Quarantine Diaries — Interlude 3.5, A Day in the Life

“Chaos Central,” our cottage at the “do not stop” sign (few actually come to a complete stop, so getting out of the driveway is always an adventure). We can barely see 100 meters up the street, either…

Yesterday, Sunday (yes, it was, the calendar said so, and there was no mail delivery).


The rain stopped, so after lunch, we went for a long walk, angling up through the neighborhood and into the woods, down to Goldsborough Creek, explore an old trail downstream that disappeared into the brush near a washout from the 2007 floods that changed the creek path. Continued on, climbing up to the viewpoint off the upper end of Turner (our street), then down Eaglewood to the power lines, follow the trail downhill to a cross trail, south to a faint trail back up to one of the trails we hike often, then down through the woods to Euclid, 10th, and through the community garden to 8th and home. People on the trails, kids playing in the streets. It’s becoming harder to isolate.

Judy opened a can of tuna (she’s vegetarian because I cook), and I put the last of our personal-size frozen pizzas in the toaster oven. Calculated our calorie gain from our 7-km hike, added some of the last of our frozen bagels tot the menu.

Started upgrading strata, my old laptop, to Ubuntu Linux 20.04, just released a few days ago. It ill take all night and into the morning. Over its lifetime, it’s been 11.10, 12.04, 14.04, and 18.04 versions, the latter on a new disk drive after I dropped it last fall. Last week, I had to take it apart and blow lint clumps out of the fan and heat exchanger. The screen has a few permanent burn-in images from being left on 24×7 for 9 years, and the fan rattles yet, but it still works.

Settling in for Sunday night TV watching, Judy hands me her laminating machine, jammed when she tried to laminate some dried flowers. I take it apart, removing the motor and one end cap to remove the guides so I can get a grip on the wad of plastic and flowers jammed in the rollers. It goes back together OK, but seems to be missing a spring on one end of the guides. I don’t find it.

In the morning, I mix up a batch of bread and put the bowl in the microwave (not turned on) to raise. Finishing the operating system upgrade involves answering questions about configurations, and the machine goes to work for another hour or two, while I unload the dishwasher and make breakfast and coffee. I didn’t see oat milk on the on-line order list at Costco, so I get out stick blender and a strainer and made my own from our oatmeal stash.  It’s thick, like cream, and pretty good, but a lot of work, and a cup of thick paste left over, which Judy baked into this week’s batch of chocolate-chip walnut cookies.

The dish drainer, a designer unit that looked nice, but has nooks and crannies that grow things, needs cleaned. I disassemble it, which needs a screwdriver, and clean it, using an old toothbrush for the hard-to-get-at crevices. The knife and flatware tray goes into the dishwasher.

Yet another bread, half whole wheat, half white this time, my standard dutch oven loaf. We eat a lot more bread since we’ve started baking our own.

Meanwhile, the computer has finished upgrading, reboots, and here we are, up and running. The timer goes off: time to prep the bread for second rise and preheat the oven and baking dish. The wet streets from overnight rain have started to dry, time to think about showering and dressing for the day so we can decide what to do after the bread comes out of the oven, in another hour and a half, when it will be lunchtime. We have a grocery shipment coming today, via UPS, which will arrive on our porch late this afternoon, and are making a list for the local grocery for tomorrow’s masked early morning outing.

The bread, lunch, taking out the compost, garbage, and checking the mail (must be late) take up the middle of the day, all done at once, everything timed.  , The surveillance video shows the mail came over lunch, so another trip to the mailbox to collect it.  looking over emails, and checking on the package delivery takes up another hour.  The package status says “Delivered.” The groceries are on the porch!

This week’s staples order from Costco. Not a lot in this huge box, padded with air pouches. We have two more orders in the pipeline, plus an order of wheat and lentils from the produce market.

Unpack and put away the groceries, some stored on shelves, others poured into storage containers, and then it’s time to start planning dinner.  We bought an eggplant at the produce market, so it gets cubed and spread on a baking sheet.  Rice goes in the pot, and the new package I bought last week gets opened and goes in the canister.  Cans of garbanzos, tomatoes, and coconut milk come out.  The latter two are the last in the pantry, so the Tuesday grocery list gets filled in, and more, after a quick check of the refrigerator status.

Eggplant coconut garbanzo curry and rice, ready to go in the refrigerator for “take out” later this week.

The nearest Indian restaurants are in Lacey, 50 km away: it’s good to make these things at home.  A huge mound of ground spices go in the wok, along with onions and ginger, then the roasted eggplant and garlic and the contents of the cans.  Everything comes out on time, divided into plates and storage containers:  this afternoon’s cooking will feed us two more times this week.  We miss having bicycle tourists stop by: kept us from eating leftovers.  But, the lockdown, social distancing, and border closings have killed bicycle tourism for the season.

Supper done, bring up YouTube, watch a news video, a short documentary, and several bicycling videos, and we’re well into another evening, having spend the day “taking care of business” around the house, venturing no farther than between the compost pile in the back yard and the mailbox.