Sheltering in Place

We were all hearing the murmurs trickle down. Everyone seems to know someone who knows something was about to change. Thus far, public health recommendations to slow the spread of novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the mild to severe respiratory illness COVID-19, have already limited much commerce to voice-over-internet platforms and mail order delivery models, and schools and places of worship and other gatherings have closed. Restrictions were rumored to get even tighter. Following Germany. Following the Bay Area. Following New York. Seattle, Washington, and the whole country may be advised to Shelter-in-Place by the end of the week.

By now heard Governor Jay Inslee’s evening address: Stay Home Stay Healthy. In light of the continued spread of the SARS-CoV-2 (2000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Washington State and 100 deaths) and the ensuing global pandemic, government officials are urging folks by all compassionate means to limit the social contact to absolute essential in order to slow the rate of infections. The intent of the “Stay Home Stay Healthy” or Shelter in Place mandate remains the same as previous guidelines, but the activities are more delineated. If it’s not an essential activity, put it on hold for a few weeks at least, (this includes weddings and funerals by the way), and do your duty to save lives by not maxing out our health care services for those in need.

As far as I can tell, “sheltering in place” is a euphemism for “house arrest,” with outdoor privileges or “business as usual” if you’re a couch potato at baseline: ordering take-out delivered, watching streaming videos to your living room, relaxing online via social media, and working from home (WFH). Okay, but even the most die-hard introvert shut-ins are starting to feel the alienation set in. It’s different when it’s no longer your choice to be socially distant, and you’re being requisitioned for social distancing. So, here I am to share the burden, lighten the load, the mood, offer some camaraderie, some friendship. The bottom line remains: we’re all in this together! So what do we do to feel good? Feel fresh? Stay inspired? We’ve walked outside amongst the blossoming springtime, we’ve stocked up our pantries, we’ve tried new recipes, we’ve brushed our cats. What now? With no foreseeable end in sight, okay, two weeks for now, however the situation is predicted to intensify before it lessens and resolves. What do we do now to make the situation feel easier, more comforting and bearable? Well, we reach out to our friends and family in all ways available (write a letter! chat with a neighbor over the fence! send a care package!) and… we show our household some love!

For those of you who know me, you know that I love tidying. I’ve recurrently blogged about it in 2017, 2018, and now today! For those of you who may not know this fun fact, allow me to share that I have in my (well-edited) personal library Clutter Busting Your Life (Brooks Palmer), Home Sweet Maison (Danielle Postel-Vinay), Spark Joy (Marie Kondo).

So, naturally, what does one like myself turn to in times like these, where one is kindly requested, ordered? to “shelter in place?” Hunker down and be domestic at home! Clothing optional. As Lake observed the other day, “Mama, you’ve got naked pants!!” So, Bonus if you have the blessing to live with lots of interesting lovely folks, so much richer than sheltering in place by yourself or with boring uninteresting people. I feel so much gratitude for my household! Thank you every day for not fleeing back to Germany, Vivien!

And just so you, dear reader, don’t feel so distant or abandoned, know that we are here. And also in case you actually do live alone, by choice or by circumstance, I’ll share what I’ve been up to in between life with a toddler and an infant… Maybe this inspires, or at least amuses you!

Quick and Easy Tip 1: Organize your bookshelf by color. Not difficult and requires no difficult paralyzing decisions of what to keep and what to toss. Very gratifying results, especially  when you’re spending a lot of time staring at that bookshelf!

Quick and Easy Tip 2: Liberate your freezer! ie. Resolve to eat everything (I mean every last thing!) in your freezer. Okay, so the resolving part is quick and easy. Actually accomplishing this feat may be a little more time consuming. I like to under-promise and over-deliver, mostly to myself, so I’ve set a four month parameter with a July 15th deadline. When it goes sooner that that, that’s great too! And we’re uniquely positioned spending so much time at home with the restaurants on lockdown that it’s the perfect time to get all that freezer-burned food out of there: either eat it, or toss it! Bonus: just think of the ice cream!

Quick and Easy Tip 3: Deliver a roll of toilet paper to your neighbors with a sweet note like this one I found yesterday on our doorstep…

Quick and Easy Tip 4: vacuum your floor… okay, I’m reaching… but the process can be therapeutic and cathartic and the effect can be profound.

From here the work is not so quick and easy, but strategically enlistinging the help of women-owned local small businesses can reap real rewards:

Advanced Sheltering Tip 1: Edit your closet. Enlist the real assistance of a professional Mellicia Marx. She can work remotely and provide you with welcome relief of gentle honesty, humor, and unflagging enthusiasm. Create a boutique closet of your own, tailored just for you and your life right now!

Advanced Sheltering Tip 2: Schedule an outdoor photo shoot with Chamonix! With the whole family at home, take advantage of the opportunity to get your yearly family portraits taken. Take it to the next level and get a bonus video to commemorate these times with The Happy Film Company. Genius photographer and principal Chamonix is offering great deals right now. Snap up a package while you’re at it.

Advanced Sheltering Tip 3: Reboot your life and/or career with Lena D. Meyer Get a leg up on the changing financial climate and use this as an opportunity to realign your work/life balance. The new WFH culture may have you staring yourself and your work reality in the face. There’s nowhere to hide. Do you like what you are seeing? Do you love what you do? Either way, Lena can help!

Master Class Sheltering Challenge Extraordinaire: Mari Kondo your whole shelter! Why not? When will you ever have more time?

Thanks for tuning in. Know that I am thinking of you and filled with gratitude for all you dear folks in my life. So, Stay Home and Stay Healthy, loves! Please note, this Stay Home Sheltering in Place order does not exclude exercising outside, even with friends (maintaining a respectful 6′ distance of course). In general have a blast alright?! Get outside, play tennis!, have fun with your household playing board games and cooking and baking and… get creative sprucing up your abode!!! Tell me all about it. I would love to hear what you’re up to!

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