Conquering the Mask

Mask SuppliesToday was going to be Mask Day. Not the wearing of a mask, rather the making of a mask. I’ve witnessed enthusiastic and prolific sewers of masks scattered across the landscape of my internet feeds. A cottage industry has popped up in this country churning out an assortment of bright colors, funky designs, re-purposed cool t-shirts, even a Melitta coffee filter version.

I love sewing but none of this has inspired me. I used to love finding a unique pattern and unusual fabric to make a new outfit. But a cloth surgical mask? … not cute. I’d have to dig through my stash of sewing supplies buried in the back of the closet, find a pattern online, reacquaint myself with the workings of my sewing machine, etc. All very tedious. I don’t think so – it can wait. And anyway, there was no urgency to have a mask since we a) basically never leave the house and b) none of the experts can agree whether this is useful or not.

Now it seems that the ‘experts’ are getting behind the wear a mask campaign. I guess I’d better join the band of merry mask makers. Enthusiasm is still lacking, but I willed myself into the closet this morning and started pulling out boxes to see what I had on hand.

With the ‘Sew Easy’ pattern displayed on my smartphone I checked off all the materials needed. In my treasure trove of saved-just-in-case-you-need-it sewing supplies I found everything on the list – even pipe cleaners for the nose bridge fitting. At the family fitting session at lunch there were some complaints about the stretchy-ness of the elastic on my prototype. Well, ok, so maybe that elastic in the packet with a 75 cents label was a bit on the old side, so I replaced it with some I found in another packet costing 90 cents, and we were good to go. [Out of curiosity, I looked up the current price online and see that it now costs $4.99 – oops, I guess I’ve been saving that for quite some time.] There was also some grumbling about it being too loose around the sides and the pleats not being as tight as they should be. I can tell these are going to be picky customers.

The second product to roll off the production line was much improved. The elastic was tight, the gaping on the sides was remedied and the pleats were might tighter. It even has a pouch for a filter insert. It’s the Cadillac of masks, IMHO, I was chuffed. Then there was some questioning about the smell of the fabric. It smelled a bit ‘old’, maybe musty. Where had the material come from? Honestly, I’m not sure. If I had to guess, it came from the same place as that 75 cent elastic. Maybe they won’t read this. I’m going to put a dab of lavender oil on each one. 

And now, on closer inspection, I’ve been informed that one side is longer than the other. Yep, a bit fussy. These people!

Four more cut out and ready to go. It’s becoming a matter of pride. I’m going to get it right. Even if I miss my daily appointment with my blog tomorrow, I will conquer this mask thing.

Mask Lynn-cropped

Coronavirus Haikus

HaikuOur writing class assignment this week is to write haikus (three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count).

It was fun, challenging and soothing all at the same time. Of course, what else are we all going to write about now, except the one topic at the forefront of our minds.

Share back some of your own …

US top of charts
Leading number of cases
Hope not in my house

N ninety fives scarce
PPEs, gowns, gloves in need
Doctors, nurses scared

Zoom-ing in to meet
From far away see, talk, smile
Bye now, zoom back out

TP, pasta hoards
Fill garages and pantries
Who is eating this?

Tom Hanks, Bojo, Charles
Even privilege not immune
It just buys testing


It was like having unprotected sex

Mask - shockI heard that Whole Foods Market was opening an hour earlier for the over-60 crowd this week. Ok, I’ll admit to my age for this perk. On my early morning run today I thought I’d swing by and check it out. No big shopping trip, just a quick in and out, and maybe snag some fresh tomatoes, if they have some.

There was a security guard at the doors. I flashed my ID, though he waved me on with disinterest. Either they weren’t checking, or it was too obvious that I qualified. Not like the checkout clerk at Walgreens, who actually knows us, and still insists on seeing our ID for a bottle of wine — every single time. This of course launches my dear husband into a rant — also every single time, which I now have memorized. But I digress.

Back to the Whole Foods expedition, it was my first foray out into retail in almost a week. I had only seen pictures on the news, so wasn’t sure what to expect. I also wasn’t sure I should be here. Was I being reckless and cavalier?

There were lots of gaps in shelves which young stockers were working to refill before the 8am general opening. It wasn’t very crowded. I passed only one or two people down each aisle. Everyone looked similar to me: a just-got-out-of-bed look about them, nobody smartly dressed for the office, very focused on an efficient grab and go. There were few smiles or hellos.

As I headed to the checkout I saw where all the people were. Not enough checkers had shown up yet. Ugh. With a long line of heavy laden baskets snaked around the corner, I considered aborting mission. But hey, I’m in no rush, so I decided to wait it out. Observing my peer group more closely in line now, I realized that they may resemble me in many ways, but there was one notable difference: most of them had on protective gloves and many were wearing face masks too. Geez, what was I thinking? I had disinfectant wipes with me, but not all this hazmat equipment. Eeek! I suddenly felt naked, exposed.

What am I doing here? Decide again to stay, or bolt now? It suddenly seemed like wildly risky behavior — like having unprotected sex with a stranger. What new reality am I living in? Now I have to remember to bring  masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes and handsanitizer, as well as my own bags?!

I’m going back into my cave.