(Photo Details: If only our apple tree was still blooming I wouldn't have to consider braving the grocery store now.)
I suddenly have a lot of time on my hands. Maybe you do too.
Our six-county vicinity here in the San Francisco Bay Area just announced the most restrictive coronavirus measure of its kind in the continental U.S. It’s just short of an Italy-style lock-down—we are to “shelter in place” for all but essential outings. We can go get groceries or go to the doctor, but, as it happens a haircut and color are considered non-essential.
Like I’m sure most of you, all the things I normally do now, from jazz band and vocal jazz ensemble class at the community college, to lunching and walking with friends and family are on hold until at least April 7th. (And of course, the aforementioned haircut and color.)
I have vowed to re-learn a song a day at the piano. But I still have a lot of time on my hands--even with the hours of addiction to TV and internet--watching the Covid-19 cases going up and the stock market going down. So time to do a little blogging! What a perfect time for virtual communities.
It has not even been 24 hours yet, but so far I think it’s easier than a few months ago when the fire-prevention measures up here required shutting off our electricity for four days. Because you can surf the internet, stream TV shows and movies (My Brilliant Friend is back!), turn on the heat and lights, and blow dry your hair. Don’t underestimate the value of instantly dry hair. (Hey all you streaming services—how ‘bout you release full seasons now so we can binge watch in this time of need?!?!)
I’m putting off going to the grocery store though, seems like too much of a scene right now. And I think based on the food and toilet paper inventory of this house, we’re ok for a week or so. We tried to order some groceries yesterday, but the delivery date would be March 28—I’m pretty sure I would go before that to get some fruits and vegetables. Too bad it’s not quite cherry or apple season; that would hold us over for a month!
Overall, these measures seems like the right call to me. But it’s really going to hurt a lot of people. Local shops and restaurants, the yoga studio, the music school, the hair salon—I don’t know how they all survive. And what about the kids out of school whose parents are healthcare workers and other essential workers? All of that is going to be really tough.
This morning I was trying to focus on all the good things that could happen. Here’s what I came up with so far. Besides reducing the number of coronavirus cases, staying put will likely reduce the number of other flu’s and colds. And reduce the number injuries and deaths from auto accidents. And I imagine the reductions in carbon emissions is going to be record-breaking, not just here but world-wide. The cruise ships, airplanes, and automobiles not operating, seems like it will be significant.
And there really are a lot of closets to clean and tons of yard work to do, so I guess there’s that.
And look at that, the market has been open for 24 minutes and because I was entertained writing you, I haven’t even looked yet!
Stay healthy and I would love to hear how it is going in your neck of the woods.
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Hi, Sydney - I'm delighted to see this post from you. I've missed them!
Here on Vancouver Island, we have not (yet) been told to shelter in place, but there are more and more closures each day. Like most other places, we are advised to stay home and limit contact.
Some closures have been easier to digest than others. Aren't libraries and bookclubs essential outings?! They ought to be. :D Hopefully, this will all heal and pass without too much more devastation. In the meantime, there is much time to reflect and time to pull home-based tasks from out of the 'later pile.' Hope to see you here again soon!
Posted by: Donna Connolly | March 17, 2020 at 11:00 AM
Donna: Well I'm delighted to read your comment! Yay, contact from the outside world!!! Well another bright side--Kindle books (although that doesn't help with the book club part . . .) Sounds like you've got the right attitude so far! Thanks for commenting!
Posted by: Sydney | March 17, 2020 at 11:40 AM
Welcome back! Like you, we're hunkered down and spending our time reading books, watching netflix, trolling the internet, working in the yard and taking walks. I'm looking into taking a course online since our local senior learning center is closed and I feel it would be something to give me a little more focus. Stay calm, stay safe!
Posted by: Tom at Sightings | March 17, 2020 at 11:56 AM
Oh Syd: It was so wonderful to see a post from you in my inbox today. This is day 1 of Vermont closing things down, so I was glad to get my last workout in at the pool last night. Our library is open, but all groups have been cancelled, all my upcoming quilt shows and meetings are also. You're not the only one delaying what the grocery store looks like. I'll wait till the milk goes sour, but that'll only take another day or two. I'm a quilter, so there's things to work on in the studio for shows coming up this summer. But it feels like going into a prison cell, so I haven't been able to bring myself to go downstairs for several days now. That's normally my 'happy place' so feeling this disjointed isn't something I want to bring into that space. At least not yet, and am hoping when I get over that, it'll help me get through this.
Are you guys allowed to go walking outside? Some of our trails/paths are still ice covered so I haven't tried that yet.
Posted by: Rose | March 17, 2020 at 11:59 AM
Tom: That reminds me, there are a couple really great on-line piano teachers--I'll have to go look at some videos this afternoon.
Rose: I was kind of like you about the happy place, not in the mood to play piano for a few days (it felt more like a chore), until I came up with this song a day thing. I guess without the forward motion/deadline of band practice I needed a little self-motivation. We are allowed to take walks, but are instructed to stay 6 feet from anyone who doesn't live with us. So, to be respectful of their owners, I'm not petting the doggies on my walk . . . boo hoo.
Posted by: Sydney | March 17, 2020 at 12:06 PM
So good to see you back in this little corner of the world! Blogging is a great activity right now (it always is, but it's especially nice now) since it allows us to connect while maintaining a safe, healthy distance. Much is closed around here (SoCal) too and all events and meetings have been cancelled. Since my husband and are happy - when not traveling - to be at home, so far, so good for us. We may get cabin fever after a while, but our "cabin" includes lots of things (hobbies, projects, etc.) to keep us busy and a garden so I'm sure we'll do ok. I do feel so bad for those who depend on a paycheck and own small businesses, though. I hope all this talk of bailouts will include money for them too.
Posted by: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged | March 17, 2020 at 01:20 PM
Hi, It is really lovely hearing from you!
We are making the best of the situation. I am a knitter and am getting the last laugh about my knitting stash. Between creating and getting ready for Passover, I am more than busy and grateful that we are in good shape.
Meanwhile, we all have to adapt to uncertainty and be mindful of others.
Posted by: Miriam | March 17, 2020 at 02:00 PM
Syd, Glad you are back! It was such a joy to see your email in my inbox. Social distancing is tough and so is voluntary (and involuntary) isolation. I am working from home a couple of days a week and can at least take walks on the path behind our house at lunch. Fresh air is wonderful. Denver is not on as tight of lock down as you, yet, but no restaurants, bars, churches or gyms are open. Who knows what the future will bring. Just taking it day by day... On the plus side, I am finally tacking my stack of to be read books. :)
Posted by: Julie T | March 17, 2020 at 02:11 PM
Janis, Miriam, and Julie: Thank you for your comments. It's kind of nice that many of us can welcome the forced downtime, huh? I'm up to a five-song gig list so far so way ahead of quarantine goals so far!
Posted by: Sydney | March 17, 2020 at 02:20 PM
What a nice surprise to see your post!
I am hunkered down in Columbus Ohio- and our governor was one of the first to start shutting stuff down. It started last Thursday and every day a few more types of schools, businesses etc are shut down. You may have heard that our primary election was postponed- supposed to be today. I can go for walks and to the grocery store- I really miss the library! And I had to laugh when I read about your hair cut and color- I just had my done 2 weeks ago- but I was so worried today that I will miss my next appt the first week of April that I literally got on- line today to look into Madison Reed-- and I only attempted to color my own hair one time twenty years ago and that was such a disaster I swore I would never do it again. Take care out there and stay well!!
Posted by: Sally Rader | March 17, 2020 at 04:59 PM
Looks like the UK may have come a little late to the shutting down party, as officially it’s totally voluntary and only begins in earnest for the over 70’s this weekend for a period of 12 weeks. Of course, we are all expecting more stringent measures, and with the risk of needing to self isolate for 14 days if anyone in the house shows symptoms, the panic buying is off the scale. Whilst sensible people have been practising social distancing and continuous washing of hands for what now seems like forever but really has been less than a month, there remains a large number of others who appear to think they are invincible and who are going to need to be reined in, very quickly.
Posted by: Caree Risover | March 18, 2020 at 01:59 AM
Hi Sydney, Love to read your post. Glad you have started posting again. I am in Singapore, we have no lock-down here but we are asked not to travel overseas to avoid importing Covid-19, to stay or work from home, practice social distancing, wash our hands and fill in travel advisory forms for contact tracing whenever we visit community centers, public buildings and even private organisations. We have supermarkets run as well whenever there are dismal news from neighbouring countries (we import almost all our food & 50% of our drinking water). Anyhow, life goes on. Just no more senior community activities for the time being, less social activities, more washing of hands, more laundry and etc. We heard Covid-19 is going to last for several more months ... it is tough on every country and everyone. Hope a vaccine will be available soon. Be safe ...
Posted by: Sandy | March 18, 2020 at 07:31 AM
Sandy: By most accounts, Singapore did a great job nipping this in the bud.
Caree: Well even here in the US there are inconsistent policies surrounding voluntary vs mandatory isolation depending on where you live. Not sure that makes a lot of sense, but we'll see. Funny what you say about "what now seems like forever but has been less than a month." Some of the things we were doing last WEEK seem like MONTHS ago!
Sally: I would go back to coloring my hair myself (which I did for years), but I know my hairstylist will yell at me when I get back. She said "we FINALLY got that old color out of your hair" when I saw her last. Luckily no one is seeing me these days except my husband! So there's that. . .
Posted by: Sydney | March 18, 2020 at 02:51 PM
you boomers are shutting down the entire economy because you're afraid of a flu. Seriously, can you boomers kill yourselves? You are the most selfish generation to ever exist. You don't give a shit about climate change, why should we young people give a shit if you get sick and die of some virus? I HOPE the virus gets much stronger and kills you all.
Posted by: anon | March 19, 2020 at 12:11 PM
Anon: Thank you for that--I needed a good laugh. Although I'm not sure that's what you were going for, but thanks just the same. I'm still chuckling. Hope you enjoyed your spring break at Miami Beach. . .
Posted by: Sydney | March 19, 2020 at 12:35 PM
Anon above has been around for awhile, it's all rather 'yawn' and move on at this point . . .
I vacillate between calmness and non-calmness. Today started calm, shifted to non-calmness when my daughter mentioned she was running low on baby wipes and hadn't been able to find them anywhere(!), then back to calmness when I read an interesting Politico article about what the post-Covid19 USA might look like. Some of it was very encouraging, like the possibility of continuing with an online learning environment for college students, thus alleviating much of the brick-and-mortar cost of education. And a return to investing in the care and well being of our broader base of citizens over the needs of just those few at the top. Good stuff overall.
Over here in Orange County, CA, we are on day three of our shelter at home mandate. All business are closed except those deemed essential, and open restaurants can offer take out but not dine in. Our routine is to get outside for a long walk or hike, but recognizing there are currently no open restroom facilities, be careful to match our mileage to our ability to, well, hold it! LOL
I'm also now shopping early in the AM on T/W/Th, visiting a different store on each day, because it is not possible yet to find everything we need during one trip. And snagging just a few items per stop enables me to self check myself out, thus limiting interactions. Otherwise, we are embracing technology by setting up a series of virtual dates with friends, generally with wine glasses in hand by all. Speaking of wine . . . we have at least a two year supply of it, which I sincerely hope we won't need!
Posted by: Tamara R | March 20, 2020 at 04:05 PM
Tamara: I hope you are right about post-coronavirus USA. I am reading Nicholas Kristoff's book, Tightrope, right now, and being hit hard with the reality of how hard life is already for so many people. Add to that all the people who will lose their jobs right now because of all this, and we will need some serious help directed their way. Maybe this attention will finally produce some long-term, structural fixes.
We have a few virtual dates set up starting tonight. It's funny because it's all with people who live far away and we've never thought about this before. Another change that I hope lives into post-corona USA.
Thanks for chiming in!
Posted by: Sydney | March 21, 2020 at 07:35 AM
I'm just reading this now. Isolation measurements seem to be working, so let's keep our fingers crossed and our doors closed.
I hope everyone here gets through this in one piece and with a peaceful mind. :-)
Posted by: Petra | March 31, 2020 at 12:17 PM