Sheltering in Place – Day Who Can Remember

Pickled Penning For the past thirty-eight years, I have been a Mrs. Even though I held a job, actually ran a department at Stanford University, hubby was a hotshot performer. Being with a rock and roll band, a jazz duo, and with other musical skills, he outshone me. That left people always asking, “what’s it like to be married to him? It must be heaven to hear his singing all the time.” Occasionally, I would step down from the perceived cloud, sit in the background, smile, ever charming and demure, ever appreciative of his many talents. And if I could help a little with the load-out after the gig, so much the better. Simply put, at times being his wife was pretty much my raison d’être. But through the years it changed. Now I am a published author with fans who actually spend their hard-earned money to buy my books, for which I am unendingly grateful. I am a minor cause célèbre. I use more French words to make it sound grander than it is. But I think you take what you can get in this life. I’ve also noticed there’s a price to be paid for stepping into the spotlight. People feel compelled to tell you every detail of what they don’t like about your books, even if it’s only from their own frame of reference. For instance, my upstairs neighbor, a lovely lady of around 85 years old, read my books, mainly because I gave them to her. I don’t think she would have bought them, otherwise. But it was the neighborly thing to do, doncha know.  She loved them, she said, and passed them on to her daughter. Of course, it would have been nice if she encouraged her daughter to buy them, but as I’ve mentioned, you…

Read more

Sheltering in Place – Day 73

Today a dear friend had a coloscopy. She was looking forward to it because she would be able to socialize with someone other than her husband. The doctors and nurses wore masks, as did she. Before she went under she listened to them chatting over rock music playing in the background. Hubby went to a rehearsal today. He was looking forward to it because he would be able to socialize with someone other than me. The four men and their instruments stayed outside on the patio, where breezes were blowing. They wore masks when they weren’t singing and always stayed 8 to 15 feet apart. With musicians, rock music is never in the background. I chit-chatted with my neighbor’s daughter today outside on the porch. We both wore masks and practiced safe distancing. I fought to remember the art of conversation. Mainly, one person speaks and then the other. It is always good manners to let the other person finish speaking before you leap in with something to say. It is not necessary to pay attention to what the other person said but it is a good idea to let them finish saying it before you take your turn. I kept forgetting that part. Without practice, I have become a poor conversationalist. A few more weeks of shelter-in-place and it may be necessary to send me back to Kindergarten to relearn playground rules.  I look forward to it.  

Read more

Sheltering in Place – Day 54

Hubby has started calling me his Decontaminatrix. This is because I am always trying to decontaminate anything that comes into the house, us when we leave the house, us when we return to the house, and the surrounding world in general. Today hubby had his first gig since the shelter-in-place mandate took place. He was to perform in the garden of a small private home that houses 8 elderly people. He decided to try it, as there would be 6-foot distancing between them, him, me, and masks would be worn by all. When we got there I did my best to sanitize everything in the garden, even a nearby tree. Armed with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Lysol Spray, and hand sanitizer, I tried to create the perfect, germ-free environment. Hubby sang for one hour, played the piano, and entertained the elders and staff alike. All the while he made sure no one came near him and he didn’t touch anything but his equipment. I stayed by my sanitized and distant tree, watching discreetly. If anyone, even a centenarian got too close to hubby or me, I was going to blast him or her in the face with the Lysol Spray. And make no mistake, I would have done it. Because I am serious about this, baby. I am Decontaminatrix. However, everyone behaved themselves, were grateful for his singing, piano playing, and good humor. After his hour’s show, they all retreated into their small home and we packed up the equipment with me wiping down everything twice. It was exhausting. But it was nice, for one brief hour, to have some form of normalcy, if only a touch of it.  

Read more

Sheltering in Place – Day 52

Today our electric grill arrived in the mail. I was very excited. Hubby was, too. Then we opened the box. As we began to unpack it, we saw there were about a million bazillion pieces and many of them itty-bitty, teeny-tiny. OMG. I mean, you can’t send it to me pre-assembled? Who do you think I am, Elon Musk? But I had done my writing for the day, hubby his music, and there we were. We couldn’t go anywhere, anyway. It was not what you’d call an easy-peasy project. All this stuff with screwdrivers and small pieces you sit on or fall under the table or you can’t find right away, and when you DO find them, they won’t go into the hole! It can be unnerving. For instance, we put something onto something and attached 3 of bolts E to join them together, as directed in diagram 3. Then we moved on to another piece of something or other that connected to a thingie with Bolts F. We finished this masterpiece, whatever it was, and were mightily pleased with ourselves. See? A musician and a writer CAN put something together. But we were too smug. It was wrong. It was back to front, doncha know. There was no way the lid or whatever that stupid thing is that keeps the smoke from escaping the grill would go on. We had to take the entire thing apart and start all over again. Curses rang out, Ellie ran under the bed, and we actually had to have a time out. Or lunch. A BLT on toast. But we are not shirkers. We persevered. After two solid hours, we finally put together something that looked like a grill! Filled with a sense of achievement, I decided to go online and see if…

Read more

Sheltering in Place – Day 36

I caught Hubby practicing the song “When You Wish Upon a Star” and asked him if I could record it. It’s from the 1940 movie Pinocchio. It seems appropriate these days, somehow. Let’s wish for brighter days when old friends can meet again for a cup of coffee. I hope you enjoy it.   And here’s the original trailer from the movie, Pinocchio, a story about a puppet who becomes a little boy, all through the power of wishing on a star.  

Read more

Sheltering in Place – Day 31

Hubby is a musician. His first instrument is his voice. He really has a gorgeous singing voice. This is not bragging. He does. We’ve been married since 1982. I don’t have to brag anymore. He sings all types of songs, from rock and roll, to soul, to crooning standards. And there are his other, secondary instruments, such as guitars, drums, and piano. Add to that lot his paraphernalia, which includes music stands, microphones, amplifiers, miles and miles of wires, and I don’t know what-all a professional musician seems to need. It is neverending. I have often said to him, “So listen, darling, you can’t just play the triangle?”         But the answer is no and what he uses in his musical career takes up space. We live in a 2-bedroom condo with a carport, not a garage. Which is why our king bed is on 6-inch risers.  Storage. One of the bedrooms already functions as his music room slash office and it is at full capacity. The drums alone fill a closet. So under our bed everything that can fit goes, much to the cat’s delight. Cats love his stuff. Many’s the time we have found a cat nestled inside one of his guitar cases snoozing away. Hubby’s not thrilled about it, but he’s used to sharing all aspects of his life with a cat. Goes with the territory. Back to the 6-inch risers on which our bed rests. These risers don’t last forever. No matter what you pay for them eventually, they break. And when they do it’s a big job replacing them. So today we had to remove the bed covers, mattress cover, foam padding, mattress, and box springs to replace two. These things ain’t easy to move around. They are awkward and heavy. And no…

Read more