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Chronicles of a Corona Captive – Days 29 & 30

Our governor is talking about prolonging the lockdown for another 30 days. I’ve already written about the hole of my Swiss cheese and the hole of my bagel matching up. Clearly that is a sign that I have hit the bottom of the blogging barrel. What the hell else am I going to write about for at least another 30 days?

Finding it distracting watching TV shows when the hosts are broadcasting from their homes. I’m so fixated on being nosey and checking out what is behind them that I don’t pay any attention to what they are actually saying.

For the first time in my life, I have completely worn out a pair of slippers. To be fair, they were a year old, but they were in great shape when we started this adventure a month ago. Because they have been on my feet so much, I have completely rubbed the fuzzy insides away.

Must not bake…must not bake…must not bake…I did make chocolate oatmeal peanut butter cookies this morning, but they were no bake cookies. It said so right in the title of the recipe. I think I may have found a loophole!

Bonus! These cookies didn’t have any flour in them so technically they were Passover permissible. Although, this would be a much more effective argument if I hadn’t eaten an English muffin right before I started making them.

Keebler has completed his training of Oregano. When Oregano is in the kitchen, Keebler comes in and makes a very specific and very long meow to get his attention. Exploiting the fact that he is adorable, he wiggles his tail and bats his big golden eyes. Oregano stops what he is doing. When Keebler has his full attention, he runs to his favorite chair while Oregano dutifully walks behind him. Once Keebler has lured him to the appropriate destination, Oregano begins scratching him between his ears. If Oregano stops before Keebler is satisfied, he turns, looks at him and meows again until Oregano resumes the scratching. Keebler was able to accomplish all of this training in 30 days. That is a talented kitty!

The Mystery of the Thin Mints remains a mystery. Oregano was on a 2 hour long phone call with the insurance company. I admired his patience and persistence and felt it should be rewarded so I brought him 3 Thin Mints from our hidden stash. He was thrilled to see the cookies, but that feeling was quickly replaced with a distressing realization. He hadn’t heard me get the cookies and had no idea if they were hidden upstairs or downstairs.

Chronicles of a Corona Captive – Days 26-28

Woke up this morning to the sounds of spring: birds chirping in the blooming trees, the pitter patter of raindrops on the window and the tooth-jarring noise of the jackhammer breaking up the asphalt on our street. Ahhh, how I love this time of year.

Saving a lot of money on gas by not commuting to work or ever leaving the house, but some of that savings is being eaten up by the increased entertainment budget. I’ve added Hulu to the Amazon Prime and Netflix we already have. Seriously considering getting Brit Box next.

To balance out the TV watching and reading, I decided to sign up for an online Master Class with David Sedaris. I mentioned this to Oregano. He didn’t know what Master Class was so I explained what types of classes they offer and who teaches them. He said, “Those are some pretty impressive instructors.” I looked at him in disbelief. “It’s called Master Class because of the successful and talented people teaching the classes. If it was just anybody, it would be called Mediocre Class.” He replied, “Yes, but I bet those classes would be cheaper.”

Adventures in grooming have continued. I usually go for my first pedicure of the season in April. I can’t paint my own toes because my hands shake from my asthma medication. By the time I am done, my feet look like a Jackson Pollock painting. Oregano volunteered to do it for me. We sat on the patio with my feet in his lap while he painted my nails. He didn’t do a terrible job, but I wouldn’t have tipped him extra.  He gave himself a C+. He just needs more practice. The longer this stay at home order lasts, the more practice he is going to get.

Procuring even the most basic life necessities has become a challenge. It took Oregano 2 attempts and 3 hours to get our groceries. This included waiting in line, in the rain, to get into the store since they are limiting the number of customers. To spare him any more errands, I ordered garden soil online. That is a first; having dirt delivered.

The Mystery of the Missing Thin Mints continues. While he was at the grocery store, I checked on the cookies. They are still safe in their hiding spots. If Oregano has started hunting for them, he hasn’t left any evidence behind.

Chronicles of a Corona Captive – Days 24 & 25

Acorn collection continues. I had an evil idea while stooping to pick up more of these annoying tree droppings nestled into the leaves of the emerging plants. Easter is this weekend and Easter egg hunts are a fun pastime for children. All of the public Easter egg hunts have been canceled. Kids are bored. Parents are sick of their kids whining about being bored. What if I had an Easter egg hunt in my own garden? I could allow 1 or 2 neighborhood children at a time to come into my yard to hunt for small, brown odd shaped “eggs.” One of my friends pointed out that this might be construed as child labor.  I’d give them all prizes. I’m not a monster.

Began using our stash from the case of toilet paper we managed to procure. While I am grateful that we are well stocked for the duration, I am sad to report that this toilet paper is not nearly as soft and luxurious as our usual brand. I guess we must all make sacrifices during this unusual moment in history.

Passover started this week. Since I have already given up leaving my house, going to work, seeing my friends and soft toilet paper, I have decided I am not also giving up bread and baked goods.

The hole in the center of my bagel (see above for why I am eating a bagel on Passover) and the hole of my slice of Swiss cheese matched up perfectly. How serendipitous! The fact that I even noticed that shows me how small my world has become.

After the failure of Linus’s nail clipping experiment last weekend, I called the vet to see if I could bring the 2 scaredy cats to the office. They are only seeing patients with emergencies. We are on our own.  Maybe I need to rethink this process and give myself the tranquilizer instead of the cats.

Cleaned out my spam folder again. What a rich source of entertainment those emails are from the subject lines alone. In a single day I had the opportunity to have overstock wines or cannabis gummies delivered to my house. I could take a 6 question test to earn the right to carry a concealed weapon, buy life insurance and purchase glasses. This is wise marketing. If I am going to start shooting at things, I am definitely going to need better eyesight and life insurance, especially after drinking the wine and eating the cannabis gummies.

Chronicles of a Corona Captive – Days 22 and 23

The stay at home order is even affecting routine cat maintenance. Normally, when the cats’ claws get sharp, I wrangle them into their carriers and take them to the vet for their “peticures.” While herding cats is a challenge in and of itself, trying to clip 54 claws without blood being shed is virtually impossible. Nevertheless, we must all make sacrifices in times like these so we attempted DIY nail clipping. We started with Linus who has the most docile personality and who also happened to have a few dagger-like claws.  A friend, who is a vet technician, recommended giving him a tranquilizer. I’m not above drugging any of the boys if it means less stress for them so we slipped a little something into Linus’s dinner. He was groggy and slower, but not so groggy that he didn’t realize what I was doing. It took 5 attempts and I was only able to cut 2 of his claws. The good news is that I got the 2 sharpest claws, the bad news is that at this rate, we’ll probably be out of lockdown before we can cut everyone’s nails.

Watched all 78 episodes of Reign in 2 weeks. I enjoyed the show, but when I was done, I felt the same way I do after eating Cheez Doodles. I like it when I’m in the midst of it, but afterwards I regret my decision.

Must not bake…must not bake…must not bake… I had a philosophical dilemma yesterday. What makes a baked good a baked good? Is it considered baking if you don’t use the oven? I found a recipe to make a single large chocolate chip cookie using the crock pot. I’ve never considered making something sweet in the crock pot so the concept piqued my curiosity.  After much contemplation, I decided that it wasn’t really baking even though the end result would be a cookie. I loosened the grip on my self-discipline and scrolled through the recipe to gather the ingredients. That was when I noticed that the measurements were in metric. I don’t have metric measuring tools so I would have had to Google everything or do quite a bit of math to convert the recipe. Now I had a second conundrum to deal with…is my hatred of math stronger than my desire to bake? As it turns out, it is. I took the metric measurements as a sign from the universe and deleted the recipe from my email. Phew! That was a close one!

There is a company that is making chocolate Easter bunnies with surgical masks. Too bad the doctors and nurses can’t get chocolate face masks. That might solve the supply problem the hospitals have been having.

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo tested positive for the virus. Aside from the fact that a tiger can get tested and receive results faster than a human, there was concern that this means that pet parents can transmit the virus to their cats. The news story recommended social distancing yourself from your pet.  Later that day our vet posted information stating that as long as you aren’t exhibiting symptoms, you can continue to care for and snuggle your cat. We were relieved. Neither one of us wanted to have to break the news to Linus that he would have to get off our laps and sit on the couch – like an animal.

We have had beautiful spring weather the past few days so Oregano and I have been taking our walks through the neighborhood. Last night, as we stepped out the door, Oregano let one rip. I turned around and gave him the look and told him that was one way to make sure people, including me, stay away. He smiled and said, “I fart to do my part for social distancing.” What a humanitarian he is.

Chronicles of a Corona Captive – Days 19-21

Spring break is finally here! I can’t wait to turn off my alarm clock and sleep late. Oh, wait…nevermind.

As the weather has warmed and the sun is shining more brightly, I have learned some valuable lessons. For example, I now know the optimal TV viewing positions to avoid sun glare as I binge watch Netflix.

Must not bake…must not bake…REALLY must not bake. Passover begins this week. It is a religious obligation not to eat baked goods. We are already living through a plague; how much worse would things get if I baked?

On our walk Friday night, Oregano sneezed. He followed appropriate pandemic etiquette by covering his mouth and nose with his upper arm. No one was close to us, but Oregano is a loud sneezer. So loud, in fact, that before we were married, he sneezed in my parents’ house and set off the security alarm while everyone else was asleep. So when Oregano sneezed, heads all around the park turned. I felt compelled to yell, “It’s okay. It’s only allergies.”

The mystery of the missing Thin Mints continues. They are still safely hidden. I’ve noticed a flaw in my plan though. While hiding them will prevent Oregano from eating the cookies, I can’t eat them either. We’re both home ALL the time. What if he has me under surveillance?  If I get a cookie for myself, he may see where I got it from and the cookie’s hiding place would be revealed.

A package with 2 new pairs of yoga pants arrived. Oregano wondered why I had purchased more yoga pants. I told him I needed a new spring wardrobe for work.

Chronicles of a Corona Captive – Days 17 and 18

I’m starting to feel like one of the castaways from Gilligan’s Island. They thought they were going on 3 hour tour and ended up indefinitely stranded on an island. I thought we’d be home for three weeks, but now we have an indefinite stay at home order. On the bright side, I have more to eat than just coconuts.

Sitting in my “office” all day, I can enjoy a lovely view of the garden. I noticed a squirrel hopping all around the yard digging for acorns. Now he’s hungry?!  Where the hell was he all winter?

Toilet paper reinforcements have arrived! We had about a month’s worth of toilet paper when we began this stay at home adventure. Oregano went to buy our usual 12 roll package and the shelves were completely bare. He tried numerous stores over 2 weeks only to come home empty-handed. Every night I scoured the internet checking store inventories, but that lead to a dead end, too. Out of desperation, I went to the Staples website and was excited to find toilet paper. There was just one catch; it was sold by the case. We now have 80 rolls! Maybe we can use it to build a fort.

After so much time together in the house, we thought we’d change things up a bit. Sadly, the change I am talking about is filters. We had Filter Friday! We celebrated by changing filters on the HVAC unit, the air purifier and the water purifier. We’re exhausted from all the exciting festivities.

Today was my first foray into the world in 20 days. Spring has arrived and so too have my seasonal allergies. I went with Oregano to the pharmacy. With both of us there, we could score twice as much pseudoephedrine and that would be enough to get me to the end of the month. I was all dolled up for my big outing.  It was raining, so my hood was up. My nose and mouth were covered with a scarf. I wasn’t wearing makeup and my itchy, runny eyes were red and puffy. I looked like the lovechild of a bandit and a zombie.

The Mystery of the Missing Thin Mints continues. After reading my post, Oregano saw the box of Thin Mints right where it had been all along. He told me he knew I hadn’t really hidden them. Then he picked up the box. It was empty. He looked at me with a stunned expression on his face and told me I was evil. I just cackled like a witch and said, “This isn’t my first day here.”

Chronicles of a Corona Captive – Days 15 & 16

Several times a year at school, we have spirit week. I decided to bring some of that spirit to our work from home environment.

Monday will be pajama day.

Tuesday will be clash day.

Wednesday will be crazy hair day.

Thursday will be hat day.

Friday will be career day.

Hmmm… now that I look at the list, it would seem we’ve had spirit week going on for 3 weeks and we weren’t even trying.

Took extreme measures to protect the remaining Thin Mints.  Each sleeve has been moved to a secret location. I hoped splitting them up would help me preserve at least one sleeve. Once Oregano reads this, he’ll have hours of fun searching the house for them. Stay tuned to find out if the Mystery of the Missing Thin Mints is solved.

Singing Itsy Bitsy Spider while washing my hands has gotten boring so I jazz it up a bit by singing different renditions of the song. I sing a rap version, a Broadway version and a reggae version. I’m fairly certain Oregano is ready to gag me. I’ll have to start thinking of a new handwashing song.

Our development has started a road paving project. Great timing! The only thing better than being trapped inside my home during the pandemic is being trapped inside my home while they jackhammer outside.

Watched the show Fleabag on Amazon. It is a British show. We loved the show, but thankfully, there were only 12 episodes. Oregano has difficulty understanding anyone who speaks with an accent. There have been many times while we were traveling or watching television when I have had to translate for him. During one episode of the show, he rewound a scene 3 times before he finally asked me what it was the character said. Exasperated, I looked over at him and told him the word was “Pam” and that he should let one go once in a while.

I’ve noticed that people are on conference calls conducting business while they walk their dogs through the neighborhood. I guess they are doing business while the dog does its business. Let’s just hope they aren’t video conferencing.

Must not bake…must not bake…must not bake… Normally when I bake, I bring the treats into school spreading the calories over multiple bodies. I had a brilliant idea that would allow me to scratch my baking itch, share the calories and show my appreciation. I planned to bake cookies and leave them for all the delivery people as a thank you. When I mentioned this to a friend, she pointed out that during a pandemic, strangers might not want to eat my homemade baked goods.  

Garbage night has become our date night. Under a moonlit sky, we walk down the driveway pushing the garbage can to the curb. It rained on date night this week, so Oregano had to go on the date by himself.

Second week of laundry without a button, snap or zipper. It’s like I have opened a laundromat for Amish people.

Chronicles of a Corona Captive – Days 12-14

Collected more acorns. Squirrels and chipmunks just sat idly by as I crawled around picking up the acorns. I could feel them mocking me with their eyes. I might be losing it a bit.

Had a new experience in my marriage. Oregano wanted his hair cut and requested I do this for him. I feared that this would not end well and explained my trepidations, but he insisted. After a quick tutorial on how to use his razor with the hair clipper attachment, we went outside into the garden and he set me to work. I didn’t leave any bald spots, but I think we’re both glad that we have nowhere to go for the next month.

Only one box of Thin Mints remains. In an effort to protect the last of these precious rations, I think I have developed superpower hearing. Oregano was out of sight and I heard cellophane opening, I yelled, “Drop ‘em!” Turns out he was opening a package of crackers.

Went for a walk. The kids in the neighborhood left positive messages and drawings on all the sidewalks. It was heartwarming to read them and it made the walk much more fun. Everyone was talking about them. As a teacher, I was impressed not only to see the children’s desire to bring cheer to a difficult time, but also to see so many words spelled correctly. However, on the last leg of the walk, we came across one message with the word awesome spelled incorrectly. One of the e’s was missing from the word. A few feet farther along the path, we came across a chalk nubbin left behind by the authors of the messages. Oregano suggested that I use the piece of chalk to go back and correct the spelling of awesome. I looked at him like he was crazy. I don’t know who touched that chalk. What if they were infected?  I spent my career teaching students how to spell and corrected their errors. Wouldn’t it be ironic if I picked up a potentially life-threatening virus from a discarded piece of chalk I used to correct a spelling error?

Must not bake…must not bake…must not bake… Why are comfort foods always foods that aren’t good for you? When I am anxious or in a bad mood, I want brownies or peanut butter squares. I never crave a carrot or piece of celery. It seems like a cruel trick of nature.

Cleaned out my spam folder. There was a very accommodating email with the subject line, “Where do you want to have f**k?” The offer did not intrigue me, but the grammatical mistake did. This led to a 10 minute conversation with Oregano about how the word f**k could be used as different parts of speech. Twelve days in and I think we have officially run out of topics of conversation.

Chronicles of a Corona Captive – Day 11

Noticed a headline yesterday that Netflix was down. I won’t lie. My heart skipped a beat. That single fact made me panic more than the thought of being on indefinite lockdown. Thankfully, when I got back to tackling my 78 episode binging project, the site was fully operational. Crisis averted…well, at least one crisis averted.

Watched the news this morning and saw that there is a spike in gun purchases. The story indicated that the majority of people buying these guns have no experience and are new to gun ownership. What could possibly go wrong with that combination? People really have their priorities in order. We are in a worldwide pandemic. We need to be hoarding laughs, not toilet paper and weapons.

Saw an ad that The Cheesecake Factory is offering free delivery on orders of $15. Yeah, this is just what I need. I’m sitting around all day in pants with an elastic waist and someone is willing to bring cheesecake directly to me. This seems like dangerous information to have.

Occurred to me that for years I have been complaining that we run out of toilet paper almost every afternoon at school. I should be thankful. I never realized that was training for when the country went crazy and bought up all the toilet paper to prepare for a respiratory illness.

Must not bake…must not bake…must not bake…

Taunted by 3 of my readers today. They are trying to break the willpower I have fought so hard to maintain during this quarantine. They are attempting to lure me to the dark side of a non-stick cookie sheet. One reader sent me a mouthwatering picture of her confection and told me to bake because she had.  If she jumped off a bridge, I suppose she’d try to entice me to do that, too. Another reader tried to convince me to bake and store the items in the freezer. Cold does not stop Oregano from wolfing down cookies. It just means he has to plan ahead to let the cookies defrost before the wolfing commences. The third reader sent me a seemingly scientific article titled, “Psychologists Say Baking Can Actually Help Reduce Your Stress.” First of all, let me say I am suspect of an article boasting the psychological benefits of baking on a website called delish.com. I think there might be a conflict of interest. Secondly, stress would be the only thing that is reduced by baking. My weight would certainly not be reduced.

Heard a woodpecker while we were working this morning so we went out with the binoculars to get a better look. Amazing creatures. How hard must their beaks and their determination be to poke a large hole in a tree? When I finally shifted my gaze from high in the trees to the ground, I noticed more acorns. At least I know what I’ll be doing for the rest of this afternoon.

Chronicles of a Corona Captive – Day 10

Congratulations fellow captives, we have reached double digits! We are changing the world by not changing out of our pajamas.

Switched out the porch decorations. Spring is here so it is time to get rid of the sled and ice skates. Instead of hanging a floral wreath on the door, I seriously considered hanging a biohazard sign. I’m sure there must be a pattern for one somewhere on Pintrest.

This color scheme doesn’t go with my front door, but is now really the time for worrying about color coordination?

Using different foods and products than we normally do because of availability in the supermarket. Made a grilled cheese sandwich not knowing or seeing that there were slices of paper between the cheese. That was an unpleasant surprise to bite into.

Oregano ventured to the pet store. They only allowed 2 customers at a time in the store and the employees fetched what he needed. We are now well stocked on kitty litter. Can’t say as much for our toilet paper supply. Why are people still hoarding it?

Relocated my “office” from the dining room table to the family room couch. My feet don’t touch the floor when I sit in the dining room chairs and it makes my back hurt. (Take a minute to laugh. It’s ok. I know I’m short.)

Caved on the seasonal lifting of the grill lid and let Oregano handle it. Something had been living in there. An examination of the forensic evidence left behind still has us confused. We aren’t sure if it was a mouse or a bird. Really, I don’t want to know. (Oregano took a picture and thinks I should include it in the post. I do not.)

Must not bake…must not bake…must not bake…I will be strong!

Walking to the curb to get the mail has become the highlight of each day. I am disappointed if Oregano gets there before me. Since quarantine, my bar for what constitutes excitement has been drastically lowered.

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