My Big Adventure of the week? Picking up two books I had ordered from the library. I called ahead because they have a 25% capacity limit, and was informed that they haven't come close to the limit since they reopened. The checkout workers were masked and behind a plexiglas shield far more extensive than those at Publix, which I view as inadequate for the protection of the grocery clerks. On the same trip, I stopped at the post office to check our PO box. We're that wild and crazy around here.

The next trip didn't really count, since we encountered no breathing creature but merely picked up a pair of new masks from a friend's porch. Behold, the Space Grace Face Mask!

How does this mask differ from our other Grace Mask? It's pleated, surgical mask style, instead of the Fu design. I like the Fu for its fitted nose area, but this does it one better by having an aluminum strip sewn into it, which can be used to conform the mask to the nose. This is a great improvement in fit, and results in significantly less air being expelled through the top (and fogging my glasses).

The earpieces are elastic, rather than crocheted, which also helps with the fit, thanks to the elastic finally having become available for purchase. I wanted the mask a little tighter, and putting a simple twist into the elastic on each side did the trick. I could make the fix permanent with a few stitches, but this was so easy and worked so well I may just leave the size flexibility built in.

Based on my limited experience at this point, I'd say this is the most comfortable of my masks, largely because it feels the most secure. The aluminum nosepiece is a significant addition, I think. I might even be able to sing in this mask, albeit in a most muffled manner, without it slipping out of place. Thanks, Grace!

Sadly, this mask does not have the non-woven interfacing layer of our other masks, which I believe provides significantly more filtration, because the interfacing is still unattainable. On the plus side, the lack of the interfacing layer does make breathing easier, so that on my most recent trip to the grocery store I did not find myself experiencing the reflexive deep breathing that troubled me before. Hopefully this, along with the better fit, will make up for the lack.

About that grocery trip. On the list of COVID-19 blessings surely must be my new habit of doing my grocery shopping at 7 a.m. on Saturday. The roads were empty, the parking lot nearly so. There were far more Publix employees to deal with than customers. It almost makes grocery shopping fun. Almost.

I'm afraid some people may be becoming complacent, however, as I did see a couple of folks without masks. As I've said before, it's not that I have that much faith in the protective power of the mask, but it does say that the wearer is concerned and trying to be careful. It reminds me of Michael Pollan's observation that nutritional supplements have been shown not to do any good at all for normal people, but nonetheless, people who take supplements are generally healthier than those who don't, because of related habits. "Be the kind of person who takes supplements," he advises, "and ditch the supplements." Well, I'm not ready to ditch the mask—but you get the idea. And I certainly think that the time when we are beginning to experiment with reopening is a time to be more cautious in other behaviors, not less.

There was a little bit of toilet paper available, but no napkins this time. (Last week the situation was reversed.) Flour was nearly unavailable, unless you wanted the self-rising variety. I almost bought one of the four or five all-purpose bags, but decided to leave them for someone else because our home supply is still okay.

If there'd been plenty of flour I would have bought a couple of bags. I like to bake under normal circumstances, and find that I have joined the rest of the country in upping my efforts during this time. Decluttering and baking seem to be the new national pastimes. Our New Hampshire family went through their 50-pound bag of King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour in one month. (There are a lot of bakers in that family. And even more eaters. Well, maybe not that. I believe they all bake.)

Porter's big outing for the week was finally getting his much-postponed census-taker's fingerprinting session taken care of. In case you were concerned, he passed the background check. :)

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 11:46 am | Edit
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