First of all let me say I am still enjoying this vacation from a busy, scheduled life. “My Father’s House” is in the hands of Calumet Publishing and there’s nothing I can do at the moment. That’s true too of Nick’s book which is in the hands of the guy who is helping me self- publish it. The poetry class is on hold, as is Pastor Aaron’s popular session once a week, and the limit in size requires signing up ahead of time for the morning exercise class. It was nicer when I could just decide if I wanted to go. So far the book club meeting is on as scheduled – in the café – sitting six feet apart and using a mike. There are movies, and old Carol Burnett performances, as well as Johnny Carson. I think Bingo is also still on, with six-foot distances maintained and a mike used to announce the numbers.

As for personal plans, Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Guthrie performances are all cancelled for now, as are church events. I guess the funeral for a member I knew was held on Monday, but I changed my plans about going – hard to maintain a distance of six feet. Needless to say Doug and I expect our May cruise will be cancelled.

The furniture in the public areas has all been rearranged so occupants are six feet apart. It does make the theater seem cozier – soft chairs not in a line but scattered sort of like a living room.

The dining room is no longer crowded — or even occupied at all — as meals are delivered directly to the apartment door. No entry by staff into the apartment itself.

The latter fact means there is no housekeeping service. Unfortunately I have no vacuum cleaner. But then, dust seems reluctant to enter my bright and sunny southeast oriented three- room apartment (or four if you count the bathroom – maybe even five if you include the laundry room.) So far so good.

We are, of course, free to wander and sit around in the public areas, but it’s surprising how few people seem to be there. Not like the groups that used to gather for happy hour on Thursday afternoons. Apparently many of the residents are choosing to shelter in their own place – except for a daily trip to the mailbox.

We are not prisoners, though as of today we have been requested not to leave except for medical reasons. Quite reasonably we are asked to stop at the concierge desk for a temperature check and questionnaire response when we return.

The staff is working well beyond their official job descriptions, including, as one might expect, constant disinfecting of public areas. Those of us who use the exercise equipment have been expected – ever since the beginning of flu season—to wipe things down after we use them.

On Saturday Doug delivered some groceries from Trader Joe’s, and on Sunday he delivered something from Lisa.  He gets to leave deliveries in the vestibule. We wave to each other and I pick it up from the vestibule after he leaves. That’s become standard practice for lots of people.

On Friday at the exercise class, Lori, our activities director, arranged so the grandsons of one of the participants could join us via the web, and on Sunday afternoon it was fun watching the grandchildren of another resident writing chalk messages on the sidewalk. The daughter of one of my friends carefully wiped down her delivery of wine before leaving it in the vestibule for her mother.

As for buying groceries, the staff has offered a list of places that deliver. That includes “Seth’s Snacks,” a business set up early on in which a local young entrepreneur takes orders, fills then at Cub Foods, and delivers them. Originally he delivered them to the separate apartments. Now he leaves them in the atrium and the staff distributes them. The Waters is paying his delivery fees for the duration.

Oh yes, The Concierge desk had large tables placed around it assuring no one creeps past the six foot limit to converse with her.

And then there are the weekly flowers from Trader Joe’s – still healthy but taken off their sales floor. That’s been going on since I moved in (over a year ago). Added to that were plants from Bachman’s delivered after a (cancelled?) flower show. Plus the cancelled roses ordered from Rotary that were donated for our pleasure – the influence of one of our active Rotary members.

I guess that’s enough to give you a picture. O yes, I attended a Zoom BYOB party the other night with some friends. And Lori will be giving instructions on how to play games with friends and family on our cell phones. She also has a contest going where we can solve puzzles provided and winners will be drawn for grab bag prizes. She never ceases to come up with creative ideas.

Life is very good at the Excelsior Waters. I am very fortunate. Of course, if you know me, you know I am hurting for all those who are living in terrible situations right now. I’m hoping we’ll find a way that we here as a group can do something to help – with money contributions maybe.

We are living in interesting times – as did the family in My Father’s House. The meaning and effects of the events in that story are clearer in retrospect. I’m pushing the envelope if I think I’ll be around long enough to see what this period was all about, but who knows …

If you are on Facebook. look for the Waters of Excelsior. You might even find photos of me.




Posted March 23, 2020 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized


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  1. Very interesting. They seem to be talking very good care of all of you.

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