For those of us with stay-at-home orders, which is just about the entire world, there are little challenges that are coming up while we bravely wait out the end of the Covid-19 virus. I know these may sound petty in the scheme of things but having your world turned upside down with no end in sight can be pretty intimidating. It does, however, give you a new appreciation for what we take for granted. It's not that I mind staying at home. In fact, it's kind of comforting, given the scene out there.
Nonetheless, it's amazing what we can do without. Boy, looking back on it, I realize how spoiled I was by taking a lot of things for granted. Take, for example, the fact that you can't get your hair dyed. Now, it's true I'm not exactly going anywhere where people can see me but hey, I still want to be well groomed. With my highlights growing out, my natural color coming in and no hair salons open anywhere, I actually thought I was in luck. I looked at myself in the mirror the other day and went running to my husband. I was thrilled. "Guess what?" I said. "I have great news. I can't get my hair dyed but I probably shouldn't have had to dye my hair after all! My hair is growing in blonde!" He just looked at me as though I had lost my mind. "Honey," he said. "I hate to tell you this but that isn't exactly blonde that's coming in." Oh. I immediately went to Amazon to order something, anything, to take care of this appearance changing event. No hair dye was to be found anywhere. Shelves and shelves in stores had run out. Online stores had absolutely nothing. So, here I sit, about to really look my age. This could be really scary.
And take my fingernails. Right before the lock down, I got my nails done and tried out a new powder nail polish that was supposed to last at least 3 weeks. Unfortunately, I can't get it off unless I go to a nail salon which of course, is not going to happen anytime soon. In the meantime, my nails are growing out and the polish is moving to the top of my nails. I now look like the Wicked Witch of the West. I think this is starting a new fad.
And what about exercise? It's not exactly like I was religious about it anyway. A walk through Costco about did me in. But all the advice columns say you have to get exercise. My husband and I thought we had a brilliant way to do that. We ordered bikes. Now, my husband has never ridden a bike and I doubt at this age, he is going to get his balance. We decided to let pride go by the wayside and ordered, yes, tricycles. Oh, sure. I was going to look like some old lady with the basket in the back and that little orange warning flag rising above it but I didn't care. Who was going to see me? Everyone is inside.
We had huge choices. Do we get one speed or three? What color bike should we get? Do we have to wear helmets? You can see where this is going. Obviously, without a lot to do, these decisions became all too important. After careful consideration, we chose – purple. Purple? Who orders a purple tricycle? At least we were going to stand out. That is, if there was anyone to see us.
After about a week, a very brave truck driver delivered the bikes. We wiped them down very carefully with Clorox Wipes. There wasn't an inch that wasn't wiped. I immediately got on and took off. OMG! Freedom! The wind in my hair, my little legs pumping those foot things and I was in heaven. My husband, on the other hand, had a very different experience. He was too tall for the bike. He struggled trying to make it taller. He called the manufacturer. They gave him instructions. He was out there in the garage taking the dang thing apart. He gained a couple more inches but not enough. We took the bikes out for a ride anyway. He pumped, he humped, he gave it his all. After about half an hour, we came in and 'lo and behold, his right knee was swollen up from hitting the handle bars. As I write this, he's on the couch icing up. He's also saying a lot of stuff under his breath. I don't think I want to know what.
Then there was the fight with the cruise line. Oh, yes. Right before the Covid-19 pandemic, we had booked a cruise to the Caribbean. Three days before we were supposed to board, we decided it was crazy to go. All shore excursions had been canceled. The cruise ships were not allowed to dock at any of the islands. One had to dock in Mexico. Great. I can see us floating aimlessly out to sea, sicker than dogs, trying to have pillow fights on the Lido deck. We canceled. We did have insurance but somehow it didn't include something that said we can have our money back. I can't believe I'm in the legal field and overlooked that. I am still getting emails from cruise lines offering great discounts to take a cruise now. Yeah, I'm really going to do that. Instead, I'm watching House Hunters International and salivating over the houses in St. Thomas with spectacular ocean views all the while imagining I'm there lying on the beach. It's really the best I can do.
My house is cleaner than ever. We scrub, we rub, we bleach. I don't think I ever had a home with a hospital clean environment. As I look around, I wince. It probably should have been that way all along. I tell myself I've been very busy.
Then there's the food. I think we have enough food for three weeks in a snow storm. My refrigerator is so full, we can't get to all of the food. Lean Cuisines are stacked so tightly in the freezer, I couldn't get them out. However, I noticed when I virtually visit my friends, every one seems to be getting a little chunky. I don't want to say anything, of course, but this is definitely a situation where the old adage, "eat yourself out of house and home" is applying. At grocery stores, you can't get comfort food. Gone are are the "p" foods: pizza, pretzels, potato chips, pancakes, popcorn. Yikes! This could be a real problem.
Then there is the situation of spending a lot of money online. Why is it that suddenly we are in need of a ton of stuff? Besides getting the most important necessities. I mean, did I really need to buy new dance shoes (like I'm going dancing), a heavy sweater direct from Ireland (it is Spring now) and that lava lamp? Really, Chere, a lava lamp??? I am sure I needed these important items. I am, however, still waiting for my hand sanitizer, Clorox Wipes, nail clippers, hair cutting scissors and ok, hair dye. Did I mention that I am going to try cutting my own hair? I'll keep you posted on that one. I keep getting emails from Walgreens saying any minute now I'll get my delivery. By the time any minute comes around, I will be an old woman wearing orthopedic shoes and gumming my gums because I can't get to a dentist. Whew!
Fortunately, we signed up for a toilet tissue club. Yep. One actually exists! Amazon sure was thinking ahead. I don't know if they still have the club but since that seems to be the most sought after item in the country, check it out. A huge box arrives once a month. It's like Christmas. We now feel relieved (pardon the pun), safe and secure. God forbid we run out of toilet tissue. I mean, really though, how much time can you spend in the bathroom? Don't ask.
The most sought after item for women? If you are a woman of a "certain age" you may have a, well, excess hair issue. No, not on top of your head. Right around that ole chin and upper lip, You know, the hair that comes in that only men are supposed to get? Since there are no salons, there is a run on facial wax strips. Can't get 'em. Now, that's where I draw the line. I simply cannot go around like the bearded lady in the circus. I do have my dignity. So, I ordered more tweezers. And since you can't get your eyebrows done either, I ordered one of those battery operated eyebrow shavers. It came. I tried it. I now have no eyebrows.
"We signed up for a toilet tissue club. God forbid, we run out of toilet tissue."
So, my friends, that's life in the Estrin household. I would be remiss if I didn't thank all our essential workers deep from within my heart who make these little challenges a little less challenging: first responders, healthcare workers, hospital staff, EMT, firemen and women, police, sanitation workers, cleaning staff, pharmacists and drug store workers, grocery store employees, post office employees, shelf stockers, transportation drivers, gas station attendants, delivery people, forest rangers, take-out food people, cooks, food bank volunteers, dentists, factory workers, tow truck drivers, cable TV workers, phone company employees, utility workers, anyone in transportation, the military and National Guard, reporters, TV and radio anchors and crew, and many, many more. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Given what's going on, the little challenges are just that – little insignificant challenges. We all can cope and make do. It's the American way.
Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top national and international staffing organization. She is the President of the Organization of Legal Professionals. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Entrepreneur and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and a finalist for the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is a former administrator in an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at: firstname.lastname@example.org.