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

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.

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.