Pop quiz: 1 introvert + 3 social butterflies = ?
As the resident introvert, hearing “shelter-in-place” sounds like paradise. To the social butterflies I live with, not so much. For me, self=distancing brings on the excitement of having large blocks of time to myself to create with cloth and ink. To the 3 extroverts, it means they have to go more than 2 minutes without interrupting me.
I was a stay-at-home mom, which in those days, was the equivalent of gum on the bottom of your shoe. At last I’m feeling some respect, though, as next generation family members have the choice made for them to be stay-at-home parents. “This is hard, Mom,” my son tells me. “How did you do it?” Wonder if he can hear me purring in response.
Every few days, I reach into my memory banks and sent my son and niece an email with “”low tech” activities they can do with children – things I did when my children were tots. (I am careful not to include any project requiring toilet paper.) I doubt they’ll use any of my ideas, but I’m itching to pull out the supplies and add a daily arts and crafts hour here at Camp Corona.
Creating Space in Our Togetherness
We – that would be my mother, our daughter, The Engineer, and I – have been sheltering-in-place since Tuesday 10 March 2020. You’d think by now we would have a daily routine, but in reality, not so much , though it’s not from lack of trying, and we are getting there. We spent Day 1 bringing beds up from the downstairs guest rooms and moving furniture in the gathering room to accommodate them. On Day 2 we went to the library to load up with books and to the grocery store. Day 3 we went out for supper because I expected the restaurants to close. We kicked off Day 4 with me inviting everyone into my morning sacred practice. We read a randomly selected Blessing from this book written by a talented woman and dear friend Ashima Sarin who is the daughter of a dear friend. Then we draw an oracle card or 3 from my decks and take a few minutes to take the wisdom into our bodies. I’m not sure Mother has ever seen or heard of oracle cards, and I’m not sure they resonate with her. So last night when I couldn’t sleep, I came up with the idea of writing quotes on slips of paper, put them in a container, and she can draw one of those out every day. I think she’ll enjoy that and find it more meaningful. (If you have favorite positive, uplifting quotes and are willing to send them, I’d be much obliged.)
Knowing the value of structure and accomplishment, Day 5 found me introducing the Chore Chart. (It also keeps one person from having to do all the work.) Community Chores are listed, assigned, and everybody has their own signature color to make finding their daily duties even easier. Knowing how important it is to do something for others, I asked Mother to call at least 2 people every day (something she’s taken quite seriously and enjoyed immensely) and daughter Alison to post at least 2 funny kitty videos on her facebook timeline each day (something she’s not done with any regularity). Everyone is required to spend at least 30 minutes outside every day, with their feet on the earth and fresh air in their lungs. The Chore Chart seems such an easy thing to me – and it would be if everybody would stay in their own lane. Mother is bad to do other people’s chores (usually without mentioning it to them), and daughter (who seems quite comfortable in overage teen mode) is bad to do none of hers. On Day 6 we set a time for breakfast (9:30 a.m.), declared lunch on your own every day, and supper at 6 p.m. We binge-watched Turn and are now on the second season of Downton Abbey. There’s some comfort knowing that at 6, we’ll eat the flop in front of the tv (all) and hand-stitching (me).
Today I will create personal Daily Do sheets for people to add their own tasks needing to be accomplished. Chores take about 1 to 1.5 hours each day, leaving plenty of time for reading and making. I do this because we need to keep as normal a life as possible and (perhaps mostly) in the spirit of self defense so I don’t have to remember and remind.
Other things I’m considering: weekly book club or maybe weekly book reports; daily arts and crafts; and a round of daily calisthenics.
Adjustments are required on everybody’s part. Our house is totally rearranged with stuff everywhere, and I am not one who handles clutter – visual or physical – easily. Mother and Alison are in our house not theirs, so Mother, especially, has to ask where everything is and learn little idiosyncrasies like how much laundry detergent to put in the washing machine, how you know if the dishwasher is on or not, and which light switch turns on the lights and which one turns off all the clocks, lamps, computers, and other things plugged into electrical outlets. Which reminds me: our first arts and crafts hour will be spent creating signs for rooms (occupied / vacant) and the dishwasher (clean / dirty).
Meanwhile in the Dissenter’s Chapel and Snug
Over the weekend, while others napped, I treated myself to some much-needed, much-enjoyed studio time. Cut up some shirts The Engineer no longer wears, and mindlessly put them back together. Now that I think about it, this kinda’ parallels our current existence: putting the discombobulated familiar together in new ways.
How About You and Yours?
How are you and yours? What’s keeping you sane? Be well, y’all. Check in when you can.