Today I went shopping for groceries and household items, which ordinarily would not be something to write about. Except that today a momentous thing happened. I found toilet paper.
The holy toilet paper
Until the coronavirus pandemic, I had no idea what it feels like to go for extended periods of time without being able to get anything I wanted. Yes, there have been times when money was tight and I had to wait, but the problem was never a supply issue.
Now, because of people stocking up to a ridiculous degree on certain items like toilet tissue and hand sanitizer, ten days after our schools shut down for everyone's protection, at our local grocery store, you still can't find a square.
I only managed to find the rare but important papers by visiting a pharmacy that's less frequented. My husband had checked with them a few days ago about when they expected their next shipment. Today. And as it was, I nearly missed my window, not arriving until 12 p.m. When I arrived, there were a large 12-pack of Scott tissue paper (enough for 12 weeks, the packaging proclaimed), plus a few 4-pack packages of Charmin. This was an easy choice: quantity over quality.
That's just one example of the new normal in these odd times. Here's my daily routine, with a few notes about how it differs from PCD (pre-coronavirus days).
Between 2 and 3 a.m. - Wake up to do overnight transcription work, which, depending on the day, is one or two segments of news from CNN International.
Around 6 a.m. - Take a nap, if possible. (In PCD, I was able to complete my work before 5 a.m. and nap until 6:25 to begin my morning assignment. This was partially because I got to skip the sports coverage. Now, there's no sports coverage, so it takes me longer.)
7:30 a.m. - Wake up and start my day. Eat breakfast, get KFP his breakfast. (PCD: I was already up, working on my morning transcription assignment, and I woke KFP at 7.)
Around 10 a.m. - Finish my morning transcription assignment. (Before, I was done before time to take him to the bus stop in the morning, about 8:30.)
10:30 a.m. - Work out using online course from Beachbody on Demand. (PCD, I either attended a class at the YMCA or taught aqua fitness classes. Along with all other instructors, I'm laid off indefinitely from the YMCA, as it remains closed by Pennsylvania's governor, along with other nonessential businesses.)
11:15 a.m. - Begin at-home schoolwork with KFP, based on flexible learning assignments from his teachers. (PCD, I'd have time to run errands, take a nap, or prepare for afternoon and evening activities.)
11:45 a.m. - Recess with KFP, usually kicking a soccer ball or playing Frisbee outside, or a game inside.
12:30 p.m. - Lunch
1 p.m. until about 4 p.m. - Schoolwork with KFP. I give him breaks between subjects, which combined with the later start, makes his school day end later than his usual school day.
5 p.m. - Dinner
6 p.m. - Piano and trumpet practice with KFP. I handle the piano because I have piano experience, while his dad handles trumpet. This part is normal. The change is that I've just arranged for his piano instructor to do virtual lessons, which will start this week.
7 p.m. - Check in with family and/or friends. Relaxation. (PCD, almost every evening was a different activity: Cub Scouts, teaching Science Explorers two afternoons a week, piano lessons, swimming lessons. Of course, there's none of that now, but KFP had a virtual Cub Scout meeting via Zoom this week. The boys were so excited to talk to each other live!)
For now, this is our new normal.
I stalk empty
Again and again, I spin
in deserted stores. Until
a white mountain
rises like a promise.
Soft and clean,
bursting from earth.