Home improvement during a global pandemic

Mar 29, 2020, 7:40 PM | Updated: Mar 30, 2020, 5:34 am

That's a sad lawn. I borrowed a dethatching machine from a relative and used a coring aerator (which gave me a blister). IT better look awesome in two weeks!  (MyNorthwest, Stephanie Klein) The cabinet is out. Now for the patching and primer. One day I'll get a new door, sink, countertops, backsplash, etc. (MyNorthwest, Stephanie Klein) Tomato seedlings started from last week's lunch. I put them in an old milk carton to act as a greenhouse. (MyNorthwest, Stephanie Klein)

We might fight horrendous commutes to and from the city, but the suburbs are proving to be an oasis if you must social distance. And from what I can tell, based on the Home Depot parking lot, we’re all trying to improve on them.

How to get groceries without leaving your home

Don’t get me wrong, I love Home Depot. A trip to HD and the Thai restaurant down the street is one of my favorite Friday night routines. But now is not the time.

I am about to crawl out of my skin because I can’t go to ACE to get eight bags of mulch and more compost for the garden beds. But I must wait.

That nail hole I patched is screaming for paint, but I can’t.

We’ve been told to stay home unless it’s an essential trip. Paint and mulch aren’t essential.

I know that a lot of these places — ACE, Sherwin Williams — will do curbside pickup, but I’m worried about one of my favorite ACE employees. I don’t even know his name, but he helped me find a new bow saw blade and made me a few keys.

I also know he must fall into the risk category. I hope he’s not there right now. I guess I’ll find out once this is all over.

The point is, we all need to make sacrifices. We all need to practice patience. Yes, my garden probably won’t be as glorious as it was last year, but I’ll feel a lot better in August when I know my ACE pal is doing alright.

A few things you can do:

Demolition! I tore out a cabinet this weekend and it felt great to take a hammer to that thing. We have a little extra spackle and primer to patch the holes. I might have to wait for the final coat of paint.

Share tools! Now is the perfect time to meet new neighbors (6 feet away) and offer to share tools. Leave your dethatching rake out on the porch and swing by his porch later for the hedge trimmer.

Order supplies online for delivery! This requires patience, but it’s worth it. I’m ordering a sack of grass seed from Amazon tonight so that I have it next weekend. They sell fertilizer, too. Even live nematodes and lady bugs!

Weeding! Weeds are aplenty right now. No trips to the store necessary. In a pinch, use an old spoon to pull those dandelions out. Your lawn is going to forgive you for not doing the usual, but love you for pulling out weeds.

Experiment! Test your abilities. Normally, I buy tomato starts, but this year, while making a sandwich last week, I thought I’d save the seeds and pop them into some leftover potting soil from last year. (Keep them in a sunny window until Mother’s Day.) And guess what? It worked! Use your egg shells and coffee grounds to add nutrients to the garden. Now is the time to try something different.

I’ll be back, Home Depot, for date night! And ACE, too, to learn my friend’s name. I’m guessing it’s Frank.

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Home improvement during a global pandemic