The Doldrums

Greetings to all of you who are enjoying your personal space and time alone with yourselves. In consideration of the notion that some of you might be getting bored in confinement it occurred to me that hey, I can contribute to that! So if you can tear yourselves away from that great American novel that you now have time to write I can give you something to read that’s equally as entertaining as the most recent pandemic case count.

Before exaggerating the hardships experienced in this strange new world it is my fervent hope that you are all well, safe and borderline sober with spirits bright. The sober part surely applies to my friends in Pennsylvania – which is now a dry state! It may say something about the company I keep, but without exception they would all rather have a drink than toilet paper!

It is hard to fathom the toilet paper issue. Just last week we went to the grocery store which was, at that moment, devoid of shoppers and yet the toilet paper shelves were empty. A mathematical mind can quickly see that two plus two equals a lot of people – at that moment – at home – going to the bathroom. Enough with the toilet paper but……… Susan did have exceptional clairvoyance and well before the crises ordered a whole case. Not because of the coming shortage but because it was printed with poignant messages such as “Who gives a crap?” and “Give yourself a pat on the bum.” Also, half the companies profits go to making toilets for the needy – no joke. One of their rolls says “We believe in plying it forward.” Which they do.

I am perhaps alone in this, but lockdown is a dream come true. Not just because of the all-day happy hour rule……..No, not just that. No longer are my feeble excuses necessary for not wanting to do something or go someplace; and continuing a life-long run of good fortune we find ourselves in the ideal setting for “sheltering in place.” This very moment my computer is responding to almost every command while I sit in the shade of a live oak, on my deck, scotch in hand, watching sailboats and barges silently drift by with nary a snowflake in sight! Here is a picture of Susan social distancing.

There is some modicum of guilt to be borne while watching the terrible situation in New York every day and feeling that we could be of some help to someone on the front lines. Apparently though, we find ourselves in one of those high risk groups and are told we can help most by just staying home. Membership in that group sure snuck up on us, didn’t it!? The politicians keep praising Americans for making the sacrifice of staying home. It’s not so much that we’re great patriots as it is that we don’t want to die!

The remarkable thing is how much less may be accomplished with so much more time on one’s hands. There are aspects of a new normal which one could easily warm to. Like just sleeping until you wake up. We were in the nasty habit of rising early to go to exercise classes and then stopping for coffee and the paper. Turns out – we have a coffee pot! Who knew? Susan is still an early riser and I become energized after 9:00 PM so it’s not like we’re together all day!

I have been doing a fair amount of painting. Here are a couple of things I’ve finished recently.

Brown Pelican
Rainy Day Beach

I’ve also been playing the piano – when I remember. Seems like I keep getting worse. Turns out that if you keep practicing the wrong notes you’ll get even better at playing the wrong notes! Oh well. And finally time to read……I can now knock down several paragraphs in a row before dozing off. If it weren’t for endless hours of cell phone solitaire my days might seem meaningless and empty.

Here are two more recent paintings.

Black and White Surf
Street corner in Fernandina Beach

So that’s how we fill our time. Susan is tending her gardens, sewing and keeping me well fed. I keep her wine glass full. We also run regularly and spend more time than you would think just trying to remember what day it is.

There was a bit of excitement this week. Susan’s birthday! April 15th – the first birthday that she didn’t have to listen to me moaning about paying taxes!! Since no outsiders were coming and going – and with the exception of a couple of Zoom sessions – she was able to run around in her birthday suit all day! Hold your horses though – it’s not like you might imagine – after all she was wearing a mask. Safety first!!!

I truly hope you are all well and staying safe. Religion is not my strong suit but at times such as these……thank God for Netflix!

Until next time———–Grumpa.


  1. 4marytrees

    That explains why I keep playing the wrong notes! I love your paintings, Jim. Jack ordered a case of that same toilet paper a while back. Each roll is nicely wrapped like a birthday present. Enjoy your free time.

  2. tomc

    From your description it all sounds so…so…, wonderfully adult and at least R rated. Walking around as god intended, at least before that apple business with Eve, drinking at all hours, etc. Will be sending a delegation from the local Baptist church to check in on you.

    For a man sequestered this son, his wife, and grandchild for the last month I want in.

    By the way, very much like the corner building painting. Enough of nature’s beauty. In fact, look what nature has done to us now !

  3. Jgmurph40

    Jane G. Murphyq am enjoying your paintings. You might want to put up a sign and start a new business! I would be a customer. They have us in lockdown here it is ugly we don’t get to see Carolyn or Phil they might bring the germ in I think John and I made some pood decisions. I look forward to your notes hi to Susan did you ever get your pool finished?

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