Thriving in the New Normal (Plague, Day 31, April 3, 2020)

I’m nearly done with my work chores for the day — newsletter is done and sent, activities for Ian for his “spring break” are arranged, and boring paperwork tasks were crossed off the list.

Newsletters and paperwork were part of my life, prior to the plague. Now, I have to tick off the plague chores — take Ian for a walk, deep clean a bathroom, bake a cake with Ian, look around for mid-semester online college class for Jonah to take advantage of his free time. I have a list of people to call/text today, because they need a little extra contact.

It’s funny how we’re getting used to the new normal. After three weeks, I could do this for a lot longer, which may in fact be necessary.

Of course, my new normal is really the privilege of those with secure and boring jobs, with suburban homes, with youthful constitutions. We aren’t going into a hospital or riding a subway or bagging groceries on a daily basis. For some of it, we’re managing, and even thriving during these strange times.

If you’re in the lucky group, you might as well thrive. At lunch, I was telling Jonah that he should use this time as a gift. We’re talking about thinking through ways to scoop up some online college credits and/or learn new skills. No, the hydroponic garden in the basement is not up for discussion! I was thinking more about a CAD class or a programming boot camp. Expanding the kitchen garden is okay.

But we all can improve, too. Here are some ideas:

  • Maybe start an Instagram account and take pictures of daily life for future historians. I set up an account for a local business last week and learned how to make “stories.”
  • I’m planning on learning how to set up an accounting system for my strangely profitable online bookshop. I can offer a quickie class on building an online vintage shop, if anybody is interested.
  • I want to reread Emma this weekend, and then watch the movie, which I heard is available for a regular rental fee now.
  • A few months ago, I learned how to make my own newsletter. I’m finding it very fun, an interesting side venture where I can reach a different audience.
  • I want to organize pictures and make some albums.

7 thoughts on “Thriving in the New Normal (Plague, Day 31, April 3, 2020)

  1. “No, the hydroponic garden in the basement is not up for discussion!”
    Yknow, they can take your house away if you use it to grow illegal crops….


  2. You are far more focused and cheerful than I am. I do need to set some ore concrete photo goals for myself (like an album or printing by family blog into family books).


    1. We paid five hundred bucks extra to prepone my daughter’s ticket home from Scotland, looks like a bargain now!


      1. Doug said, “Amy, I’m guessing you’ve seen this already?”

        I might have heard of it, but not seen it. Whoa.

        I was emailing with one of my Russians this week. Apparently, the powers that be there have suddenly decided that COVID-19 is a big deal–but a lot of rank and file Russians don’t understand how serious it is yet. And given that the official word for weeks was that Russia was JUST FINE–you can’t really blame them.

        This has been a pretty big problem here, too.

        Very Important Person [very confidenly]: X!
        Very Important Person [exactly as confidently but two weeks later]: Not X!

        Repeat half a dozen times and watch the public tune out–which makes it hard to get the public on board when the Very Important People finally get it right.

        I know information changes, blah blah blah, but the level of confidence in asserting dubious information has been ridiculous the last 2.5 months.


  3. daves,

    I know you love robot stories. Here’s one!

    1. We had to let our cleaning service go because of the pestilence. We normally pay them a bunch.
    2. Husband and I are fine-tuning a replacement cleaning program. It was originally going to be divided between us parents working for free and the teens working for a sum sufficient to motivate them, minimize complaints and maximize home hygiene.
    3. At some point, we realized that our long-neglected Roomba robot vacuum cleaner can step up and do a tolerable job on floors (except for bathroom floors, which need a bit more TLC). It won’t get into every nook and cranny, but it does manage to get into some spaces that a human worker could not easily manage with a vacuum (under beds, wardrobes, etc.). We are also now on a weekly cleaning schedule as opposed to twice monthly, so everything is cleaner now on an average day.

    Total outlay for this week: $30. I’d been planning to teach the teens how to do heavy cleaning for a long time and never gotten around to it, but there’s never going to be a better time (I hope).

    We’d never manage this on a normal schedule because the big kids are too busy, but we’re home all the time now and the big kids are usually done with school work by lunch, so why not. We’re also hoping that our Roomba stands up to the unprecedented work load.

    Here’s a bonus kid dialog, anonymized to protect the guilty).

    Me: When you’re a grownup with a home of your own, you can…
    Teen who doesn’t love heavy cleaning: …be as nasty as I want?
    Me: No, that’s not where I was going with this. I was going to say, you can hire somebody and not have to do this.

    I’m planning to teach the high school senior laundry this summer and hand her laundry over to her to do, but one thing at a time.


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