Well, my blog is late this week. But I have a good excuse. A few, actually.
Usually, I write on Mondays for Tuesdays, but this Monday was Yom Kippur, so I intended to write on Sunday for Tuesday. But on Sunday, Al and I spent all day cleaning and reorganizing our kitchen, which had been out of commission because we had our maple wood floor refinished over the course of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I could have thought ahead and written this blog any one of those days, but I didn’t.
Or, rather, having kitchen stuff all over our living room, dining room, and in the garage for the better part of the week just really threw me off. Floor refinishing is a big, messy, smelly job that requires removing anything that could attract a film of sawdust. There was something about having one of the most-used rooms in our home inaccessible, and all the stuff that was on the kitchen floor, counters, and walls cluttering up the rest of the house, that just felt chaotic.
Because of the way our house is constructed, the kitchen floor—which had become very worn and marred in the 21 years we’ve lived here, and suffered some water damage recently that prompted the job—extends into a little hallway to a half-bath and the basement door. We have a second fridge in the basement, but the only way to access it for meals was to go outside, around back, open the storm-cellar doors, and get in through the basement backdoor. The weather was good, so we could at least eat out on the deck. Needless to say, I got in plenty of steps with every meal. But that routine was also disruptive.
Tuesday, midday, as I write, everything is back in place. We can use our kitchen again. It’s really amazing how I can concentrate better. The kitchen floor looks great, we improved some of the organization, and the room is cleaner than it’s been since we moved here, I am sure. Order begets focus. Disorder begets mental fog.
Which brings me to the obvious parallel with Covid Time. We’re all discombobulated by the pandemic’s disruption and health threats. Our “new normal” isn’t really normal, it’s just a very long holding pattern, in which we’ve (hopefully) been able to establish new routines and ways of structuring time. How doable this is depends in large part on health and financial stability. I’m extremely grateful that, so far, we’ve been able to maintain a secure foundation during the pandemic.
Knowing that I have to live with the confusion and nuisance of a closed-off kitchen during a messy refinishing job is a minor inconvenience with a known end point—and a definite benefit. Living through a pandemic without clear, universally accepted public health guidelines, without extensive testing and contact tracing, and in a divided and divisive society where mask-wearing—the best defense against spreading the deadly virus—is a political litmus test, is enough to make anyone feel lost.
We can’t change the reality of COVID-19, but we can certainly change the trajectory of this terrible pandemic with common sense public health policy. Voting has started in many states across the U.S. Make sure you’re registered. And vote this fall as if your life depended on it. Because yours, mine, and everyone else’s does.