Nesting Nesters Who Nest (Plague, Day 141, August 10, 2020)

With schools resisting opening and viral rates climbing in parts of the country, we’re going to be stuck in our homes for quite a while. Our homes have become more than just places that we crash at the end of a long work day. With limited places to visit — no gyms, vacation spots, parties with friends, no schools — these structures have become our own little worlds.

So, people are fixing up these little worlds. It’s been very hard to get contractors here to fix up the water damage downstairs. Cable guys are working double time to fix wifi connections and upgrade bandwidths. Anybody who works on houses is making money hand over fist right now.

Corporations know that this is the new normal. Facebook is giving employees $1,000 for office equipment and building their new offices in New York right next to the commuter hubs.

That downstairs room that was trashed last month was not fabulous before the flood. It was covered in cheap, aging linoleum. The laundry room had holes in the wall. The main room was a dumping ground for the kids’ music instruments and old furniture. We didn’t really use that space much.

But with everyone home, we need every square inch of real estate in here. so I’m upgrading that space with nice tile and flooring. The whole place is getting a fresh coat of paint. We’re building out a wall to hide all the electrical wires/cable box/modem/router/massive power strip behind the television. I’m selling the old sofas, putting in a better one for the TV watchers/gamers, and putting in a “work from home” long table for laptops. I’ll share pictures when I’m done.

Meanwhile, people are fleeing Manhattan, where crime rates are skyrocketing, and stores are still boarded up after the protests this summer. Real estate agents are cold calling us to see if we’ll move. I’m hearing about bidding wars for very modest houses. Manhattan might become a place where people zip in for monthly group meetings, instead of a bustling business hub with a thriving middle class community. All the reasons that we used to go into Manhattan – museums, shows, concerts — aren’t happening, and might not happen again for a year. Sad.

Since the pandemic shut everything done, I have been enjoying watching professional cooks in their home kitchens doing stuff. Not originally a huge fan of Rachel Ray, I am convert, because of her adorable videos of her and husband making fun meals in their very cluttered kitchen. So, I was sad to hear that their home burnt down this weekend. She’s become a “friend” these past few months, along with Jacques Pepin, whose videos magically appear on my Facebook page. (I really want to try his crispy chicken thigh recipe.)

Google search terms show how lifestyles have changed, perhaps permanently. People aren’t looking for tickets to shows or going to restaurants. They are searching for home workout equipment and crafting tools.

Have you thought about how we’re going to socialize when things get colder? We have. We’re already worrying about how we’ll have a Thanksgiving dinner that is safe for my parents. Should we get heat lamps for the back patio?

We are in the midst of a massive change in society. This may be the biggest change in human society since the industrial revolution. Please keep diaries. This is important.