Today marks day 75 of the shelter-in-place for us. I know that others are far more sequestered and for much longer. We have ventured out to the grocery store twice and to the drive-through pharmacy. Each of us has kept a medical appointment or visited a lab for a routine test. We are among the fortunate ones who have access to walking trails. But until we have the go-ahead to cross the Canadian Border to reunite with our son and granddaughters, we feel quarantined.
I’ve read that mood swings are normal in a situation like this. Some days I just wake up cranky. With the warmer weather I hear outboard motors on Lake-of-the-Isles. Our boat remains trapped in my son’s Canadian garage. I get ornery. Perhaps productivity could lift my spirits. Yes. Stain our decks. In normal circumstances, not my idea of entertainment. I call the local Sherwin Williams to arrange curbside pick-up. No semi-transparent base in stock. That sends me into a slump for two days. Just as quickly an unexpected call from a dear friend works like a winning scratch-off. I have the exuberance to take a walk.
One stable aspect of the confinement has been our food supply. Paul became the procurement tsar. Early March he stocked our freezer and pantry with meat and staples. To my great joy, he purchased two cases of wine and beer. Since then he’s ordered a powdered milk product as good as gold and bags of bite-sized candy bars. He opened accounts with Harry & David and Omaha Steaks. When we aren’t cooking steaks on the grill, we are roasting hot dogs over the weekly campfire. Our local orioles have never had it so good with a daily orange from Harry & David. I have used more flour and sugar for baked goods than any time in my forty-four-year marriage. For these 75 days we have relished delicious food and drink.
Paul got us a subscription to Misfits Market. Fresh produce, rejected because of its shape or size, will come to our door every two weeks. The first shipment arrived. Red-skin potatoes, green peppers, onions, and apples. For the first time I’ll cook an acorn squash. The best surprise, limes, for a vodka tonic. Oh yes, Paul had six-packs of tonic and Coke stashed in the garage as warm-weather mixers. The kale and mangos will challenge me. With Misfits Market you don’t make selections, you just take what comes and make the best of it. How apropos.
Today’s breaking news destroys all optimism. Amid the dysfunction of our country’s pandemic response, another disease that we never healed erupts. Racism. When I emerge from this cocoon I will participate in the human rights movement.
I go to my 1976 recipe box to find a restorative recipe because food really does comfort. There it is, Wacky Cake. A dear friend from my writers’ group passed away last year, but not before we had a chance to savor her recipe that calls for 6 heaping tablespoons of cocoa and a double-chocolate coffee frosting. A scratch cake, which I have never made. But I’m taking cues from the current situation. Now is the time to start from scratch and make something good.