Keeping Busy during COVID-19 by James R. Coggins

The lockdown due to COVID-19 has given me a wonderful opportunity to slow down and pay more attention to the world around me. Here is what I have observed. 

1. It has rained the last seven weekends and ten of the last eleven here on British Columbia’s west coast. There is a reason (other than an inability to spell) that we call it the wet coast. Fortunately, on weekdays the weather has been good, mostly dry, comfortable but not hot, with highs usually in the low 20s. (Note to American readers: No, the temperature does not remain below freezing all summer here in Canada. Like every other country in the world, except the U.S., we use Celsius to measure temperature. Low 20s Celsius is equivalent to mid-70s on the Fahrenheit scale.) On the whole, we have had light but frequent rain, enough to keep the forest fire danger low but not so much that it causes flooding—I think this is called the balance of nature. Both our vegetable garden and our weed garden are doing well. That requires some explanation. We have decided not to weed the flower garden because a wild rabbit is using it as a hideout, and we think she may have babies. An “extravagant love for God’s soft, furry creatures” sounds so much better than “too lazy to weed.”

2. COVID-19 cases remain relatively low here in British Columbia (with new cases in the teens most days), but the economy is opening up, which has probably kept the rate from falling further. Social distancing has become routine, but people are getting complacent. Some of the rules baffle me. Following new rules, our family doctor has started wearing scrubs and a face mask, and they took all of the paintings out of his consulting rooms. He had beautiful paintings of horses. I guess they are worried about animal to human transmission. As well, we can no longer put soiled kleenex and serviettes in the city compost bins. We can still put half-eaten food in the compost bins, but the paper waste goes in the garbage. I guess the city cares more about the workers who collect the compost waste than it does about the workers who collect the garbage.

3. Our public library has reopened, for pick-up of ordered books only. We have to hold our library card up to a marked square on the glass door. Then the librarian opens another door a crack and hands the books over, across a table, in a big paper bag. Returned books are put in isolation for three days before sorting. The level of security here would put most of our local prisons to shame. It shows the great value our society places on books.

4. Since there are no new TV shows or sporting events, we are hard up for entertaining things to watch. Fortunately, we have the neighbors. Our favorite watchee is bored. He mows his lawn three times a week — on a big riding mower which can cover the whole lawn in about three passes. He is not allowed to go to his favorite fishing spot, so he practices fly fishing on the road. He is pretty good. So far, he has caught a lawn chair, a few trees, a stray cat, and a couple of neighborhood children — but no flies.

5. I have started editing a book for another writer, a Christian devotional book. I also figured out another interesting way to kill someone, so I have started writing another murder mystery. For some reason, James 3:10 comes to mind.[1]

6. I spent a whole morning last week defrosting our self-defrosting upright freezer. The tiny holes for draining the melted frost keep clogging up with ice, spilling water all over the laminate floor. Which, in my opinion, somewhat undercuts the value of the self-defrosting feature.

7. I trimmed my own beard last week. I didn’t attempt to cut my hair because it is hard to see the hair on my own head. I guess it doesn’t matter much since most of my hair has not been seen for decades. I cut the beard with an electric trimmer we bought for trimming the dog’s hair a long time ago. After a couple of attempts, my wife decided that it wasn’t working, so now we only use the trimmer on my hair. The dog goes to a professional for a $100 haircut, and I get the free amateur job at home. My wife loves the dog.

[1] “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

About jrcoggins

James R. Coggins is a professional writer and editor based in British Columbia, Canada. He wrote his first novel in high school, but, fortunately for his later reputation as a writer, it was never published. He briefly served as a Christian magazine editor (for just over 20 years). He has written everything from scholarly and encyclopedia articles to jokes in Reader’s Digest (the jokes paid better). His six and a half published books include four John Smyth murder mysteries and one other, stand-alone novel. In his spare time, he operates Mill Lake Books, a small publishing imprint. His website is
This entry was posted in James R. Coggins and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Keeping Busy during COVID-19 by James R. Coggins

  1. Judy says:

    Thanks for the laugh. 😀


    • jrcoggins says:

      You’re welcome. When I was a magazine editor I remember publishing a humorous article, and some readers, who apparently didn’t have a sense of humor, didn’t get it. When I explained that the article was humorous, they said, “You should tell us when something is funny.” Which kind of ruined the fun, I thought.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wynne Young says:

    Hello Jim,
    Great to read you item. Love your sense of humour as it does brighten the day, especially relieving the boredom during “Lock down”!. I somehow managed to find your epistle amid whatever passes for “programs “,other than g mail. The developers of computoring were born far too late for me.
    Keep writing. – may God continue to bless you & the family With love from Aunt Wynne.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.