What Did You Do Sheltering at Home?
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What Did You Do Sheltering at Home?

Allen Lipis shares his experiences staying busy with his family during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I’ve been home with my wife since the shutdown began and we have been staying busy. Here’s what we have been doing: My wife is an excellent cook, so we are eating well. She is a serious knitter, now working on an afghan for one of our grandchildren, and she just finished a sweater for our granddaughter.

My wife ordered some vegetable plants from Pike Nurseries. We planted tomatoes, grape tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peppers, and some herbs. It is becoming a nice garden.

We both have been working on jigsaw puzzles. We bought a box of 12 different puzzles, and we finished 11 of them. The last one is a duplicate of one of the ones we finished, which made me sad. We wanted to finish the entire box, so my daughter brought over a few new ones, and we are at it again.

We are in touch with family via Zoom, since they live in Austin, Texas, and Berlin, Germany. I called a friend this morning and asked what she was doing. She said she was trying to save their business, cooking in the kitchen for her kids who are always hungry, and her husband is putting up family pictures late at night when the children are in bed. Their grandfather bought a trampoline and a basketball hoop so her children could play outdoors.

My daughter says she is taking a parshah [Torah portion] class on Zoom, arranged to take an exercise class through her club, and is enjoying the cooking she does. I spoke with a friend, who lives alone, and she was upset because her internet was not working, and she was waiting on AT&T to come today to fix it. She had no internet, no TV and no music. She can’t wait to fix her loneliness.

My sister, who lives in Manhattan, says she takes a walk around the park just outside her apartment and buys food at takeout restaurants nearby. My brother-in-law can sit in the park for an hour or more and enjoys hearing the birds chirp and watching the squirrels.

A friend in Israel wrote us requesting a list of good books to read. We are going to send her quite a few that we recommend. The ones we read recently that are all excellent are:

“Night” by Elie Wiesel;
“Personal History” by Katharine
Graham;
“48 Ways to Wisdom” by Rabbi Noach
Weinberg
“My Own Words” by Ruth Bader
Ginsburg
“My Cousin Rachel” by Daphne
Du Maurier
“Kosher Movies” by Rabbi Herbert
Cohen.

One of my friends suggested that I join him to play Texas Hold ’Em. To do that, you go online, open a free account at www.pokerstars.net, click on the home tab and join the group. I did that.

I spoke with a neighbor who had the COVID-19 virus and she said it was awful for a couple of days. The pain in her chest was like a locomotive sitting on it. She is well now.

Since we live on a dead-end street, we see lots of people taking walks when it’s not raining. We actually have met more neighbors now than before the virus.

My older grandchildren all are busy with online courses. One wrote a college term paper; another is taking classes on Zoom from his college professors; and a third in high school studied on his own.

I have a daughter busy putting the finishing touches on her new home so she can move in. The workmen are not available, so she is cleaning the sawdust and other dirt out of the rooms and making the last few repairs. She is doing the work by herself and enjoying the effort, so the house will look exactly the way she wants it to look.

I speak often with my younger grandchildren ages 8, 11 and 13. The youngest is learning to solve a 3-by-3 Rubik’s Cube; the older can do a 5-by-5 Rubik’s Cube; and the middle child can solve a pyramid Rubik’s Cube. I found a bunch of riddles for them.

Here are six of them from Reader’s Digest:

1. What is easy to get into but hard to
get out of?
2. What can you hear, but not see or
touch, even though you control it?
3. What has lots of eyes but cannot see?
4. What has hands but can’t clap?
5. What can you break, even if you never
pick it up or touch it?
6. Which month of the year has 28 days?

The bottom line: Sheltering at home can be fun, useful and good for learning. You just have to work at it.

Riddle answers: 1. Trouble. 2. Your voice. 3. A potato. 4. A clock. 5. A promise. 6. All 12 of them, www.rd.com/culture/best-riddles-for-kids

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