Hunkering Hard

Takeout from a favorite restaurant–placed on the Kennedy family (Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks) dinner table. Photo by Cecilia Kennedy

Hard-core hunkering requires the mindset of a cat, even if sharp things are falling from the sky and your roof is made of one thin sheet of plastic wrap. (Also, unlike the cat, you can’t get comfortable under the couch.)  During these weeks of mandated closures and limited movement, I’ve gone back and forth between feeling relaxed because of the slower pace of life, and also like a jacked up side kick in a movie, whose super power is to react to every Covid-19-related news article by screaming and running in circles around the living room before someone (probably Nate) shoots me with a tranquilizer gun (a Nerf gun filled with wine).

But when I really think about it, I’m just having a normal day.  I worry about disease and finances all of the time, and I work from home, so I believe that I’ve been training for something like this my entire life. I can stay home and worry a lot. I’m really, really good at it. So, this member of this Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks Team is here to help.  Study the suggestions below for “How to Hunker.” Make flow charts. Post them to your refrigerator. Act them out and film them on YouTube. Do whatever it takes to flex your hunkering down warrior muscles.

“How to Hunker Hard”

  • After a long day of worrying and wondering why you can’t be more like the family cat, order takeout from your favorite restaurant. That’s what we did last night, and it felt good to support a local business that’s struggling in these times. Switch up the interaction at the dinner table as well. Think of clever games, like this one:

Me:  Okay, let’s imagine that I’m going to the store and I want to make chili, but there’s no ground beef. Name everything that I could get instead.

Nate:  Ground turkey.

Me: Nope, not there.

Alex:  Ground chicken.

Me:  Nope, not there.

Nate:  Sausage.

Me:  Gone as well.

Alex:  Ooh! We could do a vegetarian chili with beans and rice.

Me:  Close! No beans and rice, but there are extremely expensive macadamia nuts and frozen waffles. The jellybeans have not been hit yet, either.

Alex:  That actually sounds good.

(And, that’s one of the many reasons why I consider myself lucky to have a kid like Alex.)

  • Resist the urge to congregate as a large group in the neighborhood. This is actually really hard, but necessary. In my neighborhood, it sounds like parents and kids are having a great time just outside my window, and I’d love to join them with a tumbler of wine and a plate of communal spaghetti, but this kind of neighborly act is not going to help flatten the curve.  Neither will my running bra, for that matter, but I digress.  For now, I’ll wave enthusiastically from the window, and I’ll run at 5 a.m. which is when everyone is still asleep, and I won’t get chased by kids on trikes.  (Seriously, if I get hit by a tricycle, I will get injured, but doctors might not consider my injury an “urgent” medical emergency. They might get a much-needed laugh, but I will be left to rot from the inside out, in my house. Then, I’ll have to cut my own leg off. I hope we have strong whiskey in our liquor cabinet in case that happens.)
  • If you are not an artist, try to draw something anyway. My good friend from high school (Rebecca Burdock Weger) is a very talented artist who has posted drawing videos on her Facebook page. I took one of her tutorials on how to draw a bunny, and I believe that Rebecca’s work is just the quiet I’ve needed in a coronavirus storm.  I know that the resulting bunny rabbit that I drew does not look “comforting.” I’m probably not helping her business very much by posting my picture here, but I think that if I show you a before and after picture, you will agree that, as a result of Rebecca’s drawing lessons, I’ve created a much more sophisticated bunny with lots of interesting attitude and complex anatomy than I’ve ever done before:

    I highly recommend visiting her Facebook page here, which is where you can find her tutorials.

  • Make a “starter dough.” I heard that yeast could be difficult to find these days, so I made a “starter dough” based on instructions from an educational website that’s headed by scientists. The instructions/recipe are aimed at an audience of children, but right now, I’m so freaked out that playing with dough or getting yelled at for running with scissors just feels like a trip back to a simpler time.  I started the dough today, so it’s not ready yet, but the recipe is here, on this website.
First day of my sourdough starter. Photo by Cecilia Kennedy
  • Fix a Mai Tai and cancel that spring break trip. For the Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks Team, this was hard, really hard. The Mai Tai helped because, well, we were looking forward to our trip, and trips to Disney are very expensive.  Disney has promised to refund our money, within 7-10 days. I hope they don’t change their mind.  The airline will not let us have our money back, but we can reschedule—if they are still an airline after all of this is over.  So, yes, Mai Tais.  They are very easy to make: just some rum, mango juice (no one is stocking up on mango juice), and grenadine.  Except, one Mai Tai and the physical distancing thing is kind of shot to pieces. Two Mai Tais, and I’d be tempted to take up a new outdoor sport, like extreme mountain hiking, but this is not the time to dangle precariously from a cliff.

It’s time to hunker down, hunker low/The spring break trip may have to go/The economy will move, oh so slow/But if the human spirit invents anew/Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks will donate glue.

In Other News:  The Writing Disorder has published my short story, “The Field Trip to the UMAMI Museum.”  Most museums are closed nowadays, but you can read about this one, which has a very unusual and somewhat unsettling exhibit. (Click on the boldfaced story title/link above).

Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

Your Turn:  How are you doing?


17 thoughts on “Hunkering Hard

  1. It’s been rough. My children are young. Early elementary school and pre-school young. Schools are all closed. I am working from home for now.

    The grocery stores are empty, which is weird in and of itself. Although, I think we have enough toilet paper for a month. Heaven help me if we need more…

    The kids can’t go outside and play much. We are all getting stir crazy. No, it’s not as bad as sick or dead, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard.

    Worse though, is the fear. The kids’ fear. My fear. My spouse’s fear. Fear of getting sick. Fear of what we will find at the grocery store. Fear of what this is going to mean to our jobs and if we will even still have one in a few weeks. Fear of what that means for us in both the long and short term.

    A really ugly time all around right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. It is increasingly hard to manage the fear. The constant stories and updates–and the closed businesses that might not come back–and what life will be like when this is all over–and how many people will get sick. I just need breaks from it every once in a while–we all do. Sending lots of hugs and love to you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on your publication! I enjoyed reading your story (from a distance, even if there weren’t a pandemic raging). Your rabbit drawing looks like he is having some sort of ‘roid rage episode; I like it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha:) That’s Alex’s drink. It’s called a “Frosty” and it’s raspberry flavored, I think? Normally, he drinks milk for dinner, but he decided to break out the “fancy” stuff for this meal. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading! I have been finding it difficult to write as well–I’m easily distracted right now, but I’ll try to hang in there and remain as positive as possible. Stay safe and healthy!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh a main Thai sounds like a plans. Too early for a monday maybe? Might wait until wednesday.
    I’m waiting for our offices to go into lockdown.
    I’m glad to hear you’ll get your disney refund!
    And a fantastic second use for nerf guns!
    Great read, stay safe x


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