Weekend: Flowers, peaches, masks

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the wisdom of buying an extra. (Welcome to the Lifehacker readers who found me after following links from that site!) We’ve now definitely added “masks” to the list right next to sunscreen. All trips out the door require a mask per person, and in order to lower the chances of forgetting, we’re keeping extra disposable masks by the front door, on the kitchen counter, in cars (plus the kids have “theirs” that can be washed). Last weekend, we planned our first family outing to the zoo, and I remembered the timed tickets, the sunscreen, the stroller, the diaper bag, hand sanitizer but…not the masks. So we had to buy them from a stand before going in.

Anyway, a lot of places are open here with timed tickets to manage capacity. This is introducing a new element of complexity, as getting 7 people out the door, including an infant, to hit a venue within a short window is…tough. On Saturday, I got us timed tickets to Longwood Gardens. My husband was supposed to do his run right before, but got stuck in traffic on the way back, so we were already not going to be early. Then we hit severe traffic on I-476. Then, about 5 minutes from the gardens, one of my kids yelled from the backseat “Hey, what’s that yellow stuff all over Henry?” Well, sure enough, there had been a massive diaper blow-out. All over him, his clothes, his seat…Fortunately, this is not my first rodeo, so I had a change of clothes, wipes, and paper towels in the car. But dealing with all this took time, which means we rushed into the gardens right at the very end of our ticket grace period.

But! The gardens were lovely. We got to see a quick fountain show, butterflies in the meadow, and lily pads in the conservatory.

On Sunday, I took the older three kids peach and blueberry picking. I have been feeling lately like my youngest two children are taking about 90 percent of my parenting capacity. So the goal was to spend some quality time with the older ones. We went to Indian Orchards in Media, PA, which was a small and quiet place (unlike some of the more circus like pick-your-own establishments). We left with a great many peaches, which are now ripening on the counter, and enough blueberries to keep us in blueberry muffins for a while. I wound up making these at 8 p.m. last night after we realized we were out of vegetable oil so the weekly grocery run had to happen first.

In other news: I’m doing a webinar/Q&A through the New York Public Library on Tuesday on The New Corner Office (the book). This is a virtual event, so anyone can register. Here’s the link!

9 thoughts on “Weekend: Flowers, peaches, masks

  1. I’m a nurse who does Covid testing. Why oh why are you taking your family out to these public places like zoos and gardens during a pandemic??

    1. Both places are outdoors and are spacing people out. It’s not like she’s taking her kids to some huge outdoor concert, or ball game, or whatever. These aren’t “no risk” activities but they are within the acceptable range, IMO, if you review the risk dials that various research universities are putting out (U. of Michigan and U. of Nebraska Medical Center are two I’m thinking of.)

  2. Julia Marcus has been writing some really interesting pieces in the Atlantic on living within a pandemic, and how people need advice on the safest things to do within the pandemic. Her expertise is on the Aids crisis, and she draws an interesting parallel about how abstinence only messaging does not tend to work. Similarly, she suggests we all need advice on the safest (but not no risk) things to do in a pandemic. Otherwise, it can drive people to riskier behaviours that they try to hide (like having a bunch of people inside their house).


    Low risk activities like going to the zoo, outside, wearing masks, seem to fall in this category, to me at least. We have also been to the zoo and found that people are walking in one direction, in an orderly fashion, far apart.

    1. That’s a great article, thanks for linking! Here in The Netherlands we are going outside as well, it’s allowed to go without a mask (less cases then in the US). In Belgium masks are ordered, you can get fined if you don’t wear one. German rules differ slightly. This weekend we went to the three-countries-border-spot, where NL, BE and Germany meet, so to speak. It was very interesting to see people from three countries with different rules tiptoeing around each other and enjoying a nice outing at the same time. Everyone was very polite and it wasn’t superbusy, we had a lovely day!

  3. I am with you on the extra masks! I have both adult and kid sizes stashed everywhere. It definitely makes it much easier!

  4. Next time you can sub melted butter for the vegetable oil! I never use oil in baking. Not low cal, but delicious in treats.

  5. My parents, younger siblings, and I have also been enjoying as many socially distanced outdoor activities as we can. This coming week we plan to go kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, play pickle ball (our new favorite hobby!), and visit a nearby national park. I’ve definitely been drawing inspiration from your blog in suggesting outdoor activities for us to safely make the most of the summer!

  6. Oh gosh, those diaper blowouts. I remember going to a wedding with my first at like 2 weeks old (12 years ago now) as a first time mom…that same thing happened and I somehow did NOT have a change of clothes with me!!! He was wearing a little romper/overall thing with a onesie underneath. I ended up having to take the onesie off since it was dirty and just keep him in the overalls with no shirt underneath, his tiny little bare newborn arms sticking out. Haha! Good times. 😉 Glad you were more prepared!!

  7. From a doctor in Norway here, please don’t feel bad about taking your kids to activities with masks on! We are not even doing masks in Norway, just for comparison. All of the stuff we want to do is timed now as well, which makes it tricky. You have to commit 2 days ahead of time to something like an amusement park or zoo, which is miserable if the weather turns. If you wait til the morning of to decide what to do you don’t get to do anything… today was one of those days. Ended up at the mall for entertainment which was expensive but oh well.

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