Lemonade Gives Me Heartburn

May 20

I had a Zoom session the other day, a phrase the likes of me has never uttered until this surreal situation took over our lives and turned everything on its head.

But you know that.

What I wanted to tell you concerns a comment made by one of the participants in that Zoom session, sponsored by a group I belong to for retired professionals, to the effect that she’s sick of people telling her to make the very best of this situation. Or even worse, the dreaded advice, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

 Oh please.

I agree wholeheartedly with the woman in my Zoom group, who seems to be handling the situation well enough, and is making the best of it, but is not using this “golden opportunity” to learn Mandarin, or write her memoirs, or, heaven help us, bake bread. (Please see My I Love Lucy Moments and do not try this at home.)

Okay, I can see some bright spots in all this, the key word here being “some,” but it’s unsettling enough to deal with the hand sanitizer, the wipes (which you can’t get in NYC), the gloves, the masks, the social distancing. Although, let’s face it, there are those you’ve always wanted to totally distance from, and some of those people are not even your relatives. But besides all this you’re supposed to do something really constructive during this time of self-isolation.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got my hands full keeping my apartment clean, coloring my hair, which is coming in in stripes, cutting the hair of my gentleman friend (and I have the silver snippings all over my foolishly worn black pants to prove it), doing my own mani-pedis, changing the sheets, doing the laundry, arranging for three meals a day, and washing all those damn dishes.

My dishwasher has never seen so much action, nor has my coffee maker, which is starting to emit puffs of steam not unlike those emanating from my ears as I try to do the minor repairs usually delegated to the building handymen who are not allowed to enter my apartment “unless it’s an emergency.” I can’t get the clock on the coffee maker to stop flashing because I disconnected it in a futile effort to reboot (it’s a computer after all). Guess a non-functioning clock is not considered an emergency. Besides, it’s right twice a day. But what about the carpet in my bedroom that’s curled up on a corner that I tend to trip over? I could fall. I could hurt myself. Do you think the building management would label this as urgent? Not bloody likely.

A friend tells me that she doesn’t bother to put the vacuum cleaner away but still has small agricultural substances sprouting spontaneously  in the corners of her apartment. Without our cleaning professionals, we, the spoiled and inept of Manhattan are doomed. I keep the laundry cart out because it’s too much trouble to jam it back in the overcrowded closet. Besides, I use it as a staging area for my “outside clothes,” the ones I put on in order to venture forth into the desolate streets of New York, feeling like a creature from a science fiction movie, keeping my distance from the few other masked aliens I happen to encounter.

All of this takes energy. I’m getting tired just telling you about it. So I ask you, where would I get the strength to learn a language, write anything more than a short blog like this, or do any baking that doesn’t come with directions on a box? As my “Cousin Vinnie” (an alias if I ever heard one) would say, Fuhgettaboutit.

The bright spots I mentioned earlier: getting in virtual touch with people you love, having an excuse to binge watch After Life on Netflix or watch an old movie in the afternoon even if it’s sunny outside, saving tons of money on all the things you can’t do—like going to a restaurant, movie, or a theater—or just getting a bleeping haircut!

But making lemonade out of the lemons of this not-so-brave new world, where I have become so paranoid that merely entering a CVS is a major megillah, is a bridge too far, and just doesn’t cut it for me.

There will be no lemonade in my house any time soon. That I can promise you. Besides, I do have acid reflux, so I really could get heartburn.




  1. Michelle /

    Fabulous. You rock!!!

    • Pat /

      Thanks, Michelle, but I rock better in person. Can’t wait until that can happen.

  2. Ruth /

    Our vacuum cleaner is in the living room!

    • Pat /

      And my broom is propped up by the refrigerator. Never before has my kitchen (although perhpaps not my life) been so crummy.

  3. John /

    In addition to enjoying that view of our ‘situation,’ I was reminded that I need some Mandarin oranges.

  4. Pat /

    To make orange ade? Or as a garnish to a mimosa?
    In any case, glad to be of service.

  5. Sara R. Coe /

    So Pat, you are incredible. You wrote this blog!!!! How’s that for using your time to be creative, better than lemonade any day.

    • Thanks, Sara, but my blogs have become a slog, and they have been fewer and far between. I’ll try to be incredible again in the near future, but don’t hold your breath.

  6. Sharon Lerner /

    The answer to all of your problems is Amazon Prime. I too have carpets that curl up in the corners but soon I will be receiving carpet tape from Amazon that will solve that problem. I’ve also placed orders for rust remover, super glue, and spray paint ( for my wicker table) . Whatever I need it seems that Amazon has the solution with no lemons involved.

    • Are you kidding? If I used Amazon Prime more often my doormen would stop talking to me! What gets me is the packaking.Last week I ordered nail polish and polish remover and I swear they camae, over packaged, in two separate parcels.I feel guilty about the environmental impact, but I really can’t shop in stores these days. I guess I should go to the nail salon,but that’s dicey too. At the moment. But this too shall pass. Although I’m not so sure about my dependence on Amazon, something I thought wouldnever happen.

  7. Readers that do bother to comment seem to pay attention to the date of a post and the other comments and don’t bother with posts past the best-use-by dates. Certainly many posts are ephemeral but good ones can last through the changes and trends. Thanks for commenting on an older post on my blog.

    Hopefully any future virus will be handled much better than this one. Decades ago, protection against and control of fires failed too many. We learned and building fires don’t break out as much. Now we also need to develop virus protection and control methods.

    Yes I agree with you about the over-achiever attitude to find great things to do during our forced isolation. Relaxing and thinking about how the world turns has enough benefits for my mind. Also posting about what daily life is like during a pandemic might just inspire some future writer/historian.

    Lastly and less seriously your image of being so dependent on others for services reminded of an interesting documentary. A couple from the big city buys and rebuilds a farm – “The Biggest Little Farm” – you might enjoy it.

    • I’m so impressed that you’ve maintained you blog on a regular basis, and would respond more often, but I can’t even keep up with my own!
      Thanks for the info on the film, but I’m not into farms. At all. Being a farmer, or even a farmer’s daughter, is WAY down on my list of things I’d like to be.Reading a book now by a famous author that takes place on farms in South Africa and it’s a real slog for me, even though it’s well written.
      Once a city girl . . .

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