A few weeks ago, when I divided the one pound of defrosted ground beef from last summer’s farm share into four patties for burgers instead of my usual three, I knew something was up. Actually, I’ve kind of felt it all along, even during that last grocery run I took before the governor’s shelter-in-place mandate. I was in the aisles buying root vegetables, a huge bag of apples, tomato paste, dried pasta, frozen peas. I wasn’t really stressed at all, or panic buying like the women at the pharmacy buying every single paper product she could get her hands on, I was putting things in my cart I knew I could stretch, to make more out of well, less.
Those four patties my husband and I made two meals out of, dinner, and the next day’s lunch. I’ve been cooking on the regular, and also making myself dress for the day or particularly dinner with the exception of Easter Sunday when I was just so down and sad I can’t remember what I was wearing but I know I had Raisin Bran for dinner and simply checked out at about 8pm.
That was my tipping point, that Easter Sunday. Bill and I took a drive to the country and we took a very long walk, not even that was enough to boost those feel-good endorphins. I was missing my kids, missing the mess, missing the hustle. A day or so later when talking with a friend that is also a client and telling her how the holiday weekend went down (starting to want to get back to my professional life) something she said to me really stuck. She said, ‘you know, that’s how it’s kind of going to be now for you and Bill, your kids are grown’.
She was absolutely right. Our kids are grown. They’re doing things for each other we used to always do for them. Ethan and his girlfriend got baskets for the girls in our absence and filled the eggs with cash just like Bill has always done and hid them around for ‘the hunt’. They had eggs benedict for breakfast and Sunday sauce for dinner, and they dressed up and made it nice. So, there we have it, they are carrying on exactly as I would wish for and I wasn’t there and that’s exactly what I would wish for in my deepest of wildest dreams.
The next morning, Monday, had a little talk with me and decided ‘get over yourself’. Cook and dress for what’s here and now, me and Bill.
If we can’t do it first for ourselves, how do we expect others to follow suit? I’ve been enjoying this digging from the pantry meal preparation, and I’ve been very conscious of food waste, really not disposing of much. I’ve been practicing the every day dress tenets I started this blog with, and have been putting on makeup, and making myself put on real clothes even if it’s just to stay home. Without saying much of anything Bill has started sprucing up for dinner, and now that we are in Boston, we have a regular double date with Caroline and Sean for dinner.
Caroline and I do our daily walks, she feels so much better moving (love that), and we talk about what we’ll wear for dinner, just like we used to. We’re not going anywhere except for upstairs, Bill and I only have two kitchen counter stools in our one-bedroom flat, so for dinner upstairs it is.
Tonight, we’re having chicken and corn chowder (made with scratch stock I brought with me in the car in a cooler), fresh bread and spinach salad. I’ll put on lipstick; she might wear a dress.
My new normal: smaller portions, cooking with what I have, saving leftovers, limited food waste, putting on makeup and getting dressed (there’s Zoom!) sometimes just me and Bill for long stretches of time. For now, we’ve got the company of two more and reason to be, that too will change once this upcoming family of three is all well and settled. We’ll drive home, it will get quiet again (is there an end in sight?), and that’s okay. I had that talk with me, quarantine food and clothes make a difference, so I’m opting in.
Every day dress, quarantine food and clothes.