a peek inside the fishbowl

14 Mar, 2020

Coronavirus in Ottawa, part 2

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

A few things have changed since my previous post about what we are doing now that COVID-19 has arrived in Ottawa.

I did a second large grocery shop a couple of nights ago. It was busy, but not as busy as reported today. e.g. line ups that loop around the entire store. When I came home with multiple bins and bags in hand the other night I think Mark thought I was going a bit overboard – our fridge and pantry and small freezer are now overfull – and perhaps I was, but it actually made me feel a lot calmer. (And no, I didn’t load up on toilet paper, and not just because there wasn’t any to buy.)

Grocery cart view in the age of coronavirus

Maybe the trick is to focus on the things we can control: like what groceries we buy. (And beer.)

I made pizza for dinner last night, and we watched a movie. It was a good start to what was surely going to be a great weekend: A Weekend of Doing Nothing but Reading. Two e-books that I had been waiting for from the library suddenly became available (!!), which added to my reading list considerably.

There’ve been a lot of jokes going around about introverts looking forward to hunkering down at home and not going anywhere – and I was frankly looking forward to the opportunity – but I’m feeling mighty squirrelly this morning.

I read my book for awhile but couldn’t quite focus. (Sidebar: I’m reading Know My Name: A Memoir, by Chanel Miller and it’s EXCELLENT. Honestly, this should be required reading for high schoolers everywhere.) So I spent the next few hours doing laundry, tidying the kitchen, cleaning the bathroom, and getting rid of things that were irritating me, such as an old pair of boots that were too worn to wear anymore. (Why was I holding on to those, exactly?) I made a toasted tomato sandwich for lunch. Organized a kitchen drawer. Made the bed. Watered the plants. And now I’m gearing up to give our mudroom an overhaul.

I’m finding it hard to sit still. I suppose it’s just nervous energy that I need to channel somewhere but I’d really rather be reading.

The other thing that’s changed since that last post is that many places have temporarily closed, including museums, galleries, sporting events, community centres, pools, arenas, schools. March Break has been extended. Many people are working from home now. Vacations have been cancelled all over the place.

Queen’s University has cancelled classes for the rest of the semester and moved the learning online, but it looks like the girls are staying where they are for the time being. (I have mixed feelings about this.)

I am worried about their health, obviously, but I’m also worried about what the summer will hold for them. They have both applied for jobs in Ottawa, but those jobs might not exist as a result of what’s happening now. What if they can’t find work to offset the cost of their university education?

Right now many of us are worried about getting sick and whether we have enough toilet paper. The other outcomes will come to light soon enough, I suppose.


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  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive sleep and worry - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] advice reminded of my coronavirus chronicle (a.k.a. my paper diary) in which I describe our comings and goings and family updates. I […
  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive The importance of chocolate - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] Earlier this week we placed an order for grocery pick up at the Superstore. I had figured we might not get the toilet paper we wanted, or th
  • andrea tomkins: I watched a whole video that was sent to me about this... how to deal with groceries when you bring them home. The problem is there is so much conflic
  • andrea tomkins: It is true that things are changing so fast. It's hard to keep up. Strangely, I am a PC client and didn't receive the email everyone is talking about
  • Lynn: It's Thursday now, and this just goes to show you how fast things change - we got an email from PC Optimum yesterday letting us know that a) they will
  • Lynn: I just got back from a Costco run and this kind of thing was in my mind the whole way, and when I got back home. I washed my hands before unloading th
  • Amy: The quandary about grocery bags and where the contagion ends was concerning me the other day. Every item in the grocery order has been touched by mu

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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