It’s OK to use all available resources in a pandemic

It’s OK to use all available resources in a pandemic

It is terrible to have writer’s block, and I am not sure it is gone yet. Writer’s block kept me from working on a column all last week. I would do anything to evade sitting down or even looking at my laptop.

Of course, this was good for the house. While I was busy avoiding the computer, I was desperately looking for reasons to keep busy including things I had been putting off for a long time, like taking down and washing all the curtains in the house and putting them back up. Now that is a serious case of writer’s block.

Then writer’s block reached critical mass. I took all the little scraps of paper with scribbles of passwords I had been meaning to organize for years and arranged them, which took an entire afternoon. Then, of course, I had to cook, pay bills, fold laundry, and I happily ran errands when most of the time, I’d rather stay home.

At least the spring-cleaning streak is still happening after the big clothes cleanout kickoff on Jan. 1.

And next thing you know it is less than 24 hours before the column deadline and all you have is a title and a bunch of incoherent ideas rolling around in your head.

Truly this pandemic is getting to everyone. In “normal” times we would have plenty of activities to keep us busy with some fun day trips out of town, eating out, concerts and shows, and meeting up with family and friends, and lots of column topics would turn up.

Not even my husband, Joe, has done anything crazy lately, like telling me I’m nuts when I pointed out the collection of sticks he saw was a beaver dam and then the beaver swam by or storing mowers in the kitchen, but it’s only a matter of time.

There is one question I’d love to know more about, though: How did people survive during the pandemic of 1918 without technology? I do not know how crazy I’d be if I couldn’t connect to others on social media, pick up the phone and call someone, or turn on the TV to distract myself with a show or movie.

I’m also reading news online multiple times per day. Surely news traveled much more slowly in 1918. So did the average person really know what was going on with the pandemic back then? Was this better or worse?

Today, technology is essential.

I had a professor in college back in the late 1970s who encouraged us to put in the work because in the real world nobody was going to “spoon feed” us. I always was intrigued with this notion and especially now when I can pick up my smart phone, touch the microphone icon, ask any question I want and get an immediate and usually correct answer.

I think this might qualify as being spoon fed. And isn’t it great? Because as some other instructors I had in years past at work seminars noted, in the real world we also can use all available resources.

So using this concept, I have taken little bits from many people I know and added them to my life to make it easier. Like when it comes to dish washing, I used to fill up one sink with soapy water and another with clear water for rinsing.

Then I noticed the way a friend started with a little bit of water and soap in the bottom of the sink rather than filling it all up. As she washed the dishes, she rinsed them using the faucet over top of the soapy water and then put them in the drainer.

It’s a good way to save on hot water and wash a whole drainer of dishes with just one sink full.

Of course, it would be better for me if I had a dish washer, but you can’t have everything. Sometimes, you can be happy with what you have and make do. I learned that from many people.

Another good tip I learned early on from a friend is that, on some tasks, if you develop a sequence that works best for you and do it the same way every time, you can get that job done easier and faster.

And I discovered a good, easy appetizer recipe through another friend, which is to spread one side of a slice of salami with cream cheese and roll it up. These are so good. What would we do without friends?

Recently, while online using all my available resources, I read an article about how to keep your brain in gear during the pandemic. And let’s face it: It’s not getting better as fast as we’d hoped. The article had some ideas for things to do like learn to play the guitar or learn a foreign language.

One idea seemed easy though: brushing your teeth with your nondominate hand. It was interesting and extremely awkward at first, but then I experimented by turning my back to the mirror. Without watching these reflected motions, it was easier to do. Ha! I know you are all impressed with my scientific ingenuity.

So this is about as exciting as it gets in Pandemic January; think I’ll go make a salami roll-up and wash down a few walls.

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