While I’ve been tense all day there was no retribution for yesterday. You wouldn’t think I would have had time to really worry as much as I’ve done today, but its always at the back of my mind, even now that we have everything locked up safe and sound for the night.
Scott was up earlier than usual. We needed to get the van unloaded so he could get going. I got the kids up and they started to help unload while I started breakfast.
Breakfast: Today’s theme was Italian. OK, so I picked one that was going to be easy on me. I needed “easy” and tomorrow’s theme promised to be more challenging anyway. The most traditional breakfast in Italy is apparently a cup of coffee and a pastry. Yesterday proved that just wouldn’t fill our family up and hold them until lunch. Especially if we were going to be doing a lot of manual labor. I opted to make what my Aunt Nina always called an Italian Breakfast Casserole. I’m not sure how authentic the recipe should be considered, but it worked for us. While everyone ate breakfast I squished the bread starter (Day 4) and went outside to water my garden.
Scott headed out right after breakfast leaving me to eat my own breakfast and to get started on the list I had started yesterday. Today would mostly be an indoor day which didn't hurt my feelings any at all. I didn't want to have to worry about being watched on top of everything else. First I had to deal with all of the stuff Scott had brought home last night. He brought me cases of the cleaning supplies I had asked for, taking the last two cases of bleach off of the shelves at SAMs. He also picked up a bunch of batteries – regular and rechargeable, as well as three marine batteries that we could use to hook up to our solar panels. I got a case of light bulbs instead of the package that I asked for which I thought much have been Scott in a hurry and not thinking. But what the heck, we’ll eventually use them and better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them. There were a bunch of other odds and ends as well. He even remembered to pick up some socks and underwear for Johnnie and James which were badly needed.
When I asked Scott why hadn’t he gotten the more important lumber for the false wall in the pantry he said he’d ordered it but he couldn’t pick it up until tomorrow when he picks up the rest of his order at Home Depot. They are rationing everything these days and only the fact that he paid cash up front kept it from taking over a week to take possession of the order.
After I figured out where I was going to store everything temporarily, I had Sarah and Bekah start bringing me all of the #10 cans from our food storage. I quickly filled our queen-size box spring with roughly 125 #10-sized cans of dehydrated and freeze dried foods. Rose’s twin mattress was filled with about half that many
James’ bed is a captain’s bed so there isn’t a box spring. Instead there is a platform that holds three drawers side-by-side. I had James take the drawers out and stuff as many rolls of toilet paper in there as he could while still being able to fit the drawers back in. He got over 36 rolls in there which I thought was pretty good.
The girls normally sleep in a bunk bed as does Johnnie; no box springs there either. However the girls, Rose, and Johnnie have walk-in closets that have 10 foot ceiling in them. On one shelf in the top of the closets I put as many additional paper products as I could. At least if the paper stuff falls no one is going to get a concussion. Been there done that when that can of freeze dried strawberries came down on my head in the utility room. I’m lucky it was just a mild concussion and a couple of stitches. If it had been dried eggs or dried milk, I coulda lost my head all together.
I spent the rest of the morning stuffing toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, feminine hygiene production, and all sorts of other paper products in all of the out-of-the-way places around the house as I could find.
Lunch: Lunch was pizza. Ok, ok the pizza that most North Americans eat isn’t necessarily the same type of pizzas that you would find in Italy or Europe but the kids had been begging to make pizza for lunch for over a week. If they were willing to do the prep and clean up then I was willing to say “go for it.” The pizza crusts came from packages of mix. The pizza sauce was out of a jar but got doctored with more garlic and some Italian seasoning. The cheese was a combination of processed cheese, grated Parmesan, and grated Romano. The kids also got their pick of pepperoni and a little sausage-flavored TVP for the meat, or canned mushrooms and onions for the veggies. Just for the heck of it and to give the kids something different to do, they cooked their pizzas in a box oven they made from a heavy duty cardboard box that was covered in aluminum foil. The fuel was coals leftover from a fire from some oak branches that Scott had cut down when they were building the fence the other day. Rose made a very strong, sweet lemonade that she stuck in the freezer until it was ice cold. It didn’t quite turn into Italian Lemon Ice, but it was close. The whole thing I put down in their school portfolio as science, home ec, and shop projects. I have no idea whether the school district is even pulling portfolios this year but better safe than sorry.
I left the kids to clean up while I continued trying to figure out where I was going to put everything that was still all over the house in miscellaneous little piles. Those little piles have been mocking me for months and I was just flat out tired of constantly having to walk around them. By hiding stuff I made quite a bit of floor space; we needed it. After Scott got home it took over an hour just to move everything out of his office and another hour to cover the floor – thankfully ceramic tile – with a tarp and to move the most vulnerable plant containers in. Glory this is going to be some work. I figure that we just added two hours of work to our schedule every day for the foreseeable future. Fun, fun, fun. But better than the alternative which is losing my garden.
Scott reported that people are getting really worried about where their next paycheck is going to come from. The decreased work hours available due to the dusk to dawn curfew has caused a lot of lay offs and salary decrases. Scott has already been getting signals from a couple of our tenants that they won’t have heir rent come the first of the month, or they'll maybe only have part of it. All the mortgages, utilities, and insurance are covered by the rent income from our subsidized units. So long as government agencies continue to mail out checks we should be OK for that part of it, but we still have to pay property taxes come November. That doesn’t count repairs and maintenance on the rental units, legal expenses, our own personal expenses or any kind of savings like for the kids’ college funds. Things just keep getting tighter and tighter. And most folks tend to put the landlord at the bottom of the bill pile.
The thoughts of one discomfort lead to another. I’m not really all that sure about Scott’s plan for tomorrow. He’s going right after daybreak to pick David up, stop by Home Depot for his supply order, and then he’s bringing him back here to work. In addition to the false wall lumber and drywall, Scott bought all of the supplies to enclose our freestanding carport and to build an enclosed walk way from the carport into the utility room. We’d talked about doing this for security purposes but I didn’t think we had actually made the decision to do it yet. Scott felt we had. Not a hug miscommunication but I’m not asking how much the materials cost; I figure that the Sugar Daddy money has to be going really fast. I suppose the work will go faster if all three of them - Scott, James, and David - are working on things but it just feels hinky having a stranger in the house after the recent turmoil we’ve been through.
Dinner: For dinner I fixed spaghetti. I could have used some of my home canned sauce that I made a few months ago but I had one commercial sized can of Ragu brand that I hadn’t found a place for yet. I doctored it up with lots of garlic and onion, some canned mushrooms, and some dried veggies that I had like bell peppers, carrots, and zucchini. I would normally add ground beef and sausage to my sauce but it was already meat-flavored so I gave it a pass and tried to play it economical. Instead of bread sticks I made Grits Cakes which is kind of like a southern-style polenta. Everything was very good and all of my little piggies got to eat until they were thoroughly stuffed which they hadn’t done in quite some time. I baked some Rusks while we ate dinner because I will need them for tomorrow's breakfast.
We all had mugs of Amaretto Cocoa while listening to the nightly news as it fed out more of the same old same old. The quarantine zones are holding so don’t worry. Food deliveries are due soon so don’t hoard. Fuel prices will stabilize soon so please be patient and conserve. Infection rates are reportedly the same except for spikes in quarantine zones so follow the NRSC mandates without question. Its almost become normal.
Except we have active duty military troops and National Guards patrolling the streets of our city. Except we are hiding most of our food stockpile on the off chance some government agency wants to “equitably redistribute” supplies around. Except the terms “NRS,” “infected,” and “zombie” all get used in the same sentence several times a day by the news media. Except I have to worry about Scott maybe not coming home at the end of the day because a zombie got him. Except I am stuck in this gilded cage we built and slowly going nuts.
OK, so I’m being more than a little melodramatic about the gilded cage part, but it has been over two weeks since I left our little point four acre yard. And everything else is true.
I better sign off here. Scott’s going to open the wall behind the bookcases and I’m going to try and hide as many cans in those areas as will fit before bed. I want as little as possible visible to David while he is here tomorrow.