A2 COVID-19: Dianne

Apr 4, 2020 | A2 COVID-19

Dianne and her husband, Jack, are retired and live on the west side near me.Dianne talked to me while out in her front yard, gardening.We talked about the how she keeps busy and how she and Jack try to follow the rules to keep safe.

This is part of a series of interviews with Ann Arbor residents, talking about personal experiences adjusting to (and adapting during) the COVID-19 crisis. Interviewed April 3, 2020

So I’m talking to my friend, Dianne. Hi, Dianne!


I’m asking everyone the same question. The question is: how has your lifestyle changed since we’re dealing with COVID-19? What kind of adjustments have you had to make?

Let’s see, mostly staying in more than I like. I’m a pretty solitary person most of the time and I do artwork and I read and stuff and —I’m retired— so it’s not a huge change, but I do like to spend time with friends doing lunch and different things and so I can’t do that. I can only talk with them on the phone. Over the last couple years, my health is a little compromised so I can’t go to the grocery store. Jack goes, he’s our designated grocery store shopper.

We have consternation about bringing the food in, disinfecting it and all that stuff, so that’s not too much fun.

So what, specifically, are you doing? What is your routine around grocery shopping and bringing it home?

Well, we’re trying to limit it to once every two weeks if we can. We haven’t been greatly successful yet. We don’t go more than once a week— and I shouldn’t say “we” because Jack goes. He’s a good shopper because he’s the kind of person that never touches things much, he just makes a list and he gets it and he comes home. I was the kind that kind of looked around, so that part’s good. He leaves stuff in the garage for 72 hours (that doesn’t need to be refrigerated). Everything else we bring into the kitchen, we put on paper towels, disinfect it with Lysol, and we put it in the refrigerator. And then we do the same thing with the stuff in the garage before we take it, whether it’s laundry soap or things.

So, I’m talking to you out in your garden —and you were gardening when I walked up— so what kind of strategies have you been using to sort of stay sane and…

Artwork. I’m an artist and I do drawings and things and, in fact, I sent you one by email

I saw it! It was lovely!

Which is fun… and then gardening will be great for me. The consternation about gardening— but I’ll do okay with it— is, you know, like I go buy new plants every year, I get mulch, I do all that stuff, and I’m not feeling comfortable about doing it. Although, I did check— I sent an email— and Ace Barnes Hardware will deliver this stuff, but I’m not sure if that fits in all the rules. I’m not feeling comfortable with that but I’ll do fine, I’ll just move plants around. So that’ll keep me entertained the most. I mean, I like being outdoors. I have so many gardens, at my age now it’s a task keeping them all up, so that’ll keep me busy.

Do you mind me asking how old you are?


And your husband, Jack?

He’s 82.


So, do you have any advice for people who are feeling particularly cooped up and isolated by the current situation?

Oh, gosh, about the best thing I can say is talk with your friends on the phone. This morning, for example, I did— what is it called, Zoom?—with my kids on the phone. That was good, that was fun. I’d never used that application before. My son made me laugh because he kept putting different backgrounds behind him like he was in New York and he was in all these different places, so that made me laugh. So that’s the advice I have, is to try to talk with people.

I get anxious once in a while about this. Like I got paranoid a couple days ago and told Jack he should change his clothes when he comes back from the grocery store. Partially because we have an RN in our family and that’s what she does. He kind of gave me “the look,” so I’m not sure that’s going to happen. It’s to keep humor, that’s the only thing, I think, to say.

I think it’s true that a lot of people now are debating what strategies are appropriate and people are making their own decisions about what they’re comfortable with.


And that’s one of the reasons I’m talking to people, I’m learning all kinds of things about just different things that we’re doing.

Well, the gardening thing is an issue— as a point, sure they could deliver it, they could dump stuff in my yard. I don’t see… my initial thought was: I don’t see how that would hurt, and the benefit of it… it would encourage people to stay home if you have time to garden. So there is that good side of it. The bad side of it is: you don’t know who’s touched all the bags and all the stuff you have delivered. So that’s the dilemma on that kind of stuff. So I kind of decided I’ll just go natural this year, I don’t need all that stuff.

Well, thank you for talking to me, Dianne, and I think you have some good advice for people. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Nope! That’s it!

Well, thank you, Dianne.