Lockdown Laments: If We Had Only Known

Early on, there was a slow trickle of information on the coronavirus, but when the storm blew into our world it was a full-on gale. And even though we fancy ourselves as good planners, the pandemic and subsequent lockdown caught us totally by surprise.

It’s now been six weeks of isolation, and more and more we find ourselves thinking: If we had only known

Luckily, the two of us are healthy, and we’re comfortable in our small apartment so we have no serious complaints. But still, looking back we might have done a few things differently.

1. Restaurant Regrets: Our last restaurant meal was lunch at a fast-food burger joint. Had we realized that it might be our last chance to dine out for months we would have eaten like it was our last meal on death row. Bring me one of everything!  If we had only known.

2. Foraging for Food: As the virus made its first jump outside China, we were two weeks from departure on a month-long trip to South Africa. As always before a long trip, we were eating our way through the refrigerator and pantry and deliberately not re-stocking supplies. So when the stay-at-home order came, our stripped-bare pantry had us scrambling around town with the hoarders like prepper wannabes. If we had only known.

3. Snatching up Toilet Paper: We’ve read opinions from economists and clinical psychologists explaining why the world hoarded TP when this whole business started. But take it from people who know, it’s easy to feel superior to TP hoarders when you have a few rolls. If it wasn’t a priority before, it certainly is now. If we had only known.

4. Puzzle Price Gouging: Even before the lockdown, we were fans of jigsaw puzzles, so we had a few on hand. But given all the bored-at-home crowds, the law of supply and demand kicked in, and the online price of puzzles shot into the stratosphere. One of our daily chores is checking Amazon for new shipments before they zoom off the cyber shelf. If we had only known.

5. Hug-Deprived: There are huggers and non-huggers, and after a few hug-less weeks, we know where we fit. We get lots of hugs at home of course, but when it comes to family and friends we really miss a warm embrace. In fact, we think that hugs are one of the “bear” necessities.

6. Sacrificed Air Fares: As we mentioned, our South Africa trip was cancelled, and a travel world in chaos as well as non-refundable plane tickets mean we may or may not be able to use them before expiration dates. Major bucks are involved, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed, but we’re not terribly hopeful. If we had only known.

7. The Bandana Shortage: There’s always an old bandana stuffed in the bottom drawer somewhere … isn’t there? It took a pandemic and face mask shortage to teach us that sometimes one can be a tad overzealous in downsizing. If we had only known.

8. Face-Rubbing Habit: You never miss it ’til it’s gone. When we see the backside of Covid-19 we’re going to scratch our noses and rub our eyes every chance we get. If we had only known.

* * *

Is it unshorn locks, cracked nails, or an urgent need for a tattoo? What would you have done if you’d only known?

Good Health and Happy Trails,
James & Terri

Photo credits: 1.  Jasmin Sessler 2.  Mgg Vitchakorn 3. John Cameron  4.  Hello I’m Nik  5. Hans-Peter Gauster 6.  Eye for Ebony 8. Helena Lopes 


Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

84 thoughts

  1. 🤔
    Alie never considered herself much of a hugger, but now she would totally agree with #5. Fortunately we have each other.
    I expected toilet paper supplies to increase as the weeks went on but they did not; it turns out the machinery to make commercial grade toilet paper is different from that for household use so there is also a supply chain problem.

    1. Ray, this whole TP situation has been comical, at least it was after we located some TP. And your point about the supply chain is a good one. I listened to a recent Freakonomics podcast on the production, supply chain, consumer side of the food/groceries shortage that was revealing. If you have an interest you might want to check it out. And BTW, go give Alie a hug. 🙂 ~James

  2. interesting thing to consider – just before it began, i had a haircut and visited my sister in arizona. i wish i had hugged and visited as many of my loved ones as possible. i feel happy that i was able to at least do some of this, and things have gone downhill since then )

    1. Beth, luckily we had just made a big sweep of out-of-town family and friend visits and we’re still amazed and happy that it happened that way. As for hugging, Terri and I have always been huggers, but we’re now realizing what a comforting addition it is in social contact and how much we miss it. We’ve never taken it for granted, but we’ll think even more about it in the future. ~James

  3. What a fun list and I can relate to so many. Missed grandkids is the hardest for me! However I’d add one if you don’t mind – all those ill thought out and spontaneous purchases I’m not making and saving money because of it – if only I remember😊

    1. Carol, there’s lots of financial pain to go around during the crisis, but your point about saving money on shopping is a good one that I don’t see mentioned much. Also, one thing that we’ve talked about it how much cheaper it is to cook at home vs. eat out. Maybe this is one of the hard-to-find silver linings. ~James

    1. Lucky you on just making a TP run. 🙂 Prepping for being away for a month really did have us stripped down on food and supplies, so we had to scramble. And I think lots of us will come out of this more “hug-aware.” Take care of yourself and loved ones, and be well. ~James

  4. I probably would have just stayed at my parents’ house, I moved out in January after saving up to move to a big city so I have to pay rent now (granted the move was overdue). Also, I would have gotten my mose pierced because I’ve wanted to for the past couple years but my last job wouldn’t have liked it.

    1. Jenna, thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. I’m sure that many of us are having these conversations with ourselves as we sit at home with too much time on our hands. And I’m sure there are lots of experiments going on as well: I’ve always wanted to try a beard … or longer hair. Sorry about your missing out on a pierced nose, but in this case, I’d say: “Don’t try this at home.” 🙂 Take care and be well. ~James

      1. I definitely did a temp dye job… Now is the time to try some of that stuff but piercing is not one of those. 😬 My job now lets me so I can get one when things open back up.

  5. We were expecting a house full for Spring Break here, so we had loaded up on TP, food, drinking supplies. They cancelled at the last minute so we were in great shape to shelter in place. We are having our groceries delivered. We are lucky to live in a great place and with each other, but we do miss our family and friends. We’ve Zoomed and FaceTimed quite a bit.

    1. It’s great to hear from you Brenda, and we’re glad to hear you and Larry are doing well. We just talked to E&K and they were telling us about your “zoomage” and giving us as update. Too bad about Spring Break, but I’m sure you’re doing the happy dance with a house-full of supplies. Take care of yourselves and stay safe. ~J&T

  6. What a creative post that we can relate to! And your last line hits home: my unshorn locks are absolutely frightful. Who knew that a beauty salon would be on the non-essential list! Of course, I am saving money. But at what greater expense? No one would even want to trick-or-treat at this residence — we could scare away anyone!

    1. Rusha, I can see the post title now: “Shags are back!” 🙂 Luckily, when Terri and I lived in Sudan, by necessity, we learned how to cut each other’s hair. Well, that’s not totally true – Terri does a wonderful job on me, and I just tidy her up a bit. And as I grow older, hair maintenance is less and less of a problem. You and Bert take care of yourselves. ~James

  7. Funny post. Still chuckling on number 7 😂

    I would have gone to my favorite Vietnamese nail salon for a pedicure and maybe pay extra for a full spa, also eyebrow wax… if only had I known 😩 and my son could’ve gotten a shorter haircut. Oh and that $169 chest freezer at Sam’s club that I always ignore? I wish I got that. And I miss the Indian buffet.

    1. Anna, we’re definitely with you on the Indian buffet. We’ve tried a few things at home, particularly saag paneer, but there’s some magic or fairy dust they use at the Indian restaurant that we can’t duplicate. And just so you know, we consider it a mark of a civilized city if they have a really authentic Indian buffet. I really must stop thinking about Indian food right now! 🙂 Take care of yourself and be well. ~James

  8. Anna, we’re definitely with you on the Indian buffet. We’ve tried a few things at home, particularly saag paneer, but there’s some magic or fairy dust they use at the Indian restaurant that we can’t duplicate. And just so you know, we consider it a mark of a civilized city if they have a really authentic Indian buffet. I really must stop thinking about Indian food right now! 🙂 Take care of yourself and be well. ~James

  9. I enjoyed your list! I only just heard about wooden Wentworth puzzles. They look so nice, I put them on the list for Christmas presents since I can’t get them now.

    1. Pam, I hadn’t seen these. They’re pretty fancy and very nice, and given what regular paper puzzles are going for these days, the price isn’t bad either. Hopefully, the dust will have settled by Christmas. ~James

      1. Agreed! I like how there are a few pieces in special shapes related to the puzzle. They are really works of art. You can get them on Amazon when things get back to normal. 🙂

  10. The more I read about TP shortage in the USA, the more I wonder why on earth? We’ve also got food aplenty in the neighborhood, and I have to figure if my plane ticket to Chicago can be put on hold. I do dream of my hairdresser at night though …

  11. I read your comment about the airline fare and wanted to let you know that we came home last month and had to cancel over 35 flights involving 23 airlines. In every case we got either vouchers or refunds (most still pending). The key is to keep emailing or calling (if you can get through) the airline no matter what their policy says. In a number of cases when I emailed numerous addresses associated with the airline we were able to get refunds when their policy said only vouchers. We also got an extension of the vouchers in 2 cases. We’ll still lose some money but persistence pays off. Also, wait to see if your flight is actually cancelled because many airlines handle cancelled flights different than ones you just can’t take.
    Good luck and be safe.

    1. Thanks for the comment and suggestions. With 23 cancelled flights under your belt, you obviously speak with some authority. Actually, we haven’t lost any money yet, and if there’s any way, we’d love to be able to just reschedule the trip in the fall. But we had a hopscotch itinerary to South Africa, so given the different countries involved it just may be impossible to pull off. As for refunds, all our tickets were non-refundable so refunds may not be in the cards. We have Delta tix in the US, and they have issued e-vouchers good until 2022. The remaining tix are on LATAM and they are more problematic. Some flights have been canceled, some not. In the meantime, we have e-credits for the cancelled flights. LATAM is taking it one step at a time and changing their policy from one week to the next, so we’ll see. But, you make a really good point about persistence and being a squeaky wheel. Before we lose any actual money or credit, we’ll do exactly as you say. Thanks again for the suggestions. Take care of yourself and loved ones, and be well. ~James

  12. Being retired, I haven’t had to change my lifestyle much other than wearing a face mask and latex gloves to grocery shop. It wasn’t until my daughter posted a photo of my 7 y.o. grandson that it dawned on me how others have been impacted in so many ways. It showed him sitting on the sofa with some construction paper under his arm. His mom asked, “What have you made?” To which he replied, “I can’t see any of my friends, so I made one to play with.” From the mouths of babes…

    1. What a poignant comment from a young person, Mike. And I’m sure he doesn’t have the market cornered on imaginary friends these days. James and I have been talking about what will be the long term impact on kids going forward. What attitudes, behaviors, and memories will they carry into adulthood after the pandemic?
      And you mentioned the new behavior of wearing a face mask. I’ve learned how much we all rely on a smile when greeting others or communicating wordlessly. Now I watch peoples’ eyes to try to figure out what they’re thinking. And for me, who depends on lip reading due to hearing loss, I’m in trouble if someone starts talking to me while wearing a mask!
      So glad to hear that you and Florence are doing OK. Wishing you both all the best, Terri

  13. On hindsight… we would have done our sightseeing in Florida in January or February, instead of focusing on work in January and February and anticipating “seeing and doing stuff” in March. We’re not too bummed about it, though. I don’t think we missed much.

    Like you, I do wish we went out for a fantastic dinner before COVID-19. We rarely go out, but usually splurge ourselves once a month or so and I do miss that. I’m not a hugger, so no problems there. And, we cut each other’s hair and rarely see family and friends anyway.

    We only had one bandanna in the camper van as we drove through New Jersey on the way to Massachusetts and wanted to stock up on food. Face coverings were mandatory in NJ, so only one of us went in to do the grocery shopping.

    Like you, but for different reasons, we didn’t have supplies when the pandemic broke out. We have little room, so we always eat “everything”, before shopping again. That was a bit of an issue when we encountered empty shelves. Luckily, we are not picky and the fresh produce (which is what we eat most) has never been depleted.

    Loved the post! 🙂 Take care and I hope the plane tickets will ether be used or refunded.

    1. Liesbet, thanks for the update on how you guys have fared. I enjoy hearing of your experiences and opinions while roaming around the US during this crisis. Your comment brought to mind the issue of border crossings between states in the US. Having border-crossing issues to worry about is totally new here, and it will be telling to see how it goes in the future.

      One thing this crisis has highlighted is the concept of federalism that’s built into our constitution, and what it really means to each state vs the federal government. So far, I’m happy that most of our state governors are handling the crisis in a responsible manner and exercising their authority, instead of listening to the politicians in Washington, who frequently seem to have their own agenda. Take care of yourselves and be well. ~James

      1. Thanks, James. The three of us are now safe and well in Massachusetts, staying in a detached room, away from family. You’ll be able to read our report on Sue and Dave’s website next Friday as well. 🙂 The way this pandemic and the reactions of officials have played out is nothing but interesting. And so is the social aspect of stimulus checks and unemployment solutions…

  14. Yes, if we had only known! Since we live in a small space, I don’t allow supplies to accumulate. I like to allow provisions to dwindle, do some cleaning, reorganizing and then restock. When this all started, I never imaged the hoarding and didn’t start shopping soon enough and found myself down to my last 2 rolls of toilet paper, 1 roll of paper towels, and a cupboard short on canned goods. If I had only known, I would’ve stocked up 2 weeks sooner. Ah, such is life, and regardless, we won’t go hungry 😎

    1. Ingrid, we also live in a small space, and with our trip planning, our shelves really were bare. I would stand with the pantry door open and joke: “Will it be pickles or peanut butter?” Like you, we generally use the “just in time” shopping technique and don’t keep much on hand, but now we try to minimize trips to the grocery so we have our larder a bit fuller than normal.

      But, you’re absolutely right that we won’t go hungry, and hopefully, we’re all learning a few lessons to take forward. Two rolls of TP? I would have been sweating bullets! 🙂 Take care of yourself. ~James

  15. I’m hoping they designate the nurseries as an essential. We grow our own tomatoes and a lot of vegetables every year.
    Sure hope you get something back on those plane tickets. What a bummer!

    1. Leslie, in KY the nurseries are open for business, and in fact, are relatively busy … in a social-distancing sorta way. We hope to buy a few herbs for pots on our deck, but we’re waiting for the end of frost threats. Personal gardens seem a much better idea than trips to the market, so I’m surprised the nurseries aren’t open where you live. Best of luck with your veggies. ~James

      1. I would imagine I could phone them up and make an order. Just haven’t tried it yet. There’s still a threat of frost here too..

  16. Great wrap up. We moved our trip to Kauai from April to October. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to go. So glad to hear you all are okay.

    1. Linda, we’re hoping to reschedule our trip to South Africa in Sept/Oct, but it won’t surprise us if we can’t pull it off. With the reversed seasons in the southern hemisphere, who knows what will be going on by then. But, we have fingers crossed as well. Take care of yourself. ~James

  17. If I had only known, I would have celebrated my 60th birthday back in February, instead of last week. Instead of my usual modest birthday party, I would have thrown a huge bash, inviting distant relatives and even friends-of-friends. There would have been lots of hugs, handshakes, and passing of the communal tequila bottle. Blowing out my 60 candles would have taken a dozen blows and no shortage of spittle. Oh well, there’s always next year!

    1. Joe, your party sounds like a Covid-calamity that would have set off alarms all the way to the CDC in Atlanta, and you’d have your own number-of-infected graph on their website. But, it sounds like a helluva good time. Happy belated 60, and you’re right, there is always next year. ~James

  18. Since I am from New Orleans, I defaulted to “hurricane preparedness” mode. I bought non-perishable food items…canned stuff we never eat, lots of peanut butter, batteries, and individually wrapped snacks. Why I assumed the virus would shut down our power supply is beyond me. I bought only two small canisters of sanitizing wipes, and I filled the car tank with gasoline to evacuate. Where, who knows? The tank is still full. If only I had known, I would have bought ice cream, seafood to freeze, fresh fruits and veggies and sanitizing products.
    The other crazy impulse buy was a box of rat traps online. At the same time the tigers at the Bronx Zoo were diagnosed with COVID19, rats began roaming the now-vacant French Quarter in search of food. Even though the city was handling the rat problem, panic mode set in as I jumped from point A to point C and assumed scientists would connect fleas from rats to the pandemic. I’m happy to report that I have calmed down, my family is fine, and we are lucky to have food, our health, a roof over our heads, electricity, and NO RATS!

    1. Thanks for the comment Kathleen and for dropping by the blog. Your comment is very funny and I had a few really good chuckles. We lived in NOLA and at the beach in St. Augustine, FL so we know all about hurricane prep and the threat of evacuation. And I must admit that in a hurricane I was always more concerned about losing power, and more importantly, the AC, but in this emergency TP was top of mind. In your defense though, a full tank is always a good idea even if there’s nowhere to go. As for rats in the Quarter, remember they are the seven millionth generation and were there long before humans showed up, so they feel they have a right to be there – tourists or no. In the meantime, I’m pleased to hear that you and your family are comfortable, well-fed, safe, and free of rats. Thanks again for the comment. It was a pleasure to read. Take care of yourself and be well. ~James

  19. I’m not so much worried about now, James. We live in a beautiful location, are well stocked (we had just made a trip to Cosco before the lockdown and had bought one of those huge packages of TP, forgetting that we already had one in storage:)), and the local restaurants are offering great take-out. We did have to cancel a Central America trip, however, and I doubt seriously we will be doing our Rhine River trip this summer, however. So, like you, and so many of our traveling friends we have had our wings clipped! I’m thinking about another RV trip, however. That’s where we can totally control our own environment. I do worry about the future. Too many things are on edge in they country. –Curt

    1. Curt, I’m glad to hear all is going well with you and Peggy, and that your TP supply is good. 😉 As you say, these are unsettling times and even under the best of circumstances there are lots of unknowns and much uncertainty in our future. I’m certain that this virus will have a vaccine developed, and it will get to be another of our seasonal diseases, but there’s sure to be lots of pain until we get there.

      And like you, one of our first trips will probably be camping. In fact, most of our trips this year may be. All the state parks are closed in our area, but I suspect they will re-open, at least on a limited basis, this summer. I’m sure the National Parks out west will open as well. As we’ve discussed, camping and hiking is great social distancing. In the meantime, take care of yourself and be well. ~James

      1. There is actually some great backpacking trails 5-10 miles from where we live, James. We will probably start there. And I am already beginning to think about places we can travel to in our van with kayaks and backpacks along. I’m thinking vaccine before we do international travel again. You take care as well. –Curt

  20. Oh so true James! We have been quite fortunate as far as supplies here. A bit of panic buying initially but that has settled.
    I definitely would have been sure to hug my loved ones more mindfully. It’s the thing I miss most as a big time hugger.
    I hope you are both well. Stay safe friends.

    1. Sue, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that you’d be a big hugger, and like all of us, you miss it. Hugs are pure, interpersonal emotion and it will be interesting to see how mindful we are about personal contact in the future.

      As you know better than most, infectious diseases are a part of the human experience, so we’ll see how adaptable we are going forward. I expect some wariness, but I can also see some of those “Oh what the hell! Come over here and give me a hug.” moments. Take care of yourself and go give Dave a big hug. 🙂 ~James

  21. True. If we had only known…
    Among fast-food, Chicken Momos are my favorite and had I known they’ll be out of commission for the next few months, hell, maybe the entire year (due to the scare more than the cause), I’d have stuffed myself in February. I known I can make them but then where’s the fun in that. Also, now that I think about it, I’ll never take anything for granted from now on. 😅

    1. Thanks for the comment Shaina and for dropping by the blog. Chicken momos are delicious, and honestly, they look like something that’s easier to let someone else prepare. We haven’t had them forever, but I think we had them in Singapore, and they were delicious. It’s funny what each of us takes for granted and how this crisis has forced us to consider these things. Take care of yourself and your loved ones and be well. ~James

  22. Not sure why I can’t post a comment all of a sudden, but this is what I was going to post.

    Stay safe!
    Kathy aka mytimetotravel

    Wow, that was bad timing on the stocking up! Maybe because I’m immuno-compromised I got worried a bit earlier than some, and finding that my hurricane supplies were past their use-by dates started replacing them before shelves got too empty. I do wish I had rescheduled my hair cut for an earlier date, it’s looking terrible now. I found a mask from a long-ago doctor’s appointment stashed in my trunk. Since I only need it once a week, I figure that’s long enough for the virus to expire between uses.

    BTW, I am a fan of jigsaw puzzles too, but I have been doing them online (while listening to podcasts) for some time. I use this site: https://www.thejigsawpuzzles.com – I do them full-screen with a 250 piece cut. Not as difficult as a 2,000 piece “real” puzzle, but much easier on my eyes when i was having trouble seeing shades of black/brown/dark blue.

    1. Kathy, it sounds like you’ve adapted to a bad situation, and I’m glad to hear that you’re well. All this scary medical news and constant warnings get to be depressing, but at-risk people (us included) are wise to pay attention. I’m certain that medical scientists will be picking this virus apart for years to figure it out, and I will be really interested to hear why it affects some people so much more than others, The immuno-compromised I understand, but some of the other affected groups seem almost random. We’ll see.

      In the meantime, let’s all stay in place and work on our puzzles. 🙂 Take care of yourself and be well .~James

  23. We’ve been really lucky. We returned to Canada March 21 to a bare pantry but a good stock of TP, and the supermarket and produce market across the road have had very very few shortages of anything. We miss seeing our friends 😦 Apart from that life is pretty normal. Stay safe. Stay well you two.

    1. Alison, glad to hear that things are going well for you two. If I remember correctly, the challenge for you was actually getting home. Now that the panic buying has stopped, it seems that most of the shortages here were a result of just that – panic buying. And now that people have calmed down a bit, shopping has gotten back to semi-normal. You two take care of yourselves and be safe. ~James

  24. I really hope you get your money back for your tickets to South Africa. That’s just wrong that you’re subject to an expiration date. You should be able to re-book whenever you feel ready to fly again. 🙂 We were pretty stocked up early on in the scheme of things (did a late-night grocery store run), but expected we’d only be in lock down for two or three weeks. If only we had known! LOL. And today I resorted to a quarantine haircut by my husband! The great thing is, I really don’t care what it looks like. Maybe there’s a silver lining in all this to only care about things that really matter like health, family, happiness. Great post! Hope you’re both healthy at home! ~Kelly

    1. Kelly, I love your term “quarantine haircut.” I read a good one the other day as well – an anytime-of-day drink: quaratini. 🙂 I totally agree with you about the silver lining being a new recognition of what’s truly important. Of course we’ve never experienced anything like this crisis, but we have lived through a few very serious life shakeups (coups, hurricanes, etc.) and while none of these events were pleasant, looking back, they were a good opportunity for some quiet introspection. If we all come away with your attitude about it all, that will be a good thing. You and your hairdresser take care of yourselves and be well. ~James

      1. LOL, we’ve certainly had our share of quarantinis!! (Of the gin & tonic flavor.) It’s helping pass the time to have a daily happy hour. 🙂 After coups and hurricanes, I’m sure you and Terri are both well prepared to get through this, too. Take care and stay healthy!

  25. We got a few things right. My daughter did an online order and stocked up on toilet rolls but I wish I’d known that I would not be able to buy flour for a month. I broke a tooth in February and put off making a dental appointment if only I’d known I would not be able to get to a dentist except for an emergency and be expected to keep in touch with everyone via zoom.

    1. Anne, good for you for getting a few things right. Everything seemed to happen so quickly that anything we did right was totally by accident. At the time we were bummed about cancelling our trip, but in retrospect, it was a blessing in disguise. Sorry about your tooth problems. A family member had a dental problem which took a bit of searching and juggling to solve. Take care of yourself and be well. ~James

  26. Such a creative post, as always you have entertained me with your writing. The things I miss the most are hugs, hugs, hugs. I wish I could have been able to see my adult kids before the UK went into lockdown and get plenty of hugs. We got back from our 10 weeks travelling in SE Asia just 2 days before the lockdown, so we could no longer meet up with others that did not live in the same household. Our son lives in London and our daughter lives in Brighton, so no chance of seeing them. I hope you guys will be able to resume your travels soon.

    1. Thanks Gilda. It’s always good to hear that someone enjoys the things we write.

      The whole issue of no contact is interesting, and before CV, we really didn’t think much about it. Humans are social animals, and a comforting hand on a shoulder or a warm embrace is such a natural part of our interactions. I suspect that many of us took these pleasant, life-affirming gestures for granted – at least to some extent. But we’ll get through this, and I can envision one big hug-fest for a while. You and Brian take care of yourselves and be well. ~James

  27. I totally agree with every sentiment. I got caught off guard with the TP shortage and food. I always bought what we needed, when we needed it. I also don’t watch the news like its seinfeld or something. So when it came time to make my weekly errands, I was in for a rude awakening. It’s definitely been an interesting and eye opening experience. Thank you for the interesting post.

    1. Nitisha, welcome to the crowd. I think everyone got caught off guard on this one. I had read many times that a global pandemic could happen, and that it was just a matter of time – not if but when. But even given this information, I was amazed at how quickly it spread and impacted everyone here in the US as well as the rest of the world. Well that genie is out the bottle now, and I’m sure we’ll pay more attention from now on. Take care of yourself and loved ones and be well. ~James

  28. We’ve been very fortunate during all of this. My dad was well stocked on paper products, not because of planning but because he often forgets how much he already has on hand. Since home cooking is one of my dad’s favorite things about us being here, we haven’t missed eating out at all. We did grab 1 1/2 dozen crabs at a take out only (and thoroughly enjoyed them!).

    One thing I have found interesting here is the meat section went from full to empty, then back to over stocked and things were being marked down just to get them to sell. I bought a package of sliced turkey breast that was priced at $2.79 and had a $2 discount coupon on it. Actually, I bought all they had. If I had known, I would have stocked up on eggs as the stores have been limiting you to one carton.

    I’m going to be a social renegade and hug everyone when this is over! Take care and be well.

    1. Laura, I think that up to this point, most of the shortages have been a result of people hoarding and delivery issues. Most supermarkets these days use the “just in time” stocking system, so when there’s a huge peak in demand, they aren’t prepared and items sell out quickly. However, with the meat processing plants starting to be hotspots for infection, we may truly get into a supply issue for meat that takes any human processing (e.g. boneless chicken breasts).

      It will be interesting to look back on all this. Hopefully, we’ll all learn something about ourselves to take forward. Take care. ~James

  29. Fortunately, our last meal out was for my birthday and we had a great meal at a favorite restaurant. It seems so long ago now. I had my hair cut the day before lockdown, March 14th here in Span. Today, the hairdressers and barbers have been allowed back to work and I was able to get a trim, thank heaven. Funny what seems so important at a time like this. Glad to hear you are both doing OK!

    1. Well done Darlene! You had a good meal and a haircut – you must be living right. The pandemic and stay-at-home orders have really reduced things to their essence which has certainly given all of us a chance to re-examine priorities. I’m sure having the hairdressers and barbers open will make all those “shaggy Spaniards” happy. ~James

      1. Yes, priorities have certainly changed. Hubby is looking like the wild man of Borneo and can’t wait to get his hair cut and beard trimmed on Friday. He is not comfortable being a shaggy Brit!! Keep smiling!!

      2. Wild man of Borneo!! I love it Darlene. We’ve had some family fun with haircuts as well. Terri’s sister just cut her husband’s hair, a first for them, and it required lots of sister texts, a few Youtube videos, and we demanded before and after pix. Actually, it turned out really well and we all had a good chuckle about it. We’re so easily entertained these days. 🙂

  30. My list social meal was at a Korean restaurant with 4 work colleagues… I had hot stone bowl with bim bap. A dish I definitely could not make at home. End of Feb.

    Our city lockdown was Mar. 13.

    Memories are so delicious.

    1. Jean, we’ve missed restaurants for sure, but it’s given us the chance to re-try some of our old favorite recipes that we haven’t prepared for a while, as well as experiment with recipes to create some of the restaurant food we miss. The restaurants are due to open in our town in a couple of weeks, but given the madhouse and rush of people who want to go out, we’ll probably wait a while to visit. I just hope that the staged opening doesn’t cause another spike in infections so we have to lockdown again. Take care of yourself. ~James

  31. We’ve also been very fortunate as far as stocking up goes (thank you Costco) and we don’t want for anything much right now (they’ve even restored grocery home deliveries here in Australia so we don’t need to leave the house if we don’t want to), though I wish I had not rescheduled lunches with my girlfriends in January and February. It seems like we’re getting closer to having restaurants re-open soon though (fingers crossed). Good luck with your ticket refund, we have flights to the US booked for Aug/Sept so still waiting to see what will happen.

    1. Katerina, thanks for the update. It sounds like we’re at a similar point where we live (Kentucky, USA), with restaurants and other services opening up. We had to laugh, they’re opening dog grooming up before salons and barbershops. 🙂 I don’t know how things are in Australia, but in the US, each state governor has the responsibility and authority to decide on opening up, so the status varies from state to state. With all the economic pressure for getting people back at work, it’s a tough decision and I understand the position of each side. There are no easy decisions in this crisis.

      As for travel, we were hoping to reschedule our South Africa trip for Sept/Oct, but honestly, as the crisis drags on and the realities of this virus moving around the globe become more certain, flying to Africa seems more and more unlikely. We’re hopeful, but don’t want to do anything foolish to impact our health, so we’ll see. Take care of yourself and stay healthy. ~James

  32. So true!! Luckily here in NZ we are now on level 1 and almost back to normal. 3 weeks no covid cases until the repats came home bringing back the virus with them since last week Tuesday so we have now 7 cases but they’re in a managed isolation hotels to avoid community transmission. This covid made us realized lots of things that we should be grateful for.

    1. Vinneve, we, and probably the rest of the world, were sad to hear about your new cases. NZ has been a ray of sunshine and hope that recommended methods of slowing, and actually stopping the spread, actually work. But, it’s also is a reminder how tenacious this virus is. The good news is that the country and government are on top of it. We’re not so lucky in the US. I’m afraid that here the crisis has emphasized our differences instead of our solidarity, which is very sad as it will express itself in more infections and deaths. We’re all hoping a vaccine comes soon. Take care and be well. ~James

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