8:10 a.m. – Awakened by birdsong (from my phone.) Mutter, “Shut up, birds!” and hit the nudnik button (it’s how Apple translates “snooze” into Hebrew.)
8:30 a.m. – Go downstairs, make coffee. Compile a grocery list for three households, written in order of the route I normally follow through the store. Divide list into two so Mr. December and I can divide and conquer.
9:00 a.m. – Mr. December phones his parents to say hi.
9:03 a.m. – Compile my grocery list for four households, with colour-coding for clarity.
9:10 a.m. – I’m trying to find reusable bags and bins that match the colour-coding on my list. Eventually I give up and grab some coloured clothespins instead.
10:00 a.m. – Good thing I gave up on the reusable bags: just got to No Frills and discovered that they aren’t allowing reusable bags due to COVID. Bins are ok. We line up to get into the store, armed with clipboards (and attached pens) and clothespins.
10:10 a.m. – Still standing in line, I start to sing “You’ll Be Back” from Hamilton. Mr. December joins me. Nobody else does, even after I belt my fruitiest “Everybodeeee!” during the “da-da-da” part. I’m disappointed. I really wanted to start one of those heartwarming “we’re all singing together” moments.
10:25 a.m. – Finally made it inside. Sanitize hands. Clip coloured clothespins to different parts of the cart so I can sort according to where it’s eventually going.
10:35 a.m. – Sailing through the produce section. Unbeknownst to me, Mr. December is moving at a snail’s pace — he never does the shopping, so he doesn’t know the store very well. He also never cooks, so he doesn’t know which products I usually buy.
10:45 a.m. – In the kosher meat section. Grab a whole chicken that’s 30% off because I’ve either got to cook it or freeze it by tomorrow. I take just a few things because my freezer isn’t that big.
10:50 a.m. – It’s become apparent that this colour-coding in my cart will only go so far. My stuff has taken over every other section.
11:20 a.m. – I’ve finished my list. Phone Mr. December, who is only two thirds of the way through his, and has been unable to find a dozen things so far.
11:25 a.m. – Find every one of the items he couldn’t. Take on part of the rest of the list.
11:30 a.m. – Standing in line at the cash with two fully loaded grocery carts, I’m fully ready to defend myself to anyone who gives me the stink-eye or berates me for hoarding during a crisis… but nobody does. First no parking lot sing-along, and now this? I’m not sure how much more disappointment I can take.
11:35 a.m. – At the front of the line, unloading the carts according to household. I’m chatting with one of my favourite cashiers. When she gets to the whole chicken, she looks at the labels and calls the meat department. It seems there was a label that read $8-ish and another one on top of it that read $5-ish. Was the 30% off the higher price or the lower one, she asked. Turns out it’s 30% off the lowest price. That’s one cheap chicken – maybe I should have bought 10.
11:45 a.m. – Still unloading my own groceries. “The funny thing is,” I say to Mr. December, “This is roughly the size of my usual weekly grocery shop!” The cashier chuckles in agreement – she’s seen me get an enormous amount of groceries into one of those smaller carts (all that Tetris I played as a kid really paid off!)
12:00 p.m. – We’re done and on the road to drop off groceries for both sets of parents. At my parents’ house, we leave two bins of food by the side door (closest to the kitchen.) As we’re leaving my mom calls out, “Hey!” and waves a plastic bag at me. I walk back to the house, stop six feet away, lean towards her and pluck the bag from between her outstretched fingers. It’s stuff for the kids… and us. There’s chocolate.
12:15 p.m. – We’re at my in-laws’ house delivering their groceries. They also give us stuff to give the kids… and there’s chocolate in this bag too. I could get used to delivering groceries in exchange for chocolate.
12:30 p.m. – Back home. I mobilize my child labour force and they dutifully tote groceries in from the car. E isn’t really adding any efficiency since she’s taking single items out of bags too heavy for her, but it’s adorable watching her carry a single giant box of Cheerios. When it’s all in the house the kids run off to the backyard to play Pirates for the fourth day running.
1:00 p.m. – At the computer with R, trying to find the Zoom address for the class that starts right this minute. I’m not the only one who’s baffled – there’s a whole thread on Google Classroom with people chiming in and asking where it is. After 20 minutes I give up and let R play outside again.
1:40 p.m. – Kids ask me if they can clean the car. Yes. YES! A thousand times YES. I hand over my keys.
1:50 p.m. – Reading email at the kitchen table. It dawns on me that I’ve seen two kids walk past me with two separate boxes of baby wipes. I try not to ask questions I don’t want the answer to, but I can’t help myself: “What are you doing with all those wipes?”
1:51 p.m. – “We’re cleaning the outside of the car!” I can’t decide whether to be upset at the misuse of resources or impressed by their initiative and independence.
2:00 p.m. – Am a slave to the car cleaning crew. They’re ostensibly doing the work, but I’m on call to troubleshoot problems with the hand vac. When I can’t, I have to lug the upright vacuum upstairs and outside. When that turns out to suck (or to not suck – I’m never sure how to express that when it comes to vacuums) I bring the Shop Vac upstairs. It needs to be emptied and cleaned before it can be used. As I clean the Shop Vac I reflect on how great it is that the kids are cleaning the car for me. It’s saving me so… much… time! (Right?)
3:30 p.m. – Covered in dust. Kids have decided they’re “on break” and are biking and scooting up and down the street. I’m on my knees vacuuming the crevices of the van floor. It’s oddly satisfying. Phone vibrates. Apparently the food I ordered from a local cafe as a way of supporting neighbourhood businesses is ready for pickup. Decide that it really doesn’t matter that I’m covered in dust – I’ll bike fast enough for the wind to blow the dust off me. We ride out, collect our order, ride home.
4:00 p.m. – Take a shower. E joins me and uses the handheld showerhead as her own personal shower. R whines at me to let her use my bathtub. No way. Absolutely not. It’s against my policy. After a while I ignore her pleas and she goes away.
4:20 p.m. – Trying to calm my racing heart. I was in the walk-in closet selecting clothes when I discovered a face behind my shirts. R was lying in wait for me all this time. Her revenge complete, she runs away.
4:30 p.m. – Attending a Zoom Kabbalat Shabbat service with our synagogue. If it was this easy to get to services in person, I’d be a regular.
6:00 p.m. – Time for Shabbat dinner. Instead of yelling for everyone to come to the table, I get out my guitar and play Shabbat songs from camp. This is nice. All here? Yup. Light candles, bless the children, bless the wine, bless the challah. Eat. E cries that there’s nothing she wants and would I please get her some pasta with tomato sauce? No, I won’t. I’m sitting down enjoying a Shabbat meal that consists entirely of things she eats. She cries. Mr. December directs her to the library if she wants to continue to cry. She goes.
6:10 p.m. – I don’t know how long she was in the library, but E is now back at the table, happily eating chicken.
7:00 p.m. – Dessert time: my favourite chocolate hazelnut cookies, which we picked up at the cafe earlier. N doesn’t like his – that’s ok, more for me. Yummm…
9:00 p.m. – After family movie watching, my stomach hurts. Too many cookies. I feel like this:
10:00 p.m. – Haven’t written my blog post yet. I’d better get started.
11:37 p.m. – Done, and with 23 minutes to spare. My goal of blogging daily is safe for one more day.