Allow me to be a whiner for a little bit and then share some cool shit with you.
I am a social person and COVID 19 (not the “Chinese Virus” as the Asshole in Chief keeps saying) has me missing my social-ness. I hug my friends with a kiss on the cheek when we meet up and say goodbye the same way. These days we barely touch each other. And I like to get out and do things, but of course literally every damn thing in Vegas is closed. It’s almost like when I was a teenager in upstate New York. Our nearest neighbor was a quarter of a mile away, we lived out in the country with nothing to do and nowhere to go.
I can draw a direct line in my head to growing up in a rural area and this COVID 19 situation. There are a LOT of parallels. You see, we didn’t have money when I was a kid. We “made do” with every damn thing. We grew our own veggies, Mom canned everything she could (it was a sight to behold). Yes, we qualified for free lunch. No, there wasn’t always enough to go around, but Mom did the best she could. Because of the way NOT having made me feel as a child, in my adult home I start to get a little twitchy if I can see the shelves of my fridge or pantry. If my freezer has space, I start looking for sales to fill it up (or start looking to share butchery of a whole or half animal with friends). This minor paranoia has served me well in the past weeks. I was already a hoarder of frozen and shelf stable food, so I didn’t need to freak the hell out and run to the store. As long as I have fresh produce, I am good to go for at least 3 weeks.
The major problem right now for me is “social distancing”. Cooking is stress relief for me, but The Hubs and I have been learning to eat more healthfully in order to reduce our weight (combined we have lost 100 lbs). With our eating habits changed, and not being able to “throw a party”, I have no one to cook for. I have no one to feed. And frankly folks, all I want to eat right now are comfort foods
COVID 19 has me feeling some sorta way
We are all feeling it one way or the other. I am a little stir crazy like many of you. Ya know, like kids in the midst of summer break from school whining, “I’m bored!” Like being stationed at “Boring Loring” during a blizzard (only I have electricity).
Enough with the fucking whining! There are people out in our world that are more than just “bored”. They are out of work and trying to figure out how to pay the bills, feed their kids, and get through ALL of this without knowing when they WILL be allowed to work again. There are first responders that are being pushed to the limits because they CAN’T stay home. They are worrying about bringing illness into their homes. They are worried about so much more than “being bored”.
In case you didn’t know, my chosen hometown of Las Vegas is driven by the hospitality and travel industries. Many of my friends and I are feeling the impact directly in the form of closures, layoffs, reduction in hours, cancelled conventions, cancelled trips, etc. due to COVID 19. Then there are the friends and family members who work in “essential” businesses like medical care, grocery stores, first responders of all stripes, family and child protective services who have no option to “shelter in place”. They still gotta get out there and do their jobs to help ALL OF US get through this.
We all want to help. We want to help our friends hang on to their businesses and support them in times of trouble. We all want to be safe and help others be safe. But, in these uncertain times, HOW best to help is the big question.
Suggestions on how you can help during the days ahead with COVID 19 :
- Volunteer at your local food bank. Here in Vegas, Three Square needs help to support their more than 1000 community partners get food into the hands of folks who need it. They continue to provide services during this time. Check them out HERE to register as a volunteer and find out more about how you can help.
- Support your local Mom & Pop restos that are offering take out. Why go through the drive thru of a chain that will most assuredly bounce back from this when you can put the money directly into the hands of one of YOUR community members? In Vegas, check out this list compiled by Eater. Eater also has lists for other major cities, so check those out if you live elsewhere. Also check out this list from Las Vegas Weekly for more info. There are plenty of places all over the valley to choose from.
- Offer to shop for someone who is immuno-compromised, elderly, or has their hands full with kids home from school. You can also call friends and ask them what they need if you are heading to the store anyway. That makes for less congestion and fewer people in line.
- Choose online ordering for groceries and cleaning products with home delivery or curb side pick-up. Expect delays, so think ahead. *
- Wash your hands METHODICALLY and sing a song while you are at it.
- Don’t be a fucking hoarder. EVERYONE needs the same shit you do. Think of your fellow humans and how you will feel if you NEED something and it is sold out in every store. Take only what you NEED. Supply chains are still running, and stores continually are refilling their shelves. Thank the heavens for grocery store workers!
- While shopping, if you see the WIC symbol and you CAN make another choice, think about doing so. WIC has very strict guidelines on what their recipients can and cannot purchase. WIC feeds pregnant and nursing mothers, and infants and children up to 5 years of age. Again, don’t be a fucking hoarder.
Things you can do for your own mental well-being during quarantine. Relieve some stress with these activities:
- Plant some seeds and watch them grow. In a 30 day “lockdown” most seeds will germinate and start to provide you with visual enjoyment. In the case of herbs and veggies, you’ll know that you have something good to eat coming to your table soon. This is great with your kids.
- Take a walk in the fresh air or ride your bike.
- Have an online Happy Hour with friends via Zoom, Skype or some other online conferencing service.
- Call your family or chosen family to check in.
- Use those cookbooks you have! Try a new recipe from your Instant Pot, or a vintage cookbook or that celeb chef cookbook that you have been too busy to crack open.
- Play a game of “Chopped – COVID 19 Version” using ONLY the ingredients in your pantry/fridge. Have your S/O or roommate choose 5 ingredients and make a dish that contains all of them and standard pantry staples and your spice cabinet. If you need inspiration or advice consult your cookbook shelves! The time limit is up to you. Challenge yourself to NOT use the internet to find a recipe – use what’s in your house and your own creativity.
- Learn a new game. Learn to play bridge or some other classic card game and make yourself feel all retro and shit! You can also play some of your faves, like Cards Against Humanity, ONLINE!
- Learn a new skill or craft – sewing, crocheting, cooking, anything to keep your hands and mind busy.
- Purge your closet. Try on every damn thing you own and if you still love it and it fits well, keep it. Donate everything else to charity.
- Clean out the junk drawer in your kitchen…I really gotta get on this one!
- Read all the books you have been putting off, or pick up a BIG series like Outlander.
- Bonus to choosing Outlander? It gets you ready to binge watch the series!
- Binge watch your wish list of shows that you haven’t made time for yet.
- Cuddle your pets. They are probably feeling your anxiety and need a little reassurance too.
- Wash your damn hands.
- Challenge yourself to empty the freezer. YOU KNOW you have unlabeled things in your freezer. That leftover tomato sauce, that soup you forgot all about, etc. Thaw out one or two things a day and if they are edible, make use of them. You can even turn it into a family game of “guess what this is” before it thaws out or “how can we re-purpose these leftovers”.
- Here is a list of 100 things to do from USA Today
- And lastly – practice an attitude of gratitude. There is ALWAYS a reason to be grateful. You have a roof over your head? Food in your house? Friends and family that love you and are healthy? A child’s laughter? A beautiful sunrise? Just take a moment to be grateful. I promise it will make you feel better.
Footnote – * the links to the grocery and cleaning product delivery services are unique to me and I DO receive a referral fee if you sign up.