Staying Busy

Ray Grove of South Daytona is finding alternative tasks to accomplish, such as waxing his car, as many people are homebound during the Covid-19 crisis.

The World Health Organization announced Feb. 11 the official name for the disease that has unleashed a worldwide pandemic.

Coronavirus disease 2019, commonly referred to as Covid-19, is a new coronavirus not previously seen in humans. It was first identified in Wuhan, China.

The death toll keeps climbing as do new cases, with more and more cancellations of events and restrictions, changing all that was once familiar. Churches are closed, jobs are being lost, sporting events are canceled, schools are closed, bars are closed, restaurants and grocery stores are changing their policies – the list goes on and on.

And yet this new normal is also bringing a resiliency and commitment to reinventing oneself and resetting priorities like never seen before. And that may not be a bad thing.

Ray Grove is a retiree who, along with wife Sandy, splits time between South Daytona and Pittsburgh, Pa. Mr. Grove plays softball in both places and when not playing himself, is watching a sporting event or is out singing karaoke. He like everyone else literally in the world has had to make some changes.

“I’ve found a lot of new things to do since we have to be staying around the house,” he said. “My summer consisted of many things, the beach, softball. Softball is now over; it’s been cut short. There has been painting that has been needed for a couple of years, so it’s great to be able to get your house caught up on things that you need done. My garden is a never-ending thing to do, the weeds keep growing, they don’t have their own season. The cinch bugs took a little bit of my lawn, so I am getting pieces of lawn turf to put in to try to build it back up and cover it over again. When you are in Florida, it’s great to be outside. It’s something you can’t do up north (right now due to weather). And walking is great.

“I’m actually thinking of something I haven’t done since I was 18 years old and that would be to pull out the fishing rod and learn all about what you need for a license,” Mr. Grove said. “I could get back into that again, I wouldn’t mind that at all. (Also) my cars have never looked better. I have enough time to clean them, wax them and I have been doing some of that. My wife also gave me a list of things to do (she denied that).

Mr. Grove said they have had a great time doing new things, including spending time together, walking their dog through their neighborhood. He said they are trying to stay in the house but have “snuck out” for ice cream and some dining out.

“it’s a crisis,” he said. “Our lives are meant to be out and about and with other people. You have to find (safe) ways to do it. We’re on our own again so we can rekindle our relationship too, communicating.”

Diane Erickson, a retired educator who lives in DeLand, also had thoughts about finding some positives in the current global crisis as did fellow DeLand residents Linda Carney, a registered nurse, and Susie Macon, a photographer and retired businesswoman.

Ms. Erickson said, “I walk through the neighborhood 1.75 miles and do another workout online. I cleaned out a refrigerator, cleaned out a linen closet and now my floors are wonderful. I’m looking forward to finishing all those projects I started, but haven’t finished. I’m finishing a scarf that my mother started before she died. Now I’m doing it and am enjoying memories with my mother knitting for all those years.”

She also has more time for her artwork and making “sanitary” brownies by wrapping them individually in saran wrap.

Ms. Carney did the same thing with Irish soda bread she made.

“We are all making memories,” she said. “I think people are starting to appreciate their homes more, their families more, the little things count. Now we are forced to pay attention.”

Ms. Macon can’t photograph sports like she is accustomed to, but is sending older pictures to people and mailing out reference letters and talking to people by telephone. “Just because we can’t be in the same room and are disconnected by space, doesn’t mean we have to be disconnected by emotion,” she said.

The COVID-19 pandemic will end at some point. In the meantime, find the silver lining, whether in projects that can finally be completed, supporting friends and family and local businesses even from afar (or curbside food pickups), reinventing recreation options such as nature walks, praying wherever you find yourself, and realizing maybe the little things are, in fact, the big things.

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