5 Obvious Things I’m Thankful for But for Not-So-Obvious Reasons – Pandemic Edition

The world is different now and I don’t see it ever going back to the way it was before March 2020. We have all adjusted to the new normal – some of us kicking and screaming – but nonetheless, we are all adjusted.

There are a few things that I have learned appreciate during these strange, but now normal times. I look at them and I have to remind myself that my glass is still half full, and there is always something to smile and be thankful for.

Cotton Masks

I don’t leave home without one, but now, I make sure I grab a homemade cotton one and not one of those fancy, cheap medical-grade ones with the big blue strip! I don’t know WHAT chemicals make up that blue strip, but it will have you thinking you have a severe case of halitosis!

I remember the first time I wore one of those masks out to the local drug store. I got a whiff and I literally got out of line and walked away from what I thought was the smell of the person in front or behind me.

Then I realized that the smell was following me! Was it my breath!?

OMG, why didn’t my family tell me my breath was so bad? I could have handled it if they said it nicely!

My family assured me that I didn’t have bad breath that day. After a few wears of different masks, I concluded that I only smelled the “demonic morning breath” when I wore the masks with the blue lining.

These days, I keep my cotton masks cleaned, ironed, and ready to go. I use the “stinky” masks as my stash supply in the car in case I forget it.

It’s a form of self-punishment when I forget to grab my cotton one!

Alcohol, Hand Sanitizer, Pine-Sol, Fabuloso, Bleach, OdoBan, Soap, Hot Water…

Notice that I didn’t say Lysol… because it’s never there!

If you have been able to find any type of Lysol, consider yourself lucky or blessed! I gave up on the search for it about two months ago. I stood in lines at the break of dawn. I set my alarm for 2:15 AM to search online for it. I did all the “hacks” that were suggested on the Facebook groups I joined to find it.

It. Was. Never. In. Stock. For me!

I have joined the party with the grandmothers, moms, and aunties that have been saying: “Just keep your house and yourself clean, baby. You don’t need all that fancy stuff!”

Family Matters

My name is Traci Fuller, and I am a recovering news junkie. (Hi Traci!)

It was serious. I filled my days with the news. I watched one station for information, then I would change it to another to get the angle of that same news. At the end of the day, I would turn it to the network with the opposing viewpoint just to see if I could keep myself balanced or at least have empathy!

I wasn’t balanced at all.

Then, one Saturday afternoon, we were eating together in front of the TV and we came across Family Matters – the 1990s hit TV comedy with Jaleel White as Steve Urkel. I laughed in front of the television for the first time in months! What had I been missing? Why had I been torturing myself with the news 24/7??

Since then, I have searched for all things comedy to keep myself balanced.

I am thankful for Family Matters, Golden Girls, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Friends, Martin, Good Times and all things rerun!

Plexiglass and Sneeze Guard at Walgreens

Every store has some sort of sneeze guard or plexiglass for the safety of the cashier and the customers and I am thankful for that. My first job was a grocery store cashier and I worked a few years as a store clerk/cashier at Walgreens in my early twenties.

Back then, most Walgreens were located inside shopping centers or strip malls. Today, most Walgreens are free-standing buildings at the corner of two major street intersections and – as a former store clerk – this always concerned me. Cashiers are right at the door and most of the registers are low and easily accessible to the counter shared with the customer. I hated this as a clerk.

About two years ago, I was driving by a Walgreens and 4-5 teenage boys came bolting out of the store with cases of beer. By the time I made a right-hand turn at the light, the boys ran in so many directions, it was impossible to even pinpoint their direction, much less catch them.

What if they had a more serious agenda with the cashier and the register?

The other day I was happy to have the large plexiglass sneeze guard divide the cashier and myself as I waited in line. It may be awkward for some, but I have stood in the cashier’s shoes and I know the level of comfort that little extra protection brings – for more reasons than the obvious one.

Zoom … And All of Its Filters…I Mean, Features!

Zoom, and other forms of web video conferencing, has changed the way we have company meetings, family gatherings, and even the way we teach and learn.

I don’t like teaching through Zoom, it’s not the same. I miss the organized chaos of a room full of laughter and music. Everyone is silent on Zoom. It was a little depressing…until I discovered Zoom filters!

A few weeks ago, I decided to have a little fun with my students and implement “Filter Friday”. Students could choose any filter for Zoom and if their computer would not allow them to (my home computer would, but my school computer would not), they could bring their own “filter” and wear to class.

I had everything from a blue hippo monster, to a pirate, to Spider-Man! Zoom is not easy on middle school choir students or on any child! It’s pretty challenging for the teacher to.

We need to do all that we can to put a smile on some faces!

Little POW-wow, Pearls of Wisdom

  • No one wants to accept that this world we are living in is normal.  But what are some things you might can get use to? 
  • Your glass is either half full or half empty.  Looking at what you have in your glass can either make your heart smile or cry.  Which one are you allowing today? The decision is yours.   

Tune My Heart…

Pharrell Williams has almost done it all. He is a singer, rapper, songwriter, record producer, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. He began his career in music production with his close friend Chad Hugo in the early 1990s.

“Happy” was the first and only single from the soundtrack album for the movie “Despicable Me”. It was released in November of 2013 along with the musical video. It is one of my favorite songs by Pharrell Williams. You can not hear this song and keep a sad face. And smiling is something we all need to do a little more these days….even behind your mask!


Traci D. Fuller, Pearls and Pretty Pens © 2020


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