5. Sure, but who’s doing the dishes?

Saturday April 4 2020

Ohio Confirmed cases: 3,739
Deaths: 102

On March 14th, we had lunch at China Star. Let’s support small business, I say. Screw this fear factor shit we’ve had shoved down our throats. I’m not afraid, I say.

We’ve been customers of this restaurant for at least twenty years. The latest owner is a woman, I should know the name of, but I’m ashamed that I don’t. But to switch that, she probably calls us the “chicken and vegetables with white sauce” family. She recognizes me when I call in a carryout, both by my voice and our standard order of the aforementioned white sauce and my preference for chicken Szechuan. And always an order of crab Rangoon. Fifteen minutes, she says. Thanks, I say.

So we go in for lunch on that Saturday after Don got off of work. It was awesome as always and a pleasure to be served a great meal. We see the owner’s daughters, just little girls growing up in the restaurant industry. I wonder if they’re treated well in our school systems or how racism hits this hard-working family. We ask the owner how she’s holding up and she raises a slim arm and says “we’re strong.” I believe her.

A man comes emerges from the kitchen and places our meals in front of us. He rushes back. I say, “I don’t care who you are. This is the hardest working man in Englewood.” I hope he’s the owner’s brother, not her husband, so he can actually get a break. This young woman is not one to tolerate any slack.

At midnight on March 16, the restaurant order goes into effect. Close that shit down, says DeWine. Nobody is permitted to gather in a restaurant or bar. It’s either delivery or carryout if you don’t want to cook.

“Really! The next door neighbor has a new dog will not stop baking.”

Starting on March 15, I’ve been cooking a meal for dinner every damn day. On weekends, I cook up a simple lunch in addition to the evening meal. During the week, it’s merely lunchmeat sandwiches, but I’m counting that shit too.

“Someday, you’re going to get tired of my cooking,” I say to my husband.

“I doubt it,” he says.

Great times.  

To count the blessings, as they say, we can afford food. We can still find food at our favorite grocery. We hold out hope to also find toilet paper again there someday. And I know how to cook. We’re not in bad shape here.

I’m getting more resourceful, too. The little beef roast I made for dinner one night with potatoes, became an ingredient in the next evening’s shepherd’s pie. I bought a twofer pork loin deal, cooked the whole thing, then froze half to make pulled pork later. I’m taking the spaghetti Bolognese leftovers into work for my lunch. Other nights it’s pretty much shit I excavated from the freezer’s depths.

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