Thursday, March 26, 2020

Bring Home Your Groceries, not Corona

This Corona thing is going to go on for a long time. In our home, we have an added battle as my husband is on chemotherapy. He has absolutely no immune system. So as a registered dietitian and a retired nurse, I know a little bit about battling germs. This is a whole different mind-set. To some of you, this will seem like over-kill. As for me, I am hoping for over-kill. That sucker is staying out of my home.

What I am about to tell you is the actual steps I took to go to the grocery store. Sometimes, I got a little silly in my commentary, but I kid you not, I took these steps and had these emotions. Because I am over 60, I was allowed to go shopping at 6 am. I had not been to the store in three weeks so I had a hefty list. My goal was to get in and out in one hour.

Here are some things you need to know first:

1. 100 million viral particles of the novel coronavirus can fit on a pin head. I like the glitter comparison, but it's even smaller than glitter.
2. Heat kills it, friction kills it. COLD does NOT kill it. That means what you put in the fridge and freezer can carry the virus.
3. On the outside, this stuff can last up to three days
4. Quit going to the grocery store unless it is absolutely necessary. True story: yesterday, as the manager was greeting shoppers at the door to the Smart and Final, he said he recognizes the same people that show up every morning. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Yes, I'm shouting. And it was the seniors. Use common sense and stay home unless you have no other choice. It's not social time.

Step by Step Instructions for Grocery Shopping

  • The night before: remove grocery list from phone and transfer to paper, dividing list by product location in store. This keeps me away from my phone while shopping so I don't cross contaminate. The list goes in the trash at the grocery store when I am done.
  • Pick out clothes to wear to the store. Use a button down shirt that will not go over my face. These are old clothes and shoes that can be washed/sanitized when I return. No jewelry or extra clothing.
  • Find an old vinyl purse that will hold essentials: inhaler, gloves, just in case, glasses, sanitizing wipes, sanitizing gel. Put credit card and ID in back pocket of jeans. Do not use cash or money.
  • Put towel and 13 gallon trash bag in garage. More on this later. 
  • Get up at 5 a.m. to get to the store by 6 a.m. Only time for coffee and a homemade ginger snap cookie.
  • At store: wipe down cart handle even though they tell me it's sanitized. Remind myself not to touch my face, itch, or blow my nose. Argue at the door with manager that I am actually 63 years old! So yes, take your driver's license. I didn't take mine because it was "extra" and if I get stopped by the police, they have computers in their vehicle. Nice that she didn't think I was 63, but to be sure, take your ID if you are in the senior crowd. Avoid buying produce or cold cuts. Cold foods are easily contaminated. Now, I have a resource for you so check out the link I have posted at the bottom if you feel you must buy produce. We grow our own so this is not an issue for us.
  • Avoid dumb-asses that don't abide by the 6 foot rule; help those that can't; take what I can get. I was truly sickened and moved to tears at what was unavailable. Remember to be grateful now for what we have.
  • Self check out. I HATE this, but it helps me avoid other people. Use disposable plastic bags (no not mine that I bring home and reuse) and feel guilty for contributing to plastic that will clog my environment. Cuss regularly at the self-checkout computer. Tie bags shut. Leave like my life depended on it.
  • Exit time noted: 7:04 a.m.
  • At car: open trunk and use plastic trunk liner that I used to use for garden plants in my past life. Load trunk, avoiding my clothing. Drop off food at daughter's house if I found some, and go to second and third stores to look for what I didn't find. Argue again with the store door guard that I really am 63 years old.
  • Return home leaving car in sun with windows open to ventilate. Later I will wipe down car with a sanitizing wipe. UV sun rays will help kill the virus. Bags of groceries with nonperishable items go in the garage for three days, knowing Corona can live on cardboard for that long. Cold foods are unbagged and placed on newspaper on kitchen island (Newspaper is three days old) and ice cream immediately wiped down with disinfectant. Cold foods can wait. Remove eggs from carton (Yes! I found eggs) and put into garden basket. Do not wash eggs with sanitizer as eggs absorb from their shells. Remember, cooking will kill Corona. Wash your hands after handling eggs.
  • Strip in garage making sure I do not wave clothing around. Put in plastic trash bag. Spray shoes with Lysol, top and bottom.
  • In bathroom, throw towel on floor making sure dog does not lay on top of it. Shower/shampoo with boiling water that can kill the virus. Watch my skin turn pink. Use lots of soap and foam. Get clean towel and dry off. Add to towel on floor. Use lots of lotion on hand to avoid getting cracks that invite the virus.
  • Dress and go back to kitchen to sanitize cold foods. Put in fridge with clean body and hands. Discard used newspaper.
  • Wash credit card and ID in soapy water.
  • Close bag with clothes and take to washroom for sanitizing cycle. Add towels and do not allow them to touch clean clothes. Throw another trash bag out remembering the gazillion plastic bags I will waste. 
  • Make screwdriver and have breakfast. Repeat cycle in 3-4 weeks.
In three days I will go to garage to retrieve my groceries. If I can remove them from their outer cartons, I will. Otherwise I will wipe down the outside, again, using old newspaper to protect my kitchen island until they are dry. Do the same with any deliveries you get. If you can, postpone opening cardboard boxes for three days.

This is a little different angle, but check out this video for more information:

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