It's All About The Toilet Paper! (And other random things the Coronavirus pandemic is teaching me)

(All memes are from here.  So you can make your own too.  
Some of these memes are mine, and some were made by other people.)

In no particular order:

1.  We waste a lot of things and take a lot of things for granted.  The old, almost-empty bags of cereal and chips and the nearly-expired cans of soup sitting in my pantry.  The large container of barley I bought but never really intended to use.  The frozen food sitting in the bottom of the freezer that I forget about until the power goes out for days and everything thaws.

Normally, I would just let these things go bad and then toss them out, running out to the store to buy fresh food.  But due to the food shortage in some stores (the fresh bread and many canned goods and frozen vegetables are nearly gone) and concerns about how this pandemic will affect the future economy and food supply, I now see those ignored things as valuable.  Precious gold.  Insurance against future food shortage.  I am bringing them to front, to make sure I remember to use them when I need them.    

We take it for granted that things will always be there when we want them, but look at what a little panic does to that false security!  

Also, due to the fact that there are no paper towels (or toilet paper) to be seen anywhere, I am telling my kids to ration the paper towels.  Don't use them to dry your hands; use a towel.  Don't use a whole sheet to clean up a tiny spill; take a small piece instead.  Don't use one to put a piece of bread on; use a plate.  And if you do use one to dry your washed hands or a clean wet dish, it's still good, so reuse it to wipe the counter or something.  Don't use toilet paper anymore, just use the communal towel and we'll just wash it.  (Totally kidding ... we won't wash it.  Oh my goodness, totally kidding again ... we would never use a communal towel.  Use the toilet paper!)  Why be wasteful when we don't know what the future holds?  (Or doesn't hold!) 

[A list of things I've seen sold-out or nearly sold-old in various stores this last week, keeping a record for my own amusement: toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, various hand soaps, aloe vera gel, thermometers, Tylenol and other meds, feminine products (I didn't see that one coming, good thing I grabbed some of the stragglers), elderberry syrup (got my two extra bottles right before they sold out), frozen pizzas, many frozen vegetables, potatoes, lunchmeats, hot dogs, most fresh and ground meats, bread, water, canned goods, organic sugar (that's what I buy, so I've been watching), cheese, many chips, most milk and various juices, most water filters, and people were stocking up on laundry soap, dish soap, fruit, and pasta like crazy.  And this is just what I noticed when I wasn't paying attention or looking too hard.  Of course, that doesn't mean they are out-of-stock for good; some things that were out one week were in-stock the next.  So don't panic.  Just be prepared.  But I still say to grab some essential oil diffusers and essential oils before those are gone too.  When the antibiotics run out, you'll wish you had some Lavender and Tea Tree Oil, at the very least.  Other good ones: Peppermint, Lemon, Orange, and Eucalyptus.]    

2.  Civilized society can crumble in a day.  

We can lose control with one emergency.  Life as we know it can be disrupted in a myriad of ways which can change us, causing us to do things we never thought we were capable of.  Just look at the news stories of people swiping things from other people's shopping carts, and getting into fist-fights or stabbing people over toilet paper or other supplies!  

And come on, you know you're not too far from that!

You know you'd race someone to the toilet paper aisle and swipe the last package just so you could have a second, back-up package when they didn't even get a first package.  You know it.

(Remember when the biggest problem you faced at home was "Who used up the last of the toilet paper and didn't change the roll?"  Now it's just ...


We're not always as civilized and good-hearted and generous as we like to think we are, as we think we always will be.  

We are not as in control as we think we are.  And it doesn't take much to break us.  There's a fine line sometimes that separates civilized humans from uncivilized cavemen.

(And yet many, many people want to put their faith in humanity instead of in God!  That's sad and quite hopeless!)

3.  Panic like this creates an amusing contradiction.  There's a amazing feeling of comradery, a "we're all in this together" feeling ... while, at the same time, a feeling of "You're the enemy who's gonna buy up all the toilet paper and hand-sanitizer and bread!"

It's kinda funny actually, this feeling of wanting to help and encourage each other during this crisis, while also wanting to push them down and climb over them to get the supplies we want.  This feeling of "Sure, I'd love to help watch your kids since all schools have closed down but you still have to go to work," while also having the feeling of "Don't bring your disgusting, germy kids around here unless you self-quarantine for two weeks first!"

4.  We in America are not the best about being prepared for emergencies or for being able to break out of our norm.  I think other less-advanced countries would probably laugh at us, because they've learned to make do with less.  We act like toilet paper is the answer to everything (which can't even fight the coronavirus anyway), while ignoring that we have a shower and running water that we can use to wash ourselves if need be.  

We are stockpiling bottled-water like there's no tomorrow, but would we be smart enough to find ways to save and drink rain water if we had to?  Or are we so dependent on our kitchen faucets and store-bought water that we wouldn't even think of rain as a source of water?  If the milk is gone and our canned rice/nut/coconut "milks" are used up, would we be able to go without or to maybe learn how to make our own rice milk from the 50-pound bags of rice we're all stockpiling?  Will we find other ways, or will we simply fall apart in panic?  (An old saying I have always loved and try to live by: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."  It totally applies in a time like this.)

5.  And yet, I think we are remarkable people, more resourceful and capable and smarter than we even realize.  

Some are smarter than others ...  

But instead of just panicking, people are getting creative and making their own hand-sanitizers when the store-bought ones run out.  (I'm not sure how effective they are against germs, but at least we are trying and taking some control.)

(I like homemade, natural cleaners, but I also like this meme.  Too true!)

And I bet more people will learn to bake homemade bread.  It's not that hard, and it's actually quite fun and deeply satisfying.  I, for one, have been aching to start making homemade bread again.  It's been too long.  And a time like this - when there's no bread on the store shelves - is a great time to do it.  More like an opportunity, a gift, than a trial or deficiency. 

We will find ways to use dried/canned goods we normally don't use: beans, canned meat, rice, canned tomato paste, etc.  

Maybe we'll start gardens and learn to preserve some of our own food in the future.  

We'll learn to be more flexible and realize we were more flexible than we ever thought we could be.  (It's kinda ironic because, on one hand, something like this teaches you to be a little more prepared in the future and yet, on the other hand, it teaches you that it's pointless to plan too much for the future because something like this will come along and disrupt everything!)  We'll learn that there's a lot of things we thought we needed, but that we can do without just fine.  We'll learn to make reasonable preparations for future emergencies, having felt the panic that comes with being unprepared this time.  

Trials force us to dig deeper.  To grow.  And sometimes that's a good thing.  Because we'll find out that we were stronger and more capable of handling things than we ever knew. 

6.  Along the same lines, make the most of your time.  I've been wanting to do some cleaning and to read more lately.  And being stuck at home with nowhere to go is great for that!  The other day I cleaned the foyer area and gave my floor a much-needed scrubbing.  And yesterday, I was able to read for a couple hours, while the house was quiet and the snow was falling.  Not a bad way to spend the afternoon while "social distancing."  

[Honestly, I feel like this "social distancing" is just more of the same for my family.  We left our church last May over its Calvinist views, and we stay home now on Sundays, watching sermons online as a family, not seeing our church friends anymore.  Then we "self-quarantined" last fall/winter after ... let's just call it "some family drama."  And then in February, we pretty much quarantined ourselves again when we got the flu, which took 2 weeks to go through us all plus an extra week to recuperate and get back to normal.  So I feel like this isn't too different for us, other than the pile of extra food we've got in the house.  We're almost professionals at staying away from people by this point.  So trust me, you can do this and you'll get through it just fine!]  

Anyway ... Make the most of the time you've got.  Do the things you've been wanting to do but haven't had the time or chance to do.  With little to do in public right now, you've finally got the time and chance!  Don't let it pass!

7.  Even if you're not sick, don't cough in public, for any reason, even just to clear your throat, unless you want to create more panic.  

I'm not sick, but I still try to not cough in public.  And it's amazing how hard it is to contain a cough when you know it's going to scare people. 

[Or if you want to be really bad, do cough in public - but only if you're not sick - because then people will get out of your way, clearing the way for you to get what you need at the store.  And then maybe those who really are sick will stay away from you because they'll think you're sick, upping your chances of having less contact with sick people.  My 13-year-old thought of this.  I don't know if I should be impressed or horrified.  Anyway, I am totally kidding here.  Don't cough in public, unless you want to give people heart attacks and get beaten up!]

And for the love of all things good and pure ... Cough into your elbow, not your hand!!!

8.  It's amazing how often we touch our faces without realizing it.  (I told my son not to touch his face or put his fingers near his mouth when we went to the store yesterday.  And he's all like, "I know, Mom.  You don't have to tell me!  I'm 13 years old!"  But what's he do as we're standing in line at the store?  He bites his nail.  Ugh!  He was surprised himself when I pointed it out.)  And an itch on your face that wouldn't normally bother you becomes torturous and absolutely irresistible when you can't touch your face!  So carry a tissue or use the inside of your shirt.    

9.  The news makes everything feel darker, more ominous, and more hopeless.  Don't forget to come up for air sometimes.  

Stop reading the news stories sometimes and look out your front door and take a walk and talk with your neighbors.  The world seems less dark and hopeless when you live in your own neighborhood where things are probably pretty good, instead of living in "news land" where it feels like everything is doomed and going to hell in a handbasket.  (And if you want some real hope that will far outlast any hope this world has to offer, find Jesus.  And you don't have too look hard to find Him, because He's been seeking you out for years, standing right behind you!)

10.  In uncertain and fearful times like these, remember these well-known phrases:  

"We don't know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future!"

And "Don't tell God how big your problems are.  Tell your problems how big God is!" 

And #11:
Your kids will mirror the attitude you have about this difficult, uncertain time.  If you are freaked out about everything, don't be surprise if your kids are too.  (Kids don't need that kind of stress and hopelessness in their young lives.)

Set the tone in your house.  Don't be grim about everything.  Don't make everything a chore (things are hard enough already).  Lighten up.  Put some roses on these thorns.  Show them how we do it when the going gets tough.  


Let the kids know that, yes, we have to take precautions, but we can also use this time for fun and opportunity.  Study things online you've always wanted to study.  Binge watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy as a family.  Cuddle up together and read "The Wind in the Willows" or "Chronicles of Narnia" or "Charlotte's Web" (but I cried at the end while reading it to my kids, trying to act like I wasn't crying).  Camp out in your living room.  Make homemade bread together.  Start planning a garden.  Play ball in your backyard.  Create some fun memes together.  Make a homemade bird-feeder and study the birds that come.  (And give them names.  Kids love doing this, and they will remember the names for years.  My kids still bring up the cardinals we named: Lightning and Sally.  And the sparrow family: Mike, Frankie, and Little Brick.)  Make a homemade board game.  

Ask your kids for some ideas of what they'd like to do during this crazy time.  I bet they'll come up with some creative, worthwhile ideas, and you'll be happy you did some of them, which will give the whole family something to smile about when you look back on this time.  

Your attitude, more than anything else, will have far more effect on how you all get through this chaotic, nervous time.  You can use it for good or you can wallow in the bad.  The choice is yours.  It doesn't cost you anything to smile and be a little positive and count your blessings.

So stop reading the news, stop crying that the sky is falling, and instead turn on some fun music and sing and dance around your house with your kids.  (Or just to annoy your kids.  It'll give them something to laugh about, at least.  If not now, then years later when they look back and remember.)

Some suggestions:
Safety Dance

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Dancin' in the Moonlight

You Are My Candy Girl (Sugar, Sugar)

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Country Roads (Take Me Home)

Lean on Me

Sweet Caroline

And of course, It's the End of the World As We Know It  (May as well have fun with it.)

And for your satirical pleasure:
No Great Love: Widow Puts Last Roll of Toilet Paper in Offering Plate

Drug Cartels Switch To Producing Hand Sanitizer

Latest Numbers on Coronavirus: 100% of World Still Under God's Control

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