I stopped by a smaller thrift store I hadn’t been to in awhile. They were playing David Bowie on the overhead so I took my time.
I didn’t get much, the thrift gods were not with me but they were probably smiling on the woman ahead of me. She had a cart full of stuff, mostly clothes. Everybody was wearing a mask and they limited the number of people in the store. Also no country music, it was a good thrift experience.
It was a somewhat difficult week here. The water heater started leaking and soaked the floor and basement. Then the electric went out because the water flooded the breaker. We were without electricity and hot water for about a day, not quite as bad it sounds. The landlady let us plug the fridge into an outside outlet. We could still use the bathroom and wash our hands. We had candles and a giant flashlight that night and natural light during the day.
I am a thrift store snob. I prefer the more obscure, less curated thrift stores, with stuff for a dollar or less, with a grungy feel. I have my favorites but Goodwill isn’t one of them. It is the thrift store version of Olive Garden: part of a chain with a corporate feel, a bit overpriced, but dependable and crowded on the weekends.
That said my first thrift store trip since lockdown was a Goodwill. I will give them credit, the staff wore masks, they had signs and overhead reminders to social distance and most of the customers wore masks. It was safer than Wal-mart.
My second trip was yesterday and it was the magical thrift. About half the customers wore masks and the other half didn’t care about distance. It may be because it was 75% off day, you can feel the adrenaline in the air, pandemic or not. I didn’t stay long.
I didn’t get much. I admit I hoped the stores would be stuffed since everyone was cleaning out their closets during quarantine but there didn’t seem more than the usual amount. But the stores have been open for a few weeks and maybe the early birds got all that good stuff.
The stuff I bought really reflects where we are now. I don’t buy like I used to, when I had more space for stuff but my universe has contracted and it shows. Magazine holders because I’m organizing files and papers for working at home. Tiny makeup bag because I don’t need the bigger bag any more. Yoga pants are about all I wear now, they look like regular pants when I do go outside and I needed another pair. Slip on shoes don’t need socks and since it’s warm now they are comfortable and convenient for when I do wear shoes.
The blank cards and St Patrick’s sloth socks are just things I liked, that I’ll use eventually. Sometimes that’s enough.
Making chili is an art form. Recipes are guarded and held secret. Sometimes they are passed down through generations. My dad made great chili and unfortunately his recipe did not get passed down, he took it with him. So I am trying to make really good chili myself, with help (?) from the Internet.
Seeing all the Instagram food posts of perfect bread, desserts and homemade stuff seems as if everyone is doing it perfectly all the time. Yet somewhere out there are the fails. Stuff that didn’t come out right, doesn’t look good or worse, doesn’t taste good. So in case anyone feels discouraged by all the beautiful and perfect looking Instagram posts know you aren’t alone. Also know not everyone gets it right and here is proof.
My mistake: I overdid it with chili powder. The onion was stronger than I expected. The taste was harsh, the spice took over and it was not good. I added more beans and canned tomatoes. It helped but the taste was still heavy. I added salt. It helped. I let it cool and then tasted it. Still had a hard edge but I could eat it. Then I put it in my Dollar Tree Tupperware, telling myself I will not do this again. Canned chili isn’t that bad. But I know I’ll try again until I get it right.
It doesn’t look like chili but it’s early. It will get better, I said. It really didn’t
Although most businesses here have re-opened, including the thrift stores, I haven’t been back. I’m just not comfortable with the idea, personally I don’t think it’s safe. Too many people here are too cavalier about not wearing masks and keeping their distance. It would be my rotten luck to get COVID-19 while in a thrift store. I do not want my epitaph to be “She gave her life for cheap crap.”
So the only shopping I’ve done has been for groceries. I should amend that, the only in person shopping has been groceries. I buy stuff online more than ever. Most is food, like the Chickasaw chocolate (see “Pictures of Food”) and takeout. A lot of curbside and drive-thrus, I appreciate that I can call myself a supporter of local businesses and that I’m helping stimulate the economy but the truth is I like to eat and I’m lazy.
I’ve been working at home but still have to go into the office to pick up materials. Last time I went in I took my laptop in a box. It was awkward and didn’t protect it very well. I vowed not to do that again. The laptop is nearly 17 inches wide. Most laptops are about 15 inches and every backpack and laptop bag I’ve seen online is made for 15 inchers. So I went looking for something big enough to carry my stuff and that didn’t cost a lot.
My usual method, in normal times, would be thrift store. But we do not live in normal times. So I did the next best thing, online thrifting.
What has made me feel better, besides limiting my time on social media.
I haven’t done much but eat, work a little and sleep. Although most businesses are now open, including thrift stores I don’t have the inclination to go out. I miss it, but the possibility of getting sick or making other people get sick is enough to keep me home. Maybe later, I can wait.
Like nearly everyone else I am baking. I am staying home, working from home and hoping like everyone else. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, for those of the Christian persuasion. It is pre-Easter, for those observing Lent, the mark that it’s almost over, we’re nearly there and can eat meat, chocolate or do whatever you gave up for Lent soon. I admit I had a coffeeshop chai last week (Starbucks drive-thru). But considering COVID-19 I’m not giving myself a hard time over it. It was a small comfort and I needed it. The number of people infected has gone up and so has the number of dead, not just nationally but locally. I needed that chai.
Baking is a form of self care, to produce something nourishing and delicious for yourself and others. It keeps the hands busy and gives us an occupation, it is a small example of how order still exists. The reassurance of following a routine and having something to show for it. So I made muffins.
I’ve been working from home for 2 weeks and frankly I love it. Being alone at home is easy when you are an introvert and an only child ( I was an only child until I was 15). But like everyone else I am getting bored.
I rarely leave the house. Mostly for food, short walks and to pick up my meds, as suggested. I wash my hands more frequently and keep my distance from people, including parking away from other cars. So far so good, I and my household show no symptoms but we are aware that can change. We are watching this unfold across the country and it is easy to get anxious. I try to limit the amount of time I check Twitter and the news. I am watching a lot of Netflix and reading. I’m doing yoga and saying the Rosary, both are calming. And there’s chocolate.
We are in a pandemic right now. Coronavirus is shutting down schools, businesses and travel is restricted. The hockey season is suspended. It’s not known how many people are sick or even how many have died (it’s likely China has under reported the true number of dead, to save face).
So far we’ve been spared. There was one confirmed case of Coronavirus and it was 100 miles from here. Fortunately the patient recovered and there are no other reported cases so far.
People are still scared and freaking out. There’s been a run on hand sanitizer and toilet paper like in the rest of the country. The grocery store shelves are empty, canned goods especially.
Fortunately it’s payday, because I bought stuff. I took today off for booksale but it was also 75% off day at the magic thrift store. I call it magic because I’ve found some incredible things there. So I went out for a bagel this morning and started my day.
My first stop was the 75% off sale. They opened at 9am and I got there a few minutes before opening. The parking lot was full and there were 2 long lines of people waiting to get in at both entrances.
There was a rush for shopping carts, it was similar to Black Friday at Target. Busy, very crowded but civil. I didn’t get a cart, easier to move around and it sort of guaranteed I wouldn’t just grab stuff for the heck of it.
I did though. I piled clothes over my left arm, held stuff with that hand and kept going. I wore a hoodie with a big kangaroo pocket up front. My money and keys were in it and my phone was in my jeans pocket. They have a policy against backpacks and large bags.
Most of the time I just go to see what the thrift gods offer. Today I went with a specific purpose, to find workout clothes, leggings to wear under my pants and for yoga and extra socks. I wear 2 pairs when I walk.
I stayed for an hour, the lines at the register were growing by this time and people kept coming in.
From 75% off day.
Then I went to booksale. I had only 45 minutes and this was the receipt for my first purchase.
I had to pick up my daughter-in-law from work. Got us home, dropped off my thrift store stuff (and daughter-in-law), ate and went back. They stamp your hand when you go inside, so you can come back. I was grateful for it.