Joe Amarante: Grocery delivery, milkman are a 'go' in topsy-turvy times

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COVID-19 era notes: It’s good to challenge your brain to keep it sharp, but this past month has been ridiculous. March came in like a smooth monorail ride into the Magic Kingdom; it’s going out like a 50-car pileup during a rain of locusts.

Thank goodness the White House is in charge of the coronavirus response, working tirelessly to keep us safe by gathering loyalists on a podium for hours and pointing out “terrible” reporters. It’s like our leaders are humming a John Lennon song: “Nobody told me there’d be days like these ... Strange days indeed.”

I may be a little cranky, but we’re trying to put out an event-based entertainment section at a time when scientists and medical types are telling us (and the world’s artists) to shelter in place and that, you know, we’re all going to be fine! Or we’re all doomed, take your pick. At least the politicians are planning to hand us some cash so we don’t get too cranky.

Here are some lifestyle points mostly unimaginable when 2020 rolled in:

We’re unable to get a haircut. I noticed a news release from an outfit selling hair trimmers but my wife won’t cut my hair because she likes the crazy-mop look on me. Older folks will recall the hairstyle of comic Dr. Irwin Corey. The rest of you can Google him.

The milkman is back (again) and this time it’s personal. Or maybe temporary. Anyway, I saw it on TV, so it must be true.

A trip to the grocery store is considered risky behavior. This morning I put in an order with Big Y through an online app called Instacart and now I’m getting messages on my Apple Watch saying things like “Lisa replaced your Hormel pork roast” and I have to hit “approve” without knowing if I’ll get butt, shoulder or tongue. Wow, that didn’t come out right... But the order did.

While that move kept us out of the store, we won’t compromise on long walks outside — the only tiring thing that helps one sleep during a national emergency.

Goodspeed Musicals’ creative types have delayed their entire season until July; in the meantime, some are donating time to make face masks for area organizations. Nice.

Spring cleaning and organizing are getting a lot of attention this year at home. On a weekend, I ironed some business casual-wear shirts that I have nowhere to wear. (Cue “Nowhere Man.”)

Who knew we’d be seeing the dens and kitchens of so many on-air TV people in the past month? And so many Skype interviews.

My grown kids are trying to keep my wife and I indoors. Good luck with that. One sent me a Reddit video meme of a son prohibiting his senior-age dad from going out to meet his friends.

Gym memberships, which normally are a bit of a waste in warm-weather months, are really problematic if the places are closed but still charging your credit card. (Some are extending membership term, we hear, but still.)

Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods and MGM Springfield have donated food and medical items worth thousands of dollars to area charities after closing their doors. Normally, donations go the other way. On Tuesday, Foxwoods and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation announced they had donated 59,000 gloves, 100 N95 respirator masks, 240 rolls of toilet paper, 36 bottles of hand sanitizer, nine cans of Clorox sanitizer spray and 24 bottles of other sanitizer to area medical facilities. We won’t mention which facilities; TP hoarders could be on the prowl.

My father once told me that seniors go to the casino because it’s their sports. In the pandemic shutdown, home cooking is like a sport. My daughter sent out videos of herself making zucchini bread; a sibling congratulated her like she pitched a no-hitter. My wife made oatmeal cookies and (game on) I took half the mixture so I could add peanut butter and Craisins; she added chocolate chips to hers. I believe I scored a narrow victory.; Twitter: @Joeammo