By Michelle Rich, Tec-We-Gwill WI
My life is full of routines. After the first week of emergency legislated self-isolation when I felt anxious and nervous and read news online for an average of 5 hours, I self-regulated myself to reading only the Government of Canada/Ontario websites every couple of days, for the highlights only and got off my computer. I also put a routine in place that I need to follow.
It’s boring, or at least it starts off boring with self-care stretches, washing, animal care, breakfast, clean house, at least vacuuming, wet mopping most areas and kitty litter cleanup.
Then I can do something fun like take the dog for a walk, work in my garden, do yard work like cutting grass and digging up dandelions.
The COVID-19 pandemic sped up my need to sell my house and move closer to my daughter. She’s been insisting more with little insinuations that I’m getting older and in a few years I’ll need to be closer, it’s better to do it now before it’s much harder and now with the pandemic, it has highlighted that we want family close. We live over an hour away from each other.
There are so many rules around selling and buying a home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Every day as part of my cleaning routine, I disinfect the kitchen counters, stove, refrigerator, door knobs and light switches, vacuum and put a pot on the stove to boil with lemon peels to remove any scent of living and cooking. I usually wet mop every floor to disinfect and clean.
For a house showing, buyers have to complete a form for every house they visit and everyone that attends the showing has to complete a form. There’s a limit to two people plus agent to see the home. There cannot be open houses. The buyers and agents wear masks and it’s preferred the buyers wear gloves too.
I have to turn every light on and open door before they arrive, leave the house so they are the only ones here.
All this in addition to preparing the house before they arrive. My house is sparsely furnished, staged at all times, all signs of animals in the home are removed before the showing. Show towels are used, towels for our own use are hidden under the bathroom sinks, all items on sinks, bathrooms, kitchens are hidden under the counter. Fridges and cupboards have very little in them. Just thinking about it is exhausting! I can see why my daughter convinced me to do it now before I get old and even more exhausted.
I love to bake. Because I’m selling, it’s very difficult to really get into making bread, pies and pastries. I make cakes but my family and I don’t eat cake so I don’t get a lot of practice!
I take continuing education baking courses at George Brown College in Toronto with my daughter. We started out with one course, Baking Foundations, as a fun Mother-Daughter activity and now, we are working towards our baking certificates! I thought I knew a lot about baking after being involved from a young child for almost 65 years but every class I learn a lot of new, more modern, techniques and the science behind it. We have been working on breads the last 2 courses, just recently completing artisan sourdough. Or at least I assume we completed it since the pandemic emergency measures happened with 3 weeks to go, our college was closed and our classes cancelled. I finished the last 3 weeks on my own at home. Sourdough is so versatile and used to make everything from blueberry coffee cake to biscuits to different types of bread. I love the decorative designs I can create on the dough before baking!
Because of the pandemic, I rarely go out to shop. In the past, although I’m not a big shopper, I would get feelings of claustrophobia and have to shop. Now I rarely have those feelings. I’ve purchased hardware items online and have realized that some stores are better at online shopping experiences than others.
There have been some benefits of having to shop online or to do parking lot pickups. They say necessity is the mother of invention – I’ve had my car for 2 years and never knew there was an inside trunk release! By my second parking lot pickup, I had figured it out and could use it.
I’ve had my animals to the Veterinarian too. My animals are generally all older and most have health issues from kidney disease to urinary tract issues and internal issues to osteoarthritis. Although I do most of the routine animal care like the osteoarthritis injections and oral medicines, I do need a regular checkup and bloodwork routine for most. The process to visit a Vet during the pandemic has changed. Appointments are spread out so that I do not have contact with any other client. When I arrive in the parking lot, I put the cat carriers on the sidewalk outside the door, leave the dog on her leash at the door and get back in the car and call them to let them know I have arrived. I provide the background information on how they have been doing, any symptoms, concerns I have in writing through email and/or over the phone prior to the appointment. The vet techs come out and take them in, do the examinations and call me when they are ready. They’ll put them back on the sidewalk or hand me the dog leash, both of us stretching our hands out and not touching anything except the leash. We both wear gloves. If I’m buying product or just paying for the visits, they do come to the car and hand me the portable payment terminal as I have to put my credit card in. Vet visits for me are generally $1000 or more depending on how many animals, what procedures and tests and which product I’m buying so I can’t just tap my credit card. They do disinfect the terminal beforehand but I like to wear gloves as well and take them off carefully afterwards. Sometimes I just have to pick up specialty food for the cats so the process is simpler.
Grocery shopping: I had a full freezer and cold room before the pandemic lockdown and physical isolating occurred so I’ve been able to resist regular shopping. I try to limit my shopping to once every 3 weeks for milk, yogurt, fresh vegetables/fruit. I’ve shopped at Costco twice, during senior’s hour. The lineup to get into the store is long, there is a specific number of people who can be in the store at one time but I can still rush around the entire Costco warehouse, pickup my items and be out in 30 minutes! One bonus to a pandemic! If we need anything else in between, my son will pick it up at the local grocery store. Luckily, he’s only had to do this a few times in the 10 weeks we’ve been in lockdown.
I turned 65 after the Ontario government declared a state of emergency and instigated the lockdown. My planned party took a different path – online! I had a Zoom party. I could invite my friends and family from Ottawa, Florida, Whitby, Bobcageon and Bradford and no one had to drive through snow/ice/rain pellets to get here. Only a couple of people had technical issues accessing the meeting. I only had to make dessert for 2 of us, everyone else had their own dessert and drinks. It was the 2nd best thing to being in person.
I’ve been doing everything online – applying for pension, filing taxes, conversing with Financial advisors, attending Toastmasters meetings, meeting with friends, ordering hardware, and I could be ordering food.
The pandemic has highlighted that Family is important. Although my sisters and I have connected regularly through Messenger for the last few years, we’ve increased our conversations to at least 1 video chat weekly and random Messenger conversations as things come up through the week.
I talk with my daughter on a regular basis too, sharing our daily happenings.
When the state of emergency was declared by Canada and Ontario, the first week I was anxious. I didn’t recognize the signs but I would be online, reading every article posted about coronaviruses, COVID-19 and the states of emergency. I especially needed to know how many people were diagnosed, how many tested, what the symptoms were, did I have it or was it just allergies, a cold, a flu virus? After the first week or maybe it was the 2nd, I stopped reading and checking for news and once every couple of days I would read the Government of Canada or Ontario websites. Now, 10 weeks in, I might look once a week but I’m more interested in personal stories and other news.
I only have to stay home AND I AM ENJOYING IT! My life was busy with volunteering, activities and general busy-ness. I realized that I had not been taking the time to really enjoy life. This “time off” has made me appreciate what I have and enjoy the people and animals in my life a lot more. Now, if I can only sell my house so I can bring out the baking pans and really bake up a storm