March 23, 2020 (Toilet paper inventory: 11 rolls)
Well, it’s day 13 here in the containment zone.
The weekend was jam-packed with super fun activities. I did two loads of laundry, made soup and followed my husband around the house with a Clorox wipe. In the midst of all this, the entire state of New York shut down and all “non-essential” businesses closed. Nobody knows if this will last for weeks or months. There’s just no way to tell.
So I thought it was important to asses my long-term needs. Wants and needs are two very different things, of course. This is where the ability to be very discerning comes in handy. For example: I want paper towels but I don’t need them. I can make do with hand towels, sponges and, if push come to shove I can use one of my husband’s shirts that I secretly hate.
So, what is essential for me? What would I no longer have access to in the foreseeable future?
My husband and I are not big drinkers, so closed liquor stores would mean nothing to us. Consumer alert: Liquor stores have been deemed essential businesses in New York State and remain open. You’re welcome.
I stopped coloring my hair last June, so the closure of salons was not an issue. And who’s going to see me anyhow?
Wait! Hair? I realized I would not be able to have Fluffy groomed for God knows how long? She’s a shitzu and requires monthly haircuts. This is a long-term need! There was no choice but to buy a dog grooming kit on Amazon and learn how to do it myself from YouTube tutorials. Please send your thoughts and prayers to Fluffy.
What else would I need? Coffee! Now some of you might think coffee is a want and not a need. Well you would be wrong. An order placed to Nespresso checked that off the list.
I need food, and therein lies my biggest problem. I can’t order any.
After attempting to use every online grocery service short of the pony express, I finally discovered why I couldn’t get them. On one of the sites, I entered my address and a notice popped up, in red letters. I’m paraphrasing, but it read something like this: Your area has been temporarily suspended for deliveries due to the coronavirus. The message was vague. It didn’t explain why my area was suspended. I have friends elsewhere in New York, including Manhattan, who have access to deliveries. I got the distinct impression it had something to do with the containment zone.
Um…hello?! If we in the “CZ” are considered the most dangerous of the dangerous, wouldn’t it make more sense to drop our groceries outside our doors than to have us sashaying our cooties all over a supermarket?
Running out of groceries was ramping up my anxiety. There was only one option – I would have to venture out. This, of course, compounded my anxiety.
I should point out here that, prior to this pandemic, I was not an anxious person. Thanks for that, pandemic!
Since I didn’t want to risk exposing myself for nothing by going to a store that might have empty shelves, I decided to hit Stew Leonards in Yonkers, which is normally very abundant. I knew the layout of the store well. Crafting my shopping list in groups (veggies, dairy, meat, etc) in accordance with the store’s floorpan, I could maximize my shopping in the least amount of time. I wanted to get in and get out. I had no idea what merchandise I’d find when I got there or how crowded it would be, but having a strategy at least gave me the illusion of some control – which I cling to these days.
I checked Waze before leaving the house and traffic to Stew’s looked clear. To my sheer delight, I arrived to find a half-empty parking lot. Did the lesser planners shop over the weekend? Did the snowy day scare others away? Whatever the reason, luck was on my side. I was able to get almost everything I needed and wanted while setting a new land speed record.
With my cupboards comfortably stocked for at least a month, I could stay at home and this calmed my nerves. And just in case you’re wondering: no, I am not hoarding. I’m just very frugal. Today’s roast will be tomorrow’s sandwich, a steak salad the day after that and a meat sauce the day after that, with leftovers in the freezer.
There was just one more need that had to be addressed – my husband and I desperately missed our children. One of them is in Georgia, the other in Brooklyn with his fiancé, and all of us in isolation. Hubby came to the rescue and coordinated a virtual visit for all of us using something called Whereby. It. Was. Wonderful.
Throughout this entire calamity, technology has been a saving grace. With the help of the internet, I can learn how to groom a shitzu, support my coffee habit, find 20,000 ways to make a chicken breast interesting and see my loved ones!
What’s been your saving grace? Tell me in the comments.