Three Week Quarantine Update

So, let’s see, this is about week three-ish of quarantine? Anyway, with the CDC having taken an about-face on the wearing of masks, which is now starting to be the new normal in public, it feels like it’s the right time for a quick update.

Even with a slightly reduced work schedule, I’ve had no shortage of things to do. I wrapped up a series of online Chess Merit Badge sessions for my son’s Boy Scout troop last week, and now I’m going to do another series for another local troop. My wife is still working full time, but from home. My son is busy with school online during the day, his normal evening activities have also moved online, and he even had a morning computer class last week on top of that. We started a family Risk board game about a week ago, and it’s still sitting on the dining room table waiting for us to pick up where we left off. Oh, did I mention that there’s always an improvement project around the house to do? Meanwhile, with all this “free time”, I keep telling myself that this is the time I’m going to buckle down and work on chess puzzles for about 15 minutes a day, every day, but that hasn’t happened yet. Since a big part of why the family is still busy is due to the ability to go online, sometimes I wonder if this pandemic had happened 25-30 years ago, we’d be looking at a completely different situation in terms of how we would adapt.

Although there is a stay-at-home order, it’s been acknowledged that people need to go outside and get some exercise and fresh air to keep their sanity, provided social distancing requirements are met. But it baffles me that people instinctively flock to their “go to” spots, which then become crowded because others have the same idea, in part because no other recreational opportunities outside of the house. Some beaches, parks, and trails around here which were previously open have now been closed due to the lack of ability to maintain social distancing due to the crowds. I’ve taken to keeping my walks, runs, and bike rides close to home, which is especially more attractive due to less car traffic than normal.

Aside from getting outside around the neighborhood for exercise, my wife and I each only get out once a week – her trip is for the grocery shopping, and my trip is to Home Depot. Clearly the grocery shopping is an essential trip, but does going to Home Depot for house projects which aren’t immediately critical repairs fall in the same category? I’ve thought about that and concluded that it’s OK, because the goal is not to minimize the number of times you leave the house, but it is to minimize contact with others. The Home Depot near me has done a good job with measures such as limiting the number of shoppers, cleaning carts, plus – unlike the grocery store – their aisles are wide. Furthermore, I go right when they open at 6AM, quickly getting what I need and getting out, minimizing any risk. Except today, I rented a tool and had to return it midday and had to wait in the line of people waiting to get into the store. Even so, there was the recommended six feet of space between me and the people in front and behind me.

A lot of my friends have been doing various challenges on social media during this time. I haven’t felt the need to start the ball rolling myself, but I’ve been happy to play along in the fun when tagged. There was one where I needed to post an embarrassing photo of myself, I had a photo in mind, but when I looked for it on my hard drive, I couldn’t find any of my old photos. Darn, I must have lost some data when upgrading my computer last time.

To sum up, we’ve all been doing fine here, but the biggest gap in all this has been the lack of in-person social interaction outside of the immediate family. That’s not too much of a surprise, as when I started working from home about eight years ago, I quickly realized that my non-working hours had to be more interactive to compensate for less in-person interaction in the office. The Zoom conference calls help fill the gap somewhat, but they’re not the same as meeting and talking face to face.

Anyway, like I said last time, stay safe everyone, and I will see you all again when this is over!