async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Some Things I've Learned After a Month of Quarantine

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Some Things I've Learned After a Month of Quarantine

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

After over a month of quarantine, I've learned a few things. Some interesting and some odd.

I haven't left my house for the past 5 weeks except to go for a walk or run. It's been a very strange, unsettling experience. I'm not complaining. I'm well aware that things could be so much worse. I'm fortunate to shelter in place in my home. We have internet and home food delivery, but the lack of face to face connections has been tough. I'm living with an omnipresent anxiety, not knowing what the future holds.

Overall, I miss my routine but I'm settling into a 'new normal'. Having a sense of humor has been helpful too!



Getting up, showering, and putting on regular clothes in the morning when sheltering at home is always a good idea. Working from home, I can see how easy it would be just to stay in my pajamas. But I don't feel very motivated to work while sitting in front of my laptop wearing pjs. I also don't feel like working out in my pajamas and when I do, it doesn't feel right.

  • I always shower and get dressed--heck, I brush my teeth--before I sit down to begin my work day at my computer--even if it means I'm wearing leggings and a sweatshirt. If I have a video patient visit on my schedule, I'll put on some makeup and a nice top. I don't want to scare my patients!
  • I do the same for my workouts, sans makeup. Even though I'm working out at home, I wear my workout clothes. And of course, I post a selfie on Instagram when I'm done. Let's keep each other motivated!

You notice a lot more things about your house when you clean it yourself. Full disclosure: I don't like to clean. At all. Cleaning my house has become a necessity, since my cleaning lady is also sheltering in her home.

Besides the obvious fact that we need to do a ton of home updating, I've discovered that my house, while it might look clean on the surface, isn't really clean. I've had my cleaning lady for the past 15 years or so. She has become part of the family. But now that I'm doing the cleaning, I'm a little disheartened at what I'm finding. I won't go into details but let's just say I'm doing some really deep cleaning. I still love her, but I feel like I did growing up and learning that your parents aren't perfect.


  • It's my unexpert opinion that OxyClean is the best cleaner in the world. Normally, I add it to the laundry which helps boost the color and remove stains. 
  • Last week, I scrubbed the stained grout and tile floor in my foyer with OxyClean and it looks like new. I kid you not. I also wiped the baseboards with the rags I used on the floor to wipe the walls in the foyer and they look white again. I also attacked the enclosed shower in the master bath and that metal strip beneath my shower doors is now mildew-free. 
  • OxyClean is an environmenally friendly product. The active ingredients become hydrogen peroxide when mixed with water. Chemistry! Science! However, as with bleach and other cleaners, it should not be taken internally. I know you know this, but in light of recent news, I feel like I need to say it.
  • OxyClean is really powerful. It took my toenail polish off. It splashed on my head and it took a patch of color out of my hair. Which I was able to cover up...read on...

Speaking of hair, I have learned over the past 5 weeks that I am not yet ready to go gray. I don't consider myself to be high maintenance. My hair color appointments are really my one beauty indulgence. After about 10 days past my previously scheduled hair appointment, I couldn't stand looking at myself in the mirror and seeing my silver stripe anymore.

  • I didn't want to ruin my colorist's handiwork by using a drugstore permanent hair color on my hair. I've heard that "box" color can damage your hair. 
  • Clairol makes 2 great root touch-up products that I've been using to camouflage my grays. Neither of them are perfect but they do the job quite well. I started out with one product which is a powder that you brush on the grays along your part and your hairline. It reminds me of eyeshadow. The powder covers the gray and stays put until your next shampoo. 
  • Now that I've got a pretty decent amount of outgrowth, I'm using Clairol's semi-permanent root touch up gel, which is hair color all premixed in a bottle with a brush applicator already attached. It is super easy to apply. Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it. You just brush it on along your part in the direction of the hair growth. 
  • Pro Tip: The instructions say to leave it on for 10 minutes, to which my grays just laughed and laughed. Heck, my colorist leaves my color on for 35 minutes, so that is what I did the second time I used it. I had much better results and the color stayed on through multiple shampoos. 

You can cook all kinds of good meals using what you have on hand. Being a perpetual meal planner for the past 15 or so years, I'm having to wing it, depending on what is available at the grocery store. Right now, I'm doing home delivery and what I order isn't always what I get. Being open minded and flexible really helps.

  • Googling some of the main ingredients that you have in your kitchen will produce a list of recipes. Allrecipes has the same feature.
  • Having a well-stocked pantry is key. Keep extra things that you use all the time. For us, it's salsa, beans, tortillas, pasta, and canned tomatoes.
  • You might find a new family favorite! I had 2 pints of cherry tomatoes that my son gave me. I knew they would go bad before I could eat them all. I found a sheet pan recipe where I roasted not only the tomatoes, but onions, green peppers, and italian sausage and tossed them with gnocchi and cheese. Delish!

People might be hoarding things, but you can be creative and find what you need. You also might be helping a small business stay afloat.

  • When people were hoarding eggs, my husband bought eggs and milk at Oberweis, a local dairy and ice cream store. He also bought ice cream. Natch.
  • My resourceful husband found chicken, good chicken, at a poultry farm in a town nearby. They provide chicken to all the local restaurants and have curbside pickup. So much better than grocery store chicken! They also have eggs.
  • When we were up in Wisconsin last weekend, we picked up (curbside) our pre-order of pork and beef from the local meat locker. 
  • There is no flour to be found anywhere! We ordered a 50# bag of flour from a bakery supply company. I know it's a lot of flour, but it's all we could find and it was relatively inexpensive.  We'll share it with family and friends. Local friends, if you need some, let me know. Let the baking commence!

Life during quarantine has brought some new challenges and new ways of adapting. What are you doing differently? /via @oldrunningmom #quarantine #COVID19 #socialdistancing #mrclean

Maybe my ideas aren't so revolutionary, but all these things have made life during quarantine better. We are lucky to be living in a time where we have access to so much!

What have you changed or adapted to make life easier while staying at home? Have you found alternative sources of hard-to-find grocery items? What's your daily routine like?

I'm linking up with Kim and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics and with the Runners' Roundup: DebbieDeborahJenRachelSandra, and Lisa.

 




53 comments :

  1. I have no trouble working in pjs. I'm typing this in them, I'll go do some yoga in them, although I won't stay in them all day.

    I hate cleaning too & I've never had a cleaning lady. Once in a while my husband does the deep cleaning because he doesn't clean on the regular. He expects a pat on the head for that. Hello, you wipe down the counters every day (and vacuum, and wash sheets) -- all with no thanks. Anyhoo, moving on . . .

    I've been doing grocery delivery too, and yup, you do get some odd things sometimes. :) Lucky for me I don't use regular flour pretty much ever.

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    1. I'm filling up my weekly cart as we speak and they've changed the process AGAIN! I shouldn't complain. I shouldn't complain. I shouldn't complain.

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  2. Too Funny - Great Post - 'even brush my teeth' - I Will Have To Say That I Have Been The Opposite - Been Going With The Unprofessional Appearance During Zoom Meetings - Haven't Shaved Since My San Diego Trip - However, Still Eating Very Well And Clean As All Get Out - Local Farm Eggs And Meats - Yes, Cleaning A Lot - My Shop Has NEVER Been So Damn Organized Before - And The Most Notable Change Has Been Painting - Been Painting EVERYTHING - Acrylic Paints , The House Trim, Staining The Deck, etc - Bummer On The Flour Front - The Item That Seemed To Have Disappeared Around Here Are The Clorox Wipes - Like Zero!! Again, Great Post

    Stay Strong Next Month,
    Cheers

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    1. Ha! Too bad you aren't local--I could hook you up with some flour!

      I need some of that energy here. We have a lot of work that needs to be done.

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  3. Except for the first two weeks, our grocery store has been pretty well stocked. However, beans and pasta were hard to get and flour is still scarce. They had tiny bags of the store brand last week, but I’m not out yet, and I’m trying to limit my baking anyway since I can’t give the results away. I’m brushing my teeth and putting on a fresh pair of leggings every day. Fancy, I know!

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    1. My son and his GF wanted to bake cookies last weekend and all they could find was gluten-free flour. Which I guess would be ok but the cookies turned out like pancakes.

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  4. I agree with all. I always shower brush my teeth and get dressed before I go to work. Which is on my home computer and out on make up with video.

    I had a monthly cleaning lady and she still comes.

    My roots. Oh my. I need to buy something to cover them. I use a pencil but not enough now. What brand do you recommend?

    I also go out to shop.

    I miss my friends. Zoom is great but not the same.

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    1. Did you read the post? I wax poetic about the product I'm using.

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  5. I fully agree, making yourself look presentable for working from home is important for me, too. My brain would not be able to cope otherwise.
    Haha, I get it about the cleaning lady! I had one I loved for 14 years but everytime I cleaned myself I realized that she wasn't as thorough as I expected her to be. But I still loved her coming!
    Well done for buying from farms and local stores. Buying from the Winsconsin meat locker sounds like a big win!

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    1. I'm happy that we have access to all these small sources for ingredients!

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  6. I too make sure I am fully dressed before logging in to work. My only concession is that I don't shave as often.
    I still go to the store for groceries, but I go very early when they first open, and always wear a mask and gloves.
    I think you would look great in gray.
    I've found a couple of items that are almost impossible to find, even online, web cams and hair clippers.

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  7. I always shower and get dressed, and to be honest I don't own any sweats but I do have leggings and wear them often.
    I order hair color online and do it myself, it's easy because my hair is so short (for now).

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    1. I used to color my own hair but once I became very gray, it wasn't lasting more than 2 weeks.

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  8. We aren't getting online food shopping as we are supposed to keep it for those who are shielding and properly self-isolating. I have always had stocks in the freezer of batch cooked sauces but husband is having to meal plan. We've started getting a fruit and veg box from a local supplier, every other week, and that acts as a challenge for a few meals which is quite fun. My life and work haven't changed but having someone else in the house is very very VERY odd. The cats are loving it and compete to get into Matthew's meetings!

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    1. It is kind of fun to plan around what you have, isn't it? I'm enjoying it myself!

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  9. Les has worked from home (when we're not in Hawaii) for 7+ years, so not much has changed here. The biggest change is that our stay at home has been the longest in those 7 years. Lots of outdoor projects are getting done. He posted his gym equipment on Craiglist last night (it's stuff he can't use anymore due to neck and back issues.) The responses have been pouring in - the first guy even offered an extra $100 if he'd hold it until 5:00 today. So, under-priced, but it will be out of our garage by the end of the day. More room for bikes!

    I celebrated my quarantine birthday yesterday. We were able to go for a bike ride, I rode my age in kilometers. We ordered dinner, unfortunately most of the store/restaurants in our area aren't delivering, but Les was able to pick it up. I'm definitely tired of cooking!

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    1. Happy Birthday!!! Sounds like a nice way to celebrate. I probably wouldn't do anything different if we weren't under quarantine, lol!

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  10. We've been doing grocery delivery as well and it's always a surprise on what we get and don't get from our order. We have found a small, local market that seems to be better stocked then the national brand store so that's one of the changes we've made. And it's supporting a local business as well.

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  11. When I was unemployed during the Great Recession (doesn't that sound quaint now?), I learned that I functioned much much better if I stuck to my normal routine. So I got up at my usual time, did my usual runs or weights, showered, dressed, put on make up. The only thing I didn't always do was put on shoes.

    But let me tell you, on October 28, 2009, I was so glad I put on shoes because that was the day we flooded (like lost all our furniture, most of our clothes, can't live in our home for five months flooded).

    Today I am doing all of those things, plus training for a marathon which by God I will run even though it will just be me. And I think it helps.

    Also I love that I can see your workouts on IG and Strava and that we can cheer each other on.

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    1. I love it too! I swear, social media is giving me life. I miss everyone IRL so much! Let's keep going.

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  12. I actually did my hair and make up (first time for make up in 6 weeks, no joke. Definitely felt better about life in general, so I'll have to make more of an effort on that front. Yes, groceries are a crapshoot at this time. After not getting noodles and rice since this began, I was so grateful to get Target brand egg noodles and rice on Sunday. Target brand. I'm more of a brand-name shopper, so you know that I'm desperate when I'm happy for just anything at this point, LOL.

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    1. Are you doing Target delivery? I tried to order from Target but everything I wanted said I had to go to the store to get it. That made no sense to me. But like you, at this point I'll pretty much take everything. Except for the Jewel (our grocery store) eggs. I had to draw the line there.

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  13. What an amazing list!! I love your hacks for managing gray roots (the Mona Lisa painting is hilarious!).

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  14. A great thing about this pandemic is it is forcing people to be more self sufficient and resourceful. I can only hope it will continue (the self-sufficiency, not the pandemic). My hair is another story. I don't have the grey to color, I have the dark roots that look ghastly. Lightening one's hair is a lot more high-maintenance than adding color LOL I've done it before, but I'm not going down that rabbit hole again...

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    1. I was actually thinking about that and I'm for once grateful to be a brunette!

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  15. I need to check out your chicken source because the stuff in the grocery store has been awful.

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  16. We've been tackling cleaning/organizing one room each weekend....I have to admit I'm dreading thoroughly cleaning our master bathroom! Good do know that Oxyclean works so well, hopefully I'll be able to find some somewhere!

    I've started back dressing up for work, though my leggings aren't the most formal to go with my button down shirt lol! I'm definitely not wearing any makeup though!

    I wish I meal planned better, but I'm starting to embrace the crockpot and try to make things that last a few days. It's true that sometimes you just gotta use what you got!

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  17. I am also discovering a lot while cleaning my house. Like you said, there are a lot of spots that are not really clean but could be. Still, when the day comes that my cleaning person can come back , I will be doing a happy dance. My nails ugh they just look awful. I have to put on cute outfits for my runs and workouts that's pretty much the highlight of my days. ha. Hang in there!

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  18. There were times I tried working out in my pajamas (usually just yoga) but it doesn't feel right. I get in a much better workout when I put on workout clothes. I've also made it a point to shower, brush my teeth, and put on some sort of clothes (leggings and a sweatshirt usually) before I start the day.

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  19. Hey Wendy! I am sleeping much later than before, but I still get up, brush my teeth, workout, shower, and get dressed before I begin working. I also wear either jeans or work-ish pants while working. Once I'm done, I put on my pajamas! I don't get my nails or hair done, so no worries there. As for cooking, we have not eaten out since 3/12, so yes, I am starting to pull out some of my oldie-but-goodie recipes that I haven't made in a while (you know it's bad when a 14-yr-old says he is tired of pizza)!

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    1. Ha! We are hearing those same comments from my college boy.

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  20. I have been struggling with anxiety lately too, Wendy. You are not alone. Thanks for sharing your life hacks (Sheltering in Place Edition) with us. I am lucky to live in an area with some small, local farm stores too. We found poultry at a nearby poultry farm and eggs from our neighbors. When I retired from teaching, I let my gray grow out. Now, I am glad I did! :)

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  21. Sadly, I just got notice of my hair appointment which won't be happening tomorrow :( Hopefully my color just fades and doesn't leave me showing any grays!!! I am definitely doing a ton more deep cleaning now that I am home. I like to make sure that I get up and get dressed rather than staying in my pjs although it is tempting!

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    1. I have one scheduled next week and I'm pretty sure that won't be happening either, along with my dentist appointment!

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  22. These are all great ideas--in fact, I just ordered some OxiClean! Thanks for the recommendation.

    When I feel sad, I think of how hard it must have been to quarantine during the 1918 flu pandemic. They had no way to stay in touch with friends or family they didn't live with and no home entertainment. It must have been so incredibly difficult.

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  23. We've never had a cleaning lady but I am definitely doing more deep cleaning than I normally would. Life doesn't feel much different here since we both still go to our jobs. My business has completely tanked, so that has been a big change. Before the shelter in place order went through, I bought a few hair touch up products 'just in case'. I have yet to use them, which is not to say my grays aren't showing, and there are plenty of them! For now I'm letting them show...for now.

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    1. I can't believe you haven't had a cleaning lady! You're such a dynamo!

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  24. Thanks to the technology the life, in this period of quarantine, is less hard than in the past even if difficult.
    And here the lockdown was total until last week. Better times will come. Stay safe.

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    1. For better or worse, we've never had a total lockdown. It's been a mess here. Here's to hoping that things settle down for everyone.

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  25. Showering every day is not an option. I think even when I was recuperating and needed all the help, I was still finding a way to shower and wash my hair. I may have skipped one day, but that's it.

    We have been supporting our local farms more. We have been pretty lucky in that we've been able to get the products we need, but if we can't, we just switch gears. It's been working ok, and we are getting through it.

    I haven't dyed my hair yet, but I always joke that I'm tall enough that no one can notice. I have also started doing at home manicures with Color Street, which I am starting to love.

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    1. I've been pleasantly surprised by the outgrowth that isn't as gray as I expected. We'll see how things go!

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  26. I totally agree with getting dressed for work. My routine consists of a morning workout, shower and then getting "dressed" for work. I wear jeans at least twice a week (to make sure they still fit, lol), and I always wear a decent top, even if I have on leggings.

    We have become very creative with our meals since being home lol. It's been great because we've been able to not only save money but discover some new meals that we like.

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    1. There are a lot of silver linings, if you just look for them, right?

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  27. I smiled when I saw your post! Yes, we were both thinking the same. There are days where I sleep in and log in my computer in my pajamas. I am pretty much used to my routine. Sometimes I run in the morning then I come home to shower and get dressed. I am online till 2pm. Then I either take a nap, watch TV, or continue working. Thank you for linking up with us!

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