When “Normal” is Scary

When “Normal” is Scary
One of the St. Augustine Lions, wearing a lion-sized mask

What’s next? Can we prepare for life post isolation? How do we get back to normal life?

The one-question pop quiz is all over Facebook. “If you were allowed to go to a restaurant/have hair salon/beauty parlor next week, would you?”

Another version, put to me today by my boss was, “When do you think you will feel comfortable to come back to the office?

My answers are “Hell, no.” and “Not for a few weeks.”

The Office

My three colleagues and I left the office six weeks ago. We left because we realized that our two bosses were not taking the coronavirus seriously. While we don’t have drop-in visitors, clients do stop by and our boss welcomes them (sometimes with open arms). On that Thursday, a client walked in unannounced, was greeted by the boss, got the full tour, and ended up in my personal space, looking over my shoulder at the computer.

A few minutes later I learned she was working at one of the few tourist shops that hadn’t closed — a store that was busy with folks, wandering in and out and touching everything. I know and like that store. I touch at least three things when I visit. (Or I used to.) That was it. She worked in a Petrie dish and then toured our office and got in my space. I decided to work from home. My colleagues agreed and when we left work that Thursday, we took everything we’d need to set up our home offices.

It’s largely worked very well. We have daily video meetings (once in my cotton nighty + bra just because I felt like it), communicate throughout the day, and work on important tasks. We’ve got a lot done in six weeks and some of it will help our company move forward with better footing. Some of that might not have happened if we hadn’t been working around a pandemic. The shift opened possibilities to us and we are taking them.

Still, our boss wants to know when we will get back to normal life at the office.

Isolation and Working From Home

This hasn’t been horrible. In fact, I wrote, rewrote, and finally ditched a post about the pain of two extroverts isolating at home on a boat. It hasn’t been that horrible, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing, either.

Working from home has been easy on my new “capsule” wardrobe. (Thank you, Lynnelle.) Now, except for that one nightie day, I usually wear t-shirts and work-out shorts.

It’s been hard on my waistline. I’ve not exercised enough, eaten too much, upped my coffee quota, and enjoyed more wine.

We’ve been able to get what we need without going into large stores, and we’ve been able to help others. We are eating good meals and too much junk in between. We are at screens too much. We have done a few boat projects, read too much news, called people, and tried to help local businesses.

Now, What’s Next?

We have relatives and dear friends who have been diagnosed with coronavirus. We’ve learned that it can be as hard on some young adults as it can be for those who are older or have compromised systems. And every reliable medical source says that this virus is not done. Not yet.

Stew actually suggested we buy more boxed and powdered milk and canned proteins. He’s concerned about the next round, and the meat processing companies. I scoffed, thought about it, and later suggested that we gradually buy some extra provisions over the summer. And then I saw that a couple of our sailing friends had bought a big pressure cooker and had canned chicken and beef. (I’m not going there and I’m not telling EW.) That kind of response is not my way to get back to normal life.

We will prepare but we will not hoarde. We will be mindful.


I’ve stolen that one-word reminder from Connie Schultz, Pulitizer Prize-winning Author, and one of my top picks for Facebook follows.

I’m trying. I’m trying to come up for air, not just from work, projects, to-do lists, transitions, and health concerns, but also from all of my current escape outlets — such as wine, genre fiction, chocolate. and chips. Because, while none of that is horrible in moderation, none of that will change anything. And none of them will make me feel better in the long run.

I’m not sure what will work for any of us in the long run, so we take it day-by-day, wear a mask, make decisions that seem the best for us (no dining at a restaurant or working in the office for a while), and try to move forward with some positive action. I take another step on one of my boat projects. We snuggle, we help others, we breathe. week, EW foraged for good meat and seafood and returned home with fresh scallops and chilled wine. We had a late lunch, with wine. This needs to be part of my normal life, once in a while.

And this week, I am finally getting up a half-hour earlier and going in to walk in the mornings. I’ve started eating more fruit and less junk. Good for me! (Pats self on the back.)

I wish I could say I was motivated by taking care of myself and my body.

It was chilly this week so I grabbed a pair of new pants to put on instead of gym shorts. They were tight! Dang! I have four weeks to get back into that new wardrobe.

So, what’s next? Hell if I know. I’m just going to keep on keeping on. Try to be at least a bit healhier and kinder to my body. And breathe.

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