Saturday was a pretty packed day. Well, packed in quarantine terms, anyway. For starters, I had to make my weekly supply run and headed over to Trader Joe’s. As always, they had bright, upbeat messages for those of us waiting in line.

I was able to resist some of the hoarding urges I wrote about previously and came back with a fairly reasonable haul. There is even a little daylight in our refrigerator and freezer.

A little.

But that all went well, and the disinfecting process has been going more quickly and smoothly. Now that we were stocked up for the week, it was on to more enjoyable ventures in the afternoon.

The new basketball hoop has been getting lots of use, and it was a beautiful day. Erin was out shooting some baskets with the kids and the continuous roar of laughter from the kids seemed to indicate they were enjoying themselves.

A little later, we had two Zoom parties with friends. First was a birthday party for our cousins’ little guy, Finn, who was turning one year old. Just like an in-person birthday party for a one-year-old, it was pretty brief, unbelievably cute and the highlight was watching him absolutely destroy his cake.<

I got to thinking there would probably be something cathartic for even grown ups to dig into a cake like that. I may have to give that a whirl sometime.

After that, we got online with some dear friends from our days back in Chicago. Most are still there, some are in Texas, but we all got to share a conversation together for I guess the first time in about 5 years. That was pretty cool. There are obviously lots of negatives about this whole quarantine situation, and of course this kind of videoconferencing technology existed before COVID, but I’m thankful this inspired us to finally get together like this.

Our friends in Chicago just had a baby, and we got to meet 10-week-old Hugh, who was very cute and very chill. We talked about how kids in his age group will have something of a reverse experience to what our kids and we grown ups are going through. For them, any return to “normal” will be strange as they’ll have been born into a world of distancing and physical isolation.

But we all hold a lot of hope for a better, safer world on the other side of this. We talked for about an hour and a half and are already talking about doing it again. Speaking for myself and Erin, it was not only great to see everyone, it felt like spiritual nourishment. Being with our old friends, sharing both laughs and serious experiences, was really uplifting. I know lots of folks reading this have done this kind of thing already with friends or family, and if you haven’t, I highly recommend it.

After that, I got to work whipping up some dinner. On the menu was some yummy cauliflower gnocchi (thanks Trader Joe’s!) with a homemade vodka sauce for Erin and me, and pizza for the kids. The sauce making process can be a bit splattery, so I put on my fanciest apron.

But good grief, it came out nicely, and we got to have a nice dinner outside.

I know lots of my friends and family around the country have been having lousy weather the past few days, so I am really thankful for how nice it’s been here. Amazing what a little sunshine, friends and a hearty dinner can do for the soul.