How To Spend The Time

Since my state, Louisiana, is under orders for the citizenry to stay home except for essential tasks, I have to consider how to spend my time. I am not spending the time listening to presidential news conferences that seem mostly useless. I am not engaging or prompting social media arguments, which no one has ever won. I am not eating out in restaurants anymore, but we can order delivery or take out. I have done my part to support the restaurants that are trying to survive by ordering a few lunch orders to go.

Probably many of us, although I can only speak for myself, have spent the first weeks of this imposed sheltering at home, attending video chats and Zoom meetings. I have accepted every Zoom invitation I have received. Soon, I will need to find an online Zoom support meeting for Zoom codependency.

And I walk. A lot. I have a foster dog who has not entirely decided that my dining room is not her toilet. We walk whenever I think she has an eye for the far side of the dining room table. Thus far, I haven’t seen a reduction in using the floor, as she seems bent on finding relief in the house once a day. That’s not terribly bad, but zero is the goal here. Since Daisy is recovering from a hip injury, our walks are slow with lots of time to sniff and investigate the ground.

Creole cottage next door

Although it’s technically trespassing, our walks tend to be in the extensive grounds of an empty Creole cottage next door to me. The house has been on the market for over a year, with only occasional visits from realtors, visitors or a lawn care crew. It’s perfect because there are no cars, no driveway, and lots of shady space. Since Daisy likes to chase cars, walking on the streets is not the best place for a dog with a hip injury.

I am reading, too. I just finished A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines. Why have I not read this book before? It’s a small, well-crafted novel set in 1940s Louisiana. This was the last book I checked out of the local library before it closed for the duration.

Now l will have to read on my Kindle. Last night, I downloaded The Great Influenza: The Story of the Greatest Pandemic in History by John Barry. I actually had read a free sample a few months ago, before the craziness began. Now that the times have changed, I think I’ll indulge in a little light pandemic reading.

One thing I want to cultivate more is gratefulness. It’s too easy to wallow in self-absorption since I live alone. I want to be grateful for my life, the lives of my family and friends, and the small miracles that I see each day. Soon, we may be in the thick of knowing family, friends and acquaintances who are sick. I had some concern this week, as my niece was showing signs of the virus. Since she has a genetic disorder that causes her to have low immunity, her doctor ordered the test. Last night, I received news that the test was negative. For this news, I am grateful.

Later today, I will pick up an order from Walmart. There were no paper towels available when I made the order on my phone app yesterday. I’m trying to forget that I have only one paper roll in reserve at the top of my cupboard.  It’s disturbing.

Louisiana live oak tree next door

Then, after putting away groceries, Daisy and I will return to the cottage grounds next door. The old oak tree next to the house provides a shady canopy that shields from the warm afternoon sun. Overgrown azaleas and magnolias growing along the fence line provide lots of curious sniffing for Daisy as we amble along.

As I stated above, the property is for sale. I believe they are asking about $400,000 for the cottage, barn, and extensive grounds. Won’t you be my neighbor?




4 thoughts on “How To Spend The Time

  1. Linda and I cut up old T-shirts for wipe up jobs, launder and reuse. We have a bucket with two sides, clean and used. We buy paper towels as well, we’re not savages or anything, the cloth does a better job for some tasks. And if the bleach eats a hole in the wipe rag, it goes to the landfill.

    Over the years, I’ve reached agreement with most of my neighbors with big lots. I’ll tell them if I run on anything remiss, they let me ramble. I encourage the locals with small lots to use my land as well for walking and sledding-I draw the line at motorcycles and ATVs as they tear up the turf too much. That is not to say I do not have to repair damage caused by the motor set, it is just that they do not have permission.


    1. That’s a good system with buckets for clean and dirty. My problem right now is the foster dog uses the house as a toilet once a day. Everyday. I don’t want to clean that up with anything but paper towels, and after a good mopping. I’m not sure if the foster dog deal is going to last much longer my house is not a toilet. As far as the neighbors large lot, I feel okay as long as I don’t mess around with the vacant house or barns on the property. We are staying mainly along the fence line where there is ample shade.


  2. Laurie: It seems you a pretty well thought-out plan. Trump’s press conferences tend to be useless, because he talks mostly about himself. And arguing with people online is a total waste.

    I’m a long-time (35 years plus) member of Alcoholic Anonymous and thought this time of crisis would be an opportune moment to attend a few meetings. But alas, they’ve all been cancelled. However, a friend in St. Petersburg, Fla. says his AA group has some sort of broadcast on Zoom that I should try. I tried to watch a Zoom cast of one of the churches in town, but the sound and video quality was awful. Maybe they will improve after some practice.

    I have a fail-proof housebreaking method for Daisy that I will send you by email. It essentially consists of keeping her in a crate when she’s alone, and watching her constantly when she is the house loose. Take her out as soon as she makes any motions to pee or poop, and when she does something outside, praise her lavishly and maybe give her a small piece of hotdog or some other reward. The key here is that you can’t let her run around loose alone. And, sorry, you need to scrub any area of “mistakes” right away.

    That cottage next door looks like something out of a postcard. Why is it so expensive, or conversely, what’s wrong with it that no one wants to buy it?

    Good luck with Daisy.


  3. I have read online of the exact same way to train Daisy. We shall see. i don’t have a crate. I’ll need one though to get her to stop the daily accidents. The cottage is endearing. What makes it expensive is that the land is a large lot in the middle of my little town that is rapidly growing. The house is not up to date inside at all. And the grounds and outbuildings are in a terrible state. It needs a lot of work.


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