Gimme A Smile: It was a Thursday

What day is it anyway?

It was a Thursday. Or maybe it was Tuesday. I don’t know — what day is it anyway?

It’s hard to keep track of the days of the week these days, when the lines between home and work blur together into one never-ending continuum. When one’s morning routine has morphed from “shower, dress, eat, and leave” to “stagger downstairs and boot up the computer,” it doesn’t really matter what day of the week it is.

Or does it?

Some important daily routines must be followed even in these weird times. There is one indispensable day that you don’t want to miss. I speak, of course, of trash day.

In my house, trash day is on Thursday. It’s my favorite day. There’s something cleansing about collecting the trash from all the waste baskets in my house and dragging the full garbage can down to the curb. It’s an instant pick-me-up for a messy house and lifts the spirits of the lackadaisical housekeeper (me). As mundane routines go, trash day is one of the most satisfying. It’s worth remembering when it’s Thursday.

[The man bun comes into its own]

Some people have suggested keeping a daily journal during this time. In addition to the obvious historical value of such an undertaking, a journal would solve the problem of not knowing what day it is. Rather, it could solve that problem, if one actually wrote in said daily journal on a daily basis. But if one is a procrastinator, like me, a “daily” anything becomes an almost insurmountable challenge. I did start a quarantine journal. My last entry was on April 2nd, which was, in fact, a Thursday. Today is Tuesday, the 21st, but who’s counting?

Maybe, if I kept my journal on the computer instead of in a spiral notebook, I would have better success. It would be easier to go back and fill in the numerous days that I missed.

It’s remarkable how much computer time I’ve logged in my new social distancing life. As a writer, I routinely use the computer for word processing, but not so much in my day job. By day, I work with preschoolers, so I spend much of my time sitting on the floor playing with blocks or reading books with little ones in my lap. Hard to do on a computer. Zoom has jumped in to fill the void, and all the teachers have turned into students learning a new skill. It’s not easy! I keep feeling like I’m not zooming so much as putt-putting along. It doesn’t help when my technology is outdated. All of it.

I’m supposed to record videos and post them online. Nuts! My phone is so full that it can only take a 38-second video, and it’s so old that it doesn’t support the online platform. My colleagues merrily film and post with no problem. Guess I need a new phone.

I’m doing four or more Zoom meetings each week, and every time my screen freezes or I hit a random computer key and get thrown out of the meeting. Is it because my computer is so old that it dates back to 2008? Guess I need a new computer.

I’ve been sewing face masks to donate. When I ran out of elastic and had to use a lame substitute that unraveled in the wash, I realized I could solve that problem with a bit of zigzag stitching. Too bad my sewing machine only sews straight ahead. No zigzag. Do I need a new sewing machine, too? No! That’s where I draw the line. My sewing machine was passed down from my grandmother. It’s an old black Singer with gold tooling on the head, seated in a sewing table and operated by a knee pedal. I’ve had it for over 30 years and have no desire to upgrade. Zigzagging is overrated.

I have noticed one good thing about this increased reliance on technology. Both phone and computer (but not sewing machine, thank goodness) prominently display the day and date. I can keep track of what day it is after all!

Let’s see…tomorrow is Wednesday. That means the grocery store circulars come out, my son has a virtual piano lesson and my essay is due. Then I can relax and look forward to Thursday.

• Peggy McKee Barnhill is a wife, mother, and author who writes cozy mysteries under the pen name “Greta McKennan.” She likes to look at the bright side of life.

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