Some suburbanites learning new skills while staying at home

  • Wauconda resident Kevin Delaney is learning to play guitar while stuck at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Wauconda resident Kevin Delaney is learning to play guitar while stuck at home because of the coronavirus pandemic. Courtesy of Kevin Delaney

  • Hoffman Estates resident Maureen Donehey and her husband are learning Greek while they're stuck at home avoiding other people because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

    Hoffman Estates resident Maureen Donehey and her husband are learning Greek while they're stuck at home avoiding other people because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Courtesy of Maureen Donehey

 
 
Updated 3/27/2020 8:03 PM

While millions of Chicago-area residents are stuck at home to avoid contracting or spreading the COVID-19 virus, some are taking advantage of the time by developing new skills.

They've turned to the internet and other sources of information to learn how to play instruments, perform home maintenance, become better cooks and more.

 

Wauconda resident Kevin Delaney is learning to play guitar, thanks to a great offer from a renowned manufacturer of musical instruments and equipment.

"Fender is offering three months of free guitar lessons during this time period," said Delaney, whose job as a sales representative for State Graphics in Wheeling has been put on hold because of the crisis. "I have already learned the opening riff to 'Satisfaction.'"

Hoffman Estates resident Maureen Donehey and her husband, Dennis Nykiel, have a trip planned to Athens, Greece, later this year. So while they're self-quarantining, the retired teachers are learning some basic Greek through an audio CD course they purchased.

"We want to be able to be extra respectful to all the servers, hotel employees and shopkeepers by using appropriate greetings and cordial expressions," Donehey said. "If by unfortunate chance our trip has to be rescheduled ... we will still be able to practice our new language skills at our favorite Greek restaurants."

Gurnee resident Adam Beeson has decided to use his forced time at home to learn how to cook a favorite dish from his childhood.

"Biscuits and sausage gravy the way I used to have them with my grandfather," said Beeson, the communications director for Kaufman Hall, a Chicago-based health care consulting firm. "For now my focus is on the gravy. I'm starting with a simple recipe I found in Southern Living."

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Freelance artist Serena Guerra and her family recently moved into a house in Downers Grove that needs repairs. Her mom and stepdad were supposed to visit from Ohio to help, but the stay-home orders in both states put an end to that plan.

Now, Guerra and her husband, Jeff Castaneda, are learning how to fix wall cracks, seal a bathtub and solve other problems common to homeownership.

"There's also some issues with the plumbing," Guerra said. "(My stepfather) said he might be able to talk us through the pipe stuff over video chat."

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