Quarantine Chronicles Day 7: Some end-of-the-week tips from readers

One week in the hopper and who knows how many more are to come. No pressure on the President: Just 75 million of us Americans cleaning out our junk drawers, doing crossword puzzles and learning how to play a flugelhorn while we’re waiting for the all-clear to go back to our work cubicles.

Over the last week, several readers were thoughtful enough to comment on the Quarantine Chronicles, and some sent in some tips and suggestions of varying degrees of difficulty. Chores remain a somewhat distasteful fallback, but I’ve accomplished a few in Week 1.

As for readers’ tips, we’ll start off with a note that reminded us of an old National Lampoon joke: A Shriner asks a carpenter, “You got a match?” Carpenter says, “Yeah, my adze and your fez.” That is NOT a dad joke; that’s sophisticated humor. OK, Here we go:

Exploring outside the grid

“I was doing a crossword puzzle (must remember to order more) yesterday and the clue was ‘cooper’s tool.’ The answer was ‘adze’ but then I thought—wait a minute, what does an adze actually look like? Luckily, a nifty little handheld device was nearby. I Googled ‘adze’ (alternate spelling ‘adz’) which led me to Wikipedia and thence to a YouTube video of Scott Wunder of WunderWoods demonstrating the most efficient and efficacious way to wield an adze. The whole thing was fascinating.

“So what? you say. Well, here’s what.

“An unexpected revelation is how much more time I have to delve into knowing more about—well, anything. What a gift to keep away the fear even if for a little while.”

— Annie Buchanan

There be dragons. And conditioner

“The boredom of this ‘shelter in place’ is endless, only because I am basically lazy and lacking energy (not because of C-19). Lack of energy is my natural state. Sure, I used to go to endless meetings and commission stuff (really important), but now all of that has disappeared like smoke on a windy day.

“Usually I am ‘one day active, one day not.’

“Now it is just always NOT.

“Here is my proposed remedy to avoiding Cheeto gaffs and spreading of fear:

“Consider…

“CLEANING AND SORTING UNDER THE BATHROOM SINK!

“Yes, the fear of this consumed me for almost two weeks—and finally I managed to screw my courage to the sticking place (whatever the hell that meant) and dove in—sorting into containers—some looked a lot like paper bags—pitching shampoos, conditioners, etc and discovering a really good use for those hair-coloring gloves.

“I did emerge triumphant—three items thrown away and 40+ items that I am hanging on to, because I will find a use for them someday, let’s continue to save money. Life is more uncertain than it was a month ago. Those items are still sitting on the bathroom floor—I am thinking that magically that they will appear perfectly organized under my bathroom sink!”

— Dianne McNinch

A coronavirus celebration

“Mom (92) and I are also trying to figure out how to get through this. Mostly trying to remember what day of the week it is or wondering if we need to go shopping. Our outing tomorrow might be to Hof’s for their family dinner especially that they also have drinks to go!  We discovered a great Silver Sneakers YouTube today that might be our exercise routine for the next month. I am also collecting ideas for a newsletter to send out to my OLLI members—things to keep the brain and body going!

“Mom’s 93rd birthday is March 26 and I am sure this will be the most memorable one ever…maybe we’ll light a candle and try to FaceTime the rest of the family.”

— Rebecca Low

Making bread

“Well, now I’m doing OK, I cooked biscuits yesterday, cornbread today, but I am in SC, so I can’t share them with you. If you happen to have self rising flour on hand you can make bread using some oil if you don’t have shortening, now I use lard, but you may not have that on hand. 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of milk or water, 1 egg, 1/4 cup of oil or shortening, mix it all up real quick, make biscuits or spread out in a cast iron skillet, makes 2 hoecakes.”

— Elizabeth Snuggs

Scrapbooking, etc.

“Have you ever tried scrapbooking, Tim? Get out all those family pictures that you probably have stored in boxes all these years and use your creativity to design pages on which to display all those pics and then chronologically put them in albums. You’d be surprised how quickly the time flies when you’re happily engaged in this activity.

“Additional things to do: Adult coloring books, reading,  jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, cross-stitch, needlepoint, board games, digital computer games or TV (if you’re really bored!).

“And if you’re not interested in any of these things, I’m sure your wife would appreciate your help around the house since your housekeeper is in quarantine like everyone else! But, I’d stay away from those peanut butter and jelly chicken wings!”

— Claire Parker

That’s all for now. Virtual hugs, everyone. Stay safe and healthy and when this is all over let’s go grab a coffee somewhere.

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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