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Lockdown Learning: Hacks from the Covid Confinement

So here we still are: the Body Politick getting mighty restless after a good two months’ of confinement to our homes. This has turned into one helluva journey. But from my point of view, a number of things have presented themselves as valuable clues for the future project of Aging in Place.

Because of course that’s what I intend to do, with a little luck: stay in my home until I croak over from old age. Being stuck in your house because you dare not venture out into a contagion is much the same, in many ways, as being stuck because you can’t or should not drive or because you’ve gone too lame to hike around supermarkets and big-box stores.

Here are some little discoveries that have come about from the great Covid Confinement Event, discoveries that can be applied now or in the future:

  • When I’m not darting off to the grocery store or the vet or the church or the Walmart or the Costco whenever the whim so moves me, gasoline consumption drops to almost nil. Literally. After two months, that car sitting in the garage still has half a tank of gas in it. And it wasn’t full when the quarantine fiasco started.
  • The insurance companies having registered this, my insurer dropped my auto premiums by 15 percent.
  • Savings on gasoline (to say nothing of savings on car insurance) would easily cover the cost of several Instacart or Amazon deliveries each month.
  • For the nonce, the cleaning lady could go. Or at least be cut from every two weeks to once a month. Much as I’m…well..Not Fond of housecleaning, I’m having no problem keeping up with it. And it’s kind of pleasant not to have a visitor show up and bang around for four or five hours every couple of weeks. The house would be fine if WonderCleaningLady surfaced just once a month, and I would save 50% on that onerous bill. In the age-in-place department though: obviously as I get older I’d have to increase the frequency of the cleaning visits. But that time, apparently, has not yet arrived.
  • Having groceries delivered may actually save on grocery bills, because sending someone out with a list eliminates impulse buys.
  • Instacart runners know little about selecting certain kinds of groceries, especially produce and ingredients for cooking from scratch. Ordering groceries through Instacart is, to put it mildly, a learning experience.
  • Therefore the Ager-in-Place will need to visit markets in person about once a month, even if it means using Uber or Lyft to get there.
  • Amazon vendors gouge spectacularly when given any excuse to do so.
  • Mormons are scary-smart during a national emergency. And they don’t stint on the generosity.
  • Ways to exercise need to be found and engaged. Sitting and playing with a computer all day leaves you with your joints frozen up. 😀
  • You could save a w-h-o-o-l-e lotta money on groceries and probably eat healthier by making every second day a Veggie Day. That is, eat meat one day, and the next day have all vegetarian meals. This will extend your supply of meat during the present crisis. But if you made it a regular habit, now and evermore, it also would cut your grocery bills and much reduce your cholesterol levels.

So there are some life-lessons one could apply to daily existence, now and evermore. How many will stick remains to be seen. But I intend to adapt at least some of them to Life After Covid, willy-nilly.

2 thoughts on “Lockdown Learning: Hacks from the Covid Confinement”

  1. I have been reading your grocery delivery posts with interest. I have been loathe to sign up for such things – most of the time when I go to the store, I have a list, but I am very flexible – if I find additional produce on sale or that looks particularly good – I will change my plan accordingly. Same thing – if things on my list are not looking particularly good, or the price is not what I’m willing to pay – I will find something else.

    I hadn’t really thought of the problem of the shopper not knowing what something on my list actually was. I have read enough reports of rather random substitutions that I think I would definitely have to make sure to say NO substitutions or – hopefully there might be a place to document acceptable substitutions?

    Just before all of this started, I did put in an order with for canned tomatoes and beans – getting some staples in. The order came in 2 parts – the first box showed up and was perfect – packaged well, everything in good shape. The second box was a mess – the box was 2x as big as it should have been, no packing material, and just about every can was significantly dented and damaged. Target refunded me without a problem – but I had the same problem the one time I attempted to buy canned tomatoes on amazon – which makes me feel like that’s not a good solution.

    Definitely living in interesting times!

  2. I haven’t ordered from many places other than Amazon, simply because it’s so easy and because Amazon Prime provides “free” delivery in addition to the infinite choice of streaming video. In general, Amazon delivery has been OK, but I haven’t tried food deliveries that way.

    Usually Amazon overpacks its delivery goods, so you’re digging through layer on layer of cardboard and paper and plastic. I really don’t like that, which is one reason I’d rather shop locally.

    With Instacart, I haven’t seen a place to say “I’ll take this if you can’t get that,” but admittedly haven’t looked closely. There is an option to say “no substitutions,” which I’ll be choosing if I use their system often. And there’s a space to enter notes, where you could let the person know that Item Y could substitute for Item X. But as you point out, if the person doesn’t even know what the stuff is, it would be hard for them to assess whether they were looking at a reasonable substitute.

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