Days Sheltered in Place
As of today, April 7th, I’ve been sheltered in place at home for 22 days.
No Internet? Live like a Victorian
I keep reading that people are relieved to have the internet during a pandemic. Can you imagine, they ask, a quarantine without the internet?! And Netflix! No Netflix. They shudder. I laughed because if this were Victorian times, we’d basically be doing life as usual. At least, that’s how I imagine it. So, just for fun I’m sharing the schedule I made and have been following to create order and adjusted it to imagine what I’d be doing if I were a Victorian lady. I’m not an expert in Victorian ladies, so I may be off the mark on some of these.
- 9:00 – 10:30AM
- Me: eat breakfast, drink coffee, read the news, and play an online jigsaw puzzle.
- Victorian Lady: morning tea, the daily newspaper, a game of whist.
- 10:30 – 11:00AM
- Me: shower and brush teeth.
- Victorian Lady: daily ablutions, including sponging off with vinegar and cool water then add a heavy dose of perfume, likely ambergris, made from fluid retrieved from a dead sperm whale’s intestines.
- 11:00 – 12:00PM
- Me: reading comments on my blog and blog hopping.
- Victorian Lady: letter writing, making sure to use the proper quality of paper, color of ink, and pondering the correct salutation.
- 12:00 – 1:00PM
- Me: homework for the continuing education course.
- Victorian Lady: work on accomplishments by practicing the piano to provide discipline and diversion.
- 1:00 – 2:00PM
- Me: lunch and television.
- Victorian Lady: Change clothing with assistance for elevenses (two hours too late) and then people-watching on the veranda, far enough back to avoid catching disease.
- 2:00 – 3:00PM
- Me: listen to audiobook.
- Victorian Lady: change clothing with assistance and force children to read Charles Dickens’s A Child’s History of England aloud for personal entertainment.
- 3:00 – 4:00PM
- Me: work training (typically a webinar).
- Victorian Lady: balance house account, choose dinner selections, and order maid to arrange flowers around house.
- 4:00 – 5:00PM
- Me: read a novel.
- Victorian Lady: read the latest installment of a serialized novel.
- 5:00 – 6:30PM
- Me: cook and eat dinner.
- Victorian Lady: change clothes with assistance to ready for dinner. Feel relief that the neighbor and his wife can’t come over to join you thanks to the quarantine. After all, the wife is a bit too coy.
- 6:30 – 7:30PM
- Me: free time, whateves.
- Victorian Lady: work on needlepoint to donate to the local charity bazaar.
- 7:30 – 8:00PM
- Me: watch Jeopardy! of course, though I hate the potpourri category.
- Victorian Lady: make potpourri by dipping dried flowers into perfume.
- 8:00 – 9:00PM
- Me: exercise, typically YouTube yoga or Leslie Sansone.
- Victorian Lady: play croquet in the garden, though be sure to not use too much energy from the reproductive organs.
- 9:00 – 9:30PM
- Me: dillydally.
- Victorian Lady: stare into fireplace.
- 9:30 – 10:00PM
- Me: read aloud to spouse while he packs lunches or folds laundry then go to bed.
- Victorian Lady: change clothes with assistance and get into bed, which is of course in a separate room from her spouse.
Jump on board with an e-reader
Many readers don’t want to go digital; there’s just something about holding a book, even if it is gross. But with the pandemic forcing us to stay home, a e-reader can be your saving grace when the library is closed and companies are shipping things very slowly (hello, new Samantha Irby book, where are you??). Anne @ I’ve Read This asked me which device I recommend. I would not suggest an e-reader that limits you to a certain vendor — the Kindle, the Nook, etc. Nor would I recommend an iPad for the cost alone (hint-hint, it’s expensive). Both my spouse and I have the Samsung Galaxy Tab A (8 inch, 32 GB). In the U.S., this will set you back $150. To compare, an iPad with 32GB and 8 inches is $330. Download any app, just like a smart phone, plus access the internet using a Google Chrone browser. You can download all the apps for all the digital books (at least I haven’t run into problems) that you want:
- Google books
- the WordPress app, of course!
- Goodreads app, etc.
Are You Still Doing a Book Club?
I hadn’t been doing any book clubs, actually, but when I learned that the library I patronize was going to host an online book club that would meet every other day, I got nervous. I mean, I am an introvert, and even promises to see people online scare me.
However, I’ve gotten used to the group. There are about 7-8 of us, including the librarian who leads the discussion. To save money, the library chose a license with a book that can be accessed on Hoopla, which, to my knowledge, lets the library loan the book to as many people as want it, so no one is shut out of the book club because they can’t get a copy.
We’re reading Why We Can’t Sleep by Ada Calhoun (spoiler, this is not a good book), and it’s interesting to hear people from the Boomer, X, and Millennial generations talk about what Gen X women experience. We use Google Meet, which is free and pretty intuitive. Recommendation: have rules for your online book club, especially one asking people turn off their mic when they’re not speaking.
Quarantine Stories Can Be Funny and Lovely
Thanks to Amal @ Misfortune of Knowing, I learned about an L.M. Montgomery short story entitled “Quarantine at Alexander Abraham’s,” which is about a forty-something unmarried woman who goes to see why one of her Sunday school students stopped showing up. She’s a confirmed man-hater and cat-lover, and her student just happens to be working for a bachelor who is a certified woman-hater and dog-lover. Due to a smallpox outbreak, these opposites must live together. Check out this wonderful story.
“All the nurses in town who will take smallpox cases are overbusy now, for the epidemic is still raging there. . . . I will nurse Mr. Bennett. . . It is my duty and, thank Heaven, I never shirk my duty. He is a man and he has smallpox and he keeps a vile dog, but I’m not going to see him die for want of attendance for all that.”
Pandemic Photo Album
Lastly, without thinking about it too much, I started a pandemic photo album. Each day I take a photo of my cat in her bed. That’s how it started. I figured I could keep track of the days by counting the Kitty pics. But then I started photographing small things I noticed: a hoof print in the mud, the way a tree branch scraped the ground, my husband’s “office” set up in the living room. I moved on to some photos of people that are sent to me: my nieces and nephew, my parents when they were on vacation (alone in a truck, alone on a motorcycle, alone in a cabin) in New Mexico, a few of Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku from when we were texting.
There are so few human photos in my album, but I’m not alone because I have you all. If you are okay sharing, please send me a photo of you to firstname.lastname@example.org. I am not sharing these photos anywhere online, but simply sticking them in my own album to document this weird time. This is me listening to The Song of Achilles and walking around: