This month’s Living Colorfully column, written in early April for Montclair Living magazine, seems quite optimistic in its vision for the future, especially given the uncertainly that remains as we are on the cusp of reopening businesses.

As I type, I hope that when you read this, the worst of the pandemic is behind us. I envision the first line of responders working their usual hours, getting a good night’s sleep, free of the multiple, essential layers that keep them safe from us. I imagine a time when carefully spaced tape no longer marks the appropriate distance between fellow shoppers, inside and waiting on the pavement outside of supermarkets, where I now seem to be spending an increasing, (yet actually decreasing, but more stressful) amount of time.

I am looking forward to the past days of heretofore unacknowledged normalcy to return,  not only to lift the profound impact this insidious virus is having on people’s lives, the world’s economy and our collective psyche, but also to restore to us the things that we have rediscovered that matter: spending time with friends and family,  undistractedly channeling our talents into our work, and the ability to wear pants with waistbands.   Real waistbands.  The latter is a challenge for me because since this crisis began, I have become crazily food-focused. Part of this, I am sure, is due to the fact that because my home office was so messy, I moved my workstation to the kitchen table, conveniently located in front of the pantry and just 15 feet from the fridge for a “new perspective”. To others I leave the noble struggle of saving lives and homeschooling wily spawn; for me, making sure that enough sweet, high-calorie foods are readily available is the ultimate goal.

A recent afternoon sheltering in place:

3:03pm: Bake chocolate chip cookies for Keith and myself.

3:15pm:  Cookies done!

3:20pm:  Divvy up 12 cookies (relatively) fairly between the two of us.

3:22pm: Give Keith a plate of 6 small cookies.

3:25pm:  Finish all of my medium sized cookies.

3:26pm:  Go into Keith’s office while he is on phone, spot a misshapen cookie on his plate with very few chips. Surreptitiously grab it, eat it, and return to my new “desk”.

3:30pm: Return to Keith’s office, swipe another cookie, probably because the first was so small and chip barren. Avoid Keith’s eyes.

3:35pm: Stop by Keith’s office. Keith is off of phone, surprises me by asking “What are you doing?” as I reach for another cookie.

I, unfazed and unbowed, make up some sort of rambling but passionate excuse about understanding the importance of hot cookies, realizing that he is busy, wanting to clear off some space on his desk. Keith’s eyebrows shoot to his forehead which is now capped by ringlets of hair, a novelty. Since Keith’s surgery and our homebound normalcy, my clean shaven husband has grown a mustache, a beard, and a full head of salt and pepper hair. And apparently, a desire to eat his own chocolate chip cookies.  I slink out of his office, empty handed. 

3:45pm: Keith brings me a plate of the remaining cookies with a sweet smile and seemingly genuine “Enjoy yourself, baby.”

 Be that as it may, tomorrow, I am determined to move my workspace out of the kitchen, and into my office where it belongs. Hoping that this small move to life as it should be will herald larger ones.

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