My parents grew up during the Great Depression and then fought in and against the shortages of WWII. Mom tells me stories of not being able to get tires, sugar, flour, gasoline, shoes. My mother turned 93 on April 9th and told me she has gone through all this stuff before…but it’s been a long time. She is used to conserving and making do and not going anywhere.
Marc and I are too, to a certain extent. Marc is a master MacGyver—if there’s a way to figure out how to improvise something to work, he can usually do so. We’re too cheap to hire things out; we do it ourselves.
We’re used to staying home and in our older years, rarely socialize anymore. Since we only eat out about twice a year and don’t visit bars, the new regulations don’t bother us, excepting feeling so badly for all those impacted economically by lost jobs. While some react in horror to having to cook at home, it’s just another day around our place.
We are impacted by Marc’s cut in pay and hours, and the future of his job could eventually be in question depending upon what happens with the economy. Will people still build stuff? He’s had to adjust his way of overseeing his projects by doing business over the phone and computer and leaving for work at 3 p.m. on days he has to personally inspect things, so he avoids all people; then crawling home an exhausted twelve hours later at 3 a.m. He just informed me that he will have to work Sunday, driving to MN and back while no one else is working, so his schedule is constantly in a state of flux.
We are impacted by some shortages on grocery shelves around here but often confide to each other how lucky we are to be weathering this in a small, rural community. Our county has only had three cases of Covid, one of whom died immediately. People seem normal as they are out and about, albeit around half of them now wear masks. There are none of the lines you see on the national news.
It really helps to have property we can get out and work on, although so far, our spring weather hasn’t been conducive to doing much outdoors. We both agreed we’d be bonkers if cooped up in a small apartment like the one we lived in before we built our home here. Once it warms up, our list is long: pressure wash the house and posts, paint the posts, do some new plantings, weed and feed the lawn, fertilize everything, build the raised bed and plant the garden, put a coat of wax on the RV, reload the RV in the event we can ever use it this summer, finish the sunroom, build a fountain, put in an irrigation system, and build a section of fence on far lot border to keep out neighbor’s dog. Marc stops and starts work on the sunroom according to the temps, but it’s coming along. Another of his latest hobbies is building birdhouses in his basement “shop”.
We have friends who were RVing in Arizona for winter who now can’t make it back here and the animal shelter I volunteer for is really suffering from being shut down. I miss the comradery of the other gals. But for the most part, and thankfully, no one we know has been stricken with Covid, and I’m fairly certain all can afford to still put food of some sort upon their tables.
We’ve spent seven months cooped up indoors in a cold, wintery Wisconsin and if it turns out we can’t get out to enjoy some outdoor activities this summer I am going to be royally pissed off. Marc enjoys four weeks of vacation and we had already scheduled the breaks so no changing them now. Will it end up that all of them are spent in our own yard?
A bigger fear is the impact all this will have on the greater economy. I think it will be much greater than folks anticipate, since many seem to think with the flip of a switch, all life will return to what we were used to back before Covid. With major industries bleeding money however, it won’t be an easy turnaround to profitability. And woe to the people who have no savings and will go deeply in credit card debt that will take years or decades to pay off. And then what happens if/when all this hits “repeat” as Covid may come back again in winter, as they suspect it may?
I try hard to keep it all in perspective comparing myself to what others may be going through. So many have lost livelihoods, businesses, their financial wellbeing, their hopes and desires, and their very lives. How can I complain? It’s like World War II again: America will get through it, but not everyone will get through it.