Down Side of the Hill: Staying busy during social distancing

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home if you can.

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Judith Liebaert

If you’re working from home or just have kids home from school, or both, you already have more than enough to keep you busy, and my admiration goes out to you.

You might find it helpful to lock yourself in your bedroom at least once a day, throw yourself on your bed, put a pillow over your face and kick and scream until you feel better.

For those who have been retired for a while or, like me, working from home before all this started, you’re already used to seeing a lot of the four walls you live in, and maybe the face of the person sitting across the table day in and day out.

Either way, we all tend to have social routines that we’ve had to abandon.

Social distancing isn’t easy, but it is necessary for the well-being of our community. Stay home if you can, stay safe and keep others safe. It’s the right thing to do.


Kudos to our businesses that are adapting. Let's remember to support them through this, and especially after we can all be out and about again.

And gratitude especially to all of the essential workers meeting our needs. Remember to say thank you to them.

I miss my Monday afternoon painting group, a relaxing social time as much as a pursuit of art. I miss my weekly latte with friends at the local coffee shop and gift store. I’d like to go see a Tuesday matinee movie — $5 for reward members and a free small popcorn.

I’m tempted to say I’m getting bored just sitting at home, but every time the thought crosses my mind, I hear my mother’s voice, “You’re bored? I’ll give you something to do.” Her something was, of course, chores.

Looking around, there are plenty of those I could tackle. I’ve been talking about the Swedish Death Cleaning purge for some time now— getting rid of everything I no longer need and my kids will never want. Now, especially, seems like as good a time as any to get things in order.

I could easily spend one whole day shredding useless paper from my files, filling trash bags with the slender ribbons that make a good garden mulch.

I could go through my closets, trying on every single piece of clothing, boxing up what no longer fits, no excuses. That might prove a bit depressing though.

I could do my spring cleaning — it’s been a few years. And I’ve been promising to put a fresh coat of paint on my mid-century kitchen cabinets. The back door needs a new coat inside and out as well, along with a few interior doors.


But really, none of that meets the fun quotient of social mixing. Surely there are enjoyable things to occupy my time.

I have more novels downloaded to my iPad than I ever expected to read. Now might be a good time to pry myself away from reading for information and start a regular habit of reading for leisure.

There’s that 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle the hubs and I started a few years back and gave up on, putting it back in the box. Nothing but time on our hands now.

And I have the dulcimer he bought for me, with all the instruction books. Practice makes perfect.

I could finally watch all of the Harry Potter Movies from beginning to end. Yeah, that one probably isn’t going to happen, I’m more of Stranger Things kind of gal. But, you never know; we could be in this lock down for a while.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home if you can.

Judith Liebaert writes for Positively Superior and the Duluthian. She is the author of “Sins Of The Fathers,” a crime novel set in Superior and inspired by a true cold case. Find her online at

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