The New Normal

We are settling into a new normal around here. I suppose people can get used to anything. My youngest says she is planning on seeing how long she can go without wearing shoes and so far she’s on track for a world record.

It’s so normal to stay home now, in fact, that it now feels weird to go out. I went to Costco yesterday and the parking lot was as quiet as I have ever seen, which was already an eerie start. Then we had to line up to get in – they are limiting the number of people in the store – and while inside there was tape everywhere to help us respect social distance. At the checkout you had to stand on an X six feet away while staff unloaded your stuff and rang everything up, and then they’d step back and away when you came forward to pay. It felt very awkward and scary, and it was good to get back home and restore the seal on the outside world.

Although then I did worry about how much I should worry about the things I was bringing home. Should I wipe everything down? Should I leave it all in the car for a few hours? Should I wipe down the steering wheel and gearshift in the car? What about the grocery bins and bags?

I decided that going out is going to bring with it some risk and I just have to live with that risk or I am going to go insane. So the groceries came in and got put away and then everyone washed their hands and that’s the best we can do for our collective sanity.

At home, we have become a family that retreats to our respective corners for the day. We are a mixture of introverts and extroverts, but even the extroverts, I guess, get tired of seeing the same people day in and day out. The kids have received some school work from some of their teachers (and to those who have sent assignments, BLESS YOU), so we have put them on a loose schedule of school for at least an hour a day, plus one physical activity, all to be done by dinnertime on a schedule of their choosing. The older kids are doing more like two hours of school work per day, which is good, but so far everyone is giving a hard pushback on physical activity, which is bad. But we are figuring it out.

Usually Sir Monkeypants and I will take a work break around lunchtime to go for a walk outside, and sometimes a kid or two will come with us (but not Little Miss Sunshine, because SHOES). I am so, so grateful that we live in a sparsely populated residential neighbourhood where we can still go for a walk outside with no problem. We’ll pass perhaps 5 to 10 people on our usual loop and we give each other a wide berth and say hello as we pass and that’s it for precautions.

I have been thinking a lot about people in New York City, where many people live in an apartment – how much harder it would be to be trapped literally inside all day in just a few rooms, unable to go for a walk or play in the park because too many people share that outdoor space.

And I have been thinking a lot about India, which is now attempting to put the country on lockdown, but in many places, people live so closely together that social distancing really isn’t possible. I read an article about how many Indians rely on street food to eat as they don’t have a proper kitchen or refrigerator in their home, and now that the street vendors are closed down, they have no access to food. That’s scary, and terrible, and we are so lucky to live here, and be in such a relatively good place.

By the evening, we have dinner together and then we have been watching a lot of movies. Some nights we will play a group video game or try to get better at Rock Band. Some of us go to bed and some of us stay up way too late and some of us sleep in too much and some of us snack all day and some of us rarely eat. It’s working itself out. It’s becoming the new normal.

How are you doing?

3 thoughts on “The New Normal

  1. We’re doing ok. Both hubby and I work from home and have been for nearly 2 weeks. So far, so good. The teens aren’t into a school routine yet – their teachers all seem to be on different pages. Within one day, Kid#2 got a message from one teacher with an assignment and a due date, another teacher with an assignment to look at if they want, and a third teacher saying nothing would be coming out as they’re still figuring this out. So I’ve just told the kids to check email daily and follow the leads of their teachers – what else can you do? They both sleep in (which actually makes for nice quiet mornings) and we’ve been trying to do a family treadmill challenge but, as you say, a lot of resistance there, so we’re not pushing it. I figure we’re in for another 2 months or so of this, so why cause fights? I try to get out for a daily walk (a lot of physical distancing in there) and that’s about it. Groceries get delivered to the back of my car when I go to pick them up and we do wash everything that comes in the house (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjDuwc9KBps). It’s all good – we have time. Take care – hope you and yours are all staying well!

  2. It’s weird, because Ottawa looks deceptively normal… until you realize there’s almost no traffic, that dogs get walked VERY often and that everything is closed. I also feel lucky that my residential neighbourhood is far from being crowded, you can still go out and not see a soul outside. It’s harder for my family in France in complete lockdown and they are trapped in small apartments :-/

  3. bibliomama2

    I feel oddly comforted by your saying that you all stay in your various corners during the day because we do too and I feel sort of obscurely guilty about it – Angus is home! We should be having family time! But he’s still actually in college! I’m also the same about buying groceries or ordering food – we stay as low-risk as we reasonably can, and then go into denial about the rest because yes, that way lies madness. Eve has already cut her hair once and we are now pondering colours. Everyone else has work to do and I am feeling Bigly Useless, so I try to keep the house running and everyone fed so they can do their work. We’ve been trying not to go out for fourteen days after Angus got home, so we’re free Wednesday morning and I’ll see if I can do some errands to help some other people. I do feel terrible for other people who are not able to stay as safe as easily.

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