I’ve been locked up inside my home since March 1, 2020. That’s a very long time to have been cut off from society in the face of a pandemic. In the beginning, last March, I remember politicians scoffing at the idea that things were going to get bleak. Our own Governor Cuomo made it a point last March 2020 to tout New York City only had 74 cases of the coronavirus. Upstate New York, where I live, had none.
Then on March 19th, my sister called me to tell me that our own brother, who resides in Florida permanently, had made a trip to NYC on March 9th to see his cancer specialist. My brother was in remission from bladder cancer. My brother, a retired doctor himself, was well aware of the pandemic dangers and thought he had taken all the necessary precautions. Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill DeBlasio kept touting NYC was safe. Well, it wasn’t. By April 13th, my brother was dead from the coronavirus. This pandemic was real. The rest of my family was in total lock down by now. None of us were going anywhere.
What I remember most about last year when the virus first hit were the steps my husband and I had to take in order to be safe. We didn’t have masks so we never left our home. I started buying food over the internet. I tried Instagram at first but that was a total disaster. I was able to buy some food products from Amazon but I was being gouged and I knew it. I actually paid $20 for 2 pounds of beans where if I was able to get them at WalMart, a pound of these beans would have cost me only $1.34. I had to order flour and yeast directly from King Arthur and I had to wait over a month for the delivery. We found a cheese shop in Wisconsin that sent us cheese and some dried salamis to tide us over. When I went to re-order, they had nothing left to sell. One of our local neighbors runs a farm and she brought us over beef, eggs, bread and milk. She did this for us one more time and then told us she was never doing it again. It just was too dangerous to be outside in the state of New York.
I don’t even want to discuss how difficult it was to get toilet paper, sanitizers or disinfectant cleaning supplies. The worst part was waiting for those masks to arrive! From China, no less.
Last March 2020 there were no cases of the virus in upstate NY. Unbeknownst to us at the time, but well documented to the world today, our Governor Cuomo was secretly sending infected elderly people back upstate into the nursing homes, thus infecting the staff and almost all of the remaining elderly residents. Today, in a massive cover up, it has been revealed that more than 15,000 elderly people have needlessly died from the coronavirus, all at the hands of a politician who didn’t know what the fuck he was doing. Sorry. No nice words for this murderer. I remember when I first heard on the news that Cuomo was sending infected patients up here, I was screaming and yelling at my TV. But there was no one listening. We all were like sitting ducks, ready to be shot and killed by an invisible, lethal bullet, Covid-19. (click here for verification of this information)
Whatever plans or appointments hubby and I made for this past year, every single one of them were cancelled. No vacation. No going to the beach in the summer. No going to Florida in the winter to stay warm. I can’t remember any time that I’ve been in frigid upstate New York during the cold winter months of January, February (unbearable!) or March other than this past year! We have been trapped inside our home and on our property (thank God we live on 3.5 acres) for over 12 months, over 365 days, never seeing another human except delivery people or the mail person. We cancelled all medical appointments, dental appointments, home and vehicle repairs or maintenance. In other words, we put our lives on suspension. On hold.
My husband lost all his work due to the virus. Without his money coming in, he was forced to take his Social Security early at age 63. This meant we would now have to permanently live on less retirement money for the rest of our lives (hubby was scheduled to take SS at age 65, for hundreds of dollars more per month!)
When the stimulus money came in, I put in a vegetable garden at the cost of $545. I did it to pass the time and also because none of us knew what the future would hold. There were a lot of food shortages going on. Needless to say, I froze most of the produce (green beans, zucchini, tomatoes and some herbs) in a new freezer I purchased specifically because of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, here it is a year later and all those vegetables are still sitting in my freezer. We didn’t utilize any of it.
We also used the rest of the stimulus money to buy a small pool (12X3) just to survive the hot summer months. It was the last pool available since almost everyone else had the same summer idea (and of course, I was gouged over the price!). We had to pay almost $500 just to fill it with water (that later got tossed come September). Nonetheless, hubby and I plowed forward.
Hubby and I live in a smallish home. We reside in four rooms, just barely 1120 sq ft. Needless to say, many, many times we were at each other’s throats. I dreamed of running away. But then the death of my brother haunted me, so I just stayed put. Hubby took over many of my chores because he was bored to tears. He started doing all the cooking, laundry, cleaning and minor repairing. I regretted selling my sewing machine. I could have been making my family and ourselves masks! I think the hardest part was never wearing my jeans or tee shirts. I basically wore pajamas or stretch pants most of the time.
This past winter has been hardest on me. I have been cold every single day. It was an unusually snowy winter. By the time November rolled around and snow covered most of the ground, I stopped going out for my daily walks. It was just too, too cold. I really missed our annual trek to Florida. To say I fell in to a depression would be citing my mental condition lightly. Our local library sponsored a weekly Covid-19 chat with a mental health professional but after a few months of that I refused to dial into Zoom anymore. I didn’t want to talk about the coronavirus anymore. I wanted to forget.
I can’t even look at myself in the mirror anymore. I think I finally look 70 years old. Hubby buzz cuts my hair. My eyebrows are a mess. I haven’t polished my nails in months. Sometimes weeks go by before I even cut my toenails. I sometimes eat out of the fridge with so much disdain that back in November I almost ate myself into oblivion. I got very sick on some sugar overload and thankfully, I’ve been eating healthier ever since. But those garden veggies are still in my freezer, untouched.
Enter the vaccine. I got both my shots in February. Hubby gets both his shots this March. It’s one full year later after the pandemic first hit America. Over the year I have given much thought to my life. Or waste of a life, if I get more specific. Since my brother died, my ex-sister-in-law recently passed away from the coronavirus. She and I spoke just a few short months ago. She was the only relative who called me after my brother died. She was the only one who reached out to me. Who would have known when she and I last spoke that one of us would be dead? I think her unexpected death bothered me more than my brother’s.
Once hubby gets his second vaccine shot, he and I will be able to have a lot more freedom over our lives. I’ll be perfectly honest with you. I took out $27,000 cash from our savings account and hubby and I bought a more powerful towing vehicle. As soon as hubby gets his 2nd shot, we’re hopping into our newish truck, hauling our RV and hitting the road. We’re going out west to The Grand Canyon (an unfulfilled goal of mine) and I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about any politician. They’re all a bunch of liars and crooks. We elect these people to govern but all they did, IMHO, was ruin the American economy and caused more deaths than was necessary. To hell with them all. To hell with everything.
Stick a fork in me. I’m done.
Over the course of this past year I’ve learned to be more thankful and grateful for my paid-off home. Who’d a thunk that owing a mortgage-free home would be my get-out-of jail super card? I enjoy getting up in the morning, having a cup of coffee while sitting in my kitchen, looking out at the birds who flock to our well-stocked feeder. We’ve decided to stay put and be ever so thankful that we have a home to stay put in! I’ve already re-upped our Florida reservations, left a deposit for next snowbird season. I may start up my vegetable garden again but this time plant less veggies. Not more.
Upstate New York is filled with magnificent state parks just teaming with waterfalls, lakes and streams. All free to NY residents. When Governor Cuomo was lucid, he poured billions into fixing up NY’s existing state parks and recreation centers. That included RV sites and bathrooms! Thankfully, I booked a few sites already and as soon as the snows melt, hubby and I will be hiking again. (Fingers crossed I lose some of this covid-19 superweight!) I also already paid for the summer when hubby and I will return once again to our favorite beach in Newport, Rhode Island. (BTW, if you have an RV you better book soon as I’m not the only one with this idea. Everything is booking up super fast. Get out there!!!)
Needless to say, I’m back to wearing my jeans and my tee shirts. Last February 2020 I went on a shopping spree at a discount outlet just days before the coronavirus hit the nightly news. After 38 years of marriage, I finally bought myself a diamond wedding ring and my first designer handbag. Once the pandemic hit, I never wore nor used these items. They’ve been sitting in my closet all this time. Well, I’m using them now!
I got my hair professionally cut. I plucked my eyebrows. Cut my toe nails (pedicure coming up this spring). Painted my own nails. Spiffed up the house, the property and streamlined all the continuous cooking hubby and I have accomplished over this past year. I’m back to wearing all those new clothes I bought last year from the Chico’s outlet store. Hubby may have some work coming in this summer. Hubby has rescheduled his annual heart scan with his cardiologist this month. I’ll be back getting my annual mammogram this month also. It’s all good!
In other words, I’m back. And I feel just like the Beatles did in their first movie’ Hard Days Night‘ when they could finally break free! And they busted out the back stage door and just enjoyed life!