Social distancing ad inifitum

We are fully two months into the pandemic. Everything has changed and at the same time, not much. Many states (Texas included) have decided to reopen, often based on data that was incomplete, flawed or outright manipulated. Individual counties are trying to keep people safe, but fighting a losing battle because apparently, white people think that wearing a mask to protect themselves and others is some kind of oppression. I’m fortunate to have a job that I can work from home, and a management that is doing the right thing by delaying our return to the office and following CDC recommendations.  We’ve been told that when we do start going back to the office we’ll have staggered schedules and building occupancy will be capped at about 20%. So that’s one less thing to worry about.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a little bummed out. Being an introvert and voluntarily not socializing is one thing, but being cut off from family and friends is different. Under normal circumstances I would have gone out of town for my friend’s wedding (now delayed until September or next year), had a random weekend outing with friends, visited my in-laws, gone to family church service and brunch for Mother’s Day, and be heading to the family cookout for Memorial Day. I’d be looking forward to a plate full of ribs, grilled veggies, and baked beans; ignoring sports talk; and Taboo, charades, or some other game. Sure, I can grill out at home but a cookout for two is basically pointless.

The acceleration of the retail apocalypse caused by a desire for apparel stores to remain relevant when most people don’t want to leave their homes has resulted in a lot of good sales, though. I got a badass swimsuit for whenever it’s safe to travel again. Normally I hate traveling. Actually being someplace new is fun, but the getting there and back usually sucks. Having the chance to get acquainted with every wall of my home has made travel seem MUCH more appealing. I’m not an out and about type of person, but I’m ready to be out and about!. . .

Not at the expense of risking my life, though. So until something changes, I don’t know what, I’m going to be at home.

Notes from the field

 

It’s Day 11 of the quarantine. The hardest part for me is staying on task with working from home and not being glued to the news all day. The upside is that I no longer have an excuse not to make time for working out. We use one of the spare bedrooms for a home gym so all I have to do is go upstairs. I only exercised once last week because #lazy, but if I stick to my schedule going forward I will definitely come out of quarantine in better shape than I was before. I worked out today and yesterday and it has helped me feel less anxious.  Something about tiring out your body physically really helps distract you from worrying. Probably those endorphins the runners keep talking about.

Everyone’s excited about the possibility of getting relief checks. As a tax attorney I know that it’s going to be slow in coming, and most of that money will probably get taxed right back. I support getting money to people in a time of need, but I’m not counting my money before the check clears. There is also some nonsense floating around about creating what is essentially government bitcoin, and a new central bank where the relief checks will be distributed via app. The plan is to eventually replace all cash transactions. I feel like they need to walk before they can run. How about we get the ability to file taxes online directly with the IRS before we jump into cryptocurrency?

Yesterday, Dallas ordered shelter in place until April 3. Houston followed suit this morning. I don’t think the activity is likely to die down, especially because the president wants us to get back to work to boost the economy. I guess we’ll see what happens.

Life on Lockdown

It’s day 10 of quarantine. Okay, “social distancing” or “self-isolation” would be more accurate, but quarantine sounds better. Suffice it to say that “life comes at you fast.” Since I last wrote, I had a bittersweet but relaxing Christmas season at home. My in laws were out of the country and I missed my family terribly, but it had been a busy summer and fall and we both needed the time to recharge. I went on my first ever girls’ trip for my birthday in January with a couple of work friends who are now officially real friends (seeing each other naked at the day spa while not entirely sober will do that, LOL).  Last but not least, my big sister had a baby so I’m now a new auntie. I actually got to visit them just three weeks before life came screeching to a halt under the threat of coronavirus.

Speaking of which…this has been crazy. I’m an introvert so the quarantine itself isn’t hard for me, at least not yet. I like to spend time at home. We only go to the movies once a month, and have friends over once a quarter. Even though we order plenty of meals out, we only sit down to eat in a restaurant once every six weeks. So other than working at home, the terms of the quarantine haven’t radically changed my life.

The issue is the uncertainty of it all. I have zero faith in an administration that fired a qualified pandemic response team just because it was created by Barack Obama. The president’s obsession with eradicating his every accomplishment speaks to either an endless depth of racism, or a deep seated envy and bitterness that he’ll never be as attractive, intelligent, or well liked as Obama. It’s probably a bit of both. Regardless, it only adds to my anxiety that our Commander in Chief is an incompetent liar. The fact that I’m high risk (I have asthma and coronavirus can cause permanent lung damage) doesn’t help, either.

The economy is tanking. The quarantine orders get stricter every day because there are always some idiots who refuse to be told what to do. At first we were told things would get back to normal in two weeks, then a month. Now I’m seeing reports that this could go in waves, with restrictions being lifted in June and July and shutting back down for cold and flu season. Other, more alarming reports say that at the rate we’re going we will be stuck inside until August. It’s crazy.

Hubs pointed out that I like to spend weekends at home but that’s not the point! Between now and August I definitely was going to go to brunch and possibly visit to a friend’s lake house. I was playing with the idea of taking a weekend trip to Galveston to visit the beach, walk the pier and get some fresh seafood. I wanted to drink bubble tea at the outdoor mall on the other side of town, the one where I can buy handmade bath bombs and body butter that I don’t need. I had plans dammit!

Of course, all that takes a backseat to my health and that of the greater good so I”ll be complying. It’s just scary to have a virus that is so contagious and yet asymptomatic. It’s not like you get a rash first and have three days before things really start to get bad. All I can do is pray and minimize my risk. We’re still getting takeout, less than usual but several times a week. We’re both still getting paid, fortunately and I keep us to a budget anyway. Our concern is getting a complete quarantine order, because at that point there will be a mad rush to the grocery store and who knows when we’ll be able to restock. So we stocked up on groceries, mostly frozen and dry goods that we can ration out.

Feel free to comment with your quarantine routine, survival tips, complaints, comments or concerns. Do you have toilet paper? Any funny stories about hand sanitizer theft? (A whole case disappeared from the supply closet at my job.)