Living with a new normal


We wake up now and within seconds realize that our lives are vastly different from what they were last month. We are baffled. Do we need to hurry and get breakfast? Are the clothes we think we will wear appropriate for the day’s activities? What do our planners reveal about the day’s agenda?

As we consider the ways in which our lives are altered and hear from our friends about how they’re coping, we know we’re in the middle of a new normal and that we have yet to realize the entirety of these changes, both for the short term and the long haul.

A Facebook friend posted a photo of herself all dressed up, and I thought, and no place to go. That was a wake-up call for me. I’ve been wearing a nightgown 24/7. Not good for the person who must look at me each day.

My husband asked me to cut his hair tonight, and this simple act of cutting it made me think about all those men out there who don’t have a partner who can cut hair. Maybe some think they can, but I wouldn’t want to see how the haircuts turn out. Men who don’t have a hair-cutting partner in the house will need to shave their heads (keep Band-Aids and alcohol ready for the abrasions and cuts). Or perhaps they’ll go the Beatles route. If these weeks turn into months, they might even opt for a man bun or a pony tail.

Is your hair gray? A California friend told me she called her hairdresser to ask what she’d need to color her dark hair “so as not to resemble a skunk,” ordered the provisions online to be delivered to her home, and is prepared to give it a try. She also has ordered cat-grooming implements as her cat’s fur is a mess, and the groomer’s studio is not open for business. I told her to take care because when I lived in Harlan, I was grooming my son Quentin’s dog Moreover one day I cut a hole in his throat. I panicked and quickly called an R.N. friend Dawn Nunez to get medical advice. The dog survived.

We’re still using Kleenex at our house except for the two rolls of toilet tissue my grandson brought yesterday. He had his son Cohl, 3, in the car with him, and I had to run out to greet him, but I kept my distance. He probably wondered why I was acting so silly in my bare feet and nightgown and why he was banned from my house.

Speaking of shortages, maybe it’s time to explore your cooking skills as Ted Allen tests the contestants on “Chopped” where they are given mystery baskets and must create a designated dish. You have an advantage, because you can use anything in your pantry or refrigerator. Check the dates on ingredients; however, because last week I had frozen ground beef and started to make tacos with a kit until I checked the date on the box – March 2015.

In these days of a new normal, persons in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are not allowed visitors, so I decided to make a phone call to my Columbian Club friend Rosemary Gutmann at Garbry Ridge Assisted Living. She reported that she and her husband Paul are managing their isolation well. They’re face-timing with their beloved grandchildren, they get phone calls, and their son and his family who live in Cincinnati recently visited. They stayed on the sidewalk outside the open window of the Guttman’s quarters and talked. Also, a note arrived in their mail from an anonymous school child. It said, “We’re thinking of you, and we hope you’re keeping upbeat.” Smart kid and wise advice for all of us.

In conclusion, perhaps you haven’t thought of something I’d like to share with you. I just received a Facebook posting from friend Daniel Hance, an Iraq War veteran. The writer of the manifesto he sent detailed a list of issues that military men and women face every day, year after year: being confined, engaging in required repetitious activities, doing without, taking orders, realizing that death is possible – the kinds of issues we’re facing because of the coronavirus. The author writes, “We can deal; we just roll with it.” And over 9,000 retired Army medical personnel volunteered two days ago to come aboard to fight the coronavirus! These are exemplary men and women who deal and roll with it- even when not required to do so.

By Vivian Blevins

Contributing Columnist

Vivian B. Blevins. Ph.D., a graduate of The Ohio State University, served as a community college president for 15 years in Kentucky, Texas, California, and Missouri before returning to Ohio to teach telecommunication employees from around the country and students at Edison State Community College and to work with veterans. You may reach her at 937-778-3815 or [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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