Sunday, April 26, 2020

Decision-making During the COVID-19 Pandemic

I’m contemplating my daily choices during the COVID-19 quarantine and feel fortunate to be retired and able to hunker down indefinitely if need be. 

My husband Ricky is a retired Registered Nurse who worked at our local VA Hospital, at one time in the ICU before he moved to the heart cath lab.  I only worked occasionally before the pandemic, but when I did, it was in the School of Allied Health at our local medical school.  While this post is generally lighthearted, the world has a heavy heart, as do Ricky and I.  We ache for those in the medical field fighting the pandemic, we cry with those families who have lost loved ones, we sympathize with our friends and strangers who must fight off the disease while quarantined from the world, and we despair at the national political situation, and the lack of leadership and sound decision-making at the highest governmental levels.

My choices during this COVID-10 pandemic are many, yet virtually meaningless. 

Outside views from cottage porch
Patio as seen from cottage porch

Morning coffee in the plant room
Plant room fountain adds ambience
Should I sit outside on the cottage porch or in the old-fashioned, indoor plant room with its louvered crank out windows to drink coffee and write?  

If I sit outside, should I pet my cat, Katrina, or Treble, our mutt, who always craves attention? 

What should we fix for lunch? For supper?  We’ve eaten comfort foods, e.g., tuna noodle casseroles, roasted chicken, turkey burgers, chicken salad, salmon and fish, steak and potatoes, a variety of homemade soups, and several of Ricky’s specialties, e.g., shrimp pesto pasta, mushroom pasta, and huevos rancheros.  

Another culinary decision—what flavor of jello should I make?  We probably have eaten jello that I prepared less than a dozen times during our 25 years of marriage.  Now, during our COVID-19 home bound days, we eat it all the time.  Sometimes with fruit added, sometimes as a parfait, but never as jello shots!  I prefer to drink my booze.

What’s the best way to get dry jello mix off the kitchen floor—vacuum or Shark steam broom?  Note to self: water in the microwave can become super-heated though it doesn’t appear to be boiling.  When a solid, i.e., jello mix, is added to the water, the mixture erupts vigorously, startling the cook and causing her to throw jello all over the kitchen.  Related question:  what’s the best way to get rid of sugar ants in the kitchen while I’m hunting for all the fine jello dust I threw into the air?

We are definitely eating well, which leads to my next decision.  Where and how shall I exercise since the gyms are closed?  Should I exercise inside using my Walk Inside DVD, given to me by a colleague a year or so ago, or should I ride my exercise bike?  I have outside exercise options, too.  I can walk in my urban neighborhood.  I see much more of what’s going on when I’m on foot, so I can be that “Know-See” neighbor.  Do I want to go with Ricky when he walks Treble?  We look like we are maintaining social distancing from each other because I can't walk as fast as they can.  I bring up the rear, 6-9 feet behind them.  Should I pick up litter on our neighborhood sidewalks as my exercise one day?  It would also be doing something pro-social, but litter patrol now requires gloves, a mask, a grabber, and a trash bag. 

Picking up trash without PPE
Are there friends I should check on? Should I drop someone a note in the mail to let them know I’m thinking of them?  I’m fortunate, because I can interact with my neighbors regularly.  We share food and books, talk at the fence, visit briefly when we see each other on our walks.  Sometimes we sit on our porches, six feet apart, and talk. 

Do my plants need deadheading, fertilizing, or pruning?  Do I dare go to the nursery for more plants?  Do we have a possum, or is it a raccoon, living under the house, and what should we do about it?

Is there anything interesting going on that I can text my sisters, so we can be part of each others’ lives, since I don’t think I’ll be traveling to visit them anytime soon?  What about this week's hailstorm that dropped baseball size hail in the city just across the river from us—hail that went through people’s roofs into their attics, hail accompanied by 70-90 mph wind squalls that broke windows in their houses so hail danced around inside their homes?  This unusual event was part of a strong thunderstorm system that passed through the Ark-La-Tex.  Click here for YouTube video of recent hailstorm in Bossier City captured by Barksdale Airman.

Usually the most agonizing decision I face is what book should I read today?  I could easily read from my personal library for a year and still not read all the books I own. 

My recently repainted library
Some days I’m restless with anxiety contemplating the pandemic and the sadness and hardship it’s causing.  Other days, I’m generally happy during the stay-at-home directive.  I’m not sure what that says about me—am I shallow, easily entertained, or just content within my bubble?