I haven’t felt much like writing and almost skipped today’s post, but ultimately I decided that I want a diary of these strange times.
Four weeks ago, I startejd working from home. At that point, things felt completely surreal and like I was probably overreacting by pulling the kiddo from preschool. A month later, it doesn’t feel that way.
While I wouldn’t say that things feel normal or settled by any stretch of the imagination, this week things have started to finally feel real. Instead of the suspended reality of the past weeks, we are now in a strange new normal for now. It’s still hard to wrap my brain around the fact that this is real life, but it’s sinking in.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. I’ve used less than a quarter tank of gas in the last month, thanks to driving very, very rarely, and only short distances when I have. One small silver lining of all of this has been how much our environmental impact has been reduced, but it pales in comparison to the loss of life and suffering that’s accompanied that reduction.
As of today, it’s been a full month since I’ve left the city of Kirkland. The only time I’ve even left our hill or have gotten in the car has been to pick up take out, or one day deliver food and paperwork before our job sites were shut down with the governor’s order that construction is deemed nonessential.
2. Since I’ve been eating at home most meals, it’s been pretty easy to keep up my goal of 2/3 of my meals vegetarian or vegan. Often my lunch ends up just being a bowl of cereal or apple with peanut butter, which keeps my per meal cost down as well (the kiddo consumes cereal at an even faster rate than I do).
We have been ordering take out a couple days a week though, and including much bigger tips than normal. Overall, we are spending less than a typical month, but all our our nonessential spending has gone to supporting our local restaurants.
3. My mom continues to send fun new toys and activities for the kiddo while we’re stuck home social distancing and can’t see her or the rest of the family. While it’s not even close to the same as seeing her in person, we’ve been feeling loved by her doing what she can in that absence. (These planes are still the biggest hit)
With the governor’s order to stay home, all retail shops had to close by end of day on Wednesday, which included the local toy store. My mom bought up some fun art supplies and parachute launchers, getting the store some much needed cash before having to close their storefront for at least two weeks.
One of my big fears lingering in the back of my head through all of this is that the only stores left standing will be the mega corporations. I want the local toy store, pet store, mom and pop restaurants that make our area unique to continue to exist. While now is time to save cash and be careful with your money, if you are in a good financial situation, think about how you can help protect the businesses that make your area special.
4. My clothes buying ban is the easiest now than at any other point over the past three years. A bonus of not spending any money other than on food – and not going anywhere near any stores in general – is that there is no temptation to buy anything either.
I learned the term “work mullet” from Purple recently, and I’ve been adopting that as my daily work attire: a nice shirt on top, and yoga pants on bottom. Since Zoom calls show just my face and upper body, clearly there is no reason to change out of comfy pants. Definitely one upside to working from home.
Since I am home 99% of the time right now, my work clothes and shoes aren’t getting any wear, which have really been the only things I’d been eyeing to replace for now. So as it stands, as long as we are in this odd suspended reality, I expect my clothes buying ban to continue right along with it. (Ps, if you missed it, I wrote about my three year mark over on Ecofrugals a few weeks ago)
5. We had a “social distancing” neighborhood party over the weekend. We brought out chairs, soaked up the last of the sunshine, and talked with people face to face – from at least 6′ apart.
We ate “together” at separate places with separate food, but it felt almost normal. When the sun began to set, we put out a garbage can bonfire in the middle of the cul de sac and talked until well past dark. It had a feeling of snow days, with a tempering of the knowledge of what was really going on. In a time of limited human connection, I am so entirely grateful for the special neighborhood we live in.
I WENT RUNNING THIS WEEK. Twice. I limited myself to ten minutes at a time as to not aggravate my heel, but it felt so wonderful to get to run even a short distance. For now, I’m going to try and keep up two to three short runs each week, slowly adding on time with caution.
Otherwise, I’ve been walking every day, usually through the trails, or on our neighborhood streets if I’m chasing the sun. I hear about other areas where the sidewalks and parks are packed with people, but that hasn’t been the case around here. I can get out for a walk and keeping separate from other people hasn’t been difficult at all, and there’s an unspoken understanding to walk away from each other to pass.
How are you holding up? I won’t say it gets easier, but life does settle in eventually into a new kind of suspended normal.