Coping with COVID-19: Looking for the Lemonade

When Life Gives You Lemons

Since my husband and I are both in the “65 and over category” (husband is way more over 65 than I am!), we have been complying with the requirement that “seniors” (who ME?) stay in our homes, except for grocery trips and medical appointments.

Last evening, we decided that we would make an early morning grocery run. Many of our stores have designated the first hour for “seniors” so we can shop – hopefully avoiding larger crowds. 

The Planning

We texted two “senior” neighbors to let them know we were venturing out in the morning and offering to pick up anything they might need.  They both accepted and placed their orders.

Husband and I strategized about which shops we would go to. And in what order. And we debated about just how many safeguards we would take. Masks, no masks? Latex gloves? Sanitizing wipes? Gel sanitizer in case we accidentally touched our fact? Wear long sleeved, dirty-ish clothes that could go directly into the washing machine? Take our own re-useable grocery bags or pay for the disposable bags the store sells?

We negotiated who would go where once we were in the shop. Him to the eggs and butter; me to the ground beef and that ever-so elusive toilet paper. Me to fresh vegetables, him to the deli section, etc.

We planned what (and in what order) we needed to do once we were home again. Wipe down the car door handles and interior. Ditch the gloves. Shed the clothes. Wipe down all the products that could be wiped; the grocery bags inside and out; our phones; our own hands. Take half-hour sterilizing showers (just kidding).

This is the world in which we now live – and it is, quite frankly, exhausting.

The Plan in Action

As I tried to fall asleep and upon waking the following morning, I realized I was preparing myself, emotionally, for what was to come. Not only encountering all the those “seniors” who are, in fact,  more senior than we are, but also for the very real possibility that the shelves would be bare. I already knew that would make me cry – not because the shelves were empty. But because that might be our new reality for some time to come – and what that meant for so many people, less fortunate than we are.

We donned the agreed-on protective gear and hit our first store. He headed for the eggs and I went for the ground beef, which they didn’t have. I grabbed the fresh veg and went in search of the toilet paper, which, predictably, was nowhere to be found.

I hunted for husband and saw him heading toward the eggs – with and I kid you not – SIX bottles of wine! Ever mindful of the downside of arguing in public, I hissed “that is NOT a dozen eggs and definitely NOT on our list”. He laughed and said true, but in a pinch it could serve as a very expensive disinfectant.  Sigh.

Lemonade Moments 1 +2

It was then I had my first “lemonade” moment (hence the post title). I finally noticed that the shelves were NOT bare – with the exception of the aforementioned TP/PT aisle and the ground beef. It was oddly comforting to see that the shelves were, for the most part, full. Since the store wasn’t overly busy, we wandered up and down the aisles to see if there was anything else we could get for the pantry.

Lemonade moment number two was when I realized that there were more than the usual number of store staff on the floor – and they were approaching each of those “older” seniors and volunteering to push their carts and help them shop. So, while I didn’t cry because the shelves were empty, I did cry with the realization that people were helping people. It was a beautiful, two tissue kind of cry.

We hit the second store, which didn’t open for another 20 minutes or so.  All of us “60 and older” types lined up patiently – obediently 6 feet apart.  When the store opened, a staffer said that if we didn’t look 60, we would be carded.  I (jokingly) reached for my wallet and begged to be carded, causing nearby seniors and the staffers to laugh. But I secretly wished that staffer had humored me.  Lol.

Lemonade Moment 3

I got my ground beef and our neighbors’ items and as we headed towards the checkout counter, I noticed that these store staffers were also smiling and helpful. And the customers were smiling, too. No one seemed panicked or irritable. We exchanged nods that seemed to acknoweldge that we were all living though the same very odd and unexpected circumstances.

Lemonade Moment 4

We stopped at our neighbors’ homes to deliver their booty. You know the drill? Ring the doorbell, leave the package on the doorstep – and then run. Both the neighbors ventured out to say “hi.” We commented on how eery it was to see so few cars on the road and that it seems we’re living in an old “Twilight Zone” episode. Commiserating over not being able to be with our grandchildren, one of them said “On the other hand, I haven’t put my bra on – or worn anything but sweats for a week.!” Now that’s lemonade!


There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. We will control all that you see and hear. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to the outer limits.


Ladies lose the bra and put on those sweats! But hang on to your hat – it might be a bumpy ride.

Ok. Ok.  I’m done. Behave as if you have the virus and don’t want to infect others. Please.

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  1. Jean Norris

    Loved your story and shed a few tears as I read. We have to stay in place also. I went grocery shopping and there was no produce, that was a surprise! Yesterday I walked to a tiny store near me and they had potatoes! That was such a wonderful surprise. These are really strange times.

    • Vicki Robinson

      Jean – thank you so much for your kind words. I think when this is all over, we will remember how grateful we were for even the silliest of things. Who new potatoes could bring such joy! Lol!

  2. Bernadette

    Aww Vicki, that was sad and funny all at the same time! Funnier than sad I have to say though. And also quite eerie too, as it’s the same as here (and Australia). I find this whole thing well, just plain weird. We’ve had a campaign here since before Christmas, encouraging everyone to talk more, invite someone you don’t know for Christmas dinner, make new friends, etc, etc. and now we are having to go in completely the opposite direction, albeit for very good reason. I worry about what the world will be like once this is all over!
    The best, or rather nicest thing about it all, is knowing we ARE all in it together. Stay safe & well my friend xx

    • Vicki Robinson

      Hi Bernadette! I’m with you — I don’t think this is a short term thing (although I hope I’m wrong) and I agree; we are just not going to be the same. And you’re right —my post was meant to point out the lighter, more positive side of what we’re going through. I hope it helps others, and writing it helped me.

  3. Heather

    Just have to comment that I definitely would have carded you! You don’t look anywhere near 65. Love your positive attitude!

    • Vicki Robinson

      Awww Heather! You’re so sweet! Thank you!

  4. Sharon Louise Bertolino

    Too funny- same here- no meat or Toilet paper!!! Lots of can goods!

    • Vicki Robinson

      Yeah. It’s very odd. Lol.

      • Judy Clark

        Loved this post and love having you as a Facebook friend and digiscrapping mentor. Thanks for reminding us all what is important in these stressful times.

        • Vicki Robinson

          Your words mean a lot to me, Judy! Thank you so much!

  5. Manu Scraps

    Stay safe my friend. Have a lot of fun no-bra moments. Big hugs!

    • Vicki Robinson

      lol. Thanks, my friend! I stopped wearing a bra when I retired 16 years ago! Let freedom ring! Hope you’re doing ok. ❤️

  6. Su Hall

    You’re brave! Cute story!

    • Vicki Robinson

      Lol. We’re staying put for a bit, Su!

      • Sharon

        Article in my husband’s tractor club newsletter-“too bad we don’t have Sears catalogs anymore. Many people don’t get the newspaper either. Guess the farmers will have to start marketing their corn cobs.”

        Enjoyed your outing article!

        • Vicki Robinson

          Sharon – that is TOO funny! Thanks for sharing!!


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