Different geographic areas are in different stages of post-pandemic reopening. For some of you, re-opening is not yet even a distant speck on the horizon. But here in Texas, we are on the road to re-opening life as normal. Well the new normal anyway.
For me, that means that a lot of the personal behaviors that served as essential coping strategies during the days of extreme physical distancing need modification. By my estimate there are somewhere between 10 and I’ve-lost-count habits I picked up that require serious examination. But the journey of a thousand miles and all that. Thus, I begin with three.
1) Good night Zoom, good night thoughts of doom, good night dining room as make shift schoolroom.
Mostly our household hasn’t gotten too derailed from healthy sleep habits. At least, that is what I choose to tell myself.
During this time of at-home, crisis-schooling, one of my kids has had a daily 8:30 a.m. video class. Which means we couldn’t indulge in staying up until midnight and sleeping until 10 a.m. But crawling to the computer in pajamas and gnawing a granola bar is about a 2-hour cry from dressed, groomed, fed, and on campus by 7:30, leaving a lot of slack. Trouble is, kids going to bed an hour or two later means I go to bed an hour or two later. But I still get up at o-dark-thirty to get my first shift of work done before the household starts demanding things like food and tech support. That leaves me exhausted and dragging all day. Not healthy.
I will institute a strict bedtime for the children and myself. And no more mid-week exceptions for watching professional Korean baseball.
2) Where are my church pants?
There have been benefits to attending Sunday church via streaming service, not the least of which are every Sunday is blessing of the pets and no one gives me side-eye for drinking coffee during the preacher man’s words of encouragement. But pre-pandemic I already worked from home and maintained a fairly relaxed dress code. Sunday was the one day I made a real effort. Since virtual services, I don’t even do one day a week.
Yesterday I had to be on camera for a video conference that was something of an audition for a speaking engagement. It took me 15 minutes to iron a shirt that should have taken 5. And while trying to hide my saggy-baggy eyes, I broke my eyebrow pencil and nearly blinded myself applying mascara. Clearly, I am out of practice.
At least once a week, I will put on proper, professional attire and apply makeup.
3) Squeezing into those church pants
I know I am not alone. There’s a reason the phrase “Quarantine Fifteen” has made it into the social media vernacular. I stand by my pre-quarantine preparedness statement: f*ck paleo. Comfort foods are comforting. But this has gone on long enough that the comfort foods are less comforting and more damaging.
By my count, in the last eight weeks, I have baked focaccia bread four times, brioche two times, and Bavarian soft pretzels three times. I have lost track of how many times I have made pizza dough. The stand mixer needs to move from the counter top back to its designated storage place in the pantry, where it hasn’t been since mid-March. I might need my husband to hide the dough hook. And that just covers the comfort foods that involved yeast. Did I mention that I have finally reverse engineered Jiffy cornbread? There’s a reason it tastes so good, and that reason is a recipe that involves a stick of butter and two cups of sugar.
In an attempt to regain the concept of sometimes food, I limit baking to one time per week maximum.
Wow, this list looks overwhelming. Maybe there’s a reason the expression isn’t “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a three steps.”