Susan Gelvin is a longtime resident of New Canaan who graduated New Canaan High School in 1992 and then earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. She is a mother of two and likes shiny things.
Is it me or does it seem like someone pressed “pause” on life, then walked away with the remote control?
To get a better handle on this, I decided to conduct informal, unsanctioned and entirely unscientific research. As the New Canaanite’s self-appointed resident scientista, I have concluded that time is passing, yet it is also oddly standing still. In order to mark said passage of time and measure this phenomenon, I find that looking in a mirror at my follicular “roots” is a good gauge. According to my hair-based metric system, it’s been two-inches-of-roots-ago since things have been normal around here.
Though I follow the rules of social distancing, the concept is unnerving, and as unnatural as my former dye-job. The practice of doing little, planning nothing and going nowhere, all at the same time, is lonely (but important) work.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, I feel like the unwitting subject of a social experiment gone awry. Like, really awry. Within just a few weeks, my home has become a multitude of unfathomable things: a bunker, a school, an international banking operations hub, an around-the-clock restaurant (unworthy of any favorable Yelp reviews), a fitness center for shut-ins, a dust bunny sanctuary, and a gaming hotspot. It’s a wonderland of confusion and chaos.
But at least we have each other, right kids? Hello?
Thanks to consistently irregular weather and our nonexistent winter, I have ceased to embrace nature’s concept of “the seasons.” The only season that I can truly rely on is the town’s budget season, which always arrives on time and is reliably turbulent.
Over the next month, the town’s governing bodies, public servants and stakeholders will endure lengthy hearings (along with the occasional heckler) to nail down a complex budget and make sound financial decisions for New Canaanites.
Concurrently, I, the reluctant and wholly unqualified CFO of my household, will continue to engage in questionable personal finance practices to ensure that my “constituents” also are satisfied.
When things go awry under my roof (and that’s seemingly a weekly occurrence), I put on yet another hat as a grumpy, de facto facilities manager. In this role, I tackle a staggering, time-sensitive home maintenance to-do list. With each frustratingly new-and-never-before-seen problem or task, I gain unwanted insight into specialized trades and vocations that this lazyperson, I mean, layperson, never imagined. As a result, I have been known to go to extraordinary lengths to cross projects off the dreaded checklist — at any expense and at all costs.
Living in New Canaan is expensive, thanks to incredible schools, beautiful parks and other public services and resources that are expected of “The Next Station to Heaven.” What is not often addressed is the extra financial burden that New Canaanites endure: the additional 75-ish% upcharge on any service, repair or quote provided by nonlocals who want to cash-in. This “disposable income tax” is brazenly levied by service and trades people who are very well aware that some jobs just need to get done at any cost.
Over the past few years, New Canaan’s best kept secret has been the library’s well-guarded renovation plans. I had been anxiously awaiting the official reveal, after hearing murmurings of its impressive overhaul. Fortunately, the library’s recent video unveiling did not disappoint—I found it more riveting than many of this year’s Oscar-nominated movies. I haven’t been this excited about a library in…ever. The virtual renderings struck me as ambitious, as the broad scope of the plans and campus-like vibe took me by surprise.
As we enter a new decade and a vision of 2020 comes into focus, many New Canaanites are zeroing in on self-care. After all, it’s Jan-you-ary and no longer De-them-ber. I am borderline giddy to embark on a path to wellness, since most of December was spent sidelined by a head cold that just couldn’t quit me.
I hate to point fingers, but the carrier monkey of our poorly timed pre-Christmas plague was my better half. Normally my husband is the last suspect on my list of human petri dishes, since he has a freakish ability to will his body to wellness. However, this year, he succumbed to hosting a super virus that handily took him down.