Looking for the Exit

I’ve been thinking about what leaving the house looked like during the height of the pandemic. The people at the grocery ranged from the laissez-faire who took no precautions preferring to let things take their course to the ones who taped themselves into garbage bag/duct tape haz-mat suits complete with safety goggles, face shields, shower caps, elbow length latex dishwashing gloves and an N-95 mask.

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Now that it is warm out, there aren’t any plastic clad preppers. Instead the scarcity of face masks has given way to many home-made masks. Some of them are improvised and funnyΒ  and some are more practical mimicing the traditional surgeon’s style masks. The sewn masks made to hospital specifications are actually very colorful and at least a little more Spring-like in addition to being safer than some of the more, um, exotic ones. We have been going to the grocery separately – Sparky goes to one store and I go to another. This provides a way to get my car a little outing to keep the battery in good shape and to make the trip shorter. The last time I went I was in and out in 30 minutes. Gone are the days of leisurely strolling down the aisles, chatting with neighbors or relatives you happen to see, and the friendly banter with others and the cashier. The stores here are catching up with our European neighbors – limiting the number of people who are allowed inside the store, creating one-way traffic flow in the stores, and requiring/suggesting masks be worn and no reusable bags to limit exposure of staff. Finally (since son#1 is a grocery worker) the store staff are wearing masks. This makes me feel a little better since there are too many who are not wearing masks (I have a little rant on that that I may post at a later date. On the up side our grocery bill has plummeted. We would spend easily $70 a week on groceries. Now we are spending ~ $20 -25 a week. Add that to the savings by not eating out and we are doing fine financially since neither one of us made any money. The bad part is that the Governor has started the last phase for opening everything up. Some of the stores have done away with senior/fragile persons’ hours meaning we have to mingle with everyone when entering. And of course there are those ‘mericans who refuse to wear masks putting themselves and me & mine at risk. To that end we are continuing to shop at the crack of dawn when most of the idiots are still tucked securely in bed.

67 thoughts on “Looking for the Exit

    1. So happy I could give you something to laugh about! We are overrun with them and the only place safe from their likes is within the walls of our home. It is kind of a zombie apocalypse! They are walking around infecting all who get too close! Sadly they are just the sort who have vehicles with decals like “Zombie Response Team” and “Zombie Outbreak and Preparedness Vehicle” plastered all over!

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  1. Creativity points are awarded to all the people in your photos, especially the man in the lower right who discovered a new use for the ‘wings’ on a maxi pad. LOL. I shop locally at an independent grocery. It’s pricier than Kroger or Aldi, but clean, small, well-stocked, and almost never crowded. Most of their customers are elderly, riding on mobility scooters, or toting oxygen tanks, so masks are worn by everyone without complaint. It’s elder-friendly on many levels–three dollar aisles, a day-old produce bin, specials on Sanka and pickle loaf and Cracklin Oat Bran, and more brands of denture adhesive than toothpaste! πŸ™‚

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    1. Joan it sounds like you’ve found a grocery paradise! However I wonder how you can afford “Crack”-lin Oat Bran. It is addictively good but I don’t want to give Sparky and more fuel! The guy with the Maxi pad mask sends me into peals of laughter – I just hope he took out the plastic liner or he may asphyxiate himself!! But on the bright side it is not going to slide off his nose…

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      1. Our grocery is great. The owner, Grant, and his staff are A#1. I patronize it because it’s convenient (literally, 2 minutes away) and needs local support to stay in business. I usually buy granola, but Cracklin Oat Bran (on sale) is a temptation that’s hard to pass up. Lost-looking widowers stop me with the craziest lines… Can you help me pick a tomato, miss? I can never get a good one. (There are no good ones, LOL, try the farm market.) Wow, you’ve got some nice-looking pot pies! (I hope he meant the Marie Callender ones in my cart.) Which one works better, Sea-bond or Poligrip? (As if I would know!) I trust Mr Kotex’s mask will absorb his sweat quite handily. πŸ™‚

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        1. Haha! Yes I’ve had that happen too. I had one guy ask me if there was a difference between Heinz and Hunt’s catsup. I looked at them and said a confident “Yes – the price!” Then I walked away. He trailed after me for a few steps before giving up! I avoid Friday evening shopping as that’s when the lonely men prowl the grocery aisles!!

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  2. It’s been five weeks between Walmart Walmart trips the first time and seven weeks the second. I use our local grocery store which is very high priced for bread and milk or Dollar General. When I do got to Walmart it’s usually 300 or 400 but we use to spend a hundred a week on average. Now it’s that for five to seven weeks. Plus we are coming into garden season.

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    1. Yeah, the garden has already dropped the grocery bill. Sparky’s desire for arugula (very pricy greens) is now being met by the garden and soon he will have more kale and radishes than he knows what to do with! I’m hopeful that the tomatoes will produce this year taking a little more off the cost at the store. I refuse to shop at our Wal-Mart because it is one – all the way on the other side of town and two – the cashiers are all shady. Had one put her thumb on the scale to weigh my produce (I called her out and she reweighed and surprise it was at least a dollar less). Had another charge my credit card twice – that was a huge hassle and took forever to get it straightened out. That was the final straw so no more Wal-Mart (at least for groceries). When I’ve had to go there it has been for something that I could pay cash for… I’m glad that your grocery bill has dropped significantly!

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      1. We enjoyed asparagus but it’s done producing. Our grocery store charges $10 bucks for a jar of mayo. Bread and a gallon of milk is $9. Our only other choice for groceries is Walmart. The Kroger in the area if it’s not on sale is about 30 percent more than Walmart.

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            1. Dollar General is good for many things although there are items that they sell for a dollar that I can buy at my regular store for lots less! Still I bet a couple jars of may for $2 would beat $10 mayo any day!!

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                    1. We’ve been doing that more and more… I still won’t purchase shoes online because I’m very picky and I feel like the hassle of returning the shoes negates the convenience!

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                    2. I understand. There tops are not my style either. But the only place we really have to shop at for clothes other than a thrift store that is still closed is Walmart for shorts. All their jean shorts were high waist and short inseam. That is what drove me to order off Old Navy.

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  3. Still chuckling over the guy with the pan lid face shield and JustJoan’s reply…didn’t know they still made pickle loaf. A few days ago, I was chagrined to find a woman in Trader Joe’s, bare-faced and coughing with obvious results. Needless to say, she had the entire aisle to herself but she must have had thick skin to have endured the hostile looks she received from every angle. I get that some folks see going mask-less as a sign of support for their chosen one, but to reasonable people it’s more a statement of their egocentric inconsideration and low IQ. (oops, I hope my cousin doesn’t read this!)

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    1. Oh yes, JRR, we have pickle loaf and olive loaf, chicken livers and gizzards, and even bakery-fresh kuchens. The “international” aisle (more like half an aisle) is populated by La Choy and Old El Paso, though I have seen Mrs Renfro’s ghost pepper salsa there once. Next to the Tums and Pepcid AC? πŸ™‚

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    2. Ah Judy – you made me chortle! Oscar Mayer pickle loaf is still on the shelves but it will never pass my lips! My friend (The Fashion Consultant) was at the grocery and a man was crowding her at the checkout and had been inching closer to her in line as they waited – all without a mask. Finally as she was putting her things on the conveyor he got really close and started putting his stuff up too. She turned to him and with ther arm outstretched announced in her best teacher voice “You are too close”. The guy went ballistic and cussed and ranted before abandoning his groceries and fleeing the store. My friend was shaken by his rage but the rest of the cashiers and customers congratulated her with applause and thumbs up. Still the maskless feel that they are being wronged… amazing the idiocy!

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      1. We are all a little stressed with this situation and I remind myself to be gentle with others who are feeling like they’ve lost control of their lives. When I’m tempted to say something that would show my contempt for their ignorance, I save it for when I can commiserate with my like-minded friends. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I still believe that people are basically good and reasonably intelligent.

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        1. I’d agree that most folks are good hearted. However in the middle of the country (in my Red state and a scant 20 miles from the home of a former KKK Grand Dragon) we are seeing a disproportionate number of maliciously dense people. They are really bullies who push until they get their way and of course when they meet resistance their reaction is nuclear. In my friend’s defense she is a long time germophobe (won’t go to a movie theater for fear of head lice and bedbugs) and had finally reached the end of her rope.

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  4. Daughter is keeping us out of groceries. I do some online orders to spare her and our once favorite grocery has a 3% markup on every item you order, a shoppers fee, drivers tip. Think I’ll try Wal Mart.

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    1. Oh Bonnie! Don’t go to Wal-Mart unless you go very very early. In fact you can go to nearly any store very early to avoid the crowds and most of the idiots who refuse to wear masks. But you can never be 100% sure that you won’t be exposed….

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  5. Wonderful creativity in times of need! I’ve not been in the grocery store at all for about 3 months now, except for one foray to Trader Joe’s, which doesn’t have delivery service. Instead, a neighbor has shared her delivery ordering with me. I went out for supper last night, and will join a friend out for lunch today — otherwise I’m staying as quiet as possible at home, not easy now when the temperatures are approaching triple digits!

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    1. I would think that being inside in air conditioned comfort would be preferable to gadding about in intense heat! You are fortunate that your neighbor is sharing the delivery with you! I’m thinking that most of the brick and mortar stors are failing faster now and soon will be gone. Groceries may be the only ones that remain! I’ve kept busy and now it looks like work will start up again in July. At least that’s the plan.

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      1. We had 2 days of intense heat, followed today by temps about 10 degrees lower. Yesterday, my friend and I sat outdoors, under a large umbrella, and there was a nice light breeze to keep us from heat issues. It’s almost more difficult at home — I work upstairs, and it’s almost impossible to keep the upstairs cool — I’m considering reorganizing and taking my computer downstairs, in order to manage the heat better during the upcoming summer! I agree about the stores — there is a wide variety of groceries, and they all seem to be thriving — but other stores seem to be failing, and ordering on-line ordering becoming more common. The combination of that and my wonderful neighbors has been life-saving for me during the shutdown!

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        1. I think that is going to be the future for most retailers – on-line purchases and very few brick and mortar stores. It should save on costs and in theory prices should be lower. Time will tell. We have finally had summer weather and I’m hoping the temps don’t climb too much higher…

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    2. I am glad you went out for dinner last night and had a luncheon today with another friend. I have been back at the usual restaurant where we (the retired physicians) met every Monday. That’s the only place I don’t wear a mask. Every time I run into a grocery store to get something, I never leave the car without a mask. I think you could probably go for a drive to Dana Point with your mask on, or to the Beach and get some photos for us to feast our eyes on.

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      1. Thanks, Zakiah — it’s good to get out a little — I might get to DP over the weekend, and will be going to Santa Barbara soon for 5 or 6 days. I always use a mask when I’ll be among people, although I took it off while enjoying lunch with my friend — while I’m driving, I don’t wear the mask, but it’s on when I get out of the car, except at home. We’re beginning to see an increase in numbers — I hope it’s not a spike!

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    1. Yes the reopening is a little premature in my opinion. My in laws are under semi-house arrest by order of the 5 nurses in the family. They’ve been delivering groceries and taking them to appointments. Being 86 & 87 with some health issues makes them very susceptible to disaster if they were to get the virus. I’m tickled you liked the post – stay safe, be well, stay home!

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      1. I definitely never stayed home so much in my life! I even order my groceries online! I have been mostly working from home but we are gearing up to reopen! I agree this is all premature! My stepmom went and got a haircut today!!! I cannot believe that! We are still seeing thousands of new cases of COVID 19 each day!

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        1. California is still seeing a big increase – not too different from Indiana (except for scale) We’ve had a 2% increase over the last week but on the bright side we have 87% of our respirators not in use! So if the governor tells everyone they can remove their masks there will be enough respirators to go around when they come down with COVID-19! My husband and I both agree that we will continue to wear masks.

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  6. Those pics really are too much! We’ve seen nothing that dramatic here πŸ˜‰

    Is that a sanitary pad on that mans mouth? We’re told not to wear masks! That only those who are sick should or they might spread their germs …

    So I’ve seen a few masks and gloves about but nothing as comical as these!

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    1. The point of the mask is indeed to prevent you from passing it to others however infected people shed the virus for days before they develop symptoms thus if everyone wears a mask the chances of spreading the virus decrease dramatically… And yes it is a sanitary pad! and it is too funny but most of the innovations were due to a shocking shortage of the real thing!

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      1. lol oh the humiliation I used to suffer just buying those things … and now they are stuck on a man’s face! Whatever the reason, it’s sad but hilarious πŸ™‚
        I get that having worked with infectious diseases for years but here we are explicitly asked not to wear them .. no idea the reasoning behind it. So we see very few of them and we’ve only had 102 deaths …

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        1. I thought it was hysterical too! I can only imagine his wife’s response. I’m guessing she was unable to tell him how ridculous he looked due to being doubled over laughing. Sadly we’ve had 2,316 deaths in my small state to date with 38,337 positive cases to date. Just this last week we saw 335 new cases so it is still going on at a pretty good clip. The data from 2 weeks ago puts the total number of deaths for the whole counrty at 209,355 and increasing. It isn’t over yet and rumor has it the Governor is going to recind his order to wear face masks (He is a Republican and has been getting pressure from the POTUS). I’m not putting my masks aside anytime soon…

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          1. I have a mask ready, one I usually wear in Asian cities purely for pollution control … but our restrictions are being eased as we wait to see if the protests will unleash a second wave …

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            1. That second wave is purported to be worse than the initial wave of the virus… At least historically speaking! I am in a wait and see as well. Our Governor has recinded the order to wear masks as of 6-13-2020 at midnight. I will continue to wear one for my own peace of mind…

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              1. yes I believe it should be a personal option, no idea why we were firmly told not to wear them … I think these second wave threats might just be more fear mongering!

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  7. I love your posts and your sense of humor (also the photos are hysterical)! It is the same way here, hardly anyone is wearing face masks anymore….I’m wondering when to ditch mine! My husband and I have not made any decisions yet!

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    1. I’m thrilled you are enjoying my posts! I’m not sure what your states is experiencing but we are a hotbed of infection in IN. A lot of the more sparsely populated aresa are not seeing the numbers we are. Whatever you decide, be careful and stay safe!

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        1. Some places are ahead of others and that is fine when the population densities are very low – but in big cities where you are stacked like sardines they should let the decisions be made by rates of exposure/#of new cases and the number of deaths. Instead many are pushing for economic reasons. That scares me.

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          1. We have a large population in the Treasure Valley but we are pretty spread out. We were some of the last to get COVID cases, someone brought it in from New York. Hopefully, this summer the virus will die in the sunlight!

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  8. I’m lucky in that in the grocery stores I go to I rarely see anyone not wearing a mask. Our stores have designated “in” and “out” doors, and a hand-washing station by the in door. The aisles aren’t one way, though. Still, if we pass someone quickly, the experts seems to thing that’s not a problem. What I find interesting is how so many different places have such different approaches to controlling the virus. I have blogging friends from Australia, and they say that there the government doesn’t believe in having the citizens wear masks at all, only the medical personal. They said that there is no scientific proof masks help, and that they give people a false sense of security that they can get too close to others. And I just read an article about how as Europe slowly reopens, there are very different regulations and rules between different countries and even in the same countries. (In Italy, you may remove your face mask in a coffee shop if you are sitting down, but not if you are standing up) I guess the reason is that this is such a new virus we’re still figuring it out as we go along?

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    1. Yes there are many unknowns with this virus and even when we do know getting people to comply is difficult. I imagine it is confusing for everyone without regard to country. I’m going to follow the strictest guidelines until I’m confident that the danger is minimized. If that means I’m the only one wearing a mask – so be it.

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  9. I am not sure, Val, that those people you describe with so much talent and humour are realising the danger of this virus .
    The photos give the answer.
    Love ❀
    Michel

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    1. Hi Michel! I hope you and Janine are staying safe and away from the virus, Many people don’t have proper masks and were attempting to protect themselves – sometimes in silly ways… I think we now have masks available for anyone who wants to wear one!

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  10. People are not wearing masks here as much except when they are required to do so just to go in a place. I am one of those who don’t wear a mask..1) b/c it’s too hard to breath 2) b/c I don’t cough, sneeze, spit, etc in someone else’s face or where they might touch (and then touch their face). I do keep my distance just like w/any other virus than can harm or kill me w/my autoimmune diseases. We are back in karate but having to distance, take temps, use sanitizer, clean b/tween classes, etc.We sign up as there can only be so many in the dojo at one time. We will open back up our dojo when I return but can only have one class with all the requirements. Most of those I know haven’t worn masks unless required for their job or to enter a place, I’ve continued to tutor and even added a student. We wash our hands, sanitize, etc but feel no need for a mask as we’re not rude enough to cough/sneeze/blow on/spit one/etc anyone even if we were asymptomatic and might could pass it on. No one I know around our area has tested positive for covid and our county has had very low numbers.

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  11. Those pictures are really funny..i have never seen something like that from where i am…lol.

    And the last one with a sanitary pad….lolπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

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  12. It is easing up a lot here. Today the mosque opened the doors for Friday prayers. Only about fifteen to twenty people were asked to come. There were no children, and all women and men over 65 years of age were asked to say the obligatory prayers at home. I hope by the end of the month these restrictions will be lifted.

    I was fortunate I had a few boxes of masks at home which I had brought home from the office when I retired. I gave many to the children and their families. I still wear a mask whenever I am out doing shopping at the local grocery store. Val, I am shocked to read about Walmart and the shady characters at the register. I go there about three times per year. I just do not like to go there, and I have no specific reason for that. It is too far for me to drive up there, (And Quincy is a small town! If you drive ten or fifteen minutes on any road, you are out of the town! Ha ha) plus there is a really nice grocery store Hy-Vee, about three minutes from home.

    As usual, a neat post. Thank you.

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    1. We are still having live streaming of church services as all those over 65 are cautioned to stay home. The church is allowing people to attend but we are social distanced and have to have a reservation through an online app. Anyway, I went once and will do the live streaming from now on since there were several people who just didn’t get the memo about masks (wore them in but then took them off). It made me a little uncomfortable…

      As for Wal-Mart, they don’t have too many employees that are full-time and since we have a high employement rate there isn’t a big pool to draw from – for what they pay, many are the “bottom ofthe barrel” candidates and it shows. The Wal-Mart in Muncie was much better and the one I visited in Arkansas was well run. It might just be the one here but I doubt it.

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