As you might be aware, life has been different for most of us in the US, with 75% of the population now under “shelter at home” orders.
I went to the grocery store last Friday, my first trip there in 13 days (my wife went the previous week). The store was very well stocked with only a couple of exceptions, with the scene looking much different than just two weeks ago.
They had a lot of paper towels and toilet paper imported from Canada. There weren’t any tissues and I didn’t even bother checking for cleaning supplies. Some food items (such as bell peppers) were out of stock, but that can be true any given day of the year.
Social distancing was maintained at the store, mostly – some aisles and produce passageways were difficult to navigate without 6-foot personal spaces crossing momentarily.
I wore disposable gloves, as did quite a few others, and had a mask in the car in case I wanted/needed it (but I didn’t).
Update: I wore gloves mostly because the back of my hands have been torn up from the dry weather season and using alcohol hand sanitizer has become a very unpleasant experience. I also caught my kids’ colds at the start of the year and frequent hand washings didn’t help with the dry skin.
Online, I ordered a couple of packets of vegetable seeds and some seed-starting supplies, to be able to grow some vegetables this season, as well as wood to build planter boxes. I wasn’t aware of the huge backlogs and delays due to high interest and demand, and hadn’t anticipated ordering earlier than I had planned to. What this means is that some seeds will arrive too late for timely starting and transplanting, but it is what it is. I’ll have to change my start-from-seed plans and see what kinds of vegetables and transplants the local garden center/nursery will carry.
There are some that maintain “how dare you buy anything that’s not life-saving essential” stances, and some have been nasty about how they express it, but I think there’s a big difference between supplies needed (wanted?) to grow vegetables and say the TV on my wishlist that Amazon just put on sale.
Some people behave as if everything is normal, others are paralyzed by fear, and most will fall somewhere in between.
People cope with these current events in different ways. Some people are posting ridiculous things on Facebook. Me – I obsess about new projects.
I guess that some people cope with the current circumstances by yelling at strangers online?
This COVID-19 pandemic is a life-changing event for many individuals, life-ending for too many unfortunately, and will have huge impact on society as a whole.
There is no “right” way to act or behave, aside from following expert guidelines as best as possible.
My personal position has been to avoid frivolous purchases as much as possible, although I have placed one or two orders for non-essentials from small businesses who are still open and eager for orders.
Companies small and large are saying they’re open, that their workers are safe and practicing social distancing, and that they’re still accepting and shipping orders.
Amazon checkout has an option where you can delay your order so that they can prioritize higher-priority shipping and delivery, which is good.
I would like to venture to Home Depot this week, but won’t, as I’d rather avoid doing so if I could help it. I’ll order what I need online if I can (starting with a replacement GFCI receptacle), and I’m okay waiting longer for my order than usual.
I don’t need to be gallivanting around right now. We’re told that reducing person-to-person contact is the biggest and best thing we can do, and so that’s what we’re doing.
Staying home is hard, but it’s what we have to do.
My kids are having a really tough time with this, as they’re not yet old enough to understand the why aspect of everything. Why can’t they go to school? Why can’t they go out to eat? Why is the ice cream shop closed? Why is IKEA closed? When can they see their friends? Why can’t their friends come over?
We’re trying to keep them busy. That’s part of why I have been so intent on getting my spring and summer vegetable planter project sorted out. There’s the benefit in growing food and the benefit in editorial content – something different I can write about – but also the benefit in having something different for the kids to help with and work on a little each day.
I’m going to try to teach my son how to balance on a bike and then if/when he’s mastered that, then comes the pedals. We probably can’t go to the park though, so… I’ll figure something out. He’ll be fine on the grass for now.
I want to pick up my bike, which is in need of a bit of maintenance after a few years sitting idle – maintenance I do have time for right now – but it’s in storage a half hour away. Picking it up doesn’t pass my “essential travel” test, and so that’s where it’ll have to stay for now. I wanted to pick it up at the beginning of the month, before “shelter at home” guidelines, but I had a sore throat and high fever that weekend and then caught my daughter’s cold the next.
I’ll find another way to get some exercise.
Part of me wonders what the reduction in fast food and other outside food will do to my weight and health, but the drop in physical activity (getting in steps at Home Depot, Lowe’s, IKEA, and elsewhere add up) might counter that.
The local pizza place closed yesterday. They were experimenting with trunk-side delivery last week, and while they say it was working, I think that either they weren’t pulling in enough orders or they weren’t able to successfully social distance themselves in the kitchen.
I had to call customer service yesterday, about the wrong pipe I received, and chatted with the agent about a couple of unrelated things. They’re working from home too, and I tried to be a good listener. While I’m used to it, I worry about those that aren’t.
I mentioned that my kids are having a hard time adjusting to the lack of social contact. I am sure a lot of adults are going through something similar. Working from home, or being home from work can be isolating, and a lot of people aren’t used to that.
These are difficult times.
Sometimes it feels like we’re in a movie, some kind of mix of drama, science fiction, and horror, all mixed into one.
Other times, it feels like we’re in a twisted parody. The USNS Comfort, a Mercy-class hospital ship, arrived in NYC yesterday. That’s something I might normally have traveled to a river park to watch and photograph, but it’s out of the question at a time like this. Still, here’s what has been reported in the news and social media:
— Andrew Siff (@andrewsiff4NY) March 30, 2020
I’m getting yelled at online because I had the audacity to order vegetable garden supplies, but meanwhile there are people clumping up in public. I’ve also been criticized for having “buy now via Amazon” links and buttons on product coverage pages.
Another way I cope is by sharing. Is this too much? There will be some complaints – “what does this have to do with tools?” Well, some of the “why are you ordering something like wood at a time like this??” comments (you won’t see them, I trashed most due to the language) had me too distracted, and so I figured a quick “here’s what I’ve seen, here’s what’s on my mind” update would help.
My kids’ energies have also been cranked up to “turbo” mode today, making it hard to focus. Normal tool reporting will continue this afternoon, after I have a chance to decompress a little more.
I hope you’re all well and safe!
For any healthcare workers, law enforcement, first responders, and everyone else in public or private service working hard and sacrificing for the safety and well being of others – thank you!