Tales From the Quarantine – Week 1
With all of the sudden changes that have happened due to the COVID-19 virus, and with many of us practicing physical distancing, I thought that now would be a good time to start collecting some stories. Please email me yours! Or if you don’t like to write, you can always call me, and I’ll write them down for you. The church number will ring my cell phone. I’ll add your stories to our weekly email. My hope is that we can all feel a little closer to each other, even if we need to be physically away from each other for the time being.
So, with that, here’s my story, written Tuesday, March 24.
It’s day two of our official quarantine at the Rinker household. So far, our morning routine is much the same. We get up, make coffee, shower, feed the dogs. But instead of the morning commute, we both sit down to our respective desks. I’m tucked away in our office. It’s much like my office at work. I have an L-shaped desk, my notepad & phone next to me, and I’m tapping away at the computer keyboard, answering your emails and generally trying to keep the business of the church running. My husband Neil is set up a bit more elaborately. He’s taken over the living room and hooked his computer into our 55″ TV screen. We took a breakfast break together, which was lovely. But beyond that, we’re mostly just staying out of each other’s way until 4 pm. (Although, as I type this now, Neil has come in to see what I’m up to and spy on the neighbor who is power-washing his driveway. Pretty sure he’ll be out there soon asking to borrow it!)
The dogs don’t know what to do. I think they’re happy to have us home, but then again, Zoey can’t sneak onto our brand new couch if we’re there to watch her! Invariably, the second Neil has a conference call, they start barking. I swear, they’re worse than kids!
But like you, we’re already getting bored. I mean, it’s great to be able to work from home. It’s less so when you have to, and you know you really shouldn’t go out anywhere. For me, that means cooking. Some of you know I’m an avid cook. I went out to the grocery store early on Sunday morning and was finally able to stock up on some fresh meat. I had everything else we could need. (I bought a big pack of toilet paper weeks ago, before the toilet paper madness began. Not to hoard it, but because we were out, and that’s what I always do when we’re out!) Also, there’s plenty of fresh veg to be had. I generally shop around the perimeter of the grocery store, so I was in luck. I bought what I thought seemed reasonable for about 2 weeks of meat. I realized after making a large batch of turkey meatballs, homemade mushroom marinara sauce, and a pound of pasta, that that alone was going to feed us for several days! So…OK, I may have fell victim to a slight bit of fear about the future. I blame CBS Sunday Morning. I have been taking this virus seriously, but I hadn’t started to panic. After watching their stories, I kind of felt a bit of a fool for not doing at least SOME preparation. So now we have, in truth, more like a month’s worth of meat in the freezer. And I am pulling out the old recipe books!!
I have lots of cook books, but my favorite is the accordion binder I have with all my note cards filled with recipes I’ve created or collected over many years. There’s red rice and chicken adobo, beef kelaguen, and finadene sauce from my travels to Guam. My father’s linguine & white clam sauce, and my favorite rib recipe (dry rubbed) with jalepeño relish on the side. I spent hours in the kitchen last evening seeding and finely slicing various hot peppers (if you’re following Lent Madness, think St. Lawrence taking joy in the little tasks!) to boil down into a thick syrup. OH SO GOOD!!! The ribs will go into the oven in about an hour. So that’s what I do. I putter around the kitchen, perfecting recipes, and watching The Great British Baking show in the background. Never mind that I don’t bake. It’s still a great show to watch! Why can’t Americans be that nice to each other on competition shows?
When I tire of cooking, I’m in the garden. We’ve got one bed totally prepared, and the other mostly there. Today would be an excellent day for planting except for one thing: Tucker. Tucker is our hound mix that we rescued about 6 years ago. He’s a great dog with a fun personality and he loves to snuggle. He also loves to dig. My plant beds. Every chance he gets. And wee on everything. Like my poor tomato seedlings. They’re dead now. So, planting my vegetable beds is going to have to wait until we can safely venture into a feed store to get chicken wire fencing high enough that Tucker can’t simply jump right over it. I found out the hard way a few seasons ago that 3 foot fencing is NOT high enough to keep him out. That dog has some serious bounce. I think he should be re-named Tigger!
Well, I guess that’s my tale for now. Just trying to stay busy and stay connected with my friends and family any way we can. Hope you’re finding similar outlets for your energy. Please send me your stories! I know I am not the only one who would love to hear them. Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 817-431-2396. Happy quarantine, everyone!