04/21/2022 of COVID-19 Life

I haven’t written about local COVID conditions since last October. Considering how compulsively I felt the need to describe life constricting around me when The Plague first came around, I should describe life releasing one again with as much compulsion.

Rather than label my error as ‘pessimism,’ I’ll optimistically posit that where things are heading now is what I am accustomed to; what is normal. Where things headed in spring of 2020 looked like the plot line for a dystopian novel.

Speaking of lines, things are flattening out once again…

Thanks, coronavirus.utah.gov. An important note is that this is one graph, no matter the variant tested for.

In Utah, the public atmosphere is mixed. Everyone behaves as if no pandemic existed, exists, or will exist again. …mostly. Public stores have lingering signs on the doors about masking or staying home if sick. I see a patron here or there, sporting the determined half-covered-face look.

We were not asked to mask at three sons’ pediatrician appointments; we were at a different pediatrician appointment for a different son.

I’ve visited a new dentist as a normal, everyday person; an old endodontist as a masked, must-be-healthy, sign-all-these-haven’t-had-a-cold-or-been-vacationing threat.

I faced a similar interrogation in taking Boy #6 to an appointment to look at his Sloth-like head shape:

©2022 Chel Owens

You know, Sloth-like in the back. His front is very smiley and social. As a side note: those baby helmet thingies are really, really expensive. They’re the orthodontics of infants with a similar price tag and aversion to insurance coverage.

On the plus side, the few times I hear of a person contracting Coronavirus I also hear words like “mild case,” “not bad,” and “feel fine now.” Encouragement to be boosted is seen on a billboard here, and a notice at the doctor’s office there -but I don’t feel hammered on the head about it. I am not in the workforce, however, so the environment might be different in that pool.

Inflation is finally accepted as happening. I guess the emperor couldn’t keep people looking at promotional ads for nudity any longer. Whatever; the prices are what they are. Maybe we can go back to an agrarian lifestyle …once the housing market settles down.

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©2022 Chel Owens

10/18/2021 of COVID-19 Life

These current COVID times are odd. We live as if the disease does not exist, with constant reminders that it does.

During the worldwide shutdown, you see, our family shuttered into itself; not eating out, not going out, not accepting human interaction or even packages. Our norm is to eat homemade most of the the time but I felt too scared of the risk to try any food prepared in a restaurant.

Contrast to now: we get takeout at least once a week, go out for shopping or school, and visit family and friends and receive them. I no longer make the kids wait a whole day before opening boxes we’ve received. Our new norm is whatever we need based on energy level and access to the kitchen from unpacking/organizing.

I see friends and relatives going on vacations, attending school dances, and watching sports from a crowded stadium.

A football game at the University of Utah stadium.

I feel like everyone thinks and acts like we’re all normal. Then… every time I have an OB/GYN appointment, I must mask, sanitize, and declare my cleanliness from COVID at check-in. Many businesses require their employees to wear a mask; many politely demand or request the same from clientele. My Twofacebook feed hosts shaming and statistics messages against unvaccinated folks OR staunch personal freedom and risk messages in favor of never complying with vaccine regulations.

Unfortunately, I also see occasional posts about this person who has passed away or that person who is struggling in the hospital and could use prayers. Fortunately, I have yet to experience a close family member’s being sick with COVID.

I have had one coworker test positive. She was vaccinated. She described her experience as, “having a bad cold that went on and on;” she’d also lost her sense of taste and smell.

Still, Utah’s case numbers look good:

The biggest side effect of Sir ‘Rona is in this U.S. nation’s response and subsequent inflation and shortages.

Necessities like lumber and cement are quite expensive and often rationed out to contractors. McDonald’s was out of root beer for our Happy Meals last week. KFC said they were out of breasts. Shoppers keep exhausting our local Costco stores of toilet paper (again!!) and bottled water. When I applied to our mobile windshield repairman for a replacement, he said he couldn’t get a windshield for our minivan. When I applied to the body shop for a small repair on our pickup truck, they said we could come in mid-December.

Everywhere has Now Hiring signs for entry-level positions. I’ve read articles about supply ships gathered at ports without workers to unload or with strict regulations for the crews. No one seems to want these low-paying jobs, including positions like bus driver or trucker. Point fingers where you may, but current government ‘support’ seems to be contributing; in the words of Percy Blakeney of The Scarlet Pimpernel, “Sink me; if everyone isn’t so equal in your new society that no one wants to do the driving anymore.”

I’m grateful we have more on our side to combat this respiratory infection. I wonder when we’ll consider it finally absolved. After all, they’ve only just approved a childhood vaccine for malaria….

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©2021 Chel Owens