Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, commenters on The Chronicle of the Horse forums have offered one another support and advice for navigating the disruptions to our daily lives.
On May 2, a more lighthearted thread, Corona Confessions, invited readers to share the binges, illicit pleasures and extremely relaxed dress codes they’ve indulged in during their time at home.
The original poster confessed to sleeping in late and enjoying an alcoholic beverage at noon on a Wednesday. Almost 200 responses later, several distinct themes emerged among the candid and relatable replies.
“Because We Were Out Of Milk”
Unsurprisingly, food consumption was a top category. “I had popcorn for dinner,” confided Calvin Crowe. “Popcorn and a beer.”
And baseball stadium fare wasn’t the only quarantine treat. “I baked and ate a double batch of no-knead cinnamon rolls,” Calvin Crowe added. “That’s 12 big rolls. All by myself.”
Forum member GraceLikeRain also admitted to overworking the oven. “My structured breakfast of unsweetened granola and coffee has been replaced by baked goods that I impulsively bake, each time claiming, ‘This is the last time,’ ” she wrote. “Last night it was a dozen pumpkin muffins and a loaf of chocolate banana bread.”
Quantity of food consumed, time of day, and unusual dietary pairings were all popular sins. “I was craving ice cream today but didn’t have any,” BigMama1 reported. “So I whipped up a big bowl of heavy cream, crumbled a Kit Kat bar in it and ate the whole thing for lunch.”
Echoing the resignation of many parents who are struggling to balance working from home with full-time parenting and homeschooling, veteran stay-at-home parent Heinz 57 said, “I let my kid eat goldfish crackers for breakfast today because we were out of yogurt, and she didn’t want Cheerios.”
BigMama1 also acknowledged some creativity when ingredients ran short. “I put Baileys in my morning coffee the other day,” she explained, “because we were out of milk.”
Sometimes the ingredients alone sufficed to fill a quarantine craving. ReSomething admitted, “Those chocolate chips didn’t even make it into the dough this last time.”
Honey, I Ate The Nutella
Another shared theme was hiding illicit behavior from other family members.
“Sometimes I pour a glass of wine at 2 p.m,” wrote Heinz 57. “Sometimes I buy special junk food just for me and hide it in obscure places so I don’t have to share. Sometimes I take the ‘long way’ (around town) home from the grocery store just so I can have 10 extra minutes of being all by myself and not in the house.”
Forum member CindyCRNA said, “I have been watching ‘90 Day Fiancé.’ I especially like the ‘pillow talk’ edition where prior contestants watch the current episode and give commentary.
“You are the first I have confessed this to,” she added. “I hide it even from my husband.”
Sometimes the secrecy cuts both ways, as Dutchmare 433 discovered while covertly binging hazelnut cocoa spread. “I ate an entire large container of Nutella by the spoonful over the course of two weeks,” she explained. “Went searching for the other container and found my boyfriend had done the same thing.”
For GraceLikeRain, hearing about other family members’ diligent efforts at self-improvement was less than inspiring. “My in-laws are running daily and doing juice cleanses and DIY projects,” she said. “Every time we hear a ‘glowing up in quarantine’ report from them, DH [dear husband] and I binge-eat some junk food and watch trash TV way past our bedtime.”
Flannel Is The New Business Casual
In addition to diet, another area of relaxed standards was daily attire.
Kemosabe explained, “Went out and fed the horses… in my bathrobe. Helped my SO [significant other] plant two trees… in my bathrobe. Took an evening walk around the farm with the dogs… in my bathrobe. Recorded two podcasts and conducted weekly company meetings… in my bathrobe.
“I now totally understand Hugh Hefner’s wardrobe choice,” the forum member concluded.
After weeks without a normal routine, the line between cozy at home and appropriate in public became blurred. “I went to Costco two days ago,” said supershorty628, “and didn’t realize until I was checking out that I forgot to change out of my slippers into real shoes before I left the house.”
Bristol Bay tried to keep even the comfortable look fashionable: “I bought some sweatpants from Macys.com so I could ‘get dressed’ every day.”
Commenter paintedpony discovered that the yoga-pants-and-long-shirt combo works for all ages. “Why did I always think this was only for the young and fit body?” she asked. “That all over stretch/compression is great, and I feel dressed….well sort of, kind of, maybe dressed?”
With salons closed for months, pluvinel, like other horsey folks, reached for the clippers to tidy up.
“The hair was getting out of control, so I got out the A5s and gave myself a haircut,” pluvinel said. “I have a selection of combs and found the 3/4″ and 5/8″ worked the best.
“The problem was maneuvering the A5s around the ears and in the back,” the forum member continued. “So I got the trusty little Wahl minis to trim the neck and ears.”
The verdict? “The results are passable considering the times we are in,” pluvinel said.
Think Of The Chickens
The item of apparel most frequently mentioned was The Bra. Apparently, bras across the continent are getting an extended vacation, thanks to the coronavirus.
Commenter aregard said, “I haven’t worn a bra in so long that when I put one on for an appointment, I was itchy for the rest of the day.”
Longtime relaxed-at-home fashion advocate Canadian Trotter recalled, “When my kids were young they’d dance around while I sang, ‘She’s A Maniac,’ [while freeing her torso from the undergarment]. It became a family custom.
“Now that they’re all adults, the girls join me in taking their bras off coming in the door, and the boys say, ‘Never grow up mum!’ My middle son’s wife adds it on her list of, ‘Things my mother-in-law taught me,’ ” she added.
Beyond ditching underwear, aregard has taken advantage of comfortable weather to enjoy a fully unrestricted dress code. “I have a blanket to snuggle in in each non-bedroom of the house because clothes are confining,” she said.
“My chickens have seen me naked,” she confessed. “My shower schedule depends on when the plants need watering.”
The National Squirrel League
Perhaps reflecting the lack of professional sports to watch, several posters discovered a new interest in local fauna: the squirrels in their yards.
“I’ve been secretly training my favourite squirrel,” said Canadian Trotter. “I have all of my [bird] feeders rigged up in one way or another that my legions of red squirrels can’t get into them. I do however put two cups of black sunflower seeds out for them to keep them happy.
“Weirdly we only have red squirrels here in Nova Scotia, and they eat nowhere as much as the bigger black and gray ones,” she said. “At first I thought they were stupid, but it turns out they just have no fear of humans at all. I try to scoot one away, and it comes back and runs figure eights between my feet!”
Forum member J-Lu admitted, “I have been escalating tension with my squirrels. I have a suet feeder and have been enjoying the diverse birds as I work at home.”
She wrote, “One squirrel climbs the pole at dusk, and I let it take a few bites in case it is a pregnant female. We’ve had an understanding, I knock on the window, and it says ‘fiiiiiiinnee’ and drops off.
“BUT, in the last several days, I’ve noticed my suet feeder on the ground, suet eaten,” her play-by-play report continued. “I used a heavy elastic band from asparagus to keep the feeder on the hook. Then, the squirrel figured out how to open the feeder and take the suet block.
“I responded with twist ties,” she confessed. “Yes, this is what my life is reduced to these days.”
No Shame In The Gratitude Game
A few commenters described how they’re helping others, or being helped, through this challenging time.
Forum member 2DogsFarm said, “I have had weekly socially distant takeout lunches with a friend. We pick up food and eat seated 6′ apart at her house or mine.
“Not every week, but enough to make us both feel less isolated,” she explained. “I live alone, her husband is still working.”
2DogsFarm continued, “Also, I overtip—near 100%—the people working the takeout windows or curbside and thank them. I think everyone needs to consider how hard these workers have been hit by the pandemic.” 2DogsFarm also gave gift cards to the mail carrier and waste pickup team.
“I’m tearing up at work on a regular basis,” gottagrey admitted. ”Every day I get e-mails and calls from people/businesses wanting to donate food for the staff at the hospital [where I work].
“A mom calls me to tell me her experiences with the hospital; her daughter was born here. It’s her birthday this week. They happened to drive by, and the daughter said since she can’t have friends over for birthday pizza, can they send pizza to the hospital?” gottagrey continued. “I get teary sad she can’t have a birthday party, and how dear it is of her to think of the nurses and doctors.
“We hear the calls for Code Blues and Rapid Responses—we know where the urgency is and pray for the patients and those caring for them,” the forum member added. “Pre-COVID I hardly ever got teary. Now hardly a day goes by where I don’t have a lump in my throat (not sore) or find my eyes welling up.”