The New Normal
The New Normal

The New Normal

I don’t like the new normal.  Not at all.  I am not good with change.  It triggers my anxiety.  And makes living with depression more difficult.  But at the same time I am thankful for so much.  Our loved ones are safe and healthy.  We have jobs.  We have a solid roof over our heads.  We have each other and our pets for companionship during this long shut in.  My heart breaks for the millions of people who have lost everything.

When the first US case of COVID-19 was reported on 1/20/20 I kept an eye on things.  I’ve always been worried about a global pandemic.  I used to faithfully stock a bin of rice, peanut butter, beans, and water in the basement in case of such a thing, but gave up about 10 years ago when I got tired of always having to replace everything when it expired.

So I was READY on 2/27/20 when the WHO reported that Covid-19 had pandemic potential.  I immediately signed out from work and spent the afternoon at the grocery store, pet store, & liquor store, filling carts with supplies.  Never in my life have I filled a cart with wine, but I did that day.  I was very thankful that a couple of weeks prior to that I’d made my bi-annual Costco run for paper goods.  We still have about 4 months left:

we have tons of paper goods locked in our basement cage

I hauled my new purchases into the house, down to the basement, and stored them in mouse-proof containers:


wine and vodka supplies for covid quarentine        pet food supplies for covid quarantine

I went early enough to miss the mid-March run on toilet paper [and everything else].  I had seen the photos of empty grocery shelves all over the internet, but hadn’t experienced it in person.

But now, it’s 5 weeks later.  We started to run out of essentials, like eggs, milk, half & half for coffee and tea, bread, vegetables, frozen pizza [totally essential during a pandemic!], and wine.  So I took an hour of leave from work Monday morning and headed to our local Shaws grocery store.  I was HORRIFIED to see the egg shelf completely empty:

the new normal - no eggs at shaws in ipswich

No eggs???  So I headed to the frozen pizza aisle:

the new normal - hardly any frozen pizza at shaws in ipswich        the new normal - hardly any frozen pizza at shaws in ipswich

NO FROZEN PIZZA???  Jim’s a vegetarian, and I’m mostly vegetarian, so out of the few pizzas left, most had meat on them.  I was able to get a few of the remaining vegetarian ones [didn’t want to clear them out in case other people needed some].  Then headed up the aisle to the tator tots:

the new normal - no tator tots at shaws in ipswich

No tator tots 🙁

Headed around the corner to find:

the new normal - no frozen vegetables veggies at shaws in ipswich

No FROZEN VEGGIES EITHER???  I ALMOST burst into tears at this point, behind my surgical mask.  I talked to hubby on the phone and he calmed me down.  He just said to get what I could, to not worry about what I couldn’t get, so I did my best.  As I walked by the ice cream coolers on my way to the register I saw there was also no Ben & Jerry’s or Häagen-Dazs:

the new normal - no ben & jerry's at shaws in ipswich

SO SO SO surreal.  I completely forgot the half & half, which I didn’t realize until I got home.

Due to forgetting the half & half, and hoping to find eggs, I headed to the Market Basket grocery store one town over after work yesterday.   I knew from their website that they were only allowing a certain number of people into the store at one time [88 to be exact], and that I’d probably have to wait in line.  A long, long, loooooong line.  The sidewalk was marked with red tape so everyone could stay 6 feet apart as we slowly marched towards the door:

the new normal - waiting in line to enter market basket rowley        the new normal - waiting in line to enter market basket rowley

the new normal - waiting in line to enter market basket rowley        the new normal - waiting in line to enter market basket rowley

Half an hour later I could see myself and mask in the door of a closed store:

looking at my face-masked reflection while waiting in line for market

the new normal - waiting in line to enter market basket rowley        the new normal - waiting in line to enter market basket rowley

Finally, an hour after I’d arrived, I was admitted to the store.

I immediately headed to the egg aisle.  No eggs 🙁 🙁 🙁  :

the new normal - no eggs at market basket in rowley

The only eggs left were in little 6 packs, and each one had at least one broken egg [which is why they were still on the shelf].  I didn’t care.  I grabbed my allotted 2 containers and figured 10 good eggs were better than no eggs.  After 10 minutes of shopping I’d gotten everything I needed, including a case of egg & cheese breakfast burritos for hubby:

i bought hubby a LOT of breakfast burritos at market basket rowley

The line for the registers was also very long, and started next to the ice cream coolers.  Then snaked around the corner towards the front of the store:

the new normal - waiting in line to checkout market basket rowley        the new normal - waiting in line to checkout market basket rowley

Because I was one of the few with about 20 items in my cart instead of an over-flowing cart, they let me skip a few people and go straight to the express lane.  Thank goodness for small miracles!  Then I came home and had a stiff drink with dinner.

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  1. It is surreal and an especially bad time for people who suffer from depression. I had to ask my doctor for anew prescription for an anti anxiety medication. There hasn’t been a day yet when I have not broken down. The boys can be a torment when they get sick of each other and start fighting, but I know that things are better because they here. I just try to get through one day at a time. Have you been able to do any fun projects?

    1. Nine Dark Moons

      I have been thinking about you! I have had to double my anti anxiety meds. It sucks. I used to take one in the morning. Now I have to take another in the late afternoon/evening. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t break down 🙁 It’s so hard. I have been doing projects here and there, but nothing that fun… 🙂 I am hoping to do some art soon. It’s been too long. Stained glass or more watercolor. How is the house? I usually check every few weeks. Went there this morning and it’s gone. Are you going to bring it back? Or do you have a new site now?

  2. We have had vastly different experiences simply by going to our local store on a Monday (wiped out of everything) vs the following Tuesday (restocked on many things). It’s nuts, and unpredictable. We shop once a week and since that first bare-shelf experience, we find most of what we need. No TP, though … good thing we were already stocked! I made us both masks. We are saving $$$ by not doing anything but hanging out at home. Try ordering pizza at a local pizza shop like Papa Murphy’s. Works for us, and they’re fresh! Take good care of yourselves and stay safe!

    1. Nine Dark Moons

      We’re definitely saving money by not doing anything! We used to order pizza every Friday night, but have now switched to “frozen pizza Friday” which is also saving us money. You stay safe too!

  3. Hugh

    Couldn’t believe the local market I go to here on the island. Out of everything I needed. I did buy some no name frozen veggies and late sell by date stuff, peanut butter and bread, two cans of beans I never heard of. They didn’t even have any spam or Dinty Moore Stew. Mom and I are going off island Sunday hoping for better results.❤️Dad

  4. AnneV

    o.m.g. Alison – you said it all! Surreal certainly. Petrifying absolutely!
    Your initial shopping was impressive; I wish we’d been that organized earlier! But our house was actively on the market and clean and neat was our priority. Now that our house is once again back to normal, we find that no matter how good our lists are, we still start to run out of something(s) within a day or two. Along with so many others, we wish we’d listened to the dire warnings a lot earlier.
    You’re super organized; you’re doing a great job despite empty shelves. Stay safe! Stay healthy!

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