Everything Is Fine; Thirty-Eight Weeks In

The first week of at-home schooling has been fine. So much better – oh my god, SO MUCH – than in the spring. For one thing, we finally bought my older son a laptop – my younger son has had one since seventh grade – and that right there was worth the price, times one thousand. Both boys can now work in their rooms, as opposed to my older son working on our desktop – the same desktop on which I am writing right this very moment – and my husband cobbling together a stand desk in our bedroom from an aerobics step and an upside-down Rubbermaid container.

Does that sound weird? It is weird. My husband still has to use this “stand desk” for the two hours a week that I’m teaching yoga from home, but mostly he is at the desk with his work laptop. Allow me to illustrate.

The stand desk.

Welcome to our “home office!” It’s a desk, right beside the gaming area and also home gym, hello open concept.

Gaming area is also attached to my library and the cardio machines (god I love those machines).

Cardio area, where I can watch the boys gaming if I want to be confused as to what they are doing. Anyone want to talk about Peloton with me? I feel like I’ve happily joined a sweaty cult.

The weight area, also the place where I teach zoom yoga from home.

IPad setup for zoom yoga, beside the laundry area.

Not one but TWO drum kits, one acoustic and one electric, the electric one being used any time someone actually has to hear anything else in the house. Not that I’m complaining! I love listening to my son drum. He’s learning In The Air Tonight and I have been waiting for that moment all my life.

Guitar cases and also a small peek into the storage/ pantry room.

The acquisition of the new laptop has made an enormous difference in our domestic harmony; my husband takes over the basement during working hours – except when I’m teaching – and the boys are in their rooms. The school is, of course, so much better equipped to handle at-home learning and although some of their option courses are a little strange to take online – mechanics, for example, and sports performance, both of which my younger son is in – mostly it’s fine. It’s fine! It’s fine.

When my community centre classes went online a few weeks ago (WAS it a few weeks ago, time has lost all meaning) I was given the option of teaching from home or teaching at the completely empty community centre, and I chose the latter because OUTING.

Speaking of outings, last week I took a deep breath and decided to do One More Costco Run, The Last Until After Christmas on my usual grocery shopping day. When I do Costco and Superstore on the same day, it typically means that, even at top efficiency, Grocery Shopping And Putting Away The Groceries is, at minimum, three hours from start to finish. I chugged a green smoothie, popped my vitamins, drank a pot of coffee, and I was ready.

I was…surprised. If you need to shop at Costco in December, may I suggest going the week AFTER lockdown restrictions are announced? I can only assume that the entire city was in Panic Buying Mode the week previous, and now have no room left in their pantries and freezers. The parking lot was so quiet that I actually looked at my watch, phone, AND the car clock to ensure that I was here at a normal time, and not, you know, in the middle of the night. Time has lost all meaning. The store was as quiet as it’s ever been, it was quiet for Pre-Pandemic Times. In December. Carpe diem, I shopped the hell out of that store and then zipped over to Superstore, where it was also eerily quiet. Everything is fine. It’s fine.

Usually on Wednesdays, after my grocery shop, I look with great satisfaction at the fridge and pantry, thinking look at all this beautiful produce, look at this delicious healthy food, look at all these ingredients with which to prepare all the meals which I have lovingly planned out. This motherly feeling of accomplishment and abundance can last up to five days, at which point I look in the fridge and wonder what happened to all the grapes, they were meant for school snacks, and what kind of ravenous garbage monsters do I live with. This is a similar feeling to that which I get 24 to 36 hours after I lovingly bake muffins or snack loaf so that it comes out of the oven just before the boys get home from school, greeting them with scrumptious scents and warm baking, when I look at the tin and see nothing but crumbs or perhaps an errant chocolate chip.

This week was different.

It was only when I finished rearranging the fridges, freezers, pantry, and cupboards to make room for my grocery acquisitions that I looked around and thought okay, this is getting weird now. I have crossed the line from I’m just being prepared to I think I might be a crazy person. I would not blame you for looking askance at me and my forty kilograms of flour, three Costco-sized bags of chocolate chips, five crunchy peanut butters, five jars of salsa, and four and a half cases of almond milk.

What I’m saying is, I don’t need to buy staples for a while.

I need to remind myself, apparently, that the supply chain is strong and vigorous, and that there IS NO SHORTAGE OF ANYTHING AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE. Even my Just Nuts Crunchy Peanut Butter is, after many weeks, back in stock. JUST CALM DOWN, NICOLE. Anyway, my goal for the next month is to just buy produce and other perishables and work my way down through my massive stock of staples. It’s fine. Everything is fine.

Case in point: I was making tacos, and there was only one shell in the box in the kitchen. I wrote taco shells on my grocery list and went downstairs to fetch my spare box in the pantry. Except there were THREE spare boxes. It was with great strength of will that I crossed taco shells off my list. THERE IS NO TACO SHORTAGE.

This pandemic is messing with my mental state in many ways.

It doesn’t, for example, take a PhD in psychology to see what’s REALLY going on with my recent obsession with all the shoes and boots in this house, and the purchase of several shoe and boot racks, and the subsequent reorganization of all the closets in which shoes and boots reside. If someone was tracking my movements and purchases, they might see that this recent project was positively correlated with the recent school shutdown and the subsequent result that Everyone Is Home All The Time.

Side note: most of the footwear is mine, and all of it Sparks Joy, so not one pair has been purged, but they are all very neatly organized on one of the five shoe/ boot racks purchased in the last couple of weeks (has it been a couple of weeks? Time has lost all meaning.). Although, I should mention that when a shoe rack advertises that it “holds nine pair” that does not account for the fact that my younger son has size twelve feet and therefore any rack with his shoes on it yields a much different result. It’s fine. It’s all fine.

Everything is fine, and if anyone needs pantry staples, I’m your huckleberry.

Pandemic Reading

This was so interesting; a very comprehensive study about the “Spanish” flu (a misnomer, the pandemic actually started at an army training camp in Kansas, and from there travelled to France during the latter months of the war, but since Spain was neutral and did not censor its media, it was assumed that the flu was of Spanish origin). This discussed health implications, economic implications, how the pandemic became a global one, the rise of public health care, and how the war was affected by soldiers falling ill in the trenches. Absolutely fascinating. Am I recommending it to you? I don’t know. I would absolutely NOT have been open to reading it six months ago, but I was in the right stage to do so now.

Photo from 1920, 100 years ago!

This was published in 2017, so it’s interesting to see the “future pandemic” scientific protocols, when we are living it.

This was SO good, thanks to Allison (HI ALLISON) for the long-ago recommendation. I am not telling you one single thing about it because I want you to be as surprised as I was.

My Christmas baking this week consisted of sugar cookies and peanut butter truffles. Melt together 2 cups peanut butter and 1/4 cup refined coconut oil. Add some vanilla (I freestyle, probably 1-2 tsp) and 2 cups icing sugar. Chill until able to work into balls, at which point the balls go on wax paper-lined cookie sheets in the freezer. Melt 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips with 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, dip the balls in the mixture, and freeze again. Easy peasy.



  1. Those bookshelves! I want those bookshelves.

  2. EVERYTHING IS FINE. You know, I think, that I relate to all of this so hard. Especially the taco shells; we had tacos on Friday and I had to go grocery shopping Saturday so I immediately replaced the taco shells we had eaten. Even though I did have backups; always have a backup.

    So glad to hear remote learning is going better!!!! (It is here, too. So far.)

    And your Phil Collins joke make me literally laugh out loud. (“Why are you laughing at your phone, Mommy?” says Carla, during her synchronous music class.)

  3. Just commenting to say I loved this post and am greatly reassured that everything will be just fine :).

  4. I am envious of your book collection. Not at all surprised by it. The Phil Collins bit was perfect.

    Our schools provide our high schoolers (3) and 7th grader (1) with laptops. Otherwise what a shit show this would be. They just started handing them out to kids for the school year a few years ago, thank goodness! Glad everyone at your house now has their own spot now. I enjoyed the tour of your open concept.

    Those truffles sound delicious, and the photos of your bakes goods made me drool.

    I can’t seem to get into a regular grocery routine lately. I’m not sure what started it, maybe quarantine? Maybe it’s because I send a teenager to the store for the few things I need between big shopping runs. I haven’t been to Costco since before we quarantined so we ran out of syrup. That is a travesty in this house. How to eat an Eggo without syrup? Anyway, I am having a tough time tracking what we need from the store, I get home and realize we need something I missed. So irritating.

  5. I’m so happy that the E-learning is going well. Shared computers is always an iffy situation.
    I loved the tour of your home/work/gym/laundry. You’ve managed to work it all in well. I lol’d at your husbands standing desk too!
    “what kind of ravenous garbage monsters do I live with”. That made me giggle; you live with growing boys, that’s the kind of monsters you live with. 😉
    I always assumed you were referring to Costco when you said “superstore”. So, is Target or Walmart what you call Superstore?

    • Hi Suz! No, it is a big grocery store, and its full name is Real Canadian Superstore, which is probably why you haven’t heard of it! We don’t – gasp! – have Target up here. Well, we did briefly but it was a big failure, and apparently nothing like the glorious shopping experience it is in the States. I’m a little jealous of your Target!

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