Corona Time

For 25 years, the rhythm of my life was defined by a full day in court on Thursdays. I had court on other days–sometimes every day of the week–but Thursday was the courthouse’s designated day to hear child welfare cases, for the whole day.

I’d start my week on Monday, focusing on the cases to be heard the two or three Thursdays out, and catching up on lose ends for the cases coming up that week. As court approached, children, parents, and foster parents would often get stressed, and sometimes do dumb things–run away, get arrested, relapse–that changed the whole posture of the case. What fun. Not.

Fridays I would be pretty worthless. I could read reports, return phone calls, or work on accounting tasks, but Friday was for decompressing. The weekend was for housework and family time, and then Monday, I was back in the saddle. I am still aware of the echoes of this routine. I take particular delight in not being on court on Thursdays, and some Fridays I find myself unaccountably without traction.

When I’m even aware of the day of the week. Nothing–nothing at all–marks my days of the week now. I don’t have riding lessons on Monday and Thursday, don’t have a kid in school five days a week, don’t have Sunday services, or a weekly virtual movie night. I’m a happy little asteroid floating loose in the universe of time.

For the most part, I am enjoying the lack of structure. I get tons done, and I do mean tons. I’m happy to frolic in my book tasks the livelong day/week/month/whatever, and I think this must have been what life was like for Og and Ogette, back when we lived in caves. I do what needs doing next, I lay down for twenty minutes in the middle of the day if I get the urge to stretch out.

If I can’t sleep, I get up and write, without a thought that, “Well, three hours of sleep isn’t going to work. You’ll be worthless by afternoon and that when Something Scheduled Has to Happen.” I do the writing and then nap, if that’s how the day goes. Am I lucky, or what?

When I need to play in the yard for a few hours, I do that. When the shelves are getting bare, I make a raid on the grocery store. My life is not driven by anybody else’s schedule, except in a general way by the season of the year, the weather, and my penchant for flower gardening. I like this. This is something I want to recall if life ever returns to What Was Before.

Is there anything you’ll keep from your pandemic life? Anything better about it? I’ve started making my ARC list (both ePub and mobi this time) for A Lady’s Dream Come True, and I’ll add at least three commenters to it!


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21 comments on “Corona Time

  1. My sister, brother and I are closer. My Mom lives with my brother and his family. I think the fact that the virus preys on the elderly has been a concern to all of us. We talk and listen to each other a little bit more now.

    I realized that I am happy at home. I enjoy my house and being home with my dogs. I am enjoying reading , walking and baking. The pandemic is a nice transition point for me as Retirement is looking right at me.

    I hope to be able to work from home 1 or 2 days a week when the stay at home rule has been lifted. The commuting break has been a huge stress reliever for me. And working with out interruptions has been a huge plus. I miss my friends at work and some parts of corporate life.

    Have a great week!

  2. It is strange feeling rutter-less, with the comforting rhythm of the days of the week gone. I miss my singers, my voice teacher and the folks i work with in our arts alliance. We’ve had Zoom meetings for the alliance and that helps but it’s the PEOPLE and how they fit in my life I miss.

    One of the things I DO like is the calmer (when I cut down on news ingestion)rhythm and slower pace…..there is something to be said for that. I have been watching Cadfael episodes……if you want to watch a medieval monk solve mysteries….this is the show for you! Not having to rush around and having dinner when it’s ready is a gift; I’ve been doing much more creative cooking and perfecting recipes I’ve haven’t had time to in the past. We even eat at a slower pace and that’s been lovely.

    I like NOT being expected to do things when others expect me to do things. Pandemic Times and the fluid-ness of all time is strange but nice.

    I hope you have a lovely Mother’s Day, Grace!

  3. We started buying from Misfits Market so that we could get weekly fresh fruit & vegetables (my spouse goes out only once every OTHER week for grocery shopping). Now that our local organic store closed (not related to covid), it is virtually impossible to get organic choices for almost anything in my tiny town. Many of the fruit & veg we get in our box don’t work with our keto diet, but it’s lovely to get organic stuff that we’ve done without for so long. I think we will keep up our produce subscription once the social distancing is relaxed.

  4. I have reverted to telling time by the sun & reveling in the quiet. Even the spam calls have 99% vanished. Thursday is produce delivery & monthly my BFF brings TP, dairy & eggs. I’m much more conscious of my consumption when I can’t run out on a whim & I want to keep this reduction & intentional use.

    I’m finding my creativity increasing when I’m not having to brace for a barrage of demands from the outside world. That is another thing to keep. I hadn’t realized how much of me was being sucked by others.

    I have rediscovered my music thanks to an urge to declutter & rearrangement of furniture that left room to haul out my old CD/tape player & excavation of things unplayed for at least 2 moves/10 years. I am not who I was in some stages of my life, it seems. Others are treasures gleefully reclaimed.

    Finally, the improved self care that came with time freed by pruning demands is having results. Walling out the unnecessary drama & taking the time to soak & slather definitely needs to come into the new world waiting on the other side.

  5. I hope that when everything returns to some normalaiity(though I can’t see it being quite the same again),that we don’t all scurry back and lock our doors and keep the world out.We should be aware of our neighbours and what our community is about.We are all different and that should be respected but a good morning or a hello does not mean you want to invade their lives.It shows that you recognise them and are pleased to greet them.Most people are pleasant but sometimes are afraid to speak first.The reward is often a treasure.Sometimes not but I find that is their problem not mine.We are on this planet a short while so make it sunny.

  6. This time of Corona seems to me a pause, a time for us to look at the totality of our actions and a time for us to heal the world. Seeing that pollution is decreasing in some of the areas of this planet; fish, swans and dolphins have returned to Venetian canals; and everywhere signs of the reversal of some of the damage we’ve done over centuries, shows me that we must think twice about going back to some of the things we’ve done before. My new normal will be a change in some of my actions. I will not be venturing out willy-nilly for frivolous things like window shopping, but will plan my outings with care and forethought. I will think about supporting small local businesses instead of the big box stores and I will try my best to be a good steward for this beautiful planet, Earth.

  7. I hope I can remember some aspects of life I have deemed rights are actually privileges. With privilege, there is responsibility.

    Stay well. Back in the day, Melanie Safka sang, “Id like to find a good book to live in.” I would like to live in yours.

  8. We don’t live close enough to our parents to see them that often in the usual run of things – maybe once every month or two.

    Now we’re all housebound (and I’m on maternity leave looking after a baby and toddler) we do daily “lunchtime picnics” where we eat on the floor, fire up a Zoom call and send an open invite to family to join us.

    My Mum always dials in, along with my Nan who she is caring for. My FIL usually does too, and some of our siblings often join us.

    I hope we continue using some of this technology to close the distance more often even once we are free to move freely again.

  9. I think enjoying a neighborhood walk without it being associated with an errand is going to continue. Usually I don’t just wander and stroll where ever the mood leads me, so the exploring is fun. My husband and kids found a waterfall the other day!

  10. Hi Grace
    My life has not changed drastically with all this because I have worked from home for the last 40 years. However the pace is much more relaxed, which is good, Long long ago in a previous life I was in a place i that needed helpful slogans and one that I used a lot ( to myself ) was How important is it? As life changed I needed slogans less and they got filed.
    I have been resurrected this saying in the last two months and it helps me pause and take a breath when I start winding myself up. I hope to hold onto it and retain the more relaxed approach as we return to the new normal.
    All the best. I very much enjoyed most recent duke and am looking forward to his brother’s story. Also anything else you write

  11. I am enjoying coronatime, to be honest. I am retired and spend a lot of time on the porch reading your books anyway. I did several volunteer activities pre-corona and I am not sure which of them I will reinitiate once it’s all over. I hope we do as Writer #6 said, and think of the totality of our actions for the world. It is remotely possible that this pause could bring good things, one hopes. It’s spring in Virginia, which is lovely and encouraging and reminds me of the eternal span of things, that I am a small part of something enormous, eternal and immensely peaceful, not just a tiny agitated speck in the midst of a pandemic. Also, I just had an accident and spent two days in the hospital. I am back home all safe, looking like that rocker from Kiss with all the horrible makeup(!) and so grateful to be here with Dukes to read about! I loved this post, Grace. It made me very happy to know that you are peaceful and safe as well. We all love you.

  12. Time away from loved ones has made me cherish them even more than I did, so what I take away from this isolation is the need to physically see them more, not virtually or just having contact through phone calls and texts. I have also rediscovered my love for jigsaw puzzles. Haven’t done one in years, and gave away all my old ones, so to the rescue! It’s relaxing, and can be done while watching TV or eating lunch or while conversing on the phone. I’ve been creating my own puzzles with my photos, as well, so am using a little bit of creativity, too. It’s great to focus on something so mundane and get lost in the beautiful puzzles, instead of constantly worrying about what is going on in the real world, at least for a little while each day.

  13. Your books are a lovely break from reality. Our office continues to serve patients. There have been hospital rounds, telehealth services, seeing patients outside. Spring weather has been a blessing with temperatures comfortable in high 70s to 80s but we all dread upcoming 90 degree weather. We’re scrambling to find new supply chains for basic hospital grade cleaners and PPE. I have enjoyed the sun and the outdoors more than I thought possible. Living with asthma in this current high risk environment has been stressful for me and my family. So, Grace, please know that I take your stories to work with me in my head, knowing that I will be continuing the lovely storyline after my shift. It soothes and distracts nicely. If I do eventually require quarantine, I trust the happy thoughts they bring will sustain me.

  14. I would keep the new morning routine for sure! My biorhythm has favored “sleep in and stay up late” my whole life. I have conquered it with rigid scheduling a time or two but could never sustained it.

    Right now I can sleep later and even when I have something going on early, I don’t have to go anywhere, all I need is to comb my hair and wear a respectable top.

    I look forward to retirement a year from now.

  15. Reading every day. Within the last month I found your books and have voraciously read through most of them as they become available on this super cool online library called Libby. I’m not sure what happened but I stopped reading for the longest time. As a young person trips to the library were the highlight of my week. I have happily rediscovered my love of reading thanks to you and author Dorothy Dunnett.

  16. We are very fortunate in that this virus has not directly impacted us. We are both seniors, mostly retired, and staying at home. The one thing I think I will keep doing once we are released from this situation is to continue to cook at home more. Our usual routine used to be eating out a couple of times a week, enjoying the leftovers a couple more days, which left too few days for me to creatively cook. Funny thing is that I LOVE to cook! But over the past few years I seem to have moved away from it. I guess cooking for just the two of us isn’t as much fun as cooking for the crowds I cook for when have friends over (sometimes more than 20 at one time!) or for family when my kids used to invite multiple friends over at dinner time. But cooking for just the two of us has its benefits….fewer likes and dislikes to take into account, for one! So I think I will keep up that “habit” once normal life resumes.

  17. This is a very interesting question. I think what I will miss are the lengthy phone chats with far flung family. And local friends, too, come to think of it.

    Almost everyone has LOTS of time to chat these days.

  18. I can’t wait for this book to come out, I’m a devoted fan. My days are blending into each other so, I really need a break. I have been doing genealogy and watching webinars.

  19. I belong to the swathes of immunosuppressed in the community. I am now working from home in Aus and we have had a really good community response to lockdown, now almost totally forgotten in the couple of weeks since restrictions have eased. I am keen still not to die so remain ensconced at home. This period has provided interesting insights. Both my husband and I are by nature solitary and I think we have thrived in this environment both as a couple and individually. It has provided uninterrupted work time devoid of frivolous chatter and interruption, plenty of reading time and lots of time to recall why we knew almost instantly nearly 30 yrs ago that we were well suited!! My garden is thriving. We see quite a lot of our closer group of friends via defined meeting times on Zoom rather than battling traffic on a Friday or Saturday night. Only down side has been paucity of time with our grown (live out) son. Got to be a downside I suppose.