As Victoria county adjusts to the newly mandated "Stay Home- Stay Safe" Order it's likely that in the days or weeks ahead, it might become necessary for us to run a few  essential errands here and there. Or escape our children for an hour or two.

Hey, I'm just being honest.

Here are my thoughts and tips for making running those errands easier and safer for everyone. Here is what I think you need to know before you go.

Plan Ahead Of course the number one thing you can do to help yourself and your community it to plan ahead. Wait. Really that should be staying home and staying safe, but like my Dad used to say, " When you gotta go, you gotta go." Making lists of essential items and considering your driving route as well as adhering to good time management will go a long way for everyone before you head out.

I just laughed out loud.

Make A List If you were never one to "make a list and check it twice" welcome to the neighborhood. But, now is a good time to start! Our minds are normally going a million miles an hour but likely, like mine- your mind is blown right about now. Making a list is going to save you major time in the grocery store and in public. Also it's less likely to tick the people off who are trying to distance themselves from you when you're not having to constantly double back to aisles you were previously in, running around like a head with their chicken cut off. Although, now that I think about it, that would probably help with people distancing themselves from you in a big way.

Ps. Don't forget to take the list with you before you go. That's really a note for me.

If you have never used curbside shopping service such as with HEB, here is a link to get you going. Now, keep in mind some curbside service does not include a notification or a phone call alerting you that items you've listed are out of stock . Although being notified of missing items would probably drain your battery and your mind today, that's not the point. Just don't be grumpy or rude when you discover items like... Oh, I don't know...toilet paper and hand sanitizer might be missing from your bags at pickup.

Check Stock with Instok Although not exactly fool-proof as a lot can change by the time you peruse their website and get to where your going, Instok is still a smart place to research what is available and where. Plus, it was developed by two Texans. Need I say more?

Wear Masks and Gloves Let me say upfront, no medical website or government agency has declared at this time, that it's mandatory to wear masks or gloves in public if you are feeling well and without any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, HOWEVER, with the influx of asymptomatic (no signs of) positive COVID-19 tests, (and sick people who don't follow the rules) it might be "better to be safe than sorry" which is what my mom used to say. See Mom, I included you too.

Check Facebook or local pharmacies like Central Drug if you need a mask. I couldn't find medical gloves anywhere so I am using new rubber cleaning gloves. It looks ridiculous but it makes me feel like I'm being safer.

Wash Your Hands You have undoubtedly heard this a million times by now, but hand washing is crucial after running an essential errand. Wash your hands before you leave AND when you return. If you're like me, after running errands lately, I just want to sanitize myself like they do in the movies with a penitentiary delousing disinfectant scrub down, but hey, sometimes just washing your hands in a pinch has to do.

Bring Your Own Pen Yesterday I went to the drive thru at my bank and the most awkward moment during the normally seamless process was realizing I didn't have a pen in my car. There wasn't a pen in the tube either. "That's weird" I thought before realizing the tellers were probably trying to safe distance themselves from my fingers.

It was a full minute of panicking while debating if I should ask for a pen, then "what if  the tellers are contagious ( hey that's only fair!) followed by wondering if maybe the teller wouldn't notice I had filled out my deposit slip and signature in pencil. Which I had. Carry your own pen.

Bring Hand Santizer If I had brought hand sanitizer or could have found the one I was sure I had in my car, I wouldn't have panicked about asking for a pen. I'm going to admit here that for a fraction of a second, I worried someone might have stolen it from my car that was previously parked on our lonesome ranch miles out of town and away from civilization. Don't judge. Hand Sanitizer is like a clear bottle of gold now. Turns out one of my kids had taken it out of the car and PUT IT IN THEIR OWN CAR even though they are currently home schooling and prohibited from leaving the house for any reason.

I can't have anything nice. Just Kidding. But just to be on the safe side, I do hide it under my car seat now. Here is a link to a handmade sanitizer recipe I posted for you weeks ago from The Spruce before the stores were out of the ingredients you need and Amazon wasn't taking an additional month to ship nonessential supplies like glycerin.Just in case someone else wants to give me a hard time about being an OCD panic- buying prepper. Wink Wink.

Don't forget to ask your neighbors if they need anything before you go! Here is a great link from Facebook for Nextdoor I included in my post earlier this week about neighbors keeping an eye on each other. Just not in the Peeping Tom kind of way.

Here is an official list from a way more reliable source (Syracuse.com) than I am for ways you can keep safe during Covid -19 errand running. I just watched it. I might have been waaay off on the gloves.

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