So, we unofficially began our social distancing quarantine during the third week of March 2020 due to reports of the emerging spread of the “Novel Coronavirus”, soon to be identified as Covid 19:Once it was apparent Covid 19 was going to affect us all and was a randomly mild to devastating illness, we started getting ready. (I wish we had gone to more restaurants before the first case appeared in our county.) Having never lived through a widespread epidemic or pandemic in the US before, we thought we’d build up a bigger pantry, just to be over prepared and not have to go shopping until we felt safety measures were in place.
Once we determined mostly everything we thought we needed in our pandemic pantry, we decided the quantities based on our desire to be able to stay home for 3-4 weeks at a time, easily, if our city becomes a hot spot. So far, no major infection outbreaks in Colorado Springs, but a majority of citizens currently appear to be refusing to wear masks (Still not mandated for customers in a lot of places) and observe social distancing when mandated by stores.
I found a pretty great face mask pattern and went to the fabric store in February to get what I needed, figuring we could always use them for dust/pollen/woodworking projects if we didn’t really need them after all.
Of course, the pandemic pantry started with canned goods and basic shelf stable foodstuffs, like flour, oil, sugar, etc. Then we just doubled up on everyday stuff like cereal, chips, pasta, and bread (I never put bread in the freezer before, but it thaws in the fridge just fine; who knew?). I partially cleared out and reorganized a closet for this purpose – it quickly filled up. Rob created a printable spreadsheet to help us keep an updated and easily scanned inventory.
We used the grocery pickup option from King Soopers several times but abandoned it after every order seemed to be missing items for which we were charged and, even though reported, could not get a refund or replacement item. Now that our preferred grocery store has implemented plexiglass barriers, rearranged sections, social distancing marks for customers and mandatory employee mask rules, I have discovered that if I go to the store shortly after 6:00am, I can shop in relative quiet, and other customers ALL wear masks, too! It’s a night and day difference from later in the day, when at least 50-60% of the customers are not wearing masks, standing really close/reaching around you to get an item, and generally acting like it’s the good old days when you could pick up each tomato and test it for ripeness, replacing multiple ones you’d touched back in the bin. Ugh.
So, now we maintain the pantry by just re-upping the items we use when needed, except for baker’s yeast, which seems to be weirdly unavailable everywhere. Toilet paper, which alternated between rationing and unavailable, appears to be back now, whew! (So strange what people hoard when they get scared about disaster. Having grown up in Florida, I always kept a hurricane pantry, important documents folder and a go bag ready during the season, but yeesh, when the whole world is preparing for the worst, it gets pretty nuts!)
For now, we’ve found out how adaptable we are, learned a few new things, and realized that we are pretty self-contained people after all. (Check back in next Spring to see if this discovery actually holds up . . .) Until then, we’ll be doing our best to stay ‘Rona Free!