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15 April 2020

One month

Friday, March 13, 2020 started social distancing/quarantine - whichever you want to say.  It's technically social distancing but everyone has started calling it quarantine. Including me.  Not technically a full quarantine, but enough I suppose.

Today is Wednesday, April 15, 2020.  One month (and two days).

I've had to do another big shopping trip. I could have put it off longer, but for what I wanted to make I was out of some ingredients for, so off I went in my homemade mask which fit better than the ones Robert found in the garage that he had for woodworking projects.  The CDC recommends people start wearing one in public to prevent the spread of the disease, just in case they're sick but don't yet know it. I feel it offers some protection against catching it too (even if it's so small of an amount that it doesn't really "count" - it counts enough for me).  And it definitely reminds you not to touch your face in public.

It feels weird wearing a mask in public though, even with more than half of the rest of the people out and about wearing one too.  It will probably get more common and easier with time.  I took some alcohol wipes with me to wipe my hands, purse, wallet, phone, and car afterwards and washed my hands after returning home thoroughly.

The CDC (I believe, this might just be something someone said) also recommends you wipe down your groceries with a disinfectant wipe too, but I'm not doing that.  The majority of what I buy goes into the pantry for days/long enough for the virus to die on the surface and the produce gets washed before use so I think it's enough.  Our reusable bags go into the cupboard where they're not touched again until next trip.

We still go to the barn, and Carus is having her lessons with Martha still. I'm no longer holding baby Trask for the lessons though, just in case. I couldn't bear accidentally getting a baby sick. I don't want to accidentally get anyone sick.  Carus and I covered chores last week as Jessica got sick and had to wait for her COVID19 test results to come back - negative.  Just a cold.  She works at the jail so essential worker so chance of exposure.  The barn has put out bleach spray to wipe down common areas, stall picks, wheelbarrows, and feed containers. We're all being careful, especially with Linda as she's older.  The dynamic is the same, but different just enough that it feels weird.  We paused donkey lessons after Heather was potentially exposed on a trip into Portland for work, Justin came down with a cold, and their boarder Sarah had potential exposure at work too - they put themselves on quarantine (actual quarantine) just in case.  It's now been 3 weeks and Justin is better and no one else got sick. We'll probably pick up donkey lessons again next week.

School news:
Adam's doing okay with his online classes for this semester. He goes to the video classes and does the work and is managing his schedule well.  He's having some struggles with calculus, but it's calculus so expected.  Up until he started college, he was able to just skate through school and pull As and Bs, but in college he has to try harder, sometimes a lot harder, so it's different for him.  He's still doing well and passing all of his classes, just having to work more for those grades.  He hasn't left the house since this started, except one trip grocery shopping with me for pho supplies.  We're planning on making chicken stock and canning it soon. And then maybe we'll do beef stock too.  I love that all he and his friends can easily game together online both video games and D&D.

As for Carus, she's officially a graduate.  Class of 2020.  When they canceled school for the year, they also started getting plans together for what requirements would be needed to pass the grade the kids were in.  All Seniors that were passing classes by March 13th, would pass the class without additional work.  Carus was passing. She had some outstanding work sample stuff to turn in - it was mostly done, but had to be finished and could only be done in class with the teacher - so that was marked completed. And that's it. Senior projects got fully canceled. I did say we could still do the video and save for ourselves, or share with friends and family or even with her teachers. She passes on that for now.  Graduation ceremony is still up in the air, but I'm not holding my breath.  Come out of quarantine and cram 1,000+ people into an auditorium? That's a good way to get put back into quarantine.

Still hoping though.

Pre Fair and Fair are still planning as if we'll go ahead with them. I'm more hopeful there.  End of June and end of July are a long ways off still.  Spring Classic has officially been canceled for the May dates.  It's currently being discussed if we'll move online (hard to do for Horse Bowl competition though) or if we'll postpone until September.  We'll hear more on Sunday - Julie, the coach, has started practices back up on Zoom meetings since we can't meet in person.

Robert is still working, normal schedule.  They've sent all non-essentials to work from home.  Well, except for one lady who refuses to go home and then spends all day talking quite loudly to someone else or herself and disrupting everyone. Robert is quite annoyed with her volume.  I'm quite annoyed they haven't made her go home if she isn't supposed to be there. It's just another infection vector, especially since from all she's loudly said, she is not keeping her distance from anyone and is not staying home.

My hours were cut starting April 1st. I lost an average of 12 hours per week per the schedule, but with Erin doing labor pool and Marcia calling in sick yesterday, I've gotten back some of those hours. I'm not worried - I have plenty of PTO to use to fill in the gap.  I'm actually kind of looking forward to some of the half days or completely off days I have in there. Last Friday I worked 4 hours in the evening to cover Erin's labor pool, but during the day I was off and Robert and I completely cleaned our room pulling out furniture and vacuuming and shampooing the carpets well.

I guess that's all I have to update and share. I want to be sure this time is documented, even if it's just for me. This will definitely be a blip in history that gets studied. Was the quarantine helpful or not helpful? Did our leaders handle things appropriately and timely? What was life like? Etc... we know all of those questions will be asked as they're asked for previous pandemics... Maybe my grandkids will ask me about it?  I feel this is a trauma on us and our personalities and quirks will be affected by it.  How many will hoard certain supplies for fear? Who will continue to wear masks in public even after this threat is gone? How many people will have germ based phobias - big and small? Will the conspiracy theories win out? (The most ridiculous one - COVID is spread by 5G. Like wtf?) I don't know what it will do to me yet - make me more of a homebody is my best guess. The anxiety I have of going into public and seeing people is REAL ya'll.

OOhh, I forgot to share! This is something related to the times, but not particularly this pandemic. I want this documented so that hopefully when it gets better, and I need to believe it will get better, I can look back and see how far we've come.  At the grocery stores around here, I occasionally come across some latinx people and it breaks my heart when they look at me in fear. Not always, but sometimes. It's always older people, generally a couple, and they look absolutely terrified that they might inconvenience me making me mad or something. I'm white and I'm middle aged, which makes me the demographic of those that hate them/wish them dead.  I always try to smile reassuringly, making sure my eyes show how genuine that smile is, and often that relaxes them enough to remove some of the terror from their face.  But with a mask they can't see my smile. That hurts my heart.


Oregon cumulative totals per Oregon Health Authority - 8 a.m., 4/14/2020 (yes, yesterday's numbers, but it hasn't been updated for today yet)

Positive:  1,633
Negative: 30,730
Total person tested: 32,363
Total deaths:   55

08 April 2020

Spoke Too Soon

Yeah, I spoke too soon.

Oregon will not be returning to the classroom this year. 

No official news yet on graduation but I'm not expecting it to happen.

Sad, frustrated, angry, disappointed, and heart-broken for Carus for all those missed milestones she would have at the end of her Senior year. And for Robert and I too. We got a kid through to adulthood and they're a pretty damn decent human being. It was also our celebration. 

*Sigh*

Highs and lows. Right? 

07 April 2020

Now in April and Still Living Through History

This Friday, April 10th, will be four weeks since we started Social Distancing measures. Or Monday the 13th, depending on how you count four weeks.

Things are starting to feel "normal". It shows how well humans adapt. The anxiety of what if has dissipated for me and it appears others are doing better too.  Or just appear to be coping better. 

We still have the end date of April 28th here in Oregon, and Oregon's numbers are doing quite well. Currently, on April 7th, our numbers are 1,181 confirmed cases and 33 deaths. I know there are some that were not able to get tested and I'm sure others who dealt with it without considering it was Covid19 and never got tested too. But still, we're doing okay. Hopefully we did enough, soon enough. 

Schools in California and Washington, and others, have decided to keep schools closed for the rest of the year. I don't think Oregon will have a decision until closer to May. I'm still hopeful for Carus's graduation at the beginning of June. She's already lost Senior prom, unless they reschedule for summer time, and Senior projects have been minimized (no presentations or displays; speeches are still on for now).

For 4H, her final prefair and fair are still on, at least for now. Her last horse bowl competition that was mid May might me postponed or cancelled; hoping for postponement more, obviously. 

She starts online school classes next week. Right now she didn't have much to do, just some supplemental tasks for no credit. She's been playing video games and doing puzzles and started crocheting a blanket. It will be her quarantine blanket. 

Adam's classes have all moved to online and he's been attending without problems. And then playing loads of video games with friends. They have a weekly standing D&D session plus just random games they play while chatting or play together. 

Adam and I have both been trying some new recipes. He made Pho and that was pretty good. We might make some beef and chicken stocks up and can it. I made sourdough cinnamon rolls and they turned out really good. 

My hours were cut at work, but I have PTO to cover for now and labor pool options for later if I want. Robert it still working as an essential worker at Intel. 

Otherwise my schedule hasn't changed much. I still go to the barn for chores a few times a week. I don't have meetings, I'm not working at the hospital, and I'm trying to make groceries last as long as possible (so far so good there).

The weather is starting to turn more gorgeous and spring has sprung. I'd love to go to the beach with my cut hours, but can't with the shelter in place orders, for good reason. 

We've had friends turn up with someone they know sick or hospitalized, and some names I recognize from local Facebook forums, but no one directly just yet. A friend did get tested as she got a cold and works at the jail so she's an essential worker; her test was negative. 

I'm feeling hopeful and comfortable in our current normal right now. It's much nicer than the extreme anxiety and fear I had the past few weeks. 

24 March 2020

10 days

We heard the evening of Thursday, March 12, 2020. Schools were closing for the rest of the month. An extra week of spring break, to practice social distancing and self isolation, to help slow or stop the spread of Covid19. Oregon had one known case at that point. (Or maybe 2?)

Friday, March 13, 2020 was the start.

After one week, more businesses were closed. A bigger push for social distancing was called for, and the weekend at the start of spring break gave us gorgeous weather, a bunch of people who had been off work/working from home for a week with kids anxious and with built up energy, and beaches calling their names. The crowds of people at popular spots caused a shelter in place order Monday, March 23, 2020. No one out that doesn't need to be out.

It's been 10 days. (Technically 11 as it's now Tuesday but whatever.)

I'm not doing good today. I'm very angry and very sad. 

And I'm very fucking scared.

20 March 2020

One Week

We're reaching one week since we got put on "social distancing". I'm trying to cope well, but I'm struggling with anxiety about the situation. 

The kids were excited at first. Me too, really. Spring break one week early! Adam thought his finals were cancelled (he found out the next day they were put online). It was disappointing to have some events and plans coming up just cancelled but it wasn't scary.

I didn't get scared really until I went into the office on Monday. Since I work for a hospital, I'm an essential worker. I don't work directly with patients, but the reports are necessary for patient care. Essential workers work as normal. My normal is on Mondays I go into the office and then work from home the rest of the week.

Monday, it finally clicked how much I was at risk of exposure even though I don't deal directly with patients. And then I thought about how much my asthma has not been controllable in the past few years. Every spring and fall, when allergens spike, I start having one or two asthma attacks a day, even with regular inhaler use. I joke Oregon is trying to kill me, but yeah - Oregon and all its plants are trying to kill me. 

Back in November I got really really sick. It started out as a head cold and I was improving after a day and then all of the sudden it moved to my lungs and I didn't stop coughing or sleep for 5 days. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't sleep, and I was overdosed on all the medications I could take - cough syrup, NyQuil, nebulizer and both of my inhalers, Vick's and several cough drops - and still I couldn't breathe well enough or stop coughing long enough to sleep. I would only get 15-30 minutes at a time, and none of it good sleep. Looking back, I should have gone to the hospital, but all I could think about was just getting some sleep. If I could sleep, I could get better. 

I sat in that office Monday after wiping it down with hospital grade disinfectant wipes for the third time, with hands already raw from hand washing and hand sanitizer, and I thought of how sick I was in November. Covid19 is worse. (Note - I'm not usually a hand sanitizer person. I wash hands and then just deal with 'minor' germs because good germs are killed by sanitizer and we need those in our lives.) 

Monday was when I realized I'm one of the high risk populations. That's when I realized I might not survive it. That's when I got scared. I want to be there for all the things left in my kid's lives. I have a few things left I'd like in my life. I'm not ready to die. (I mean, who is, but still...)

I'm not worried about supplies, yet. My normal shopping habits are bulk buys and I did a big shopping trip 2 days before lockdown. It was surprising when everyone else cleared shelves. It made me feel like I should be out there trying to get things too. I went yesterday for a few things and Robert went tonight for more of our usual supplies. Some things aren't available though so if we do reach the end of that supply, we'll have to try harder. We have some time though. 

I don't begrudge anyone who stocked up on toilet paper. The fear parts of their brain have decided that was an essential survival item. Just like with the bread and milk of big storms in recent years. One person's fear brain thought, "this is what I need to feel in control," and then everyone else's fear brains decided to agree. Fear can do strange things, hoarding toilet paper just happens to be this event's "thing".

Robert invited me to come with him to the store - sometimes that's our date night - real exciting huh - but I couldn't do it. I was so anxious being in the store the night before. I wanted to cry standing in the checkout line. 

Story about that: Carus and I are standing there (she was with me because we just came from the barn) and in the next lane over there's a lady with a kid in the front of the cart. Kid is around 3-4 years old. He has a ball and he's put it in his mouth. Then he drops the ball onto the ground. Mom picked it up and gave it back to him and he put it back in his mouth. Like normally I'm all, "hell yeah kid, build that immune system," but right now, fuck no. Yikes. 

I've also had a cough for 2 weeks - Robert and I got sick (I think the flu or a cold, it wasn't too bad) and everything has started blooming and now I'm having asthma attacks and constantly coughing. Carus is always amused at the looks of terror I get when I cough in public. I try not to cough, but sometimes it happens (always into my elbow, even before this shit). 

17 March 2020

Living Through History

Okay, so a friend dusted off her blog to document life through the Corona virus experience, and I thought it was a good idea so I am too.

A lot has happened since I last wrote here, but we'll catch up later. Maybe I can get back into blogging/journalling regularly. 

I do know I need a break from anxiously scrolling through Facebook. I feel afraid I'm going to miss something important and also annoyed at selfishness. Not the toilet paper purchasers. That doesn't annoy me, nor do I find it ridiculous. It's how their brains decided to help with their fear. 

So yeah, being under orders to self isolate so we don't end up sick or in quarantine. This shit is weird. 

Carus's senior year has essentially ended early. We're currently closed until April 28th, and she would only go out school until June 2nd or 3rd with graduation on the 6th, so now what? She's worried they won't let her graduate, but they will. There's no way they're going to hold back hundreds of kids who all have plans for the fall because of this. (Knock on wood cause it's not like we saw this coming!) Her driving test got cancelled too which has her mad. She had to wait almost two months for it and now who knows how long it will take to get scheduled. 

Adam was able to finish his current term at Portland State; well, after he finishes his finals this week that they were able to put online he'll be done. He's probably not going to do the next term unless they put them all online for the same price as in person because online classes cost more and we don't have that. Otherwise the expectation is that he returns in the fall. This will extend him into a fifth year at college. He finally decided on a major, btw. Well, he did; it might be changing slightly. I think we're with Computer Science right now. I still think he'd be a good teacher. The random facts the dude knows, I'm telling ya. 

Robert is one that has to go in to work at Intel; can't do his fab job at home. But he's cleaning shared areas and scrubbing hands and they're limiting how close you can be. I don't think he's worried about catching it. He's been bringing home some bad colds this season though so... ???Although, apparently no one cleaned shared desk spaces before this!!! Uuughh. They sure are now! I'm not sure if I'm worried he'll be exposed at work or not. 

I went in to the hospital for my on-site shift on Monday. Then I realized how close patients who are potentially sick are to that office and proceeded to freak the fuck out to myself all day. My hands quickly became raw from extra scrubbing and hand sanitizer. My asthma has been really bad the past few years, especially during the spring allergy season when I can barely control it (I think it's the hazelnut trees). I've been coughing for 2 weeks now - I did catch a cold/flu about 2 weeks ago, but now I think it's just allergies. If I can't handle pollen, I surely can't handle this disease. Anyways, I've decided to not go in to the office until this is over. I can't bring myself to risk it. At first I thought I'd be okay if I caught it as I'm fairly healthy (except my weight) but as we've heard more about the symptoms and the risks I've re-evaluated. 

Or my anxiety is getting the best of me. 

I'll know in 6 months to a year. Heh. 

We've been keeping Carus's horse/donkey lessons. It's nice having that routine and the fresh air and movement. We went to Heather's for donkey time today and it was seriously so peaceful. Even while we were talking about how weird this whole thing feels, it was peaceful. Heather compared it to that uncertain time post 9/11 where we were in shock that something bad could reach us on our little American safety bubble. That feeling we had then. And it is. It's very close to that. Post 9/11, we knew, at least, we were going to war because we needed to respond. You can't go to war against a virus though. Unless our going to war is staying home? Then we looked at the piglets Heather had and watched vaccinations being given. Carus even helped with catching and holding them. She might end up showing Heather's show pig, Victoria Secret, (not one of the piglets though they are also show pigs and not eating pigs) at Fair this year. That's dependent on what's involved in her showing a pig at Fair, whether we have Fair (fingers crossed cause I love it dammit), and if Heather doesn't regret suggesting it in the spur of the moment. Ha! 

I saw a story today with a video of Italians that were asked to share what they would tell themselves 10 days ago, before their outbreak got bad. Our outbreak is just starting. It was a good little video with some sobering advice, much reassurances, and a few laughs. "Play the guitar. Well, learn to play the guitar because you currently suck." I thought it was a good idea though. I turned on my video tonight and recorded us with what we would say to ourselves 10 days ago and/or 10 days from now. We didn't have much yet. I'll do a few more here and there. Maybe in 2 days, or 5. Just for us/myself, I don't think I'll share them. 

What do you think you would say to you from 10 days ago? Or 10 days from now?

19 October 2018

Oregon in the Fall












I really do love Oregon in the Fall. 

All photos taken on a friend's property.

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