What I Learned This Week: #151

Monday, June 29 – Sunday, July 5

The Week in Confinement Returns: This week felt very similar to how I felt during the height of the Confinement, but a little sadder. This time people are actually out socializing and I’m often not. I’m not hiding out, but I’m not taking every opportunity to mingle with the potential of Covid. I think it’s the right choice, but it doesn’t bring me a lot of joy.

As cases spiked across the country (and in zip codes near me) and accurate information and guidance remained sparse, it seemed (based on my highly subjective shift at TJ Maxx and my weekly Kroger outing) that more people got on the mask wearing band wagon. That’s good news because it slows down transmission. Also, the death rate is down, predictably, because more young people are contracting Covid and they are the ones it hits least hard. That’s good news. Still, we don’t know why some situations lead to higher transmissions or why some people are more susceptible than others. We don’t know a lot, and the unknowns are keeping me in as much as possible.

Businesses that opened a few weeks ago have closed back down, some because an employee tested positive, some because they don’t want to take a chance. Social outings are back but they are stressful. Besides the unnatural concentration of keeping distance, the logistics of bringing all my own stuff is too much. I live in a little apartment and don’t have the equipment (coolers/chairs/etc) to go sit in a park for two hours to drink beer and eat snacks with friends. Until this summer, I never needed that stuff. We used to be able to share. Now, there’s a risk in me putting my beer in someone else’s cooler because we are both touching the handle. Seems absurd…and it might be. But until we know, I can wait.

I had an easier time in the thick of confinement when nothing was open and everyone was home. Now, there are optional activities available if I so choose. What I’m choosing is how much risk I’m willing to take, not how much fun I could be having. Once this spike is over, I will rethink my social options. Right now, I’m essentially back to confinement mode.

The Week in Lazy Alcoholism: I haven’t been drinking nearly as much as I thought I would staying at home, but I do drink. The grocery has a liquor store, but the selection isn’t as great as a snob like me needs. I need choices! I very much enjoy and very much miss perusing the shelves of a large liquor store. With the help of my phone and Google and chatting with other drinkers I often discover new brands and concoctions to try. But, Covid. So, if I must, I can live with on line ordering and getting curbside service. I picked up an order on Friday and it made my heart beat double time to see the Party Source staff member emerge from the store and make a beeline directly to my car with my cocktail supplies…Brought tears of joy to my eyes!

The Week in Patience + Social Distancing: Since I’m keeping my visits to everywhere few and far between, my summer iced coffee habit from my neighborhood coffee shops was starting to suffer. It was time to DIY.

Iced coffee is more than drinking the rest of the morning coffee over ice sometime later in the day, although there is nothing wrong with that. But there is a proper way to make iced coffee and it really makes the end product much tastier than repurposed breakfast coffee.

The process starts with the freakily large amount of coffee (12 oz) and 7 oz. of water. Purists will have that be distilled/fancy water. I’m a tap water woman. The coffee soaks for 24 hours or so. After that, strain the grounds out (I do a couple passes through a coffee filter). What you have created is a very strong coffee concentrate. Mix 1/2 cup concentrate, 1/2 cup of water (again, purists = water from a crystal clear lake on an organic farm, gathered by virgins and strained through hand woven cheese cloth). Add a splash of milk and/or sugar to taste. Serve over ice. Enjoy the flavor, the savings, and the lack of a visit to the coffee shop.

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