I started this post almost a month ago, that’s how things are going! Life in COVID remains largely the same, but is starting to feel “normal” in a lot of ways. Certainly there are things that we’d like to do, like go to the movies, or sit in a coffee shop, or have the whole family go to a basketball game, but in some ways, things are probably better. One thing we have been doing all along with varying degrees of success and consistentcy is to create new rituals to make things a little better.
Nightly Bike Rides
We didn’t start this one right away, but pretty quickly into COVID. Mireille just learned to ride a bike last year, so when we found ourselves all at home, to have a way to define the end of the work and school day and the beginning of the “evening” we started taking nightly bike rides around the neighborhood. It was almost always Mireille and I, usually Quinton came along, and occasionally Ethan and Jenny would join us. The ride wasn’t long - right around 2 miles, but it was and is a really nice way for us to demarcate the end of the day and get just a little bit of exercise. This ritual has survived to today, though we don’t do it every day any more. Mireille and I probably make it out twice or three times a week, and Quinton and I will sometimes go for a longer bike afterwards to explore the undiscovered areas in Mission Viejo.
Tuesday Chicken Sandwiches
When Quinton found out that he would be learning from home for the 2020-2021 school year, his only complaint was that he wouldn’t get to have the spicy chicken sandwiches at the school cafeteria that they have every Tuesday. To overcome this disappointment, Quinton and I have been experimenting with how to create the world’s best chicken sandwich. So far, we’re about 7 chicken sandwiches in, and our favorite to date uses thin chicken breast cutlets, breaded with crushed Taki’s, and lightly fried in vegetable oil, topped with hot sauce, lettuce, pickles for Quinton, peppers for me, and a little ranch dressing on a toasted bun. Delicious!!!
Wednesday and Saturday Takeout
This is one that we did early on to “get out of the house” but also in an attempt to support local restaurants. Each Wednesday and Saturday we would order delivery or carry out from a local restaurant for dinner. We found some really good restaurants along the way, including the discovery that we all really liked Indian food! Sadly, this ritual has not endured through the summer. By July, we had started to occasionally sit in a restaurant and eat at social distance, so the take-out ritual has gone to the wayside, but it was a really fun way through the early phase of Quarantine to come together for food.
By far my favorite ritual, Ethan and I created Whiskey Thursday. It is exactly as it sounds. On Thursday, we drink whiskey. Sure, Ethan is not of age, but he does enjoy a little whiskey from time to time. There was an occasion or two where Whiskey Thursday got out of hand for each of us individually, but overall it was well controlled and fun. Through the summer, we would enjoy on the deck in the waning hours of the day. Occasionally we would have friends over for a socially distanced toast. Right now, Ethan and I celebrate separately but “hang out” over text to discuss our current find. This one is not Jenny’s favorite ritual.
Money Heist, Umbrella Academy, Mandalorian
Lastly, the kids and I have been finding a lot of different shows to watch together. Throughout the summer, Quinton and I have watched shows like Money Heist and Umbrella Academy among others. Mireille has recently expressed a strong interest in watching the Mandalorian, so she and I are watching that together in anticipation of the second season coming out next month.
All things considered, COVID has certainly been an inconvenience for the Gradys, but it has hardly crippled us. We are very lucky to have the resources and people around us to continue life at a near normal pace, if not just a little slower and more enjoyable in certain very important ways.