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Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Carb loading in the time of coronavirus

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Columnist

Welcome to the new world. Three weeks into Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order, and I have not yet found a way to “settle in.” Having just finished a breakfast of left-over mashed potatoes, with a macaroni and cheese chaser, I think it is safe to say I am struggling with this new normal.

Each day brings with it a new set of emotions. Less than a month ago, I reacted to news about the spread of the virus with a nonchalant, “let’s all calm down and relax, it’s just another flu” approach. As information became more available and the number of cases increased, I took on a bit more guarded stance, still quite confident that all would be well in good time. I began to mentally prepare for a longer period of uncertainty. I still believe all will be well. We are coming together and taking precautions to help keep ourselves and our neighbors safe.

It is a simply a matter of being able to ride it out. That being said, I have also noticed, over the past couple of weeks, I have run through many of the stages associated with grief — shock, denial, anger, bargaining and depression — and recognize them as a normal though surprising part of this process. I have yet to find acceptance.

We are all going through a major historically significant experience. Our lives have been drastically and abruptly altered. Life, for most of us, is dramatically different today than just a few weeks ago and we are helpless to do anything about it. I feel badly for the high school and college seniors who will not have graduations, couples who have had to postpone weddings, missed family get-togethers, births and deaths.

I see all levels of adjustment within the community. Some good, some not so good. A common thread is too many trips to the kitchen. With breakfast out of the way, we can move onto planning a morning snack, lunch, after lunch snack, appetizers before dinner, dinner, dessert, and of course the late-night snack. There is a noticeable uptick in the number of times the dishwasher is running. The washing machine and dryer are on hiatus. Food and exercise plans are among the first casualties of waiting for the apex in a pandemic.

It seems like finding a new routine is not simply a necessary evil, but also a saving grace. Most parenting books will tell you; children thrive when they have a routine, can know what to expect and know what we expect of them. I am not convinced we ever outgrow that need to have some order and expectation in our life.

That is not to say we are all at home discovering new hobbies or finishing abandoned projects and bonding with our loved ones. All this time, I thought I just needed time, to get to what I value, but even with a stay-at-home order, I am not working on a novel — unless binge watching a variety of television shows can be considered research. Nor am I organizing closets or purging pantries — tasks that have never been that high on my wish list.

As a freelance worker, I am in the position of still having a lot of work to do. While many of my jobs have been canceled, there is the constant pull of deadlines keeping me from taking the time at home to fully relax. I am still learning to be still.

As I wander through my myriad of emotions, I am also aware that everyone around me is going through similar struggles and I applaud the solutions.

Social media has really come back to life as a means of connection, which has been fun and positive. The many artists who are filling that hole in our spirit with free concerts from their homes has been incredibly uplifting. Podcasts are sprouting up in the thousands.

I am working more creatively to find a way to be social. Last week, my husband’s family organized a weekly video meeting and I did the same with some girlfriends for drinks and conversation. The sessions were fun and impactful. We will do it again. Another friend and I started an online group to discuss and learn about how we can cope with all the different feelings we are having. We plan to bring in locals to discuss different methods of dealing with stress, worry and any other topic that may come up — aside from politics!

A positive note is that I realized by growing up with parents who survived the depression and brought that feeling of lack, and poverty mentality to their children, I was prepared for a time such as this…at least in terms of supplies. There were already plenty of paper products in the house and the pantry stocked with the basics long before there was a pandemic! I knew that bag of scrap material, leftover coffee filters, and drawer of rubber bands would come in handy some day!

We are all in this together — even though we are all apart. Now more than ever, I am reaching out to let those I care about know how much I really care and I am not taking the small stuff quite as for granted as I sometimes have, and I hope you are doing the same.

It’s after-dinner-dessert-late-night-snack time. I think I’ll go and bake something.

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com.


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