Monday, March 23, 2020

At Home. . .

Last week was our first complete week working and going to school from home. Allie was the exception because she was on spring break and spent most of that time working at the local grocery store. When we weren't occupied by our jobs, we spent the time looking at our phones, watching TV and cooking. Occasionally we made trips to the store but, because Allie was working at the store we'd just ask her to bring home what we needed.

When we did go shopping ourselves,  I noticed some bare shelves and signs that limited people to two cans of soup or one package of toilet paper. I watched a cashier let a customer know he could only have a single box of tissues. I stood in line with people who had multiple carts brimming with frozen foods, canned goods and anything that might last longer than items from the produce section or deli. 

Just as Julia was adjusting to virtual learning she's on spring break this week. And just as Allie was getting into a routine here at home she insisted on going back to her apartment as classes resume today. My argument that the University of Wisconsin closed its campus for a reason had no impact. Her argument that she's paying rent and wants to retain her independence for a long as she can is flimsy. It must have been convincing enough for her, her mother and me to allow her to go back to Madison last night. 

I don't want to write about our portfolio. Its value is the same as everyone else's - frighteningly diminished. 

I'm not unaccustomed to working from home. It should feel the same. It doesn't. I don't see any kids at the bus stop from our dining room window. Traffic is almost non-existent. And I know that even if I wanted to go someplace and do something, it's more than likely canceled or closed. That's the sensation that's the most prevalent this morning. I can go for a walk. I can get in my car and drive. But, there's no place to go and nothing to do, really. Not that I do all that much. It turns out that buying stuff I don't really need and eating out are/were my primary hobbies. 

I'm spending a lot of time thinking about my family. I just sent a group text to try and cull some info about how they're doing. So far, only Pam has responded. She's still going into her office but they're asking people to drop off their taxes and then go away. She says she's spraying her hands with Lysol. I thought she was joking. Turns out she wasn't.

I just heard from everyone, via text. It was important. Significant. 

Plus side? The house seems cleaner. Laundry is always done. Small projects are getting completed. I feel close to my family and they are, for the most part, nearby when I get the impulse to torment them in loving ways. The cats have awesome self-esteem as we compete for their attention. I've been exercising every evening so I've dropped a few pounds. 

The virus has disrupted our thoughts and routines so we seem to be thinking about ourselves and others in different ways. Learning how we and the people in our community react to emergencies has been both disappointing (hoarding) and encouraging (volunteers popping up everywhere). 

The message I'm hearing most often now is that we're in the early stages here, in the U.S., and that it's going to get much worse before it gets better. I'm really good at creating scenarios in my head of what "much worse" will be like. I don't think it'll be as bad as my imagination tries to make it. I'll try to post again next Monday and let you know what the reality of "much worse" actually was. 

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