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Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Trying times

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Columnist

A few weeks ago, while talking with a friend about changes we have been experiencing due to COVID-19, along with steps we are taking to comply with mandated restrictions, she joked, “If you aren’t overweight, drinking too much or on the brink of divorce, you aren’t trying hard enough.”

I don’t know very many who can’t admit to at least one area of their life that is challenging their peace of mind. Three months of staying home has taken a toll on waistlines, livers, the sanctity of holy matrimony and so much more! Simply put, it is an incredibly stressful time. That joke rang true for me.

When the virus advanced from threat to full pandemic, one of my first decisions was to throw away any thought of a food plan. “If these are my last days, my last days are not going to be spent dieting,” I exclaimed. And with that, all bets were off. I reacquainted myself with carbohydrates and sweets in long forgotten combinations. Instead of demonstrating restraint, I exhibited wild abandon. It was not until I realized the shutdown was doing the job of slowing the spread of the virus that the spread of my backside became a concern once again! My clothes started letting me know it was time to get back on track, so I began to reel it back in and take care of myself.

Luckily, it is summer, and the ready availability of fresh vegetables and greens makes eating well easier to do. I have even managed to grow a bit of food. The first signs of tomatoes are beginning to ripen on the vine and basil is overtaking the container in which it is planted. I am just one cow short of a caprese salad, but cheesemaking will have to wait!

While my husband and I are still working, our first micro garden is just the beginning of the home improvement ventures. We have taken this added time at home to begin long delayed projects which have been equally challenging and rewarding. I have been under the tutelage of my husband as we have pulled up carpet, tack strips and countless staples, filled holes with spackle, laid down primer and honed my limited skills with a paint brush. We haven’t finished the endeavor, but it has been nice to be working together.

That is not to say there have not been moments of too much of a good thing. Life before COVID and life today are drastically different simply in terms of how much together time we are sharing at home. I feel lucky in that my husband and I are friends. We like spending time together. We try to treat each other well. But there have been moments when (if I am being completely honest) I have longed for an opportunity to get away for (at least) a few days without him! After all, distance does make the heart grow fonder. We have spent over two decades as a couple. Part of the balance had included my somewhat regular travel schedule, his commitment to coaching football, and routine getaways. Now our time away from each other seems limited to a room apart. Until recently, eight hours away for work was uncommon. There have been days when constant togetherness has proven to be a challenge!

Which brings me to alcohol. To say we are fond of happy hour would be an understatement. It’s no secret that we both enjoy an adult beverage as part of our socialization, but much to the shock and possibly disappointment for some, drinking at home on a nightly basis had not really been our standard. But take me back to March, and a libation on the rocks with a twist would be included in my “end of days” routine! My social life quickly transferred to online platform meetups three nights a week, each with a featured cocktail, and then it would be the weekend! Party on! It took a while, but I realized if I was going to survive the long-haul, I was going to have to hit the pause button and wring out my liver! As with most successes in life, moderation is key.

Today, a new normal is emerging. We did what we were supposed to do and stayed home. Now that businesses are beginning to reopen, I find it interesting to see I am not alone in my hesitancy to “get back out there.” As much as I missed it, I realize I have already established new routines. The intimacy of a small gathering on the back deck feels more comfortable than masking up and socially distancing my way to dinner. Certainly, I want to support our local economy and no one is more surprised than I am that I was not first in line when eateries reopened, that I have yet to “belly up” at a local tavern, or booked a flight to (frankly) anywhere other than here. But I am willing to take it slow for the sanctity of my vices and my relationships. I was trying “hard enough” at the expense of my own wellbeing. I am ready to do what it takes for the wellbeing of those around me. Let’s do our best to get back to living in a safe and respectable manner. We have survived (mostly) intact, let’s do what we can to avoid being shut down again.

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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