I am in no way making light of this terrible pandemic, trust me. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who is as afraid of contracting Covid as I am, because I am considered high risk. I am extremely sad at the amount of people we’ve lost to this virus, and I rejoice for the people who have recovered.

I’m not sure what things will be like in a year, but for now, I’m going to tell you how I spent my quarantine time.

On March 13, the church where I work closed down for an indefinite amount of time due to the pandemic. So George and I (mostly George) set up a home office for me, which consists of a 6-foot long folding table, a trash can, a new printer/scanner, and papers everywhere. It’s located in our son Georgie’s old bedroom, which is supposed to be George’s man-cave. Yeah, not so much.

I have to mention that I have now taken over two rooms in our house. One is my “home office.” The second is my craft room. Neither is neat. Neither is organized. Neither are rooms where anyone else would want to spend time in. The craft room—honestly, there’s no room for anyone else besides me and our two dogs.

So now I’ve been working in my “home office” for what? Seven months? In the beginning, I was doing my hair, putting on makeup, and wearing decent clothing for work at home. That lasted 5 minutes. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not slovenly. I still wash my hair, take showers, wear clean clothes, use deodorant. But my biggest decision is what top to wear that will match the day’s pajama bottoms.

In the summer, it was more difficult. I wore either denim shorts, a pair of stretched-out, paint-splattered navy blue cotton shorts, or a truly hideous pair of tan cotton shorts that reached my knees. Dilemma: my summer tops are either appropriate for work (meaning they’re nice), or they are appropriate for painting the house. Nothing in between.

We have weekly staff meetings. On Zoom. That in itself is a column for another day. But anyway, on staff meeting days, I try and make sure that I’m wearing a decent top and that my hair isn’t slicked back in what I call my “pandemic ponytail.” Not that my co-workers care. But I do.

So, besides working from home, I’ve been doing a lot of crafting. Not during working hours, although the temptation is great at times. Luckily, pandemic impulse shopping is at an all-time high, so I’ve been kept busy filling orders from my Etsy shop.

And let’s face it. Turning on network TV is always an adventure these days. With all the political nonsense and daily ridiculousness, it’s like watching ongoing episodes of The Three Stooges, although there are a lot more stooges lately.

I have binge-watched too many series and movies to count. Currently I am watching The West Wing and marveling at the fact that it took me 14 years to get into it.

One would think that I’d take this opportunity to experiment with different dinners, or maybe bake, or create new recipes. And one would be wrong. I would rather get takeout every day of the week than cook. I’m not sure why. (I just remembered why: I hate cooking).

And as far as baking goes, that’s a firm no. Baked goods are obtained at a bakery, not my oven. My husband George is a much better cook than I am. Or at least that’s what I tell him, to ensure continued home-cooked meals.

Some people have taken online classes for enrichment. Some have stepped up their workouts. (George has done this. Lifting weights, walking. It’s irritating, and my refusal to feel guilty is exhausting). Some have learned a foreign language. Some have renovated their homes, reorganized their closets and drawers, sewn a ton of masks, done jigsaw puzzles, taken up meditation. Me? None of the above.

In short, my quarantine has been work, craft, eat, sleep, Netflix, eat, hang out with George and the dogs, eat, text family and friends.

Did I mention eat?

Ilene Black has been a resident of Ewing for most of her life and lives across the street from her childhood home. She and her husband, George, have two sons, Georgie and Donnie.