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Category: Humor / Topics: Coping COVID-19 Current Events, News Humor

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

by Barbara Greenleaf

Posted: August 28, 2020

A pandemic tale…

Even when I was earning only $11,000 a year as a junior staffer at The New York Times, somehow I scrounged up the money for a cleaning lady, hair dresser, and manicurist. Now, in lockdown, I’ve had to become all those things and more. Here’s what I’ve learned:

A husband is a quarantine must-have. Not only does he climb higher than the second step on a ladder (my absolute max), he kills spiders, makes a mean tuna sandwich, and is a handy target for cabin fever moodiness. Besides, who else would question why you are putting on lipstick before donning a facial mask?  Who else is so desperate to watch sports he would tune into cherry pit spitting? And who else would think he’s cheering you up by telling you the worldwide Covid-19 count—hour by hour?

I also discovered what a lot of those strange-looking items that came with the house do, such as the vacuum cleaner. My husband is actually the designated vacuum-er. Since our vacuum must weigh 400 pounds, it’s too heavy for him (but not for our petite, longtime cleaning lady) to lug back and forth to the garage. This Hoover equivalent of the HMS Queen Mary now occupies pride of place in our living room, where it doubles as a coat hanger and umbrella stand.

In addition, I learned to put a name to those cute little brush and cup sets I always wondered about when I wandered into the cleaning supplies aisle at Target by mistake. They’re toilet brushes—swish, swish! I also found out how hard it is to clean a bathtub when you’re of a certain age. I had to take two Advil tablets after that one.  I could go on and on about my new friends, Lysol spray disinfectant, lemon Pledge, and Bona hardwood floor cleaner, but I know you get the picture.

So let’s move on to personal care. After years of going to a beauty salon where I had my difficult hair blown out, I tried to do it myself and failed. Curlers to the rescue!  I unearthed some old Velcro rollers from my junior high days, and soon I was rolling up my tresses like a pro. Boys and men may come and go, I realized, but a good set of curlers is forever. Alas, I have not been doing as well on the nail care front. Perhaps that’s because the polish I exhumed from under the sink dates back to the Sino-Japanese War of 1937.

Finally, I learned you have to lower your standards (see previous citation on new vacuum location). Take toilet paper, for example. From my highly scientific survey, I would say that even if you’ve always been addicted to two-ply-- and I see on the Internet there are even three- and four-ply for the discerning user—I advise you to switch to one-ply for the duration. The roll lasts ever so much longer and does the job just fine. Also, ditch PBS in favor of telenovelas. Some of these Latin American soap operas have upwards of 225 episodes, which will see you through lockdown and beyond. Best of all, they teach you how to proceed should you find yourself in negotiations with a Colombian drug lord.

Search all articles by Barbara Greenleaf

Barbara is the author of eight books, including two of particular interest to seniors. She has given us permission to use material from her newsletter, "From the Desk of Barbara Greenleaf," to which you can subscribe on her website.

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Posted: August 28, 2020

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