Sheltering in Place – Day 58

I have decided to keep hubby. Don’t try to talk me out of it, because my decision is final. It’s not every day I feel that way. There are times when he leaves the milk out on the counter instead of putting it back in the fridge. Some days the walls shake when he plays his music at 10 decibels, wailing at the top of his lungs right along with it. Last night he left the lid up on the Clorox Disinfectant Wipes – you know, those things that are worth their weight in gold –  so by the time I found them this morning the wipes were completely dried out. And speaking of lids, he never puts the seat down on the you-know-what in the bathroom. This is a huge source of annoyance to me because I am constantly dropping something in that big hole filled with water in the middle of the bathroom. Retrieving a tube of lipstick from down there is no joy, believe me. But frankly, hubby has his winner days. Many. And today was one of them. For the last three days either the olive trees are pollinating, the moon is in the seventh house, or something something, but my allergies have been at their worst. I have been miserable and unable to cope. My head aches. my nose is stuffed up. I feel like there’s a tight band running across my forehead. My throat is scratchy. If I move fast, I  become dizzy. And when I talk it feels like I’m underwater. Have I mentioned I am miserable? If not, please let me do so now. I am MISERABLE! Anyway, this darling man to whom I am married has been taking care of me. Today he made dinner. Yes, tuna salad and a green…

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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.  

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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…

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Sheltering in Place – Day 44

Today I started the final chapter of the latest Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries, Casting Call For a Corpse. This novel has taken a really long time, probably close to 18-months. It’s not any more complicated than the others, but I’ve been a little busy, what with one thing and another. Let’s face it, just trying to decontaminate groceries from the possible contamination of COVID19 takes me awhile. I keep forgetting what I did and when I did it. That means I have to start all over again. But back to my books.  I can’t say I crank them out, anyway. It usually takes 10 to 12 months to finish one to my liking. Then I turn it over to my content editor and friend, Baird Nuckolls, and then the line editor, Paula.Grundy. That’s another month or two in the hopper. When writing, I often hang myself up on research and details. Take today. The protagonist and her husband are flying to Paris to celebrate their 6-month wedding anniversary. Sounds romantic and glamorous, right? Truth be told, it didn’t take long to check out nonstop flights, how long it takes to get from San Francisco to Paris, the time difference, and stuff like that. But I needed to know what time they had to leave Calfornia in order to get to Paris to make their 8 o’clock dinner reservation the following evening. I just couldn’t get it. It’s an 11-hour flight with a 9-hour time change. My math skills, which are challenged to begin with, couldn’t get what time they arrived in Paris. After about 20-minutes, I gave up and dashed into hubby’s office for a little help. Well, by counting his fingers and my toes we worked it out. They leave San Francisco at 8:50 pm (that’s a real flight…

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Sheltering in Place – Day 38

I don’t know how to order online. I have to admit it. I thought it would be simple, but it isn’t. And I’ve made a few faux pas, which is French for you blew it. Fortunately, I have a very understanding husband. He gets that while I have many virtues, ordering online is not one of them. I may have mentioned that several weeks ago I ordered wine from BevMo. It did not go well. The results of this order showed up today. They said it would come in 10 to14 days. It took 17. And then I somehow managed to duplicate the order, which was bad enough. But when I went into the website to straighten it out, I managed to double the duplicate order. That’s 4 times the amount of booze I meant to order. Bummer. But this was not my fault. Seriously. Well, not completely. Well, maybe a little bit. Okay, entirely. Rats. In complete sincerity, I’m not sure what happened. I went to BevMo’s website.to order 6 bottles of wine and one bottle of vodka.  In my defense, the website was not exactly user-friendly. Maybe a little too much Cinco de Maya and not enough what’s going on. But the end result was I wound up with 4 times the amount of wine and spirits than I intended to order. This can happen to anybody. Right? But hubby is a good egg. He became philosophical. He said we can save all these bottles for the future, should we live to be a hundred and thirty. Or maybe, he proffered, we could open up a bar. Enthusiasm enveloped him. We’ve got the name, he said. The 6-Feet Apart Tavern. And a bonus: If you buy two drinks, you get to pet a tubby black cat named Ellie.…

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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.  

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Sheltering in Place – Day 34

I have decided I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. So I concentrate on the days when they’re gorgeous and sunny, the fresh air, the flowers. I try to write. It has helped. But still. We have suffered a loss. Hubby’s sister passed away two weeks ago Sunday from Covid19. Yes, she was not in good health. Yes, she was older (69). But it happened out of the blue. Between the time she came down with the symptoms, was tested, and died, only 4 days passed. The fallout has been tremendous. Especially for her mother (still alive at 95), and her daughters. And my husband, her brother, is sad, sad, sad. I try to help. I try to find the right words. But it is hard. Grief is hard.   Hug those you love just a little longer today. For me. For them. For yourself. Remembering the ones who leave us is hard.  

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Sheltering in Place – Day 32

There was a lot of excitement around here today. Our big shipment of groceries for the coming weeks arrived at 1 pm. Of course, the process started at 10:30 am, when the shopper texted me saying he was beginning. The process consisted of him gathering together the items I ordered or substitute items in case what I wanted was no longer available. And there were a lot of those. However, I did wind up getting 56 of something. Bags and bags full of groceries. It was like I was running a summer camp for boys. Well, in a way, I am. Maybe I lost my mind. I had six days to wait in between ordering the groceries and having them delivered. Once you get your day and time slot, you can add to the list. And I did. The list grew every day. Sometimes I added to it 3 and 4 times a day. Sometimes I would take things off the list. It became a living thing. After a while, I had no idea what I’d ordered. But it didn’t matter. I was committed. Ort should be committed.   My shopper, Michael, was a doll. He texted and sent me images of everything. We had a lively exchange while he shopped for the next hour and a half. He may have done the shopping but I had to make constant decisions about what substitutes would work.  He delivered everything to the door and with a wave of his hand, was gone. Then the real job began. We had to unpack, wash, sanitize, disinfect and find places to put 56 items. That took another hour and a half.  But at the end of it, I was feeling the satisfaction of a job well done. Then hubby looked me dead in the…

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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…

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Sheltering in Place – Day 26

We’re all cooking more than usual these days, if we’re fortunate enough to have a place to live and food. I say with great pride I am Italian-American. Actually, genetically I’m only half Italian-American, but I was brought up in that household, surrounded by all my Italian-American family, so I think of myself as 100% pure. I do a lot of Italian cooking and we harken back to Bari, Italy.  If you look real close at the heel of the “boot,” you can see where my people come from. Or to be grammatically correct, from where they comes. There is a saying in my family: When company’s walking down the sidewalk, put on the pot of water for the macaroni. The gravy (tomato sauce) was always, always made. Of course, none of us are having too much company these days. Looking on the bright side, that means lots of leftovers for the next day. Unless hubby decides to have a late-night snack. You know him. Anyway, I tried this new recipe. It was relatively easy and I think it’s pretty foolproof all things considered. And it’s different enough from the standard Italian recipes I know to be a nice change of pace. Mr. Gritzer mentions below why it works, and he’s not kidding. Get the good stuff. I sent away for the tuna belly and I used EVVO. Plenty of it. Good for your skin, too. Anyway, I think this recipe is not to be missed. Here is the URL from Serious Eats. By the way, anyone got their own favorite pasta recipe? I’d love to have something new! Roman-Style Spaghetti Alla Carrettiera (Tomato, Tuna, and Mushroom Pasta) Recipe – by Daniel Gritzer Why It Works Adding some of the mushroom soaking water to the sauce adds even more flavor. Some…

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