Gratuitously Pleasant

Gratuitously Pleasant

I am days away from saying that I’ve been in almost complete isolation for a year and a half. I see and talk to Attila face to face, he is the only person I’ve had a face to face conversation with for over a year and a half. Eleven times I’ve been to appointments, two of them to receive the Covid vaccines, two of them to be tested for Covid, two of them to have my finger growths (un)diagnosed, four to have my eyes examined, to choose glasses, to pick up my glasses, and to have my glasses adjusted, and once to pick up grain for bread. These brief encounters were overwhelmingly negative, except the visit to the optometrist, and the first and third visit to get my eyeglasses, the second visit which was to pick up my eyeglasses was unpleasant. I wonder that people can’t make an effort to be civil and polite to others. But my experience is that the majority of people just can’t manage it, as they are probably lost in their own misery.

So, when I had to call the 1 800 number for the bank yesterday it was a breath of fresh air, that Maureen answered my call. I don’t know Maureen, have never heard of her, or spoken to her before, and will probably not speak to her ever again. In fact I stumbled into the conversation with an awkward request for her to repeat her name. Within a few sentences, she had me smiling. By the end of the call we were both laughing. The call was brief, efficient, got the job done, and it makes me cry to think of it. Social pleasantness is that rare in my life. It is difficult to remember that some people are still gratuitously pleasant, when evidence is overwhelmingly the opposite.

I’ve been feeling lately that I am not doing anything. This is a misconception on my part. To ground this feeling with fact, I made a list this morning, of all the things that I planned on accomplishing before Attila arrived home from work. The list was completed as anticipated.

  • wash and hang laundry to dry on the clothes line
  • prepare Beans, brine, jars and canner, then can a batch of Dilly Beans (6 x 500 ml)
  • bake bread
  • make four liters of Switchel for Attila
  • clean and freeze two quarts of Cherry Tomatoes

Of course this list does not include preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner from scratch, making the bed, sweeping floors, and many other general day-to-day things that keep a home livable.

In addition, this evening we are doing a grocery run, in which Attila picks up the order I made yesterday, brings it home, and we wash every item with soapy water, or spray it with hydrogen peroxide. Some would regard this as over the top cautious. In fact, although Attila goes along with these measures, he would no longer take them if left to his own devices, now that we are fully vaccinated. He indulges me. Sanitizing the grocery order is something that we have down to an easy routine. It has some advantages, the produce stays fresh much, much longer for having been washed, rinsed, and air dried before storage; the sanitizing will remove cold and flu bugs; and it allows us to detect any problems with the order immediately, such as a cracked egg.

As time goes on items on my order are more frequently not available. It is difficult to tell if this is because of a general shortage, or an issue with the individuals putting together the order. We adjust to the shortage, using what we can get to best advantage.

I do find myself looking forward to entering a grocery store again. I wonder how it will be different than it was a year and a half ago, the last time I passed through their doors. I can see myself eventually shopping just for the pleasure of strolling about freely. Perhaps when this fourth wave of the Pandemic has subsided, perhaps. I am of the mind that it doesn’t pay to “jump the gun”, and that patience is a virtue, particularly in the event of a Pandemic. I don’t want to adjust my ways towards freedom just to have them crushed into another round of isolation. Perhaps by the time I am out and about again more people will have recovered from their grump.

The heat wave has been with us for about a week now, and continues relentlessly. Attila has worked all week in the heat, and is doing remarkably well all things considered. We were hoping to make a foray to the market this weekend, but he just isn’t up to it just now. We are both happy to remain here at Mist Cottage, puttering in the garden and kitchen, and just generally taking life as slowly as we can. It looks like August is going to carry on hot and humid. I wonder what September will be like!



Updated on Fri, Aug 13, 6:25 PM
29 °C
Partly cloudy
Wind 17 SW km/h
Humidity 67 %
Visibility 26 km
Sunrise 6:08 AM
Wind gust 26 km/h
Pressure 101.3 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 8:16 PM


“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.”
106 BC – 43 BC


  1. Our last grocery store visit this Tuesday did feature a much greater percentage of masked people than the previous two visits, so people ARE getting the news about the Delta variant.
    The only precaution (other than mask wearing) is to wash hands when coming into the house after the trip, and then to wash them again once all the stuff has been put away. So far, so good. You’ll never find Julia and I eating indoors in a restaurant, that’s probably done for. But when the weather is again cool (in November), we might venture eating at a restaurant on their patio, unless of course, the Delta or some other variant really turns everything to sh&t. They are saying the new covid cases, though, are mostly in the unvaccinated people. Stay well and comfy!

  2. Bex

    I find that I’m relating every little thing I’ve done in a day to Paul when he gets home, just so he knows I haven’t been stuck in this chair ALL the LIVELONG DAY!!!

  3. Joan, it is good to hear that people are getting the message about wearing masks! The view from the front window here at home shows me that people out for a walk are not wearing masks, and do not appear to have them with them. Last night I saw three of my neighbours, maskless, standing in close proximity to each other, chatting. Reckless in my opinion, but I keep my opinions to myself except for here on my blog, which is my place to express my thoughts and feelings. Most of the new cases here are among the unvaccinated, and very few fully vaccinated people end up in hospital, and even fewer in the ICU and on ventilators. Some of the vaccinated have health issues that make them more vulnerable to a bad outcome, which is the main reason we remain so very cautious – Attila has to be out there every work day and some of the people he works with aren’t vaccinated, or have serious health issues that might make them more vulnerable. And of course we don’t want to take a chance on getting the virus ourselves, that goes without saying.
    Your precautions sound very thorough! Patio dining would be something to consider, and here I hear that drive-in movies are coming back in vogue, everyone in their own vehicle. Goodness, it has been 40 years or more since I’ve been to a drive-in movie! It will be lovely when the rest of people on the planet have access to the vaccines, and the likelihood of new variants decreases significantly!
    Stay safe dear friend!

  4. Bex, I think you are amazing! The way you face issues of your health, and the pandemic, is an example of such courage, determination, and creativity. Your hats are amazing, your continued exploration of new and interesting foods, just so many things about how you spend your time are healthy and inspiring. Paul is a lucky man!
    Stay safe dear friend!

  5. Margarett

    Trust me, Maggie, and everyone….I have not traveled to the “twilight zone”….it has just been a weird summer. Though I may sound as if I am complaining about our weather, I am not. We could use some rain, and we have endured the “feels like” temps over 100… so far this certainly has not been a horrible summer. And ,after getting a fairly good health report back in June…I am managing to dig in the dirt several mornings every week. Taking care of the weeds, and this unbelievable vine that grows all over our fences in the back yard. Making plans for some moving/dividing plants later on. So even though this little bit of gardening wears me out…it is a good wearing out. Several people in my youngest sister’s family, have tested positive for COVID. She is also a Registered Nurse…the one we have most concern about is the 7 year old. Everyone else has been vaccinated. I really don’t know how things will be in a month or two…with the variety affecting children. We shall see. So, please know that I do watch your posts with a lot of admiration, I just haven’t had a lot to share. xxoo Margarett

  6. Margarett, what wonderful wonderful news, that you are well enough to dig in the dirt! Loving your garden the way you do, that is a such a healing, balanced way to spend time. Sorry to hear Covid is affecting your family! Yes, the children are a worry now, making it well worth the effort to take every precaution to prevent the spread of Covid. Hopefully your niece, if she does contract the disease will be one of the lucky ones with no symptoms or long term effects. We here in Ontario are entering a fourth wave, fueled by the Delta variant. I wonder how this will affect the children when they go back to school in September, time will tell. Wishing you and your family safe passage through this awful pandemic! Stay safe dear friend!

  7. Teri

    At one time we contemplated having groceries delivered but then last year’s covid bubble began to recede. About that time we switched from fabric masks to Level 1 procedure masks and moved over to the cottage, so we felt comfortable doing our own shopping and have never had a problem.

    I’m not sure why you would have a problem getting groceries. The only things we’ve had problems getting, besides paper products when things first started, is liquid smoke, alfredo sauce for a few weeks, and limeade for a few weeks.

  8. Teri, so glad you have never had a problem with Covid as a result of shopping or anything else. It is a mystery why we have issues getting some items from the grocery store, I think it might be in part because low-sodium, and lactose free, items are less available now than they were. Also, we buy items for home food preservation, and most people aren’t preserving food at home, so there is spotty demand, and therefore spotty supply. As for the rest, who knows, might be shortages at the local store, might be the staff at the local store who fill the order. Some items just aren’t listed as available now, (e.g. 4 liters of apple cider vinegar for canning), some items are in the flyers but not available (e.g. canning jars), and other items that are ordered don’t arrive, probably a different reason for each missing item.

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