10/26/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

Where to begin, where to begin?

I’ve actually been shopping; in person, walking through some stores, touching merchandise and credit card machines and shopping carts. When I have my phone with me, I take pictures of the COVID-19 warning signs. I marvel that, not only are things so different than they were for all my life and my parents’ lives and their parents’ …adult lives, but things are now different by the week.

When in Wal-mart, use what you have. ©2020 Chel Owens

Take shopping at Costco, for example. Waaay back in March when we were going to quarantine for two weeks, I witnessed strict distancing measures, hoarding customers, and the removal of germ-spreading elements like samples or the food court. Months later, when I returned, they’d hung partitions at the registers and signs about shortages. Weeks after that, we all needed to wear masks and only so many people could enter. Still more weeks later, the food court options returned but the tables did not. Lately, they’ve been handing out samples again.

Look, but don’t touch. Definitely do not taste. ©2020 Chel Owens

You know -sort-of.

Like a delicate flower unfurling in springtime, restrictions are being lifted as we return to the way social life was for the past 100 years or so.

At least, that is how many are behaving. I read about people renting venues for their parties if such venues try closing, about parents sending nasty e-mails if their children’s schools want to close, and about how masking children will limit their breathing and cause staph infections on their faces.

On the other side of this divisive coin; I read about how wonderfully China is doing at containing their numbers and curing their people, about what certain politicians are not doing to stop anti-maskers, and about parents nobly keeping their children home (but also complaining about how they are being forced into the role of stay-at-home-mother by MEN).

Meanwhile, Utah’s case numbers are rising rising rising. Like, up to nearly 2,000 new daily cases on October 22.

You’d think that both sides could at least agree on that, but they probably wouldn’t agree on a turquoise shoe, gold dress, or whether they hear, “Yanrel.”

*sigh*

As a moderate, I see both sides. I feel both sides. I’ve even taken to debating a few of my Twofacebook friends over some issues -namely, that China HAS TO BE LYING about their numbers, that the governor of Utah can’t do much more than ask nicely, and that masks do not block oxygen intake and kill our children.

*sigh again*

The main problem, as I see it, is too much of a good idea. Not spreading germs is good; dressing everyone in a HazMat suit is a bit far. Socializing is important to mental health; ‘dancing’ at a crowded club is an idiotic thing to do. Limiting children’s spreading germs is good; hours and hours and hours on a computer is turning my children into crabby monsters.

We’re not ready to unfurl like a delicate flower unless we are willing to house those with adverse reactions to Coronavirus in our own stubborn homes. Likewise, we’re not taking reasonable steps when we treat each other like lepers and won’t even wave when greeted. Haven’t y’all heard of a Happy Medium?

Yep; you’ve released the political in me. In terms of actual news: Utah’s case numbers are terrible. Almost all of the public schools are doing an amazing job of keeping areas clean, tracing exposure, and enforcing the laws. People are participating in sports, dance, and other extracurricular events. Many employers that run computer-based businesses are allowing workers to remain home. I see pictures on my Twofacebook page of families taking vacations and of preparations for trick-or-treating for Halloween.

Ah, Halloween… maybe we’ll leave that political discussion for another time.

Remove your hats, hoods, sunglasses, and animals. Keep the mask. ©2020 Chel Owens

How are things looking in your neck of the woods?

©2020 Chel Owens

9/12/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

“Do you have your lunch? Your shoes? Your water? Your mask?”

The morning routine for school is more complicated. Each Monday and Wednesday, I ensure that four boys are fully equipped. The downside is they’ve more to remember, in bringing a personal water bottle (no drinking fountain use preferred) and mask (to be worn all day, except whilst eating lunch).

On the plus side, they remember to brush their teeth on their own. It turns out that they can’t stand the smell of their own breath inside a mask when they forget…

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

School drop-off looks a bit different as well. The children are assigned to line up on the school’s soccer field; by class, six feet apart. An aide marches each class in at the first bell. Latecomers check in through the office, as usual, but I am not allowed to walk them back to their class -a problem when anxiety rears its head.

After school, I retrieve mine from other groups of talking, eye-smiling, laughing children. The elementary students wear their masks, still; the middle schoolers do not. Once home, I make them all drop their clothes in the washer and wash their hands; again, my middle-schooler sometimes ‘forgets.’

But we’ve yet to see Coronavirus. The closest that green-mist plague has come is “possible exposure” to a neighbor’s daughter who is on a school dance team. They were told to remain home for two weeks, test or no.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

It’s odd, this Coronalife. I feel like a closet zealot in my opinions, believing that IT might come again while so many friends and neighbors doubt ITs existence or, at least, ITs potency. I can’t say I blame them, since the friends who take IT very seriously are turning a bit crazy: not answering doors even to their deliveries, washing off the same sort of groceries I immediately put away, and watching from windows as we play on scooters while their children watch iPads.

A relative of mine went off the deep end during quarantine. I never mentioned it till now. That person is fine…er now. But she/he told me that she/he had to make a choice about what was more important: sanity or security. Day by day, I’m being shown that ‘security’ isn’t that secure, so why not choose the sanity?

Sneeze-clouds and doorknob-lickings aside, I feel infection may be avoided or lessened if one uses common sense. Right? And, common sense may still be allowed outside.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

On another note, Utah experienced a massive wind last Tuesday. Elements combined to create the perfect storm. Winds nearing or surpassing 100 mph (161 kmh) tore across the northern part of the state, ripping down trees and signs and felling semi-trucks on the interstate.

©2020 Mary Caputo

I received periodic e-mail messages from our power company. The first said 180,000 customers were without power. Another, the next day, said they’d gotten that number down to 96,000. I didn’t receive another after that, but learned that some did not have electricity for four days.

©2020 Merrily Bennett

I also read stories of neighbors helping neighbors. The National Guard cleared debris, too. In a time of need, people stepped up to the challenge.

Which is the message I wish to convey today, in the shadow of September 11. Despite what some followers may suspect, I remember 9/11. Moreover, I remember the days that followed. In the aftermath of a terrible disaster, we came together for each other. People in NYC wrote messages of hope in the ash coating firetrucks. American flags flew from buildings and homes. Complete strangers sat and talked and cried and comforted each other.

We may be living in this post-apocalyptic setting of masks, signs, and shortages for some time yet. But, if we can remember our humanity, we can get through this. Together, we can get through anything.

©2020 Chel Owens

8/18/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

Curse you, WordPress, and your ‘new’ block editor a thousand times!!

As to The ‘Rona, everyone ’round here’s behaving like it’s gone and out of there -up till when they enter a store. Kevin, my husband, summed up the odd double-standard in describing a recent work-sponsored river tubing activity to me:

“We didn’t wear masks on the bus, riding up. We didn’t wear masks while tubing. Afterwards, when we went to lunch, everyone got out of his car and put on a mask. Then, when we were sitting right next to each other in the booth, we all took our masks off and ate lunch.”

His exchange reminds me of a friend of mine who has been careful of exposure this entire time. She explained that her children play with their friends only outside, wearing masks. When their cousins came into town, however, she acquiesed to allow her teenage daughter to spend the day at Lagoon (our only amusement park in Utah) -hopefully, still masked.

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By Scott Catron from Sandy, Utah, USA – View from the Sky Ride

I draw the line where I always do: slightly to one side of center. I stay home, wash my hands, wear a mask when I walk inside a store or church, and don’t lick doorknobs. I’m also planning to send my children back to school.

Speaking of, school has been a real hot-button issue. Districts in Chicago and Los Angeles quickly paled at the idea and said it would all be online. According to a local news source, Utah’s governor came out with a 102-page document in governmentspeak that said all children would start school ‘regularly,’ with distancing measures, extra cleaning, and mandatory masks. I looked up said document, and was disappointed to find it only came to 96 pages and included cute graphics to help people figure out what ‘hand-washing’ and ‘mask-wearing’ looked like.

This is a child, wearing a mask. Or, he’s plugging his ears whilst being turned into a cyborg.

I found it to be a helpful guideline for when I may not be feeling up to snuff. I mean, who knew what coughing or a fever looked like before now?

I jest, but find the disease a serious thing. I also find most people not taking it very seriously. I had thought they were assuming the disease to not exist. Since speaking with more people, I’ve learned they think the symptoms have been exaggerated and that their plan is to not be affected by it if they are exposed.

We’re functioning at a normal level, with normal traffic patterns and normal work schedules. Most jobs done with computers are still keeping workers home; Kevin’s been here since March 13. All the workplaces in urban areas or specifically for the government require masks.

In other news, we went camping last weekend. A rest area on the way asked for masking and we all complied. The campsite asked for a three-hour drive, a half-hour of which involved a damaged road through open range cattle country. Read: the site was pretty remote.

A young couple near us donned masks whenever they left their tent but they were the only ones I saw doing so. I guess most of us felt we distanced enough because of our natural, campfire-enhanced musk.

We saw chipmunks, birds, flies, and a mother deer with her child. She surprised me the first morning; a small herd of cows and calves did the second morning.

Photo by Jahoo Clouseau on Pexels.com

We planned the campout as a last hurrah before school started, as it was set to begin today. Then, the districts sent e-mails saying they would delay till next week. I have five children of differing ages so they will have differing schedules. Two plan to attend M/W and online, and two plan to attend the full-time four days a week with Friday off schedule that the gov’nuh decided.

Our state’s case counts have hovered around 200-300 per day. The teachers will get PPE from the government, and …the First Cases of SARS-CoV-2 in Mink in the United States [were] Confirmed in Utah. Interesting. I hope they learn to wash their paws. Can you imagine making a mink wear a mask?

©2020 Chelsea Owens
Images from Utah’s Coronavirus Education plan may be found here, and are ©2020 The State of Utah.

7/20/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

Last time I checked in, I shared Utah’s rising case numbers. Things are looking up since then.

And I do mean “up.” Our all-time high was 867 in one day, reported just two days after I wrote. Fortunately, we’re back to numbers like 736, 731, and 788 for the last three beautiful, blue bars of that graph.

I’ve had a bad headache today since the baby awoke at 2 a.m., compounded by another awakening at 5 a.m. As with anytime I’ve felt a little off, I’m paranoid I’ve got The ‘Rona. That figures, since I still do grocery pickup, mask when I go to a public place, and have not agreed to family invitations to public places. Heck; we’ve gotten takeout five times in the last four months.

baked box cheese close up

Pizza: The American Meal. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We did attend church last Sunday. We LDS normally attend every Sunday; with a communal meeting that includes eating bread and drinking water (sacrament) passed around on trays, then a second meeting by age and gender group afterward. Sunday’s meeting was only The Sacrament. We sat with a bench between other family groups. We all wore masks, except Baby Owens. The bread and water trays remained in the hands of the boys distributing them. We even sang with masks on, reading from our individual phones instead of hymn books. Only the speaker unmasked as he shared a gospel message about spirituality from the podium at the front.

My parents also live in Utah, but their local leaders have not reinstated meetings. Ironically, their libraries and recreational centers (swimming pools, gyms) are in business. Different strokes for different counties, I guess.

—–

In terms of shortages and price increases, I’ve heard that hard currency is running low. The cashier at the kids’ clothing store told me, the internet told me, and the plastic partition at the hardware store told me.

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Perhaps you’ll accept galvanized nails in replacement, Lowe’s?

I was able to procure some antibacterial kitchen hand soap at Wal-Mart when I had to go inside. Being 5’8″ tall with long arms helped that procurement. I brought a bottle of hand sanitizer down for any shorter-armed shoppers that followed. The rest of their soaps were in short supply, as were any bottles of rubbing alcohol:

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Who needs antiseptics when you’ve got a lonely roll of gauze?

The biggest news, for me, is The School Issue. I mentioned, before, that I’m following a TwoFacebook Group concerned with returning children to their desks, come hell or high water. Members of said group were prominent at a recent meeting in Utah County, where they vociferously (and crowdedly) spoke in favor of no masks for their children. Since I know many teachers personally and would like them to remain healthy, I see no-masking to be a selfish, nearsighted opinion.

Screenshot_2020-07-18-02-39-44

Just one of the many, many inspiring and educated adults making decisions for her offspring.

Of all the ways to make the news, Utah, you have to pick this one…

I assumed, recently, that my more-conservative friends have seen the light. With stories about reinfection; with more people we actually know getting infected; with areas shutting back down to curb Coronavirus cases -SURELY opinions would change. Not so. One of my more vocal neighbors just posted, today, about articles against masking and how any legitimate information supporting that idea keeps “getting taken down.”

I know restricting or changing information happens. I’ve seen it. However, I also know that I, like other humans, breathe and cough and sneeze. As such, I’m in favor of wearing a mask, using my turn signal, and not randomly kicking strangers in the shins because it’s my right to do so.

In conclusion, here’s a funny image re-shared by a teacher friend on 2FB:

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Sorry; I’m not sure who came up with these. They’re pretty clever.

Images ©2020 Chelsea Owens, unless otherwise noted. Blog post ©2020 Chelsea Owens

7/9/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

Welp; things are not looking good, number-wise, out here in do-it-yourself Utah.

Graph

Thanks, Coronavirus.utah.gov. What a lovely blue.

Wednesday marked the single, highest number of new cases reported in a day. Now, we’re no New York City. New York City has 2.5 times more population in it than our entire state. Still, that’s a bad growth rate unless we’re talking earned revenue in stocks.

I remember back when the world shut down, together. My occasional errands to the grocery store pickup or follow-up appointments for the baby were spent driving through nearly-empty streets and barricaded parking lots. Restaurants had signs about being closed and/or ordering online. Everyone locked up at nightfall, even Wal-Mart.

Yesterday, our family got caught in rush-hour traffic on our way up to visit my parents. What is this? I thought, then remembered. My parents and a sibling are two of the few places we go, and I assumed others were similarly, intentionally homebound.

Today, I went to my home-away-from-home: Costco. My experience there, in the last four months, has changed from an uneasy anxiety to over-zealous cleaning to a resigned impatience. A lot of the store has opened up again, sort-of. They still mandate wearing masks, although their cart-retrievers were not doing so outside. The workers at the gas station, outside, were also bare-faced. A woman stood at a samples table inside, though she only advertised her product and did not offer tastes. The food court area showed a simpler menu of two kinds of pizza, a hot dog meal, and three desserts; the condiments were stacked behind the cashier in tiny containers with lids.

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My poor Oxford comma.

Also today, a relative of mine visited with his children. They drove across the country to do so, and have also visited “things we can’t do back home,” like a hot springs resort and the local aquarium.

Another relative drove to one of Utah’s rural communities for their Fourth of July festivities. Word is that the city had a parade and threw candy.

Meanwhile, back in Salt Lake County, we’ve been mandated to wear masks in public. I haven’t seen any policemen to enforce this rule; I have seen nearly everyone complying. I heard that Utah’s governor thought to make the ruling statewide and looked for such information. Instead, I found he’d announced that everyone attending school in the fall will need to wear a mask.

He also said that, if we can’t be good little citizens and bring our case numbers down by August 1, he will put us in the corner -erm, make masks mandatory.

I don’t see what the big deal is, especially considering that our numbers keep rising. If the case counts were at least plateauing, I might agree with my more-conservative friends about their right to bare arms and faces. As things keep climbing, however, I say they’re being needlessly selfish about a small scrap of cloth.

mona lisa protection protect virus

Photo by Yaroslav Danylchenko on Pexels.com

I see the rise in numbers being related to the rise in traffic, travel, and don’t-care attitudes. I want things to normalize again, too, people. I also want to avoid contracting a disease that permanently affects some or kills others.

COVID-19 aside, I’m keeping busy and enjoying my ‘break.’ How’s everything where you all are?

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

6/16/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

First, I HATE THIS NEW BLOCK LAYOUT AND ALWAYS HAVE.

Annoying Prompt

Really, WordPress? Don’t you have enough problems?

As to Coronaignoreit, people ’round these parts have lost interest. Coincidentally, that was pretty much the title of the New York Times article I skimmed this morning: “America Is Done With COVID-19. COVID-19 Isn’t Done With America.”* People wear the masks where they need to, but I see a lot of pullings-down or restings-on-necks.

I get it. Masks are annoying and hot. My friend who works making food for a ritzy country club has to wear compression socks, a mask, and gloves all day at her job. …And their air conditioner hasn’t worked properly in years.

hans-reniers-mE6e5-5jLu8-unsplash

The oddest thing for me about Coronastillhere is how a person’s approach or even belief in the disease relates to politics. Utah’s state epidemiologist, Angela Dunn, agrees: “Opinions about what needs to happen now in the fight against COVID-19 appear… to be split along party lines among the legislative committee members.” She’s referencing our spike in cases (double the number per day compared to when we were in lockdown) and what various Democrat or Republican representatives propose as solutions for the future.

Our governor decided to remain at yellow level till June 20, last I heard. Rural communities want to be green. As Madame Dunn pointed out again, however, disease doesn’t stop at county boundaries.

*Sigh* I think I’ll have to contract the thing at some point, as will my children.

On a funny note, my grocery pickup order was a little off this morning. I didn’t know until I drove back home -and unloaded NINE POUNDS (4.1 kg) of fresh green beans. The computer order shows that I set the quantity to ‘9,’ but that means I would have had to click the little ‘+’ sign nine times when ordering.

I purchased the beans as part of my new diet. The diet involves a lot of vegetables per day; but, as I explained to the grocery store over the phone later, not that many.

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If anyone needs a few pounds, let me know.

In reading over my past updates on Coronayesit’sstillaround, I see I conveyed my fears, panic, and sometimes sadness. The last post only showed the spray painted defacement of our state capitol building. My updates on Costco are about how everyone’s required to wear a mask. I wrote about food shortages and nervous dental visits.

In truth, there is good in the bad. In further truth, there is almost all good and a few bad.

Residents around the state of Utah offered to help clean the graffiti from the capitol building and the ensuing protests were peaceful.

Don Gamble cleans off graffiti at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Sunday, May 31, 2020. Daylong protests moved across the city Saturday after a peaceful demonstration to decry the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis turned violent. Protesters vandalized buildings throughout the downtown area before a curfew was enforced in the evening.

That dude’s name is Don Gamble. Thanks, Deseret News.

Costco is the wonderful place I know and love, without food samples but with masks.

While stores encourage limits on meat and toilet paper, there is no shortage. I walk through a completely-full Costco and arrange pickups from a grocery store that receives new shipments every night.

The dentist is still an odd experience, but not as odd as entering the bank lobby wearing a face mask. Businesses used to post signs about removing sunglasses or hats or beards for their security systems; now, they have signs encouraging a face covering.

I’ve resisted the urge to give someone a finger-gun greeting so far.

In my world of blogging, I’m at least one segment away from finished with Going Postal. I intend to write a description of my process and design for it after that final installment, and then I’m OUT OF HERRRRREEEEEE!

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

 

*1984-style, that article was named “The U.S. is Done With COVID-19…”

Photo Credit: Photo by Hans Reniers on Unsplash

5/31/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

I went to the hardware store yesterday. Although I was unable to record actual numbers, I estimated about 1/3 of the shoppers and nearly all of the workers wore masks. I don’t mind the more-conservative, DIY-types; I figured those hardworking sorts would be very likely to shop for their own building supplies and gardening equipment. What concerned me is what always has: they don’t think distancing is important, so they aren’t minding their space.

I also went to Costco, for the second time since they severely increased their rules. Last time, everyone wore masks and adhered to restrictions. This time, even the workers seemed more relaxed. “Place your purchases on the conveyor belt,” the cashier told me, though she was still scanning the items of the person in front of me.

Costco Sign

The temperature’s rising. Birds are singing. Our lawn is burning where the sprinklers are broken (hence, the trip to the hardware store). People are out jogging, biking, walking, and hopscotching.

On the drive to the two stores, I passed a splash pad. They’re more recent inventions. Basically, water squirts out of tubes and holes in the ground all across a cement park. The splash pad was PACKED.

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I’m not blameless; I took four of the boys to a public park for the first time on Tuesday. They played in dirt and on the playground and had a wonderful time. I visited with a neighbor who also happened to be there. She told me they weren’t doing “inside playdates” yet, only “outside playdates.” In point of fact, she said they’d been to the selfsame splash pad I’d observed being crowded.

Furthermore, she and her family are planning a road trip to Mount Rushmore. Don’t worry -they’re renting an RV and will be outside for all their activities. She knows that the Founding Fathers and Roosevelt aren’t likely to contract Coronavirus in their condition.

Several friends and neighbors have traveled or are planning on traveling. I don’t know of any who are flying …yet. I can’t say the same for SpaceX, but they looked pretty protected in their suits.

jet cloud landing aircraft

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The official officials of COVID-19 in Utah aren’t sure if moving to Yellow Quarantine has led to more cases. We did have a spike in cases reported after Memorial Day weekend. We also did have people unable to test during that weekend, so those numbers might be a catch-up situation.

Ambivalence aside, Coronannoying is still around. It’s apparently devastated our Navajo community and wreaked havoc amongst any nursing homes it visits. I know it’s old news. But if there’s one thing pregnancy taught me, it’s that wishing uncomfortable situations away doesn’t work.

The biggest news, however, is not of contagions. The biggest news involves a very sad, divisive event in Minneapolis. I stay moderate on politics; the protesters in Salt Lake City, yesterday, did not.

The wall outside our Capitol Building, ©2020 ABC4 News

I’ll likely get more vocal about my opinions and ideas as I age. For now, I will say that I disagree with violence, hatred, and destruction from anyone.

On that note, I hope for resolution and return to peace. I hope people calm down and work together. I hope restaurants open again, stores open again, tourist destinations open again, and SCHOOLS OPEN AGAIN.

Between what super-conservatives are saying on a super-conservative Facebook group someone added me to (who knows how that happened?) and the proposed state guidelines on education, I’m not sure we’re heading toward …reasonable yet.

“The guidance for K-12 education addresses the resumption of school activities, including sports, under jurisdiction of district and school authorities in adherence to indoor and outdoor guidelines. Additionally, hand sanitizer will need to be made available to faculty and students in each classroom and regular hand washing routines will be instituted. Faculty and staff will need to wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible. Updates regarding face coverings for students will be provided by local school and charter boards in consultation with health department officials.”

-Governor Herbert’s Executive Order of May 27, 2020

I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt, and assuming they are referring to colleges and universities with these guidelines. Most adults can put on a mask or sanitize their hands. Most children can barely wipe their bottoms.

I fully intend to drop all media for the summer, but promise to pop in with news like this as appropriate. I hope news from your corners of the world is better, and continues to become so.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

 

Photo Credits: Me, Photo by Sophie Dale on Unsplash, Pexels, and ABC4 News

5/16/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

As of 12:01 a.m. this day, our severity level in most of Utah has gone down another color. Instead of red or orange, we are now at yellow. The exception to that is the areas still reporting high levels of infection: Grand County, Summit County, Wasatch County, Salt Lake City, and West Valley City.

This would explain how I saw many people out and about today. It would also explain the grocery store worker cheerily greeting me as she loaded my groceries, without mask, while her coworkers stood outside chatting. When I pulled up and called, they also did not tell me to open my trunk according to current COVID-19 guidelines and maintain appropriate social distancing from the associate that will approach my vehicle…

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The pediatric dentist was different, yesterday. They’ve been closed to patients until very recently; considering the nature of dental work, they are still being careful. We were asked to call from our car when we arrived and to enter their office wearing masks. I hadn’t brought my kids’ masks (c/o my helpful neighbor) but the assistant met us with some dental varieties and an electronic gadget to measure our temperatures. I also signed a paper that promised I had not experienced symptoms, did not intend to experience symptoms, and had not traveled anywhere that might have symptoms in the last 14 days.*

Thus began the only dentist visit in my life where everyone wore a mask up until getting his teeth cleaned and examined, a visit in which we all smiled with our eyes and tried not to get high from the fumes of rubbing alcohol.

Less-strict restrictions are good news for the right-wing types, who have been smugly getting under my skin for the past while. It’s funny, because the left-wing types were getting under my skin pre-quarantine.

Divisive

Mommy Needs Vodka shared this on TwoFacebook.

*Sigh*

Farmer-Cowmen like myself often stand around, scratching our heads at the divisiveness.

Hopefully some other cause will come along to distract them all from imminent death by asphyxiation, like the presidential election or …goats invading a neighborhood.

Now, that’s breaking news!

Honestly, we’ve been very fortunate in how Coronavirus has affected Utahns. As might be expected, those who’ve still had to work the service jobs and those who’ve lived a long time and those who’ve increased their risk due to preexisting conditions have been affected the worst.

As to those fortunate enough to be young and fortunate enough to be able to stay home, the reaction’s becoming Old News. To some, it’s becoming a joke. Impatience is setting in; some question or demand when they may return to Disneyland, Europe, or to eating samples at Costco.

For me, day-to-day life has been like a typical summer vacation -without a planned family road trip or excursions to pools or splash pads. In some ways, I’ve felt odd writing about Home Life. I’ve thought to start my report with Well, the boys didn’t want to wear clothes …again. Then, the water heater broke …again. Then, I did dishes laundry weeding dusting toilet-unclogging etc. …again.

I hope good news is the same for all of you and that it stays that way. Keep waiting; keep washing; keep masking. It’ll get better …again.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

*I exaggerated a bit. They wanted to know if I’d traveled outside the state in the last 14 days.

 

Photo Credits: Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

5/6/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

I know, I know: “I’m sick of hearing about Coronavirus. Go away, Chelsea, and take that thing with you!”

woman in white and green shirt holding yellow plastic bag

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

But, it’s not going away. Well -it is, just slowly. Hopefully, all this jazz about calmly sitting at home and glaring at your neighbors’ parties has kept COVID’s coming a slow process as well.

On the subject of coming:

“Remember that time I was sick back in February?” my neighbor asked me recently.

“No…” Personally, I don’t remember what I ate for breakfast most days, but she didn’t know that.

She paused, adjusting something I couldn’t see because we were engaged in an old-fashioned telephone conversation -over cell phones, but still talking. “It was when I flew back from Denver. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and then had a nasty cough. I lost my sense of taste for several days; not just one, like what happens when I’ve gotten sick before.”

airplane wing towards clouds

Photo by Sheila on Pexels.com

The ‘Rona’s been a mysterious mist, revealing more of itself as time goes on. Having done a report on the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl for a college paper, I can’t help but see similarities in China’s revelation of facts to the rest of the world. As many have pointed out, however, such hindsight isn’t helpful. “Should’ve” can’t save us. “Will” just might.

For myself and my family, I feel fortunate that we have not been directly infected affected. Our worst casualty is inconvenience. A relative finally got in to her doctor …to learn she has cancer. Another’s been growing increasingly worse regarding mental illness because of the isolation. Yet another lost a good friend -to the virus- and was sad to not attend a funeral.

I’ve also had some irritation in items out of stock for pickup orders, in trying to plan ahead, and in not being able to keep a device with microphone and camera intact. Yes, another accident befell us. Our derelict iPad of half-a-decade’s age fell to the basement floor in a second karate-related accident. The defendant claims gravity reached its apathetic hands up against an already-unstable iPad stand…

Speaking of technical mishaps, I need to enter a Costco today. I haven’t been in weeks. A computer we purchased recently has had no end of problems with the keyboard input and network card. Why, for the love of gaming, would anyone want a computer to forget ASDWX in the middle of strafing?

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They’ve posted store rules that I’ll need to wear a mask. Here’s me, wearing the PINK one my neighbor made me. Being the only female in a predominantly-male household, she assumed I’d need more femininity.

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In other news of stores and merchandise, Smith’s grocery store told me they were fresh out of chicken breasts. I was able to procure a whole, frozen chicken but not pieces of it. The worker kindly explained that, since the Tyson plant had closed, they were seeing their store-brand meat disappear faster. Others I’ve spoken with said similar things. So, maybe we ought to stockpile a bit of meat…

We actually tried to get a small chest freezer back when things started getting crazy in March. When I called to follow up on our purchase a month later, the representative explained that ALL appliance suppliers’ chest freezers were on backorder till July or August.

Again, inconvenience.

I find myself rushing in thoughts or actions, then suppressing the behavior. We need more: meat, clothes, gasoline, emergency supplies, Tylenol, etc. Frankly, I don’t. I have enough. It’s just an inherent panic and a need to do SOMETHING instead of wait.

Wait.

Wait.

Wait.

Everyone’s sick of waiting. Here in Utah, the waiting time’s dimished. They’ve stepped the panic level down a titch.

Plan to work - Risk Gauge Image

What a lovely graphic of Utah’s COVID-19 plan.

We’re at Code Orange now. Oddly, this move resulted in an increase of reported cases. 🤦 I guess we’re a work in progress. I suspect the COVID Team suspects such results, and will move the dial down to yellow once we stabilize again.

We’re doing what we can, which is mostly not doing much. The relaxed restrictions are nice; the boys’ room moms arranged for drive-by parades of their teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week this week. We got within breathing range of one of my son’s teachers, for a selfie. She and her aides stood together on the sidewalk to receive presents and posters. I realize I’ve developed an automatic anxiety at the sight of crowds. I ought to turn it off, now that we’re allowed to congregate in groups of 20 or fewer -although that’s still stupposed to be in a social-distanced and masked manner.

Because of bat-man, we are all masking like Batman…

In last news, our European trip was officially rescheduled for 2021. Maybe I’ll get to wave to a few of you after all.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Other Photo Credits: Dries Augustyns

4/20/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

It took me three tries to get the accurate date today. I went through the same exercise yesterday (Sunday, apparently) and again for that-day-that-comes-before-Sunday. Once the boys and I decided the phones and computers had the correct date, I realized we’ve been staying home for a month and two days.

Time flies when you’re looking back. It i-n-c-h-e-s when you’re looking forward.

Speaking of, Utah’s state governor announced that we’ve graduated to less-stringent measures. The state parks have opened to non-county residents. By May, people could sit inside a restaurant to eat. To combat that sedentary option, he also anticipates the re-opening of gyms. Furthermore, elective surgeries will resume. He stressed the importance of still maintaining social distance and rocking the mask.

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Word is that the world will adopt a currency of toilet paper and surgical masks.

The announcement came after our county’s mayor extended her Get Yer Butt Back Home order till May 1. After the governor lightened up, however, she has renamed her order to Stay Smart, Stay Safe.

Utah’s Coronavirus crack team said we need to approach the reopening as a dial, like on a dimmer -not like an on/off switch.

Word must’ve not gotten around, because a posse protested two days ago.

Protest

They’re not social-distancing. I mean, obviously. (© The Salt Lake Tribune)

I don’t get it. Then again, I’m not out of work because of all this.

On the plus side, I’ve decided to count my blessings:

  1. We are not living through the pandemic of 1918, when we didn’t have Amazon.
  2. We’ve got the internet, which allows our connecting to others, working from home, and playing or watching games and shows.
  3. My family and I do not live in an urban area, in a multi-unit apartment building.
  4. Our local stores offer grocery pickup.
  5. If food gets scarce, my LDS upbringing means I have enough dried black beans to get us through at least two months. It won’t be pretty, but we’ll have regularity and protein.

Amazon is great, as is grocery pickup. The only problem is costs are rising. I needed to replenish our regular household cleaners this last week, and couldn’t believe how expensive they’d become.

Either everyone is panic-buying, or people do not use soap during non-panic-buying times. I’m just glad I’m not desperate. I also know how to mix some of my own all-purpose cleaners. If worse comes to worst, we’ll forage for bits of bark to replace the soaps. Actually, I have boys. We’ll all just start smelling of a more-natural musk.

In better news, the boys’ school released a video of each teacher reading a small line of encouragement. Home life looked good on them; some of the guys were going Rip Van Winkle with the facial hair. We drove past their school after this week’s grocery pickup this morning, then ‘visited’ a favorite teacher of theirs.

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Pretty much the state of things.

My boys seem resilient and unaffected. When I suggested that my pre-teen might video chat with his friend, he asked, “Why?” Only when I said they could arrange for playing chess online did he consider it a good idea.

Their conversation went something like this:

Hey.

Hey.

So… what’ve you been doing?

*Shrug* Staying home.

Yeah. Me, too.

So… wanna do chess or something?

Okay.

…When can you?

Ummm. Probably Wednesday from 1-3.

Okay.

Okay.

Actually, for accuracy, you need to read it with an awkward pause after every two lines. I’m not sure if it’s a guy thing to be so verbose and animated but …yeah, it’s a guy thing.

For me, I finally caved and installed an app called Marco Polo. My friend told me about it awhile ago but I hated the idea of recording myself. That, and my phone has never been the top of the class. My reward after install was a video she’d recorded that day, over a year ago. I cried watching it. Since then, we’ve made videos back and forth a few times.

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Yes, we look exactly like this; and not like we’re calling from the closet, in the dark, after not showering all day.

They’re a bit longer than my son’s conversation with his friend.

What have you been able to do lately? Is the weather warming or cooling? Have you called a friend, or maybe just played chess with him?

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Other Photo Credits: Mika Baumeister
Rubén Rodriguez
Tai’s Captures