April 13, 2020

Nothing Has Changed Except Everything

It is tempting to think that not much has changed for Linda and I over the last few weeks, because from the comfort of our own home, that is how it feels. 

While mostly true, it does not tell the whole story.

Pre-corona Linda and I were already adjusting to a big change in the way we live, having chosen to give up our wheelchair accessible van and try carlessness. 

Since we have been living very locally for a very long time, we were only using our vehicle to buy groceries, and it was getting to be a very expensive grocery-getter. We had to let it go, and have no plans to replace it with another fume spewing money pit.

As soon as we let it be known that we were wheel-less, the helpers came forward, as they always do. We are so grateful to live in an area where community still means something.

Even before the lockdown started, I was hitching a ride a couple of times a month with neighbours when they were going to town (they usually go in every day or two, so there is plenty of opportunity). 

They would always ask where I needed to go, and my answer was always the same - "just the grocery store". 

Most of the time, food is all we need. We are simple that way.

Now, because Linda is considered "immunocompromised", as her caregiver I have to be extra cautious about exposing myself to The Virus. As such, I have not been to the grocery store in person for over a month.

Other helpers (you can't have too many) had already offered to pick up grocery orders for us if we ever ordered on line. At the time we didn't think we would need to go that way, but, everything, it seems, is changing. 

Our last grocery order was placed on line (our first time ever) for pick up. They needed about 3 days notice, and called us when it was ready. 

We called our neighbours, they went down to the store, parked in the designated spot, and called customer service. Helpful front line worker/heroes then brought our order outside, and put it in the open trunk of the car. 

Our friends parked in front of our place when they got home, and left the trunk open. I went out, emptied our order into our home, then texted them to let them know I was done.

Wow. That felt weird. 

But it did get groceries into the house without me being exposed to something that could possibly harm my best friend, and for that I am grateful.

I leaned on the car and felt a hankering for the good old days (a few days ago it seems) when I could see my neighbours. Or bike to the grocery store to bring home small orders. Or touch the bank door handle without thinking it could kill me, or Linda.

I don't need to get out much, but I like to enjoy the times that I do.

As I closed the trunk of the car the neighbour's 5 year old son came out of his house and approached. 

He was getting closer to me. I didn't know what to do. 

Do I need to protect both of us? 

Should I run? 

I didn't. 

He came to within a metre of me and stopped. Looking up with sad inside eyes, he said, "I can't wait until I can help you water your garden this summer".

Now a garden is a food acquisition method I can get behind. And no, I did not hug that sweet little helper. I had to hold myself back... 2 metres back. 

"I can't wait either", I said to him from a seemingly safe distance. Then it was back into lockdown for both of us.

See you in the summer garden, my little helper friend.

That won't change. 

On another note, something else that has changed, is that lots of people are dying of COVID-related illness. That includes one of my favourite singer/songwriters, John Prine. 

To him I say, "It was a wonderful 50 years of beautiful memorable songs, and I thank you."

"Plant a little garden", he sang.

Great advice.


  1. Anonymous4/14/2020

    Hearing about your sweet little neighbour brought a tear to my eye. I can completely relate as I have been teaching my piano students via skype for the last month. It really isn't the same, and I really miss those lovely young people coming in through my studio door each day.

    In case you weren't aware of it, the virus can live outside the body for up to a week depending what surface it lands on. So if we get post we do not touch it for 3 days. We haven't needed groceries for weeks but when we do we will leave them in the spare room and anything that needs to go in the fridge will be wiped down first. It is a very bizarre way to live!

    Finally, you cannot underestimate the power of the sun to help the body not succumb to viruses. There is plenty of information online, including the research of Dr Holick. Here in Australia we have had very few deaths (well under 100) and I believe this is in part due to the fact that we have just come out of Summer and most people have therefore got reasonable levels of vitamin D in their bodies. We were quite late to lock down and yet have not had the terrible surge in the disease seen in the northern hemisphere.

    Take care all, sending love and hugs.


    1. I teared up writing it.

      Our neighbour is such a sweet boy, and he says outrageously sweet things to me all the time, like, "Do you want some candy?" Kids are the best.

      I think it is important to be able to achieve a child-like state your whole life. It is a pure perspective, unhindered by adult distractions and disinformation.

      I am glad we are going into summer now. Sunlight is a disinfectant - burn, baby, burn. I hope the South does not experience an increase in cases as you move into winter. Fingers crossed.

  2. Ah, you are the first blogger I have read that mentioned John Prine. I loved him. "Paradise" sold me on him. My friend here had no idea who he was. Then, when I played "Paradise," he said disdainfully, "Oh, I never listen to that type of music.

    I got to the store and wear a mask and gloves and carry Lysol Wipes in an attempt to keep him from acquiring the virus. It is hard.

    1. Your hard work is paying off. For both of you.

      He should be grateful.

  3. I went to the grocery store for the first time in over a month. Hubby has been going each Sunday, but I decided to try and go out myself and see what it was like "out there." I couldn't wait to get back home is all I can say.

    1. You gave me a knowing chuckle. I rode to the bank to deposit a couple of cheques the other day. There were a fair amount of cars, but no people outside to be seen. And most everything was closed. It was a little eerie, and, too, was happy to get back home.

  4. I love the story about your neighbor. This thing is changing many people and I hope it is for the better.

    1. Undoubtedly some good will come from this, of that I am sure. However, some (or a lot) of wickedness will come from it, too. We will have to wait and see what the balance turns out to be.

  5. Anonymous4/14/2020

    Good to see some familiar names in the comments...and that all are well so far. Grocery shopping the most frightening part of my life fright now. Otherwise we are doing fine, enjoying our home, planting a little garden, walking in the sunshine that has graced Oregon lately. The loss of John Prine was felt in our household and my boyfriend took a long walk with his iPod playing John's songs to honor him. Hang in there everyone. ---Mary

    1. Same to you, Mary. And boyfriend. And everyone.

      Hanging in there is what we do. Together we will survive to fight another day.

  6. Although I live a pretty isolated life, I too have had some big changes. I've not had human contact in going on 7 weeks. Even for an introvert this is excessive. I've had to order groceries online to be delivered. I have them leave it all on the porch and I go out to bring them in after they leave. It's hard to even reserve a spot for delivery. I waited a week this last time before they could come out. Luckily I had stocked up for the winter and didn't have to use much of it, so I already had things in reserve. I can't wait for warmer weather so I can at least go out on the porch and watch the birds. People contact will have to wait.

    1. It is good to hear from you Marla. Of course, we think of you all the time, considering we are in similar situations. It sounds like you were already prepared, because you have to be.

      I was thinking that now many in the world are experiencing a bit of what it is like to live a more restricted life such as many people have already experienced. Whether it is because of mobility or financial reasons (or both), some have been in what amounts to a "shutdown" for a long time.

      We too, are waiting for warmer weather. Linda has not been away from the house for months, and that has been pretty normal for many years. Now that we don't have a vehicle, it will continue to be difficult for us to get away together, unless it is on our own property.

      The bird watching is getting better already, and we are looking forward to working on our garden together, but that won't be for a few weeks yet. But the planning has begun.

      Glad you are stocked up, and doing well. Hope more people contact comes your way soon (besides this people contact).


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