Coronavirus check-in thread #5 May 8, 2020 3:49 PM   Subscribe

It is May 8th and time for the latest check-in thread. As previously ([4][3][2][1])) this is for actual news, updates, personal experiences, and more mutual support from and to people dealing with this virus in their daily lives. All hail the mods for continuing to provide this sanctuary for us, and good health to readers and commenters alike. How is one doing?
posted by Windopaene to MetaFilter-Related at 3:49 PM (301 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Remember Star Trek II; the scene where Khan took off his head gear/cloth? Yeah. I'm walking around; stocking cap (Colorado, still cool); brown issue neck gaitor; hoody sweater zipped up close; and yeah; got it all up so far that only my glasses are more or less showing; yeah. Saw myself in a store window; wtf.

I can't wait for this crap to either kill us all, immune us all; or to just go away.

That; and since the military won't enlist people that have the anti-bodies of having the CV in the past; well. Next step is the health and indemnity industries using past exposure as a gradient of sorts; so gee. Get tested so a person can end up in a data-base that will be used to discriminate poorly against? Um, no thanks on ever getting voluntarily tested; thank you.

Sick. Of. It. All.
posted by Afghan Stan at 4:07 PM on May 8, 2020 [6 favorites]

One of my best friends, who is in his 30s(!!!!), just suffered a stroke because of COVID 19. He is otherwise healthy and had no risk factors.

COVID 19 strokes are a real thing happening to people even in their 30s and 40s - see this Washington Post article (free/no paywall): Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying of strokes.

If you have any youngish friends or other loved ones who are still out there galavanting about and getting sloppy about their social distancing, this might be a good cautionary tale to share with them, since it seems like chest pain/shortness of breath isn’t “scary” enough but maybe the thought of having a stroke in your 30s is enough to scare people into taking proper precautions?

One can hope.
posted by nightrecordings at 4:17 PM on May 8, 2020 [34 favorites]

Sorry I wasn't able to get thread #4 in the previously. The queue meant it didn't show up for me to edit. I don't post often...
posted by Windopaene at 4:18 PM on May 8, 2020

oh nightrecordings that is terrifying and I wish I hadn't read it but I am sure I will be even more careful than before.
posted by Glinn at 4:33 PM on May 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

And of course I hope your friend recovers completely!
posted by Glinn at 4:34 PM on May 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

The realization is sinking in that this will affect us for a long, long time - and even when everything else opens up? I still won't feel safe, as I'm high risk.

Sobering, but I decided to take charge of the situation by investing in some tofu and soy milk making supplies. There's been a huge run on tofu for weeks now in my neighborhood, and I'm sick of clueless bros trying to reason with me on how taking the bus 'isn't that bad'. Before the pandemic happened, I pivoted to a mostly vegan diet, and my body loved it. Now I'd like to get back to that, because I felt healthier with that overall. And, now that the pandemic is happening? I feel a lot safer just making the stuff at home, rather than trekking to a store to buy some. Much less expensive, as well!

I cannot wait to marinate some fresh tofu with some tamari, and then cook in a miso ramen. #LiteralSoyBoy
posted by spinifex23 at 4:44 PM on May 8, 2020 [11 favorites]

They told us earlier this week that our department will basically never be required to go back to the office. We already have an international presence across 12 timezones so it wasn't a big change but no one had ever come out and said it and prior to this we had a pretty onsite culture in our LA office. I understand that this is happening in a lot of tech oriented companies. It's going to take a long time for this to ripple out but I think the impact is going to be dramatic for those companies able to take big percentages of their staff remote effectively. Why pay $110/sq. ft. for engineers that would probably rather not be there anyway? This will impact commercial real estate, food vendors, and so on down the chain.

My larger impression is also that this is going to go on for a long, long time. Zero federal competence on display in a crisis that is best addressed with steadiness and comprehensive planning... I'm reading this as a preview of the upcoming decades of climate disasters and thinking we won't respond much better to those, either. I just hope we make it through the summer without compounding things with a bad hurricane or fire season.
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:37 PM on May 8, 2020 [22 favorites]

Man Not Sure Why He Thought Most Psychologically Taxing Situation Of His Life Would Be The Thing To Make Him Productive

Goals were daily 5K walk, deep clean house, learn piano, and end dependence on gig economy food by May. All dismal failures.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 5:42 PM on May 8, 2020 [45 favorites]

Oh, man, I am living that Onion article!

I definitely thought I was handling quarantine better than most people - after all, I had a wintery midwestern childhood and a lifetime of low-grade adult depression to prepare me.

And then yesterday I was listening to a Brene Brown podcast about grief and and all the stuff that I'm going to miss just hit me. I'm not going to see my older son in his tux going to prom. No spring concert. My younger son isn't going to have all of his buds over for the ceremonial Burning of the Papers at the end of 8th grade. The big weeklong Unitarian summer camp my family goes to in July isn't happening. Neither is the summer trip to see my family in Michigan. Hell, Thanksgiving might not happen. I sobbed for 10 minutes, went to bed early and slept for 11 hours. I've been in a gray fog all day today. This just sucks.

I'm sure I'll snap out of it and I have it better than most people, yada yada. But this does in fact just suck.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:00 PM on May 8, 2020 [50 favorites]

My mom and her fiance had it. They were really careful, but he's an Uber driver and has no choice but to go out. He has insurance so he could get tested-- she doesn't, but it's obvious that's what it is. They are both over 60 and it looks like they should be fine, but it was tough to deal with for a while. Even at "okay" they are still coughing, tired, etc. Please stay in if you can.

I am OK, I made it to Anchorage and am now quarantining until I can start my new job. Will we find an apartment? I don't know. Will the bus system come back before I have to start my new job? Probably not. Will my stuff from NYC get here all right? Probably yes. Will we get sick before our new insurance kicks in? I sure hope not.

It's nice that we're not seeing flour shortages here like we were on the East Coast. I was feeding my sourdough starter Wondra because that's what you can get on Staten Island right now, but here it was no problem to get some real flour! I cloned it from a friend of a friend's starter and I'm calling it Her Highness.
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:02 PM on May 8, 2020 [14 favorites]

Also, I moved across the country for my partner...after many years of living long distance...and I STILL HAVE TO LIVE IN A DIFFERENT HOUSE FOR TWO WEEKS. I mean, fine, but geez.
posted by blnkfrnk at 6:04 PM on May 8, 2020 [12 favorites]

I'm doing the shopping for our family. And I'd never seen, or perhaps noticed, gig shoppers before. But now, wow. On my last two weekly visits, especially at the "crunchy" PCC, have seen folks who don't fit the general profile of their usual clientele. And then noticed they were shopping very fast, and, looking at their phones while they were shopping...

Light bulb goes on.

Now I can see them before I see them checking their phones...
posted by Windopaene at 6:04 PM on May 8, 2020 [5 favorites]

My partner and I have settled into a nice, slow routine. We have the usual routines of work, cooking, and other household maintenance; and we take daily neighborhood walks; but otherwise it feels very much like we’re in a kind of hibernation. Nothing much seems to happen, but that feels like more of a blessing than a curse right now. I have occasional bouts of crippling anxiety, but not that much more often than in normal times.

I’m acutely aware that we’re incredibly lucky, because no one we’re close to has died of this plague yet.

One bright spot this past week was attending the Zoom wedding of some good friends. It was so much fun watching them feed each other cake in their living room.
posted by a device for making your enemy change his mind at 6:12 PM on May 8, 2020 [6 favorites]

In the midst of all the ongoing godawfulness, one joyful (for me) thing happened -- my hair clippers finally arrived! And I was able to get all this horrible, hot, heavy hair OFFA ME. (I could feel it flopping down on my forehead! And on my neck! and brushing my ears! and it stuck up all over the place! ARRRGH!). Before, and after (apologies for crappy picture quality). The whole event was particularly enjoyable because my best friends M and J, who live up in Seattle, felt very strongly that they needed to join me on Zoom for this, FOR THE LULZ (the invitation was worded "M and J watch Kat massacre her hair"), but it actually turned out quite well. We had martinis, and they cheered me on during the enclippening, and then I sat out on my new zero gravity chair on the porch with the gusty winds that have been whooshing around Portland today sweeping off all the stray hair bits while we gossiped and joked and raged and kept drinking.

I mean, yeah, it's such a trivial thing, but I can't even begin to express the difference it has made in my mental health and overall ability to deal. I feel like *myself* again.
posted by Kat Allison at 6:34 PM on May 8, 2020 [41 favorites]

My mental health has done some weird arcs through all this. I have weeks where I'm nearly non-functional from anxiety during the day but sleep okayish at night, and then this week where I feel fairly functional in the say but I'm sleeping for absolute shit, when then starts to take a toll on my general well-being over the course of the week.

Back at the beginning of lockdown, a local musician who's been a favorite of mine for 15 years, since before I lived locally (and who hasn't been especially social-media-savvy historically) started doing Friday night FB Live gigs in his studio/shed, with the first hour being the general cover song gig he normally does at a place in Santa Monica and the second hour covering a full album based on sponsored requests. He's about to start Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True, if you're wanting some bluesy-soulsy cover music for your evening. (You've already missed the nightly duet with his toddler before she goes to bed, come back next week for a great Wheels On The Bus or Rubber Ducky.) Next week will be Leonard Cohen, I missed which album. These Friday night gigs have been my signal to get away from my work desk and go cook or garden or just flop on the patio couch with a glass of wine. I am never going to get out to Santa Monica on a Friday night, assuming he ever goes back to that, so I think of this as a lockdown gift.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:35 PM on May 8, 2020 [9 favorites]

Looks great, Kat!
posted by janell at 6:51 PM on May 8, 2020

So, I have pretty much kept to myself and buttoned-down to endure this whole "isolation" since mid-March. Honestly, it has not been difficult. Turns out, I am more of an introvert than I even thought and not being around co-workers and most folks has been fine. I do miss my friends, but it's ok.

I am very fortunate to be working from home. Although, I do have a nice office, it turns out I am just as (if not more) productive working from home.

And yet, even those of us who are so fortunate, still have challenges - my huge issue and almost the sole focus of my life through this time is a strange dental issue. It took weeks to even get an appointment with an emergency dentist. He could not resolve the issue and now it is almost a month later that I have been able to get an appointment with a specialist.

Of course, everyone is doing their best and services are limited and I am grateful for the care I have received. But, it is really scary. Finally, getting the specialist appointment felt like winning the lottery. I am simultaneously grateful they will see me and terrified of the results of the appointment - lol!

I have no complaints - I am grateful for everything. I guess I am just posting this to say that during these times, we are all doing our best and scary medical/dental situations will be dealt with best they can. None of us are guaranteed anything.
posted by augustinetill at 6:57 PM on May 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

My mother-in-law's next door neighbor died in the past few days. The cause of death is suspected to be covid, but that hasn't been confirmed. The neighbor had had coughing and a fever. My mother-in-law is 90, and they are in the independent level of a continuing-care community. The two of them had been taking their meals together. I think it would be the first such case in that facility, amazingly.

On the bright side, we had good timing when we last visited my mother-in-law. She is in the next state over, and we went there in February. Now her facility is not allowing any visitors.

My wife is a getting antsy. We are going to take a drive in the desert tomorrow and find a spot for a picnic.
posted by NotLost at 7:16 PM on May 8, 2020 [6 favorites]

Also, the director of my research center said today that we could continue working from home until further notice, even if the university of which we are a part opens back up again. His daughter has respiratory problems, so maybe that makes him more empathetic about this.
posted by NotLost at 7:18 PM on May 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

Going back to work at the public library on Monday when we start curbside service. I’ve been home for two months and have only left the house once each week to go to the grocery, to drop off groceries at my parents house, and a couple of fast food drive-through runs. No one has been in my house for two months except for me and my lovely cat.

I’m pretty anxious about going back to work. I feel like I’ve created this nice, safe bubble here that I can control, and on Monday that bubble is going to break. I’m trying not to think about it too much because I feel like I’ve managed my anxiety pretty well so far and I don’t want to spiral into panic. I’m usually good during the day but nights can be tough for some reason.
posted by bookmammal at 7:24 PM on May 8, 2020 [18 favorites]

I've been on so many Zoom calls since early April, and one thing that surprises me is that I genuinely miss real eye contact. I spend most of my time looking at my webcam to give my students and colleagues the sense that I'm making eye contact with them, and occasionally glance at the screen and feel like I'm making eye contact with someone else who is looking at their webcam, but it's all false eye contact and none of us are ever genuinely making that connection. It surprises me that I care because a) I spent about a decade WFH in my former job and did voice-only Skype calls all. the. time. and was very happy I couldn't see or be seen, and b) at the best of times I'm a little selective/squirrely about eye contact, so I really wasn't expecting to experience a pang when I feel like I'm looking someone in the eye but know that I'm not.

I'm sure there are plenty of people for whom this lack of eye contact is a real blessing (and I am happy for them!), but much to my surprise, I am not one of those people.
posted by DingoMutt at 7:29 PM on May 8, 2020 [15 favorites]

Late March was rough, but then I was doing OK until this week. For 5 weeks, my 84yo mom has been suffering from a back injury. X-rays (done at our house!) showed no fractures; but after a series of progressively more scary pain meds provided no relief, a CT scan (during the first of two hospital visits on Monday) showed two compression fractures. After being so cautious and not having left her home for 7+ weeks, she had to deal with 3 hospital visits and two MRI clinic visits in five days. All seemed to be using enough COVID precautions, but at this point in her unrelieved agony, it was almost beside the point.

Today, she had a fancy-pants kyphoplasty (all hail interventional radiology), where they insert balloons between the vertebrae, inflate them, and then fill them with medical-grade cement. (I told her if she'd wanted a balloon, I could have taken her to the zoo!) She's home, with home healthcare aides were we were beyond lucky-and-privileged enough to hire from a distance, and I may get more than two hours of sleep tonight for the first time in a week.

The COVID clotting/stroke element has had me particularly scared for a few weeks. I'm diabetic, and that's the second-highest co-morbidity, but my glucose is well-controlled, so I didn't let that get to me. But clotting? I had a deep vein thrombosis in 2009, and have a rare hematological disorder. This is starting to feel deeply personal and not merely horror-movie-scary.

For all intents and purposes, Tennessee has lifted all restrictions. Fully masked and gloved, I went to my Friday night place and got takeout; my server lives two doors down from me, and I've ordered the same thing for 10 years (cheese quesadilla, cheese enchilada, of course), so I'm low-effort. She puts in the order when she sees my car pull in, I pay and then wait in the parking lot. Meanwhile, people were dining-in and taking out, and NOBODY was wearing a mask. I saw two men, acquaintances, greet one another, shake hands, chat for five minutes, and then SHAKE HANDS AGAIN.

I may not leave my house ever again. I'm not a southerner, I've merely lived in the South for 30 years, so there's some cultural appropriation in what I'm about to say, but I wanted to tell those dudes, "Y'all ain't right!"

And I had my first professional organizing request in 8 weeks, from a man wanting to buy a Mother's Day gift certificate for his wife. I'm only actively promoting my virtual organizing and productivity coaching right now, and I have no intention of going into anyone's home or office in the foreseeable future. I didn't anticipate anyone wanting a professional, much less a stranger, in the home so soon. I don't know whether to be cheered that people will still want my professional services, or aghast that they're thinking they're ready.

I haven't felt the touch of another human in 63 days. I'm starting to worry that I'll flinch when it finally happens. But I really, really need a hug.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 7:31 PM on May 8, 2020 [23 favorites]

Even when leaders are clearly shitty and corrupt their example has power, and way too many Texans are seeing our gov pushing to open up as the excuse they wanted to just do what they want.

It makes me angry and afraid. I am back to needing depression naps at lunch and generally wanting to sleep a lot. People talk about weird Covid nightmares but I'm not having those. Sleep is an escape from the madness.
posted by emjaybee at 9:01 PM on May 8, 2020 [7 favorites]

I am so tired, and I'm not even in the ICU. I'm worried about the ICU folk more, but I got moved off my usual specialty unit last month to take care of covid patients and it's just fatiguing. They keep moving us around to help 'wherever.' It's exhausting to learn new protocols every week, to be moved to a new unit every week. I don't know how travel nurses/APPs/MDs do it. Today I finally heard a conspiracy theory, from a person I don't know, but in a position where I'd call them a team-member in normal times. I have never spoken so sternly but professionally to someone before. I was infuriated.

Here're some glimmers, though: There has been so much beautiful collaboration between departments in my hospital. There's something just short of 100 studies in place already. The academic machismo of being The Expert? Gone. Because no one knows shit, and they know it. What is getting done is amazing. I made a cheat-sheet for the workflow that was so popular it was getting photocopied and left in piles in resident workrooms. For the most part I haven't had to deal with crazy talk. We are seeing such weird effects - the clotting, the endless pooping - but I'm lucky to be in a place where we have so many brilliant folks that are willing to put things together or just try stuff, that sometimes something works.
posted by cobaltnine at 9:09 PM on May 8, 2020 [55 favorites]

I'm so tired. I foolishly allowed myself to have some hope that my personal situation would improve in about a month, even if the world does not improve, but naturally that hope was also dashed. I don't know, man. I don't know what is the point of keeping on.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:11 PM on May 8, 2020 [16 favorites]

If you have amazon prime TV, they have some seasons of Rick Steves' Europe. We've been enjoying "traveling" a little bit and even ventured to Israel and Palestine!
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:41 PM on May 8, 2020 [7 favorites]

Hugs to you, Blast. I'm sorry it's so hard.
posted by emjaybee at 9:44 PM on May 8, 2020 [7 favorites]

My hand has healed enough that I can write checks, but it's clumsy and painful. No getting back to the coloring books anytime soon. I wonder if it'll be permanently damaged, if it'll screw up my production numbers once work resumes, if there's any point of going to Kaiser about it or if I'll just get "take one (1) physical therapy class and lose weight" like I did with my knee.
My bowels have been somewhat irritable lately and I also worry about that being a problem once work resumes, am I going to have to do the whole restrictive diet song and dance, go through an assortment of largely ineffectual meds like my late father, etc.
My cousin in Daly City apparently had the Rona but got better. I only learned about this because she was trying to text her SIL and dialed me in error. Haven't heard too much from her and don't want to push it if she needs the recovery time especially since she's got a husband and kids.
My other cousin who is trying to telework from rural Placerville is just running into one technical hurdle after another. And, as I feared, she and her "has-been" are driving each other nuts. She said she was half tempted just to jump in the car and drive down here. I don't think I'd have the heart to refuse if she did.
And just to add to the fun, I somehow ended up applying for long term care insurance. The whole process so far has made my top secret security clearance interview work seem like a walk in the park.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 9:53 PM on May 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

Cobaltnine, what is this about the endless pooping?

My partner’s daughter is visiting and I’m nervous. Her county has a very low infection rate, but her office has them working in rotating shifts. And my partner has varicose veins, which are prone to clotting. It’s probably fine and I’m so glad she’s here, we’re having a lot of fun and it’s great to spend time with another human, but if she weren’t his daughter I would have put my foot down about it. This is all so complicated.
posted by HotToddy at 9:55 PM on May 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

I could feel [hair] flopping down on my forehead! And on my neck!

(bald guy) *wistfully puts chin in hands* What's it like?

and brushing my ears!

(old bald guy with hair growing out of his ears) Yup, I hear ya...
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:56 PM on May 8, 2020 [10 favorites]

Thanks, mods for fixing my post's failings. I've gotten great comfort from these threads. Hope this is the last one...

Hugs to everyone who needs one.
posted by Windopaene at 9:56 PM on May 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

And yes, how will any of us, immunocompromised or not feel safe going back to "normal"? My passion and friend group has been an indoor soccer team of old men. I'm a keeper. It's my job to throw myself into other people, trying to slightly deflect a ball. I can't do that at a six foot distance...

Now I'm in a state that isn't being completely ridiculous in relaxing the stay at home stuff, but it's hard imagining that the thing I've taken the most pleasure in for many years, won't be something I can do without putting my family at risk. Even if the "rules" are relaxed, fuck that.

What a bummer. Also knowing I'm old, and likely won't be able to compete effectively for much longer, sucks that I'm going to lose a year+ to this. Ugh. Dammit. Stay safe everyone...
posted by Windopaene at 10:05 PM on May 8, 2020 [7 favorites]

HotToddy, somewhere in the range of (quick lit review) 2-10% of cases are accompanied by GI symptoms and my anecdata is that I had a few confirmed positive patients that just, to paraphrase Parks and Rec, would not. stop. pooping. It was just frustrating to treat because we weren't sure if we should stop it or not early on and then all the normal things didn't work particularly well. That's when I found out we don't carry probiotics anymore in an attempt to try anything.
posted by cobaltnine at 10:46 PM on May 8, 2020 [5 favorites]

I have a smiling 6 week old niece across the country, that I do not know when I’ll meet. And her clever older brother that I’ve only met twice. And a niece to be born soon, only 30 minutes away, but who knows when I’ll be able to hold her and smell that oh too brief baby smell. And my two year old nephew who is just full of joy and curiosity. I never thought I'd be an aunt and I never knew I could love kids that weren’t my own children this much. I wish I could hibernate until baby arrives, but I am “essential” and have to go out in the world every week. I count my blessings, but I ache to be with these kiddos.
posted by gryphonlover at 11:45 PM on May 8, 2020 [8 favorites]

Still hanging in there. My partner is still working from home - however, he’s going to be furloughed for a week. (Actually, it’s more like mandatory staycation - he’s still going to be paid, but he has to take a week of vacation time - his will be the first week of June.) I am still unemployed, but I have no idea when, or, hell, IF I’m ever going to get a regular job again. The competition has vastly increased and I would bet at least 95% of those out of work have a much more stable work history than I do. Not to mention pretty much every career path I’m qualified to take has basically imploded, so I really don’t even know what direction to take or what I should even look for besides “something I can do in an office or remotely during normal business hours that I will get paid for, preferably over minimum wage, and some benefits would be nice, too” - not helpful for a successful job search.

But there is some good! So far, nobody close to me has gotten infected. A friend of mine is a stand-up comedian in LA, and she’s done a couple shows on YouTube and Zoom, so I’ve actually been able to see her act. And my family has been doing weekly Zoom visits on Sundays, which have been great. (It sucks that my mom and I won’t be able to go visit my grandma on Mother’s Day like we usually do, but we’ll see her on the Zoom call. : ) )
posted by SisterHavana at 11:49 PM on May 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

France is easing lockdowns from Monday so I can finally go to physio! Paris is likely to remain the most locked down but I’m happy I can do some treatments. I also have a haircut booked next week, can I wear a mask?

I cannot wait until I can go home again, the UK is likely to announce 2 weeks lockdown for arrivals but that’s ok, I’m unemployed from Monday (financially ok) and really want to see my grandma! I’m not expecting to do this any time soon but I feel one step closer.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:54 PM on May 8, 2020 [5 favorites]

NZ went to level 3 lockdown, which is still pretty full on, but they also apparently told 70+s they can "use their judgement" as to whether it's safe to go out to eg. buy supplies etc, whereas previously they were not permitted to.

I called my mother today (late 70s, lots of pre-existing conditions), and she said she is "being cautious" by which she means that today she went to the grocery store, the butcher's, the hardware store, the plant nursery, and she's having a friend over for movie night tonight. She also booked herself in for some scans at the hospital for something that is just at the level of "slightly bothersome" rather than a health emergency. Le sigh.
posted by lollusc at 12:16 AM on May 9, 2020 [10 favorites]

I've now been sick for 6 weeks with a cold-turned-sinus-infection, which means I can't even go for a walk outside or to the grocery store because my constant coughing would scare the crap out of everyone.

Meanwhile, I also can't do anything productive around the house because the slightest bit of exertion makes me cough until I puke.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:17 AM on May 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

Poland's right-wing idiots finally gave up on the presidential elections scheduled for tomorrow, though they're happily trampling the Constitution re: rescheduling. There's a legal option of declaring a state of emergency (no elections until 3 months after it's done), but it'd mean they have to pay restitution for the actions of the government...

Things are slowly reopening. I may have to actually go on a cross-country trip (car) in a few weeks because there's literally no-one else who can get my pushing-ninety grandmother to the doctors' appointments that have been postponed since late March, and one of those definitely can't be done telemedicine style. That will be... fun. And games.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:10 AM on May 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

Checking in from Cape Town

We're now on level 4 lockdown, which is only slightly less restricted than before but I get the impression that lots of people are pushing the limits again. There's certainly a lot more traffic on the roads, and apparently the rate of infection is up again.
Despite this, schools are being opened in about 2 weeks. Our government literally said that they know social distancing won't be possible in schools, so everyone must wear masks and wash hands, and teachers will be responsible for screening all students every day. Wasn't everyone telling us just the other day, that masks don't make much difference and shouldn't take the place of social distancing?
We're trying to organise a face screen for my husband, he teaches at a deaf school and a face mask impedes lip reading and signing.
It seems like a terrible idea to open the schools now. I'm terrified for my husband and his colleagues and all the students, and their families too.
Good thing for the day : I can go cycling again. I put a tent up on our bed and it's a marvellous place to go hide from the world, and also get some writing done.
We're also compiling an alternative classification system for dogs (other than breed) so far we have chubwub, oldster, rinkydink, bouncer, viscous (as opposed to vicious, it has to do with an excess of saliva). The terms can be combined as in bouncing rinkydink, or viscous oldster.
posted by Zumbador at 2:42 AM on May 9, 2020 [12 favorites]

Where is the Saturday night cocktail hour?
posted by bendy at 2:47 AM on May 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've been on so many Zoom calls since early April, and one thing that surprises me is that I genuinely miss real eye contact.

Oh, DingoMutt, this so much. I am doing the same thing where I look at the camera and let them enjoy the illusion but oh boy.
posted by M. at 4:36 AM on May 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

re: Poland's elections, declaring a national emergency would also mean prolonging tenure of the Supreme Court's president whom the ruling party hates. And that the limits on personal freedoms would be automatically reversed once the emergency state was over.

Even so, I am glad there will be no elections tomorrow. I don't want people to get sick. And I still have some hope for our country.
posted by M. at 4:47 AM on May 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

The papers are talking about BoJo loosening the restrictions next week and that is worrying me a lot. Working from home has become our new normal and while I know we are not going to be back at work any time soon, I can't get round the fact that things will soon become less safe than they are. The death rate is still 600+ a day and new cases are still high, so how can the government justify changing a strategy that was supposed to be making a difference but was doing so apparently only slowly to one that's going to offer more opportunities for infection? Nothing to do with the economy, I'm sure ...

I read / hear people saying that we're over the peak and the NHS hasn't been overwhelmed and we can start to open up, because it can now cope with the likely number of cases. I think about the fact that this means there will still be people like me getting very ill and dying, but the numbers game will have been won in the eyes of the decision makers. Those statistics will carry on being reported in the coming months, and politicians and others will crow about downward trends and how they beat the virus, while ignoring the fact that the UK has the second-highest official death toll in the world (currently) and that each of those numbers represent someone, a unique and precious someone.

I am despondent at the moment.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 4:50 AM on May 9, 2020 [13 favorites]

I had a pretty bad week. My older brother is in a nursing home with dementia and has tested positive, but so far is asymptomatic. My younger brother is working as a janitor in a factory that's been deemed essential. He hasn't been given a mask, no one in the factory has one, and they aren't being tested. I'm insanely worried about both of them.

But the game changer occurred at 2 am on Wednesday morning when someone broke into my garage and walked into my home office where I was watching TV because I couldn't sleep. I kind of snapped and just started yelling at him to get the fuck out, and I chased him out of my garage and through the yard and down driveway until he ran away. About fifteen minutes later the police showed up and told me he had been on a crime spree and stolen a car, but was being chased so he abandoned it hopped my fence and went in my garage and then into my office. They had lost him until they heard my yelling and had caught him not far from my house. So the police were all over my property in the middle of the night, taking pictures, also without masks and really bad at social distancing. I kept having to back away from them and it scared the shit out of me. I wrote more about it here.

I have significant clotting issues too, and I take a blood thinner to control the clots. It leaves me practically hemophilic. My clots have already given me a pulmonary embolism that put me into the ICU for a week.They've damaged my lungs and my heart, and I'm terrified of this virus. And the one place I had that was safe, that I built myself, my sanctuary, is now a trigger. I jump at every twig that drops on the roof. Every time the dog barks at a squirrel.

So I've been kind of fucked up for the past three days. I can't really think straight. My body is kind of buzzing with fear, like I'm still in fight or flight mode. I've had a couple of online therapy sessions and I think that helped. Today seems better than yesterday. And my wife and kids have been awesome. Checking in, generous with hugs, getting along.

I think what scares me the most to think about was he knew I was in there. The lights were on in the garage and the TV was blaring from my office. Why did he come in? It wasn't for a couple of days that I figured out that maybe I was the hero of the story, not the victim. I protected my wife and kids, got a serious criminal caught, no one got shot. But it could have gone so many different ways. He could have skipped the garage and gone into the house. He could have attacked me. He could have laughed at my yelling. I told my wife that I thought it just might have been the last hurrah of my masculinity. My final roar at 56.

I don't really feel like a hero though. I feel more vulnerable than ever. I'm doing things compulsively. I'm keeping a knife on my desk. And I'm sick of it replaying over and over again in my head. You know that lie that people like to share with each other that God doesn't give us any more than we can handle? That's total fucking bullshit. He's not proportioning this shit out. He's just dumping it anywhere and everywhere.

I ordered a motion detecting flood light and it arrived yesterday, so I'm going to install that this afternoon. And I've got three outdoor surveillance cameras on their way, and I think that will help. Of course lights didn't stop the intruder earlier this week. Though these will be brighter and I hope all this will help me feel a little more in control. Maybe then I can clear the miasma that's seeped into my brain.
posted by Stanczyk at 6:21 AM on May 9, 2020 [53 favorites]

I'm settled in for the long haul in London. I work for a central government department, but am not currently working directly on coronavirus issues. There are several thousand of us working from home, offices are all closed, and there's no rush to get people back to the office anytime soon. I'm not expecting to go back in myself until September at the earliest, and even then, I'm not going to make a habit of it unless they've got robust contact tracing, population surveillance testing and very low active case numbers.

Our systems are holding up well and the most difficult thing is really figuring out what will be important on the policy areas that I work on that aren't directly impacted by coronavirus. It's hard to know what to focus on when we have no idea what the timescales are for reopening, what the policy landscape will be then etc. But we're managing. It helps that the department are being super flexible about working hours and so on, and are very relaxed about people not being fully productive right now.

Outside work, I'm feeling extremely privileged to have a garden. Not everyone in London does and it's been a real boon for my mental health, especially as we've had mostly great weather throughout lockdown. It's 24C today and I'm just chilling out in the garden with a cold drink, watching the occasional cargo flight go over on its way from Heathrow to East Asia.

I'm also lucky enough to live quite close to the Lea valley and marshes, so I can get out and run or walk in some lovely open space. I did my first ever nonstop 10km run this morning, so I'm suffering a bit for it now, but I'm still glad I did it!

On the down side, both myself and my partner are living overseas from where we grew up, so it's not clear when we'll next get a chance to see our parents in Ireland or in Norway. At least we know they're all pretty safe and secure, but it's something I don't think that people whose parents are 30 miles drive away, or even a few hours drive away, can really understand.
posted by knapah at 6:23 AM on May 9, 2020 [6 favorites]

My wife and I completed a jigsaw puzzle this week - first puzzle I've done since I was about 8 years old. (Obligatory photo of completed puzzle) We've settled into a routine. I work all day (from home) and if the weather is nice we take the dog for a walk at lunch. After dinner, I go for about a 1-hour walk while listening to an audiobook while she binges whatever show she is currently binging. (She is furloughed but making more with the extra $600 than she did working.) After my walk I try to write a blog post most days, or just mail it in like I did with the photo above. Then around 9 we hit the couch to watch whatever we are watching together (currently Veronica Mars and Upload). Rinse and repeat daily.
posted by COD at 6:38 AM on May 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Western PA is moving to the "Yellow Phase" on the 15th which I guess is a good thing. Retail can open but no restaurants/gyms/salons and groups of up to 25 people can congregate. I'm more than a little worried that people are going to see that and ignore all restrictions going forward.
posted by octothorpe at 6:50 AM on May 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

I'm having a really hard time. My job allows me to work from home and I like to be busy, so I'd been just hyper focusing on moving since this began. I started a new relationship around the time the pandemic begin, so that was a big beacon of hope. The relationship ended last weekend and I'm crushed. I feel really sad about it--how did we have a chance during all of this stress? And it also made me realize how much I was affected by this that I was just trying to compartmentalize and ignore. I miss my family and I don't know when I'll get to see them again. I'm just having a really hard time and it will be okay, but it also won't and it sucks. :(
posted by lucy.jakobs at 6:58 AM on May 9, 2020 [10 favorites]

They told us earlier this week that our department will basically never be required to go back to the office.

As predicted, management has realized how cheap it is to have everyone working from home, so all of the offices are going to shrink (as leases come up for renegotiation) and some will likely close completely. I've mostly figured out the work-from-home swing of things and I can see some advantages (chief among them: not having to pack lunch; not having to wear shoes). But at the same time, I am pretty sure we will lose more than we gain with this change, and I can guarantee that the savings from shrinking and closing offices aren't going to be passed on to employees as higher salaries.

But, also at the same time, I am aware that simply having a job that can be done from home is an enormous privilege right now, while so many people are being forced to face really tough choices, so I don't mean to complain unnecessarily.

There are some very incremental openings happening here, mostly around outdoor recreation and construction sites, and I think some forms of curbside retail are now authorized; the next phases of reopening (whenever we might get there...) will feel much more significant because they will change how restaurants and places like that can operate.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:08 AM on May 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

My dad died from Covid-19 a couple Fridays ago, right before midnight. He was 99 so of course didn't stand a chance. Dreadful that he wasn't able to have any of his family with him.

I celebrated my 52nd birthday 4 days ago -- first time ever alone and only time in recent memory that I wasn't out of my native country or throwing a party for it.

It's May 9 and snowing in Toronto, beating my memory's "latest it's ever snowed record" by 5 days. I wish I was pretty much anywhere else right now.

Stay safe, people.
posted by dobbs at 7:11 AM on May 9, 2020 [88 favorites]

So sorry about your dad Dobbs. Sending love.
posted by ellieBOA at 7:31 AM on May 9, 2020 [11 favorites]

Sending you hugs, Dobbs <3
posted by M. at 7:33 AM on May 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

I think that this whole thing [waves arm around at everything] is getting me down. Like, depression-wise. It's hard to tell what is "normal" malaise in these stupid times, and what is clinical depression starting to creep back in, and what is just A Bad Day. Everybody's got some level of it right now (or, at least everybody I know). So, step one: acknowledge that there is a Thing. Done.

My library system seems to be floundering a bit when it comes to figuring out how to continue operations and eventually re-open. I'm starting to see that perhaps, perhaps I can't get by financially just working as a sub for them. I used to have enough sub shift opportunities to work 40-hour weeks if I wanted. My last remaining scheduled sub shift is on Monday, of course I won't be working it. And after that...nothing. Now's not a great time to be looking for work. Now IS a great time to reflect upon what I want to do next, perhaps look into what i need to do in order to move into a new field (certifications? reading up on who's who in the field?) but right now I just want to do nothing.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day AKA Feel-like-an-inadequate-shitty-daughter Day and Weird-adoptee-existential-angst Day. We just finished watching the last DVD of the last series we have in the house: Stargate. I've always avoided watching it because it's too militaristic and I really can't stand Richard Dean Anderson (does that make me a bad Minnesotan?). And now I miss it because it's done. It's cold outside. Half of my perennials didn't come back after the winter. My beloved dog is getting old. I'm sick of my cooking. I'm sick of my husband's cooking. My walls are boring. My inside plants are dusty. I'm sick of sewing masks. And now I'm bringing other people down. Sorry, folks! This all sucks!
posted by Gray Duck at 7:47 AM on May 9, 2020 [18 favorites]

Jersey City is still in the hottiest hot zone, but cases seem to finally be going down...though you wouldn’t know it for all the sirens and helicopters. I’m pretty sure they’re flying patients out of the area and the hospital and it’s parking lot tents are full. I’ll find out later... I ordered cases of those ‘stylus’ tip pens from Amazon for the local health care workers (it was the closest thing they had to ‘ppe’ #donttouchtouchscreens!) and I’m going to bring them down there when I’m done making my fancy new n95 mask. My doctor buddy brought me n95 material that they use to wrap surgical trays in for that covered in blue ultrasuede-like material and a pale blue cotton crepe lining...I even dug up a big piece of silver elastic. If I get a positive AB test I have rhinestones for a big + on the front. I am a pandemic fashion victim.
On the AB test front, they just started doing free testing for JC residents (I’m guessing the deal is that we are basically the smallest of the ‘5 boroughs’ (though not technically part of NYC), and therefore the best place to start 2nd wave survey testing (ie, test many/all in one area and extrapolate the surrounding area from there(?))) and one location is walking distance, but I’m probably going to wait a few weeks before I try to get one. I’m unemployed right now and collecting UI (which has started including that federal $600 extra/wk that I was certain would never materialize after so many people were laid off, so yay, financial worries much reduced), my rent/bills/expenses are low so I don’t have to work right now or for at least 6 months, I don’t have kids/roommates/anyone else to expose/worry about. I’m extremely lucky. There’s a lot of other people out there that have to work and/or take care of others. I’m perfectly fine letting them go ahead of me. I figure I’ll try to get one early next month, unless they suddenly get a ton more test kits, which is not all that unlikely...we have actually ramped up capabilities in this country quite a bit (no thanks to the useless ‘task force’ of course).
I am 50-75% sure I had it already. On 3/10 I went to the duane reade for rockstar energy beverage. Left the store (after touching all of everything like a big dumb dummy who’s dumb) and was drinking my rockstar when l realized ‘hey, I just touched a door handle that faces a path train into manhattan less than 30 feet away.’ ‘Fuck.’ ‘I better start taking this really seriously, like right now.’ So I went home, took a Silkwood shower, figured out some ‘outside clothes’ and where to hang them for decon, wrapped a scarf around my face and stocked up at the grocery, a few weeks worth. After watching the news for 2 days I realized a) this thing is blowing the fuck up b) there’s no testing c) St. Patty’s weekend is coming up, shit’s gonna blow up. So I brought an extra bag, went back to the store early am 3/12 and stocked up for a few months (still haven’t been to the grocery since), went home, and did something kinda stupid. My magical thinking told me ‘hey, if you take a bunch of cold medicine to treat the symptoms before they appear, maybe that will help you get over it if you do have it.’ So I took a dayquil and some theraflu (both with DXM, bad for Covid!) and took a nap, fully dressed, in a hoodie, wadded up like a ball, under all the comforters and blankets. I woke up drenched in sweat and had a FULL panic attack. I stripped off all my clothes and then I was cold and shaking, and panicking, and then (this is embarrassing) I had to take a huge dump. So somehow I managed to do that (while soaking wet, naked, and shaking uncontrollably), and get myself toweled off. So freezing cold and freaking out, I fell into bed and started shaking so bad it was like I was swimming. Was this a ‘cytokine storm?’ A seizure? Or, god forbid, did I have a motherfucking stroke? Jesus. Anyway, I managed to calm down and get warm again under the (dry part of the) covers, took my temperature: 98.6 totally normal. The next three days my temp was the same 98.6, but I was still having some minor night sweats. But I was still panic sleeping in a ball so...? I was also coughing a bit more than usual, but I was also smoking a LOT more weed than normal too. Ever since my temp has been 98.0 or a little below, and IIRC, it was 98.0 when I went to doctor last time, so 98.6 might very well be ‘running a fever’ for me. If I did have it, I hope to god I didn’t give it to anybody at the grocery store... I had my face covered, but only with a knitted scarf... I did have hair dye gloves on at least :/
Who knows, maybe I had it, maybe I didn’t, I’ll find out soon enough, I guess. In the meantime, I’m safe, I’m financially...ok, I have food, and cases of rockstar just arrived (along with my ‘social distancing dildo’ which is a whole other story), there’s plenty of booze and junk food at the liquor store up the block, and I will be fine, and I will get through this. But why why why didn’t I go to the laundromat right before all this happened? (Things on that front are getting...unpleasant. Lol. Or whatever the opposite Lol is. Olo?) My wardrobe currently consists of some bastard combination of job interview clothes... and halloween costumes. Sigh. If I don’t start doing more tub laundry, my new summer look is going to be ‘kitchen garbage bag. And a sock.’
posted by sexyrobot at 7:52 AM on May 9, 2020 [10 favorites]

Sorry about your Dad, dobbs. Real sorry.
posted by fake at 8:00 AM on May 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

I see you, dobbs. It was a couple weeks ago my father died, and I grew up near Toronto fifty years too. Wish there was more to offer, but I hear you and share your pain. Be well.
posted by bcd at 8:27 AM on May 9, 2020 [12 favorites]

At this point, living in New York City, I know a few people who have had it. The first people I knew who likely had it were friends of mine, one of whose parents were finally confirmed as having had it. They've all recovered, thankfully. One former client had it and was in the hospital for a while, but got discharged. Another former client died from it. My partner's sister-in-law's uncle died from it. To dobbs and others with family and friends who have died or are sick, I'm so sorry. I'm thinking about you.

My partner's whole family is at risk for it and almost entirely out of work. I've written elsewhere about what this is doing to my formerly good relationship. My partner leaves in less than a month for a new location, because living here without work is untenable. Our entryway is full of boxes of stuff that I need to start doing something about today. Soon it'll just be me and the cats. It kind of already is just me and the cats, because my partner has been spending as much time as possible with family members who aren't leaving, metamour, and another close friend. I'm only getting grocery deliveries, not going to physical stores myself, because I don't want to expose my partner and thereby the other two or three households in our bubble. I'm buying extra to help out while I can. I'm not exercising outside, although it would really help my own chronic conditions, due to the risk. I'm thankful to have a balcony, on which I'm growing a garden and from which I can unfortunately see people running and walking by all the time without masks, or with masks pulled down. I got a little camping table, and it's sporadically nice enough to sit out there to take meetings and go to Zoom happy hour.

We're stretching out laundry as much as possible, but we have gone to the laundromat twice since this all began, so it is doable, sexyrobot. That said, people suck at social distancing and dramatically vary in their use of masks, so being in the laundromat, like everywhere else outside the apartment, does feel like a roll of the dice. But so far so good. The owners of the laundromat we go to are spending their days in PPE, basically, and have banned use of the tables for folding.

In the middle of the country, where cases are more sparse, a friend of my mother's came and stayed with her for a day or so. My brother and his new girlfriend are now on a road trip visiting her. I envy them and I wish they weren't. My ex's family is planning to have a Mother's Day brunch this weekend. I wish they weren't. My ex isn't going to go, thankfully. He's stir-crazy but not actually crazy enough to do it. I don't often get offended by much, but it's just a bit offensive to me that everyone there is getting together like there's no danger, as if the rest of us in far denser cities weren't yearning to do the same, yet having to make the difficult choice to stay in instead. It's not that difficult of a choice when you think about all the people who have died or are dying.

I'd love to see my mother right about now. I was supposed to be on a trip all of this past week to the location where my partner is moving, and I would have loved to have been able to travel there with my partner, friends, and family. I'd love to be able to go out and enjoy restaurants and culture and night life and drinks with friends in one of the greatest cities in the world. But I can't, and I deal with it (or don't, as the case may be, on any given day), because I know what the stakes are. Yeah, the danger is a bit invisible, and that's what's terrifying about it—from the beginning, it's been a situation where anyone could have it and not know it. There isn't an easy way to tell when it's safe, so you have to assume it's not. At least that's how I feel. Apparently others have higher risk tolerance. Hopefully my brother and his girlfriend and my mother's friend have taken enough precautions and self-quarantined long enough that everyone probably doesn't have it. I hope it all turns out OK. I have such mixed feelings about everyone who's gone to visit family during all of this, but those feelings clarify into judgment when I see headlines about how so many of the cases elsewhere in the U.S. have apparently spread from New York City.

I wish this country's leaders would model mourning. I wish racism didn't make it all so much worse. A black man like Ahmaud Arbery can't jog in many places without fear of being killed—meanwhile, in densely populated New York City, where white people are just a third of the population, maskless white joggers are breathing all over people. They're heavily and disproportionately policing housing projects. People of color are dying disproportionately—from the virus, and still from police violence as well.

But hey, one of my cats just brought me like three soot sprites and a piece of sushi. That may sound disjunctive, after the last paragraph, but I assure you it's not. At least there are small joys, because worrying about the large injustices every minute of every day becomes too much sometimes.
posted by limeonaire at 8:32 AM on May 9, 2020 [16 favorites]

I was getting along more or less okay until about a week ago, when on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday I heard about a different person dying, ironically none from covid. The first was a sibling, the second a former neighbor from my childhood, the third a coworker. Tuesday I refused to look at email and hid my phone in a drawer, and fortunately the streak ended.

Today it is snowing. Snow on daffodils is a sad sight.
posted by JanetLand at 8:32 AM on May 9, 2020 [11 favorites]

Today it is snowing. Snow on daffodils is a sad sight.

Right? Very sorry to those who are struggling or have lost loved ones. it's a really hard time to grieve.

My state is taking the first steps to opening up when the national curve is down but our state curve is mostly just flat. Makes sense for the economy but sends the wrong message for public health. People in my rural location mostly don't wear masks anyhow.

I am mostly stable and fine but missing my long-distance boyfriend (taking to heart this article The Answer To All Of Your Social Distancing Loophole Questions is No.) and having a lower threshold for other people's nonsense than usual. I'm kind of buttoned-up emotionally, which mostly works out fine for me, but it's been tough in these weird times so every now and again I grab a drink and just watch a few minutes of some of the public libraries' We Miss You videos and have a good cry.

On the bright (?) side, Mother's Day is tomorrow and me and my sister usually have a good time toting film canisters of Mom's ashes around to places and sending each other photos. It's slightly ghoulish but 1) mom would have loved it 2) she was a great lady in a lot of ways but also a Piece of Work™ and I'm really glad I don't have to be going through this worrying about her.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:44 AM on May 9, 2020 [31 favorites]

Bless me MeFi, for I have quarantined. My last plate of beans was two months ago.

I’m an old and work from home, my wife works in a grocery store. Because we want to limit our footprint, I’ve pretty much been out of public since this started.

I’ve been in a car a total of four times, always with a purpose. Of course the side benefit is to make sure my battery doesn’t go flat and I remember how to drive.

We’re fortunate to live in a beautiful place with agreeable weather. This makes walks into nature fairly easy, except on the weekends when the rest of the city has the same idea.

Work has been fairly steady, and my coaching clients have really impressed me. Like everybody else, they’ve been dealing with a lot of uncertainty, and much our work has focused on resiliency. I apply large amounts of caring and empathy, and it seems to help. For the most part folks have settled into routines.

My sweetie has the stress of working where there are risks to her health, and has responded with extra care. Masks and gloves, distancing and extreme cleanliness are the norm. She also has responsibility for keeping others safe and healthy. As a “hugger” at work in past times, it makes her sad that she has had to leave that habit behind. Her customers have been mostly appreciative and understanding, though the anonymity that masks allow has seemed to embolden a few to be jerks.

Oh, and we celebrate our thirty-something wedding anniversary next week.

My four surviving siblings are all older than me, and live half way across the country. Some have compromised immune systems, which concerns me. What bugs me more is the helplessness that I can’t just jump in a car or plane to help out if they need it. So far, they’re still healthy (though there was one scare).

As fortunate as I think we are, I have my moments. Mostly fear and anger rise up, but I find myself toying with new self-care habits, and that gives me calm.

The biggest favor I’ve done for myself is to monitor where I get my news and how much time I give it.

TLDR: Steve is okay today, and will be tomorrow.
posted by SteveInMaine at 9:00 AM on May 9, 2020 [14 favorites]

everything. bad.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:28 AM on May 9, 2020 [18 favorites]

do not LIKE!
posted by poffin boffin at 9:28 AM on May 9, 2020 [18 favorites]

Friday afternoon we were told that the earliest possible time our workplace would start allowing non-essential people back into office was 8-12 weeks from now. On one hand I'm glad they seem to have a plan and that no one is trying to rush us back into the office (and of course, that I still have a job that allows me to at least semi-effectively work from home), but on the other that'll mean another 2+ months of zero meaningful human contact and I'm slowly losing it over here. Nothing feels real anymore.
posted by btfreek at 9:52 AM on May 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

Ahhh, dang, sorry about your puppers, 23skidoo.
posted by notyou at 9:54 AM on May 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Today I'm feeling pretty bad so I made a list of things I've done to try and help my friends since going into isolation two months ago.

wrote a CV for J
bought R some distilled water for his c-pap and dropped it off
got Nintendo Online and added E and C to Switch family so they could play online
chipped in for Mario Kart for C
emailed all the grad students in the division for a check-in
texted R to check in
bought T a graduation present she probably never got
gave money to the local bar where E and I used to karaoke
loaned LC my keyboard so she could do her piano homework
went to J's house to make sure she was okay when she went radio silent
loaned J a book
loaned E hair clippers
wrote last-minute letter of rec for R
texted who knows how many people to check in
gave money to food bank
gave money to musician's fund thing
organized an online Animal Crossing improv jam session

been quite a bit of wiping down objects and conversations in driveways.
posted by daisystomper at 9:57 AM on May 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

The bad:

My wife is furloughed from work. She has a seasonal, part-time job that we fortunately don't rely on but it's an outdoor teaching job that contributes to her mental health and well-being so it kind of sucks that it's closed.

They've started rolling furloughs in my group at work, though I have yet to be affected. My group helps to "keep the lights on" so I think we'll be the last to be affected but if they have to let us go, they will. Fingers crossed.

Everything was cancelled on my kid. She just turned 18 and is now done with school and some time in June a teacher will probably drive over and give her her diploma. It's actually a good time to have an introverted, cynical kid who doesn't much care if she doesn't get to walk down the aisle.

Summer Phish tour was postponed until 2021, which I still think is optimistic. This is small on the grand scheme of things but I had plans to actually travel to a show out in Washington and now I don't have that to look forward to.

I broke my favorite mug.

Like everyone else, my wife and I have good days and bad days. Some days just... suck. We're getting by but I wonder how we're all going to be doing a month, two months, six months from now?

It fucking snowed today in Massachusetts. May 9th.

The good:

I made a bowl and auctioned it off on eBay with all proceeds going to my local food bank. A generous MeFite bought it for $355.00, which far, far exceeded my expectations. It's a nice bowl but it's certainly not worth that much, but charity certainly is, so let this be a public thank you to the MeFite who can out themselves if they so choose.

I've resurrected my train layout from five years ago, taking the stuff out of boxes and starting from scratch again. I'm calling it the Quarantrain and it'll either help me stay sane or drive me mad.

I'm really finding it interesting the ways people are adapting to all of this. Zoom meetings and drive-by birthday parties and whatnot. Most people are smart and good and are doing the right things.

Everyone is healthy for now, so that's good. Mental health is slightly less good but we're managing.

The hospital I work at is managing to treat all the COVID patients that need treating.

It's actually kind of depressing trying to come up with things that are good. I think I'll stop.

Cheers, everyone. This sucks, but we're all in the suck together. So there's that.
posted by bondcliff at 10:00 AM on May 9, 2020 [23 favorites]

My mental health is being really affected by this. My anxiety is through the roof. I hate working from home SO MUCH. All my coworkers and I are miserable and upper management is acting like nothing has changed. I wake up on weekdays with a pit in my stomach. I used to love my job and now it's just this constant source of stress. And it never leaves my home. Even when I'm not working, I feel it permeating the walls. I want to go back to the office so badly but I live in NYC and it's nowhere near safe yet and I'm afraid my company may decide to transition to 100% remote work.

I try to be grateful that I'm safe and healthy, my family is safe and healthy, but I'm just so consumed with anxiety and stress that my body never calms down. But I feel like such an ingrate for struggling so much when I have it so easy in so many ways. I guess this is hard for everyone but it's so much harder for so many people. I guess I should just suck it up and accept that this is the hand I've been dealt and I should just be grateful it's not worse.

Sending good thoughts to everyone.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 10:10 AM on May 9, 2020 [12 favorites]

All winter I had some kind of low grade cold just hanging on, with super annoying post nasal drip. Joked and was sort of relieved that runny nose was not a symptom of the covid... but triggers a cough, which is just not a good thing even when masked up, makes folks nervous. Better but it's still chilly out in the north east and when a cold wind comes up mid walk it just triggers the drip for another day. So, yeah, blessed with just the drip.
posted by sammyo at 10:11 AM on May 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

+1 for "Quarantrain", bondcliff!
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:41 AM on May 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

An addendum to this week's quarantine diary: things that have broken that I'm putting off asking my building manager about during the pandemic.
  • A newly sticky door switch for the light in my refrigerator, sigh
  • A 1960s-era pink-toilet handle that's loose and I hope doesn't rust off
  • A kitchen circuit that stopped powering the stove hood and its outlet
The two things I have asked about, repeatedly, have been the heat (ultimately the building manager investigated and found that the battery in our thermostat had died, which is why the heat kept shutting off) and the cheap stick-on doorbell downstairs that doesn't work consistently. The building manager added a new battery to the doorbell and thought that solved it, but all of the packages piling up downstairs kinda beg to differ. I'm not sure if they realize how important a working doorbell is to proper social distancing!

I like how the landlord is so concerned about the packages piling up that the building manager felt the need to text me about it, yet they're cheaping out on the doorbell, which is held on by zip ties and was crushed while people upstairs were moving out (likely due to being unable to afford it anymore). It seems like only about 1 in 10 delivery folks is able to make the doorbell actually ring, so people keep ringing the neighbors. I also like how my building manager has been so concerned about security that he made me add my partner to the lease a while back, as well as at one point had a friend across the street spy on the building then changed the locks when someone no one knew was lurking outside on a single day, yet no one has bothered to give us an intro text or anything to the new folks upstairs. Good job on the security theater, guys.

Cheap, paranoid landlords just add to the fun of life in New York City in COVID times!
posted by limeonaire at 11:37 AM on May 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

My daughter just had to take my ex-wife to get tested. :-( The daughter is actually her mother's legal guardian now because the ex has declined cognitively pretty badly in the last few years, & she could NOT get her to go any other way that to put her in her car. I'm pissed that the ex has potentially exposed my daughter by being stubborn & obstinate, & I'm a little scared. This is in Brevard County Fla. where NASA is saying DO NOT COME TO THE SPACE X LAUNCH & the damn local sheriff, probably one of those Sovereign Citizen bastards, has been shouting "Come on down!" So a 100,000 people are about to descend on her, & that's adding to the stress.

I hate having to reset one 2-week clock after another every few days. Austin is still spiking & 1/2 the town has decided the damn virus simply doesn't exist any more the streets & parks are crowded, & it's just going to keep getting worse here. Our boot-lick governor has rescinded all city & county SIPO ordinances & said that his statewide order opening up parks & businesses supersedes all local order. (Austin's mayor & public health officials are not happy campers but their hands are tied, other than asking citizens to please be responsible.) The fucker is going to get us all killed.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:37 AM on May 9, 2020 [14 favorites]

Sending good thoughts to everyone. Lots of struggles, lots of pain, but good to see some joys too.

I just recently found out I'll get research funding for the summer. It's only $2k, but it's more than I expected to have. A big relief because I'd basically given up on finding a summer job/something to keep me afloat until I start getting paid again in August--because of health conditions I can't do anything in-person, but all the online jobs are (understandably) filled up. And as far as I can read, I don't qualify for unemployment (grad student on a fellowship that only pays out during the school year). I had savings but it was going to be a scrape, this will give some breathing room. And it's doing research I'm very interested in, with a team I really like. So that's been a bright spot.

My wisdom teeth are bothering me, but I really don't want to risk getting them out right now, especially because with my health conditions I would have to do it in a hospital. I'm pretty worried about how long I'll be able to put this off for, and whether it's going to be even worse later if there's a spike but my wisdom teeth are causing me so much pain that I need to get them out. Ugh.
posted by brook horse at 1:50 PM on May 9, 2020 [6 favorites]

If you're a healthcare worker in the SF Bay Area, reach out by mefi mail - working on organizing with my fellow healthcare workers here. (Healthcare worker in the broadest possible definition).
posted by latkes at 2:05 PM on May 9, 2020 [6 favorites]

This just keeps playing in my head.

I'm so tired, I'm feeling so upset
Although I'm so tired, I'll have another cigarette
And curse Sir Walter Raleigh
He was such a stupid get

You'd say I'm putting you on
But it's no joke, it's doing me harm
You know I can't sleep, I can't stop my brain
You know it's two months, I'm going insane
You know I'd give you everything I've got
For a little peace of mind
posted by Stanczyk at 2:53 PM on May 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

I'm mostly fine.

More or less successfully moving social stuff online. My standing Wednesday dinner group is now all cooking the same recipe online, from 3 different houses. I'm tipping drag queens on venmo and watching twitch and fb live music performances. Buying pupusas from my co-worker's newly unemployed tia. Trading some of them to my downstairs neighbors for alcohol wipes. Ordering cocktails for delivery most weeks and definitely drinking more than I should. Getting a local farm CSA box. Dyed my hair lavender, and when that faded to pale blue, went for a darker violet color. I haven't worn shoes with heels or a dress since the end of February. I am putting on lipstick under my masks, though, just because. Deeply grateful for my little quarantine pod and my cats.

My team will be one of the last to go back to the office, which is fine with me. WFH is familiar, although I really need to get a more ergonomic set up as first my shoulder and now my lower back are having problems. My org is doing thoughtful planning on when and how we return, with the client-serving folks going in first. Our essential health services have stayed open the whole time. My org made a big decision about moving forward on my main project, and I'm happy about that, and also know I'd bee feeling a lot more excited if it weren't for the cloud of all of *this* hanging over me. Really worried about what all of these pending state and local budget cuts mean. We haven't started to feel the pain of that yet, and it's going to be extraordinary.

Tackling some of those house problems I always meant to get to. I've fixed a running toilet and a leak under the sink. I am stepping up my war on the mice. There were mouse droppings on the stove top and that was a line too far! So i bought more traps. Caught another one in a trap (and half expecting to see a little mouse-sized memorial next to the fridge with flowers and tiny 40s). One of the cats even caught one. I don't want to kill them; I just want them to go away. But if they won't leave on their own...

Deeply, deeply missing rtha. I know I've said this before, but it's a whole new dimension to grief. It sucks. I miss her. I did get her IRS deposit though, so there's that. Donated it to an org that meant a lot to her. Donated mine to a local fund for undocumented families. I'm very grateful that I'm safely employed and able to donate them (& can pay hers back if they ask me, but in no hurry to do so). Generally trying to kick down funds for bookstores and friends and unemployed folks. My sister's cancer surgery was postponed - understandable but frustrating. Worried about various friends with major health issues. Feeling combinations of sad and scared and angry and numb. So, yeah, mostly fine.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:01 PM on May 9, 2020 [56 favorites]

Our clinics are re-opening next week. I'm terrified.

On the one hand, a lot of people -- especially elderly folks, or people living in places where the internet is crappy -- haven't been able to get the clunky telehealth platform working, so are forgoing needed care. On the other, I do not feel safe in the clinic space, even with masks. The building is old, exam rooms are tiny, ventilation is poor. I definitely do not feel comfortable touching anything in the exam room, including the computer, so I guess that means I'll be spending an extra couple hours each night VPN'ed from home crappily documenting whatever I recall of the visit.

By contrast, my home desktop is large enough that I can split the screen between the video and the chart, so I can take notes while looking at and talking to the patient. (In clinic the computers are angled away, so you have to turn your back to type.) I've asked permission to retain a half-day of telehealth for patients who want it, and hopefully it will be approved, because frankly this is the best work set-up I've had since I started clinical rotations in medical school more than a decade ago.
posted by basalganglia at 5:18 PM on May 9, 2020 [10 favorites]

I've been quietly snoozing various friends and relatives on FB. I get that the lock down is hard. I get that you just want to see your loved ones and send the kids to school. As a sometimes civics teacher it's been frustrating to see people not understand that we are a federation of states, and no, Dan is not a dictator when we don't open up Victoria the same as other states. On one hand I'm relieved to not see the crazy right wing stuff that gets posted, on the other I feel bad because I think it's important to not silo oneself and to understand other perspectives, even if I don't agree with them.
I'm quite happy with the surety that all of term 2 is remote, having that change on me in the next few weeks would really stress me out.

So we wait and see.
posted by freethefeet at 7:04 PM on May 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

I have a fairly long hrs job and it’s especially intense Jan-Mar. To give myself something to look forward/reason why I am doing it, I tend to plan and book a summer vacation over Xmas/Jan. Well, before this all kicked off all I had managed to schedule was a short visit to see family in the UK over Easter, not least because my usual travel buddy was supposed to be promoted this summer and couldn’t make any travel plans until she had any certainty. In the meantime, promotion may now happen in the autumn, if at all. My Easter trip got re-scheduled to August, expect that I don’t see that happening any more either. In fact I am now working on the assumption that I won’t be on a plane again until Xmas at the earliest, but most likely until summer 2021. And even that seems to be uncertain-was looking at a trip for Aug 2021 to give me something to cheer myself up and I am still not sure whether to book or not.

For the last 7 years I have been on between 20-60+ flights a year for work and leisure. I also live in an EEA country and have an EU passport and all my adult life borders to neighbouring countries were a sign by the side of the road, not something that represents any kind of meaningful restrictions. And now I drive along and motorway signs tell me that border crossings into the neighbouring countries are restricted and I have to justify why I am driving across a border and may be refused entry if my reasons are not deemed essential enough.

Literally every single member of my family and every single close friend live abroad so I find all of this extremely unsettling. I realise I am extremely privileged to live in a country with a strong, coordinated and very successful response to the pandemic, that I have a job I can do from anywhere and an employer that is trying to avoid redundancies so if I am stuck somewhere this is one of the best places to get stuck. And I also realise that all the things I am missing here are opportunities few people have and that I was fortunate to have lived in peaceful, stable times that allowed the borders to be fairly open within most of Europe. But it still causes me more unease than any other aspect of this - I am ok with WFH, the other local restrictions, with having no job security, no way to positively affect my family’s welfare beyond offering financial support but not being able to get to any of the people I care about is deeply unsettling.
posted by koahiatamadl at 7:43 PM on May 9, 2020 [10 favorites]

Because we failed to cancel the 7-day free trial we ended up paying $120 for a piano-teaching iPad app (Simply Piano) for our 7-year-old. I have never paid for an app for anything before in my entire life, but I thought we’d try harnessing his video game obsession into something non-Pokémon, and now this dude who previously wanted absolutely nothing to do with mom-led piano lessons has leveled up to Intermediate and begs to play multiple times a day. I’m like, “Is this screen time? Should I be limiting this?” and my husband is like, “When will I ever get a turn?” It is so surreal and weird to be pulling weeds in the garden after dinner to the sound of my kid pounding out “Also sprach Zarathustra” like there’s some sort of piano Olympics happening. I really did not see this pandemic iPad piano thing coming.

A list of other thoughts:
- We just finished 8 weeks of home school / work from home life, and it is no easier now than it was during week 1. This shit is hard. I feel so unsupported by my child’s school - is it unrealistic to expect personalized feedback/communication beyond a “like” button clicked in response to my kid’s homework submission?
- I am also so pissed that the Minneapolis Public Schools administration and board are determined to pass a completely destructive/disruptive district-wide restructuring plan during a fucking pandemic. If it passes, over half of all kids in the district will have to attend a totally different school in fall 2021 after lacking school stability for most of 2020 due to the pandemic. My kid's school will not exist in its current format, and seeing that community destroyed seems unnecessarily tragic, especially during this already tragic time.
- My husband has been going to work a couple afternoons per week to do in-person lab work, and, despite the obvious exposure risk, I envy the time he gets to focus on his work without constant interruptions.
- Buying groceries is still hard and scary, and I feel like the line outside Trader Joe’s gets longer every two weeks.
- I don’t have the time or energy to improve my cooking/baking game, and we’re definitely eating less healthy than before. I’m hoping that the vegetable garden helps this summer, but it’s also a form of stress because it feels so much more high stakes this year, and my basement-grown seedlings are not great this year.
- I miss my bike commute to work but have been scared out of biking during the pandemic by increasingly dangerous drivers and stories from old hospital work friends.

I mostly feel like I am stumbling alone through all of this, unsupported by the larger structures in my life (work, school, healthcare, government), so it helps to read how everyone else here is feeling and coping. Sending kind and supportive thoughts for the many who are going through much harder times than my household.
posted by Maarika at 8:20 PM on May 9, 2020 [18 favorites]

On the down side, both myself and my partner are living overseas from where we grew up, so it's not clear when we'll next get a chance to see our parents in Ireland or in Norway. At least we know they're all pretty safe and secure, but it's something I don't think that people whose parents are 30 miles drive away, or even a few hours drive away, can really understand.

Yes, that's a really hard thing. None of my family or my husband's family lives here in Australia and I'm not coping well with that. Especially since we've had three new cancer diagnoses in the family since COVID-19 began (my father-in-law with liver cancer, who died from it very quickly, my aunt with bowel cancer, who had an operation and is starting chemotherapy, and my stepmother with melanoma, who had an operation to remove her eyeball, and they are postponing other treatment for now). In the past any one of those would be occasion for me to be on a plane to visit.

On the plus side, I'm catching up with overseas friends more than I would have previously. We have started having virtual dance classes, for the style of dance I usually help teach here in Sydney, and because it's small numbers, we've consolidated all the classes from around Australia into a single zoom meeting. So for one thing there's suddenly lots of massively talented people teaching and dancing, including people who were just legends in the community and who I never met. But also the person I originally learned from (23 years ago) and people who were fellow students in his class (who I hadn't seen since then) showed up on the most recent call, so apparently we are getting the NZ crowd now too, which is awesome.

Canadian friends still seem to think they are coming to visit later this year. They are hoping for September but assuming that worst case it will be okay for an event they are helping organise in December. I hope they haven't booked any flights...
posted by lollusc at 8:44 PM on May 9, 2020 [6 favorites]

Hello from Seattle.

It's positively balmy out today, high 70s and sunny, days stretching long towards the summer solstice. Perfect weather for having friends over for dinner outdoors.

Instead, it's my second month of isolation. I hug the cat a lot and she kindly tolerates it.

My lawn, dormant over the winter and into early spring, is descending into an anarchy of crabgrass and foxtails. Lately I've been finding time in the garden therapeutic. On the weekends, if the weather is good, I go outside and pull weeds in order to maintain the lawn and prepare the flower beds for... well, I don't know exactly what yet. Last weekend I planted some impatiens on the shady side of the house.

Recognizing my good fortune in remaining employed I try to keep up with work but am not doing well with it. I can't concentrate on very much for very long and I can't bring myself to care very much either.

I can feel my sanity declining. I've gone back to seeing my old therapist in California over Zoom, and it helps a little. I sleep and wake at regular hours but seldom feel rested.

My birthday is in a few days. This time last year, my girlfriend and I were traveling in Amsterdam and we met up with my dad and his girlfriend, passing through on their way to Brussels, for a day of sightseeing and a festive dinner out. All of that is gone. My dad died, my girlfriend and I are on separate continents, neither of us is flying anywhere anytime soon, and for the first time in my life I'll be spending my birthday entirely alone.

I grasp the weeds, exuberantly tall and green and comfortably established in the moist and wormy soil, I grasp them by their necks and I yank them out. I hack at them with fork and trowel, tear off their leaves and sever their roots until they give up. I admire their adaptations— the deep taproots, the puffs of seed, the squat, circular formations of prickly leaves that literally throw shade on the competition—and then I pull them out.

I grip and dig and put my bodyweight into pulling out the weeds, and then I toss them aside to die. I do this over and over. It's therapeutic.
posted by 4rtemis at 9:21 PM on May 9, 2020 [12 favorites]

My partner and I have been practicing for this shit for the last couple of years since the kids moved out. She works from home, and I work seasonally, so the winters have always been me going to the grocery once a week, and shoveling snow. And that's it. So this has been like winter added a couple of months.

But here's the thing; I work on the Erie Canal, and New York ain't opening it. Yet.

So I went out last weekend and cut the plastic off my boat (the governor was nice enough to open marinas) and then today it snowed.

So even nature is being funny.

My plan is to hold fast (heh) and when it's warm enough, go out to the marina and get the boat ready in case they do open the canal. Also, the big boat I work on is still in dry dock, so we're waiting on the Canal Corp. for that as well.

Hey, I'm fat and happy (mostly over the winter all I do is cook and drink and watch netflix and hulu and hbo and youtube) and I feel doubly guilty about it.

Not really. Like I said, I do this every year. I enjoyed the whole 6ix9ine thingy. And Tiger King. And Westworld. And Devs.

The sad thing is that last year the Colonial Belle (the big boat I work on) blew up her engine, and the 4th graders didn't get to do their field trips on the Erie, and here we are again, and schools are closed and 4th graders got screwed again.

Seriously, in the past 25 years we took out 120 4th graders every day for most of May, so that almost every 4th grader in the Rochester, NY area got a boat ride (and lock ride) on the historic Erie Canal.

So now it's two generations that missed that. That hurts.

It's irreplaceable.

I mean, it's no global warming.

But it sucks.
posted by valkane at 10:50 PM on May 9, 2020 [14 favorites]

This morning when I woke up, the fox was back in the garden. I watched it for 15 minutes or so and took a couple of pictures, but then it saw me move and left. And now as I write, a deer is walking through. The fox is the biggest surprise of this weird spring. When I was a teenager, I'd get up very early and roam the landscape, and then I'd see foxes. And I've seen urban foxes, they are less shy. But here I haven't seen one in nearly 40 years, and now I've seen this one twice in a month.
The food here is good. I've been trying to go on a diet to improve my gut biome for more than a year, and for some reason I find it much easier in isolation. The diet is supposed to improve both my physical and my mental health and it's really working.
Maybe because I'm normally sensible when I do the regular shopping, I buy a lot of different vegs, whole grain wheat, legumes etc. But under normal circumstances, if I'm alone, at some point during the day I realize I don't want to spend ages chopping and pickling and simmering and whatnot and I go and buy something that is simpler to cook and more soothing to eat. I might even add in some Roka crisps for snacking before dinner. I convince myself that the extra steps on the way to the store are good for me. Now obviously I don't want to go shopping several times a day, and also making healthy food is an excellent /s excuse for not doing my work from home, not exercizing, not cleaning the house, not opening the work mail and not paying the bills. If I don't get over the procrastination NOW, a big hammer will fall soon, as the lockdown is being lifted. And that is depressing and anxiety-triggering and almost entirely abolishes the good effect of the diet.
Yesterday I talked on the phone with a friend, who is really suffering from the loneliness. She is a very energetic, creative and entrepreneurial soul, who has achieved amazing things in her life, and started a new business when she was 70. And now she is on strict doctor's order to isolate, because the one health issue she has puts her in the high risk group. She is so sensible, and does not want to risk anything, but she just really, really wants to get out. I haven't heard her this depressed for ages.
It's strange to think that literally the whole world is struggling right now. Some more than others, obviously, but we are truly in this together.
posted by mumimor at 3:30 AM on May 10, 2020 [9 favorites]

Yesterday morning, I just felt really sad, thinking about how my office is close to a beautiful park that I used to walk in almost every day and wondering if I'll ever be able to do that again. In the room I work in, we're packed in very close together. We are closed through May, and there has been some talk of making the space safe to work in, but I don't see how that's going to happen. I've been reluctant to go to the parks here because they're so crowded. I've been wondering about trying to walk in a cemetery close to my house. One man I knew is buried there, so maybe I could "visit" him. I'm thinking that a lot fewer people will go to the cemetery, and the ones that do are probably doing it to avoid crowds, so maybe they'll be better about distancing.

People on NextDoor are starting to have ridiculous fights about whether it's OK to go to parks. There's a lot of anger there.

I swore I would never spend another Christmas alone, but now I'm wondering if I'm going to have to. God knows when it will be safe to fly.

Also, my church has decided to start letting small groups of parishioners in for Mass (less than ten to comply with state guidelines). People can request certain times and will be notified. They are still encouraging people at risk to stay home, which I will be doing for the forseeable future. I personally don't think this is a great idea, and since the main thing seems to be that people want to receive communion, I am having all sorts of comical thoughts about how they will manage that while maintaining six feet of distance. Trebuchet?

My hemoglobin went down last week, so I was disappointed about that. It's not at dangerous levels yet. I had my ferritin checked, and it's well above normal, so the hemoglobin issues are caused by the cancer and/or the chemotherapy.

A conference I wanted to go to has been moved online, and I'm trying to decide if I should register for it. I'm not sure how well an online conference is going to work. There are three-hour workshops in the morning plus readings in the afternoons. I'm not sure how well I can concentrate for that long online. I took a two-hour webinar once and ended up falling asleep. But I went to a conference last fall (which seems about eight years ago), and it was so great to be around people who value and love literature - online might be better than nothing.
posted by FencingGal at 5:19 AM on May 10, 2020 [8 favorites]

Hugs, FencingGal. It must be so difficult to deal with the chemo in isolation.
In my experience, online workshops are very hard. I do some, and we limit the time to max two hours. On the positive side, no one will notice if you take a nap.

I went out to look for what the fox was so curious about this morning, and there were human beings! We chatted for a while, from a safe distance. It really felt nice. Then they drove away, and as I went over to look at some little holes (for mice, maybe), my mum called from her nursing home. She talked and talked for half an hour, but she doesn't want a visit because of the restrictions (only 30 minutes, with a nurse in charge, outdoors). While we were talking, two cranes flew over my head! I love the cranes. They are so majestic.
posted by mumimor at 5:28 AM on May 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

Thanks mumimor. Thank you for sharing about the fox. I saw one outside once years ago. They are so beautiful. I'm quite jealous.

I read something that I would like to plaster all over everywhere - I think it was on Twitter, but apologies if I read it on MetaFilter and am not giving someone credit: Opening up doesn't mean it's safe. Opening up means we think we'll have a hospital bed for you.
posted by FencingGal at 5:36 AM on May 10, 2020 [7 favorites]

I work at a hospital, though not directly with Covid patients, and I live alone, so most of my life is the same. Go to work Mon-Fri, home evenings and weekends with the cats, watch a lot of Netflix. I feel like I should be improving various aspects of my life, but I'm not!
posted by shiny blue object at 5:55 AM on May 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

This week, where I work, the CEO announced that all facilities in the US, Canada and UK would remain closed through at least Labor Day, at which point some kind of gradual reopening might begin. I guess it's nice to have a sort of firm date to look forward to.

We picked a ton of strawberries yesterday, at a berry farm where you can pick your own for $4.50 per pound. Handwashing before entering the field was required, and people not wearing masks were turned away.
posted by emelenjr at 6:48 AM on May 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Just sad all the time now.

Hugs to everyone.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 8:53 AM on May 10, 2020 [18 favorites]

I realized yesterday that we're most likely not going to be able to have our traditional Thanksgiving, where we host up to 40 people in our home, a mix of really close friends and family. That hit me really hard. I'm kind of hoping that by then that the canceling of all the other stuff we do during the year (Memorial Day - big food fest here in town; 4th of July - big, diverse, crazy parade and hanging out with friends; birthdays [I have a big one this year]; Halloween) will ease the grief of no big Thanksgiving this year.

My daughter, who will be a junior in college in the fall, had been planning on moving to an apartment off campus with her friends. They still want to do that, even if classes are still online in the fall. I trust them all, they're smart women. They won't have parties, they'll follow guidelines. But I really feel so, so scared. She's an adult. I can't make her stay home, unless I want to destroy our relationship. I hate all of this.
posted by cooker girl at 9:14 AM on May 10, 2020 [11 favorites]

so sorry about your fathers, dobbs, bcd.

sympathies for your other risks and stressors, the room.

that sounds like a favorable review of the piano app, Maarika. depending on frequency of payments, probably a better price than in-person piano instruction (from non-family).

gig has restarted here. telework. i'm out of the rhythm -- had gone nocturnal during hiatus. tryin' to swing it around. family remains ok. we did not plan another picnic for mother's day, i think wisely. i did go to garden/hardware box store, where, to their credit, they were limiting people entering the building. crazy free for all of not-distant-enough dumb shoppers once inside with aisles in garden center too narrow to even try. got something for each of the mothers in my life. dropped off a lovely little calla lily for mom. also got bike out of basement, inflated tires (which haven't flattened yet), rode up and down street using muscles i haven't in [cough] years. it is not excellent but seems to work. just about crashed trying to go up a curb, which i recalled as thoughtless easy. some practice needed. and some conditioning. alas: my lock is securing a friend's kayak to my garage rafters. not that there is anywhere to go: pretty sure i'm not yet up to carrying groceries on it & parents' place -- where i also shouldn't go -- is maybe a touch too far to try, unconditioned. got an old fountain pen working; ordered some ink and fountain-pen maintenance supplies.

a serosurvey from nih that welcomed email inquiries many weeks ago finally wrote back (from u pitt) to elicit demographic/contact information. no further development. i'm in that class that suspects i (and little lurk) might have had it in early march: the child's flu was somewhat unusual; babymama thinks that kawasaki-like disease describes it but i'm not so sure. mine, too, kinda unusual, though differently: fever disappearing and returning repeatedly, lingering fatigue, some unwonted short breath. anyway, would dig to know which assay that serosurvey will use.

also: there are foxes. not terribly unusual here. can often hear them yipping, nights. early on in this period, saw a whole family of them walking down the mid-night road with idle forays into yards. less common: hawks. hope they'll eat my garden-menacing rabbits. also might have seen something bigger -- dog-size and dark -- as i arrived home from little lurk's one night; was unable to get eyes firmly upon it as it rapidly slunk off in shadows.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:23 AM on May 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

A few weeks ago I saw my first pandemic times livestreamed wedding. Today, I saw my first pandemic times livestreamed memorial service for a very beloved figure in our community whose final stretch of cancer suddenly accelerated and took her away just a couple days after she entered hospice.
posted by mostly vowels at 9:38 AM on May 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

I had my identity stolen and someone filed a COVID-19 related unemployment claim in my name. This is extra annoying because I really do need to file for unemployment next month and I feel like its going to be an ever bigger hassle now.
posted by Ruki at 10:12 AM on May 10, 2020 [7 favorites]

I just went to the grocery store for the first time in almost two months. I've been getting delivery but there were a few items that the delivery never had in stock. The store had things set up decently well, but the customers were all over the place. More than half were wearing masks, but that was about it, with zero concern for others' personal space. I feel bad for the employees, it must be so stressful dealing with that all day.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:24 AM on May 10, 2020

Still just tootling along in the South Bay; people still generally do a decent job of distancing on the streets, but not so much in the stores -- at 7-11 people pay almost no mind to it, and maybe half of the customers wear masks despite the prominent "YOU MUST WEAR A MASK!" signs on the doors. But then, at the grocery store pretty much 100% of the customers are masked, and maybe 75% are even wearing gloves, so perhaps it's just a sign that ... um .... well, I'm not finding a nice way to describe the 7-11 customers so I just won't.

I spent the morning building an "Elsa House" for the 5-year old next door out of laser cut cardboard. I don't think I did a very good job, but I hope she likes it all the same. I dunno, maybe she can fancy it up with some drawings -- I'm more of a functional designer, not a graphic designer.
posted by aramaic at 12:59 PM on May 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

Today I told my wife "I REALLY hate all my socks!". She raised her eyebrows and I said "Hey Covid lockdown effects us all differently!".
posted by srboisvert at 4:04 PM on May 10, 2020 [12 favorites]

Still tootling along in the south bay as well. My girlfriend and I decided to shelter-in-place together when all this started. We've been more or less inside for 8 weeks now. It's impacting her more than it's impacting me, and I'm not sure where the right line is between be careful because there is a global pandemic on and it's killing people in our neighborhood too and it would be really nice to go out for a walk around the park together. There are two block-sized parks a few blocks from our apartment in different directions. I suspect once we got out on the street, we could socially-distance effectively, but ... I don't know. This thing has me extremely spooked and unnecessary going-outside-and-sharing-air scares the piss out of me right now.

GF's parents in Orange County are not taking it very seriously at all (they're still meeting up with family friends once a week or so, etc) and every time she talks to them, they encourage her to go out. Part of me says "they're not wrong, so long as 'go out' means, y'know, walk around the block while staying as distant from others as possible and wearing masks," but.. accepting any risk right now just frightens me in ways I can't really articulate. I know I tend towards the anxious and I don't want to be too paranoid, but I'd also really prefer that we don't catch this shit and have who-even-knows-what complications up to and including death. I also don't want to be weird and controlling about it, which.. ugh I don't even know. I don't love that every time she talks to her dad he says "go out!" and I say "but we're scared!" .. I know the county health order allows going out to exercise, but.. yay crippling anxiety!

Also she's having anxiety nightmares. I'm not, thank goodness, but she hasn't had a good night's sleep in weeks. This sucks.
posted by Alterscape at 4:31 PM on May 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

Vancouver BC, crazy weather (some parts of town hit 28 C yesterday and 30 C today) and there are news articles about people crowding the beaches (but no, they aren't getting shut down).

Traffic has been slower, but so so many loud-assed cars and motorcycles constantly zooming up and down the urban highway I'm overlooking and it's driving me insane. Especially when packs of them are riding together, revving their engines at the stop light and then burning out, only to hit the next red light and revving their engines again. I can't believe there are that many hogs in the entire city, they must be riding back and forth. It's an insane parade of toxic noisemaking.

Masks/ gloves/ distancing is all over the map. I broke down and got take-out dimsum (the restaurant isn't very good but they were so busy I couldn't get through on the phone and had to walk in to make an order) - while waiting, I walked over to the Korean supermarket for some fresh produce and it was about 50/ 50 masks. Of the careless 50, they are way worse in general than the vast majority at the "Western" supermarkets (~25% masked) where almost everybody generally understood distancing and giving each other space and queuing up and generally taking it easier and thanking each other with a smile or a nod for the extra space and waiting a few extra seconds.

Overheard at a London Drugs - an old Caucasian gentleman mocking another (random) old Caucasian gentleman, "So how long are you going to wear that mask for?" The reply, after a are you seriously kidding me stare was, "As long as I feel like."
posted by porpoise at 4:34 PM on May 10, 2020 [10 favorites]

I guess this goes here. Greetings from Dukes County, MA. We have grown to 24 confirmed cases, no deaths, but things are strange.

The Steamship authority is running out of operating cash, Supply lines are getting wonky. And people from all over the usa are wondering, will there be a summer on MV this year? What can that even look like if there is no vaccine? People are writing letters to our local paper asking should they try to come.

Today is mother's day, so last night we did a DIY mother's day gift bag- a microwaveable chocolate lava cake, a 187 ml mini split of proseco, and a rose, ten bucks. we sold out. We made a cute video about it.

Day off today and tomorrow. Coming up on two months since we went curbside. All so strange, I had a guy pick up food last week who told me he was a pulmonary doc from California who drove cross country when this all began to unfold, and now he's helping out locally.

We can not have a normal summer season here, and no one can agree on what the alternative looks like or how to safely structure it.
posted by vrakatar at 5:52 PM on May 10, 2020 [12 favorites]

In other news we put these south west chicken spring rolls on the menu and thet are so damn good I can't even tell you, and they are selling like hotcakes. Our new record is 132 orders in 4 hours. Places that have been closed are starting to try to do what we have been doing, so we will have competition going forward.

Nice lazy day for me today but tomorrow I actually have to mow the grass for the first time this year. Tiny yard no big deal but another reminder summer is coming, and if 100 thousand people come to the island yikes.
posted by vrakatar at 6:59 PM on May 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

The current mask pattern for my volunteer group is all curved top stitched seams. One of them is recurved. Really annoying but at least my top stitching is getting better. Which is just as well because I have no thread that matches the current cloth.
posted by clew at 7:05 PM on May 10, 2020

Traffic has been slower, but so so many loud-assed cars and motorcycles constantly zooming up and down the urban highway I'm overlooking and it's driving me insane.

Here, it is the loud cars. So many loud cars. For weeks, everyone who has a lowered car with a big muffler has been racing around, taking advantage of the reduced traffic. (Which I understand and totally sympathize with, I just wish they would do it quieter.)
posted by Dip Flash at 7:58 PM on May 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

Yeah, some prominent local news about cops pulling over egregious speeders (typically younger kids [from satellite families that declare $0 Canadian income and cash government-issued low-income support cheques but live in mortgage-free multi-million dollar homes], with "N" stickers, and usually in vehicles registered to their parents).

There's a Hell's Angels clubhouse a few minutes out, and I'm on the way to a "scenic" urban highway that wends around some nice geography that's in between hills and mountains.

Cops could make SO MUCH money in fines with so little effort, but they apparently don't want the hassle/ politics.

My issue with loud cars around here is that they're shitty cars that are made loud - at the expense of performance! - rather than super cars that are made loud(er than stock), the common complaint downtown.

This is completely separate from vain idiots downtown driving loud supercars they can't actually afford.

But fuck Harley-Davidson riders and their imitators. If I could grant those riders all sufficiently large penises and testicles, I'd do it - but that wouldn't be enough.
posted by porpoise at 8:28 PM on May 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

This past winter I was waiting at a light when a loud Mustang went by. A father and young girl were standing nearby waiting for their walk signal and I heard her ask why that car was so loud. The father said, loud enough for drivers to hear, that some people think louder is better, and that’s how you can tell that they’re morons.

Three of us bust out laughing. I dunno about the fourth car, they were in my blind spot.
posted by aramaic at 8:35 PM on May 10, 2020 [8 favorites]

My dad died from Covid-19 a couple Fridays ago, right before midnight.

I'm sorry dobbs.

I see you, dobbs. It was a couple weeks ago my father died, and I grew up near Toronto fifty years too. Wish there was more to offer, but I hear you and share your pain. Be well.

I'm sorry bcd.

You people stay well. Take care of yourselves.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:05 PM on May 10, 2020 [6 favorites]

I read a few years ago that in their latest design iteration, Harley Davidson went back to the drawing board after the prototypes were produced in order to make them louder, because they thought that would be more appealing to their prime demographic.
posted by jamjam at 9:19 PM on May 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

In Massachusetts, the level of traffic is down 50%, but traffic fatalities are exactly the same. According to the Boston Globe: “traffic in Massachusetts is way down during the coronavirus pandemic, but the rate of fatal car crashes has roughly doubled — likely because of the more open roads. The number of cars on major highways dropped about 50 percent in April, with much larger declines in certain areas. Yet 28 people died in car crashes in April, one more than in April 2019, according to the state Department of Transportation. With little traffic to slow drivers down, some are driving at dangerous speeds, officials said.”
posted by Melismata at 9:28 PM on May 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

Sorry for both of you. So glad my parents are both already gone, so I don't have to deal with that.. My in laws, who I like way better than my parents tho.l NOT BEHAVING PROPERLY!!!
posted by Windopaene at 9:39 PM on May 10, 2020

Also Seattle...

Our first 80 degree weather this year, search montlake cut May 9, images, to bum you out...

It's going to be a long summer. Hey kids, you aren't immune. Hey old people, based on personal interactions, your "individualility" won't save you either...
posted by Windopaene at 9:44 PM on May 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

can confirm the crazy speeds and related knucklehead behavior on the roads in dmv area (haven't been to the v part lately, but no reason to expect it is different). on routine trips to and from little lurk & mama's place, i take two suburban roads -- one of which had limit lowered from 45 to 35 just before this craziness started -- and some highway. speeds routinely about 50 - 65 mph common on marked 35 mph roads with some 70-80's bullying past when they can; traffic moving about 75-85 today on highway with much excess blowing by them at speed. usual speeds, before the stay-at-home age, 45-50 and 60-70, respectively, with wider range. woe to who obey posted limits - the look like they're parked and are no way safer for observing those standards. last couple weeks traffic has been getting heavier, but it hasn't slowed anything down; just made some of the jockeying for position dumber. on that one where the limit was recently lowered a lot of people have been speeding away and then slowing drastically approaching/passing stoplights, i guess fearing being observed by police: judging from lane choice it does not appear to be concern with traffic entering in right lanes. during the day, that road also has lines of stopped cars waiting to visit fast food or plant nurseries often just there in the right lane. oh, and there are way more pedestrians in odd places than in normal times. i try to drive with an attitude of defensive taoism: going with, but a little above, the flow, aiming for the spaces between concentrations of vehicles, and keeping a careful eye on autobody-language ahead with intent of not prompting any other drivers to make any inputs due to me. so far so good, though i suspect the regular trips are more dangerous than the occasional run to the grocery store. haven't seen police for a long time. on the other hand, had to creep along behind a guy walking his dogs in the middle of the road and absolutely refusing to recognize the car creeping up and coasting a respectful distance behind him for a block although he kept looking back to make sure i was still there, before i could make it out among the hot rodders. gas prices have been great; speeds probably not ideal for fuel economy.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:30 PM on May 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

It's strange to think that literally the whole world is struggling right now. Some more than others, obviously, but we are truly in this together.
So true, mumimor. This is something I keep stumbling over. I realise now that in the past, one of the ways I process hard times is by having an imaginary conversation with somebody from elsewhere, explaining to them what I'm going through. For example, when Cape Town was experiencing the Day Zero water shortages things felt pretty apocalyptic at times, but there's something soothing in the idea that at least I was experiencing something that people on the outside would find interesting or moving in some way. With this, most of the world is either experiencing what I am, or much worse off. My internal audience is distracted with their own problems.

Apparently we're going to be experiencing the peak of this thing around August, here in South Africa. Predictions say more than 40 000 deaths unless - I'm not sure unless what. At the same time we have politicians tweeting that "The latest scientific research" says that children can't infect adults so it's fine to open the schools. I hope old Cyril stands his ground.
posted by Zumbador at 12:30 AM on May 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

Indiana is beginning its opening-up procedure. The person who normally cuts our hair is reopening this week, and we're tentatively scheduled to see her this Thursday. We're both hesitant, but we both also seriously need haircuts. It's been over two months for me. I've tried keeping my curls trimmed as well as possible, but I now have a serious Emmett Brown thing going on up top. We'll wear masks, and the salon will be trying to maintain distancing, though I'm not sure how that's totally possible.

I really need to be with our friends again, but I also don't want to rush into socializing, either. I honestly didn't think I'd have as much trouble with this quarantine thing as I have. The last two weeks or so have been especially difficult. I'm very envious of our friends and relatives in California, Colorado, and Illinois with easy, legal access relaxation.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:13 AM on May 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

In Massachusetts, the level of traffic is down 50%, but traffic fatalities are exactly the same. According to the Boston Globe: “traffic in Massachusetts is way down during the coronavirus pandemic, but the rate of fatal car crashes has roughly doubled — likely because of the more open roads. The number of cars on major highways dropped about 50 percent in April, with much larger declines in certain areas. Yet 28 people died in car crashes in April, one more than in April 2019, according to the state Department of Transportation. With little traffic to slow drivers down, some are driving at dangerous speeds, officials said.”

Same in Chicago. I don't know about the stats but there have been lots of spectacular crashes in the city with cars going into houses, wrapping around poles and just being crushed. And we started the whole lockdown with a bunch of massive multi-car pileups on the highways.

Also traffic which had died down has started coming back and I'd say at points it is close to about 75% of normal. People are surrendering to the virus and the bullies.
posted by srboisvert at 5:42 AM on May 11, 2020

Checking in from India.
Numbers have hit 65k and going up. Third iteration of a nationwide lockdown in progress. I live in the state with the highest number of positive cases, so even if the country were to open up slightly at the end of this week, my state certainly can't, and won't.
I live alone, so I haven't touched another human being since March 18. I miss my family constantly, like a low grade tummyache that refuses to go away. I am deeply grateful that they, based out of various places, are all doing okay so far - though everyone is worried about the economy and job losses. I have a relatively stable and well paying job and have told siblings that I can pitch in with rent/salaries (one of them has a small setup of her own)/whatever - I feel like I need to be more useful. I have made as many donations as I could, and would continue doing the same in the days ahead - for a country like mine with millions of poor migrants, I am terrified of what happens in the wake of the economy tanking and the informal sector shutting down. So many, many, many families would be devastated. It doesn't bear thinking about.
The weather is awful and the heat and humidity coupled with masks is nightmare material - I know it's a small problem in the larger scheme of things, but going out for groceries is so goddamn uncomfortable.
I have good days and productive days and days full of chores and cleaning and cooking and then there are these days when I am so tired, so worried, so scared, so...everything, that all I want to do is lie down and weep. Does anyone else have these sudden, fall-apart days? They always seem to come with no warning...
Stay safe, stay well, stay strong. Sending best wishes to everyone.
posted by Nieshka at 5:56 AM on May 11, 2020 [21 favorites]

i try to drive with an attitude of defensive taoism: going with, but a little above, the flow, aiming for the spaces between concentrations of vehicles, and keeping a careful eye on autobody-language ahead with intent of not prompting any other drivers to make any inputs due to me.

Ha! Almost! (Sorry-derail-but I love traffic science.) I don’t know how much start-and-stop traffic you’re encountering (in the current situation), but if you do, you can defeat it. It’s a wave pattern, and you can disrupt it with another wave. What creates the wave is one person stepping on the brakes. Which makes the person behind them slow down. And then the person behind them changes lanes which makes the person in that lane slow down. So it spreads to the side. (The original stopper is long gone by now.) It spreads sideways from the outside lanes faster because there’s only inwards to go. So pretty quickly you end up with a band of congestion across the road, which propagates more waves behind it. (These waves also tend to form around geographical imperfections which cause the initial braking. This is why it costs bajillions of dollars to build a new on-ramp, particularly in dense urban areas. The design is intrinsically very specific, and requires very specific placement, because if it causes traffic, that intersection can burn dozens to hundreds of gallons of gas a day, causing pollution.)
Here’s how you break up the waves:
Make sure all your mirrors are sorted. Stick to one of the middle lanes. Don’t change lanes. Now, look at the cars all around you, behind, in front, to the sides, the ones in congestion, the ones not. Drive the average of that speed. You will find yourself slowing a bit in congestion as the average slows, but only adjust by taking your foot off the accelerator. Do Not Use The Brakes! (Unless absolutely necessary, of course.)
The brakes are equivalent to just dumping gasoline into the atmosphere.
The brakes are same as erecting a stop light (in the form of your tail lights), in the middle of the freeway, with no yellow light.
The brakes are the enemy.
(Changing lanes with other cars around=using the brakes in multiple lanes.)
So, middle lane, constant average speed. In the open parts, you will be moving slower and cars in adjacent lanes will be passing you, this is fine. They’re just going to hit the back of the next congestion. As you approach it, however, there will be space ahead of you, since you were moving slower. They will want to get in front of you, but now they are almost stopped and you’re still moving and giving ‘I’m not stopping’ car-body language. (Changing lanes, by anyone, just makes the congestion worse. Do not want.) Ok, here’s the fun part, ‘don’t hit the car in front of you, and don’t hit the brakes.’ If you’re doing it right, you will be rolling almost to a stop with your front bumper alllmosst touching the bumper ahead...right when that car is hitting the front of the congestion...and moving away from you. You’re creating a wave between your bumper and the bumper ahead of you...and that breaks up the congestion waves. Because you weren’t hitting the brakes along with everyone else, the traffic waves will break up behind you in a V, like the wake of a boat, and disappear as far behind you as you can see. It’s like a fukkin magic trick. Also it saves gas, a lot of gas. It saves the gas of all the drivers behind you. I figure in the X years I spent driving in L.A. I saved myself and other drivers at least 1000 gallons.
(The reason this traffic wave stuff is in my head now is, of course, Coronavirus. I’ve been deep in my ‘epidemiologist armchair’ looking at the wave patterns in the new case graphs. Barriers cause waves. If we hadn’t enacted social distance/stay-at-home measures, it would be a straight exponential curve, with the occasional small uptick every 7 days (reflecting our weekly activity cycle), chaotic but mostly level at the peak, and then coming down the same way (with upticks)...this is what the graphs from 1918 look like. With barriers you end up with waves and curves and spikes (which are just skinny, tall waves, and usu result from multiple waves reinforcing). The main waves in play are: the virus’s 5-day mean incubation period, our 7-day weekly activity cycle (muted somewhat, but not everybody’s unemployed), and our daily 1-day activity cycle (this mostly serves as the ‘traffic lanes’ in the above scenario...causing infections/cluster events to ‘pop’ to one day or another. I.e. not a lot of infections are happening in the dead of night when everyone is asleep.) It’s amazing to me that no one has talked at all about this wave phenomenon (I mean, Cuomo has said ‘it goes up, it goes down, you can’t predict it, you look at the overall trend, etc’ and I saw one doctor from NYC on the news talk about how it will come down in a ‘sine wave’ (not exactly true, but I’ll explain))... I think a big part of the problem has been an over-reliance on computerized ‘best-fit’ models...they’re trying to fit to the simplest curve and that’s just obliterating the wave information from the 2c. OK...these waves don’t show up everywhere. For them to show up you need country-sized. Otherwise, you’re just looking at individual clusters. And when you get to ‘worldwide’ numbers, then the waves all blend together and you’re left with our 7-day cycle. Take a look. (In fact, it hews even closer than it appears. See the spikes? They’re not really there. They’re all from countries that report a lot of deaths/cases all at once...they usu get back-dated to previous days, but a bunch inevitably don’t. The first spike in feb is when China reported all their cases at once (all the cases from before were back-dated from there), the 2 in early April were when Italy, then France, reported their nursing home/died at home/prev unreported deaths all at once. April 24 was Ecuador reporting all/most of their cases at once, like China, and IIRC new CDC guidelines about ‘presumed cases’ being enacted. May 1 I’m not so sure about, been taking a bit of a news holiday...I think that one might just have been a bad day...or CDC ‘presumed deaths’(?)) The pattern of the new case graph is the same everywhere, even if the graph itself is not...I will explain. (Again, places with small numbers of cases will be much more clustery/chaotic) It starts in an area with random clusters bouncing off our daily cycle, then it breaks out, and you start to see fatalities. This is when the lockdown/barrier is put in place, which often causes what I call an ‘inception event’ which actually causes a huge wave of infections...sending kids/college students home, stocking up at the grocery, one last ‘great night out’/trip to the beach/etc. This event shapes the graph after that, mostly on the upward slope, with a more chaotic/longer-starting/drawn-out shutdown leading to a more chaotic graph. On the upward slope, while everyone is scrambling and the 7-day cycle is most disrupted, it’s mostly the virus’s 5-day cycle bouncing upward in arcs like a ball. (But like a ball made of Flubber...I’m guessing R-0::coefficient of elasticity of this imaginary bounces higher than it fell.) At the peak, chaos. The ball is in free-fall, the 5-day cycle spinning like the clock in the twilight zone credits. Where that clock lands in relation to our 7-day cycle defines how the waves play out on the downslope. (Where that clock lands is probably random and unpredictable.) So you get, like, harmonic and you get big wave-little wave-big wave-little wave, lined up, reinforcing, and you get big, deep waves (sometimes with the added complication of the peaks leaning towards, then away, from each other) and a more chaotic shutdown/upward slope (possibly also ‘longer flatter peak’) introduces sub-harmonics and you get a more complicated wave, coming down. (The upward slope can also appear more chaotic due to testing ramp-ups.) For example, NY (and USA, mostly as a result) (source: worldometers and NYT daily new case graphs...remember, not all weird spikes are actually there...u gotta check the daily news) got a Big inception event, but mostly all at once...shutdowns, shopping spree, St. Patty’s day Friday (I shudder to think what the parade would have done), and that Sunday when everyone got jammed in the airports...5-day bounces, chaotic peak, big wave-little wave. (I predict that it will settle to vanilla 7-day, like the ‘worldwide’ numbers, as the waves ‘pop’ together from the ‘lane’ effect of our 1-day cycle.) NJ, on the other hand, had a more messy shutdown with waffling on beach and park and playground closures, and IIRC, we were also open on St Patty Saturday, but they shut the bars down early b/c too was a mess and our graph is messier. (We’ve also had a very long peak, but I think that has to with more cases coming in later, in the southern counties...i.e. coming out of Philly.) What’s interesting is we don’t have bigspikes, but we do have big dips. I’d have to break out the oscilloscope, but some of the simpler wave combos look like WAY up-down-plateau-up-WAY down-WAY up-down-plateau-up WAY down-etc...I feel like I am definitely seeing a lot of that in the NJ graph. The UK graph is a jaggy mess (shutdown disorganized, announced to far in advance) but is somewhat smoother overall...the big event there was the grocery shopping/hoarding...prob the worst of anywhere, and for longer. I took a pic off the skynews showing activity before the lockdown in groceries and pharmacies (source: anonymized android/iphone location data) showing a 40-50% increase in traffic (basically the difference between a slow Tuesday and Black Friday) for like a whole week...smoothing the graph.
So yeah...long story short, I’ve been teaching myself to read tea leaves. My predictions are getting pretty good though...I can hit solid numbers like 4 days out for world/NY/USA...2-3 for least 1-2 elsewhere. :/ ...sorry if this all sounds crazy and speculative, but I have had a lot of time on my hands, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I had to write it all down somewhere. 20yrlurk said ‘traffic.’ Blame them. ;P
posted by sexyrobot at 5:59 AM on May 11, 2020 [27 favorites]

(Oh, also I think Sweden might have actually been sorta smart about not doing a lockdown, because they didn’t end up with a big grocery rush or other scramble. People there are mostly wearing masks/staying in etc anyway because it’s the smart thing to do (yay functional education system). But very much this is a ‘doesn’t work everywhere’ situation. It’s parasitic. It relies on neighboring countries enacted lockdowns to work.)
posted by sexyrobot at 6:07 AM on May 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

flagged for fascinating, sexyrobot. would read more.
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:15 AM on May 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm very envious of our friends and relatives in California, Colorado, and Illinois with easy, legal access relaxation.

Don't be too jealous of IL. Before this started, it was almost impossible to visit a dispensary for recreational. The lines were around the block, because it was so new, and they frequently sold out. No one bothers NOW, especially. I imagine everyone went back to their old dealers.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:15 AM on May 11, 2020

Sorry. I was either going to talk about all that...or the ‘social distance dildo’ that looks a lot like my ex. You dodged a bullet.
posted by sexyrobot at 6:17 AM on May 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Does anyone else have these sudden, fall-apart days? They always seem to come with no warning...

Totally, Nieshka. I think it's easy to underestimate the toll this takes on ones psyche. I think I've found a way to manage the dread, for several days, even, and then something sets it off again and I feel like I've swallowed a whole load of rusty gears that are still grinding away.
I was just wondering today what it's like to have to wear a mask in hot weather. We're going into winter now, which has its downside (flu season!) but at least we don't have to deal with mask-sweat quite so much.
posted by Zumbador at 6:22 AM on May 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

We're due to sort of kind of open up in western new york starting next week, but at least in my circle nobody really feels safe doing so. Over the last few days I've felt more lost at sea. It's probably the case that none of the touted goal posts were ever real (a quick vaccine, a quick and effective course of treatment, excellent contact tracing and a low case count) but it's been disappointing to watch them all being revealed as far off solutions, at best.

I'm not really seeing a way forward anymore. It was never really the plan to keep everyone home forever, but once we send the kids back to daycare, how can we ever see the high risk grandparents again?
posted by celare at 6:36 AM on May 11, 2020 [7 favorites]

I'm very envious of our friends and relatives in California, Colorado, and Illinois with easy, legal access relaxation.

Up here, weed stores were declared "essential businesses" by the governor and have stayed open. I don't believe weed delivery is legal yet, but I have heard that demand for delivery services has gone way up and I can't imagine the state picking this moment to crack down on it. All the weed stores I have driven by in the last few weeks look busy; I'd guess that their sales are up just like liquor stores have seen. The store I occasionally go to offers contactless takeout, just like all the restaurants have -- you can call to place your order and pay, and then you swing by and get handed a paper bag.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:01 AM on May 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm sorry for this general sob story word barf, but I don't really have any other venue to release my thoughts and feelings on the coronavirus situation.

So almost a year ago I moved to Russia with my partner. It is their home country and we met in the US (my home country). When we moved we had a daughter and I was pregnant. Now I have a son too.
The main deal to get me to move was that i would be able to come back with both kids 2 times a year to visit my family, who are all around the area i grew up. I would be able to indulge in my main hobby (rink skating) and spend some time at the house by the shore my parents just bought for retirement, going to the beach and taking the kids on the boardwalk.

Things did not go as planned here, I ended up stuck in a very rural village at my inlaws for 9 months, and finally moved into our actual house in the city, got the oldest in preschool so she could start learning the language, and like 3 weeks later it all shut down.

When i was first getting news from America, my concerns were relatively petty. Summer's ruined! I'll be able to see my family, but no jam skating, some boardwalk attractions may not be open, no summer concerts. No NHL hockey going on to stream over hear to hear the sounds of home. Then it got more serious. MAy not be able to see family this summer. Or Next summer. Ever?

My baby's not vaccinated. Because they do something different here. Before he was supposed to get his first shots, they take a blood sample to see if there's enough white cells for the vaccine to be effective rather than doing series of booster shots. At least that's what i think because my grasp of medical terminology Russian is lacking. Anyway his white cell count wasnt there. They said it's normal and they will check again in a month. Then it all shuts down. I asked at his latest visit, can he get vaccinated, but they said doctors are not allowed to issue vaccines while the official state of quarantine is still active. what the fuck?

Both of my kids are citizens of both countries. I am on a Visa requiring me to leave every 90 days. I left in December and I'm supposed to leave in July. But IT wasn't supposed to happen like that. We were supposed to get married so I could file for residency, but that requires i have a Russian document notarized at the embassy in Moscow, which is an overnight trip with hotel stay, then take said document to some foreign affairs office in Moscow, then return in person to pick it up 5 days later. Lots of shlepping with 2 kids so it didn't get done and now it can't because the embassy isnt doing that service for lockdown. Borders closed and there's no international flights so i can't leave. I've decided to sit in this holding pattern till June and if nothing changes contact immigrationas ask them what to do? I'm terrified that some dumb bueacracy will make me choose between staying legal but separating from my kids for a while or being illegal whatever that means here in this surveillance state.

So tired of this coronavirus and the non response from the supposed "leaders" of both contries.
posted by WeekendJen at 7:09 AM on May 11, 2020 [22 favorites]

Fall-apart day for me is usually (mild-ish) panic-attack day, or unrelated-PTSD day. I just go straight to bed and sleep it off. Why not? Days don’t matter any more! IT’S TUESDAY AFTERNOON NOW AND FOREVER!! Then I wake up and eat something and feel better. Try that.
Did I mention the cases of rockstar energy beverage ( precioussssss) that just arrived via post that are a slippery slippery slope for me? I am straight-up blathering at this point...if you ask me how many I drank I will probably lie to your face. There is a reason I am not allowed to order in bulk!
this me. This 100% me. Ima go smoke weed and then try do something productive..ha-haa! I’m invincible, only dirty doorknobs can stop me now!
Oh, and if anyone needs some cheering up, the entire run of ‘Miranda’ (with Miranda Hart...the tall, wacky, British friend from ‘Spy’) is available on YouTube in ‘crappy upload, with spanish subtitles, but otherwise fully-functional’ format. It’s really hilarious. The scene in the first episode where she does an ‘ambush make-over’ show...omg, I have not laughed that hard in a while, nor do I think I have ever given a television a standing ovation, but that’s kind of exactly what happened. :/
Sending love to everyone, and I’ll check back later...look, AB tests are becoming more and more available (and I strongly believe, at the end of this, it’ll be the AB tests and contact tracing that save us, well before the vaccine can happen)...bad as things are, we’re getting closer to ‘lockdown finish-line’, even if some places are re-opening too early and have to go right back. I predict the US will look ‘mostly normal-ish, just with masks’ by end-july/mid-august, though if there’s much resurgence I could see the big-city states (or just big-city regions/counties) closed through, or just for Labor Day weekend...possibly beaches too. Labor day will prob be an important battle to keep it from coming back in the fall.
Again, blathering. And I only had one rockstar. Waves!
posted by sexyrobot at 7:21 AM on May 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

My husband and I are going to try to go get tested for antibodies tomorrow (the wait is too long today).

I've been sick with a cough etc. since late March and he was sick for 2 weeks at the beginning of April. We assumed that it wasn't c19 because we never had fevers and initially they were saying ~99% of c19 infections included fever, but last I checked that percentage has been revised downward to ~85%. So maybe we had it after all?

We're hoping that we have the antibodies so we can donate them. My husband is a regular blood donor but his most recent Red Cross appointment this past weekend was cancelled because he'd been bumped in favor of an antibodies donor and that's when we realized "oh maybe we should see if we can do that too."
posted by Jacqueline at 8:29 AM on May 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

My wife works a stupid, shitty retail job serving a lot of entitled customers who think rules don't apply to them even in the best of times. (By the way, if you're one of those people who wear contact lenses and constantly ask if you can just get another "trial pair" or just "extend your prescription a bit longer" after it's expired without actually seeing a doctor, please knock that shit off. You're asking the poorly-paid person serving you to break company rules and possibly the law just so you won't be inconvenienced, and you're probably the fifth person that day asking for special treatment.) Today they reopened and she had to go back to work, in an area where the number of daily new reported COVID cases is still quite high, and where there's a significant population of people who refuse to comply with social distancing and masking rules due to Fox News poisoning. I am absolutely not convinced that her employer is going to do enough to keep her safe in this environment but there's nothing I can do about it. It's just a matter of time before one of the asshole Trump supporters around here who say things like "this is all overblown" or "it's just the flu!" gets her sick. And since I normally work on a hospital campus, I'm not going to feel comfortable going back to work when we finally start to reopen, knowing I'm at increased risk of exposing people as a result.
posted by biogeo at 10:00 AM on May 11, 2020 [9 favorites]

Biogeo, you just reminded me of a sliver of brightness in my situation. I need contacts but it's no biggie here because you can buy them from vending machines. So crazy compared to my stretching and scrimping contact wearing ways in the US.
posted by WeekendJen at 10:09 AM on May 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

People are really starving for contact these days. My aunt called to say she was coming soon with my cousin and great niece (she has a cottage nearby). I said I'm looking forward to seeing them from a distance. She said they don't care, and I had to say I care. And then all of our phone call was spent with going through that. I'd rather talk about something else, but it will be nice to see them. Maybe now I can finally bake the apple cake.

Since my internet cable is broken, I have to go to a nearby cottage to zoom for work, and today while I was there a little old man came into the garden. My dog went insane, he is very protective, but the man was undeterred. Finally I had to apologize to the others and go out to stop him before he came in to the house. I recognized him though I don't remember his name, but I didn't know if he recognized me, he did. Still he felt it was extremely important that he should come in to tell me about the wolf. I tried to explain that I was working, I know about the wolf, and I am not scared. But he wouldn't stop, and I realized he was deaf. So I literally shouted at him that I was at work and he had to leave. I hope my colleagues couldn't hear it. But now I'm just thinking that he is an old man who is very lonely and who has made it his job to tell everyone about the wolf.

After the zoom meeting, I'd planned to work for a couple of hours, but it was so exhausting, I felt I could hardly remember my own name, let alone write academic articles or review students' work. Why is zooming so hard? One thing I noticed today is that I feel I have to think far more about how I say stuff, because it's harder to understand what people are saying in this medium. And it's hard to plan your words when you still have to listen carefully to what people are saying.
posted by mumimor at 10:41 AM on May 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

Also, I had delivery today, which is in some ways great, but the only place here that delivers has a limited range of products. So I had ordered melon and ham, but they only delivered the melon, and they don't tell you until it's too late to change the order. So now I have a giant beautiful melon, and no ham, and I don't much like melon without the ham. I'll have to think about it, or go to the local store that has wonderful locally cured ham, but also a lot of confused pensioners and partying youth. Maybe if I go very early in the morning.

They did deliver little cocktail sausages. I plan to make a wonderful dish called Swedish sausage dish, which I understand that no one in Sweden has ever heard of. You sauté finely sliced onions and sliced potatoes in butter, season with salt, pepper and paprika, and then pour over equal amounts of vinegar and water to cover. Cook until just done. Then add ketchup, cream and cocktail sausages (or cut up wieners) and warm through gently. Adjust the seasoning. Eat. (You can garnish with chives if you want to make it look all fancy). This is the ultimate cheap comfort food. It reheats well, but I've never tried to freeze it.
posted by mumimor at 11:07 AM on May 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

Well, I am getting laid off on Friday and I am both terrified and elated. I knew it was coming so I jumped the gun and called my ED and said, look, I think you should just go ahead and lay me off. I am the event and volunteer coordinator and we don't have either right now and won't for the foreseeable future. Plus if I can jump on the unemployment train I will make more than usual for at least a little while. Plus if I can get on Oregon health I can have my gallbladder out without another $7K or more hospital bill - my bronze Obamacare plan suuuuuucks and I am drowning in bills already with more to come, but I make - made - some $250 a year too much to qualify for Medicaid.

She said she had been wondering who would ask first and that yes, I was right, layoffs were on the table for discussion at the board meeting this week. We actually had a very nice conversation and I guess Thursday is my last day. I have been completely miserable at my job, feeling useless, feeling as if I wasn't part of the team, as if my work wasn't valued at all, so suddenly hearing nice things from her was surreal as hell. I'm freaking out a bit. This conversation happened an hour ago. I had been thinking about it since last Wednesday, when I was in tears one hour into the work day (just never a good sign) and so today I called her and we talked about it and now, wow.

In other news I am really glad I live where I do and also that my son is here with me. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't get at least to the one beach that is still open. On my birthday last Monday and last night we went to the beach in the evening with the dogs and built a fire and cooked out and it was just so lovely, cold and windy (and rainy on Monday) but still so awesome and the only other people an occasional car driving by. Yes people drive on the beach in Oregon and yes, it is kind of awful but also, right now, it really helps with the social distancing when you can drive until there are no other people around. With the good weather though it was insane at that beach on Friday morning and that's scary, tons of people all mingling, trucks all drawn up together, parties. We are slowly moving towards reopening but the crazy contingent is getting more vocal all the time and I am worried that we will see a huge influx of tourists despite the fact that our case numbers went from 7 to 35 last week - the seafood processors have it and now they are all shut down as well.

To everyone who needs one, which is all of us, I send a virtual hug. I am so grateful for each and every one of you, you are really keeping me sane, having these threads where we can be honest about the bad as well as the good.
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:08 PM on May 11, 2020 [25 favorites]

There's a little local grocery that does curbside delivery. You order everything on their website, pay and leave a tip online, and then you pull into their parking lot, pop the trunk, and call and tell them what your car looks like. They come and put your groceries in your trunk. It is so easy that I could weep. I feel like my life has been revolutionized. My mother will only reliably eat like four things, two of which are strawberries and blueberries, and now I can just buy produce without having to undertake a major expedition. (She will also eat potato chips and ice cream, but that's easier to buy in bulk.) And I even feel a little bit good about supporting a local small business. I'm sure there is some reason that I should feel bad and guilty about it, but it's basically the first thing in two months that works for me and doesn't make me feel like I'm doing something terribly wrong.

Other good things: I remembered to order more contacts before my prescription ran out. I figured out how to get my ADHD meds, even though they're controlled substances and I'm in a different state from my doctor. Everything is terrible, but I am taking my small victories where I can find them.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:03 PM on May 11, 2020 [8 favorites]

A conference I wanted to go to has been moved online, and I'm trying to decide if I should register for it. I'm not sure how well an online conference is going to work. There are three-hour workshops in the morning plus readings in the afternoons. I'm not sure how well I can concentrate for that long online. I took a two-hour webinar once and ended up falling asleep.

I really liked the online conference I did last month. I'll do more. I believe a storytelling one is going to start at the end of the month. I also got invited to one in India(!) this weekend, but I really don't think I can deal with the time zone change there so will probably skip it.

I can't speak to how a three hour long workshop is going to go (mine were 1 hour lecture + 30 min break) but at least it gives you something to do, right? The conference I went to also sent me the videos after, even if I haven't gotten to watching them yet. Oops.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:24 PM on May 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

My partner and I went to pick up our curbside grocery order. The pick up spaces are a bit away from the entrance and there was no one around and it was a really nice day so we cracked the windows a little while I called the store so they could come bring our order out.

Out of nowhere someone comes up to the car, puts their face right by the crack in my partner’s window, and asks if we have any cash they could have. I didn’t find out this detail until later (couldn’t see from my angle) but they apparently had snot dribbling down their chin. We (honestly) told them we had no cash but wished them well. They left. My partner has been having repeated panic attacks on and off for the last 6 hours. It shook me quite a bit too.

I have sympathy for this person who was likely homeless. But Jesus Christ. We would have heard you at 6 feet. I had no inkling someone would come up and put their face by the crack in the window or I never would have opened it. One more thing to be vigilant about. Hhhh.
posted by brook horse at 4:56 PM on May 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

I’m a test engineer at a semiconductor company; a few weeks ago our major project for the year went into production, and my test hardware immediately started failing after looking just fine for over a year in pre-production. Worst stress I’ve had in years - typically I can roll with work stress (I have mantras about getting fired not being the end of the world) but given the world right now it was sub-panic attack off and on for those two weeks. The solution is in hand after some very difficult remote debug (normally this would have put me on a plane to Asia) so the worst is behind me.

I watched Normal People over the course of a few nights last week. I found it deeply affecting, and given the above it brought on a huge emotional release that I needed badly. I was able to sit with the emotional anguish for hours and days which is a huge change for me; repressing negative emotions has held me back as a person for many years. Maybe I’ll get something positive out of this shit storm. Like many others it’s been easy for me to skate by on the low grade dopamine hits of modern life versus working towards more satisfying ways of living.

I am fully exhausted by the quarantines at this point; I wouldn’t go to a sit down restaurant but I would 100% sit for hours at a coffee shop right now if I could. I miss it so much. I get a fair bit of energy from “ambient crowd energy” and it’s actually a factor in whether or not I feel lonely at a given point in my life.
posted by MillMan at 5:16 PM on May 11, 2020 [9 favorites]

Just want to say that I’m listening to all of you, and it makes me feel so much less alone to hear your thoughts, feelings and stories. Thank you for sharing and for creating community. It means a lot right now ❤️
posted by rue72 at 5:42 PM on May 11, 2020 [21 favorites]

Surprised by how many pre-COVID albums (like from the last year) somehow seem thematically really on-point now. Shit's been falling apart catastrophically for a lot longer than it feels like right now.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 7:44 PM on May 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Seems obvious in retrospect and I feel dumb for getting my hopes up but the friend I asked out decided two weeks later that she doesn't have the energy to start a relationship right now and we should just be friends, but only after I asked what was up after a couple of days of her pulling back without saying why. Still says she's here for me, but it's not the same. She won't talk to me about what's going on in her head without prompting so it doesn't feel right to confide in her as much. So. I'm back to doing this single, living alone, and with the support of good friends but not this one person who I hoped would be my person. Ah, well.

Hugs to everyone who needs it, especially those who, like me, are going it alone.
posted by bridgebury at 7:52 PM on May 11, 2020 [10 favorites]

8 weeks in and I am finally really angry for the first time.

For discretion, I need to obfuscate some. I work for a health provider that is well respected. Not Mayo Clinic level or MD Anderson level of prestige, but respected enough that what our organization does during this pandemic guides a lot of other places on how to "return to normalcy".

The short version is that in less than three weeks, all staff are to return to on-site work. The first 25% were supposed to be done by today which, SURPRISE!, not a lot of people knew about. Granted, we were probably close to that already since you need people in clinics, labs, etc.

But, there is no need to bring everyone back. There are so many departments I can personally attest to that are fully completing their jobs off site and can 100% show it via objective criteria.

Hospital/clinics fully staffed on site? I won't argue against it. Support staff that can literally do everything remote? STAY HOME!

Our hospital and clinics doing this offers the opportunity for MANY local companies that we can OPEN UP FOR BUSINESS!!!!111!!! because $Medical_Provider is!

I'm really fucking frustrated because it's not hard to see why everyone is supposed to be back and it is not fully thought out.

And, I am really, REALLY angry that this is the 4th time in 5-6 weeks where bad news was deliberately held back for days despite the fact that we are supposed to sacrifice "since [company] is a family" and EVERY SINGLE ONE of those times could have offered some more time for affected employees to prepare more accordingly. (i.e. This most recent instance, we would have had three more days to attempt to get childcare set up on days we had off.)

posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 8:17 PM on May 11, 2020 [15 favorites]

Oh. I can guarantee you, due to the size of our org, there will be a significant number of people who are not following best practices regarding CoVid. This is going to suck in so many ways.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 8:24 PM on May 11, 2020

So. I'm back to doing this single, living alone, and with the support of good friends but not this one person who I hoped would be my person. Ah, well.

I hear ya. I am thisclose to just being all "that's it, never gonna try talking to him again until the pandemic is over, this entire shituation is against anything happening and he was slow as hell on dealing with his issues before this, how the hell would anything overcome that? It can't." (Though uh, I am supposed to see him at an acting thing on Wednesday, so that might change my resolve.) I don't know. I'm not sane here. I just cannot figure out if it's worth trying if I'm just going to get mad at myself for trying, again, and if he doesn't wanna talk, then there's nothing. If he wants me to be gone, then I will be gone. It's going to be very easy for me to be gone now.

Also, it's fucking unnerving knowing that I will be 100% utterly alone for what, at least two years? Three? Five? The rest of my life? I literally hallucinated that my furniture turned into a person while stone cold sober at "work" today. And I'm a person who's normally fine with being alone.

Other than that: I am having literal nervous breakdowns due to work and I ended up crying during a Zoom meeting with coworkers last week, and I told my work I refuse to use the webcam and I will not disclose why. Thankfully the management isn't asking why not. I think we're all tiptoeing around the fact that I AM NOT OKAY and can only somewhat hide that, but I can't be open about it because of the consequences, and they need me to be "okay" because I'll be the only one left and there's nothing they can do anyway. I ignore it when my boss asks. I can't sell a yes and I can't honestly say no.

I'm perfectly fine as long as I am distracted, so I do a billion online activities and projects. So that really helps. When I'm busy, I'm doing fabulously. So I go back and forth between doing genuinely well and fine, and cruising towards a nervous breakdown.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:16 PM on May 11, 2020 [13 favorites]

DH has started making "but when can we have game night again?" noises. To be fair, he's talking about just having it for a week or two when the restrictions first lift during the current lull (we're in Hawaii, so it's a for-realsies lull), but it's 8-12 people, and you really can't properly social distance while playing board games, and I don't trust our friends to be doing this properly outside of game night (fuck, we aren't even. I just gave blessing for DH to do a child-care swap with a single parent who's trying to work from home. Who, it turns out, is not actually doing a tight lockdown like he told me he was told. And now we get to have a conversation about whether we're going to that kid's birthday party--just them, us, and a cousin or some shit--speaking of which, if the restrictions get lifted, can't we just have a few people over for our kid's birthday?--and FUUUUUUCK). And you just know that people are going to whine and moan when we try to go remote again.

Which, of course, spins out into him saying "You just want us to stay home and not see anyone for a year. Are you planning on not going home for Thanksgiving, even?" Like, yes, dude. Yes, that is what I'm emotionally prepared for. I do not want to be any more of a vector than I have to be to keep us in health insurance. And it SUCKS, but, yes, please, now make me feel guilty about it, too, that's awesome.
posted by DebetEsse at 12:33 AM on May 12, 2020 [16 favorites]

I played through Gathering Sky yesterday; it's on sale for about a dollar. It was a very calming, soothing experience; my soul definitely needed it. Parts of it felt particularly poignant given the pandemic... flying with your small flock through storms and darkness, keeping them close and safe however you can.
posted by destrius at 2:18 AM on May 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Why is zooming so hard?

Because you're looking at people and people are looking at you. Solution: don't. Don't have a working camera. (Maybe you have a working camera? Well: it broke. Now you don't have a working camera.)

Don't make any effort with your "youness" on Zoom: don't invest a millisecond in uploading a picture of yourself or a cool background so it looks like you and your small dog and your weird disappearing office chair are on the moon or in a movie star's kitchen or underwater or whatthefuckever (you won't be able to do that, anyway, because remember you don't have a working camera). You are not on Zoom to provide people with visual entertainment. That is noise. You have interesting things to say, but you have nothing for anyone to look at.

When you join the meeting, mute yourself and stay muted until it's your turn to speak. Shrink the window to a reasonable size. Don't put the thing on "speaker view" where the enormous head of whoever is yacking fills the screen. Keep the yacker and your own blank black screen and everybody else's screen in tile form and make the window small so the tiles are nice and tiny. It is kindest to all.

Don't look at the tiles steadily. There's no reason to. Gaze out the window. Peck away at some mindless work that you can do while still concentrating on the meeting. Take notes on the meeting. You can fold paper cranes or knit or doodle or give yourself a manicure. Do some deep knee bends or some neck rolls. Nobody is looking at you, nothing is required of you, you're just listening in a peaceful, meditative way to the meeting unfold while you go about your quiet, pleasant business.

Bonus: if Brad as usual asks a question he should know the answer to, you can now yell, "No, BRAD, of course not, BRAD! Jesus CHRIST, Brad!" It is the silver lining of the coronavirus apocalypse that you can now yell at Brad at the top of your lungs when before you had to stifle and scribble in your work notebook and then complain about Brad after work. Now Bradstress is handled and dissipated in REAL TIME!
posted by Don Pepino at 4:35 AM on May 12, 2020 [30 favorites]

Also, it's fucking unnerving knowing that I will be 100% utterly alone for what, at least two years? Three? Five? The rest of my life? I literally hallucinated that my furniture turned into a person while stone cold sober at "work" today. And I'm a person who's normally fine with being alone.

I caught myself rubbing my cheek against my upper arm the other day because the feeling of skin against skin felt so good and I just froze, like, "Shit. It's affecting me."

I wouldn't go through all of this with my ex for all the money in the world, or even just to have another warm body in the apartment, because he would make this so much worse. But. I do miss having someone to cuddle at the end of the day. Or at all. That was one of the only things he was reliably good at.
posted by bridgebury at 6:55 AM on May 12, 2020 [8 favorites]

Also, it's fucking unnerving knowing that I will be 100% utterly alone for what, at least two years? Three? Five? The rest of my life? I literally hallucinated that my furniture turned into a person while stone cold sober at "work" today. And I'm a person who's normally fine with being alone.

My ex keeps pointing out that by breaking up at the time I did, I doomed him to being not only alone romantically but completely alone on all axes, possibly untouched for the rest of his life (as all of our lives may now be very short indeed).

And yes, I know, but also I *didn't know* when I did it -- back then we still thought we were looking at a 4 week quarantine, tops. I hate that this is how it happened, and I feel guilty having any companionship (even though my companion is an endless nightmare). If I could trade places with him I would, in a heartbeat, but it isn't an option.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:10 AM on May 12, 2020 [5 favorites]

Your ex is melodramatic, We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese, and it's good you can keep your distance. This will pass and everything will be different on the other side. Also, just knowing what you have posted here, anyone whining at you, while you are going through this, is a worthless wimp. Yes, I'm in a bad mood.
Today I've had one of those really bad days, its now just over 7 PM and I'm still in pajamas. I will put on some semblance of outdoor clothes and go for a walk before it gets dark, but that will also be the height of my achievements. I've noticed that after a zoom-day comes a pajamas day. It isn't deliberate, I wish things were different, but it is the reality. Also, my very good meal plans for today will have to wait till tomorrow.
posted by mumimor at 10:11 AM on May 12, 2020 [17 favorites]

OK, I just wrote I was going to go out, and what happens? A hailstorm.
This is a bad day.
posted by mumimor at 10:12 AM on May 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

I am playing the absolute tiniest of violins for your ex there, We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:37 AM on May 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

allowing for and sympathizing with your understandable sufferation, mumimor (and applicable others), i hail from that subculture that views making it to 7 pm in pajamas as a victory. i write now in what would pass as pajamas if i wore them sleeping.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:02 AM on May 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Why is zooming so hard?
Because you're looking at people and people are looking at you. Solution: don't. Don't have a working camera. (Maybe you have a working camera? Well: it broke. Now you don't have a working camera.)

Gaze out the window. Peck away at some mindless work that you can do while still concentrating on the meeting. Take notes on the meeting. You can fold paper cranes or knit or doodle or give yourself a manicure. Do some deep knee bends or some neck rolls. Nobody is looking at you, nothing is required of you, you're just listening in a peaceful, meditative way to the meeting unfold while you go about your quiet, pleasant business.

This is my favorite post I've seen in a while.

It REALLY helps at work to have refused to turn the camera on. Really helps. I am knitting or just doing whatever I can to detox and chill during meetings. I would get in massive trouble if they knew, but they don't.

Why the hell does Zoom INSIST on showing your head at all times so you can't block it out?! I swear, having to constantly stare at my own head is the worst and the most distracting and in real life, you don't HAVE to look at yourself in a mirror while having all conversations. You have to sit there, judging yourself, thinking "My hair is doing something funny," and knowing that everyone seeing you is thinking the same.

You are not on Zoom to provide people with visual entertainment. That is noise. You have interesting things to say, but you have nothing for anyone to look at.

Oh, as far as I can tell in some cases, people DO consider your being on Zoom to provide them with visual entertainment. Like I signed up to watch some show on Friday, feeling drained from 4 hours of Zoom training at work and I just wanted to zone out. But then they announced, "Everyone turn on your cameras! I want to see your smiling faces! That's the reason why we're doing this!" and I immediately noped out of Zoom.

Look, as a performer type, yes, sometimes I have to show my face for acting purposes, or for doing scavenger hunt or a presentation or whatever. If there's a reason, fine, I'll suck it up. But for godsake, I just wanted to watch some standup comedy. I am not the one on stage right now. In the old world, I could just sit in the back and not be "in the show" and bugged, but now in Zoomland everyone has to be on display at all times because "I want to see your smiling faces! I need to see faces!" BLECH. Not okay. I do not have to be in every bleeping show, especially the ones I didn't ask to be "on stage" at.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:03 AM on May 12, 2020 [8 favorites]

making it to 7 pm in pajamas as a victory
That made me smile
posted by mumimor at 11:10 AM on May 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

I use the "hide self view" option sometimes to avoid staring at myself on the screen. I recommend it if that's a thing that bothers you.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:11 AM on May 12, 2020

I am giving a lot of allowances to my ex. Our relationship merited a slow, thoughtful breakup which rapidly became somewhat impossible given the global situation. In normal times we probably would have gone to counseling to, you know, mediate stuff -- there would have been ways to meet for coffee on neutral ground to talk logistics, cry over beers with our friends, look for new apartments and start, you know, rebuilding our lives. Maybe we'd each be taking turns staying with friends while the other packed up their stuff, etc.

Instead everything is just frozen in place precisely how it was 10 weeks ago, and it's absolutely as painful for him as it is for me. I mean if nothing else at least I don't have to sit around the house 24/7 surrounded by all of his belongings.

Plus, as maddening as my home situation is, I do not have to worry that I might never see my parents again, and that's a very real fear for him (especially as his elderly father is still going to work every day as an essential worker).

So yeah. I'm not going to take the blame for not more accurately foreseeing the pandemic, of course, but if he needs someone to hear how difficult this is, I suppose I can hear it.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:38 AM on May 12, 2020 [6 favorites]


posted by tzikeh at 11:59 AM on May 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Yeah; I've been doing the no-camera zoom thing; and yeah. It allows me to do other stuff so well. 'Camera's broke'; 'messes with my bandwidth'; 'having a bad hair day'; 'having a bad face day' (who hasn't? the world is F-d right now anyway.), on and on.

I feel for the frequently looking dumpy folk that are there; trapped like some weird Brady Bunch montage from hell; square boxed faces; staring out of their own private abysses.

Lulz, trapped souls of Zoom!
posted by Afghan Stan at 12:35 PM on May 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

The hailstorm stopped and I went out (300 steps, so not really), and the light was amazing. It still is, and there is a weird phenomenon: a pink part of the sky in the south-east. I think it must be some low-lying clouds out at sea that are colored by the sunset opposite, but I've never seen anything like it. I wonder if there is a difference in the color and brightness of sunsets/sunrises now, when there is less pollution.
I've heard one helicopter while I've been here, and seen one plane. Normally I see and/or hear several each hour.
posted by mumimor at 12:40 PM on May 12, 2020 [6 favorites]

I use the "hide self view" option sometimes to avoid staring at myself on the screen. I recommend it if that's a thing that bothers you.

Where does one find this option?
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:03 PM on May 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

jenfullmoon (and others, of course) - an answer
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:12 PM on May 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

and there is a weird phenomenon: a pink part of the sky in the south-east. I think it must be some low-lying clouds out at sea that are colored by the sunset opposite, but I've never seen anything like it.

I think you may have just seen a strong manifestation of the Belt of Venus, mumimor, which is attributed to backscattered light from interplanetary dust in the plane of the Earth's orbit.

And happens to be the subject of today's EPOD.
posted by jamjam at 1:33 PM on May 12, 2020 [7 favorites]

WOW thanks
posted by mumimor at 2:05 PM on May 12, 2020

Weekly check-in from Rome, at week nine of a now somewhat loosened quarantena. The nationwide curve seems to be resolving, here's the usual regional data items for our region (source):

- since the end of March peak, the decrease in new cases has been in 10-day(ish) plateaus, of which we're now on the fifth, currently down to around 25ish new cases per day
- the region has now done over 175,000 tests; some northern regions have started antigen tests, but there've been very mixed reports about the reliability of those
- still around a third of the 4,273 currently active cases are hospitalised, with only 2% of cases now in ICU (84 total)
- the current regional case fatality rate (as per today's totals of 7,212 overall confirmed cases and 566 deaths) is up to 7.85%%
- the regions with less than 3000 total cases have seen at least a week of single digit numbers of new cases, but none have yet had a solid week of zero new cases

Things are still very calm in the city; now the next test will be stores and hairdressers (and the few restaurants who'll manage to keep 4 meters between customers...) reopening next Monday. Everyone's waiting to see infection upticks, like those in Germany.

Media this week mostly older movies (partly thanks to recent Guardian reader suggestions): Addicted to Love, Midnight Run, My Best Friend's Wedding (leading to brief surprise of seeing Dermot Mulroney in a third, again entirely different role during this lock-down, after his parts in Mozart in the Jungle and About Schmidt...) and Empire Records.

It's been a low-energy week (to the point that I hadn't noticed that the previous check-in thread had been closed - I got vaguely concerned not seeing any activity in the last few days...). Hope the warmer weather will help everyone feel some sort of comfort in all this.
posted by progosk at 4:28 PM on May 12, 2020 [5 favorites]

Hope the warmer weather will help everyone feel some sort of comfort in all this.

The warmer weather is actually going to be the tipping point that kills me, I think. My god, how am I supposed to handle all of this garbage while sweating under a suffocating nightmare mask, too?
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 4:41 PM on May 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yeah, the warm weather in Seattle this weekend got all the young people heading to the water, and not distancing at all. Also, the parks, the streets closed for walking, etc.
posted by Windopaene at 4:46 PM on May 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

Did the weekly shopping run at Trader Joe’s in West Seattle today. Unlike some stores, they still have all their precautions in place, and 100% of the employees and customers I saw today were wearing masks. (When I was there two weeks ago, only about 70% of customers had masks.) Everyone did a pretty good job of maintaining distance, too.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:11 PM on May 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Recognizing my good fortune in remaining employed I try to keep up with work but am not doing well with it. I can't concentrate on very much for very long and I can't bring myself to care very much either.

Oh god, me too. And I don't think I'm the only one. We're all out of energy after the first few weeks when everyone was competing for the biggest Zoom background laugh, and enthusiastically sharing articles about establishing routines and maintaining mental health.

Our university have warned that there will be job losses, which is true for the entire sector. I am hoping our portfolio will be left alone because we're very small, and we have already been so reduced in size. Due to our restructure, just under a third of our staff were made redundant, and The Rona hit right when we were due to start recruiting for those empty roles. But we've been inefficient for a couple of years now, while our leadership was in flux and then while the restructure and associated nastiness was taking up everyone's energy, so we might yet be for the chop. And even if we're not... I just can't summon the energy to even care that much about what I do. This was supposed to be my ideal job, I like it, and I really like my current manager, but I'm so sick of being told to "bear with us while we get through the next few months". I've been told to bear with someone every couple of months for the past two years. And I can barely summon a smile for our donors and partners.

Our state is easing restrictions a little more gradually than the others, but they're still easing. We've been told we will probably be back in the office in some form by early July. Part of me is desperate for it and part of me is dreading it. I've been thinking about calling my shrink, who I haven't seen in over a year, but I kind of don't know what I would say. She can't make this better, and I'm tired of "coping tools". There's enough of them being flung at me for free.

The cats have been suffering a flea outbreak for the past several months, and the Revolution doesn't seem to cut it. Every few hours I pop a cat on the bench and run a flea comb over them, and the murderous glee of catching a really big fat flea and drowning it is about the most satisfaction I get out of life these days.
posted by andraste at 5:15 PM on May 12, 2020 [7 favorites]

I use the "hide self view" option sometimes to avoid staring at myself on the screen. I recommend it if that's a thing that bothers you.

Don't zoom much, and do not at all like looking at myself, but no way in hell am I closing that window. Even with it open - just dread getting a pm that says, "hey there, grab a tissue, you have a cocoa drool thing happening"
posted by sammyo at 9:28 PM on May 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

The cats have been suffering a flea outbreak for the past several months, and the Revolution doesn't seem to cut it. Every few hours I pop a cat on the bench and run a flea comb over them, and the murderous glee of catching a really big fat flea and drowning it is about the most satisfaction I get out of life these days.

Andraste, we've been having our own lockdown flea problem. My dog died in October, and with that fierce guardian out of the way all the cats in the neighbourhood have been visiting our garden in an attempt to catch the field mice that live there. They have also been leaving their fleas behind, inside and outside the house. I'm allergic to flea bites yay.
The flea infestation coincided with Lockdown, so I couldn't get any sprays or anything to blast them with. A good thing, as it turned out. Googling brought up several studies that said the best thing to do is vacuum. And it worked. Vacuuming the entire house every morning while listening to an audiobook , and now I've not had a flea bite for about a week. I've also given up on chasing the cats away - 1) it doesn't work, they just come back, and easily circumvent any attempts I make to block them out 2) I like them too much, especially the black one with the broken tail who likes to sleep on the mop.
I put up the bird feeders again, sugar water and seed, and now I have a family of sun birds visiting, mom, dad and tiny baby. Also a Jan Frederik who likes to come into the house, a couple of rock pigeons, and best of all a flock of wax bills who sound and behave like cartoon birds. They don't tweet, they beep :)
posted by Zumbador at 12:26 AM on May 13, 2020 [6 favorites]

You are like Saint Francis, Zumbador!

This morning, I had the funniest dream, which was absolutely inspired by this thread:
I dreamt that I woke up, sat up, and opened my laptop (I sometimes do that), and a zoom conference opened automatically. So suddenly I found myself looking at 19 little squares with colleagues in them, and one in which I was sitting naked in bed, picking my nose. Then it turned weirder, as dreams do, but this beginning, which I absolutely thought was happening in real life, was hilarious. In a way, I prefer sleeping without pajamas, but then I get dreams like this and they can be a little disturbing.
There is a conference on Friday, which I had to say no to yesterday because I can't get internet access then, and that was it.

Here, a third of all municipalities have no new cases. In my whole region there are only 9 people in hospital. Most cases are in and around Copenhagen, but even there, the curve is very flat. However, there are 12 days more to go to see the effect of this weeks opening of non-essential shops, restaurants and schools for the 8-16 year olds. I don't see anything here, but I can see in the news that the police are really watching out for larger gatherings. I guess that with everyone at home most of the time, they have less other crimes to take care of.
A lot of the places with no cases want to open more up, not least for the many Germans who spend their holidays here every year. I don't know what to think: the tourists come from places which still have some contagion. I think I'll let the authorities decide.

Today I've written a little comment about art and architecture in this age of crisis for the organization I volunteer in. I hope it will be accepted by a newspaper soon. We have to remember that there will be a future, and we can shape it.
posted by mumimor at 2:29 AM on May 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

"I think I'll let the authorities decide."

You and I both, mumimor. I have a holiday plan for August that involves Denmark and a small (300 people) hacker event. Obviously that is completey up in the air.
I have no expectations; if it can't happen, then that's how it is and maybe next year. If it can I'll be over... and also overjoyed. For now, I'm in camp "We'll See".
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:23 AM on May 13, 2020

St Francis! :) :) :)

If I'm allowed to share a non covid related update:
I had the most absurdly embarrassing thing happen. I'm busy with the first draft of a book. Science Fiction. I had to make up a word for the little handheld computers my characters use. The word I chose, "scrib", seemed ... just ...suspiciously good. I googled to see if it's already in use in another context, I asked on writers' groups, nothing came up. So I patted myself on the back for my excellent language skills and went ahead and used it. This week I started reading my favourite Becky Chambers book and, whoops! That's where I got the word from.
This would not be too big of a problem - I mean, scifi writers are always stealing one another's terminology - but Becky Chambers is already such a huge influence on my writing that it seems just a step too far.
When I shared this as a funny story on my writing group, what do you know. One of my friends had done EXACTLY THE SAME THING. Same word. Same writer.
Does that mean that "scrib" is just such a good term that I should go ahead and use it?
To add insult to injury, when I did a "find and replace" to replace it in my text I managed to replace every instance of "scribble" and "describe" and now I have some very odd typos indeed.
Keeps things interesting, I guess.
Now I have to come up with a new word, or just make peace with "scrib".
Back to covid - it looks like our government haven't reached even the most basic benchmark to get schools ready for students, so my husband's return to work is postponed by at least a week. Maybe.
I am certainly learning to live in the now. Or at least, trying to learn to live in the now.
posted by Zumbador at 3:39 AM on May 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

I am certainly learning to live in the now. Or at least, trying to learn to live in the now.

The other day a friend of mine said "THIS is what Buddhists have been on about all this time? What the FUCK is wrong with them??" and it was the first time I'd laughed in a month.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 6:29 AM on May 13, 2020 [26 favorites]

Yeah, the last thing I want is to "be here now," I just don't get a choice about it :p
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:40 AM on May 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yeah I feel like the people who are doing extremely well in the eternal present have a much more tolerable present than most folks. If I had nothing to do all day but bake and watch TV and read, and sometimes internet, and putter around my own apartment cleaning things...I'd be much more inclined to stop fretting about an unknowable future. Instead I *have* to conjure up some kind of future, because if *this* is my entire life? I truly may as well die.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:51 AM on May 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

if *this* is my entire life?
It's not. It's not, it's not, it's not. Just hang on a minute (okay, admittedly a minute is of unknown duration given that we are in wackworld and time has no meaning anymore) 'til we know for sure. Pleasepleaseplease, bestusername mosthilarious greatestperson, do not leave just yet.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:01 AM on May 13, 2020 [13 favorites]

So - my life is a little more up in the air than I'd like it to be: my current part time consultancy freelance gig is ending quicker than I thought, as they couldn't get a chunk of funding that they were counting on. I'm going to double check to see if this was caused by COVID-19, and when it ends? Then reopen my WA State UI claim. I may get more work from this It firm...and I may not.

Also - my working situation at home is *really* not working well. I need to move things around so that I can use my table as an actual table, instead of a storage area. That will take some finagling, and possibly some trips to my storage unit. (It's within walking distance, and I can ferry things back and forth in a roller suitcase I have)
posted by spinifex23 at 10:21 AM on May 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

I suppose it's different for everyone. The now I'm trying to experience are the fleeting moments that I have my husband safely with me, that I don't want to spoil with worrying about the fact that a few weeks from now he'll be forced into an unsafe work environment.
posted by Zumbador at 10:32 AM on May 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

Hey We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese, I'm so sorry it's a hard time and I want this to be a place where people can share their updates. But just going to say here -- if you or anyone is feeling like they're in crisis and might hurt themselves: please talk to someone who can help in a more immediate and sustained way like a friend, family member, therapist, hotline, etc. (There's a big list of both voice and text hotlines at ThereIsHelp.)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:50 AM on May 13, 2020 [10 favorites]

I think that consciously keeping "scrib" would be homage to Becky Chambers. Ursula K Le Guin invented "ansible", and it graduated into a standard SF term. I think it's some real braggin' rights to be the author who coins a term that becomes the standard.
posted by notoriety public at 11:07 AM on May 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Hey, We Put Our Faith in Blast Hardcheese, I am hearing that things are hard for you. I don't want to try to discount that, but, this random internet stranger has enjoyed reading what you choose to share with us, and hopes you find ways to feel better. This is an unmitigated clusterfuck, no two ways about it, and the world may not be the same after, but that doesn't mean the world we get is going to be unrecoverable, or not worth living in, or.. whatever.

Please hang in there and if there's anything we can do, ask. I was just reading the link Fizz posted in the other thread to the 2014 retrospective on the Russian women in NYC incident, and.. shit, if there's one thing we're good at it's caring about MeFites..
posted by Alterscape at 11:20 AM on May 13, 2020 [13 favorites]

My state (Victoria, Australia) is slowly letting up lockdown restrictions. We can see family, travel, be in physically distant groups of up to 10. But my university will keep teaching online for the rest of the semester, and because both the university sector and the live performance sector have been deliberately and specifically excluded from income support, my work and arts practice are feeling very vulnerable. Today, the NTEU (National Tertiary Education Union, the union for all university staff) announced their plan to allow stand-downs, job losses, and pay cuts in a bid to 'preserve jobs'. Hi are jobs preserved by that? We're simply being asked to trust the National Executive and university managements.

I've lost all my creative work, and I've been teaching how to make sound for live theatre via zoom for 7 weeks now. My own studio, my private space, is now a classroom and an office. I have no energy left. I have no creativity left. I feel lonely and isolated. My partner sleeps til 1 or 2 pm (or later) every day and I am left with my thoughts all morning. Everything feels grey and numb and wrong.
posted by prismatic7 at 11:27 AM on May 13, 2020 [9 favorites]

My brother, who has stage 4 cancer, has dwindled to 150lb. He was over 190 5 months ago. This is not a healthy weight for someone his height.
My kids have total cabin fever, which brings out their worst traits more than usual. They resist all efforts to do things that are active or educational.
I'm having trouble sleeping as does Mrs. Plinth.
I seriously miss playing in the local community band and I have no idea when that's going to happen again.
Mrs. Plinth, who is nearly a nurse, goes to stay with my brother and his family on weekends to help out and to try to convince my brother to eat.
I go out running 3 days a week at 5:00AM and have gotten my distance up to 4.5mi. I thought I had a crappy run today because I needed a couple walk breaks, but I only ended up 13 seconds per mile slower than the pace that I wanted.
It looks like next week we're going to get a puppy, which is exciting for everyone in the house. The Mrs. wants to make it a family project to train the dog. I have no illusions that will happen the way she is hoping, but we'll see where it goes.
My son, worried about global warming, gathered, cold-treated, and planted 20 acorns which are now 17 seedlings. Mrs. Plinth called the town and asked if they wanted them and they referred us to a volunteer organization that grows and plants saplings. The town can no longer provide them with trees, so win-win.
I got my hands on yeast gathered from ancient Egyptian brewing vessels and have been propagating it and brewing with it. On tap right now, I have a kolsch that came out beautifully - I tried it last night and it's delicious. In the secondary, I have an English bitter which tasted quite nice on the way into the secondary. For grins, I splashed some of the trub into a ball jar with some flour and water and it's been quite a good starter.

So more good than bad?
posted by plinth at 11:49 AM on May 13, 2020 [16 favorites]

Am very quietly stressed, very consistently and persistently.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:32 PM on May 13, 2020 [9 favorites]

It's a small thing, but I was kind of disappointed that Eurovision was canceled this year. It turns out, though, that the BBC is doing a set of Eurovision shows this Saturday night in which you can (among other things) view all 41 Eurovision 2020 songs in a non-competitive setting.

Mrs. Example and I will be settling in to watch with wines and cheeses of many nations.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:12 PM on May 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

So hello from Zhejiang province!

I hesitate to write this in the midst of so many stories of difficulty, my colleagues. Really sorry for those of you experiencing loss and adversity, especially where the problems still seem to be growing and the uncertainty is frightening. It seems pretty sure that things will never be the same again, and how exactly this will all spin out for the global economy, well, fingers crossed that there still is one in 6 months's time.

Things are still very uncertain for me and my family as well, but more and more in a good way as I see it. The work is still paying me, and although I have zero faith that anything of use is going to come out of our skeleton staff and the random tasks we have been set, if they want to keep paying me I am not complaining. I have figured out how to power out enough product every Friday to keep anyone from further bothering me, so plenty of free time.

My job was mostly work from home even before these events, and until (unless) my company suddenly starts doing productive business again it will stay that way. We have been slowly lessening our family's self quarantine while the city has come almost fully back to life around us. According to the latest statistics this province is well past crisis: 33 current active cases with a rate of 1 or 0 new per day, historically 1264 total confirmed cases and 1230 recovered, in a province of 57 million people. Even if these statistics are an order of magnitude wrong it is still excellent, and the disease is almost completely gone. Officials are still vigilant and attentive, and very particular about tracking inter-city and inter-provincial travel. So yeah, we pretty much got through this unscathed and so long as our family keeps being attentive about our personal safety we are going to be just fine.

So here's the thing, the good news! A while back, in the middle of this quarantine, I stepped away from Metafilter. I hung out on Reddit for a while, got back on Facebook, and sort of re-engaged with the world. For quite a few years now I have been pretty passive, doing a lot more watching than doing, and I was not living up to my creative and productive potential... I used to have a website and a fledgling Youtube channel and all kinds of ideas for content creation. Then my life situation in Nova Scotia exploded, and I took a poor decision in haste and took a job in Saudi Arabia that turned out even worse than I thought it might, and I was basically homeless, with a wife and kids, and back in the expat life against my will and just to get some work... in retrospect I think there was almost a mild PTSD, and a lot of embarrassment and shame, and then when I got to China unprepared and without a VPN, and saw all my digital life cut off, I just kind of said "fuck it" and left it all abandoned...

Wait, that is not sounding like good news! Sorry, I wanted to just put that out there for the first time as the background for the good news.

So anyways, the job situation, plenty of time on my hands, the shakeup in my online life, and deciding to reconnect with my world has all come to a glorious nexus point now, in just the last few weeks. I see Youtube channels very similar to what I wanted to do years ago, with millions of views, and I know what I am capable of.

I have tonnes of raw footage on my hard drive, shit I never got around to producing! I am somewhere interesting, I can get new stuff in the can right outside my front door! I am dusting off and relearning my Premiere and Photoshop skills, putting together stuff for publication! I have a cool new camera, and am learning again how to get decent footage! I have a massive network of friends around the world, many many possibilities for interesting travel revisits and new footage, once borders are open! If I start moving my body again I will stop being fat! I can get the hell out of the PRC finally!

Sorry, maybe I am a little over the top, but I am in a better place now mentally than I have been in years... So yeah, that is me right now, and I have COVID and Metafilter and the passage of time healing wounds to thank for the excellent new momentum.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:37 PM on May 13, 2020 [31 favorites]

My wife works for a small home healthcare service (non-skilled). They have mostly elderly clients...Medicaid, V.A., private pay, etc. They got word yesterday that, very unexpectedly, one of their clients was diagnosed with COVID, despite not showing any symptoms the day before the diagnosis. So, my wife spent the day today contacting any caregivers who had been the client’s home over last two weeks, including two who had quit in the interim. It’s kind of a clusterfuck.

They’re shorthanded right now, and my wife will have to go do a random visit to a client’s home tomorrow. She’s concerned, as am I, about doing the visit. Masks will be worn, of course. Still, this shit is so close.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:40 PM on May 13, 2020 [9 favorites]

My partner is going on about 60 days of having a fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and some difficultly breathing. The doctors she’s seen have all told her it’s definitely COVID19 (they’ve eliminated essentially everything else) but the most ridiculous thing is that she finally got two tests last week and they were negative. She was told this means nothing since it’s been so long since onset and the tests are unreliable anyway. So they gave her an antibodies test. Also negative. But they still say yeah, you’ve got it, again these tests aren’t reliable. It’s frustrating.

If she doesn’t have it, then now she has another underlying condition that makes her very vulnerable. If she has it and worsens, well, she’s already disabled, chronically ill, fat, queer — so, in other words, disposable to the medical profession. (You know, the type of person you keep hearing is the first to die when it comes time to make a decision about who gets a treatment. The type of person everyone scapegoats for the cost of medical care. But no body is disposable. She is not only my beloved but is a person who is loved by anyone who gets to know her.) We live with a lot of fear in our household and it’s hard to talk about.

This week I came down with something but I’m not feeling as bad as I normally do when I have a cold so I’m trying not to worry too much about it. I think it’s stress. And speaking of that —

If anyone here has a difficult dog, could you commiserate with me about something shitty that is compounding my grief, memail me and tell me about mistakes you’ve gotten over during training? We have a newish rescue dog (a giant breed) who has reactivity to strange dogs. It’s hard to keep up her training right now for obvious reasons, but I do a lot of enrichment as part of managing in keeping her busy without walking around the neighborhood. In that vein, last week I took her out in front of our house and let her sniff out her dinner in the grass as a bit of enrichment. I had her on two leashes, one attached to a head halter and one to a harness. And I started to relax and sit next to her, she was able to focus on finding her food and I had extra exciting stinky high value treats in hand if a dog went by. But I didn’t see the neighbor and her dog walking by before my dog did. She tore the leashes out of my hand and pinned down the neighbor’s dog before I could even stand up from the grass.

The other dog is okay (I paid for the vet visit with xray), my dog didn’t bite down. I have some context for this behavior, her foster home told me their small dog bullied her until she pinned it down in the exact same way, not to hurt but to neutralize — still a big problem, obviously. The neighbor is understandably enraged. And I am so scared at my capacity to fuck up and cause physical harm. I wasn’t paying attention or holding on tightly to the leashes. Afterward I realized I didn’t even think about coming close to the neighbor to make sure she and her dog were okay so now I feel even guiltier to have not had a mask on and maintaining more distance in the aftermath.

If not for my partner’s sickness, the overall fear about the world, I think I could do better at accepting and growing from this. As it is being stuck at home now I am scared to even take the garbage out knowing she and most of the neighborhood witnessed it. So anyway, this is a weird place to talk about this and a stupid thing to fixate on but I’m too ashamed to say much to people who know me, and it feels related to coronavirus in my life, so thanks and sorry for the tangent.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 11:53 PM on May 13, 2020 [12 favorites]

Hi Meatbomb, so good to see you again, and good to hear that things have worked out for you. I, for one, need that kind of stories.

the thorn bushes have roses, that is a big mouthful. I hope your partner will soon be better. I went through something like that this winter, and it felt hopeless, but I am good now. Also my dog is like yours, and specifically anxious about small dogs, a quarter of his size. I don't have good advice, apart from what you are doing. One trainer gave up on him entirely, the new trainer says I'll have to live with being very alert when walking him. Here, some dog parks are more likely to have small dogs than others, and I can let him loose in parks where most of the dogs are bigger. It's good for his training to meet other dogs without the leash. It's important to know that he has never hurt another dog, he just pins them down, or scares them off. It's not aggression, it's anxiety.

I have a difficult phone meeting today. There are some things that would be very difficult when you are irl, and are nearly impossible when on the phone or zoom. Mostly in such cases, I suggest that we wait till after the corona, but in this case, it cannot be postponed. I am dreading it.
posted by mumimor at 1:45 AM on May 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

This week, the salon the woman who cuts our hair re-opened and we're scheduled to see her tonight. Obviously, we're both a bit nervous about it. It's been almost three months since I last got my hair cut, and the curls have taken on a distinct Dr. Emmett Brown look, but not as in-control. I don't know if it's smart to do this or not. We'll all be wearing masks, of course. Should we also use gloves?
posted by Thorzdad at 6:09 AM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

If anyone here has a difficult dog, could you commiserate with me about something shitty that is compounding my grief, memail me and tell me about mistakes you’ve gotten over during training? We have a newish rescue dog (a giant breed) who has reactivity to strange dogs.

Sorry you're having a rough time! I can commiserate about the dog reactivity. I also have a dog who is being very difficult at the moment (an adolescent, very exciteable, mix of high energy breeds). She's not aggressive but she'll hyperfocus on other dogs and lunge at them. It's been really tough on our walks recently now that there's 20x more dogs out (and all the kids out on scooters etc really doesn't help)....even from a distance the stress adds up, and sometimes I don't see or can't avoid someone getting too close. So eventually she'll get overly excited to the point that she gets wild zoomies, jumping up and body slamming me with all her 70 pounds while air snapping, grabbing at my hair and sometimes biting me. It's incredibly embarrassing - I've had multiple cars stop and gawk/possibly make sure I wasn't actually being mauled by a super aggressive dog as it looks like. Still working on that one...

The one big silver lining for reactivity training is that with social distancing, most owners will keep their distance for once, or at least not give you dirty looks for crossing the road.

(Just in case you don't already know, desensitization from a large distance (e.g. look up the look-at-that method or LAT/BAT) is the best way to reduce reactivity but it'll take a lot of time and consistent training. Make sure you don't use any punishment/discomfort-based methods like prong collars with a fearful dog like yours since it can make their fear much worse)

Accidents happen. I've been rushed by tons of dogs running out of their yard off leash (mostly with owners who don't realize that this is a problem, unlike you). I've also made tons of training mistakes myself - everyone does, even professional dog trainers! The training road is winding and bumpy, especially for a more difficult dog, but as long as you keep going you'll still get there eventually.

I only saw the memail me part now so I guess I'll leave this as a regular post but feel free to memail if you want to chat :)
posted by randomnity at 7:24 AM on May 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

I'd also like to add that I've had my dog pinned down a couple times at the dog park and she's also done it to at least one dog. In all cases it was interrupted by the owner after ~5 seconds and no owner feathers were ruffled or dogs traumatized.

While running up to and pinning a leashed dog is of course not ok, and pinning isn't behaviour that should be allowed in general (especially from a large dog who could accidentally crush a tiny one), it's not the end of the world either if that's all it was and the other dog wasn't injured.
posted by randomnity at 7:34 AM on May 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

If it's any comfort, my dog (well, a dog living with me) got rushed and attacked by another dog a couple weeks back while I was walking her, and I absolutely am not mad or judgy about it. The other dog was staked in a yard but pulled the stake right out and came at us. It was scary, but the other dog's person was outside super quickly and helping me separate them, and the dogs were both unhurt. You handled everything as well as you possibly could. Anyone who keeps dogs responsibly knows that this kind of thing can happen with new rescues and traumatized dogs, and it's the response that matters.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:07 AM on May 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

Ugh, I just read that the county I'm in got green-lit to begin phase 1 of re-opening starting tomorrow, and I just don't see how we could possibly be ready. Everything I've read suggests we've not been doing nearly enough testing for the size of our county, and I'm kind of nauseous thinking about all of the people who are now going to have to go back to work before it's safe. Fortunately my wife and I agree that we plan on continuing our current levels of quarantine ... stupidly, one of the things I'm most worried about is my DnD group, the first I've ever been in, whose DM was already wanting to get together a damn month ago but got pushback from me and one other person - I hate to ruin the fun for everyone else but I don't trust that this person or some of the other folks in the group have been responsible about social distancing, so I guess I'll just have to see how that goes and if I have to drop out, so be it.
posted by DingoMutt at 8:28 AM on May 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

Dogs endure emotional difficulties in puberty like humans, says study
It's probably worse during coronavirus.

Our legal counsel saved my day, so everything went just fine.

I've been on the phone for hours and hours today, and I'm completely exhausted. I wish I could just go to bed already, but the dog needs both his food and an evening walk.

In good news, I mentioned above that I had written an opinion piece; it's been accepted! It won't be in my name, but a lot of people will be happy we got it out there.
posted by mumimor at 8:36 AM on May 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

Thanks for the kindness, everyone. As always. I’ve been hot and cold with how often I read Metafilter these days just due to general overwhelm but it feels like home, these threads especially, to have a general sense that we struggle onwards together. Or have life stopped in its tracks — together.

Sending love to everyone else having a hard time. If I started responding to everyone individually I would never get to work, and today I actually have paying work to do (for which I am so grateful) but I’ve been celebrating your wins and mourning your losses with you all as I read the thread.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 9:17 AM on May 14, 2020 [7 favorites]

I made a trip into town for my monthly-ish "pick up prescriptions and a few other things" trip. We have terrible mask compliance around here (also incredibly low COVID rates, but still!). As I was in the drug store they told me I was due for the second of my Shingrix vaccinations. Figured it was better to do it now than later. I'd had no reaction to the last shot but this time I was not so lucky. And, of course, the side effects are not entirely different from COVID, so even though I was 99% sure that the fever, chills, muscle aches, headaches and tiredness were from the thing I just did, it was a slightly stressful 36 hours until I woke up feeling fine today.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:56 AM on May 14, 2020 [13 favorites]

Oh that second Shingrix shot knocked me flat; it was WAY worse than the first one.
posted by JanetLand at 10:48 AM on May 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

My periodontist (I have bad teeth and have to alternate between them and a regular dentist now) is opening again next week! They can't wait to see our smiling faces! (Note: my county is still shut down until the end of the month. Dentists are not on the list of "okay to open.")

Even though I was due for the dentist appointment last month and that got canceled and so far my dentist hasn't said anything, I am all HELL NO. WE HAVE NO WAY TO PROTECT ME FROM CATCHING IT WITH YOU BREATHING IN MY FACE, HOW THE HELL CAN YOU EXPECT ME TO COME BACK NOW?!?!

I know I will have semi-horrible consequences of not getting my teeth scoured on a regular basis, but JEEBUS.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:16 AM on May 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

oooh Jessamyn - thank you for reporting on those Shingrix side effects, and oof. I hope you feel better. I'm due for my second Shingrix vaccination, so I might as well get it over with while I'm already at home. I'll try to get ti when I go to the pharmacy later this month.

Yesterday, I spent the day in an Amazon Web Services Virtual Summit. I want to learn AWS, and I expected the summit to be way above my head - but pleasantly, it wasn't! I also filled out all of the surveys and such, so in theory I'll have some AWS credit for my account coming my way soon. Today? A livestreamed metal festival!

Last but not least, my doctor's office is wrangling with the Referrals, and Appeals Departments, to get my new forearm crutches to me. The contracted provider refused my order because I'm 1/4" too short for the crutches they have. So, we're trying another local provider in the area. On the one hand, this is frustrating and aggravating. OTOH? The more it drags out, the more that I hope the virus goes away, so when I do have to go leave the house for a fitting, it'll be safer for me to do so. (I also told all of my friends who did a spontaneous GoFundMe for crutches that I was going to try the insurance route before buying them out of pocket; none of them have any complaints over this. One mentioned that I could totally buy fancy tea with his contribution.)
posted by spinifex23 at 11:33 AM on May 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

this week in virology addressed safety and dental practice at episode 611. i sent it to my dentist who wrote back, in effect, thanks for unofficial information; we're staying up to date with recommendations of CDC and other federal authorities, as though their comprehensive reliability has not been undermined. i do not believe they are open.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:35 AM on May 14, 2020

My office made its first noises about phased return this summer. I work in an open lobby with a few other desks. They are six feet apart, but we all breathe the same air, obviously. And it's a lobby that probably 40 different people go in and out every day. There is not enough research on recirculated air in buildings yet. I want people to stand MORE than six feet away from me. I do not like this.
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:14 PM on May 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

My partner had a return of heart/anxiety symptoms that, last time they happened, resulted in an aortic valve replacement, so it's been a very stressful week. He's doing better following a cardiology appointment in person and a remote visit with his GP and some meds.

My uncle, who was in hospice care with terminal cancer, has died. My partner's dad, who has been recovering from a stroke almost exactly a year ago, broke his hip in a fall and has had surgery; he's now in rehab. No hospital visitors, and he's stopped picking up his phone. My brother in law, who lives closer than we do (but obviously still can't visit,) thinks he's depressed and doesn't want to have to discuss it.

My own stress has had some real spikes over the last 10 days or so. Symptoms: periodic sobbing, stress breakouts, maybe despair? Is this what despair feels like?

I talk to my mom every day, sometimes more than once, and while it usually includes my kid, sometimes I get to have a whole adult conversation, which is helpful. It is really hard not to know when we will see each other again - why on earth would Canada open the border with the US when our response has been such a shitty patchwork?

Our local restaurant has been open 3 nights/week for takeout, and just announced that they are opening 4 tables on their patio this weekend. On the one hand it's great to have the option; on the other, it's always been mediocre pub food, pitched to college kid appetites. My fucking kingdom for a pho joint, or any kind of noodles really, but that's not where we live and won't be anytime soon.

I have been grocery shopping about every 10 days and I have been to the garden store twice, but people are behaving less safely as we get closer to a wider "re-opening" and I am more hesitant the more I see how our surrounding community is treating the situation (not very seriously! it's Trump country out here.)
posted by Lawn Beaver at 1:05 PM on May 14, 2020 [10 favorites]

People are also behaving noticeably less safely here (Quebec) than they were a few weeks ago. It seems like the government's decision to open schools bears more weight than the actual numbers, which continue to increase.

We'll continue to do curbside pickup for groceries every 10-14 days until things start looking a lot more encouraging here (plus maybe one soon for garden stuff). The grocery clerk said this week that a lot fewer people are doing curbside now. She also said she likes doing the pickup orders since she gets to go outside, which was kinda nice since pandemic concerns aside, it still feels overly indulgent to me to have someone handpick my whole grocery order.

It's a little annoying to miss a few things every order (usually we get about 3/4 of the list) but it mostly hasn't been critical things so we can adapt. The only things I've tried and failed to get in every order for the past 2 months are yeast and a whole chicken. Flour and dried beans took a very long time to get, and other staples like rice and sugar have been inconsistent, but I'm happy to be pretty much fully stocked up now. I'm learning more ways to cook tofu and beans since we often don't get the meat I order, so that's been fun. Not sure how stocked the stores actually are - I'm probably just choosing the same cuts everyone else wants (like chicken quarters).
posted by randomnity at 2:08 PM on May 14, 2020

My workplace (a large UK university) appears to be behaving fairly sensibly in all this--the only people they're starting to phase back in to working on-site are the ones who absolutely need to be there, like the ones keeping the infrastructure going or needing to do lab work as part of their jobs/degrees. Everyone else has been instructed to keep working from home as long as possible. In the middle's kind of weirdly reassuring.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:53 PM on May 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

My husband is in the hospital with a blood clot in his lung and fluid in his belly. He was in another hospital last week, undergoing tests, where upon terms were like mass on his liver and cirrhosis were thrown about.

Then he was referred to another doctor, a surgical oncologist, who we saw on Tuesday, after I got lost getting there, and she said he didn't look good, I was to bring him to another hospital the next day. So we spent the night holding each other close, with him coughing.

Now she is sure he has cancer, from his colon cancer which we thought he was safe from in 2007.

She's going to put the camera in him tomorrow and call me directly.

I can't visit him. We talk on the phone. I had him for one day. I fed him up with low salt stuff, and we spooned in bed together. He is a positive guy, but this is just breaking my heart, being away from him.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:17 PM on May 14, 2020 [45 favorites]

Quick update: the ex-wife tested negative, so much relief at that news.

Texas is just getting started. Had our highest daily count of new cases today, so far. I think things here could be really bad by mid-June.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:23 PM on May 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Now she is sure he has cancer, from his colon cancer which we thought he was safe from in 2007.

Oh my god, I am so sorry.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:25 PM on May 14, 2020 [7 favorites]

Hugs Marie. Can't imagine having to have a serious medical issue in my family right now.

And I'm just so angry about the shitty job, and acquiescence the states are doing, instead of demanding the Feds do something useful. Arrrrrgh. Deep breath...
posted by Windopaene at 9:20 PM on May 14, 2020 [4 favorites]

Sending love Marie.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:46 PM on May 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

My grandfather passed away on Monday. it was his 94th birthday.

It wasn't covid-related -- merely old-age reaching its course. It's not a huge surprise to the family because we've had some scares over the past few years and knew that it would eventually be coming, but man... what terrible timing.

My uncle is going to try and live-stream the small funeral service, but Mum and I are genuinely distressed that we can't be there with family right now. We tried to figure out if there was a safe way to travel through three states and spend a few nights at a hotel, but in the end, we decided that the best decision was to stay home. And it is. The best decision. But it still doesn't feel like the right decision, even though I know it is.

He was the only grandfather I've ever known, and like a father to my mother, who lost her own father before I was born. We didn't visit him at the care facility last year because we weren't in a good head-space after having just buried my father's ashes -- Mum didn't think she could hide her emotions to Grandpa, who is normally a cheery chap, despite his dementia causing him abilities in communication. She didn't want to worry him, and now we're wishing that we could have that moment back, just to say "hello" and "good-bye" one more time.

But with covid and Mum undergoing cancer radiation next week, we can't risk something so reckless as going to a family member's funeral. Which sucks SO MUCH. Especially since the last time we saw our family was at my father's funeral last September.

Mum is pretty accepting of her new routine in life (which is STAY HOME) but I'm starting to show a few cracks. I've been so busy shouldering the logistics of surviving -- not just the past couple of months, but ever since my father's unexpected passing, when it meant figuring out how to navigate the funeral process in a foreign country literally on the other side of the world from the rest of our family, to making sure that Mum was able to move back to the States as we figured out a new life together.

On the plus side, this means I'm getting to enjoy that quarantine life in a suburban house with a nice-sized backyard, instead of my cramped city basement apartment that I'd lived in for the past decade. The freedom of going outside and not encountering anyone else is refreshing. I have more storage space for food and a still-small-but-slightly-larger kitchen with which to cook proper meals, instead of always relying on takeout.

But... I feel like I have been running, running, running to solve one problem after the other, starting from the realization last September that the family vacation we had just embarked on wasn't going any further than our layover city and that I had to start cancelling flights, hotels, and other things ASAP as we waited to hear the doctors tell us what was wrong with my father (a fatal combo of brain hemorrhage and undiagnosed leukemia); to organizing a small family funeral and larger public memorial in two different states; to finding a house in my mother's budget in a ridiculous over-priced market; to packing up the apartment I'd lived in all my adult life and somehow making it fit into a house filled with my parents' households goods recently arrived from the home they lived in for the past 17 years; to dealing with Mum's cancer diagnosis and surgery and upcoming treatments; to now when I have to help my uncle figure out the best way to stream my grandfather's funeral. All the while continuing to work my normal hours from home, which has been... impossible.

I have spent so much of my energy the past few months trying to sort out the logistics of just getting from one day to the next that I've held off from allowing myself the luxury to really give myself space to just figure out how I feel, and to grieve -- not just for my father and now grandfather, but for the life I had, the life I thought I might have in the future -- it wasn't much, but it was mine, and now I have to learn how to factor in suddenly taking care of my mother. Oh, and worry about covid!

I've been holding it together pretty well but, like I said, I can feel the cracks forming. I've been a little tear-y here and there, but I think the moment I ever actually start to cry, I will never stop.

On a more frivolous note, I'm still a little sad that I couldn't go to a concert last weekend, something that had been the one thing I'd been looking forward to this year, to get away and enjoy some crazy fun times with a friend on her birthday weekend, to surprise her with some awesome good seats that were insanely difficult to get. It was going to be one of the major highlights of the year for me, and now I don't know when that concert will happen.

I think that's perhaps the hardest -- the not-knowing. This constant state of limbo, the inability to plan things or even tentatively look forward to anything.

Yes, I know it will get better, and I'm relieved that I live in a state with a sane governor who is walking that fine line of doing his best to keep everyone safe and is going by scientific data, not a random politician's "feelings" about covid. (But then I start to get angry about how many lives were needlessly lost, and will be needlessly lost, just because one orange man's stupid pride and delusions of grandeur didn't fit the reality of covid. Ugh. I hate this timeline.)

I count my blessings and overall, things are okay. Not ideal, maybe not even all that great, but okay. Mum and I are surviving pretty comfortably right now, and that's all that matters at the moment. Because "the moment" is apparently all we have right now.
posted by paisley sheep at 12:03 AM on May 15, 2020 [20 favorites]

*Huge hugs Marie*
posted by daybeforetheday at 4:26 AM on May 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Hugs, paisley sheep.
posted by ellieBOA at 5:12 AM on May 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

So sorry Marie and paisley sheep. How awful.

My cancer numbers went up last week. I'm not sure how worrisome that is - but they've been going down steadily since I restarted chemo in late January. So it's very disconcerting. I haven't even told anyone I know IRL yet except my therapist yesterday. When I tell people bad cancer news, they say they're sorry, which of course is the most appropriate thing to say, but somehow that makes me feel even worse.

This chemo really works for a lot of people. It's kind of the current silver bullet, so it will be very hard if it ends up not working for me.

Someone on my cancer board posted a video by a woman who is selling supplements. In the first ten minutes of the video, she says that a "little idea [she] had" led her to do research that resulted in a drug that cures 90% of people with multiple myeloma (much applause from her audience). Well, my board is a multiple myeloma board, and we all know that there is no cure. I ended up doing a little digging on her, and she is just lying her ass off. She has one publication, and while it did eventually lead to the drug I'm currently on (not a cure for anyone, let alone 90% of patients), the author contributions section just lists her as doing experiments - not the originator of the research. She also talked a lot about her current research into brain cancer (never specifying which kind), but according to her LinkedIn page, she hasn't worked in research since 2010. All of her positions since then have been in sales. I should have better things to do than dig all of this up, but it's just infuriating to me that this stuff gets around and deceives people. And it's really weird to me that someone on the myeloma board who knows there is no cure would post this for people (her husband is taking the supplements, and she swears they've worked wonders for him).

So that's a frustration that's totally unrelated to COVID, but cancer is a long slog, and it's really getting me down right now. I mean, I don't know if I'll ever see my children and grandchildren again.
posted by FencingGal at 6:51 AM on May 15, 2020 [23 favorites]

I don't think there's such a thing as a purely evil person, but people who sell quack cures for cancer really make me reconsider that opinion.
posted by randomnity at 8:12 AM on May 15, 2020 [11 favorites]

Do you think library curbside pickup/return is safe? STL public library is going to start that soon. i want some books.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 12:27 PM on May 15, 2020

For patrons, I think it's mostly safe because if you're high risk, you can wipe down books and even quarantine them for a bit of you need to. For libraries, a little less so depending a LOT on the library system. It's so all over the map.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 12:35 PM on May 15, 2020 [8 favorites]

My optometrist (well her office person) started to demand I come in for an eye exam to get new contacts. No, that's quite alright. I'm good without putting my face right next to someone else.

Oh and my office is opening up Monday just because. At least for now it's voluntary. For now. My job is totally fine remote. Fucking Iowa's governor has done awful this whole crisis.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:26 PM on May 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

That is my one true regret in my pre-quarantine prep; that I didn't go to the local library and sweep an entire shelf of books for me and Little Purr to borrow before they closed. I had a few out (now read), and there are digital books, but my old kindle has bit the dust, and I can't stand reading on my tiny phone screen. I'm kind of sad that the library couldn't figure out how to do remote borrowing of physical books (even a mystery box would be good at this point), but I understand that they want to be conservative and I want the librarians to stay healthy!
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 1:36 PM on May 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Michigan had another armed protest at the capital. One man brought a flag with a naked Barbie-type doll with brown hair hanging from a noose (and I'm absolutely not dismissing the racism here, but I'm also thinking it was also an allusion to our governor - there have been many graphic death threats). A woman grabbed it from him, and there was a fight that the police broke up. The article in the paper kept referring to the guy who brought the doll as "the victim," which I found annoying as fuck.
posted by FencingGal at 1:40 PM on May 15, 2020 [15 favorites]

It’s a small problem in the grand scheme of things, but.. okay, so, my partner drove up from Orange County to stay with me after our workplaces went WFH but before the shelter-in-place orders. This week, her workplace announced that they are re-opening June 1, with staggered shifts of employees physically in the office 3 days a week. She talked to her manager yesterday and he was 100% unwilling to consider remote work for her after June 1. So now, we have to choose “she drives back to OC from SJ, and then once she’s there, we have literally no idea when we’ll be able to see each other again because travel is not really safe from a public health or personal health perspective” or “she resigns, we get a domestic partnership to get her health coverage, and we try to find her work up here in the bay in the worst job market of our lifetimes, with bills hanging over both our heads, and my job not really secure past the end of this year.” We were already planning for her to come up here in August and look for work, but that was before all of this. I’ve burned some personal capital asking eg: coworkers and superiors at my job if they know any place hiring and.. nothing, so far. She’s got one second-round interview this coming week and if that doesn’t pan out.. choose your flavor of terrible I guess.

I know it’s selfish to be on here complaining about this when others haven’t touched a human being in months, or have been out of work since early in the crisis, or have lost loved ones. I feel sort of horrible that I’m here worrying about this, but I’m lost and I don’t know which of the terrible options is less terrible. I don’t even know. Is this inappropriate for here?
posted by Alterscape at 8:22 AM on May 16, 2020 [10 favorites]

It's absolutely not inappropriate for here. I remember your Ask about this, Alterscape, and I'm sorry things didn't work out with her employer.
posted by cooker girl at 8:30 AM on May 16, 2020 [9 favorites]

Don't be too jealous of IL. Before this started, it was almost impossible to visit a dispensary for recreational. The lines were around the block, because it was so new, and they frequently sold out. No one bothers NOW, especially. I imagine everyone went back to their old dealers.

The people I know who had a 'weed guy' never even bothered to go to the legal shops. Too expensive and too much hassle when the 'weed guy' delivers right to your door.
posted by srboisvert at 8:30 AM on May 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have been grocery shopping about every 10 days and I have been to the garden store twice, but people are behaving less safely as we get closer to a wider "re-opening" and I am more hesitant the more I see how our surrounding community is treating the situation (not very seriously! it's Trump country out here.)

I'm in Chicago, which is pretty emphatically not Trump country, but things are deteriorating here pretty badly. I went out yesterday at 6pm to get booze (essential supplies) and it was a complete shitshow to walk two blocks (I am aware that I too was part of the problem - I won't do that again!).

I live in a pretty dense neighborhood (my area code is 30,000/sq mi) and I live in the densest part of that dense neighborhood. So I have only been going out for runs at 5:00-5:30 am and to get groceries about once every 10 days at 9:00am (not quite a senior so I have to wait until their exclusive shop times are over). During those times people are generally pretty good mostly I think because the people I am out with at those times are the concerned and strategic folk who are thinking like me. Yesterday was the first time I deviated from the pattern and I was horrified.


My naive optimism has been completely and utterly snuffed out. People are initiating the second wave right now without us even having had the downslope from the plateaued first wave. And this is even before the planned re-openings start!


This is just such a tragically sad and pathetic failure.
posted by srboisvert at 8:47 AM on May 16, 2020 [12 favorites]


I had to go to Home Depot this morning, and there were way fewer people wearing masks than the last time I was there a couple of weeks ago. It was also almost deserted in the store, so realistically social distancing wasn't a big concern except when checking out, but still, that was disappointing to see. People are definitely hitting their limit of caring about this; I can only imagine what it will be like when the warm weather fully arrives.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:12 AM on May 16, 2020

I’m starting to pack up my apartment to move from Long Island to Manhattan to begin my residency program. I finally get to work as a doctor! 🎉 In the middle of a pandemic... 😕

It’s weird; no donation places are open near me, so I’m gonna be throwing away a lot more than I normally would to downsize from a one bedroom to a studio, but there’s something freeing about that. I have to make this move; there’s no way for me to be personally virtuous about waste other than letting people know I put free stuff out by the dumpster; and so I am probably going to have the mentally easiest move of my life.

Since I could really use something being easy right now, I’ll take it!
posted by ocherdraco at 9:16 AM on May 16, 2020 [12 favorites]


Greetings from Brooklyn. Court Street yesterday looked like a block party. Clusters of people strolling together, flocks of children on bicycles riding on the sidewalk, joggers, men without masks, men and women apparently believing you can wear a mask around your neck like a scarf, a man with his mask wrapped around his arm (wtf), and a crowd outside Svendale Brewing Co., hanging around and drinking on the sidewalk. I almost took a picture, but I didn’t want to stand on the sidewalk any longer because I felt pretty unsafe with all the maskless joggers. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to CVS and now I need to order my allergy medication online.

Optimism level is currently set at zero - nihilism.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:19 AM on May 16, 2020 [4 favorites]

My poor, sweet GSD is still battling MRSA while healing from his 3rd CBLO repair attempt. The antibiotics were making his joints swell and he's in way more pain now than he was a month ago. Switched antibiotics but it will be another 7 weeks before they recheck the bone healing. Which means it's taking omg 22 WEEKS for the bone to knit. He's in pain, bored, and lonely. I am also bored and lonely, and it is excruciating to not be able to make him feel better. I try not to think about this too much.

My Canadian fiance and I had planned to get married in August. At the moment i live in the California Bay Area and have no idea when I will even see him again. I try not to think about this too much.

My obnoxious mother, who I still somehow care about is deeply in the right wing koolaid bowl and thinks this is all liberal hype. She is having a friend fly in!!! In 3 weeks!!!! From Florida!!!!! To stay at her house for a week!!!!!! I try not to think about this too much.

Lots of things to not think about. I'm getting very friendly with my stock of wines.

But I have a good job, with good people, doing good work in the world. I am not expected to use my camera for zoom. I'm glad I can give my dog the very best of care.

I'm grateful that my neighborhood is fully on board with masks and distance, and that the co-op I shop at is well stocked and carefully managing volume and distance in store, and providing staff with masks and gloves and plexiglass wall shields. My garden is gearing up for lots of productive growing and my lawn is free of foxtails due to my ongoing weeding frenzies.

I miss my friends. And my partner. And my aunts and uncles, who I was just starting to get to know! And my chosen family in Canada. And the forests and waterfalls around my house up there.

posted by ananci at 9:21 AM on May 16, 2020 [9 favorites]

it is very nice out today and i have fronch tost.

i was the only person for like 10 stops going downtown on the entire 3 train this morning; the conductor was super excited when someone else finally got on at 42nd street.

summer is barely even here but the smell of the morgue trucks has increased exponentially and it's really bad. like. really bad. don't like that.

the yard cats have been EXTREMELY horny and will nOT stop fucking with unrelenting vigor at all hours of the night. they are clearly not adhering to social distancing rules. they will be sentenced to the pear wiggler.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:05 AM on May 16, 2020 [11 favorites]

Partner and I made fronch tost this morning as well. Small upside in all this. It was really good.

We're looking at numbers yesterday and this morning, and it looks like assuming my company recognizes "entered a domestic partnership" as a life event for insurance purposes (they do offer insurance to opposite-sex domestic partners) we can afford to be a single-income family indefinitely, with a bit of aggressive belt-tightening and basically no fun at all. I'm terrified of asking her to sacrifice her job in this economy, but.. I'm also terrified of her living in a rented room in a condo with at least one person who works in a hospital, going to work for a company that I don't think really cares about worker safety, and not knowing when it will be safe to see each other again.

I have barely been outside in 2 months. We drove our cars to make sure they still worked, three weeks ago, partner has taken her cat to the vet a couple of times, we went to a pharmacy, and I dropped a package of work-related hardware I worked on off in a box in our CEO's driveway. What even is this world?
posted by Alterscape at 10:35 AM on May 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

it's weird wearing shoes. my feet were so confused.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:37 AM on May 16, 2020 [8 favorites]

I think I'm doing ok today, but in general, I'm struggling. A lot of this has to do with complicated family dynamics. My mother is terminally ill: she's not quite ready for hospice, because she's still going to do chemo for five days every month, but she's going to die, and I think it's probably going to be within the hospice timeframe. My work has gone remote, and I can work from anywhere, so I'm at my parents' house helping out. My brother lives in the same city. And basically, my brother, my father, and I have different expectations about what role my brother and I should play in my mother's care. My father and mother got married when my father was 20, and my father's father died unexpectedly a few months later. My father took a leave of absence from college, and my parents moved to his parents' city to help run the family business. I think this was incredibly difficult for both of my parents, but my father did it, because he was a good son. It also set the tone of their marriage: my father had an emergency, both he and my mother uprooted their entire lives to deal with it, and only my father's sacrifice made it in to the story my family tells about it. I know that my father took a leave of absence from college, but I literally have no idea what my mother had to leave behind. Did she have a job that she quit? I have no idea! Everyone just took it for granted that my mother would ignore her own needs and priorities and focus on my father's, so much so that nobody even noticed that she was doing it. So there are two key facts here: my father believes that he sacrificed mightily during a family emergency and that this is a reasonable thing for children to do, and my father has spent his entire adult life taking for granted that my mother existed to serve his needs. And now that she's incapacitated, it is very easy for him to assume that I will fill in for her and quietly, without complaint, sublimate all of my needs to serve his.

So I'm here, and I'm helping my parents. My father believes that this is right and proper and that I am exactly as responsible for my mother's care as he is, so it's reasonable that I spend just as much time on it as he does. For instance, I am still working full-time, and he treats the time that I am working as if I'm taking a break. Since I spend so much time taking breaks, it's fair that I spend the rest of the time being the person who is primarily responsible for my mother. My brother, on the other hand, believes that my father is fully responsible for my mother's care, and my brother and I should be socially-distancing from my parents according to the most stringent socially-distancing standards. He has grudgingly agreed to visit my mother, which he treats as an extreme and unreasonable sacrifice, but he will not get within six feet of her, my father, or me. This means that he actually can't do anything, although my mother is certainly very happy to see him. But I'm the one helping the aides get her dressed and physically spooning food into her mouth at meals, because he can't get close enough to do it.

And honestly, I don't know what I should do. I understand my father's point of view: he's overwhelmed, and I do think that children have responsibilities to their parents. Part of me thinks I should see if I can get a leave of absence from work and just devote myself full-time to caring for my mother for the rest of her life. But I don't know if I could get a leave of absence from work (and I am not quitting my job in this economy), and I also am not sure that's a reasonable level of sacrifice. I also understand my brother's point of view: reading AskMes about coronavirus, I am struck by how completely horrified most MeFites would be by my behavior. I think the consensus here would be that the only safe thing to do would be to put my mother in a nursing home, never visit her, and reconcile myself to never seeing her again. I refuse to do that, and the only alternative is to subject myself to a level of risk that I totally realize a lot of people would find unacceptable. But I feel really caught in the middle, and I am totally sick of trying to explain my father and brother's perspectives to the other one. I already have enough to do, and I am sort of sick of adding family therapist to my constantly-increasing list of roles.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:16 AM on May 16, 2020 [24 favorites]

ArbitraryAndCapricious, have you checked to see if you qualify for FMLA?
posted by cooker girl at 11:34 AM on May 16, 2020 [5 favorites]

AandC it seems like you're in a tenable position only because it's not going to last very long for the worst reason. I wish you great strength and compassion and hope you find your own way through to be as kind and loving as possible to everyone -- starting with yourself.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:04 PM on May 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

AandC, I agree that it sounds scary, but I admire that you’re helping your mom. And I’m annoyed with your father and brother on your behalf. I’m really sorry you’re going through this.
posted by areaperson at 1:37 PM on May 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Lots of ups and downs. We are very lucky in many many ways, but I’m also worried about what this means long term for my young child. I truly do not see how daycares can follow the CDC “flowchart” guidelines (do not let kids share toys—-have they met two year olds?). As a family we are wondering if this means we won’t feel safe until (if?) there is a vaccine.

I’m also pregnant (8 weeks) with the accompanying sickness and exhaustion. I have health conditions that require regular lab work and when I got my blood drawn last week, the tech was letting her mask fall off her face, exposing her nostrils. She also touched me with an ungloved hand while she was drawing blood. I reported it. I’m feeling freaked out. I have worked hard to keep my family safe and now I’m so scared that I have exposed us.

The pregnancy is really happy news for us. I also managed to finish out my semester with good grades. Shout out to my professors who recognized that their students’ worlds were upended (as theirs are). Summer session starts in about 10 days; hopefully attitudes of grace and flexibility continue.

I absolutely understand that this can not be, but I just want to take my daughter to a park to swing.
posted by CMcG at 1:46 PM on May 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

had to abruptly stop taking my antidepressants due to side effects and everything is terrible all the time
posted by lazaruslong at 3:11 PM on May 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

Lazaruslong, that sucks so much, I'm so sorry. Have done that before and it's awful.

We just had a carbon monoxide leak in the apartment basement. Firefighters knocked on our door. Literally at that same moment I was going out to grab delivery so I had to go past all three of them (because I wasn't going to let the poor delivery guy stand out there waiting) while partner let one into the apartment to test it. They said we're fine but fuck. CO poisoning is one of my worst fears and having to be so close to people + have someone in the apartment had me shaking and nearly crying by the time the firefighters left.
posted by brook horse at 4:20 PM on May 16, 2020 [4 favorites]

I'm struggling. I've had devastating family news that I can't do anything about because I'm hundreds of miles away. My BF and I had decided to be a bubble this whole time, which was really helping. But he finally sort of broke after staying home for 8 weeks straight and drove ~3 hours to visit his family. So now we're not seeing each other for 14 days and I'm trying hard not to resent that he got to see his family and I can't see mine.
posted by TwoStride at 5:14 PM on May 16, 2020 [11 favorites]

I reached out for help, and got enough to pull myself out of the muck.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:21 PM on May 16, 2020 [26 favorites]

I'm relieved that I'm seeing more people wearing masks out and about. I have been getting used to wearing one. I still worry though about any racist attacks happening to my husband or in-laws (they are asian; I am white).
I have given up on trying to follow school assignments. I am having my oldest do math worksheets and read chapter books and that's it. I know the teachers are mandated to offer assignments but logging onto a computer to get Phys Ed tips when the kids are happy playing in the back yard isn't working.
posted by biggreenplant at 7:37 PM on May 16, 2020 [4 favorites]

I'm exhausted. My social work job has turned into basically telling homeless people no because of covid. Then they get covid and then I get to tell them no again, occasionally try get some yes out of some originization .

So while working and managing to try and avoid covid (hint, I can't)I get snide comments from nurses and doctors how am I am not a first responder and that no I don't deserve the free of the day (usual food) because I'm not a nurse or a doctor but yes I work in the same ER as those people but because I only see patients sometimes and they are mostly homeless and dcfs wards it doesn't count and stay away from my free stuff. I also never got trained in PPE and get a n 95 once every 30 days because I'm not clinical staff. So no iso gowns or face shields for me. I see mostly the people they don't bother to even test for covid. One of which was very positive for Covid the other day. I get that everybody has, hard jobs in the hospital right now, but I would like some recognition that I do work in an ER with patients, even if it's mostly just talking to them. Instead of bickering that's not a clinical role or whatever when I just would like a little snack. Sometimes someone feels bad and sneaks me something. Or my department (because I work nights) gets something and saves me a little bit from during the day. Though somebody stole my portion anyway this week. But I'm a one man department at night so no use in organizing something for just me. It's petty and frustrating but I so feel of all the social workers out there doing dcfs and homeless shelter work and ER work and crisis counseling. Sending you guys lots of support and encouragement to keep to the good work. This is hard work.

So feeling very unwelcome at work.

So I'm spending my days in a windowless office until I have to brave the COVID. then I go home to a toddler and wife.

Meanwhile my PTSD decided I earned the right to have flashbacks again for no reason other than stress. So I'm trying to stay grounded and together and feel hopeful. My old therapist can't see me because she had to basically stop practicing due to covid, so now I'm looking for a therapist for trauma therapy over teletherapy which is difficult and trying to give people enough context to see if we might even be a good fit is hard, and it really doesn't help that I have a clinical licensure degree and these people are my peers , like litterally, but I need therapy so here I am. And because I work in an ER, I'm not going to get in person EMDR any time soon. Which would likely be helpful because these memories are intrusive.

I broke down today just screaming and angry today. I am tired.
posted by AlexiaSky at 8:52 AM on May 17, 2020 [24 favorites]

Don't be too jealous of IL. Before this started, it was almost impossible to visit a dispensary for recreational. The lines were around the block, because it was so new, and they frequently sold out. No one bothers NOW, especially. I imagine everyone went back to their old dealers.

The Collinsville dispensary is universally loathed around here.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:02 AM on May 17, 2020

Oh, so many of us need some hugs, and there are not enough hugs.
AlexiaSky, I can't believe your colleagues are so mean, what is wrong with them?

I've just finished dinner. It was fried garfish with new potatoes and creamed pointy cabbage, so delicious traditional spring food in this corner of the world. I bought the fish yesterday, but when I came home I was in such a bad mood and I just threw it in bottom of the fridge, so I was quite shocked this evening when I took it out and realized it hadn't been cleaned. I was worried the intestines would have started rotting, but it was still perfect, it must have been fresh out of the sea yesterday.

The Observer has this article about school openings here. It doesn't say that six teachers at one kindergarten were infected one of the first days.

My own bad mood is a mixed bag. Part of it is my "normal" PTSD, which is actually getting better because of the isolation, but flared up yesterday for no apparent reason. An other is that there is a miniature dust bowl here. I wrote before about my manure-spreading neighbor. Now a large part of his field has turned into very fine ammonia-filled sand/dust and a lot of it has spread into my land, which is bad enough, and also into my house where it is getting into my eyes and nose and mouth and lungs, so I'm coughing constantly. It really adds to the general feeling of end times.
I guess a third thing is that the country is opening up and I feel stressed about it (but more because I feel I personally need a couple weeks more of isolation than from fear of infection).
posted by mumimor at 10:42 AM on May 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

I found out today that my 84 year old dad is going to need another inpatient heart procedure. My mom has a lot of memory issues and I’m going to have to step in a lot on this which I am happy to do (well, not happy, but you know) but I’m already feeling so much anxiety. I’m an only child and there’s no other family nearby. Even without the pandemic this would be stressful but this just adds a whole extra layer. I feel like I’ve managed my anxiety pretty well through this up until now. But this news has really thrown me.
posted by bookmammal at 10:53 AM on May 17, 2020 [8 favorites]

I'm doing okay. I still have some congestion, which I put down to post-nasal drip, after some googling. I purchased a cool mist humidifier, which has really helped.

UK restrictions have been eased and the car parks around the forest where I live have re-opened. Naturally people have gone nuts and it's been really busy, particularly at weekends. I've made a point of going for my daily walks on weekdays during the hours before the car parks are unlocked, when it's just a few locals and their dogs. And at weekends I've not been going for walks at all, as it's too crowded; instead I've been dancing by myself indoors to get my 10,000 steps in.

But one good thing about the new restrictions is that I'm allowed to associate with one other person outside my household. I live alone, and it's been pretty lonely sometimes. My good friend lives a few houses away and we can now resume our daily walks, maintaining our 2m distance, with her two little dogs (who I love and have missed terribly).

I'll be working from home for the foreseeable future, which suits me fine. I was already wfh for 4 days a week before lockdown anyway.

I'm still shamelessly piggybacking on other people's supermarket orders to add in a few things, and I've continued with my veg box deliveries. Cooking nice food is saving my mental health. I couldn't get any flour so I ordered a 16kg sack and shared it out with the neighbours, bagging it up and leaving it on the doorsteps of anyone who wanted it. My way of giving back, in a small way.

I've been working in my garden, planting vegetables and salad crops, re-using old compost where I can. Garden centres have re-opened, but I don't feel the need to go near one. I have a neighbour who's a gardener and he can get me whatever I need.

My car wouldn't start as I'd not driven it for weeks, so I bought one of those Cobra Jumpacks, which got it started brilliantly. But the jump start has, I think, affected a fuse in the electrics, as the car will sometimes only start up from the jump start, not from the key fob. Once it starts, it runs perfectly, and when I park and switch it off, it'll re-start again immediately. But if I leave it for a couple of hours, sometimes it then won't start via the fob, only by the charging bank hooked up to the battery. The Toyota dealership is closed right now, but I think it'll be an easy fix once they're open, with a new fuse somewhere in the electrics and a replacement 12V battery swapped in there too, as mine is pretty old. I don't need to go anywhere, so it's no big deal but I do need to make sure the car will start and run, if only to get it to the dealership when I need to.

This time last year I had a 3-week holiday in New York and Ohio, celebrating a milestone birthday with dear friends. The photos have been popping up on my 'memories' feed on Facebook and it's made me feel so sad that I don't know when I'll see any of them again.

I took delivery of some hair dye last week and now my grey roots are gone. Nobody else could see my roots, but I was sick of looking in the mirror and seeing this badger stripe of grey hair along my parting. I'm not generally a vain person, but I'm glad I was able to put in a bit of self-care.

I know two people who've died of CV-19, both in their 60s, one with an underlying condition (asthma). Someone else I know went into hospital a month ago to have treatment for leukaemia but since then he's not posted on Facebook (and he's a very prolific poster), nor answered any messages.

My neighbour who works in the ICU as a breathing specialist in a hospital in London's corona hotspot says that things have eased off a little but everyone is waiting for the second wave which will inevitably come from the easing of lockdown.

I don't plan on changing anything for the time being other than seeing my friend for our daily walks.
posted by essexjan at 1:39 PM on May 17, 2020 [10 favorites]

I just heard that my friend in the hospital has died. I'm pretty certain it was from leukaemia. Fuck cancer.
posted by essexjan at 3:24 PM on May 17, 2020 [16 favorites]

I made soy milk! Now, to have it in my coffee tomorrow morning.
It's darker than usual soy milk, because I put in a pinch of molasses for flavor. I also sweetened it with vanilla sugar. I also saved the okara in my fridge, to put into ramen tomorrow. (Okara are the soy solids that are left over from the drained soy milk.)

Sugar and Molasses Soy Milk

Aw hell - I'm having some coffee with some of it right now!
posted by spinifex23 at 5:31 PM on May 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

Verdict: YUM. It's a bit more soybeany tasting than the store bought stuff, but it feels good to have an alternative milk to use in my coffee or tea. I think it's soybeany because I took a short cut and made it in my Instant Pot, instead of cooking in the group kitchen on the stove, with my cast iron pan. That'll give a much better regulation of the heat.

When I get the cogaluent later this week, I'm giving a stab at tofu.
posted by spinifex23 at 5:50 PM on May 17, 2020

Essexjan, so sorry about your friend.
posted by NotLost at 6:08 PM on May 17, 2020

Essexjan, so sorry.

As for the car, you might want to take it on a multi-hour drive, to fully recharge the battery. It's not a terrible idea to take it for a spin every couple of weeks to maintain the battery and keep everything lubricated.
posted by porpoise at 6:15 PM on May 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm also so sorry, Essexjan.
posted by spinifex23 at 7:45 PM on May 17, 2020

My partner and I are lucky, in that we have food, work from home already, and can stand being around each other. Our 14-year-old kid is missing her 8th grade graduation and her very close friend group, and I feel so heartbroken for her. But she's putting on a brave face (when that face isn't disappearing into a screen for hours and hours, but I can hardly point fingers there) and I think she's getting along OK (she's been doing a ton of cooking, which my partner and I don't mind a bit.)

And yet -- in the last 2 months, 5 people in our extended family have died, and that's not including my mom's dog. In every case, I knew the person who died but was not super close to them, but am close to someone or ones that were close to the deceased. So that is another strange kind of luck, I suppose. I wasn't really considering the idea that all this death in the family might be affecting me, since it was all indirect, in a way. I was just chalking my exacerbated lack of focus, depressive moodiness, and executive function disorder up as personal character failures, as usual. Not long ago I started to think that these things might be related. Still processing on that one. A friend I was relating the whole thing to recently compared it to being in a perfectly preserved house in the middle of London during the Blitz, hearing the bombs drop all around you. I suppose that's the situation we're all in now to some extent, if we haven't actually been hit yet.

Tomorrow's the 21st anniversary of my first date with my partner, which is what we mark our time from. Normally we'd go somewhere really nice to celebrate, but not in these times. Some places in Austin are open but it feels way too soon. So, we're making homemade savory and sweet crepes and planning a candlelit dinner on the back porch; the spawn has offered (begged us actually) to be our waiter & maitre d'. I feel like we're fiddling outside Rome as it burns, or sipping some of last sweetness in the calm before the storm destroys all. Still, we've had a good run and it will be sweet to talk over some of the times we've had together and toast the past, with the future so unknown.
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 10:14 PM on May 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

Hugs, essexjan.

One of my coworkers died from covid-19 early on. And the store only told his immediate coworkers, yet he worked all over the store. From that point on, it was obvious that profit and not employee lives is the motivating factor even in a pandemic.

Everything is opening up (in time for the holiday-tourist economy surge) and it was a shitshow at the beach two weekends ago even before everything has opened. When the second wave hits we are in such a bad place with people from all over mixing about.

And tourists and second-homers have a blinkered view of vacation areas. I stopped by the dollar general after work to pick up something and a non-masked person asked if I was local. Yes. She was holding one of the limited packs of TP the store has finally gotten in. She said "We can't get this at home." No shit, we can not get it here either.

And our store still doesn't have TP.

At most, 5 percent of the customers are wearing masks. Employees are required to wear masks for the entire shift now (I have been all along). But there is no limit on the number of customers and we are basically sweltering outside with the masks on. When sweat is pouring down your face, you end up touching the mask all the time as you wipe away sweat.

I think it's just security theater at this point since we've obviously been exposed; corporate is now signaling that it is safe for customers because they are being protected from us expendable workers. And customers are bitching about everything. Workers are all demoralized.

I am, however, keeping myself sane by working in my yard all the time. The garden shed project is turning out wonderfully. I am surprised that I can say that I am pleased with something that I did without discounting it. I may be proud of it just a wee bit, which is something that I am never able to admit.
posted by mightshould at 3:14 AM on May 18, 2020 [10 favorites]

I've started shopping only at stores that require both employees and customers to wear masks. I don't want to support corporations who only give lip service to their employees' safety. Yes, Home Depot, that means you. Take a fucking stand and be like Menards: no mask, no entry. They'll sell you one for a dollar but you're not coming in the door if you don't have a mask. I realize I am in a place of privilege to even take this stance, in that I have the means to be able to make these choices. Hopefully enough of us who can, will, and the money will speak.
posted by cooker girl at 8:06 AM on May 18, 2020 [13 favorites]

Oh, that also extends to restaurants. If you're doing take-out/delivery/curbside pickup, you'll get my money. If you took the Governor saying, "Cautious opening is okay, here are the rules," to mean FREE FOR ALL LET'S OPEN THE BARS, fuck you, I'll never eat at your establishment again.
posted by cooker girl at 9:23 AM on May 18, 2020 [8 favorites]

Arrgh. So, I'm worried about my neighbor whose apartment door is right across the landing from mine. This is someone who is always out multiple times a day to walk the dog, take a stroll to the sidewalk and grab a smoke, etc. and since my kitchen window looks out at their front door I often seem them coming and going.* I haven't seen them since last week, though, and there's an Amazon delivery outside the door that's been sitting there since Friday.

Under normal circumstances I'd just assume they'd gone out of town or something, but circumstances aren't normal. I'm kind of assuming that if they'd, oh, had a stroke, or fell and hit their head, I'd have heard the dog making noise by now, but . . .

I finally called the management company and got the main office person, who's very nice but a bit of an airhead, and she said she'd try phoning to check on the person. I guess there's nothing more that I can do at this point, and I'm sure I'm probably over-stressing. (I tend to be a worrier at the best of times, which these of course aren't.)

*Use of they/them because I'm not entirely sure of this person's gender identity (I think maybe trans man?) which on the one hand is none of my business but also slightly rachets up my unease because it *could* mean potential lower level of family/social support network.
posted by Kat Allison at 10:13 AM on May 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

Quarantine Tomato Soup

2/3 cup spaghetti sauce (I use wegmans)
1/3 cup milk (I use 2% but you could use heavy cream if you're fancy)
1 tbs. dried onion flakes
Leftover rice (if you have any)
Butter (as much as you like!)

I make this by the bowl in the microwave. Like a minute, then stir it up, then another 30 seconds.

This was inspired by a cheese commercial that was aired in the 1980's during the first run of MST3k on Comedy Central. We've been watching these early episodes (with commercials intact) on Thursdays and Sundays. Anyway, the commercial is just someone extolling a new snack, which turns out to be a grilled cheese sandwich cut into four slices. So I made it today and needed some soup to go with it. And no Campbell's on hand.

MST3k Grilled Cheese

Slice of butter in skillet
Slice of Bread

Handful of shredded mozzarella
Handful of shredded Taco cheese (this is a blend of monterey jack, cheddar, you know the drill)

(you can use American squares, Canadian process cheese, cheddar, brie, camembert, (it's a bloody cheese shop, innit?) whatever you have on hand)

Build your sandwich in the well-seasoned Lodge cast iron pan that any hipster would be proud of, and use a spatula to wangjangle that bad boy until it's golden brown delicious.

Cut into four parallel slices.

Bon apetit.
posted by valkane at 10:20 AM on May 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

There is a word in Danish that describes my feelings today, but I can't find the English equivalent. I'm grådlabil. It means I'm on the verge of crying all the time.
There are hundreds of words to be written about it, but I'm thinking there are combined causes: the first is that all of us are going through a roller-coster of emotions. Those of us who have lost have the grief to deal with. I have a lot of economic worries too. And then also the dust storm I mentioned yesterday meant that I woke up this morning with a nose bleed, a headache and a cough, and the whole house including me, all my clothes and books and the insides of cupboards covered in black dust.
The environmental crisis didn't disappear because of coronavirus.
posted by mumimor at 11:46 AM on May 18, 2020 [9 favorites]

I second that, mumimor.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:08 PM on May 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

mumimor & jenfulmoon: Mary Annaïse Heglar has been there too.
posted by progosk at 3:26 PM on May 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

My husband is still in the hospital and now they don't think it's cancer, but might be liver failure? He is still on heparin for the blood clot in his lung and iron transfusions. No one has called me to tell me what's going on, except the surgeon who said she didn't see a lot of cancer (Friday evening). I'm hoping to talk to the doctor in charge tomorrow morning.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:14 PM on May 18, 2020 [5 favorites]

So sorry Marie Mon Dieu. I hope you can find out what's going on soon.
posted by FencingGal at 4:24 PM on May 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

Whew -- the management co. was able to reach my neighbor by phone and all is well--just out of town for a few days. (I realize too that probably the reason I got so freaked out is over-identification; as another fairly isolated person living alone, I've thought often about how, especially during lockdown, if something bad did happen to me, it'd be days before anyone had a clue, and, as they say, the cats would eat my face. I foresee an AskMe in my future about automated check-in systems...)

And thoughts and best wishes going out to all here who are stressed and suffering.
posted by Kat Allison at 4:37 PM on May 18, 2020 [11 favorites]

I'll get answers all right. Better to be pissed off than pissed on. I used to be an executive admin at a corporate firm. Not sure they expect that here in rural Maine, but they're going to get it. That's my husband. I'll be icily polite and very inquisitive.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:16 PM on May 18, 2020 [14 favorites]

I'm so sorry to hear all the sad news on this thread. Take care of yourselves. Mumimor, Marie Mon Dieu, Mightshould, Essexjan, and everyone else. I hope you find some respite from this onslaught.

The "what creative stuff have you made" thread is closed and I've been looking forward to sharing my jacket embroidery progress there. So it will just have to go here.

Today started badly because my brother shared an article he wrote about the fact that in South Africa we're not choosing between people's lives and the economy, but risk losing on both those fronts. But I've managed to power through and make progress on both my work-for-pay and writing my book. So things are better.
Yesterday was a good day because I managed to make contact on social media with a friend I've been very worried about. I think she's struggling but is usually the kind of person who helps others, and doesn't feel comfortable letting anyone know that things are tough. So we just had a light chat.

The neighbours dog came visiting us this morning. Her name is Sasha and she doesn't believe in social distancing. She came right into our house and went to drink from our toilet, good girl that she is. She's quite old, and greying around the edges, sweet old thing.
posted by Zumbador at 6:27 AM on May 19, 2020 [8 favorites]

Question: today everything tastes weird. Maybe it began yesterday. I won't say it doesn't taste, but of course I'm worried. What I've got is a metallic bitter taste. I suppose it could be an aftereffect of the ammonia dust? Also I haven't been near another person since late March.
When my aunt and cousin were here, we kept a distance. People in the shops here are generally good at distancing, and there have been very few cases in this region.
But the weird taste...

Zumbador, that jacket is so cool! I had an embroidered jacket once, and I loved it so much, and I've been thinking of taking up embroidery (again) for ages, but not had ideas for a project. Now you have inspired me!
posted by mumimor at 7:05 AM on May 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

That's a very appropriate sentiment, Zumbador. Good job!
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:13 AM on May 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

mumimor, it's most likely the ammonia dust. Just make note if it gets worse or if you spike a fever.
posted by cooker girl at 8:49 AM on May 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

Another check-in from Rome, now that, after ten weeks, with most things technically open (it's only really schools that won't be, until September, since there's just about a month left before summer break was due to start anyway), I can't say it's really much of a quarantena anymore. Not that it really feels any less of a captive situation, given that everyone's wary of the virus still being active, and so much (travel, social life, and unfortunately much of my profession, too) just being kind of on hold until... no one's really clear until when. (Personal waymark at which I'll ease concern: at least ten days of solid zero new cases per day in our region.)

Numbers are generally fluttering downwards, though we watch them with trepidation, given that people are now out and about, a majority with masks, but still a quantitave leap in... transmission potential.

Anyhow, here's the usual regional datapoints for Lazio (source):

- the decrease in new cases has been in 10-day(ish) plateaus, the fifth one at around 25ish new cases per day is lasting a little longer
- just under a third of the 3,786 currently active cases are hospitalised, with just under 2% of cases now in ICU (74 total)
- the current regional case fatality rate (as per today's totals of 7,505 overall confirmed cases and 640 deaths) is up to 8.53%..
- two weeks of single digit numbers of new cases in a number of the lesser affected regions, but still none have yet had a solid week of zero new cases.

The only infection upticks that have really hit the news were a couple of funeral hotspots...

Media this week a pretty mixed bag: My Best Friend's Wedding, Talk to me, Quick Change, What If, Hors de Prix - Priceless, The Encounter and Midnight Special. So just two Adam Driver's, this week.

We've finally been switched over to our new 100% renewables co-op electricity provider, which helps to be at peace with having so much stuff in the house switched on / charging / consuming all the while we're here. Can't wait for my new slackline to finally arrive - I'm expecting the less unwitting balancing act it provides will prove something. Not sure what, yet.
posted by progosk at 5:17 PM on May 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

That jacket is really cool! If anyone else is looking to get into some embroidery, you can also use your sewing machine like a tattoo needle (it’s got a totally different look from hand embroidery, but it’s fast, there’s a bunch of tricks you can do, it’s easy to mix in some applique, and you can add hand stitching after if you like)’s easy. Just set the foot pressure to 0, and drop out the feed teeth plate (the teeth under the pressure will be a switch or lever nearby, near the bottom of the side or back) and feed the fabric through manually. Keep the fabric taut with your hands, like an embroidery hoop, and don’t pull too hard or you’ll break your needle. Interfacing will make it easier, but tissue paper will work if you don’t have any. Use a straight stitch for outlines and zigzag/satin stitch to fill in areas. Blind hem stitch and similar are really good for cross-hatching and shading and fancy stitches are good for greenery and stars and water and such. If you ‘get gud’ and can control the fabric with one hand, you can use the other to control stitch width for wavy wide lines, leaves, shapes, contours, etc.
I have small dinosaur, palm tree, and fireball patches coming in the mail. I plan to put them on a background scene of volcano and lake and shrubs and stormy skies and make a ‘dinosaur extinction panorama’ pandemic face mask. I may only be able to leave the house occasionally, but I’m damn well going to do it fashionably.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:20 PM on May 20, 2020 [7 favorites]

Now I have almost finished cleaning the house of ammonia dust, after five hours yesterday (I had zoom meetings too) and 8 hours today. I still need 2-3 hours of work. Sigh. But luckily the wind has turned, and it looks like it will remain in a good direction till the next rain. While the wind was still blowing the dust in, vacuuming was a Sisyphus task, that still had to be done to avoid little black dunes inside the house. I really thought about the people who lived through the dust bowl, and others who have seen desertification in old times and now, and a lot of things make sense in a different way: covering your hair and face? Yes please! Nice bedcovers to protect your clean bed linen? Absolutely! Tight fitting cupboard doors and drawers? The best!

I was rewarded with guests. One of my brothers and his wife have arrived for a couple of days. They also live on a farm and have been completely isolated for the whole time, so it feels very safe to have them here. They brought a mountain of snacks and for a couple of hours we sat outdoors in the sun drinking Aperol Spritz and eating different weirdly flavored snacks till we couldn't eat dinner. I don't have to tell you how amazing this was.
posted by mumimor at 2:02 PM on May 20, 2020 [9 favorites]

I plan to put them on a background scene of volcano and lake and shrubs and stormy skies and make a ‘dinosaur extinction panorama’ pandemic face mask. I may only be able to leave the house occasionally, but I’m damn well going to do it fashionably.

Post pics when you can!
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:09 PM on May 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

Like many other school districts in the area and state, the agency I work for is furloughing employees for 1 day/week for the rest of the school year (we've got about a month left). From a money perspective it'll work out okay for most of us because various supports will kick in, but our legally-required service minutes remain the same so we basically need to fit 5 days worth of work into 4 days. My group has a new supervisor who asked us if we could "just cut out our planning and prep time" to make it work and hey, I was taking improv classes right up until quarantine kicked in so I guess that'll come in handy! Not that I'm bitter about that suggestion or anything (to be fair, they were asking in good faith and have been as supportive as circumstances allow - I guess I'm just feeling a bit crabby).

More than that I'm sad that I get 4 fewer days with my students this year, and I feel bad for parents who are already feeling so much strain. And I just can't predict what next school year is going to be like - will we be back to normal in the fall? Will there be more furloughs? I've been reasonably good at taking things one day at a time so far but it's hard to be in meetings with families and not have answers for them. We're all trying our best, but it's rough.
posted by DingoMutt at 5:37 PM on May 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'll share a cute story as some of you may enjoy it.

A coworker of mine was in a long-distance relationship for about a year prior to the start of quarantine in our area. Coincidentally, her boyfriend was coming for a visit in March, and arrived the day before flights from Europe to the US were suspended (Europe and US being the relevant long-distance). So immediately after he arrived, our area went into quarantine, and they've been shut in together at her place for the last two months.

Today she just told us that they've gotten engaged, and shared their engagement photos. In which both of them are wearing plague doctor masks. So at least one couple is going to have a fun story coming out of all this mess.
posted by biogeo at 8:43 PM on May 20, 2020 [18 favorites]

Another bad day for California, and Illinois. Texas jumps into 4th for new cases. Florida, in spite of their bs reporting keeps moving up...

How much science will get republicans to pay attention...?
posted by Windopaene at 9:26 PM on May 21, 2020

(Personal waymark at which I'll ease concern: at least ten days of solid zero new cases per day in our region.)

I think my region has recently achieved this metric even as they just reported some new cases one ferry ride away (more than an hour). But even over there, it's not that bad. The health care authority isn't scrambling. They have the resources to deal with the current level of infection.

so what do you do?

we're technically quite safe right now, certainly far safer than we were a month or three ago. Probably more likely to be taken out by drunk driver than covid-19. This week anyway. A friend just posted a shot of the first pint of draft beer he's had since the beginning of March. It looked good.

I wonder if this new normal I keep hearing about is going to involve a new metric, like a weather report. Except it will be for the virus. We're already there, of course, in more acutely affected regions. But my point is, these reports are not going away. We're going to want to keep an eye on them, maybe not every day (unless you're directly affected, a health care worker, somebody who's high risk) but certainly a few times a week -- we'll want to stay on top of the forecasts and trends. Because like the weather, it will affect us all, we'll all be part of the discussion, one way or another. And if the forecast is for rain, a lot of rain -- that doesn't mean you have to just stay indoors, but you will want to dress appropriately, maybe rethink those weekend plans.

I'm personally a caregiver for someone is pretty much highest risk, so I'm going to have to be more like a farmer or a fisher. I will have to stay very much on top of developments. But not so much everybody else. Other priorities will assert themselves as they must. Life goes on. It's never been without risk.
posted by philip-random at 8:28 AM on May 22, 2020 [5 favorites]

How much science will get republicans to pay attention...?

As long as it's mostly poor and mostly minorities dying, they won't pay attention. Or maybe more accurate: they'll be paying attention only to gleefully rubbing their hands together because the virus is doing their eugenicist dirty work for them.

At least locally, we are approaching some sort of dystopian steady state where there are ~500 new cases and ~20 deaths a day from covid. (That's not counting all the people who die because of delayed care/lack of resources.) They have quietly removed the "new cases must be decreasing" language from the phased re-opening plan.

I'm just so fucking tired.
posted by basalganglia at 9:12 AM on May 22, 2020 [5 favorites]

I went to the grocery store today - Friday afternoon instead of my usual Monday morning - and yikes. Masks dangling from chins and basically no social distancing from both customers and staff. People are tired of being careful. I'm afraid that the whole idea of social distancing will pretty much break down over the coming long weekend with the gorgeous weather forecast, and us being just a week a way from starting to open back up.
posted by btfreek at 4:49 PM on May 22, 2020 [4 favorites]

Someone posted this on my social media and it's the most depressingly accurate take: America is officially in 'fuck it' mode

It also is itching my brain for that word for "a thing where the commentary about the thing proves the thing", because yeah, the comments on that post were all "but everyone is overreacting! LOL the flu"
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:51 PM on May 22, 2020 [4 favorites]

nakedmolerats, I couldn't believe that video wasn't a spoof. I had to find the news station website to be convinced otherwise. Unbelievable.
posted by essexjan at 4:42 AM on May 23, 2020

Then again maybe I shouldn't be surprised. We had these fuckwits in the UK.
posted by essexjan at 4:47 AM on May 23, 2020

Social media is doing my head in. I've decided I cannot in good conscience return to my personal trainer, after she posted some conspiracy stuff and anti-vax stuff.
What really worried me was a chat with a friend, who is a research scientist, but obviously isn't keeping up to date with the news (like this news addict over here) as she is leading a very busy life home educating her kids. She said "same death rate as the flu" - my blood ran cold as that's a common conspiracy theorist line. We looked up the stats together and she realized it's actually much much worse, at least globally.

I'm worried I will lose friendships over this.
posted by freethefeet at 5:15 AM on May 23, 2020 [7 favorites]

nakedmolerats: Self-fulfilling prophecy?

I saw a person very, very important to me, briefly, masked, no touching, in proper circumstances and everything, and I was so moved I nearly threw up/burst into tears all at once after I left but I was wearing a mask so just hyperventilated for a moment and walked back home. My tiny little shriveled heart!
posted by wellred at 5:32 AM on May 23, 2020 [8 favorites]

I'm worried I will lose friendships over this.

I just recently had a discussion with a friend (more of an acquaintance actually) that concluded with something like:

ME: "I don't think I can discuss this stuff with you anymore. It gets nowhere."

HIM: "You just can't handle my critical thinking."

ME: "I don't think you know what that means."

HIM: "It means I'm critical about stuff and you can't take it."
posted by philip-random at 10:10 AM on May 23, 2020 [9 favorites]

I saw a friend yesterday! Outside! While masked! Maintaining distance! Because I had to operate a power tool for them! It was wonderful! And ARGH. NO HUGS.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:29 AM on May 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've come to the conclusion that I'd be a decent deep space astronaut, because I find the isolation to be entirely unremarkable. Would interacting be nice? Sure, probably, but at nine weeks I can't say I particularly care either way.
posted by aramaic at 12:18 PM on May 23, 2020 [9 favorites]

Thanks for all the well wishes for my husband. He's home from the hospital, and on a bunch of meds, but stable and eating okay. We have follow-up appointments with his PCP (by phone) and an in-person visit with a specialist on Friday.

Super thankful he has a good short-term disability plan at work while we figure this out and the best course of action. It's been a very hairy month, dealing with this and then remembering there's a pandemic at the same time. I will be able to go in with him to the dr appt on Friday. They check people at the door for symptoms, with a thermometer, and ask about symptoms. We have some really nice cloth masks that one of my cousins sent us.

I had to go do laundry yesterday, as we don't have it here. You can go in and load, then wait in your car, and go in to transfer to the dryer, then take it with you, no folding allowed. It's a small town, so not many people in there at one time, just the employee.

Then I had to do grocery shopping, which I try to limit to once a week, unless I need to go to the pharmacy, which is just beyond the front door, and they wipe the counter and keypad between each customer, in addition to having the plastic curtain. The store itself has a limit of 45 customers, with sanitized carts as you go in, and arrows marking the aisle directions. I make a list and try to get thru it as fast as I can. They are pretty good about getting people checked out, keeping people at least 6 feet apart, with a manager directing you to which lane. You load at the end of the conveyor belt, then you can stand behind the plexiglass to pay.

Still not sure how serious the liver situation is, they couldn't do a biopsy due him being on blood thinners for the clot on his lung, but he has some bad symptoms of liver disease (not a drinker) and a bloody mass on his liver, which they said has been there a while but has grown, but is not cancer and either he has cirrhosis or this mass is doing something. He is off the blood thinners temporarily until his appt on Friday. So I guess we'll see which doctor says what, and I'll keep asking questions and taking notes and making low sodium meals, and remembering to wash my hands like the dickens, along with my mask.

I am going to plant some flower seeds tomorrow, and hang up my hummingbird feeder. Right now it's pleasant, with a nice breeze, but a heat wave is coming, and will last until Saturday, so I got all of my chores done today and will do something nice tomorrow morning. Planting flower seeds is a hopeful act.

Hugs to you all and for anyone going through tough times right now. So thankful for this community.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 3:34 PM on May 26, 2020 [8 favorites]

I guess this thread going quieter is correlating to the pandemic petering out in many places - I truly feel for those who are in still the thick of it.

Here in Rome the week-by-week gradual reopening since the beginning of the month is now complete, and only travel between regions remains restricted. Given that there is pratically no tourism, compared to what would be typical, the city is still eerily dormant/empty. We've gone for a first tentative lunch out in an informally cozy place that has its tables well spaced in a garden. Throughout the various parts of the city a great majority of people are sporting masks indoors and out.

Numbers are still steadily trending down, some regions have had a string of days with no new cases, and flare-ups (a mass here, a funeral there) have been few and far between. Lombardy's numbers (they had triple the official number of cases than the next region on the list...) are slower to land (still not under 100 new daily cases), and since regulations are still being imposed nationally, the country's patiently holding in solidarity, with hardly any protests taking shape (which has actually surprised me).

Anyway, here's the usual regional datapoints for Lazio (source):

- the decrease in new cases has reached it sixth plateau, of under 20 new cases per day (since the last four days)
- just under a third of the 3,538 currently active cases are hospitalised, with just 1.7% of cases now in ICU (59 total)
- the current regional case fatality rate (as per today's totals of 7,661 overall confirmed cases and 693 deaths) is up to 9.05%.
- antigen tests are being advertised by the public health service; if prescribed by your GP, it will cost you about €13; should you test positive, you are then referred to get tested for the virus itself. There's been conflicting guidance about what formal validity the antigen tests have, so far it sounds like it'll qualify only as epidemiological data, but won't count as certifying anything about your state of health.

Media this week (mostly older fare): Bowfinger, Tomboy, The 40 Year Old Virgin, The Legend of Barney Thomson, Bridget Jones' Diary, Rare Earthenware, Linnet's "Language" and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. (So that's two Robert Downey Jr.'s, this week.)

I was surprised that my muscle memory for the slackline seemed unimpaired by all the down-time. It felt restorative (at least, symbolically so). Hugs Marie Mon Dieu, and all.
posted by progosk at 4:06 PM on May 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

My wife had a sore throat. So we got tested on Friday and got the results this weekend (negative). We did get out for a socially distanced picnic, with small-to-moderate number of people in the park.

My governor on Tuesday amended the public health order so restaurants can open to outside dining, with some restrictions. She also allows drive-in church services, but not a drive-in theater, which seems safer than dining out. She is being wishy-washy about masks and logs for contact tracing.

My governor was one of the first in the USA to shut things down. But I think she is reopening too quickly, without waiting to see the results from each phase. And the "gating criteria" to move to further phases are not public. So we can't tell what she is basing her decisions on. And the newspaper reporters apparently haven't asked.
posted by NotLost at 11:52 PM on May 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I guess this thread going quieter is correlating to the pandemic petering out in many places - I truly feel for those who are in still the thick of it.

I hope this is true. We are still very much in the thick of it here in Cape Town. I have been struggling with severe anxiety, have lost a lot of weight from not being able to eat, as a result. Which is not a good thing. I posted on askmefi and got a lot of really good advice which has helped me a lot. Also have made 36 masks so far for a local homeless community.
The buzz around here is all about the fact that we'll be able to buy alcohol again on Monday, for the first time in almost 3 months. I don't usually drink at all, but now I'm a bit scared of the idea of being able to! Too tempting.
posted by Zumbador at 9:14 AM on May 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

Re: petering out -- I think some people have been sort of continuing their coronavirus check-ins over in this "how are you doing" post; it wasn't set up as a coronavirus-specific thing but even so.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:16 AM on May 27, 2020

I'm just not trying to post whines all the time, personally. I could, but I'm trying not to do that unless it's severe.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:31 AM on May 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Same. I’ve actually got good-bad news (bad: single income family. Good: family! We got engaged! ) but since it’s not really COVID-related I’ve been keeping my head down in here.

Had to get a tetanus shot today because my smart ass dropped a meat thermometer on my foot while cooking on Monday night. Didn’t puncture and no blood, but it did scrape enough to scab over by Tuesday Mid-day. I did a video call with my PCP this morning who basically said “it doesn’t look bad but we don’t have a record of you getting a tetanus shot, so just come in this afternoon.” So I did. Overall fine — they had chairs very spread out in the waiting room, and I was only in the office for about 20 minutes. The receptionists were totally failing mask use though — one had her nose uncovered and the other took her mask off as soon as I sat down, and was talking on the phone. I wasn’t sure what to do about it. Probably should have told the PA (who was masked correctly), but, oi. Social pressure. Sigh.
posted by Alterscape at 4:27 PM on May 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

I reckon there's probably also a lot of acclimation involved, and a decent amount of documentation fatigue; a couple to several months into this depending on one's location and level of direct impact, less of it is new and fewer folks have new specific things to report and less inclination to re-report than they did to report in the first place. I'd expect an ebb over time in overall activity until some new major point of flux as we all just sort of keep on keeping on. A lot of folks have probably had a May that looks more like their April than they did an April that looked like March, etc.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:08 PM on May 27, 2020 [8 favorites]

i just didn't want to keep insensitively repeating in here what a great time i'm having.

seriously though: still here. still reading with interest. working from home. garden grows. little lurk & mama persist. mom persists. pop's dementia proceeds apace. evaluating whether to isolate the grandchild from the grandparents less, in the interest of mental health.

as it is almost time for another trip to the grocery store i am reminded of an amusing anecdote. there is a cigar shop that also carries tobacco in the can/pouch and rolling papers i had visited with some regularity that i think i have mentioned here or on the blue. it had been open. then it had a sign on the door making absurd, probably offensive and certainly illegal health/medical claims about cigars in the context of the virus which lasted about a week. then it was surprisingly open despite emergency orders, which, in fairness, weren't entirely explicit on the subject of cigar shops. then it was open with very careful attention to hygiene. then it was open but one customer at a time (except for those crusty guys' social club members, or whoever, who seem to just live in the back playing cards and watching sports). then some jokes about curbside pick-up. then it was open but locked: the proprietor told me, when i came back, to just let myself in the back door, which felt sketchy as all get out when i did it. as of yesterday it is closed. or, at least, no activity was visible and no entrance was available. i was forced to buy pre-fabs at walgreens. i guess the [county?] did not evaluate that business as essential.

i do not know now of any person within one degree who has contracted the 'rona. i keep imagining returning to ... the society of the workplace water cooler i guess ... and learning after the fact of such persons' situations. it only just struck me that there may be no water cooler reunions and i may never find out about any person i am not now keeping in touch with.
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:49 PM on May 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

The receptionists were totally failing mask use though — one had her nose uncovered and the other took her mask off as soon as I sat down, and was talking on the phone. I wasn’t sure what to do about it. Probably should have told the PA (who was masked correctly), but, oi. Social pressure. Sigh.

That was exactly my experience when I had to get a shot, except I saw both receptionists and four nurses doing all of that shit. I did end up telling the actually-wearing-a-mask-and-gloves nurse that gave me the shot. I hope the next time I have to go back there in July, people are in compliance.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:35 PM on May 27, 2020 [3 favorites]

Very little mask use observed here in my bit of southern UK, and about half those I see with masks apparently use them as a chin sling. I go out very seldom, but I had to pick up meds yesterday and saw only 1 masked customer in the (medium busy) supermarket where the pharmacy is located. The staff were not masked. Much bigger plexiglass dividers at the checkouts though, and they're encouraging everyone who possibly can to use the self-scan self-checkout facilities.

My poor car is crusted in pollen and cobwebs but I think is better for the little run I gave it. More traffic than the last time I went out (a few weeks ago). Driving was strange, but muscle memory is very ingrained after all these years. The rhododendrons around here are flowering their hearts out, and spectacular.

Work is considering how to reopen offices, but has said nobody will be obliged to come in for the rest of this calendar year. I think that's wise, considering past about 10% occupancy there's no way to get adequate social distance in my building (years of stuffing us into ever-smaller desk spaces, in giant open offices) and we're sufficiently small teams that we can't deal with too many out sick. Those few who are struggling with WFH will likely soak up the few spots available, and that's cool with the rest of us.

Trundling on, anyway. Getting better at baking. I have revived my icecream maker. Keeping up with the assorted metafilter threads, although I am bad at finding new ones, so I appreciate the signposts - thank you.
posted by Ilira at 11:35 PM on May 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

Poland's relaxing mask enforcement (indoors only) and opening gyms and pools as the last reopening stage. About the only part I approve of is the massage therapists, who really should have opened at the same time as physiotherapy and hairdressers. The rest is rubbish because we're barely holding at R0=1, with way above in hotspots (Silesia and Warsaw) and the last week being highest ever for registered cases. The newest Warsaw cluster is an asylum seeker refuge for single mothers, with 30+ Chechen mothers and children infected. But the presidential election, which failed in the weirdest way at the beginning of May, is now being pushed on either June 21 or 28, so it's time for another suicidal cavalry charge. We do them so well.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 2:32 AM on May 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

I was very unexpectedly recalled from furlough yesterday, to start Monday. I'm very, very happy, as I had just started this job (2 weeks in) when the pandemic hit and I was furloughed. I'm able to work from home for as long as I feel it's necessary (I have asthma and I'm helping to care for my father, who is in hospice with lung cancer, and my elderly mother). If I do want to go into the office during regular working hours, there are procedures in place: temperature checks are required before you leave home, there's a sign-up sheet to ensure that cubicle mates/wall mates aren't there at the same time, enforced mask use, extra cleaning. I honestly didn't think I'd be recalled at least until July, possibly August. It'll be nice to have more structure to my days and to feel like I'm contributing again.

My daughter's internship has been given the green light, and even better: the facility won't be open to the public for a while yet! So she'll get more hands-on work with the zookeepers and the animals and less public education to do (even though she loves that part, too). She'll also have to do temperature checks every day and wear a mask full-time.

Things are cautiously good here. We remain mindful of how incredibly lucky we are.
posted by cooker girl at 6:45 AM on May 28, 2020 [3 favorites]

Today is my first day back in the office. The last time I was here was March 24th, and it was just to scramble and get all the things needed to complete a project at home. So a little over nine weeks since I've been here.

This week the office is beginning to "open," although with only a dozen of us, it's really just anyone who can't stand working at home booking times to be in the office, while everyone else continues to work from home as they have been for nearly ten weeks (and will be for the foreseeable future). I consider myself fortunate that work is being very cautious and understanding about people's wariness about being in an office together, but it's also frustrating because, as the catch-all receptionist/admin/office manager/etc I'm one of the few people who really have to be in the office to get anything done, so working from home has been a challenge.

I've scheduled myself for Tues/Thurs afternoons through June to ease myself back in (and also because another coworker scheduled himself M/W/F). Right now I'm going through the stacks of mail to sort/toss/file and organized my desk which was left in a disaster state because I was in the middle of the aforementioned project and didn't have time to tidy before I left.

But the rest of the month will be working on my original "slow-season" project that I was going to do in March: organize the storage rooms, which have been a disaster since forever despite all my best efforts to keep them organized. I'm happy that I can do this now in an empty office with no one to interrupt or distract me or get me focused on other projects. I want a clean and organized office, since it's not like we're going to be doing anything else this year. Sigh.

Our Big Event that was originally in July then got pushed to November has now been cancelled. No Big Event in 2020. It's for the best, and it's not even our fault, since the state government has taken over the convention center for the rest of the year. We'll now be focusing on the Big Event for 2021, which is in May. We hope. Since this Big Event is what basically pays for 90% of our non-profit budget. We have enough cushion to get through this year, but if we can't do it next year... well, no one really wants to think about that yet. It's too depressing.

It will be nice to have a "normal" schedule, though, after nine weeks of listlessness. Mum's a week into her radiation which she will continue until the last week of June, so then we'll see where she'll go from there. So there's a new normal at home, as well -- she leaves in the morning and comes back in time for lunch, a little TV and then a nap, since the radiation tires her out. She wakes up in time for dinner and we watch more TV.

In the mornings, I try to be productive as I can at home with various house projects (cooking, cleaning, organizing) and then do office work while Mum is napping. This week has been the most productive I've been in months, after being depressed and anxious for the most of our "safer at home" days. Mum and I are both tentatively looking forward to July, when *fingers crossed* she will be cancer-free.

Some small-but-good news: we managed to get our Ikea order last weekend! If anyone's tried to order Ikea click-and-collect the last couple of weeks now that it's become available, you'll know that it's been a nightmare to even get a time-slot. I lucked out and got an order through last Tuesday, for a pick-up on Friday -- except there was a glitch and they were thousands of orders behind. I thought my order would be cancelled and I'd have to try and achieve yet again the impossible task of getting another time-slot. But! I got a call from them Monday that my order was ready! We went over and (wearing masks and being safely distant from any other cars, plus copious hand-sanitizer afterwards), managed to stuff three bookcases and a desk into the back of our crossover SUV. Mum had to ride behind me in the passenger seat since the bookcases pushed the front passenger seat forward, but the important thing is we have more bookcases! I can continue to unpack all the boxes we still haven't unpacked from November! Plus I will have a proper desk to use while working at home!

Another plus is that, with the space cleared from unpacked boxes, we're going to get our fridge and freezer that have been stored away, from back when my family thought we were moving overseas for a couple of years, so all large items and other things we didn't want to take with us were put in a storage unit. That was 18 years ago. I may have moved back over a decade ago (and yes, did help myself to some items from the storage unit), but Mum hasn't seen a lot of the stuff in a long time.

Anyway, we're hoping the fridge and freezer will still work (it was a controlled-climate storage unit) since the fridge that came with the house we moved into in October is TERRIBLE and we HATE it but it still technically works and we didn't want to buy a new one just yet. So we're hoping to swap the fridge out and then hook up the freezer, so I can start gradually stocking up for the second-wave later this year. People around me seem to think that everything will be better in a couple of months, whereas I'm trying to prepare for another round of never-leaving-the-house.

Oh, and I picked up groceries today and they had everything! They didn't need to substitute or cancel an item! That's the first time it's happened since I started doing the pick-up orders back in March. I've relaxed my "only leave the house as little as possible" rule a bit to allow for smaller orders every week instead of one big order every three weeks, so maybe that helps.

Before I went to the office today, I stopped by my old apartment to pick up a mis-sent package, and decided I am very happy to be where I am right now. I loved my old neighborhood -- it was funky and trendy with so much within walking distance, but seeing how many people were out walking without masks and the construction workers hanging out across the street, also without masks, and knowing that I'd be alone in my tiny basement unit for ten weeks having to share a teeny-tiny back yard area that is just flagstone with the rest of the neighbors in the house, well... I am glad to now be living in suburbia with a large backyard and a deck and front entrance that I don't share with anyone else except my mum.

This is definitely not where I thought I would be nine months ago, but I am glad that, as devastating as it was to lose my father so suddenly, that Mum and I can be here for each other as we go through these "uncertain times" instead of being an ocean apart. (Plus, I'm pretty sure I make a better caretaker for Mum than my dad would have, bless his soul.)

I appreciate everyone else sharing in this thread, whether it's good times or bad times or just well-at-least-we're-surviving times. When I'm so isolated from everyone else in my life, it's nice to know that I'm not alone in my struggles.
posted by paisley sheep at 1:23 PM on May 28, 2020 [5 favorites]

This might be a super minor thing, but I'd appreciate it if people wouldn't use the phrase "the 'rona," which already makes me twitchy even before it's in a post about how things are going great.
posted by TwoStride at 5:20 PM on May 28, 2020 [5 favorites]

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