I've been in quarantine so long, I finally ordered some stuff on the Internet.

It's the beginning of things I need for a larger project. And some things I just want. And some toys for the kids because their action figures have taken a beating from heavy play rotation over the past three months. Batman has no legs. Robin only has one. All the Ninja Turtles have some sort of war injury. We need some fresh recruits to reinforce the play zone.

Lil Man has discovered toast. He knew that toast existed before but as he starts a youthful culinary journey, he likes toast with pretty much everything. So I bought a toaster. Our old one died ages ago and it's a waste of energy to fire up the oven every time we want toast. I made sure it has several settings. I'm going to let him experiment.

But the largest project I have in mind actually began with a small purchase. I bought a tape measure. I plan to install a storage shed and playset with swings in the back yard. I also plan to clean out our garage and make that into a playroom for the kids. When I conceived this project it seemed so simple, but it's going to be a marathon, not a sprint. Yet and still, I have a sense of urgency this year like no other.

That journey of a thousand miles begins with the single step of measuring and marking off the areas outdoors, measuring the garage for padding and carpet. Measuring the walls for cabinets. I've never done anything like this before in my life.

I fall asleep watching YouTube tutorials of how to set beams and pour gravel. My world is narrowing to an exploration of the simplest of Earth's elements. Rock, wood, simple geometry, gravity.

I'm trying to be an ant, not a grasshopper. I'm trying to get ready. I feel in my very bones that this is going to get worse before it gets better. And there's not a single thing I've bought when preparing for the initial crisis of staying at home, sheltering in place, that I haven't used. Even things I plucked off a shelf on a whim or in a spirit of, We'll never use this but I'll get it just in case, have become mainstay items.

Actually doing these projects and even the simple act of buying a tape measure means something. It means I no longer believe that coronavirus is anywhere near over. I'm hunkering down and using this summer to prepare for what promises to be a long winter.


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