Aren’t we all dreaming of putting 2020 to rest with a final Click! ?
If you think about it, it’s not THAT much of a surprise that the world would experience a pandemic that shut down life as we know it. Yet, I’d say almost all of us were not ready for such an experience. (Preppers, I know, a situation like this has been on your radar. But you are a small demographic.) A pandemic was not really on my radar.
And then it did happen. Wow, what lessons we have learned! It started – for me – on March 12. I was in Wegmans picking up some extra supplies because things were suddenly getting a little weird. Mr. Gordon had dropped me off and went to Wal-Mart to get five-gallon jugs of water for the water cooler. (Our water is safe to drink, but has a high content of iron and Mr. Gordon doesn’t care for the taste.)
I went into Wegmans. It was just bizarre. The store was packed yet very, very quiet. People with carts quickly zoomed the aisles, grabbing stuff off the shelves. What the hell? And then I caught the whiff of something new in the air, something I had never experienced: mass fear.
Holy crap. I better grab some stuff, too.
While I didn’t go crazy, I did pick up more staples than planned. I was concerned before… Now I switched to, “should I be more afraid?” I texted Mr. Gordon about my experience at Wegs. Same at Wallys. He had better luck at Lowe’s.
I did have one interesting experience in the canned tuna section. Wegs offers individual cans of tuna and family packs. We always buy the family pack of cans because it’s a few cents cheaper and a can of tuna is good to have on hand.
There was One. Family pack. Left. A man was near it. He was in front of the shelf, the pack right there. Should I reach around for it? Is he going for it? He glanced at me. I glanced at the family pack of tuna. He looked at it. He slowly reached for it. As he put it into his cart, he said something like, “pretty crazy, huh?”
“Yeah.” I looked at the tuna in his cart. We made a couple of other nervous comments and I turned my attention to the individual cans.
Every region has its grocery store. Wegmans is often labeled as having a “cult following” – which is pretty much true. In fact, when we were looking for our little home and land, we wanted to make sure we were in at least a 30-minute drive of a Wegmans. Sound crazy? Well, Wegmans can be an experience. And, it’s unusual that it’s ever OUT of anything – certainly not anything crucial, like toilet paper. But on that shopping day, it was. And it was out of this, out of that. It was unnerving.
Okay, so enough of that March 12th recap. You probably had a similar experience at some point.
After that wake-up call, we stopped making assumptions (admittedly Mr. Gordon had been feeling and thinking about this for awhile) about what would always be there. We looked at our own security and lifestyle. Certain things could definitely be improved.
We returned to better planning our food purchases (especially in light of the poor gardening year) and ordered a new chest freezer. I work for a company out of Cedar Rapids so my job is already remote. Mr. Gordon switched to working remotely when his company told employees to stay at home. Because of this, we decided that we would finally take the plunge and bring home chickens. There was a “run on chickens” in light of the pandemic – again, I didn’t see that one coming – and we weren’t able to get all of the breeds we planned on, but we love our girls. They are still keeping us in eggs.
There are several local farmers we buy from. We made it a priority to plan big meat purchases this year (“beef boxes,” pork bundles, chicken bundles). It not only saves some money when you purchase in bulk, but its one way to stock up and not depend on the grocery store weekly or monthly. (That night in Wegmans when the shelves were emptying, the meat was going fast, too.)
We had the luxury of ordering some items from Amazon. Did you see some of the prices? Good grief, THAT proved if you are not better stocked up you’ll get raked over the coals pricewise on some items.
We have spent the past year stocking up here and there. No, there’s no three years of food supply in a pantry or MREs. I will admit to having some non-traditional food items, like this Hooiser Hill powdered milk, which by the way, if you mix it in a blender, is not bad for milk in your coffee!
Canned goods and some jarred foods we always have in stock, but we beefed up in some other areas – like toilet paper. I don’t know what it’s like in your region, but our store still limits a lot of paper and cleaning product purchases.
To further reduce our need to go out to the grocery store to limit our exposure to others, we started using Misfits Market and that’s been great. We’ve received two boxes so far (we are getting the delivery every other week) and it’s totally worth it. (I made an “unboxing video” here.)
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And still, with our “better stocked pantry,” we know how fragile our food system remains. I won’t even start on preserving our food (freezing/refrigeration) and our dependence on electricity. We have solar panels on our roof, yes, but we are still tied to the grid. We did look into a battery back-up this year but it was way out of our price-range.
This is where we need to take our own advice: Do what you can, knowing that you can’t do it all. Don’t focus on what you cannot do, but definitely do what you can.
So, as we go into the new year I know that the pandemic will still be with us for awhile. But with the good work of our scientific community I believe that we’ll get past it in 2021. And, this experience will help us be better prepared the next time we have something like this to face. Making lifestyle changes and rearranging priorities will help us better weather whatever storms come our way.
What are you doing differently now that you were not doing in January 2020? Are you doing more of something, less of something? What’s your priority and how are you going to build on your preparedness in 2021? We ‘d love to hear about it!
Drop us a note in the comment below!
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Thanks for sharing this trip down memory lane back to March when our lives turned upside down. While we now stock up on some hard to find items like paper products, our shopping habits haven’t changed that much. I do shop for some neighbors who don’t feel as secure going out. We both worked from home for a few months and I received some unemployment benefits for the first time ever. We rely on takeout meals from our favorite local eateries instead of dining out and so miss live music. But these changes are insignificant compared to what many others are facing. We look forward to 2021 with optimism for the future.
Merry Christmas to you and Gordon!
Hi Cindy! Thank you so much for taking time to stop by! I know today is a busy day for many. 🙂
What a year, indeed. I bet you and Jim have felt the impact of missing live music. You both are usually on the go-go-go when it comes to seeking out such venues! Let’s hope by next summer there will be some opportunities at least for some smaller outdoor events.
Miss seeing you, although Zoom was fun. We all should do that again soon!
Merry Christmas to you and Jim! <3
We experienced many of the shortages and concerns you expressed here on the West Coast as well. All of that was (and in some ways still is) quite annoying. On the plus side, because of lockdowns and remote work/learning, we made the leap to buying a home on property! This was not on our radar for another five years. And we all agree, it’s been the best decision of the year.
This year we’ve missed out on planned vacations and some annual traditions, but really when we look at the big picture, it’s not been the most terrible of years for our family. We’ve enjoyed the extra time together. I’ve loved having my husband home more. His work has had him traveling (a night here, a few nights there) for almost 20 years. This year he was able to be home for multiple months with no travel. It was awesome. Travel has picked back up, but it’s nothing compared to what it had been. And we’ve managed to still see most of our family members and closest friends in safe ways…meeting up for walks or small outdoor gatherings. It’s not been as easy or as frequent as it used to be, but I’ll take it. I think if we couldn’t see close family and friends, that would have made this a very difficult year.
Wishing you and your husband a healthy and happy New Year!
Hi Bekah – isn’t it wild how the pandemic contributed to “leaps” like you described? (Buying your country home and land and moving?) Just the other day I was telling a friend that for as challenging and scary as this year has been, there have been some milestones/goals reached and good things along the way.
I totally get it about having more time with your husband. What’s been really great for us is having lunch together frequently during the week. This is something we never did when we both worked outside the home, so I’ve been enjoying that.
While I know that Mr. Gordon and I have been extremely fortunate (kept our jobs, work safely from home, etc.) the pandemic “rules and regs” of this new way of living have taken its toll. At a minimum, it’s stressful. There are things we didn’t do (because we couldn’t) and things we wanted to do but did not because they weren’t the “right” things to do during this time. I miss silly little things, like having the occasional Saturday breakfast at a local family restaurant, or going to the Christkindl Market this year (there wasn’t one). Of course the bigger family gatherings during the holidays so many missed out on this year.
But, that’s the way of it and it doesn’t do any good to dwell. My personality keeps me looking forward. 🙂
Here’s to a happy, healthy 2021 for all! May you and your family have much love and happiness in the coming year, Bekah. Happy New Year!