The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Vicki Sternfeld-Rossi
the Times 

Social distance, yes! -but I won't be a hermit


March 26, 2020

Vicki Sternfeld-Rossi

A well stocked bar is a shelter in place must-have at Sternfeld-Rossi's house.

I am not complaining about our "new normal;" I believe the doctors and the scientists, I will adhere to social distancing guidelines, I have been washing my hands until they are raw, I will not travel, I will do my best to help mitigate the spread of this virus. But I will not succumb to becoming a couch potato or a hermit.

I am luckier than so many; I don't have children in school, no worries about day care, home schooling, aging parents or compromised immune systems. I have a fully stocked bar and wine cellar, pantry items are abundant (habits from living in earthquake country), a freezer stocked for at least a month and, most comforting, I live with my own personal chef who can turn anything into a delicious meal.

I do believe spring is really approaching now. Those tough daffodils made it through the Ides of March surprise blizzard; (no kings died, just some flowers), now they are blooming as they should be. So, I will be tough as well, which is not easy considering my indoor tennis venues, the Y and our Waitsburg gym have all closed. But I am reminded of the lyric from the Broadway show 42nd Street "...every situation has it's sunny side." With no reason to drive to the tennis club in the Tri-Cities I won't get another speeding ticket, I'm saving money on gas, I'm not running into Costco and spending more than I expected to. (An obvious hazard when Costco shopping).

However, a minor downside, I no longer have a reason to procrastinate; so I guess it's time to get my taxes ready for the accountant, spring clean, catch up with some of the paperwork I have been meaning to deal with, and of course, continue closet cleaning to make room for more of Daniel's clothes, books and kitchen equipment.

One benefit of the gym closures is that my neighbor has become my running buddy. Now that the weather is turning warmer, it feels good to be outdoors, social (while keeping our prescribed distance) and our runs are rewarded by a great feeling of accomplishment. We love seeing the green unfolding on the trees, the wheat fields and lawns and of course, most important, we burn calories so we can eat more!

Walking Mugsy, my dog, around town, to the post office or a quick run into Ten Ton for a cup of tea, also helps to keep me connected with friends and neighbors. Instead of traveling to visit friends, you can stay connected with Facetime, Skype or other phone/computer applications. And, if you don't know how to use those applications, just ask a 10-year-old, they're home from school now and can probably assist, (from a distance, and make sure if they're touching your phone or computer, wash hands)!

I read a column by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times this morning. He was writing about the changes in the world since he wrote his book The Earth is Flat, in 2004. He reminded us that words like twitter, tweet, skype, facetime, texting, swipe, Facebook, blogging, either didn't exist or had a different meaning than we think of today. And now we can add to that list: "social distancing" and "new normal."

So, I will run with Renee today, we will keep our appropriate distance, after which maybe I will start to work on my taxes, enjoy some sunshine in my back yard while I actually read a book and be entertained watching Daniel build bookshelves, and listen to his frustration as he curses our crooked, unlevel house. Then, it'll be time to have another delicious meal, a nice glass of wine, watch some mindless TV and continue to live my "new normal."


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