12/31/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

I’ve not written about Coronavirus updates in awhile, I’ve thought for a few weeks. As I sat to type one up just now, I realized this is the last day of the dreaded year 2020. How appropriate.

Like many, many others, I reflect back on this year. Truth be told, today is not the only day I have reflected. Even before Coronavirus, I marveled at where I had come in only a year’s time; for, if you are a follower of my blog, you know that I learned I was pregnant in April of 2019 whilst attending ‘school’ whilst maintaining a few blogs whilst helping our family side business to run.

COVID-19 changed many things. At this point, however, it’s only a factor for us in how it’s affected our children’s school experience and our family’s vacationing and visiting abilities. My pregnancy resulted in a sweet, healthy boy who is now a year old. I barely keep up on any blogging. The side business is BOOMING to the point that we were 1700 orders behind on Etsy at one point…

I guess there’s something to be said for marrying a computer programmer and producing a family of introverts. We’re healthy homebodies.

Local news-wise, Utah’s Coronavirus daily infection numbers are similar to other states. I think. They reached an all-time high of 4611 on November 19 but yesterday’s report (December 30) was a mere 2602.

I don’t know what experience others are having but the COVID Climate here is somewhat casual. We still mask in public. I have the children change their clothes and wash their hands after school. There are no samples at Costco, no free candy baskets at the bank, no free popcorn or soda at the oil change store, no handshakes at business deals, and no Charmin toilet paper or Clorox wipes or pure almond extract at the store.

You know times are tough when a person can’t even get almond extract.

©2020 Chel Owens

I do not like these measures, especially when I drop my children off at school and watch tiny Kindergarteners heading in past their tiny playground with a giant mask obscuring their tiny face. I feel Coronavirus to be a skulking shadow. It’s like the cancer eating away at a close relative of ours; something we know is there, something we need to be constantly aware of, something to FEAR to the point that you do not help that old lady load her groceries or that man who dropped his wallet or that child who needs a hand to hold to search for his mommy in the grocery store…

My fearful Twofacebook friends post worrisome statistics about spread and new strains, but also happy news about the new vaccine -some have even gotten it.
My over-it Twofacebook friends post family pictures and occasional articles on the virus’ restrictions affecting our mental health, but also warning news about the new vaccine -they will not get it if they can help it.

Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels.com

Still political. Still divided.

But, it’s the holiday season! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I didn’t make my traditional plate of cookies for my neighbors this year. I opted for a neat luminary tin full of Polish chocolates I found at a European Market store in Salt Lake City. To my surprise, several neighbors and friends did gift us homemade items. We received bread, chocolates, brittles, and peppermint bark.

The best gift of all? A container of Clorox wipes. Don’t tell; I don’t want to get raided.

From Clorox.com‘s site. Good luck finding this golden ticket.

There is FEAR and a good reason to FEAR, if you are being reasonable about it. At the start, I shared the feelings of paranoia that many still feel. I told my children not to answer the door or touch the incoming packages and mail. I left them home with Kevin when I went shopping –if I went shopping.

Now, I am simply careful. I do not lick shopping carts or gas pumps. I wear my mask in public areas. I also shared Christmas with my parents, sister, and her family. We ate together and visited and *gasp* hugged. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

So, be careful. But, be reasonable. If you’re healthy and haven’t had someone lick you lately, you’re probably fine to hug a grandchild. And if that gives you the heebie-geebies, wash your clothes afterwards. And your hands. But, as Clorox advises on their website, don’t start drinking bleach…

Also from Clorox.com‘s site. It’s a warning that pops up, to cover their legal assets.

What’s daily life like for you? Are you fine sticking around? Heading out now and then? Hugging anyone?

—–

©2020 Chel Owens

Safer at Home Journal For My Kids, by Kat

From the mind of a far better writer than I, here is Kat of The Lily Café‘s beautiful perspective of this Coronavirus year, in a journal letter to her children:

Dear Kids,

We had so many plans at the beginning of 2020. Museums, beaches, lots of time with your grandparents, a trip to see some cousins up north, zoo visits, and Disneyland at least 3 times. There was Kindergarten graduation, a fun summer, and the start of compulsory school for Brother to look forward to (the last more for Sister and Mom than Brother). It was going to be a fun year.

And then something happened at the end of last year. People in China were getting sick from something unknown. Kids, it turned out to be the coronavirus. Since we have friends and relatives in China, I kept a close eye on it. I watched it spread in Washington and then Northern California. It was only a matter of time before it hit us in L.A.

We had a month and a half before people started to worry, before cases here started to be due to community spread in early March. Our school district was the first to shut down. Honestly, I was ready to pull Brother before then because Dad works with people who travel a lot and I was afraid of infecting his classmates and teachers. Thankfully, the district decided to close for at least 2 weeks.

It turned out to be a lot longer than 2 weeks. It was the rest of the school year. It broke my heart hearing Brother and all of his classmates ask when they were going to be able to go back to school. Back then, school was weird. We were given a list of assignments to complete each day and class was only 30 minutes twice a week. Though it was fun to watch them prepare for graduation. Still, being home instead of the classroom was rough.

The week after the school district closed, our mayor shut down the city. The county and the state followed. We weren’t just doing school from home, we were also stuck at home. It was eerie to see the streets so empty. Weird that Dad took the freeway to and from work because there was suddenly no traffic. Strange to not be able to go to the market every week. Bizarre that Dad had to wait an hour or more outside stores in a long line before he could dash in and get one thing.

March turned into AprilMayJuneJulyAugust. I’m sure it’s the 200th day of March by now. Not really, but it feels like it sometimes. Masks started making their rounds and people couldn’t hug or shake hands anymore. Inside, it got louder with Brother home and Sister becoming more vocal and active as she turned 3. Sister’s was our first pandemic birthday in our family and it was weird to do it over Zoom, but we did get to see relatives who live far away, so there’s one silver lining to this whole pandemic thing.

Summer was almost agonizing. Restrictions started being lifted, reopenings began to roll out. More people emerged from their homes. And then the protests started. Protests for racial justice. Protests calling for police reform. Protesters gathering with and without masks. It was inevitable that cases were going to rise, the deaths were going to rise, the hospitalizations were going to rise. And they did. They all did. Public Health seemed to freak out, and back into our homes we were forced.

Not that it changed much for us. Dad still went to work on a modified schedule and the rest of us just stayed home. No beach trips, no Disneyland trips, just weekly Zoom sessions with family. Since we live in a densely populated area, even going out for walks freaked me out. Being high risk just made me want to stay inside and press myself against windows to soak up every bit of sunshine instead. But it did help that it was just too hot to go outside.

But, with the rise in cases, reopenings turned into more restrictions and closures. And more protests to protest that. We did manage to go out for dinner in early July, near the beach, but I spent the next two weeks anxiously waiting to see if any of us developed symptoms. It was too exhausting, so I decided we were never doing that again.

School started in late August. Fully online. Zoom classes 9-12 Monday-Friday. Asynchronous (school work) became our new least favorite word. Though I have enjoyed getting a bird’s eye view into class for Brother. I love knowing exactly what he’s doing, what he’s supposed to be learning. I hate that he’ll only do his asynchronous work as long as I do it alongside him. I feel like I’m back in First Grade, but that’s kind of okay because I don’t even remember being in First Grade. I’ve loved seeing Brother’s progress. It’s been hard on Sister, though, because she has to keep quiet and I keep going back and forth between her and Brother. She does like to try to get involved in class, though, and I wonder if she’ll remember any of the things Brother is learning. She keeps saying she’s ready for school and wants to go to First Grade. First on the list, though, is becoming fully potty trained. Oh yes, distance learning and potty training have been a real ball. Kids, I do not recommend this. If you remember your mother being a complete nutcase, this is why.

But people have become tired, restless, and disgruntled. As an introvert, I love not being obligated to be anywhere, not having to socialize, and, honestly, neither of you have really complained. But not everyone is like us. And not everyone likes wearing masks. Or keeping their distance. As the year winds down, we’re in a really bad place. Look, my asthma makes wearing a mask difficult. I can’t wear one for more than 30 minutes before I start feeling lightheaded. My inhaler is my accessory. But I’d rather suffer than be infected or infect someone else. So I get mad when I see people not wearing masks, hear people gathering, watch people get close to each other when they don’t live together. I suffer because I want to survive the pandemic, and I can’t help but feel people are too self-centered to do the things that actually protect people, loved ones, so I get angry, and now we’re in trouble. I’m sorry if all you remember from this time is me complaining about people. It’s been so hard keeping both of you inside and I’m sure you’re dreaming of playgrounds, but just thinking of all the unsafe things people are doing when Dad and I are both high risk makes me too anxious.

Deep breath. Kids, as I write this, we’re basically back on lockdown. Our governor, idiot and hypocrite though he is, has divided the state into regions and decided that, should the percentage of available ICU beds drop below 15%, the whole region will go back into a stay at home order. That happened in early December for us. The last number I had was 5% of ICU beds in the Southern California region were available. That was December 12th. We wear masks, stay home, and keep our distance in order to protect our healthcare workers. Part of me wants to be mean and hope people start going to the hospitals, only to find there are no beds available and not enough healthcare workers to take care of them. But that is a terrible thought. Instead, I’m wishing, hoping, and praying we can finally do what we need to do in order to actually save lives.

We broke 10,000 cases in one day on December 6th; 12,000 on December 10th; and 13,000 on December 11th. That was our county alone. It’s been climbing. Hospitalizations are at an all time high. Deaths are starting to creep up. There is absolutely no way we’re going anywhere any time soon. Dad is even working from home more often now. This is so much worse than it was over the summer, and, honestly, I’m scared. What if Dad and I do become infected? We’re both high risk and we would both end up in the ICU. If there are beds left. At this point, getting infected would be a death sentence for us. And we’d leave both of you orphans. It’s scary, and it makes me mad. It makes me want to lash out at people. I’m scared silly of leaving both of you alone, and I’m hoping that, as you’re reading this, I’m still alive and well. And I’m hoping I’m not scaring you too much, but, well, this is what life is like right now. History in the making, I suppose.

Kids, right now, you’re 3 and 6. Both of you are homebodies, so not much is new. Yes, you miss the zoo, beaches, museums, and Disneyland, but I’m so proud of Brother for being so aware that it doesn’t actually bother him. Sister is just too young to realize things are different. Dad and I aren’t hiding anything from you, but we are doing our best to protect you, protect ourselves. I’m hoping your memories of this time are hazy, and you’re focusing more on Christmas right now than how bad our country is. And, oh, yeah, this was an election year. No real clue what’s going on with that, but I’ll update you on January 20, 2021.

But some good things have happened. The US is back to sending astronauts to space from American soil. We got to watch the last SpaceX-NASA test flight with grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins via Zoom, as well as the first actual crewed flight to the ISS in mid-November. If anyone asks, the astronauts were in quarantine before leaving Earth, and we’re pretty sure the ISS is the safest place for humans right now.

My darlings, I wish things were different. I wish things were better. But, most of all, I wish you don’t remember this by the time you’re old enough to read this. I especially hope you don’t remember my fear, worry, anger, and frustration, but, if you or your kids have a history project on this point in history, yes, it was really rough. On the bright side, a vaccine is rolling out (shipped December 13th!), with widespread availability by the summer. As scared as I still am, I can’t help but have my fingers crossed you’ll both be in school in the Fall. Safely, of course. Otherwise, if you end up being homeschooled, this is why. If I’ve learned anything this past year, life is all about those silver linings, the little bright spots, and I hope you’ve learned that, too. If not, better hop to it! Mom’s orders.

Love always,
Mom

©2020 Kat of The Lily Café

Photo by Jan Kopu0159iva on Pexels.com

Kat is an intelligent, analytical, creative, thoughtful, honest, and caring writer. She blogs about everything from book reviews to ratio baking to her detailed approach to motherhood to her own serial story, Queen of the Garden Girls. In her spare time, she promotes other bloggers and reads and comments on their work. Kat is also a wife, and mother to two beautiful children. I’ve had the great pleasure to know her since stumbling across her site with my mothering one. Thank you, Kat.

A Masked Romance

Martha and John, two wannabe lovers
Both swiped to the right
On cell phones (and hardcovers –
But that’s a story for another write).

The point is, at pinging
Of app on their matchup
Besides some light singing
They ‘greed on a catch up:

A date! And, thank goodness,
‘Twas fashionable to
Wear a mask if you could-ness
And sext over Zoom.

…..

A bit of a bother,
Once they reached Wedding Night:
They both scared each other;
So, they turned out the light!

Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

©2020 Chel Owens

Results for this week’s A Mused Poetry Contest coming soon! You can still sneak one in; I won’t tell.

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

What I Hear

Conversation. Voices that are not mine or my children’s or the creaking moaning ageing of the house -voices from others are talking. And laughing. We have friends over, and we are visiting without fear.

As we talk about their move from out of state, we hear an airplane fly over. We hear a click-clunk of scooter on sidewalk coupled with happy child-talk, from outside. As the night darkens, the child-talk becomes teenage squeals as our older neighbors begin night games in the street.

Do you remember these things?

Music -I hear music. There’s an impromptu outdoor concert a few blocks away. There’s a neighbor cleaning his house with the radio playing. My husband sings to our baby; he grins, entranced, as he watches the slow notes move his father’s lips.

The hose, outside, is on. I hear the rush of water that used to send me running to scold, “Turn that off this instant!” Now, I open our blinds to summer sky; glance down to muddy children, laughing in the hose-rain. I wave.

I remember these things.

As sounds filter in where once they were not, I remember. I feel my soul shudder thaw stretch unfurl. I feel. I hope. I smile.

Photo by Marcus Cramer on Unsplash

In response to Rethinking Scripture’s post, “Summer 2020 – What I Don’t Hear.”

©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.

Turn_of_the_Century_-_Lagoon

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.

20200711_113015

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:

20200704_100945

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:

107791342_10223939418943407_8669815648453001962_n

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

Going Postal, XIV

Continued from “Going Postal, I,” “Going Postal, II,” “Going Postal, III,” “Going Postal, IV,” “Going Postal, V,” “Going Postal, VI,” “Going Postal, VII,” “Going Postal, VIII,” “Going Postal, IX,” “Going Postal, X,” “Going Postal, XI,” “Going Postal, XII,” and “Going Postal, XIII.”

Ron was just your average sort of guy: tallish, wideish, oldish, kindish. He drove his reliable old pickup with the reliable old hardtop around the neighborhood every day; often, he drove around several times a day.

Some of the residents talked to Ron. Most did not. Most didn’t notice him or his truck, despite its nearly always being full to bursting with their latest Amazon packages and Domino’s pizza coupons.

Mrs. Hempsworth remembered the last time she’d spoken to the mailman, although she couldn’t recall his name. She thought about their odd, stinted conversation as she peered at her community mailbox from behind her lace bedroom curtains.

Not only had she not seen the white-haired, blue-eyed mailman much lately; she’d not seen her packages for two weeks. When she phoned the post office, no one picked up. Didn’t they know she couldn’t drive? Didn’t they know she didn’t own a car? Didn’t they know that a lady like her couldn’t trust a driver these days?

Mrs. Hempsworth shuddered.

In her seventy-two years of life, she’d never imagined life the way it currently was. Even her father’s tales of The Great Depression or the racial tensions of the 60’s and 70’s didn’t seem as bad as now. “Oh, how I miss it!” she sighed, thinking over her childhood, happy marriage to Lloyd, and lonely retirement.

She’d had Bunco. She’d had an eventual prospect of Happy Meadows Retirement Home. She’s had Days of Our Lives, for Pete’s sake. Now, she had a television full of bad news. She had neighbors who’d left or barricaded their doors. She had nowhere to go because nowhere was safe.

A noise from downstairs startled her from her reflections. She didn’t move; the old, heavy bureau was already in front of her bedroom door and all her necessities were in the room with her.

She sighed. “May as well get it over with.”

The sounds from below increased: furniture moving, drawers opening. She closed her eyes and imagined her phoning the police; imagined a time, now gone, when the police both existed and responded to home robberies.

Expecting masked mobs or bobbing flashlights, Mrs. Hempsworth opened her eyes and looked down at the street outside her front walk. The street, however, appeared mostly empty. The only thing she could see was a white, covered pickup truck, parked at an odd angle to the curb.

THE END

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens