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.

All the playgrounds are off limits


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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.

AA Sushi in Kirkland

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.

Playing with other new toys (the grocery store was “mostly empty”)

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)

My coworker


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.


Exercise Update

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.

16 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (COVID-19 Week 4)

  1. ny state is crazy right now. i’m thankful we live well over 300 miles from ny city. our county only has a couple of hundred cases right now and people are staying home and apart. i’ve been home this week and next from my job but scheduled to go back to work april 6. i get not really feeling much like writing. i had the past 7 days off without even fake work to do at home but haven’t been feeling it. at least it’s starting to get nice outside and i see a lot of people out in the sunshine walking around and keeping their distance.

    1. Glad to hear that things are calm near you still – definitely worry about my great aunt out your direction.

  2. It’s been 2 weeks for us. We’re holding up well. My wife enjoys working from home even if she’s not that productive. My son loves the extra time off. I’m ready for them to go. I need some space. 🙂
    We got some take-out, but not a lot. We got all these food in the fridge that we need to eat before they spoil. Next week, we’ll order out more.
    Stay healthy!

  3. I’m loving the positive effects this situation is having on the environment, but not much else! Like you, I’ve also been wondering how all my favorite mom and pop (coffee) shops will survive. My plan is to frequent them as much as possible once they reopen.

    Stay safe!

  4. Montana may have been able to lay low for a while but not anymore. We are in full – stay at home mode mandated by our governor. I feel fortunate that at least I can still go to the mountains and hike off my worries and woes. Its helpful to see how the rest of the country is handling this crisis, thank you for not skipping today. I appreciate your perspective.

    1. Thanks for that comment – my goal is to keep writing so I can share our experience / have it documented for the future.

  5. Unfortunately, I think you’re spot on. The lizard man and his Amazonians are going gangbusters. We’re trying to support locally as much as possible too! Beautiful day here in the Northeast, we’re (safely) getting out for some vitamin d!

    1. I’m just waiting for the sun to come back out here again…. hopefully by next weekend.

  6. Thank you Angela for not skipping this. I love to read your Friday’s Frugal Five in this surreal world! We’re all in this together. Stay safe and healthy

    1. Thank you for commenting – it means a lot. And stay safe as well ❤️

  7. Hi Angela! It’s so good to read your regular updates. (I’ve been meaning to comment on this since I read it last Friday, but I was in a bit of a self isolation funk that day…).
    Glad to hear you and your family are all doing well. Gosh, covid week 4. We (couple, no kids, in the UK),started working from home full time and social distancing Monday 16th, so we are a couple of weeks behind you in this madness.
    At first we were working from home and not going out at all (self isolating, getting food delivered), as we had been to Spain and didn’t want to unwittingly spread covid-19.
    But never going out all = going completely mad, so once it was announced by UK gov’t that we were still allowed out for exercise, we started going out occasionally for walks while keeping social distances (I need to pick my times… we are on the outskirts of a town and there are some nice walks, but there are also quite a lot of people keen to get outside!).

    I’m a fairly social person, so I am missing my work colleagues!! I am doing lots of WhatsApp and Skype-ing with family, (who live in a different country to me anyway, so I’m used to that, but what I’m not used to is the idea that if I wanted to go see them now, I might not be allowed!!!).

    All this is a very long-winded way of saying, I hear you, it’s hard, well done on sticking to it, and thank you for carrying on writing (oh and I love the social distancing street party! that’s amazing).

    1. Self isolation funk is definitely something that comes and goes even now. It’s definitely less intense these days, though some of that could just be numbness to the situation.

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