MY LIFE – As the world turns in week seven

MY LIFE – As the world turns in week seven

My yarn came in just a few minutes ago ... and a cheer goes up from the crowd ... which gives you an idea of the excitement that runs rampant here in Cumberland as we head into week seven of lockdown.

I had ordered it from Knit Picks, an online yarn company I have dealt with for many years now and which normally delivers fairly quickly ... emphasis on the word “normally.” However, with almost nothing actually being anywhere near normal these days, it took just over two weeks for it to come in this time around. Under truly normal circumstances, I would have just run out to Joann Fabrics and picked up what I wanted right as I needed it ... although, normally I wouldn’t even be knitting mittens at this time of the year anyway. Knitting isn’t usually until sometime in the fall.

The problem here is that although I am dealing with lockdown even better than anticipated, I have lots of time on my hands, hands that very much need to be kept occupied, like when I am sitting and watching the never-ending news on cable TV. I can’t really stand to watch anything else on TV except golf and football and we know how that has gone. So, I sit at various times of the day knitting mittens for my daughter Kathy’s next year’s 1st-grade class (always supposing there will be a real in-the-flesh school in session come fall). And although there’s a ton of yarn in my stash, there wasn’t much there that I wanted to use for little kid mittens, hence the long-awaited shipment that sits on my dining room floor waiting to be swabbed down with disinfectant wipes to rid it of possible “COVID-cooties” before I open the box.

My first big thrill of the day this morning prior to the yarn coming in was taking my temperature and seeing the digital thermometer read “97.1.” I have been monitoring my temp every morning and evening since I had a little something going on about four or five weeks ago when I spiked (for me) a temp of 100-point something, along with a bit of nausea and a headache. No other symptoms, and it all passed without incident, but I promised the kids I would keep an eye on my temp, which normally runs between 96 and 97-ish. First thing this morning it hit 98.3 as I rolled out of bed, but, phew, it was back down in my normal range as soon as I got up and moved around. My kids would kill me if I got sick because I have not completely hunkered down, as I will explain later.

I had looked forward to doing plenty of reading during this enforced downtime, but ironically, I find I pretty much lack the concentration required to lose myself in a book. Pre-lockdown, I was reading three books per week. Since lockdown, I am only on my third book, which sits on top of a short stack of four, none of the lower three having engaged me enough to continue reading them. I just get kind of fidgety.

I try to play the piano for a little while each day. I had wanted a piano all my life and was finally able to get one almost nine years ago. Sadly, much as I love it, I find that I have little talent for it, but that doesn’t really stop me. I have a whole stack of “Fake Books,” dumbed-down music books that allow people like me to play all genres of music, albeit one-handed since my left hand tends to be stubbornly non-participatory. I am currently working on “Memory” from “Cats,” which is full of half-notes that keep me on my toes. I had gone months without playing at all, losing what little finger or muscle memory I had acquired, but it seems to be slowly coming back. Bottom line is that as badly as I may play, I have only myself to please, so I play on, sometimes even singing along, equally badly and with equal enthusiasm. (I could see you cringing as you read that last line).

Like almost everyone else I talk to nowadays, food plays a big part in each of my days. I find myself thinking a lot about what to eat next, mentally strolling through the fridge and the pantry trying to balance protein and starches (my favorite thing), with fruits and vegetables. Stupid, I know, but if I am not actively involved in eating, I am invariably either cooking or thinking about food.

And ice cream. I had never been much of an ice cream eater, but I suddenly found myself craving it. When I saw online that Wright’s Dairy Farm was starting curbside pickups, I was thrilled beyond all reason to find ice cream listed among their available products. I immediately logged onto the site, placed an order, and picked up two quarts of ice cream (vanilla and coffee) not quite 30 minutes later. I have had a small cone of ice cream once every day since then, and am already planning ahead to getting chocolate next time around.

I speak to my neighbor Sue at socially safe distances now and then, and just this past week my sister Bev, her husband, Marcel, and I decided it should be safe to venture out to resume playing cards together, but that’s about it for social life. I must confess, though, that I do occasionally sneak out, masked and gloved, under cover of predawn darkness to restock needed supplies, like fresh produce, milk products, and grass seed. My daughters have been doing most of my shopping and are not pleased with my forays out into the real world, which is why I had better not get sick.

And while I miss life as I was accustomed to living it, I realize how fortunate I am. I have settled in comfortably and fairly well with no depression, no sadness, not even any loneliness. But to tell you the truth, were it not for the internet and the telephone, it would be a whole different story.

Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland.