Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Social Distancing In My Kitchen

"Home isn't a place, it's a feeling." -Cecelia Ahern

In the past week or so - somehow it feels much longer - social distancing has become the new normal in our lives.

Stay home.
Stay away from other people

In light of our global epidemic, this mandate makes perfect sense to me. 

What also makes sense to me is that since we're going to be spending extra time in our homes, we'd be wise to ensure that home is a place that makes us feel good. 

Since all this social distancing business kicked in, my home has become a busy place. 

I mean, any house with four full-time occupants is relatively busy. But I'm not talking about the quantity of humans. Let me explain.

My husband, Mr. Finance Director, is now working from home which means that he allows himself to sleep in till 5:30 a.m. and begins his multi-monitor work day around six. With some nice long breaks for additional cups of coffee and a luxurious lunch, not to mention a few interruptions from yours truly, he clocks out around five o'clock p.m.

Second shift begins with me. I rouse myself around eleven, which is my normal wake-up time (delayed sleep phase, remember?). I eat at 11:30 and settle into my math routines by noon. By five-ish, I'm moving into Gracie's walk, then dinner and post-dinner clean up, so my work day truly winds down around 8 p.m.

My fourth-born reads and writes in her room till four-ish - no clue what time she actually wakes up - and comes down around five to eat something, take her own walk, and then help me with dinner. She takes her third meal of the day around midnight.

And my third-born is teaching English to kids in China through an online school called VIPKid. Her first class begins at 1 a.m., and she usually wraps up at 6 a.m. After a warm breakfast, she tucks into bed around 7 or 8 a.m.

At which point, my husband had been up for hours. 

So yeah, it's no exaggeration to say my kitchen is busy around the clock. While the others do their best to pick up after themselves, it's quite a challenge for them to live up to my exacting standards. I'm finding it a full-time job to keep up the kitchen looking as I want it to look.

Now I haven't had time to do a deep spring kitchen clean, or make any big design changes. I'm not about to go out shopping to create a fresh new look. 

But in order to keep my sanity, I've been doing my best to upgrade the kitchen mood. 

Over the past few days, I've:

dusted shelves
cleaned the counters
straightened the stacks of bowls, 
edited the items in the black tray on the counter, and
took a damp microfiber cloth to the windows.

The inside of the windows, that is. 

I saved the much larger job of cleaning the outside of the windows for another day. 

Once I'd cleared away the winter dust and established a clean foundation, I added a few splashes of color:

red tulips
branches of yellow forsythia
and the blue pottery bowl.

Now when I come into this room a dozen times a day, as I do, I hardly even notice the constant accumulation of dirty dishes in the sink, or heap of clean dishes drying themselves lazily in the sunshine on the counter. And I try not to even imagine what might be going on in the dishwasher.

I just look at this happy corner of my busy kitchen and remind myself that, even in these days of social distancing, as long as we're eating, all is well. And that is a very good feeling.

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Read more stories about life with Covid-19 here in suburban Seattle:

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