My house has never felt so tiny as it had during the past year of Covid quarantine. Our bungalow is barely 1,100 square feet (with a finished basement), but once you have three children doing virtual homeschooling , and a spouse working from home, the walls start shrinking. I binged a lot of shows that I had never watched. That was fun for awhile, until I realized there was probably a reason I never watched them in the first place. I walked. I biked. I kayaked. I climbed big hills when I got tired of walking. I did the virtual yoga. They went back to school; they came back home. I read over 60 books. Not A Single Regret. Then the pandemic just kept going. And going.
So what’s a mom to do when the walls start closing in?
I painted them. The whole basement was renovated during those first two weeks of lock-down. We needed four separate work spaces for school and work, and I was tired of that "dark dungeon" vibe, so the room desperately needed to be rearranged. And then the lockdown went on and on and on... and so did my painting the house.
ZooZoo got a whole new room makeover for her birthday and I think grandma and I did a pretty good job on those stripes! The dresser redo was not so easy because I broke a sander (sorry Left Brain).
And a lot of other stuff was done in the singular effort of maintaining everyone's sanity.
Fellow green-thumbed friend gives you one of her plantings and you have a chipped coffee cup? Macrame hanger found in storage? Instant hanging plant.
I've been holding on to the angel girl wedding table centerpiece for YEARS because. well sentimental reasons of course. The dried flowers are now... like... really, really old. Also, gross. Tossed! I tried it as a candle holder but due to my Bath and Body Works candle addiction, I'm afraid our home might qualify as a fire hazard if I add another burning candle. Five people stuck at home for weeks on end and the air quality seemed to suffer, so I made another planter; because the limit on plants is never reached. There's. No. Limit.
The kids (fine, also me) have brought home quite a few seashells over the years; seems a shame to keep them all in that shoe box in the workshop. (Oh yeah, we also made a workshop for Left Brain during the stay at home order). A deep clean of kitchen shelves revealed I've got more vases then I could possibly fill with flowers, even though I have my own garden. Pretty shells, pretty vase - seems a no brainer! I also found a set of solar lights while searching for my garden shears in the shed, and behold: works perfect in the big kitchen window. So Beachy!
A piece of driftwood that I brought back from summer kayaking makes a great necklace hanger. An easy ten minute project. An extra half hour at most if you decide to paint the wood.
And finally, I wanted to update my bathroom art, but I'm also kinda cheap. Open a document, choose your typeface and clip art, and Viola! Print your own wall art. (I did buy the burlap wrapped lavender at our local dollar store for about $2 each.)
Long story short is that our lives have taken a deep and fast spin over the past year and half, and never have we been more aware of just how important mental health is with regards to our Whole Health. I did my best to keep busy; in mind, body, and spirit. But also rested when I felt it was needed. I purged the house of few tons of clothing, toys, and just excess junk that left the house - and my mind - cluttered.
We made the decision to not panic over the kids schooling; holding faith that it will all even out in the end. If they "fell behind" it was not the end of the world, and maybe this was a way of questioning that time table and modes of learning that we've accepted as True and Right. Maybe education needed a shake up? We got outside as much as possible and we had movie days when the monotony of life dragged everyone down. A return to simpler, slower and quieter days was not such a bad thing.
Most importantly: we did our best to remain positive, hoping that our children would feed off this, rather than all the negativity and divisiveness that was permeating the world. We had conversations about politics and science and whether you'd rather get eaten by a shark, or an alligator? Hey, whatever keeps the lines of communication open; I'm for it. If we couldn't help them, we found the people and resources that could. Only time will reveal any lasting effects from this most surreal period of time.
I don't mind trials and dark days. We've been asked to do hard things; but not impossible. I hope this time has provided an opportunity for us to question the kind of life we wish to live, and what is truly important. I'd be quite happy living in a cabin in the woods and growing my own vegetables; completely unplugged. Well, almost - I will need my Kindle and this blog, let's not get crazy. And a fresh supply of journals and pens. I think I've learned that's where I fit best. A little bit of the new, but the slow, easy pace of the old. That's my sweet spot.
Share your quarantine/pandemic comments, tips, trials in the comments. If you wrote a post about surviving these crazy times, feel free to share the link. Let's rise together!