People in Maryland, and the Baltimore area, in particular, go a little nutty when there’s snow in the forecast. Between 1989 and 1993, when I hosted evening shows on WBAL-AM, I used to have to read weather-related cancellations, and there were a lot of them: Chair-caning classes, meetings of Overeaters Anonymous, yoga classes, lamaze classes, driving classes, sodalities and societies, clubs, dens, troops, chapters — all cancelled, even with only a couple of inches of snow in the forecast. I hypothesized that most people would rather stay home generally; they really didn’t like having those weeknight obligations. So they cancelled stuff at the mere rumor of snow.

We are homebodies. We all go to work, go shopping, travel and take vacations. But we like our nests. So, in the present crisis, maybe the expression “stuck at home” is a bad one. Sounds like we’d rather not be here when I don’t think that’s entirely true.

If you’re taking seriously the governor’s order, for the sake of your health and the health of others, you should be staying at home, and only going out to shop for food or to pick up some other necessity. You can think of that as “stuck” or do what I’ve been doing: Consider it an opportunity to catch up.

Unless you’re obsessive, you’ve let things go at home: Something that needs fixing or painting or cleaning. I have a bunch of short projects I’ve been putting off. So I stay busy by knocking off one a day. And we’re not talking about big projects. I’m talking about little ones. For instance, one of the projects on my list: Fixing these old, galvanized metal pitchers. They both had stupid, bulbous bottoms. I don’t know how they go that way. Maybe they came from the factory in that condition. Whatever. They were useless and I resented their presence in the garage. ( I don’t remember where they came from.) They tipped over all the time. What good are water pitchers that tip over all the time?

They were just laying around the garage for years — I mean, decades. But, for some reason, I could never throw them away.

The other day, I picked them up and spoke to them: “That’s it. Today’s the day you become useful, if only as holders of dried flowers.” (I think I really said this out loud.) So I got a short piece of pine board, a ball peen hammer and a rubber mallet and whacked the bottom of each pitcher until each was flat and could stand up. I then spray painted one a copper color, the other a flat white (for a finish to be named later). And I felt pretty goddamn good about the whole thing.

I don’t feel like I’m being particularly helpful to my country — if I knew how to run a sewing machine, maybe I could make face masks — but by keeping busy (in the yard or basement or garage) then I’m keeping off the street. And I’m catching up, little by little. Next project: Scrape and paint an Adirondack chair so I can sit there and not get splinters as I wait out the pandemic.

One thought on “Nesting and fixing stuff during the pandemic

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