Dispatches from the Pandemic – Day 10

I can’t believe that just my writing about this crisis has been going on for 10 days now. And being stuck at home was even longer. It’s so important to keep connecting with your friends and also being aware that everyone is processing this differently and thus needs different kind of reassurances. I had a great Facetime with my dear friend M today – I feel that with her I can share my deeper fears and find ways we can calm other through preparation because she gets how I’m feeling. Then with other friends I can dance or laugh or drink or talk about supporting each other ways. Read the room folks. Be sensitive your friends’ needs and ask for what you need.

Dispatches from the Pandemic – Day 9

This is a good time to rethink how we connect with each other. We had virtual team with my mom and realized we can include relatives from all over the world. We’re planning to make that a regular Sunday afternoon event and probably will continue it even after the restrictions are lifted.

It’s a great way to stay connected with our far flung families.

Dispatches from the Pandemic – Day 8

Should we go visit my Mom? It seems that we need to weight the pros and cons of all the ordinary things. Deliberate. Think. In the end we decided that we can exercise proper safety techniques and that the emotional benefits are more important. Plus we had some groceries to deliver.

Artists are now beautifying the boarded up bars and restaurants

Yesterday I made an excursion to the grocery store to pick up her up a few things. While I was there I also got groceries for my friends. That’s what we do in our neighborhood. And it’s even more important now. Because every time we venture out for anything it feels like a scene from Mad Max…do we have our protective gear? Easy access to our credit card at a moment’s notice? Remember, don’t touch your face. Don’t talk to anyone. Stay 6 feet away. Noooo don’t lean on the counter. OMG you used his pen. Come home. Wash hands. Empty bags. Wash hands again. Disinfect everything. Clean clean clean.

Then today Richard and I made the journey out to the eastern foothills. There was no traffic. Everything was still and serene. Mom was happy to see us and we had some tea and a cinnamon roll. Mom stress bakes and is a wonderful baker. But I couldn’t get any more flour for her at the grocery store. Luckily my wonderful friend C had scored a bag and sent it for Mom.

It’s so important to stay close with your friends and family in these tumultuous times. Stay safe everyone.

Dispatches from the Pandemic – Day 7

What a roller coaster day. I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday so it’s going to be back to back today. I think the social isolation finally hit me yesterday and I started off pretty out of sorts. Then I got a sad call that a former colleague had passed away from cancer and it hit me pretty hard. He was my age. An amazing person who did a lot of good in the world. He will be missed.

Then about midday the cleaners came. I went back and forth on whether to cancel or not but decided that cleaning was the right thing to do. Need to keep things sanitary and they disinfect way better than I could. So to keep distancing, R and I went out driving around. Well, he drove and I did conference calls and answered emails. We stopped at Total Wine and he scored a bottle of 190 proof grain alcohol that we can use to make a disinfectant spray. Remember to dilute it down to 70% … use a Pearson square for the math. Experts say that full strength it doesn’t work as effectively on viruses.

But I had a good Zoom call with my team and decided to schedule an impromptu Virtual Cocktail Hour at 6…well that turned into a Virtual 3.5 hours and was so much fun that we’ll do it again next week. My friends are crazy and fun and I miss them so much. But this helps keep us sane.

Dispatches from the Pandemic – Day 6

Starting to grow weary from all this staying at home. Opened up a bottle of bubbly at 2pm – airport rules. I took a break to play with the kitties and that perked me up a bit. Even though I’m still working now 4 hours later, I’m feeling way more productive. Could it be that it tames the noise in my head?

My cleaners are scheduled for tomorrow. I’m trying to decide if that is a smart thing or not. I really really really don’t want to do my own cleaning (is that bad?), they are following good safety protocols, they need the work, I need to clean because my allergies are acting up, and a clean home makes me happy (as long as I didn’t have to do it). But it does require me letting people into my home… R and I will leave the apartment when they arrive and go hang out in our cars. No coffee shops. No parks. Even the common areas in the building are closed. So cars it is.

Dispatches from the Pandemic – Day 5

Still here. Still at home. Still Corona-free. We did venture out to the grocery store mid afternoon. I don’t know what it’s like in other states, but Seattleites are in general rule followers. There was a line to get in. Everyone automatically spaced themselves 6 feet behind the person in front of them. The store employees wiped the carts off and let people in one at a time as other people exited as if it were some highly popular nightclub. I wore gloves. Not because I was afraid of getting germs on them…but because they are my reminder to not touch my face. Two weeks ago going out in public with bright blue nitrile gloves would have earned me some really odd looks. Today no one even noticed, they were too busy trying to shop and stay away from the other shoppers.

Dispatches From the Pandemic – Day 4

To all you introverts now working from home and wondering why you are still as exhausted by the end of the day as if you were in the office…don’t forget, that when you are on a video conference you are still interacting with others. Take time to recharge at the end of the day.

Dispatches From the Pandemic – Day 3

So I discovered that I’m really not that good at relaxing. Sure I’m lazy and can spend the whole day reading a book or binge watch an entire season on Netflix but while doing so I’m alway aware that I’m not doing any of the 112 things on my to do list. That nagging guilt follows me. So yesterday after umpteen days of being home I realized that I’m way busier that I was when I was going to the office. It’s hard to know when to stop. And I knew that to be productive the coming week I really did need to disconnect.

After a nice Sunday brunch that I cooked at home I cranked through my entire list for the day and was pretty much done mid afternoon. Something felt “off”. I tried to read but it felt as if something was missing. I thought about starting on the next day’s tasks but that seemed over the top – I knew I needed rest. Finally I realized what it was. I couldn’t relax without the specter of something unfinished looming over me. Being “done” and actually really relaxing was new and foreign. So my son poured me a glass of Vino Verde and we watched Frozen and Frozen 2. It was marvelous. The moral of this story is – relaxing when you are “done” allows you to truly get value out of that relaxing.

Dispatches From the Pandemic – Day 2

So yesterday was a Saturday in full-on pandemic mode. Do we go to Costco? Maybe Total Wine? In the end, my son and I decided those were too risky. So instead we walked down 1st Ave to Pike Place Market. He was very concerned and frustrated when I absentmindedly touched my face. Next time (if) I go out I will wear gloves as a reminder. While walking were able to avoid people fairly well. But I was shocked to see boarded up windows on some of the local businesses. I’ve never seen that before in Seattle.

We stopped at Le Panier for a loaf of bread and a Cappucino (he had to get out and stand on the street because it felt like too many people even though there were at most 10 in a space that usually is crammed with 50 tourists at a time). Then we discovered Rotary Market back behind where they used to throw the fish. I never knew it existed. I got to meet Henry the proprietor. He was upset because someone had just been yelling for him to “go back to your country” and other anti-Asian sentiments related to Covid-19. We commiserated for a while and I was able to buy bleach and some disinfecting wipes, some lentils, and Tylenol. After that we went to Sosio’s for some produce and the guy there said, yes, Henry is a market institution and is able to keep a supply of all kinds of things. He even had TP though we’re still good so I left it for someone with a greater need.

Ultimately this outing made me decide that I touch too many things, talk to too many people, and touch my face too much to be trusted with running errands. So instead I got online and ordered a bunch of things that I’m going to use to make emergency preparedness kits – no time like the present to get prepared. I keep thinking, what if have an earthquake in the middle of this. I want to be ready with lanterns and a radio and such. Are you ready to be self sufficient?

Dispatches From the Pandemic – Day 1

Belltown 3-21-2020It’s not the first day of my isolation but rather Day 1 of my Pandemic Journal. Life is different now. Downtown is a ghost town. No one quite knows how to cope. I’m lucky to have my son here but many are stuck at home alone. This is 1st Ave in Seattle at midday on a sunny Saturday.

I started working from home Wednesday the 11th when Howard and I decided to make it mandatory for all non production or lab personnel. It was a good thing I did, because after going to my wonderful neighbor B&B’s apartment for a working from home lunch, that very first afternoon I got a sore throat. And a mild fever. Luckily it turned out to be just a head cold and the fever quickly went away. But I was worried and realized I had no idea where to go to get tested or anything. Virginia Mason has a chat bot that you can use as a decision tree and it determined I didn’t need to go (I already knew that, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to check). I also decided not to call and overload their systems because I had no fever or cough though my head and throat hurt like the dickens.

So this is the end of my first week and a half at home and I’m going to keep a journal. I might as well do it here since I’ve been meaning to write every day anyway. Last might my lovely friend T hosted a Virtual Dance Party. Several of us had had a fun few hours dancing on Zoom, waving to each other through the window across the street and otherwise being silly. Eventually we settled down to a nice evening of Drinking with Friends While Wearing Tiaras and leaving the video running while we cooked dinner.

It’s important to connect with your friends and make sure they get the contact they need. Especially your extrovert friends like T.

Who did you call today? Who will you call tomorrow?