. The app allows you to borrow ebooks from other libraries in the state network.

    Another great source is to search on Amazon for “free classics” in the Kindle store. Many classic works are no longer under copyright. Often, volunteers have converted the works to digital files. Some are offered for free by publishers. You do not have to own a kindle to read kindle titles, as there are free phone apps, and you can also read titles in a browser.

    Or you could read a personal account of life at sea:


  5. Just bought candy (Easter candy, but for me, it’s just candy) at Williams Sonoma (in addition to knives & pretty flower mugs & oven mitts). The flower mugs & candy are treats, but I think we need the knives & mitts.


  6. bj said, “I am now worried about airborne transmission, which is a game changer in the need to isolate. this report of a choir in Skagitt county which met on March 10th, being careful, the choir (of 121, not sure how many came). Now 45 of them have tested COVID+ and 2 have died.”

    Only 60 people came, so that’s pretty bad.

    Some of the 60 were probably coming from shared households, though, so the infections weren’t necessarily all directly from the single choir practice.


    1. Ack, that’s terrible. Thank goodness our church canceled services early in March. On the bright side, the choir looks a good bit older than our congregation.


  7. It’s such a new virus.

    I think that the fecal-oral pathway could also be active.

    Many public toilets do not have covers on the bowls. Droplets are thrown up whenever a toilet is flushed. They might remain, suspended in the air, for some time. In a bathroom, they would land on surfaces people touch as a matter of course, such as countertops and handles.


  8. We’ve worked at home for years, and our prior commitments have not changed, so we might expect life-as-normal around here. However, our software can be used for remote work within our niche market, so demands for support have skyrocketed. Meanwhile we need to direct the kids in housework, education, socialization and exercise, so our free time has dropped to nil.

    I find myself fantasy-shopping for the things an alternate-reality me would use to occupy his time. The top three things I haven’t let myself buy are a laser-cut hurdy-gurdy kit, a historically accurate lego-compatible model of a WW1 tank, and a book called Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Lachmann’s Method: A Non-Standard Handbook of Genealogical Textual Criticism in the Age of Post-Structuralism, Cladistics and Copy-Text.

    What we’ve actually bought has been home gymnastics equipment for the 9-year-old.


    1. I find people’s fantasy buying amusing. We’re not lego builders around here, but I can imagine that being a good mindfulness activity for the right person.


    2. Some of my maybe-later Amazon cart items:

      –kids’ soap-making kit
      –a nice children’s loom with a moving whatchamacallit
      –kid’s embroidery set
      –a couple of kids’ science project books (ideally my husband or the big kids would supervise…)
      –a couple of purportedly educational LEGO kits (ideally the big kids would supervise)
      –kids’ candy-making kit
      –bulk edible flowers (baking!)
      –Disneyland guidebook (2021?)
      –Hawaii guidebook
      –guidebook for Santa Fe
      –$250 Pendleton blanket
      –tea towels with cats
      –Moomintroll mug with hugging Moomins
      –Japanese noodle bowl with Mt. Fuji and a dragon (classier than it sounds)


    1. bj said, “I think you deserve the tea towel with cats 🙂”

      I do!

      I’m sure everybody else is having the same experience, but what with being home all the time, all the cooking that’s going on, and the issues with getting paper towels–we are suddenly using cloth kitchen towels a lot more. I’m a little short on space, though, so I’m waiting for something to wear out.

      Same deal with rags and microfiber cloths for cleaning. I have a large collection of microfiber cloths, old towels, cloth diapers and flannel baby blankets and I really never needed as many as I have, but they’re really coming in useful, now that we’ve started doing more our own cleaning.

      Husband and the girls finished painting the homemade bird feeder and I just bought a bag of birdseed for the first time. I hope we get a get show!


  9. Some items ordered over the last week or two from Amazon:

    –sugar-free Lifesavers (in the hope it will help the 1st grader focus on her seatwork)
    –a rather expensive German poppy seed strudel mix (for Easter)
    –cotton potholder loops for the 1st grader
    –“The Master Guide to Drawing Anime Volume 1” (for the 12th grader–very funny with regard to anime tropes)
    –a couple of used Franklin the Turtle storybook collections (for the 1st grader)
    –wood floor wipes
    –acrylic paint in tubes (for the 1st grader)
    –“Germs Make Me Sick!” (a book for the 1st grader)
    –beginner sewing kit for the 1st grader (“Learn How to Sew Panda and Koala”)
    –white canvas shoes for the 1st grader (they didn’t fit–I was hoping she could do a fabric marker craft project with them)
    –fabric markers (I have a couple of white t-shirts for projects)
    –18 Sakura watercolors field sketch set (nice, but doesn’t have all the colors we need–for the senior)
    –Watercolor With Me in the Forest (a no sketch watercolor book where they provide the outlines and you do the coloring–for the senior)

    Husband takes care of the 9th grader’s amusements, which mainly involve sporting equipment. Tennis has been their go-to social distancing activity.


  10. Your list, which is 1st grade heavy reminded me of my concerns over h1n1. I have a lot of concerns now, but it’s not nearly as grueling as caring for a seven year old.


    1. bj said, “Your list, which is 1st grade heavy reminded me of my concerns over h1n1. I have a lot of concerns now, but it’s not nearly as grueling as caring for a seven year old.”

      Our weather is good, so that’s been helpful. We all walk outside just about every day. The school stuff for the 1st grader is the hard part. I’ve had a bit of back and forth with the 1st grader’s teacher about the work load. I also filled out the parent work load survey and I need to fill out another survey about whether we can handle adding in history and science. The current streamlined home schedule for the 1st graders is just reading, writing, spelling, grammar and math. The sad thing is I’ve been so wiped out by supervising the seat work even for just the (dry) basics that I really haven’t had the energy to pull out the cool arts and crafts stuff and we haven’t done as much reading practice as I would like to.

      Also, SO MUCH Minecraft and Voltron. And a lot more housecleaning and more thought going into finding and metering out essential supplies. (We are starting to make very good use of the Roomba, though.)

      I’m really looking forward to the weekend.


  11. I just bought my 2020-2021 planner. It’s one from Amazon with watercolor cactuses on the cover. I bought the mom-sized 9″ X 11″ version.

    (By the way, what is the deal with planners needing to be floral?)

    The past several weeks, what I’ve mostly been doing with my planner is just erasing things.


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