silver linings of the pandemic April 25, 2020 12:02 AM   Subscribe

There's a venting thread, but maybe you want to share a surprising good thing that has happened despite the terrible situation in the world right now.

Let's create a space to recognise the small good things that are happening.

It's OK to acknowledge the negative here too- this thread is designed to be a space to share the good stuff that is happening despite the negative.

(I felt that posting positives in the Fucking Fuck thread was not fair to that thread.)
posted by freethefeet to MetaFilter-Related at 12:02 AM (154 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

My cash outflow is significantly reduced and my student loans are on hold until October. If I put that money aside to make extra payments later, I’ll be able to reduce the principle, which I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.

Also, the pumpkins we carved last Halloween were fed to my worms and reincorporated into my potting soil. Despite this, feisty pumpkin seedlings keep popping up in my other buckets now and so we may have new pumpkins to carve this October!
posted by iamkimiam at 12:33 AM on April 25 [20 favorites]


I was able to "go" to a friend's wedding via Livestream- in normal times I would have had to decline the invite because I don't live in the same city.

While teaching remotely is hard, peeing when I want and eating when I want definitely has it's perks, and we haven't had a physical fight to break up in weeks!
posted by freethefeet at 12:44 AM on April 25 [10 favorites]


Before we got our stay at home order, I would work for weeks at a time without a day off (I set my own schedule so I only have myself to blame...) I find myself appreciating not being on the clock 24/7 and my dog and I have really bonded now that I'm home more than one or two hours a day. She's become so cuddly for the first time in the four years I've had her!

I've also had time to garden, unlike last year when I was out of the country for most of spring and didn't have the chance to plant much.

The fact that everything I order online now takes weeks to arrive rather than coming the same day has really made me appreciate purchases. It's so exciting now when stuff arrives in the mail!
posted by mollywas at 12:51 AM on April 25 [10 favorites]


I am very grateful not to have to wake up at 7 - doing that all week usually has me crying from tiredness on Thursday afternoon, which is no longer the case at home. Knowing why that happens would be better but sleep seems to be something of a research enigma.
posted by solarion at 1:33 AM on April 25 [6 favorites]


Working from home full-time has improved my quality of life dramatically, much more than I expected! I don't have to deal with having people around me, there's much less sensory stuff going on, I can be 100% Me all the time with no need to act like a Normal Human Being (except verbally on conference calls). I feel like I'm getting a little glimpse of how nice my life could be if I never had to go back to "business as usual", and it's lovely.
posted by Mauve at 2:04 AM on April 25 [29 favorites]


I got lucky as shit. Right before things started to ramp up, I started a new job - a job at an essential business that was five blocks' walk from my apartment. It took me out of the subway scrum, which decreased my chances of infection like crazy; and they have access to masks, so I've been able to get them (I actually have to wear one by state decree when I'm going to work, so they issued masks to us all).

About 90% of the other staff are working from home, and I've been given that option too, but have felt comfortable going in because it's so deserted. This has been making me look really good during my first couple months at a new job (I was already rocking it, but the added "and she was willing to come in to the office!" is gonna win me points too, I suspect).

Best of all - it pays well enough for me to be generous. There have been so many times that I've had friends in a tight spot and wanted to help out; little things, like when a friend gets the package with their cat's expensive kidney care food stolen off their porch, I'd want to buy them a replacement to help them out, but I couldn't afford to. And now I can, right when there are so many of my friends who are in tighter spots than usual.

....Oh, and seconding what mollywax says about purchases online. I'm also able to afford upgrades in things I've needed around the house for a while, and my roommate (who is also still employed, and is working from home) has started teasing me about how many packages he brings in when he gets the mail each week. I got an alert yesterday that something I was waiting on had been delivered, and asked him to check if I got a package - he texted me back a picture of FIVE packages and simply said "I'd say yes."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:54 AM on April 25 [41 favorites]


Thanks for making this thread.

I just beat the first boss in Persona 5 Royal. The world is on fire but sometimes you have to just enjoy these small joys and victories. And this is mine.

My aunt and uncle have recovered from the coronavirus. It's been a difficult and slow recovery, but they're in a safe place now with regards to their health and well being. We were lucky.

I hope all of you are safe and in good spirits.

Also, I want to throw out some good energy to everyone in this community. If anyone here ever needs to just send a message out into the internet, and you need someone to listen. Hit me up in my DMs. I'm happy to listen.

Love to all of you. Stay safe.
posted by Fizz at 4:06 AM on April 25 [28 favorites]


there is a hilariously yappy shrill pomeranian on my block whose name is anubis and i love him even though he bit my finger one time when i was explaining to him that my heart was definitely lighter than a feather and he should let me pass into the field of reeds
posted by poffin boffin at 4:17 AM on April 25 [59 favorites]


The sunsets are quite boring because the air quality is AMAZING! It's also very quiet. I have watched from my living room window twice daily visits by the resident groundhog who is welcome until gardening gets going. I saw a very large coyote, probably a coywolf and just this morning a fox.
posted by Botanizer at 4:53 AM on April 25 [7 favorites]


Well, my pupper had to have minor surgery that is requiring three weeks of cone, which is much easier to manage since my husband is working from home and I’m only working 60% of my normal hours.
posted by obfuscation at 4:57 AM on April 25 [10 favorites]


My car wouldn't start yesterday morning when I wanted to go for my weekly trip into town for groceries, which is the only time I run it at present. The ancient battery was unsurprisingly dead through lack of commuting. Normally, this is a problem that I'd just pay someone to make go away for me, but with lots of businesses closed right now, that wasn't an option.

So I had to source a battery myself, and with most places not doing deliveries at present due to short staff it was a bit of a challenge, but I found a car parts store where the guy was willing to drop the battery off at my house on his way home from work, which is above and beyond. (The thing with businesses like that is that I'll remember their names once this is all over and keep using them.) Then, I had to figure out how to replace it myself, which I managed to do in about 15 minutes, and I was driving around (for essentials only, of course) again this morning.

It's a small thing, and people will probably think it's silly, but I've got a real sense of achievement from doing that myself rather than just paying someone, and I've saved a bunch of money that I can spend on something more fun. I bet lots of people will leave this situation with something they can do for themselves that they couldn't do before.
posted by winterhill at 5:19 AM on April 25 [45 favorites]


I spend more time with the kid. I'm working a lot of those extra hours, but there's always time to stop for a hug or some food or to appreciate his latest video game moves. He's much better than my old water cooler conversations. If I have a choice, I'm never going back to the office.
posted by pracowity at 5:46 AM on April 25 [14 favorites]


I've worked from home for years. One of the benefits of the current situation is suddenly people have stopped acting like working from home is an endless vacation.

I'm little worried about the climate impacts of all those metric tons of condescension evaporating into the air. What happens to "You work from home? Must be nice. I wish I could work from home." Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
posted by Tehhund at 5:56 AM on April 25 [56 favorites]


My canine soulmate, Luce, is getting older (she turns twelve in a month...uff da) and I'd been agonizing over how little time I was getting to spend with her in her golden years. Well, now we've got plenty of time to take short walks, play with her favorite toy (the rooster), get belly rubs and ear scritches, and enjoy each other's company.

Usually when my hair gets this long I get frustrated and either cut bangs or chop it all off. I can't get to a salon, and so it grows.

I've gotten better at playing the banjo in the last six weeks than I had in the prior six years. One of these fine Minnesota spring evenings I might even be brave enough to sit on my front stoop and play for the neighbors.
posted by Gray Duck at 5:56 AM on April 25 [23 favorites]


Because we didn't want to be apart for the duration of the coronavirus lockdown and she had recently recovered from walking pneumonia, we broke the lease on the second apartment we had rented for Mrs. slkinsey and moved her back into our home. Things seem to be trending in the right direction for us (and, of course, it's a lot better financially). Can't say that this wasn't already underway or that it wouldn't have happened anyway, but it did clarify some things for us both in a "the coronavirus pandemic saved my marriage" kind of way. Yanno, hopefully.
posted by slkinsey at 6:09 AM on April 25 [33 favorites]


Some of the personal positives that come to mind include:

1. I'm not far from the centre of Birmingham and "Spaghetti Junction", a notorious traffic-intense motorway interchange. Usually, I can hear it and literally taste it in the air. And it's not a good taste. But traffic is reduced by 85% to 90%; it's much quieter and the air definitely tastes so much better.

2. That also means I can hear birds. Many birds. Yesterday, I counted eleven different types of birds in the garden. Two types are nesting (maybe more) and one couple sing together every (human) lunchtime. The absence of traffic din makes their various chirrups, songs and tweets carry loudly and clearly and it is good.

3. The almost total absence of traffic means I haven't seen any roadkill for over a month now.

4. I like "social distancing", apart from the misleading name. I like that it has quickly become socially unacceptable to come within six feet of anyone without their permission. I hope this continues for a long time; ideally as something that is socially and legally mandated. No-one ever getting uncomfortably close to me again? I'll take that.

5. Spitting in the street is also socially unacceptable now, and the two times I've seen people do it in the last month they have been yelled at by several people and shamed. Good. Cut that shit out. Permanently.

6. One of my main clients recently moved to an open plan office format. All the employees who have expressed an opinion hate it, except for senior management who strangely have their own private offices. From the revolt that appears to be taking place in communications, they are going to have to ditch the open plan format (or "shared air space") even when this time has passed.

7. This time is giving me pause to think about future, long-term and permanent plans. The fact that it is impossible for me to jump on a plane, and will be for a while, means I can't impulsively turn up somewhere else so I'm thinking things through.

8. Related to that: environmentally I'm probably having less impact on the planet than ever. And I should continue this.

9. I'm also eating healthier. Fruit and vegetables are easy to get here, and meal planning is working well.

10. Though I can't do them for more than an hour, and prefer 30 minutes, I've done a lot of video chats this last five weeks. With other communications, it's solidified some friendships and made me think more clearly about who are the important people in my life. It's another reason I'm finding this "pause" has more than a few benefits.

11. Expenditure has fallen, so my financial projections are looking healthier than they were five weeks ago. I have some more leeway on whatever future plans I come up with.

12. Total strangers acknowledge each other considerably more around here, I've noticed, especially when they give each other significant room on passing.

There's a lot more upsides but I'll stop there.
posted by Wordshore at 6:22 AM on April 25 [35 favorites]


We are among the many, many people whose lives and mental health have improved since adding a dog to the family. He has been a beacon of good vibes, a consistent motivator for exercise, a driver of positive routines, and a warm, glowing ball of pure love.

Good people, I introduce: Rango.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:27 AM on April 25 [40 favorites]


Thanks for this thread, freethefeet!

I've got a real sense of achievement from doing that myself rather than just paying someone, and I've saved a bunch of money that I can spend on something more fun.

That is awesome, winterhill; cannot imagine why anyone would find that silly. People are not born knowing all the things, including car battery things. As individuals, we have gotten pretty specialized and why not? Okay to silver linings (in this case, the silver lining of not giving a fuck). Like many of us, I have been worried worried worried about money.

Recently I got a referral to a one-time gig from out of the blue. When asked for a rate, I quoted a higher hourly amount than I have ever been paid in my life because 1. It was a rush job and 2. I did not give a shit if I got the gig or not. But astonishingly, I did get the gig. I did meet the deadline, and then I was asked what I would charge for ongoing projects (non-rush work).

Dunno if I will get more work from the new folks but here is the best part. After I turned in my copy, the guy who hired me sent an email that said only, "Bella, you are amazing." As it happens, I am amazing. But only a tiny percentage of clients (and/or bosses, spouses, neighbors, current lovers, former lovers, children, and other relatives) actually say those words. SO I FELT AWESOME. Like, for 24 hours.

This has nothing to do with the pandemic but so many things suck that I just wanted to revel in that moment all over again. Also, I am watching quite a few moose (called caribou in North America, apparently) migrate south along a trail in snowy Northern Sweden to warmer climes. In real time. I am not normally stuck in my smallish room but I am today. Watching wild critters just be themselves is a wonderful thing, and I highly encourage it. Even when all I see is the landscape, that is okay because it is gorgeous.

Note: Many of us never get any verbal or written acknowledgment that we (or our work or that nifty thing we made or that lovely gesture we used or our newly won battery installation skills) are fabulous. If you are in that situation, allow me to rectify it immediately: You are fabulous. Yes, you, the individual reading this comment.

I hope other people tell you that, or tell you that more often, because I know you are terrific. If other folks somehow fail to notice your awesomeness, feel free to quote me early and often on the matter. You are wonderful and that topic is not up for debate.

That is all for this tiny portion of the pandemic. Thank you.
posted by Bella Donna at 6:27 AM on April 25 [51 favorites]


I had half a tank of gas in my car when we went into self-isolation in mid-March. We've been making trips out weekly for groceries and pharmacy. I haven't bought gas in two months and I still have over a quarter of a tank. I'll probably go fill up tomorrow to take advantage of the cheaper prices.

We're eating better, overall. I discovered I don't actually hate cooking all that much when I have time to do it. I mean, I'm not doing complicated recipes or anything but have managed to get a variety of relatively simple healthy meals on the table every night. We used to get takeout a lot which was really hard on the budget and not doing our health any favors. We've picked up or gotten delivery a few times but mostly we're enjoying eating healthier stuff I make at home.

I have a certain amount of flexibility as far as my work schedule at home, and it has been really great for my sleep. I am a segmented sleeper and being home has made it easy to get in the couple of naps I really need daily in order to feel my best.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:34 AM on April 25 [5 favorites]


Oh, and we are turning up at church services almost weekly. Prior to this we were averaging about once a month, but since we're doing it on Zoom now it is so much easier and takes up much less of a Sunday. And we really look forward to seeing everyone.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:39 AM on April 25 [6 favorites]


My boyfriend and I have very different schedules, so we usually only overlap about 2-3 hours of consciousness Monday-Thursday. Now that he's working from home, that time in the evenings is doubled, even though I still go to bed as early as ever and I think he is staying up even later. It's nice to get to lounge on the couch and watch Jeopardy together in the evenings, and have dinner together more often.

I've been walking to work instead of taking the bus, so my usual mile or so of daily walking is up to six on the days I go to work - I'm probably one of very few people actually exercising more due to social distancing. It's been nice in this spring weather, but I hope I can go back to the bus by the dog days of summer, at least for the walk home.

I'm watching the Sesame Street townhall on covid 19 while I sip coffee and peruse the paper. Can we do this daily instead of the White House press conferences? This is much more soothing and has far less misinformation.
posted by the primroses were over at 6:40 AM on April 25 [13 favorites]


I run a small web dev agency. We have been able to transition seamlessly to remote, have more work than before, and for the first time in years I actually have two months' salaries in the agency's account.

We adopted a new kitten weeks before self quarantining, and he, along with our 3 year old rescue cat, keep us entertained and are thriving.

I made sourdough bread from scratch yesterday for the first time. It tastes good but is flat and hard. Still fun.

My son has grown as few cm these past weeks, he's twelve and a bit bored of spending 24/7 with his parents, but is still a joy.
posted by signal at 6:47 AM on April 25 [9 favorites]


My roots might be a weird brown and grey thing (I AM A REDHEAD do not question this) but my hair is so healthy and soft and wavy (no blow drying)!
posted by wellred at 7:34 AM on April 25 [12 favorites]


Not missing the rush hour cut-through traffic at all. The neighborhood is very quiet. Also in March, I god a good unexpected bump in sales of my online merch & music, so that couple hundred bucks was great. Carbon 7 has gone global, with multiple purchases in Europe as well as one in Russia(!)

I still have a full time job, & business has improved from extremely sketchy to OT & I need more help territory, so I think the shop I work at will survive this, despite April being pretty horrible sales-wise. We printed more last week than the two prior combined, so I’m not in fear of my financial life for the moment.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:39 AM on April 25 [9 favorites]


I've seen a number of people on video chats that I otherwise hadn't seen in years. (Our friends and family are pretty spread out.) Getting to see people's kids too, who I used to see when they were little bitties but now they're older and I don't see them as much. And now I'm seeing them for a few minutes after dinner on a random weekday, without driving or flying anywhere.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:43 AM on April 25 [13 favorites]


I'm finally realizing that if the urgent, critical stuff I spent most of the last few months so stressed about doesn't happen, things will probably be OK. And even if they're not, there's nothing I can do about them now. So I'm managing not to be too flipped out about them most of the time, which for me is pretty huge.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 7:44 AM on April 25 [8 favorites]


This is Naga, an evil little bundle of joy and the heart of all that is dark and cute in the world. He likes to steal entire sections of the jigsaw puzzle I'm working on in the living room, and will use his very sharp claws and teeth to rip the paper I put over said puzzle so he can keep stealing the pieces. He will also snuggle, purr and sleep with you and maybe bite an arm or foot (from his ambush spot under the bed). Yesterday he stuck his claw into my wife's arm and was actually hanging from it when she stood up in pain. He also likes to keep me company and sit and watch me play guitar in my new practice space, which I am inordinately proud of (both the space and the kitten).
posted by signal at 7:49 AM on April 25 [13 favorites]


I'm getting lots of extra time with my just-turned-20-year-old daughter, and I am LOVING that. She would have come home for the summer but it's entirely possible that this would have been her last time living at home so having her here since this whole thing started has been lovely. She's mostly been okay with it even though she misses her friends and her freedom; she likes us, we like her, there's no tension.

I got some seeds and some starts and am planning a garden for the first time in YEARS. Some of the seeds have already sprouted! Since I'm furloughed, I have lots and lots of time to devote to a garden, time I haven't had in forever. It's nice to have little green growing things!

I'm walking a lot more and hiking a fair bit more and I can feel my lung capacity getting better and better (I have asthma).

Our dog is LOVING us all being here all the time. When we first brought him home I wasn't working so he bonded to me really fast. Then I started working outside the home and the little traitor bonded to my husband (who has worked from home since 2007). But now that I'm here all the time, he's my puppers again! My little shadow! He's snuggled up against me right now. I love it.
posted by cooker girl at 7:50 AM on April 25 [24 favorites]


For years I had been pestering my partner to pack up his apartment (aka the Storage Unit). In late February/early March we began thinking that we would need to get out of Manhattan, at least temporarily.

About five weeks ago we packed up a few carloads and moved into his northern Westchester one-bedroom. It's now dubbed the Bunker, and we have settled in. The cats have adjusted, Fios has been installed, we have more outdoors spaces close by, and we are out of the hotzone. That is a huge relief.

The bright spot is that this has provided the impetus for us (more for me really) to execute a long-wanted exit out of the city. The logistics of doing the needed renovations to the apartment with our occupying it was such as huge mental roadblock that I'd just not think about it. Now that we are living elsewhere, I can see a way forward.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:59 AM on April 25 [12 favorites]


I'm actually getting enough sleep regularly for the first time since I was a child. Most days I wake up before my alarm. It's like I'm a different person.
posted by great_radio at 8:04 AM on April 25 [27 favorites]


Signed up for the CSA because I couldn't take the terrifying line at The Best Farm Stall, whereupon I immediately started getting about twice the excellent produce I had been getting for about a third what I used to pay plus I found out about... the secret items. Yesterday I bought a massive wad of blueberries from a conventional farmer who figured out how to work with the local renegade foodies/spiritualcomposters/guerilla farmers to direct-to-customer offload his crop cheap so he wouldn't have to let it rot. So now I'm signed up to find out about future such offers. The standing desk in my work-from-home office has cured my backpain completely. Meanwhile last week the work-in-hell orifice had end-of-year money to spend so my supervisor ordered me the same standing desk for there, in the unhappy event we have to return there. My African violet the nice officelady gave me at the Xmas white elephant exchange loves the all-day sunbath in my home office with the south, east, and west exposures. The cat can't pull her usual weekday bullshit with shredding everything in the house because nobody's watching. Now we're home all day every day so she has to behave herself all the time!
posted by Don Pepino at 8:17 AM on April 25 [14 favorites]


Ive been PE coach every day at 11am and then every day at noon and 6 my family of four sits together at the table like some kind of 1970s sitcom family. We've eaten together more this last 7 weeks than the previous decade that they have been semi autonomous humans.

We have backyard camped for literally close to 20 days.

I frankly love the time were spending together and haven't felt bored once.
posted by chasles at 8:35 AM on April 25 [12 favorites]


With the reduction in pollution I can finally see stars from my balcony for the first time ever!
posted by ellieBOA at 8:37 AM on April 25 [24 favorites]


Going to the grocery store is a breeze now. A month ago I was stressed out by it, but now it's actually become enjoyable?! WTF. (I'm going first thing in the morning when the shelves are better stocked and there are only 20-30 other customers.)

People are still buying my random junk on eBay, which gives me the opportunity to get a good 30 minutes of exercise in with a walk to the neighborhood post office. The weather is gorgeous now so it's even more of a bright spot in my day, even with a mask on.

I have supported my two fave local bookstores with orders, and as it's been years since I've really splurged on books (I even got a new hardcover!!!!), it's so awesome to have a decent reading stack handy after years of trying to get it down to manageable levels. I now care more about keeping shops in business than about my bookshelf clutter. But the clutter might not last long -- the used bookstore has put out a call for more used book donations/trade-ins, so now I gotta READ all these books so I can drop them off! Shucks! squeeeeeee

Working from home has finally given me the flexibility to get regular exercise into my routine, and after just a couple weeks of Ring Fit Adventure -- which I bought in January and quickly ran out of time to play -- my spindly arms are now noticeably less so, even to my husband's eyes! Thanks, lockdown, for giving me the time to improve myself in this one small way, even while all my other self-improvement chores languish.
posted by phatkitten at 8:40 AM on April 25 [10 favorites]


+ 1 to gardens, stars and cats
+ 1000mmmillionty to sleeps (god not having to be in the office at 8am has done wonders for my base restedness)
+ 1 to having an engaging job, and seeing my colleagues with kids actually being supported to either work weird hours, or go semi part time
+1 to seeing family and friends virtually more often

I haven't been bored yet, and have been perfectly happy to catch up on books, cook and generally enjoy the home.

There are many downsides (my work hours have spiked, we had a death in the family, we have had colleagues get very seriously ill), but on the balance, I'm fine.

Also I really don't suffer from anxiety, and despite being an extrovert I've been fine getting my interaction remotely, so I'm almost feeling guilty about how neutral-to-fine things are for me.
posted by larthegreat at 8:46 AM on April 25 [12 favorites]


I'm discovering I live close to some really decent trails and paths, way closer and way more than I realized. I live in a city and walk a TON, and it's pretty embarrassing that I've been in this part of town for more than five years and just...never really got around to exploring on foot in the parks and side streets and little paths. Sunday evenings used to be for groceries and cooking and laundry and were honestly kind of a bummer, and now I go out walking for hours (with a mask, keeping my distance) and listen to podcasts and audiobooks I've saved up and just enjoy being outside. A Zoom social commitment kept me from going last week, and I really missed it.

I haven't dusted off my bike yet, because it's been years and this would be a real dumb time to fall and have to go to the hospital, but I've totally got a list of places to go riding after, and trails to bring friends to that I'm too chicken to go on alone.
posted by jameaterblues at 9:01 AM on April 25 [6 favorites]


1. My partner's mental health has improved drastically. They're disabled and being home alone all the time was really hard for them. Having me home all day really helps a lot.

2. Spring is always a really bad time for me because I get bad headaches and fatigue while it rains (thanks to some lovely MeFites, getting assessed for migraines). Being able to lay down in the dark and still be in class is lifesaving.

3. Not having to make lunches and dinners to take to school/work is... amazing. I was always too tired at the end of the day, and never had time in the morning to do more than throw some cheese and crackers in a lunchbox or something like that. My schedule rarely allowed me to heat anything up either so it was always cold stuff. Being able to actually eat a hot lunch and dinner I enjoy is great.
posted by brook horse at 9:16 AM on April 25 [12 favorites]


I've worked from home for years. One of the benefits of the current situation is suddenly people have stopped acting like working from home is an endless vacation.

YES. People are like "Wow this is challenging, how do you do this?" and it's been nice to be able to be gracious about it. In general, I still have work, though less than before. I've been able to help people with a LOT of technology stuff. And, best of all, a local friend and I have made a regular thing of taking her energetic dog (tax) for a walk, so I've been getting a LOT more exercise and it's been nice for our friendship. Basically I feel like this pandemic sucks but it's basically what I've been training for since I moved to Vermont. I love where I live, I love my community, it's safe, people are good, I have enough of things, even enough to be generous with others. My sister and I started a small non-profit when my mom died and we haven't done much with it (a few small political issue donation type of things) and we looked and said "OK, if not now, when?" and got to give some substantial-feeling donations to a few organizations working to help people in this crisis. I'm still a treehouse hermit, but I've been able to be helpful even so. I like that.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:19 AM on April 25 [26 favorites]


Not having to make lunches and dinners to take to school/work is... amazing.
Yes! Now I make my salad and eat it. Or if I want an egg or something, I make that and eat that. I reheat nothing! My lunch doesn't sit in the stupid office fridge for hours, and I don't have to go interact with the dumbass office kitchen that is set up for microwave cookery and nothing else. I can also cook all day while working. There's not the thing where you get home and can't stand the idea of chopping anything. You already chopped things during midafternoon break and threw them in a cast iron pan and simmered them all day and now dinner is ready and it's delectable. It's so awesome... I don't know why less housework other than food-related housework gets done, but thanks to about sixty MetaFilter threads about not worrying about this aspect of it, I don't much care.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:35 AM on April 25 [10 favorites]


I feel like I never would have found all this time to create art and enjoy being with my wife. It's so surreal because I'd always wanted a break like this, but not like THIS. Y'know?
posted by captain afab at 9:43 AM on April 25 [15 favorites]


I'd always wanted a break like this, but not like THIS. Y'know?

In How to Suppress Women’s Writing, Joanna Russ quotes a composer saying something like, “I have never been as productive as I have been the last few weeks, but when will I be so lucky as to break an ankle again?”
posted by Orlop at 10:05 AM on April 25 [26 favorites]


The house is so quiet during the day compared to where I'd normally be for work, with random conversations and team meetings in all directions. That has helped my concentration tremendously. My office has two windows, so the room gets north-south and east-west exposure all day and none of the windows are directly behind me so there's no glare on my monitor. I have good music playing on a Sonos speaker all day, save for during Zoom meetings, and our cat frequently chooses my office for her napping.

I don't get the steps in that I'd usually get going about my day at the office because I'm not going up and down four flights of stairs all day. So I wish our house were taller, I guess.
posted by emelenjr at 10:12 AM on April 25 [2 favorites]


In a morale boost for the university community, I jokingly sent a picture of my Pinkwashing Business Cat to central communications, suggesting that they should solicit photos of all of the Good Buddies who are Helping keep the place running during a crisis. Not only was this pic of my cat emailed to most faculty and staff, they've kept this going daily for a month straight, featuring all of our friends who are getting us through this.
posted by avocet at 10:40 AM on April 25 [19 favorites]


I got a promotion at work right before we all went into lockdown, and I see the first larger paycheck as of this coming Thursday. I'm really looking forward to it, and really grateful to still be working regularly and full-time.

I also edged and mowed the back garden today for only the second time since November, and it's all looking pretty nice. Ii'm counting that and the associated sense of accomplishment as my exercise for the day.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:01 AM on April 25 [3 favorites]


I was a pretty good cook and baker before all this, but I’ve managed to really up my game since going into lockdown. I’m also learning to be less wasteful with food in general, and to become more adventurous with ingredients.

I’m also very fortunate to be working full-time from home, and because I’m spending far less on entertainment, dining out, etc., I’m able to give money to various charities that help out my neighborhood, which is exceptionally hard hit.
posted by holborne at 11:12 AM on April 25 [6 favorites]


I'm getting paid more on unemployment than I was at my job. I feel like I'm finally caught up on sleep and I've been getting things done around the house that I'd been putting off for months.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:23 AM on April 25 [20 favorites]


I've had intermittent work-from-home arrangements for years, but now everyone else is also working from home and they insist that it is absolutely necessary that we videoconference instead of plain old text chat like I'm used to. And... it's not so bad! Just before the pandemic hit I started on an anti-depressant and one nice thing about it is that I don't find my own face so unpleasant anymore, so videoconferencing is surprisingly okay.

My kids were *the worst* when it came to wasting food before all this went down. But we explained that one way they can do their part to help is to make sure not to waste food so we don't have to go to the grocery store so often. Now, they merely waste an average amount, and they're more willing to accept "this is what we made, so this is what we're going to eat".

Also, they've been playing really well with each other, which is great.

DS: It's time to go to headquarters!
DD: Yeah- maybe there will be birds there!
(they walk a few feet over to their headquarters)
DD: (sighs contentedly) I think I hear a grebe.
DS: Hey! A headquarters is not a place for relaxing. It's where we get our missions.
DD: Okay. What's our mission?
posted by Jpfed at 11:28 AM on April 25 [7 favorites]


Also, I’ve managed to get dinner for 5 cooked & on the table every single night since the SIPO went into place on the 24th. I used to grab dinner out at least once or twice a week, so this is an accomplishment. My restaurant years are coming in handy, and saving money right now.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:30 AM on April 25 [8 favorites]


I took a promotional transfer at exactly the right time at work, so cash flow in is better just as outflow is down. I was in the new office for about a week before they sent everyone home. New boss is patient and recognizes the complexities of remote training; she seems to have realistic expectations, and I seem to be meeting them. Can’t believe my luck.

I’m drinking less and exercising more. The cats are getting more attention. I’m grateful to have married a good cook. There is no good reason to visit the in-laws. We filled up the Sonata the other night for the first time in about a month. I’m listening to the CBC more, which tends to be good for me.

Oh, and I discovered a Zoom background that allows me to pretend I’m on an airplane.
posted by armeowda at 11:31 AM on April 25 [8 favorites]


I appreciate this thread because I mostly feel like this is one of the nicest things to happen to me in years (which tells you a lot about how my life has been, eh?) and I worry about saying so around people who are legitimately suffering.

But my neighborhood is so quiet now, and I don't have to scramble around getting ready for work in the morning. I don't have to leave my dog. I can wear comfortable clothes. I have a job I can do from home, and home is a house with a yard. I have a partner, but he has his own house, so we're together when we want to be and not when we don't. I can get groceries delivered and they always have everything I want--even flour! The only things I miss are picking out my own produce, hair cuts, restaurants, and dinner parties, and really I only mildly miss those.

In short, I have zero desire to go back to normal.

(It's not all roses. My shoulder and neck are fucked and I can't sleep from the pain and am afraid to go to in-person physical therapy and telemedicine physical therapy is about as effective as it sounds.)
posted by HotToddy at 11:46 AM on April 25 [24 favorites]


A lot of US doctors who aren't involved in emergency medicine of any sort are not doing telemedicine ... but some are, especially those who are, well, embracing the opportunity to attract new patients by being flexible. (Obviously not all medicine is capable of being practiced this way.)

As I trawled the Webs yesterday for a US-based ophthalmologist who is doing telemedicine, I happened on a young woman clinician with impeccable credentials. So I gave her a call.

She saw me via Zoom (she also has FaceTime) within 30 minutes of our first contact, affirmed my current course of treatment, and advised me on what will happen if I have to have a procedure. And she gave me a couple recommendations for local doctors to see should I have to have that procedure. Finally, she did this for pretty short money, taking my credit card number right over the phone (I'm not insured in the US). Had I had to wrangle a billing department, I'm not sure I would have been able to be seen.

I'm feeling a lot better about what will happen next.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 11:59 AM on April 25 [12 favorites]


My nesting partner and I resolved our fight and are feeling even better than before. Due to my illness, on doctor's advice, he's been helping me stay at rest. As a result, he has taken over the household chores. Seeing him step up like this is incredibly sexy, and the appreciation is returned 10x now that he literally sees how much I typically do around the house. Even though he was already very appreciative before he's now in awe of how easy I made it all look! Extremely gratifying. (I also pointed out that he hadn't cleaned the toilet since he moved in.)

NP paid off almost 90% of his CC debt with the stimulus check & savings, and we still have enough for rent in May! (Our landlords are extra happy with us because their catering company is in the shit right now, so chef upstairs is giving us leftovers and OMFG, 5 star chef.) Plus NP is on unemployment which is more than he was getting paid at work. Financially we might come out of this better than we went in, if all goes well.

We set a wedding date :D :D :D

Somebody on the FUCK thread recommended Kraftwerk, and that and Orbital are the perfect quarantine music. Gently uplifting, not demanding, pattern-y and meant for long periods of time where everyone's trapped inside--enjoying that rave! vibe.
posted by saveyoursanity at 12:26 PM on April 25 [16 favorites]


At least for now, financially we are coming out somewhat ahead simply because all of our luxury/pleasure spending was eating out, taking trips, and personal care stuff like massages, so those expenses just aren't happening currently. I have a lot of guilt about that, actually, and am very aware that things could change quickly for the worse. But for now, that is a major silver lining.

Like many of us these days, I go on long walks to spend time outside. I have been enjoying how about 2/3 of people I encounter are making an effort to smile and say hello, as well as being decent about personal space. (However, I could vent about the other 1/3 who are terrible about personal space...)
posted by Dip Flash at 12:47 PM on April 25 [3 favorites]


The sprog is getting to spend a lot of quality time with the inlaws, who adore him, and don't otherwise see him more than a handful of times in a year.

I don't have to go on the tube and boy am I not missing that.

And we're both getting to see a lot of development in the kid that otherwise would just have happened at nursery. I do miss seeing people face to face at work and I'm not sure zoom is a good enough sub, but getting to be around family has been more than enough of a tradeoff.
posted by ominous_paws at 1:11 PM on April 25 [5 favorites]


Also, I agree with this so much:

3. Not having to make lunches and dinners to take to school/work is... amazing.

I hadn't realized just how much I hated dealing with work lunches until now. I am eating exactly the same food (mostly leftovers, once in a while a sandwich), but not having to deal with packaging it up, carrying it, heating it in the weird-smelling break room microwave, and cleaning the containers, is so nice.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:11 PM on April 25 [14 favorites]


I have had only one pre-migraine since working at home, I was up to 2-3 pre-migraine auras a week and maybe one a month getting through to full migraine. Each aura leaves me unable to read until i spend 10-30 minutes in total darkness while waiting for the caffeine to work, so it's amazing to not have that happening. I think it's the lack of florescent lights and reflective surfaces.

Not eating lunch downtown means I've been keeping to (almost) no lactose intake rather than relying on dairy pills and am feeling much better for it.

My employer already would have been fine with me working form home, our local office went flex space (no assigned desks, everyone has a locker, etc) years ago and everyone I work with directly is other countries anyway. I had always thought my ADD wold make it hard to stay on task at home but I've been doing ok, so I will probably continue working from home several days a week.
posted by buildmyworld at 1:20 PM on April 25 [6 favorites]


I'm ahead on my bills, I'm an author on a couple papers coming out soon, I'm still healthy, and my pup seems to be recovering from emergency tooth extractions and is getting back his energy. I have a fair bit to be grateful for.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:21 PM on April 25 [8 favorites]


I am enjoying the amazing experience of reading Harry Potter online with my two granddaughters, ages 9 and 12. We have almost finished ...and the Sorcerer's Stone and we each agreed that it's been such a good time for all three of us that we're going to go ahead and read ...and the Chamber of Secrets next.
posted by Lynsey at 1:43 PM on April 25 [15 favorites]


I moved to a new city last August, and while I love almost everything about it, I really missed my yoga studios/teachers from the last two places I lived (I'm an academic; we move a lot). Getting to practice regularly with my favorite far-away teachers, even via zoom, is so, so lovely.
posted by dizziest at 2:00 PM on April 25 [7 favorites]


I’ve switched to a no-shoes house and it’s absolutely wonderful. Slippers or bare feet inside, outside shoes in the same place every day by the front door.
posted by cheapskatebay at 3:23 PM on April 25 [5 favorites]


My husband and I have been getting our friends together at Board Game Arena. But, like, all our friends. Grad school friends, friends who used to live here and moved away, work friends, gaming friends... I have a fancy Zoom license from work, so we get everybody together, figure out what everyone wants to play, then divide everyone into breakout rooms. I haven't gamed with some of these folks for months or years, and now we're gaming every week, and it's so great to introduce our friends who don't know each other, and some friends are inviting their friends... It's pretty great!
posted by BrashTech at 4:02 PM on April 25 [9 favorites]


The loudest thing in my neighborhood, earlyish this morning, was a small dog, barking, in the next block, then the mourning doves started up.
posted by Oyéah at 4:39 PM on April 25 [7 favorites]


Turns out I sort of like wearing a mask when I go out in public.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 4:51 PM on April 25 [19 favorites]


My grad school trivia team has gotten back together for some virtual pub quizzes. We also started a weekly family Zoom call with my extended family (which is driving my husband slightly crazy because my extended family is A Lot, especially since we're all prototypical Jewish Speech Style TM users, and Zoom does not handle overlapping speech wonderfully), but it's been lovely.

Also, we have a toddler, so all those movies that came out over the winter that we didn't get to see in theaters coming early to streaming services was fantastic.
posted by damayanti at 4:51 PM on April 25 [4 favorites]


My cat has been having some mysterious health issues, and I'm home all day to watch her and offer frequent small meals.

I'm cooking something from scratch almost every day and have developed a quarantine-friendly go-to salad that I'm excited to eat for dinner at least a couple times a week. (MeMail me if you're curious.)

Over Zoom I've: joined my mom's friends for a coffee klatch, met a college friend's toddler for the first time, heard friend's new songs played live. A beloved former roommate who lives across the Atlantic stayed up until 1am her time to join my virtual seder and we poured each other's wine by holding bottle and glass up to our respective cameras. It was such a massive Fuck You to isolation that I tear up every time I think about it.
posted by hippugeek at 5:22 PM on April 25 [5 favorites]




The last person in the ICU in my province is due to COVID-19 has been moved back to regular hospital care and is in stable condition. There is now nobody in the province in the ICU due to COVID and we have yet to have any deaths. I am so grateful.

I don't know this person, but I had seen Facebook posts about them from their family making the rounds in my community groups. They were reaching out for people who had COVID-19 antibodies and a rare blood type to contact them. Things were apparently quite tense for a while.

I have not had COVID-19, but I have the same rare blood type. This has spurred me into looking into donating - I am sure with the inability to run blood drives demand must be high.
posted by one of these days at 5:33 PM on April 25 [9 favorites]


I got a new job, starting Monday, which is pretty nice.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:46 PM on April 25 [10 favorites]


A few years ago my kid and I started an HO train layout but had to abandon and dismantle it for a few reasons. I'm not sure how interested in it she is anymore, but I'm going to start it up again so tonight I finished framing up the benches. I basically built a room in the basement for The Train so I can separate it from my workshop and it won't be covered in sawdust all the time.

Last weekend I turned a bowl and decided to auction it off on eBay to benefit my local food bank and it's up over $250.00 right now and that's pretty amazing. It is in NO WAY worth that much money but it's for charity so... hey. There's still 24 hours left and I'm not gonna link to it but if you poke around I'm sure you can find it.

My family and I are getting along well. My kid has been going through some SHIT but things are getting better and she's happy most of the time these days, which is nice. She'll be 18 next week, which is kind of crazy.

I think I still prefer the separation of life an work I get by going into the office but working from home sure does have its upside. For one thing I save two hours a day by not commuting, which is REALLY nice. Lunches are also better because I'm not eating at one of the same five fast food places and I'm eating leftovers and saving a lot of money.

Things are scary and unknown, but my family is safe and healthy and happy for now.
posted by bondcliff at 7:50 PM on April 25 [17 favorites]


Quarantine has been great for me, honestly. It's what I've already been doing, except now my family is home too and there's a ton of virtual tours online suddenly available. My husband can't travel for work, we're eating dinner together more often, and I am way less lonely.

And, idk, I guess I can talk about this now, but due to corporate restructuring, I've elected to take a severance package effective next month, which is simultaneously terrifying because this is the only real job I've ever had, but also thrilling because I'm on an unpaid medical leave and we had been talking about the potential necessity of me needing to leave my job in the future, so now that's happening only with a much needed cash inflow. Everything's coming up Ruki.
posted by Ruki at 8:08 PM on April 25 [24 favorites]


little lurk learned to ride bicycle, began to express interest in learning music (piano, guitar), consented to having non-picture book several chapters long read to them.
i was permitted to work from home, relieving career-long (for fairly permissive value of career) chronic migraines caused by inescapable (tho on rare occasions minimally accommodatable) exposure to fragrance products in the workplace and on commute; enjoyed first opportunity to bill overtime since before recession; have slept pretty well and awoken fairly early (for idiosyncratic values of well and early); enjoyed a couple spells of a sort of creativity.
family safe and (mostly) healthy.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:11 PM on April 25 [8 favorites]


I left my bad job to return to my old job shortly before shelter in place became a thing and I am thankful every damn day. I have just realized as I type this that I would rather work from home for this job than have regular life and go to the other one, yikes, it just made me feel so bad about myself.

My knees are not that great (had a fourth surgery in the winter, jeez) and usually going between work, home, and hanging with friends uses up most of my gas for the day. Since I can't go anywhere now, I have been building up the length of my daily walks and I've gotten over a mile at once. Last time I had knee surgery it took me, like, years to walk a whole mile at a time.

The flowering trees are so beautiful.
posted by ferret branca at 8:52 PM on April 25 [25 favorites]


The tulips here in the neighborhood's streetside flower areas are mostly still intact. They're blowsy and swaying with their age; it's so great to watch them make it through the season. The streets are quiet, with fewer dog walkers, no college students, and no bar crawlers.

I received a few baskets and shelves to organize the small closet space I have after a few months of thinking and careful measuring, so I that is a fun project that is useful. I think the change from stacking to Marie Kondo folding will really help me find and use and keep track of things I have that I love.

A recent career change has been so good. Anxiety has me only working about 20 hours a week, and folks are very understanding. The skills I have picked up are niche, so there are more people who need me than I have time for, and the pay is considerably better. Old "career" would definitely have me either out of work, or not safe at home. With my health history, I am very glad to be staying inside and insured.

I went back to therapy last summer and am really noticing the improvement. Fewer impulsive decisions, easier time managing emotions, better ability to cope ahead. The medication I started for my attention issues has been very helpful. Still working on the anxiety, but given everything that's going on, everyone agrees that I'm doing pretty well even there. There were a lot of weeks where I wanted to quit, and I'm so relieved that I did not give up.
posted by bilabial at 9:45 PM on April 25 [6 favorites]


My Covid19 story has been hoping threads but this is certainly the right place for my latest update. Last Friday we got crushed and last night it happened again, but this time it was because we were trying to give free dinner to 60 plus hospital and health care workers, and 90 showed up, and we learned an important lesson- do that on sunday or monday when we are otherwise closed, not on friday when we are doing 90 plus orders.

Today we did something amazing and we executed it magnificently. New England lobster dinner, with a pound plus bug, baked potato, corn on the cob and drawn butter. We sold out. People went bonkers. My SO put our order in right at four so I had some and it was damn good. We rebounded from a toughf night and knocked it out of the park.

We had to turn a few health care workers away last night when we got overwhelmed, so I'm going in tomorrow for a couple of hours to help crank out a couple dozen fried chicken dinners.

We are out of pinot grigio so we started selling a nifty reisling. Groceries continue to sell but we don't seem to have time to build more bags.

I'm basking in several silver linings. I'm working and making great takehome, I get to bring home yummy food, and I get to help people eat and feed the medical and police and fire fighters and other frontline players. I was driving home two nights ago and there was just a little light in the sky, after 8 pm.

It makes me feel weird to prosper right now.
posted by vrakatar at 10:02 PM on April 25 [37 favorites]


vrakatar, your stories about feeding people always make me so happy! I am glad to hear everyone else's silver linings too; it's too easy to just panic all the time and this is a nice break.
posted by ferret branca at 10:09 PM on April 25 [16 favorites]


So last night when my roommate made dinner (he was going to get fancy but while I was taking my after work nap, he decided to make mac and cheese and cut up hot dogs, which was exactly what I needed it turns out), he also warmed green beans in the microwave but forgot they were there when it came time to actually serve dinner, so I put them in the fridge when I cleaned last night.

Then tonight after watching Love Never Dies on YouTube (as bad as everyone says but surprisingly the worst thing is that it was SO BORING), I decided I should turn those leftover green beans into green bean casserole because we hadn't really had dinner and I was hungry, and I knew we had the parts for that, including just a tiny put of fried onion pieces that we had for a similar casserole we made for Thanksgiving, which, for reasons both personal and global, feels like 3 lifetimes ago. And if you can't have green bean casserole for dinner at midnight during a pandemic, when can you?

Then I fucked it up and put in too much milk with the condensed cream of mushroom soup so I added a package of instant mashed potatoes I found in the pantry when I cleaned it a few weeks ago (when I found the fried onion pieces and cried for 5 minutes) and some more milk and chopped up some too-old scallions and a few mushrooms.

Anyway, that's how I might have accidentally made the best casserole to ever be made starting after 11:30 pm during a pandemic (not-high-at-all category).
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:16 PM on April 25 [27 favorites]


Oh and she unfroze the last bag of fiddle heads to add to our lobster dinner tonight so my cup runneth way over.
posted by vrakatar at 10:18 PM on April 25 [6 favorites]


so I added a package of instant mashed potatoes I found in the pantry when I cleaned it a few weeks ago

That must have been like inside out poutine a la king
posted by vrakatar at 10:21 PM on April 25 [5 favorites]


That is actually a great descriptor, especially because it really scratched the poutine itch I had earlier today, which made it onto my ongoing "things I can't wait to have in a restaurant again" list.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:25 PM on April 25 [1 favorite]


I got a chest freezer! I've wanted one forever but my husband has been very "meh, do we really need that?" so I haven't pressed the issue. But, long story short, the pandemic bus reductions coupled with our car being trapped at the body shop plus our only walkable grocery store closing and Z E R O grocery delivery slots available for weeks on end rendered it a necessity. And so I got one and I stocked it full of commercial-sized bags of frozen things from GFS and I love my freezer and I love GFS. I'm unreasonably happy to have two boxes of single-serve frozen Wholly Guacamole cups waiting for me whenever I need them.

Other than my husband working from home all day, this whole thing hasn't been much different for us. I have a big book stack I'd been failing to read pre-pandemic so I'm doing that, and no one in the house has paid for a haircut in over a decade, so.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 11:48 PM on April 25 [9 favorites]


Gratitude for health care workers doing their jobs, something I hadn’t experienced like, ever.

Health care managers mostly staying home and out of the way.

Finally loosening up the restrictions and instituting reimbursement that makes Telemedicine possible. It’s about goddamn time. This genie is not going back in the bottle.

Hoping the public schools get their act together on technology, not to replace in person learning, but to enhance it.

Not having to drive across town to attend bullshit meetings.

Very little traffic when I do have to drive.

Bikes greatly outnumbering cars on our local streets.

Free bus fare.

Dramatic decreases in air travel. No one should be flying from Seattle to LA every week just for business meetings and very few should be popping across the country for a day and a half to catch a broadway show.

Dumping the gym for a Peloton which means much more regular exercise.

Neighbors out walking in pairs all day long saying a socially distant “hi”.

Mario Kart with my kids every night.

Time with my wife.

Maybe (maybe?) we are at the point where there are no longer any sane people who think Trump is even remotely competent. Can we unite on this yet? That people who still support him don’t have reasonable alternative views but are totally out of their minds? (That’s probably too much to ask)
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:53 PM on April 25 [19 favorites]


Oh yeah, having a good excuse for growing out my hair while not having to be in public much for that long phase where it’s a shaggy unkempt mop that’s overdue for a cut before it gets to shoulder length man-bun time.

Taxes not due. I don’t know when they are due honestly, but I’m glad it’s not now because I ain’t got that kind of money.

The idea that science matters, a lot, in the public sphere and that some certain governments can pull off big complicated things efficiently in short time lines, when we’ve been brainwashed since Reagan that government is always wasteful, inefficient, and bad.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:01 AM on April 26 [8 favorites]


For many years, my town has had a local newspaper with very obvious far-right leanings. The publisher of the newspaper was an associate of right-wing populist "Tommy Robinson" and the views and rants published in the paper have been implicated in assaults against local Asian politicians. There were regular threats against named individuals published in its pages. Every time an election rolled around, the paper turned into a right-wing Pravda, printing non-stop articles about how the local far-right candidate would end the decline of our area and stop "the Muslim takeover".

Women and LGBT people were another of the paper's frequent targets. As a trans woman, I would frequently clock articles ranting about "creepy men in dresses" and suggesting violence against female politicians was a way to stop them from talking. It was a wholly negative influence on local life. It was very cleverly done, though. Rather than just being a far-right political rag, they published lots of legitimate local news stories and interspersed them with the political stuff, so people would buy and read the thing.

Last week, due to the pandemic, it published its last edition.
posted by winterhill at 2:13 AM on April 26 [33 favorites]


I've been semi-voluntarily self-isolating for years now, so the last few months have not made much of a difference to me.

The fact that I left the USA last year helped me heal & thrive, and I am actually doing much better now, in spite of everything.

And two weeks ago, on a sudden prompt on mltshp, I told a story that had happened to me many years ago, and that somehow got me to overcome my writing block! So I now started writing my "Biography" with four episodes down, and 20 more sketched - so far. Will this be the first "Mltshp Book"? Who knows - I just started participating there recently...

Anyway, I'm excited.
posted by growabrain at 4:59 AM on April 26 [6 favorites]


I'm lucky enough to work from home and the extra time has let me get reacquainted with my family without complaints of school work or commuting (mostly be me). It's as if going to the office everyday is total nonsense!

I casually suggested to my wife about sewing face masks for our neighbors and she's been happily churning them out for a couple of weeks now. Our cleaning and cooking time has never been more equal and I finally can sneak in capers in our pasta dishes.

Also, I finally have time to watch Better Call Saul.
posted by cowlick at 8:51 AM on April 26 [5 favorites]


I lost my job in early March. Thanks to some incredibly amazing people here, I was able to pay my rent and bills for that month, and survive until my unemployment benefits kicked in. When I posted that Ask, I was truly afraid I'd be homeless within a few weeks. I am forever grateful and indebted to the wonderful people here who reached out with advice, information, and the means to survive.

I did get my unemployment benefits, and with the $600/week extra the feds have thrown in, I'm no longer terrified of losing my apartment and/or starving to death for a few months. The kitty got her favorite "special" dinner last night because I was able to spend a little more without feeling bad about it. I think she's bored of me being home all the time, though. She misses having my computer chair all to herself.

Losing my job was definitely a blessing in disguise. It was crushingly stressful at the best of times, incredibly toxic at the worst. As the pandemic drags on, I find myself more and more relieved that I'm not in that tiny office right now. They're "essential", so they're still working. I cannot imagine being there with the supervisors who likely aren't taking the public health guidelines very seriously. I'm also glad I don't have to share that tiny office with sales reps and delivery drivers who are in stores all over town all day, and probably not taking public health guidelines very seriously. I probably would've rage-quit at some point anyway. Also, my three-times-a-week migraines have all but disappeared.

I'm cooking more than I have in years. Because Internet, I have more of a social life than I've had in years. I'm making more cards and bookmarks and decorative storage tins than I've been able to in a long time.

There are days when I get into this weird head-space where I *know* I should be more stressed out, especially given my mental health issues. I know it's not the "Suffering Olympics", but I feel equally blessed, relieved, and guilty to be doing so well right now.

Thank you, Metafilter, for making this terrifying situation so much easier for me to deal with!
posted by MuChao at 10:03 AM on April 26 [38 favorites]


Everything from my waist down is solid sore today, it feels a little like the pleasant soreness I have after skiing.
posted by vrakatar at 10:47 AM on April 26 [3 favorites]


It's weird, but the pandemic has made me appreciate suburbia more. I spent a lot of years living in the core of various cities (and loving it), and openly dreaded the prospect of being forced to live in 1960s sprawl for this current job (I hate hate hate hate driving, and resent the very existence of my car).

...it's ... it's not really that bad. I can still walk to three different grocery stores (yay 1950s/60s planning vs. what came later), there's sidewalks with grass strips everywhere so it's trivial to make room, there's zero traffic so I can just walk in the street if I gotta, there's a bigass park nearby, I have a backyard so I can drink outside if I want, and if I want to blast minimalist techno when I wake up I'm not bothering anyone. If the milling machine runs for four hours I'm not bothering anyone. If the dust collection system runs for an entire day nobody cares because nobody else can hear it.

Plus there's birds everywhere. I'm practically beseiged by hummingbirds, and I don't even have a feeder.

I'm thinking about taking extremely-early retirement in a few years (and is why I took this job despite being suburban), and suddenly I'm considering *not* just getting an apartment in the city core somewhere, when that was absolutely an assumption beforehand.
posted by aramaic at 10:52 AM on April 26 [11 favorites]


A couple of very dear friends who have suffered all manner of stress, disappointment, judgement, probable homophobia, definite fatphobia, stupendous bureaucratic resistance and just etc etc etc in trying to adopt for the last 4-5 years, have finally gotten everything sorted and just met the boy who they will now be adopting early next month. Albeit with everybody in masks. Even the last time we spoke to them this was by no means an assured outcome. I'm so bloody happy for them.
posted by ominous_paws at 11:48 AM on April 26 [25 favorites]


After a difficult 2019, my previous lifestyle was a little out-of-control in terms of "treat yourself" consumption (buying lunch every day, drinking expensive mineral water as my primary source of hydration, going to the fancy grocery store to smell soaps and sample fancy cheese several times per week...) so this has been a welcome reset on that. Like, my pleasure threshold has been so lowered that I had the thrill of my life from discovering some chocolate in the back of the cupboard the other day. I'm also saving a lot of money, which helps ease some of the anxiety about not knowing when my job will come back.

And my birthday was a few days ago; I lowered my expectations for how nice it would be and it was really, really, really lovely. I heard from friends I hadn't talked to in a while, exchanged sincere words of affection with my best and oldest friends, received a beautiful homemade card from my stepkids, had a Google hangout with my family that felt as real as seeing them in person (without the hassle of driving four hours and coordinating childcare and pet care and packing, etc. etc.). It was so much nicer, more peaceful, than the usual rigmarole of a restaurant dinner and/or "drinks with friends" of past birthday celebrations.

I guess the tl;dr theme of these silver linings is that my hedonic treadmill is in pretty good shape.
posted by witchen at 12:23 PM on April 26 [9 favorites]


After a difficult 2019, my previous lifestyle was a little out-of-control in terms of "treat yourself" consumption (buying lunch every day, drinking expensive mineral water as my primary source of hydration, going to the fancy grocery store to smell soaps and sample fancy cheese several times per week...) so this has been a welcome reset on that.

Oh, man - this could have been me, but this is another way things got lucky - my new job came with a pretty darn decent pay raise, so I was going to have considerably more "pocket money" and could easily have fallen into the giddy "buy all the things" mindset. But - my first day there was March 2nd, and my first paycheck was in mid-March, only a couple days before the city closed everything down. So the ability to impulse-buy has kind of been taken out of my hands, and I have to think about whether I want something bad enough to wait a week or so for it (I'm trying to avoid ordering from Amazon as much as possible and stick to direct merchandisers, to help them out). By the time we're out of lock down, I'll....okay, I'll still probably treat myself rather a bit, but at least the initial zeal will have worn off and I'll be able to be discriminating.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:49 PM on April 26 [3 favorites]


I have been grateful every single day that we were finally able to rent a house last fall, which I never imagined would be so timely. Our old apartment was very cozy but was smack downtown, and being able to take the dog out without dodging people (she's already people-anxious) has been such a gift, as has not wondering who's been touching my car door to see if they can break in. I also loved our third-floor balcony in our old place, but not so much the people who smoked weed on the sidewalk, and in the parking lot, and in some cases directly below our balcony. It's nice to live downtown, but boy I don't miss shitty ditch weed smell everywhere..
posted by nakedmolerats at 2:06 PM on April 26 [8 favorites]


Now that the noise and bustle around me has been greatly reduced by working from home all the time, I've had the opportunity to really tune into my body. Although I always knew that I felt better when I got some exercise every day, I've found a direct correlation between getting 15-20 mins of cardio in the middle of the day and sleeping well at night.

Also, this week marks a full year since I finally dropped the rope in my relationship with my abusive sibling and their "flying monkey" family. I'm so grateful not to be walking on eggshells around anyone right now.
posted by rpfields at 4:00 PM on April 26 [5 favorites]


I've been struggling a fair bit lately, but there have been a few really good things:

- Thanks in part to all this [gestures frantically at the universe] and in part to my own personal stuff going on, I've reconnected with some old friends lately on a deeper level than I had in quite a while. A nice thing about shared trauma is that it can be a basis for connection and getting past the superficial.

- I'm really, really enjoying the course I'm teaching. It's an insane amount of work but it's doing a lot to hold me together and remind me of who I am and who I want to be. My students humble and impress me.

- My kids are amazing. They are adapting so well to circumstances and astonish me every day. They are the best reason ever for staying in the world.
posted by forza at 5:05 PM on April 26 [7 favorites]


Arvo Pärt, and everyone who plays his music, has been the best Metafilter gift.
posted by Oyéah at 5:42 PM on April 26 [6 favorites]


Because we aren't supposed to drive to anywhere for exercise, I've been exploring my neighborhood more and YOU GUYS, the little strip of bushland at the bottom of our hill doesn't actually end at the motorway 500m along the creek. It goes underneath it in a well hidden track and then keeps going FOR 65KM according to this website.

We walked it for 2 hours yesterday and it is really beautiful. Looking forward to exploring the track more over the next few weeks.
posted by lollusc at 8:14 PM on April 26 [24 favorites]


Also there are no people on it because apparently no one else knows it exists? In two hours we passed, I think, three family groups.
posted by lollusc at 8:16 PM on April 26 [1 favorite]


My most recent silver lining of the pandemic is that me and a friend/acquaintance from my writing group have really hit it off. We'd never really hung out alone together and we're both socially awkward introverts, so things never quite lined up for us to get to close but we started playing a video game together kind of on and off at the start of quarantine and things have escalated to now where we're spending hours chatting together on discord/hangouts every day and making all sorts of plans of things to do together when quarantine is over. We've stayed up late with each other's quarantine anxieties. In jokes are happening. We have so much in common, and I feel like we really see each other. I feel so lucky to have her in this difficult time, and that this has brought us closer together.
posted by bridgebury at 9:04 PM on April 26 [15 favorites]


Lovely people took the bait in this post today, and added more libraries I will enjoy. My roommate loves dancing, but hasn't seen many classic dance-heavy musicals. Since the shutdown we've been holding a near-nightly movie marathon, and this evening we watched Sweet Charity.

Here's the big, good thing from today:

A few years ago, my uncle (married to my mom's sister) told me how it had always bothered him that he couldn't remember what his father looked like. He'd died when my uncle was a toddler, and there were no family photos to go by. At the time, I was doing genealogical research and had tripped over my great-grandfather's great-quality, government-issued photo ID from 1918. My uncle asked, could I keep his father in mind in these searches, maybe something similar existed somewhere for him? So I commenced digging, finally found a good prospect in an online archive of someone's personal family albums, and this morning my uncle's 87-year-old maternal cousin viewed the photo and confirmed that we had our man.

My uncle and I cried. He's 78, and he never cries. My aunt said he carried around a print of the picture, along with a magnifying glass, all day. I'm mailing off better prints tomorrow, I ordered an array of photographs from Shutterfly, and I'd like to find a decent restoration service. I almost can't believe it. His father was born in the 1880s, passed away in the 1940s, and the photo is a grainy, circa-1930 outdoor shot labeled with a different relative's name. And that name's misspelled. Yet it's him.

Last month I cancelled the flight to New York that was booked for today. I was supposed to be visiting family to help out with several projects. I would've rather given my uncle this picture in person (had I even found it -- another pandemic silver lining, having the time to trawl), and been there when his cousin weighed in, and worked out the printer issues so he wouldn't need the magnifier, and, y'know, hugged him. (He so rarely asks me, or anyone, for anything.) But we didn't run out of time, is the important thing, and I was starting to think we would. I'm happy.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:09 AM on April 27 [50 favorites]


The swifts are back!

Every year we look out for the return of the swifts from their trip to Africa. They make their nests in the eaves of the schoolhouse next door to us so summer means the constant screaming of swifts and when they go away before winter, everything here is a bit quieter and more somber.

But, they're back! We saw the first one scream by and then do that thwack! sound as they disappear into their nest, probably to rest from their long journey. I saw it first and yelled to my partner "They're back!" and she ran to see because she knew exactly what I meant.
Ted Hughes was an observer of swifts too:

Fifteenth of May. Cherry blossom. The swifts
Materialize at the tip of a long scream
Of needle. ‘Look! They’re back! Look!’ And they’re gone
On a steep

Controlled scream of skid
Round the house-end and away under the cherries. Gone.
Suddenly flickering in sky summit, three or four together,
Gnat-whisp frail, and hover-searching, and listening

For air-chills – are they too early? With a bowing
Power-thrust to left, then to right, then a flicker they
Tilt into a slide, a tremble for balance,
Then a lashing down disappearance

Behind elms.
They’ve made it again,
Which means the globe’s still working, the Creation’s
Still waking refreshed, our summer’s
Still all to come —
And here they are, here they are again
Erupting across yard stones
Shrapnel-scatter terror. Frog-gapers,
Speedway goggles, international mobsters —
.....

posted by vacapinta at 1:49 AM on April 27 [11 favorites]


I thought I couldn't move to live and volunteer on the permaculture smallholding nearby, as had been my plan, but then I cavalierly changed my mind, and changed households (gasp) to be here anyway. It is so beautiful and so isolated and I am probably having one of the top 1% of best lockdown experiences of anyone in the world, for which I am beyond profoundly grateful.
posted by Balthamos at 9:31 AM on April 27 [8 favorites]


Add to "The Three Great Lies," a fourth, "Your payment has been scheduled for..."
posted by Oyéah at 10:53 AM on April 27 [1 favorite]


we have baby bunnies in the front garden. It's 24/7 squee around here
posted by scruss at 11:04 AM on April 27 [19 favorites]


My kids (5 and 7) gave me a quarantine hair cut (number 2 clippers all over thanks). It was a great experience in trust building with them. Plus Mrs Inflatablekiwi thinks I look cuter with the new look. So win!

We also took time to put out a bird feeder and are discovering all the various finches and chick-a-dees that are around us.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 2:17 PM on April 27 [6 favorites]


Day off today. I went in for a few hours last night to feed the health care workers we had to turn away Friday, and while I was there we had heavy, pouring rain. I got home and feistycakes was on the phone and she lead me down to the basement... where there was WATER! Every homeowners's nightmare.

We spent three hours moving things, shop-vaccing the water, and towel skating. Cranked the heat down there and things are pretty dry now, it could have been worse. This goes in the silver lining thread because while a pain in the ass I'm lucky to have a basement to get flooded. And because none of my books or maps got wet.

Back to being Captain Takeout tomorrow. We finally got around to clearing out a bunch of stuff in the keg room and reconfigured it to be a beer, wine and grocery depot. That will make things easier. As I go through this I'm watching the business model change everyday. It is amazing, I just wish the stakes were a little lower.

Stay frosty groovy humans.
posted by vrakatar at 6:31 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]


I've never been able to run any distance, despite being in mostly decent shape and exercising regularly over the past decade. But now I have literally zero other means of significant exercise, and so I am halfway good at running.

When it gets hot out I'm fucked but this is Chicago, so it won't get hot until July, probably...
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:05 PM on April 27 [2 favorites]


* There's a tree I can see out my front window, and usually the only birds that visit there are the ubiquitous brown house sparrows that are all over the city. Maybe a starling or two. But this spring, I've also seen a mated pair of cardinals checking it out, a bossy bluejay hollering at other birds while he was looking for nesting fodder, and I've seen repeated visits from a red-crested woodpecker.

* Also seeing more birds than usual out the back window, and a neighbor's tree that I've thought was dead is budding out now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:39 AM on April 28 [2 favorites]


I volunteer at and foster cats for one of our local animal shelters and we had over 500 applications to foster animals come in at the start of our shelter in place order. I placed two foster cats after only having them for 2 weeks each (the fastest rate I've ever had foster cats find homes!).
posted by tangaroo at 2:22 PM on April 28 [16 favorites]


tangaroo: we took in a foster cat from a woman who works at a local prison where she says there are large semi-feral cat colonies. Asami is about 3-4 years old, and at first was very nervous and hard to handle. Apparently she'd already been 'returned'.
She's become a lot more relaxed, and is sleeping in her spot at the feet of my bed right now.
Keep up the good work!
posted by signal at 7:56 PM on April 28 [16 favorites]


Asami is gorgeous and (I know I say this a lot) I would die for her. Bless.
posted by brook horse at 9:03 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


I would die for her.

So, um, not trying to trigger anyone or anything (I do seriously mean that, things can be a nightmare in ways I have never envisioned, please stop reading if you need to, I am not joking) but:

...one of the ways a person can judge their life is in how many things they would willingly, happily, die to protect.

For blessed am I, that I may die to save this thing.

(she looks like my long-dead cat Alice, who I swear was more intelligent than 50% of the people in my life. She had a twenty-year memory, as a cat, I am not joking. Genius. ... but more than a bit prickly ... )

posted by aramaic at 9:39 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]


I have been cooking a lot more.

I also have been more adventurous with my cooking; I have a bunch of fried chicken bones in the freezer that I cannot wait to turn into ramen broth. I've also become accustomed to the taste of a well cooked, homemade dish, that's not full of flavor enhancers and salts and sugars, etc. As a result, I'm wasting a lot less food - no more making a dish at home, and then letting it go bad in the fridge because the restaurant leftovers are so much tastier. Plus, the home cooked food is much cheaper.

There are still a lot of restaurant dishes that I miss dearly, and am not going to be able to recreate. However? On top of ramen, I can also make a mean Thai curry, and also a nice vegetarian sushi bowl - complete with wasabi and pickled ginger. All of the ingredients aside from rice and veggies I needed for that - the rice vinegar, the pickled ginger, the tube of wasabi - was about the same price as an order of sushi in a decent restaurant.

Last but not least, I made an antenna for my ham radios out of 3 Pringles cans and some old speaker wire I had laying around. I can already get into the local repeaters better as a result!
posted by spinifex23 at 11:00 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]


tangaroo: I volunteer at and foster cats for one of our local animal shelters and we had over 500 applications to foster animals come in at the start of our shelter in place order.

It's the same here in the Netherlands. I've never seen the website where you can look at pets that need homes so empty; they are just being adopted faster than ever. One eye, three legs, old, diabetes: they're all finding homes.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:09 AM on April 29 [7 favorites]


Found my dream ham radio (YAESU FT-3DR) on sale; buying it today.

It's coming out of my Summer Travel fund, since there's not gonna be summer travel. I'll travel on the airwaves instead.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:58 AM on April 29 [4 favorites]


Remember that friend I'd been spending a lot of time with? Feelings developed. I asked her out. I have a girlfriend now.
posted by bridgebury at 11:11 AM on April 29 [24 favorites]


I just said out loud to my roommate "my five year plan is to not be working in an office." Which felt amazing. I haven't really expressed that desire to anyone else except my long-suffering shrink. But I think I actually mean it.

I recently made a career switch from one type of office work to another and I really thought it would make me happier, finally, but it didn't. Parts of it were good and parts of it were exactly what I'd been trying to get away from. And then we got sent home and it became clear that it wasn't just the office environment I didn't like, but the sitting and staring at a screen all day.

I have made feints at this notion before, that I'm just Not Suited For This Type Of Thing and should do something radically different, but fear has always held me back and I've kept trying incremental changes to my office jobs hoping I'd hit on the right fit. But I (like everyone) have been taking stock of my life recently, and I just feel now like maybe my fear of losing decent insurance and an office paycheck aren't good enough reasons to spend the rest of my life doing something that makes me feel various degrees of terrible every day.

I'm certainly not about to quit my really quite decent job in the middle of a plague depression. Or even in the next year or two. But I think the time has come to take myself seriously and explore other options for what to do with my life.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:55 AM on April 29 [13 favorites]


We decided that we might as well start getting some exercise, what with being at home so much. So we started working out four times a week: I have a stepper machine, Stoneshop uses a rowing machine. All fine and dandy.
Then we started going on bike rides on the other three days of the week.
And today, we did some yardwork... so not only did we spend the whole afternoon digging and carrying heavy stuff around, in the evening we also worked out!

This is getting out of hand...
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:21 PM on April 29 [7 favorites]


Working from home means
* 5 hours per day more usable time (4 hrs 20 min on transit, plus get-dressed-etc time in the mornings)
* $50-75 more per week, as I don't buy train tickets nor lunch at work

I am honestly dreading the return to office life. I love the people at my office, and the work I do, but... wow, it's going to be hard to give up those 5 hours.

Other happy things: I got a full "attending" membership for Worldcon, since it now doesn't require a passport and airfare to New Zealand. I know a lot of people are disappointed, including the staff who worked for several years to get the convention to their corner of the world, but... I'm looking forward to a virtual Worldcon. Especially looking forward to attending the business meetings where they make policy.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:20 PM on April 29 [6 favorites]


I'd started riding my bike to work (6 miles each way) in January; since the lockdown began I've been going on longer and longer rides for exercise. I'm getting fitter and seeing more of my neighbourhood than I was just grinding out the same back-and-forth day in and day out, which is great! Only problem is that now I'm starting to yearn for a nicer bike than my boring-but-respectable hybrid, and this Kona comes in such a fetching shade of purple... oh no...
posted by btfreek at 1:36 PM on April 29 [3 favorites]


A student, with whom I had some real conflict earlier this year, just had a very civil and lovely conversation with me over our school messaging platform. His last message? "Thank you for your help! Have a nice day "

The cockles of my heart are definitely warmed.
posted by freethefeet at 7:47 PM on April 29 [6 favorites]


Work has been pretty hellish since January, and being able to work from home has been a huge pressure release.

1) I don't miss my commute, which was somewhere between an hour to about an hour forty-five minutes each way, depending on how good I was at catching my buses. Twenty minutes to an hour would be outside, which really sucks when it's winter in Minnesota.

2) I get interrupted a lot less, and when I do it's in a way I can control - emails or even phone calls are a lot less intrusive than someone walking over to my cube and just starting to talk. My boss has historically been horrible about being willing to write things down, and now she's had to get much better. My boss also has to think about what she's saying in an email, which means that the tone of it tends to be a lot nicer than in person.

3) I can control my environment a lot more. I can put my phone across the room so I'm not tempted to check it. If it's sunny, I can work on the porch. I've allowed myself to only access work websites on my work computer, and I have to reach for my phone or personal laptop for a break - which means I'm a lot more intentional about taking a break.

4) Cats. Cats. Cats.

5) When something happens that upsets me, I don't have to return to my desk and try to continue working and pretend everything is fine, I can spend about five minutes rage cleaning or playing with the cats or muppet flail and make all the faces I want before returning to work.

6) At the office, my lunch options were pretty limited - I'm horrible at packing lunch, the healthiest food option I could walk to was a gas station mini mart, and I tried to limit myself to get lunch out of the vending machine once a week. Now I can make myself whatever I want for breakfast and lunch - I have the time and a kitchen - and today was the first day in six weeks where I opted for the lean cuisine (well, really Amy's Red Curry, which is one of my favorites). I'm also an fat woman, so this is probably the longest I've gone in a decade without anyone commenting on how much (or how little) I'm eating. Nobody's asking if I'm on a diet.

7) It's easier to convince myself to exercise - my evening commute is so long that it's hard to convince myself that I should go to the gym, and it's even harder to convince myself to bike around after I get home. Now I'm on my bike every other day, walking whenever possible, and it does help a lot of with my mood and stressors.

8) We typically have these bimonthly all-day meetings that are essentially lectures that don't apply to my posiiton - my work has realized that those wouldn't be a good idea to replicate over Zoom, so they're replacing them with weekly hour and a half meetings for the next month. Which are still a lot, but I'm great at knitting under the webcam.

9) My hair's now purple and no1curr.

I'm still going to need a new job eventually, but in the meantime, work's a lot less stressful.

The other good thing - visiting local business websites (Lovably Vintage, Probably the only acceptable use of autoplay - watch the video ), plus there's like a 50% chance that if I'm ordering local that someone is just going to bypass shipping and drop it off on my doorstep, which is cool.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:51 PM on April 29 [8 favorites]


Quarantine coincided with a big book deadline, which meant we entered homeschooling with the need to equitably share childcare. And it has been fantastic. My spouse's hours were cut at work, but he's picking up some new projects which have been challenging and fulfilling and potentially lucrative. My daughter, after spending the first year of kindergarten being really badly bullied for months (so many visits to the school!), after pretending she couldn't read because the teacher told her kindergartners didn't have to--is soaring forward in ability and doing work at a 2nd or 3rd grade level in both math and reading. Every night before bed she reads me a story. We're doing tons of art, playing music, exploring coding, learning about the world outside. The first few weeks were hard, and she still dearly misses her friends, but once I admitted to myself that this was happening, and likely until the end of the school year it just . . . clicked into place. We're building a fire pit and got a big tent to camp in our backyard and my family is feeling more connected and steady than we have in years.

It's to the point where I'm wondering if we should send her back, if this lifestyle might be just somehow right for us, and that's really big and scary to contemplate but I feel grateful for our continued good health and time together.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:33 PM on April 29 [7 favorites]


My wife went into hospital a couple of days ago for her induction. I was able to stay with her for the first 36 hours but then the labour ward was busy enough that they asked me to go home. They would call me once my wife was in established labour and had moved to private room, so I could be there for the birth. Then in the middle of the night I was woken up by a video call from my wife. She was holding a baby. I was half asleep and wondered why she was holding someone else's baby... turns out the contractions had suddenly got stronger and within twenty minutes of her moving to a private room the baby had popped out. So fast they couldn't call me in time. I was able to go back in and spend a couple of hours with them but the maternity ward isn't having visitors so I won't see them again until tomorrow when I pick them up.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:49 AM on April 30 [42 favorites]


Congratulations, EndsOfInvention!

I just saw my very first post-promotion paycheck, and even after taxes and the deductions from the strike a few months ago...wow.

Part of me wants to go wild and buy ALL THE THINGS, and another part of me is like "Really? You're paying me this much? Have you met me?" and scared they'll ask for it all back.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:19 AM on April 30 [7 favorites]


My job, shitty and casual as it was, moved everyone into work from home when our university shut down. So I went from working in a dark, cold, windy basement where I couldn't sit down and was constantly stooping and bending to working in my sunny home office, with windows, heat, and a little cat to supervise me. I went from working on a cramped laptop stand that gave me neck soreness or elbow soreness (depending on height) to a powerful desktop with a large adjustable monitor. And since my project lead insists on having 20 people in a google doc at once, I seem to be the most productive team member even if I run Folding at Home. Also, no 2-3 hours of commuting! Honestly I would hope to stay like this except it's a completely different project than I usually do.
posted by Hypatia at 5:18 AM on April 30 [7 favorites]


I’ve been spending a lot of time in the garden with binoculars, and I have seen peregrine several times, which is a rather overdue addition to the garden list, as well plenty of buzzards and some red kites. No ospreys migrating over yet, though… I live in hope. When I was a child, any of those species would be amazing London records. Even sparrowhawk, which I see all the time now, only had a handful of breeding pairs in the whole London area.

So it’s cheering to remember that raptor numbers have generally been recovering for decades. Maybe in a few more years goshawk and raven will be real possibilities.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 5:41 AM on April 30 [11 favorites]


Working in the office, I need to be out of the house by quarter past eight in the morning to be on a train by half past eight to get to work by ten, and I don't get home till at least quarter past nine in the evening. I spend most of my waking hours in a city, and I don't get to see the countryside till the weekend.

I think of myself as living in the centre of a town, and in most important respects I do - the shops are less than five minutes' walk! - but the presence of a tidal creek and associated marshes means the town centre isn't geometrically central at all. And that means that now that I'm working full time from home, if I get up at my usual time, I can go for a (state-sanctioned! socially distanced!) countryside walk before work, and start the day listening to skylarks and curlews and cuckoos instead of whatever's leaking from other people's headphones.

Better yet, it turns out that if I'm getting up in order to go out somewhere with open views and birdsong, I can actually get up *earlier* than usual. I didn't know I was capable of actually wanting to get up and start the day. Probably helps that without the evening commute, I can go to bed whenever I'm tired.

Best moments so far: hearing the first cuckoo; the first morning the sky was full of swallows; watching in astonishment as a merlin flung itself up out of a ditch with its prey (You're a really fast raptor! What are you doing catching rodents in a ditch?!); glancing over the side of a bridge to see a water vole just swimming under it.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 10:46 AM on April 30 [11 favorites]


...and now I've just discovered that the only non-store credit card I have that I took out to buy a couch three years ago, and on which I've been making small-but-steady payments ever since....had less than £40 remaining on the balance. I thought it was a lot higher than that.

I've just paid off a credit card. Guys, I'm...I'm scared. What terrible, horrible thing is going to happen to balance out all of this good stuff?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:55 PM on April 30 [10 favorites]


Also:

I have seen peregrine several times

I've mentioned it before, but those of you who like raptors may be interested to know that the University of Sheffield has a resident pair of peregrines on campus. (The webcam is a little spotty right now since no one's on site taking care of it, but there are regular recordings posted.)
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:01 PM on April 30 [6 favorites]


In birding news, I've been a casual birder for a few decades but I just today saw my first ever yellow-rumped warbler. And it stuck around long enough for me to ID it. Thanks little guy.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:05 PM on April 30 [17 favorites]


No ospreys migrating over yet, though… I live in hope.

I'm not a birder at all, but earlier while on a conference call I got to watch two ospreys doing loops together. I don't know if this is this osprey hookup season or if they were just having fun, but it was great to watch.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:33 PM on April 30 [3 favorites]


Here in Eugene, OR, we've got a pair of osprey who perch atop our University of Oregon law building (so of course they are the lawsprey). They've laid eggs this week and the web cam is really fun to watch. For the past two years we've also gone and picnicked on the law school lawn to watch the chicks fledge - hoping that will be possible again this year, but if it's not we'll still be able to see them on camera.
posted by DingoMutt at 6:04 PM on April 30 [6 favorites]


I was looking forward to birding all day for nine days in the UK on my South Downs Way walk in June. Obviously that's not going to happen, but the situation has me forced to check out some preserves I don't normally go to while my awesome county parks here have been closed, and they've got some great stuff going on. I've also been spending more time outside in my own yard as of late and have had some interesting sightings, including a broad-winged hawk, which is cool for a small town on the urban-rural interface in New Jersey.
posted by mollweide at 6:09 PM on April 30 [5 favorites]


I haven't had to put on a bra in 44 days.
posted by tzikeh at 10:24 PM on April 30 [20 favorites]


I've dug up my old yellow scooter / offbrand Kickbike, replaced the front tyre with one I bought two years ago, and took it for a spin. The thing had been standing around for eight years or so. It's still fun and a great way to get exercise! I've removed the backpack that was strapped to the front, and which I never really liked, and replaced it by a vintage-looking wooden beer crate (fits six bottles, so it's not too big) and now it looks very spiffy.

The hardest part about riding a kick scooter is letting go of the idea that you're going to be as fast as you are on a regular bike. It's less efficient, so if you try to reach and maintain that speed, you're going to exhaust yourself REAL quick. And it'll just feel like a bad bike.
But if you get used to what it is and what it does, it's fun.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:20 AM on May 1 [7 favorites]


I’ve been watching an osprey cam from Poole Harbour in Dorset which was supposed to be a good chance of having the first breeding pair in the south of England for 200 years — part of a translocation project using Scottish birds. So far, though, the hoped-for male hasn’t appeared so it has just been a lone female sitting watch, bringing the occasional branch, tweaking the nest… yesterday she laid an egg, but as there hasn’t been a male around it’s clearly not fertile. Apparently there’s just about time in theory if a male appeared in the next few days but it’s not promising. The whole thing is weirdly lockdown-appropriate, tbh.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:26 AM on May 1 [4 favorites]


I've had some musical stuff I've wanted to share with people for a while but never felt like I had a good excuse to do it. It's like, I'm pretty sure there are some people who would really like this, but I don't know who or how to share it with them.

Now I'm recording stuff every week and sharing it online because that's what a lot of people are doing so it doesn't seem quite so weird or presumptuous, and because of the circumstances I feel less pressure to be a perfectionist. Sharing and being in contact with people is what really matters. It's both really satisfying to do and, as I suspected, a few people really appreciate it. And I've been getting to do more music than usual with my wife too, which has been fun for both of us.
posted by straight at 4:49 PM on May 1 [6 favorites]


Thanks so much for this thread. I have been taking daily masked walks in the immense and sprawling city park that winds through my town, which I can get to a block away from my house, and every day I discover some entirely new path, waterfall, doorway, graffiti decoration, rock stairs, pond, duck pair, brook, hilltop, type of litter, sleeping homeless person, white jogger, and flower. I'm taking photos every day and when this is all over I will make a photo book that has no pictures of people or city buildings in it and call it Philadelphia in the Time of Pandemic.
posted by Peach at 9:53 AM on May 2 [5 favorites]


I’ve been making new recipes, and I made a no-bake peanut butter chocolate chip pie that is decadent!
I really have no business eating such a thing, but these are trying times. It’s delicious. I had a piece for breakfast yesterday.
posted by bookmammal at 10:54 AM on May 2 [3 favorites]


I get to grow out my undercut mostly in private. And my eyebrows so I can experiment with different shapes.
posted by moons in june at 11:02 AM on May 2


I think it seems working from home is more agreeable for many many people. I'm definitely one of those who does NOT want to go back to "how things were". At all. (In terms of just my own job-life work schedule- not bringing in the larger pandemic issue of course!!). I'm also doing the (fully ensconsed in gloves and mask) walking daily, through a park and it's beautiful although things got very scary for awhile in there as everything in the city escalated. It was somehow reassuring to see birds still going about their business and plants relentlessly deciding it was time to bloom and so on. I want to do this everyday, be able to check in with myself and nature without being insanely stressed and tired from my job (which of course I'm still grateful to have and even more grateful to be able to do from home).
posted by bquarters at 4:24 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


I wrote a little bit of flash fiction last night! I am not a regular writer at all, but I had a bit of inspiration. It’s a fun little bit of Lovecraft Dreamlands fic:

It is often said that in Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, that no man may kill a cat.

What is spoken of less often, is that in the darkest alleys and dens of iniquity in that town, you can find hard-bitten women, who will for a sufficient sum of gold (and gold it must be, for silver is the currency of betrayal, not death), arrange for the ending of all nine lives.

What you will almost never hear, is that the Great Council of Cats condones this practice, as a means to keep their legendarily unruly kind in line. For cats and men cannot be always at odds, and there must be an avenue of retribution for cats that transgress too far.

What is never spoken of, is that the Council also employs those assassins from time to time, and they pay in silver. And you didn’t hear that from me.

posted by notoriety public at 5:45 PM on May 2 [9 favorites]


Just living the lockdown lifestyle has saved my wife and I about $1500/month for the last two months because it's when we normally buy plane tickets and start going out and having fun after hibernating. At this pace we will probably single handedly devastate the U.S. Economy.
posted by srboisvert at 7:49 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]


Well I thought I didn't have anything for this thread. But then for today's round of chores and cleaning, my five year old decided to pretend that he was a knight and I was the queen. Every time I asked him to do something that he normally would whine about, he instead said "Yes, your majesty," and did it.

I feel like everyone should have the experience of being helped with changing the sheets by a person who says "Yes, your majesty."
posted by medusa at 8:41 PM on May 3 [23 favorites]


My kiddo and I are spending a lot of time together. We walk every evening and there's a tiny woodpecker down the street we always go watch. It's so loud for something so small!

For her, having just come out as a girl, it's been a chance to grow out her last boy cut, and her beautiful hair is getting longer every day. Soon she can wear a ponytail. We are going to do pedicures now that it's warm, I think.

My personal life is pretty good, aside from dread about the future...the right now is very bearable, you can get a gallon of margarita delivered, fer crying out loud, we are so fucking lucky.

I'm trying to use my good fortune to help others but it can be hard to know where to start. But I have been able to help a few friends.
posted by emjaybee at 10:47 PM on May 3 [18 favorites]


Thanks for starting this!

I've been extremely fortunate to survive a round of furloughs in a decidedly non-essential industry. I took over duties for one co-worker and while I know I'll be totally clumsy about it, it's going to help me be more effective when she comes back - I won't just throw paperwork at her and expect her to sort it out; I'll have the skills to vet it first and make sure everything is in place. I've been doing side work through Mechanical Turk for years to pay down my cats' vet bills, and since I don't have to spend as much time on my day job and don't have to commute, I've had more time to do surveys. There have also been a ton of surveys on how I'm coping with COVID-19 and self-isolation, so I've made almost twice my normal monthly haul there.

I'm a hardcore introvert, so working from home and cocooning has been just fine for me. Every time my mom and I hop on a video call, she tells me how much more relaxed I look, even though I get roughly about the same amount of sleep per night. My Japanese language meetup group set up a weekly video chat at the same time we normally meet and it's been surprisingly fun; everyone has a drink or two, and we can even bring in our friends who moved back to Japan so we can see each other live.

I also have the menagerie I've been dreaming of for years. Three kitties: resident cat, foster cat, and former foster cat, as well as two turtles. I had fallen in love with former foster and cried for a week when I gave him up back in August. Lo and behold, two weeks into WFH, I get a text from his owner saying he isn't working out there after eight months, and can I take him back? A number of texts back and forth with owner and rescue coordinator, and now he is mine forever! (And came down with ear mites a few weeks back, so that ate into my MTurk haul.) Current foster has aggression issues, but I am able to easily separate him from the other two, and being at home all day let he and I get used to each other, so he is much gentler now, and I am much more patient with him.

I'm looking forward to doing some more volunteer work, possibly remote, because it's time for me to share my good fortune.
posted by Recliner of Rage at 8:09 AM on May 4 [11 favorites]


I'm certainly not about to quit my really quite decent job in the middle of a plague depression

hahahaha the literal day after I posted this I was permanently laid off along with half my department

Assuming I can actually get unemployment though (which I should be able to, I'm just in New York so it might take ages), this is actually sort of a best case scenario for my mental health. FINGERS CROSSED.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:40 AM on May 4 [12 favorites]


I was checking LinkedIn this afternoon and suddenly realized that I've now worked at my current job longer than I've worked at any other in my entire career. I'm simultaneously a little weirded out and a little bit proud of this fact.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:40 PM on May 5 [2 favorites]


I had been thinking of getting a digital piano and learning to play since last fall. Pulled the trigger on ordering one a week and a half ago. It came today.

Starting with scales. Holy crap, this is going to be a long road.
posted by notoriety public at 7:28 PM on May 5 [7 favorites]


*

*49
posted by tzikeh at 10:12 AM on May 6 [3 favorites]


i'm getting a lot of hobby time in. i've painted a ton of stuff for warhammer 40,000 and necromunda, as well as building a bunch of terrain.
posted by LegallyBread at 2:42 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


To counterweight my comment in the misery-thread, here are my silver linings:

-- Getting to spend time with my significant other. 24/7. No business travels, that mess up our schedules.

-- Joined an online viewing-club of Eyes on the Prize about the US Civil Rights Movement.

-- Catching up on too many Korean historical dramas... I just love how much screentime food and eating get in those series.
posted by Rabarberofficer at 3:13 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


I’m not exactly setting the world on fire with it, but I borrowed a spare electric guitar from a friend who has lots of them, and have been banging on it a bit. Although I’ve played bass for over 40 years, I’ve never gotten proficient at the 6 string. But the other day, I heard a thing in my head & had an urge to see if I could record it. It took a couple of days of frustrating failure, but through the magic of region editing & overdubbing, I have managed to write a pretty interesting chord cycle & I have an idea of where it’s going to go from there for a chorus.

Those tiny steel wires are stabby & they’re all too close together, but I’m hanging in there with it for now & have a motivation to gain proficiency- I want to write songs again. I used to work in close collaboration with guitarists when I had a song idea, but all that fell by the wayside a long time ago & other than some Garage Band ditties, I haven’t tried to really write a song song in 20 years & I’m encouraged by the stumbling results so far. I think I’ll keep looking up chord charts on the Internet, playing along with blues songs & probably take lessons when *all this* is over.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:44 PM on May 8 [5 favorites]


The best part is, if I can write some decent guitar parts, I know a really good bass player to flesh them out. :-D
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:46 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]


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