It’s been four weeks since I started working from home due to physical distancing restrictions to mitigate COVID-19. It’s been three weeks for Debbi. This past week was a little easier for me, but I think Debbi’s still working through it.
I’ve hit our two nearby grocery stores since my last entry about the virus, and they’ve had most things in stock. I didn’t check cleaning supplies, but one of them did have toilet paper and paper towels. The only thing we’ve been interested in and unable to find are eggs, which is weird since many other friends in the valley say they can find eggs. It must just be a random fluctuation in our neighborhood.
We’ve done take-out from a few restaurants, especially QBB which is a favorite of ours. Last Saturday we did take out from Chef Chu’s House, which is a valley institution (and the son of the owner directed Crazy Rich Asians), and their parking lot was nuts. Debbi says some elderly customers would drive up and demand service immediately even though there were a dozen other cars ahead of them. Sheesh! I think they’re pretty good, but not amazing; certainly they don’t compare to the late, lamented Su Hong in Menlo Park. This experience convinced us to start targeting our take-out nights to less busy nights of the week.
Sadly, another favorite, Clarke’s Charcoal Broiler, is the first of our regular restaurants to announce permanent closure due to the virus. It seems they were – as best anyone could tell – Mountain View’s oldest restaurant.
I’ve continued to run 3-4 days per week, and walked 2-3 times per day on top of that – which is more walking than I did before, but I basically replaced my drive to work with a walk. Which is good since I’m horribly behind on listening to podcasts as it is.
Fortunately we’ve been having really nice weather here most of the time, and spring is my favorite time of year in California, with everything turning green, lots of things flowering, and everything smells wonderful. On the other hand it’s been raining most weekends. Why weekends? Because the weather gods hate me and want my lawn to be 9″ high. Good thing I love rain on principle.
I bought a new humidifier a few weeks ago, because I’d read that if we do get sick then it might help. It turns out we’ve been using it every night for the last week to help with run-of-the-mill throat issues we sometimes have at night.
We also put up a few of our holiday lights outside out house, to make things a little cheerier in the neighborhood. “Corona lights” I quipped. Debbi wanted to avoid Christmas colors, so we did light blue, pink and yellow, and then I added a strand of green along the base of the porch to look like grass. We leave them on overnight, and occasionally I see someone walk by in the dark and notice them. They make me happy when they come on, anyway. And I noticed another house in a cross street put up some lights too.
I worry about actually catching the virus, of course. I mean, it’s a lottery: 80% of the time it will be a pretty bad cold or maybe less than that. But one time in five maybe it’s a really serious illness, and maybe you end up in the hospital, on a ventilator, or… well, dead. For all I know maybe we’ve already had it – but there’s no way to know, right now. Because the federal government is run the incompetent crybaby and his inept cronies and so it’s months behind on rolling out testing. I’ve been doing my best to observe physical distancing when I go anywhere, which is pretty easy when exercising, but harder in stores – although there are some people who clearly don’t care or don’t think about it, so at least I’m doing better than those people.
(The Bay Area, by the way, seems to be doing pretty well overall. Despite a few gaffes, the number of new cases day-over-day has been approximately flat for about week. Even “approximately” flat is way better than exponential growth.)
I’ve stopped reading social media during the work day because it gave me too much anxiety. I also stopped listening to NPR as my wake-up alarm for the same reason – it’s all virus, all the time. I created a Twitter list for the few people I want to catch up on at the end of the day, and I skip everyone else. I’ve also been muting people on both Twitter and Facebook who are posting too much about the virus for my mental health. It’s helped – a lot. I think it’s a big part of why this last week was better than the one before.
Yesterday a friend of of mine organized an online poker tournament on PokerStars.net which was a lot of fun, with an audio channel for us to chat during the game. We had 14 people, and I managed to fold my way into the money, finishing third (top three paid). I felt card dead for long stretches of time, and then I got bailed out by some timely all-ins that went my way. Late in the tournament I doubled up on three consecutive hands. So, you know, plenty of luck. I coulda played better, but I coulda played worse. But it was great to do something with a group of friends.
So, you know, it’s been a week. Since we’re both working full time (and I’m keenly aware that there are lots of people who not working at all, and not at all by choice) I don’t find the days run together, and I appreciate the weekends as a time not to be ‘on the clock’ at work. But it’s still something of a struggle. Probably for everyone, to some degree or another.