Metatalktail Hour: Pandemic Home June 13, 2020 5:33 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week, since we haven't done a picture one in a while, show us a picture of something new and different about your home during the pandemic! Do you have a makeshift home office? Do you have a mask storage station? Have you created a homeschooling hub for kids doing e-learning? Do you have food storage that could put a bunker to shame?

As always, this is a conversation-starter, not limiter, and you can talk about anything that suits your fancy! And you can send the contact form ideas for future topics!
posted by Eyebrows McGee to MetaFilter-Related at 5:33 PM (59 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Mask station near the door, because the kids tend to take them off and drop them wherever. We also converted the buffet in the dining area to a distance learning HQ but I'm not taking a picture because it's a disaster area!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:40 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


So this is very very stupid- but when I first allowed myself to go shopping a few weeks ago- just around the corner to my local walgreens for seltzer and masks- I picked up a thing. I will not apologize for that pun you cannot make me.

It has been an wildly productive three weeks. My remaining tomatoes are in the last open bed- which means from now on it's about keeping everyone happy and waiting for the glut. I made a valiant attempt to save my potted celery- which has not worked as currently it's bolting. GRAR. My tomato thicket of the Spike tomato and Julia Child tomato is... well... deserving of the title of thicket that's for sure. It's even worse now but I'm just sort of living with it because of how many pretty little baby fruit are on their vines. I also planted up the last defunct bed with my bits and bobs. Bits and bobs meaning sunflower seedlings, peppers, and my last batch of *fancy* winter squash. We had some windstorms in San Francisco- one of which knocked over my enormous potted collard green. Happily this was mostly fixed by just picking it up again and taking a few precautions to make sure it doesn't happen again. My dreams of blackberry pie are... almost certainly going to be a reality- also I am scared of how vigorous those vines are. In prettier news- pretty much everything is flowering, including the potato plants. And last but not least- I am just starting to encounter a zucchini glut. So. Much. Squash. Considering how much squash we eat though- this is very much a good thing. If it gets too bad I'm sure I might show up on a few local mefite's doorsteps with some contactless squash. Sorry not sorry in advance.

In scary but happy news I'm probably going back to work in a week or so. My job is very much taking social distancing seriously, and UI will run out soon anyways. Not to mention that as long as I'm just home-bus-work-bus-home and I take some basic precautions the overall flattening of the curve in SF should protect me, as should the fact that this was a high mask-wearing town from the start. I still desperately need to see a masseuse about my back, as I spent most of today with some pretty dire neck pain and that's how a scoliosis back blow out starts. I leave you with a picture of some very phallic zucchini. No reason really- but it made my mom laugh very hard when she discovered it.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 5:56 PM on June 13 [11 favorites]


No picture but I may be restoring a honest to god several hundred pound anvil that once belonged to my great grandfather. I'll need to use a filler rod (after preheating of course) on the top and about a bazillion different brushes and grinding techniques. That's if I decide to not repair the busted feet (3 out of 4)... But I'm pumped to start thinking about it. I've already got a massive hickory stump that will be the base... next will be a furnace/forge build!
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:15 PM on June 13 [12 favorites]


Mask holder. Scully McScullface has been sitting there for a couple of decades staring me down.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:30 PM on June 13


Oh, one of these days, I'm going to put a small computer inside Mr. Scullface and start turning him into a Gibsonesque Ghost to haunt whomever inherits him. MUAHAHAHA!
posted by zengargoyle at 6:34 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I will not apologize for that pun you cannot make me.

To do so would be a Grimm act indeed. I applaud your fantastic fourthought.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:36 PM on June 13 [5 favorites]


I've been working on our patio a lot. It was really run down. I have put bird feeders in several spots but most of them are behind me in this photo. My husband cut down all of the weeds and overgrown plants from this strip of ground next to the patio. We have some people coming this week to dig down 2 or 3 inches so that we can create a new surface. That's really going to pull the patio together now.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 6:38 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Bag for clean homemade masks by the back door, one of the last elastic-eared shop masks by the front door because !!today someone knocked and didn't back off!!, laundry bag for worn masks on the stairs to the laundry. Three paper bags on new hooks near the back door for aging the mail in, with "In Before" dates updated in marker.

All the living-dining furniture and the rugs shuffled into half their usual space leaving a Zoom Room for exercise.
posted by clew at 7:34 PM on June 13


Just tonight I finally finished the control panel, which means all the wiring is done on The Quarantrain.

I began work on it just as things started shutting down and now, at last, it's ready for me to begin adding scenery, which is the thing I'm actually interested in. All the other stuff, the bench work, designing and laying track, wiring, that's all fun but it's a necessary evil to get to the fun stuff.

The control panel is home-built. It controls nine switch motors and uses bi-color LEDs to indicate the active track. I don't like doing electronics but when things finally work out it's quite satisfying.

My wife painted the clouds on the backdrop, because if I did it it would just be a white smudge with the word "cloud" written in Sharpie.

It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
posted by bondcliff at 7:41 PM on June 13 [9 favorites]


Cookshelves version 2, an upgrade from version 1 in the sense that there's room now for nearly all the pots and pans with handles to be hung from hooks. Yes, that is a lot of cooking stuff, but we use more of it than I had anticipated since version 1 went up last year and made all of them accessible.
posted by ardgedee at 8:34 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


I'm trans but still in that awkward not-everyone-knows and haven't-started-on-hormones stage.

But I found an app which would take a picture of me and masculinise it and I love it. I am so, so impatient to actually really look something like this in real life.

So: this is me. At least, it's me as I feel like I truly am, and is hopefully me as I will one day be.

I think this counts as something new and different about my home?
posted by forza at 8:38 PM on June 13 [67 favorites]


"So: this is me. At least, it's me as I feel like I truly am, and is hopefully me as I will one day be."

The hair is ON. POINT.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:40 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Well, the new thing in my house is this cute peanut. Sneakers is 17-ish weeks old and is just a delightful little princess. I had been thinking about getting a second cat maybe in the fall when I could take some time off work to help everyone get settled, and then I got laid off and realized i will probably never again have this much time at home to integrate two cats?

So here we are. I wanted to go through a rescue org but the one that accepted my application ...ghosted me after the initial phone call? I have no idea. I ended up spending a few stressful weeks scrolling through our local online classified ads for free kittens. It turns out that the market for free kittens is EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE. Which seems crazy! Because you don’t really know what you are getting!

Anyhow, long story short: after weeks of replying to ads only to find out all the kittens had been claimed in the first fifteen minutes I got lucky - five kittens (all boys apparently? Lol no) who needed to be rehomed, just a 30 minute bus ride away. There was only one left when i got there, a little ticked tabby with a cute brown nose who mostly seemed terrified of everything that was happening.

I will tell you all that i have read everything Jackson Galaxy has ever written about integrating strange cats. Separate rooms! Swapping scented items! Eating on either side of a closed door! Not to mention quarantine against the possibility of fleas or other pestilence.

Instead I failed to take into account the agility of a lonely 14 week old kitten left alone in the bathroom with the door open but with plywood blocking the opening. At some point after I went to bed she jailbroke right out of that bathroom and spent an unknown amount of time just running amok in the rest of the apartment.

I should add here that my current cat was completely nonplussed by this, and took the opportunity to avail himself of the leftover bits of her dinner. That was the part that woke me up - all 15lbs of him climbing over the plywood to steal her food.

So! It has been three weeks and everyone is fine. We had to do some remedial litter box training, but that has really been the only challenge so far. They are quickly becoming buds.
posted by janepanic at 9:34 PM on June 13 [23 favorites]


That's a great shot, janepanic; at first I didn't realize where the big ones face was, and when I did there was a very nice frisson of recognition.
posted by jamjam at 10:13 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Wow, forza, tu es formidable, if my manner isn't too familiar.
posted by jamjam at 10:21 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Wow, forza, tu es formidable, if my manner isn't too familiar.

Not too familiar at all -- in fact a really great compliment! Thank you!!
posted by forza at 10:34 PM on June 13


Plants.
posted by dobbs at 10:49 PM on June 13


I've been getting much better at feeding myself by subscribing to one of those services where they send you all the ingredients you need for a variety of meals.

So now my fridge is full: food delivery abundance.
But I'm so out of the habit of doing dishes: dishes??!! (and yes, I did have a pint of Ben & Jerry's last night as an appetizer, but still cooked my daily meal.)

For a long time I've needed to pick up all the debris from my living room floor. I got a robovac which has led me to sort and remove many many papers from my floor.

But, oops. Now that there's so much clear floor space the time has come to fill it back up!
posted by bendy at 11:57 PM on June 13


In general though, it's good. I may spend a bit of extra money for this food and for yet another vacuum cleaner but they're actually making major improvements to my life and so are worth the expense.

I went on a 28-day Outward Bound course in my early 20s. One of the customs of Outward Bound is the "solo," a period of solitude and self-reflection with no personal interaction except the leaders popping in for two minutes a day to give you a bag of trail mix and a jug of water.

Since my course was really long, we had a 3-day solo. Since we were off the coast of Maine we each had our own island. We were supposed to be journalling and self-assessing but TBH I spent most of the time sleeping. However, the subconscious reflects even though we think we aren't.

For the last week and a half we hadn't bathed, we had just done our morning "run and dip." Run/stumble/walk a mile and then jump into the freezing cold ocean, pretend that rubbing your crotch and your pits will do something sanitary.

I had smuggled a tiny bottle of Dial body-wash in with me and sat in a tepid tide pool and washed for the first time in a very long time. For some reason my island was a tourist attraction and in my three days alone there, nine groups popped in. Therefore I didn't get naked in my tide pool but it still felt pretty good.

Long story short, five weeks in total isolation has been a really long solo. I've reminded myself to eat and to clean and to drink less and to smoke less pot.

Isolation gets the short shrift a lot but I'm convinced it has value.
posted by bendy at 12:15 AM on June 14 [4 favorites]


A few minor things have changed around our house.

The first is that we used to have a coat rack by the door and an overflow set of coat hooks nearby, because between two of us, we had about four bags, two umbrellas, five hats, and four or five coats and jackets to hang up. Since the pandemic we don't need different bags for different purposes anymore, because we never go out except for walks and grocery shopping, and we don't need coats to match our clothes because no one who cares will ever see us in them. We don't need umbrellas or hats because we can choose not to go outside if it's raining or too sunny. So this is the overflow coat rack now.

Even the normal coat rack is pretty much under control.

Then there's the shelf on the bookcase that is now dedicated to all the miniatures I've painted.

I'm lucky enough to have a home office, but since it got colder, I pretty much do all my work upstairs on the sofa, under a blanket. My office is the temperature of a freezer, which I didn't used to have an issue with back in the days when I would only work there for a couple of hours at a time. Instead, my office now serves as a music practice room, since I started teaching myself recorder about six weeks ago and now seem to have developed an addiction.

And finally, the bathroom has turned into a home gym. (Yes, our bathroom was super weird. I don't know why it basically had a gym-sized foyer either.)
posted by lollusc at 2:28 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Sourdough is new in my house. My husband is a culinary arts professor and after years of resistance he decided to join the sourdough wave. In general there’s been a lot more bread and baking in our house in the last three months and I’m not mad about it.
posted by obfuscation at 3:57 AM on June 14


But I found an app which would take a picture of me and masculinise it and I love it. I am so, so impatient to actually really look something like this in real life.

That's a great picture, forza! Can I ask what app you used?

We moved into our new house a year ago, and wondered what the tree out front was. Well it flowered this past April, and we discovered it was a crabapple tree. No fruit to be seen, but beautiful flowers!
posted by cozenedindigo at 5:34 AM on June 14 [3 favorites]


I already worked from home, so nothing really changed in that regard. We really haven't changed anyting in the shouse. We did do our part to stimulate the economy this weekend though.
posted by COD at 5:54 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I don't have pictures, but oh, oh wow. After 11 years of trying to hold out on some misbegotten dream of having a lawn to go with our house, we finally gave up. The background is that the soil around our house is a mix of clay and june bug larvae, and the three times I laid down sod, and the two times I put down grass seed just never took. For the last several years, the hateful side yard that gets blazing sunlight only in the morning, does not drain, and which had been largely taken over by moss and weeds had been left to fester.

Earlier in the pandemic, we decided to start using our balcony more, to have sunset drinks and even lunch or dinner when possible. I'm not sure where we came up with the idea, but we ended up getting fake grass to put down on the balcony, and holy hell, it instantly transformed a space we'd barely used to the space we spent as much time as possible. From there, looking at the hellscape that was the lawn, and realizing that the fake grass wasn't as expensive as we thought, we went to work. I expanded the brick/tile patio I'd built years ago, and then past that, we leveled out the clay and dirt as best we could, and set down more of the fake grass. Sure, it's not a natural solution, but it was never going to be a workable lawn, and was only ever a 1.5mx 4m space in the first place, and it's much, much less hassle now.

Other than that, I put up shelves in a heretofore mess of a closet. It was pretty much filled with things I couldn't really be bothered to sort through. I still haven't really sorted through the things, but at least he organizationable things are in place for when that urge gets to me.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:11 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


My flower beds and deck garden. The deck has been ripped up and is about 1/4 rebuilt. I'm going to harvest spinach and lettuce today as well as some herbs. I have one green tomato that fell off the plant when it blew over in a storm. I'm going to let it ripen like my grandparents did. I just wish I had a window sill big enough like their.
posted by kathrynm at 7:28 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Mostly a lot of little things - there's a mask station on the front porch, along wih a rotating set of bags. We've got slightly further on dealing with the area on the south side of the house (that's still shady due to lots of tree cover) that's constantly covered with differing amounts of weeds in the four years we've lived here.

The biggest changes were within the last two and a half weeks - with the arson in Minneapolis (specifically the car and apartment fires in residential areas), a lot of things started looking a little different around the house. We just kept the garden hose hooked up. There was a shovel on the front porch, but the garden weasel (that sort of lived on the front porch for. . . reasons?), was the wrong combination of scary looking but not actually that useful, and ended up in the dining room for a bit. Garbage was in the garage. For about a week, we packed the car every night, and the luggage stayed on the first floor. There's a clock on our front porch side table. Cat carriers were brought out, so the cats would at least not freak out when we brought out the carriers.

So now that's over, and everything had to be put back - only that's happening slowly, and we're rethinking where stuff goes. And now my neighborhood has been trying to figure out where in their house they're going to store that full sized fire extinguisher they got (we now have a new kitchen fire extinguisher, our old one got used). The cats are enjoying their carriers being out, so those are just in the dining area, but the garden weasel finally made it to the garage.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:49 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I "learned" how to use a pumice stick to finally clean the toilet properly. It's a long process, but the results are pretty amazing.

Everything else is shit (ha!), so it's pretty much all I can celebrate
posted by Gorgik at 9:49 AM on June 14


Forza! So great! Congrats!

I am finding my wash-it-rarely Quarantine Hair is AMAZING and have been enjoying having great hair even if no one sees it (not-great pic here).

Plant situation has also been good, usually I'm an inattentive plant maintainer but not anymore! My spiderwort is off the hook and my oxalis seems to like the window.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:21 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Something new and different about my home is that apparently a gecko lives here now? I've caught her three times in three days hanging out by the back door.
posted by saladin at 1:02 PM on June 14 [5 favorites]


Thanks, cozenedindigo and jessamyn! The app is called FaceApp. It's kind of neat - lets you play around with hairstyles, aging, etc., lots of things besides gender.
posted by forza at 2:41 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


The pandemic derailed a bunch of inside projects that I need other people to help with. But my garden is great this year because I’m home to micromanage it. I grew gorgeous tomato and tomatillo plants from seed that already have flowers and even little fruits. The strawberries are making a dessert worth of fat red berries every other day, and I’m letting the formerly scrawny rhubarb get big enough for strawberry rhubarb tarts. After another rain I’m going to harvest this bumper crop of garlic scapes and pickle them with lavender flowers from my plants. I’m up to my ears in peas and artichokes this month - beans and raspberries next month, zucchini and blueberries and salsa ingredients in August, then the bigger tomatoes and an avalanche of crabapples from my tree. My red rhododendron just finished a glorious explosion of flowers, and the foxgloves are taller than me and filled with bees. I’m growing all the herbs and most of the greens I use regularly, and trellising hops and passionflowers on the fence. The honeysuckle trellised by my front door makes the whole block smell nice.

I’ve never appreciated how great it is to be a descendant of farmers as much as I have during this pandemic - it’s been tough, but growing up with some gardening skills makes my house a pretty good place to hunker down during produce season.
posted by centrifugal at 5:58 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


forza, that is a GREAT pic. And definitely something new and different about your home! Yay!

saladin, I envy you your gecko.
posted by kristi at 6:05 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Forza, you look amazing! I used Faceapp once to see what I would look like as a man, and the face that stared back at me was my brother's. Very disconcerting. (I'm adopted, and it looked just like my birth-brother, and it was kind of the first time I'd realised how much we resemble each other. Growing up without people around who looked like me meant this was more shocking to me than it would otherwise have been).
posted by lollusc at 6:10 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]


Is this the place to make requests about how we run AskMefi in re COVID questions?

I don't know if it's unreasonable, but I'd really like to see a rule instituted on COVID responses where people actually cite to sources if they're making a claim about whether something is safe or not to do. I keep seeing responses like "i'm reading that...xyz, therefore you should do abc" or "i heard that..." and that bothers me because in a time where there's so much misinformation floating around people need to be able to read the sources for themselves and be able to evaluate the quality of the source.
posted by Karaage at 6:54 PM on June 14


Might be worth its own MeTa thread? I do think it's worth a discussion.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:12 PM on June 14


During the hard lockdown when we weren't even allowed outside for exercise, we started spending most of our time in our garage because we could catch a bit of sun in there. It's become a real hub of our lives. And this is not a change in our house, but in me - got a new bicycle, and now that we're allowed outside again, I go for a long cycle every morning. This is a big deal as after an accident when I was a teenager, I've been too nervous to cycle on our roads, to my cyclist - husbant's dissapointment. Now he's so pleased with me :) Here I am with my new bike and my home-made high visibility gear :)
posted by Zumbador at 12:21 AM on June 15 [4 favorites]


Saladin what a pretty gecko!
That reminds me - another change in our home is that a bunch of ants have made a nest inside the frame of our front door, since we hardly ever open it these days. The one time I went through there I got caught up in a spider's web! When we do go out, we tend to use the garage door.
posted by Zumbador at 12:24 AM on June 15


(Karaage - last discussed May 17: https://metatalk.metafilter.com/25557/Another-COVID-communication-post, which is now on the third page of metatalk, so I reckon worth another stab at the discussion would be helpful.)
posted by freethefeet at 5:22 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


I gave my bathroom a makeover! (Or at least as much of a makeover as I could get away with as a renter!)

"Giving the bathroom a makeover" was really just addressing the fact that there was zero in the way of decorative items, trying to figure out how to get a second towel bar in there for my roommate, and finally figuring out what to do with the one weird wall that had a nail hole and a place that needed patching from an old stick-on towel hook the previous renter had put up but which had broken off. Also, that weird wall had two phone jacks in it which we were never going to use.

The problem areas with the wall were actually just in a 3' by 9' section; there was tile running up the lower half of the wall, and this was a patch above that. So I patched the holes, got a quart of paint and painted that wall. Then I got a pair of WPA poster prints that dealt with hygiene and hung them up, with one placed to hide the phone jacks.

Ikea makes a suction-cup-mount towel bar, which has been holding up on the tile for a month now, so that sorted the towel bar bit. And Command actually makes these little stick-on floating shelves that are kinda useless for anything except lightweight decorative items, but that's all I needed, so I got one and a pair of teeny fake plants and stuck them up as well.

I'm still going through some of my objets d'arte to see if there's anything else I can scatter here and there in the bathroom, but already the posters are jazzing the place up great, and we no longer have to wonder what the hell those phone jacks were even doing there.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:24 AM on June 15


And ardgedee, I covet those cookshelves.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:32 AM on June 15


I've been spending as much time as possible on the deck at my (still new to to me) house, because it's outside and has a pond view and all that. Finally convinced myself that the world was not going to end immediately and that I could at least enjoy a season of planting flowers so I did that and ordered a couple of Acapulco chairs for fun. Black and white outdoor rug coming, as well as new (non hummingbird) bird feeder. Will update as deck progresses
posted by thivaia at 7:15 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]


This is my work-from-home setup. It's the only nice-looking spot in my apartment (natural light, bookcase, plants, decor) and it has the best internet connection, and it was the only real feasible spot to put a desk and monitor, so the way that worked out was fortunate.

I've displayed one of my BLM protest signs by my bookcase and lots of colleagues have noticed and commented positively, which is nice.

I also gave myself a haircut a few days ago and I think you generally can't tell that I winged it!
posted by rachaelfaith at 7:32 AM on June 15 [1 favorite]


I'm not taking a picture because it's a disaster area!

I envy all of you. We live in an 85sqm (900sqft?) apartment with three kids and everything is a disaster. So as to not bring the mood down though, I do have one cool thing (sans photo, sorry). Someone in the house found a garden snail outside and brought it home. I happened to have a 40 liter (10 gallon-ish) fish tank so set it up as a terrarium of sorts and now have a resident snail eating our leftover veggies (and eggshells as per the internet). So that is pretty cool, I guess.
posted by Literaryhero at 7:54 AM on June 15 [5 favorites]


Turned an unused room into a guitar practice/recording room, also houses my new bass!

https://imgur.com/a/WGXJvBG
posted by signal at 8:48 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]


I need to share the first harvest from my garden.
posted by kathrynm at 10:40 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]


No pics but: our kitten is now 9 or 10 weeks old. She and my older cat are now well acquainted, and while she is much too active for his taste, I think he is having fun playing grumpy old man.

We got our kid her first bike.

Yesterday my partner found a garter snake under some scrap wood against the back of the house. My peas have bloomed.

The owlets (there are two) have fledged completely and are practicing flying and hunting in the wooded part of the yard. We have grown to recognize their raspy little calls.

Today is the first day our kid is back in preschool, which is incredibly amazingly freeing but also remarkably anxiety-provoking. Our county's covid numbers have remained under 50, with one death, for weeks now and it felt like an acceptable level of risk; we remain prepared to pull her again if needed.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 11:33 AM on June 15 [2 favorites]


I made Pad Thai; pretty good, not nearly as good as takeout, but I'd been wanting to try it. Fried tofu is the only tofu. I got sourdough starter from CarlsFriends via some MeFi thread, it's tasty and very active. I've made various breads and used the discard in pancakes. Sourdough Ciabatta was excellent, today will be SF Sourdough. In order to get flour at all, I had to get 25 lbs, so there will be bread. I've always liked making bread, so this is a happy trend.

Maine has been really cold, hot, chilly, dry, less predictable than usual. The garden is off to a slow start, had to replant various seeds due to a late cold snap. I have started trapping (havaheart) chipmunks because they kill baby plants, and when there is produce, they'll wreck it. There are lots of chipmunks, so this is my new life's work. It would be satisfying to deliver chipmunks to the yards of my nemeses, but they are not located conveniently so I find big treed areas at least a mile away. At this point, any babies should be self-sufficient, so I am not totally heartless.

I got an Echo Dot and I love the immediacy of music now. Playing music on the little cd stereo is not difficult but Play my dance tunes is Immediate Gratification.

I am in a new stage of PlagueTime: it's becoming a way of life. I shop about every week and a half, do craft stuff, tackle small projects at home, watch too much tv/ hulu, etc. It sucked so much to not join protests; I am so proud of the mostly young people who have shown so much commitment to Justice.
posted by theora55 at 12:24 PM on June 15


No big projects here. Every day blends into the next, and I can't tell whether it's been 2 weeks or 2 years like this, but I don't mind. It kinda suits me, actually. The only thing that's really new and different from pre-pandemic is that there's usually some baked thing hanging around now, and rapidly disappearing.

I've tried many new things in the past few months, though all easy stuff, nothing fancy. Blueberry muffins (3 recipes, all very good), banana muffins (great), cranberry-lemon scones (amazing), plain scones (good), butter pecan tarts (amazing), pumpkin pie tarts (only ok but I messed up some math in halving the recipe), apple or berry crisp (made so many times it's been totally perfected, at least to my taste), no-yeast dinner rolls (awful) and a few sourdough things (pancakes, crackers, blueberry muffins and a failed attempt at bread). I used to really like baking as a teen but haven't done it in many years so it's nice to get back into it.

My sourdough starter is looking so rough right now that I'm not using the discard anymore, and I'm really hoping it will recover eventually. It doesn't like the new bag of flour I bought and I'm not able to get any other kind for who knows how long, so it'll adjust or it won't. On the bright side, it explains why my bread was a huge failure, since I used the new flour for it and I have since learned that my starter won't rise at all with that flour. Happily I have recently gotten some yeast, finally, but keep forgetting to try it out in something. I might try making naan sometime since I've been cooking a lot of curries recently. Lots of new meal projects in the past and future too!
posted by randomnity at 1:48 PM on June 15


I'm in the process of building a covered storage area for my garbage bins and bicycles. The fun and interesting thing about it is that I'm going to give it a green roof. I'm overbuilding the structure as a result to deal with the added weight and am stuck right now because joist hangers in the size I need seem to be out of stock everywhere. Once I've finished this project I'll be starting on a treehouse. A bright side of the social distancing is that there haven't been any birthday parties, playdates, or lessons to take the kids to so there's lots of time on the weekends for projects.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:53 PM on June 15


We're in the process of remodeling our kitchen. The cabinets are in and are slowing getting refilled. I'm excited that I won't have to lug the stand mixer up from the basement. It now has it's own place, along with my big bags of flour, etc. It'll be another 10 days before the countertop is ready and thus no sink until then. Lugging dishes downstairs or to the bathroom is a major PITA. I'm back to work (don't get me started on the clusterfuck there). I really wish I had a counter to throw together a batch of chocolate chip cookies right now. I'm seriously tempted to get get a batch of the cookies I froze for the Christmas bake sale and bake those.
posted by kathrynm at 2:51 PM on June 15


I don’t imgur (is that a verb?) so 1000 words will have to do :).

I have a new desk, an antique we got off Craigslist ~3 weeks before lockdown, on a whim. It’s this tiny little secretary made of quarter sawn oak, and stylistically it matches the rest of our dining furniture, and it’s come in surprisingly handy. We put it in a corner with an excellent backyard birder view and I’ve expanded my life list a little. I also got a second monitor to help with work tasks where a little laptop screen isn’t enough visual real estate, and a whiteboard and sundry other small desk things. Only thing I’m missing now is a comfortable chair.

Zumbador, I am also biking a lot more! For my whole adult life I have been a heavy public transit user, a way of life that needs to be paused for a bit. Advancing my bike skills enough to become a bike commuter, once I need to commute again some day, is a much less heavy lift than learning to drive would be in that time. Today I rode a few miles and got some more practice with a couple of small skills. Feels good :)
posted by eirias at 3:22 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


We accidentally got part of someone else's grocery pickup order, so unusual items in our home now include:

-a large ketchup bottle (Mrs Molerats hates ketchup and I only eat it on foods I eat outside the house like fries. This might go to a food pantry?)
- a hilariously large jar of peanut butter, made more hilarious because we got our regular-order regular-size jar also, so now we have a fuckton of peanut butter
-Ghiradelli dark chocolate squares, which we don't usually splurge on

I am picturing some poor harried parent with children, baby-bird-like, demanding tater tots and PBJs, and not even the comfort of their chocolates. We are sorry!!!
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:46 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


I forgot the big project. I bought an apple tree. It needed a big hole, which I dug over a week; the soil was very dry and I will never be able to murder anyone, because digging a grave would take me a year. The tree is planted, doing well, and I am ridiculously proud of myself. I have a cherry tree and am thinking of a 2nd one for the birds. They were loudly unhappy last year when I netted it, but I was able to make a cherry pie. In a few years, apple pie. Of course, now I want a 2nd apple tree, too.
posted by theora55 at 7:21 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


Signal, I’m extremely jealous of your guitar room. With everyone home and often zooming, I frequently get shooed out of different rooms where I’m trying to practice...usually ending up on the front stoop. I feel a bit sorry for the neighbors, especially since I started learning bottleneck slide which has a bit of a learning curve. Luckily for them, mine is just an acoustic. But yeah the front stoop playing is new at our house.
posted by The Toad at 7:48 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


nakedmolerats, is there anything you can do to get the groceries back to the proper owner, or is the delivery service going to float that for them? I just have the horrible feeling that this poor parent is now going to have to shell out for the peanut butter and ketchup again.

If the delivery service covers that, though, and you're just stuck with them, and you don't want to bring it to a food pantry for whatever reason, then you can use ketchup to make the sauce for currywurst pretty easily. And as for the peanut butter - this is a chance to explore different Asian cuisines. Cold Sichuan noodles is a common go-to recipe for me in the summer, and that uses a decent amount of peanut butter at one go. There's also this simple Thai chicken-and-spinach recipe I have where the chicken is simmered in a combo of peanut butter and coconut milk...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:05 AM on June 16


I guess the big change is where I'm sleeping. I've been seeing a chiropractor, and he mentioned that it might be helpful for me to sleep on a firm mattress. Alas, our king mattress is probably the least firm mattress I've ever experienced, and I'm including semi-deflated airbeds. We have an old bed in the guest bedroom, which pulls double duty as my home office. Now that I'm up here all the time, I laid on the bed one day, and... wow. It's hella firm. So I decided to try it out. Magnificent, and not only for my back. Our differing sleep habits have been a source of frustration in our marriage for a while: my wife likes to "sleep" with a TV on (often tuned to Frasier, the world's worst television show), the world's loudest fan blowing at full power (even in winter), and various "nightlights" that somehow seem brighter than our regular lights. Our bedroom feels like Las Vegas. (Perhaps not coincidentally, my wife often complains about not feeling rested in the morning.) Oh, and she's from the straitjacket school of making the bed. So one night, I brought my phone and a pillow up here, and I haven't left. It's dark as hell. Even during the day, there are two large shade trees just outside the window, and the only light is the power indicator from my computer. It's quiet as hell. It's on the third floor, so I get a little extra distance from street noise, and there's a door at the bottom of the stairs, blocking any sound from her room or the kids. (I do have a baby monitor up here, but the kids have been sleeping pretty well recently.) And I only have a flat sheet and light blanket floating on the bed. We've lived together for seven years at this point, and I don't remember ever sleeping this soundly. I feel so good in the mornings now. It's amazing. One of the things you worry about when sleeping in separate beds is whether it will negatively affect the marriage, but on the contrary. Because I'm sleeping so well and feeling so good, I think it's actually helped our marriage. 10/10 would do again.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:35 AM on June 16 [8 favorites]


i am (slowly but surely) learning the skills i need to transform out little concrete south philly back patio thing (size of a closet!) into a plant filled oasis that we can spend time in since we are pretty hardcore quarantiners. i'll have pics at some point, but man. i do love dirt.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:21 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


I harvested a bunch of herbs and dried them for a good Italian blend. Also picked some spinach for a salad tonight.
posted by kathrynm at 8:49 AM on June 17 [2 favorites]


I have two kids home from college that were both expecting to be off doing science internships this summer. I'm sad their plans got cancelled but really happy to have them here.

I just overheard them debating about whether whether emacs is great or terrible. I have no hope of conveying to them how funny this is to me.
posted by straight at 11:26 AM on June 19 [1 favorite]


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