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Downsizing during a pandemic isn't for the fainthearted

By Edna Hyer

A few months ago, I decided we needed to downsize. My husband has medical problems which make stairs and household maintenance difficult to handle. My daughter and I did a wide search for an affordable place with no stairs or maintenance problems. Since all our doctors and my activities are located in Orchard Park we finally settled on a first floor apartment in an Orchard Park development.

As you can imagine, after 57 years in one place it is very difficult to downsize. What do we keep, what do we throw out and what do we do with the rest? We started with a very large dumpster in our driveway which was quickly filled with a great many memories of the past which had outlived their usefulness. There is still so much to go!

Moving day was set. Unfortunately, a week before, I fell and fractured my foot. I had to wear a boot on it for at least four weeks, which meant no driving and limited hobbling around. Luckily, I have a very capable daughter, Laurie, who lives in Fairport, She rallied the troops.

My one son flew up from South Carolina for the weekend. They rented a U-Haul van, and the three of them managed to move all the big stuff. The smaller things like clothes and food supplies were moved by car over the next couple of weeks, along with shopping and assembling a TV stand, a night stand, a small table with two chairs, and a couple of lamps. We actually became quite experienced at assembling things (or my daughter and son-in-law did.)

Of course, then the coronavirus pandemic hit. I am back walking and driving with no place to go. We are basically sheltering in place while my daughter makes a weekly trip from Fairport to bring us groceries. We have only been going out for my husband’s doctors’ appointments, for which he has equipped himself with all the necessary safety precautions. I simply stay in the car.

In the meantime, we busy ourselves with reading, TV, our computers and talking to friends and family by phone and FaceTime (isn’t modern technology great?). Unfortunately, my nagging sweet tooth caught up with me. I had seen some recipes on my computer for things you could make when you were missing things like eggs or butter. One that caught my eye was for eight chocolate chip cookies. Good I thought, not too many, just enough to satisfy.

So I busied myself and started to whip up a batch. It was going well until I came to the part where they wanted me to add baking soda and baking powder. I searched through everything with no luck. How could I have overlooked bringing those? There is no substitute for them!

I covered the dish and left it sitting on the counter. I knew my daughter was coming the next day but she would have already done our grocery shopping. So I e-mailed her to put ¼ teaspoon of baking soda and ¼ teaspoon baking powder in a small plastic bag and include it with our groceries. No questions asked, she brought it the next day. I stirred it in my covered bowl and made my eight cookies. They were delicious! Dessert for a week. I told you she was a saint!

Downsizing and letting go of 57 years of memorability is difficult, but we are in a nice place now to ride out this horrible pandemic. If my only worry is ¼ teaspoon of baking powder and soda, I am very fortunate. Many thanks to all who are caring for everyone during this unheralded time. May they stay safe.

Edna Hyer, of Orchard Park, is adjusting to a new reality.

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