Oh, Hello There

Well, it’s been a few months since I posted here so I guess today would be as good a time as any to write a blog post. And ironically, it’s pretty topical.

My part of California is currently under stay-at-home orders until December 28 as COVID-19 cases continue to surge. The order didn’t go into effect until 11:59 pm on Sunday, December 6.

Earlier that day, Anthony and I decided to do a little more Christmas shopping at a downtown shop which sells merchandise made by local artists. I used to frequent the shop when we were still at the office and Ann loves the homemade soaps they sell – and honestly, so do I.

We picked up a few things for Ann and headed on home.

Then today yesterday I got this email from them:

Yeah. Good times.

Everyone thinks they know everything about COVID except when they are faced with the possibility of exposure which if this email was any indication, could mean that we were. Possibly. Maybe. We just don’t know. I mean, in the most vague sense, we could be around people who may – with may being the operative word – have been infected everywhere we go. But I thought it would be a good time to get tested anyway.

From here it was panic mode. Local urgent care facilities have a 3-hour wait outside the door for testing and I was told that people start lining up at 5 am. Um, no. I’m not going to stand there with potentially infected people waiting to determine if I have it, only to find out I currently don’t and possibly develop symptoms later. It made absolutely no sense, so I passed.

There’s also antibody testing but that will do you no good if you believe you are currently infected or at risk of having been infected. I scheduled an appointment for one but was told it might be a waste of time/money since it’s only needed if had a past infection. I was only sick one day this year and it wasn’t anything serious, so I passed on that too.

As for a standard diagnostic test, according to every website I’ve checked, we don’t meet the criteria: no symptoms and no close contact with a positively infected person for more than 15 minutes. Honestly, I am very good at keeping my time around people to a minimum in general. It’s an old person thing. At this point it’s a matter of monitoring for symptoms and staying at home a wee bit more as we may be asymptomatic but still spread it, but we will also get tested in a few days as 5 days past possible exposure is the most agreed upon time according to experts.

Speaking of that, we all feel fine. Nothing aches, we’ve got our senses of smell and taste, we don’t feel sick and we’re breathing normally – well, the family is breathing the best as two asthmatics can.

And while I’m thankful that the shop reached out to those on their mailing list and on social media to inform them of what’s going on, I’ve reached out to them but yet to hear back as to whether their employees tested positive (UPDATE: they confirmed one has). Maybe in a few days I’ll try again.

This is a real thing, folks. Don’t be stupid and think you know everything about it but also don’t be so ignorant as to think that it’s just a flu or will “go away” when it gets warmer as some orange gastropod said it would. Chances are it’s going to be around much longer than anyone had anticipated so hunker down and get ready.

And until it’s eradicated once and for all, be cautious and follow the rules. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself and those around you.

(UPDATE 12/16/20: We all tested negative.)

The Days of Wine and COVID, Part I: Black Friday

Back on April 4, I was walking along the side of the house and came across a patch of clovers. Keep in mind I’ve walked past these things many times in the past and never gave them much thought but that day I decided to go looking for a little luck.

And I found it.

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Count ’em. This isn’t a four-leaf clover, no. Look closer and you’ll see that there’s a fifth leaf on the other side. They say that the fifth leaf is supposed to represent money and extra luck. Little did I know that over a week later, I’d really need it.

Up to this point, because of all the coronavirus madness, I had been working from home since the middle of March and we had gotten a few emails from the company President explaining what the next moves were going to be. Nothing too drastic – until one stated that layoffs and furloughs were coming. The only thing I could think of was great, here we go again.

I had been laid off from several jobs in the past and figured this would just be another notch on my résumé. But being we had gotten our stimulus money a week prior, I figured we’d be okay for little bit while unemployment kicked in. We had it all planned and were ready.

And on Friday, April 10, it happened – but not to me. Several people were let go but not entirely because of COVID-19. We lost a big client due to a really stupid business decision on their part so people who were a part of that team were transitioned to other teams while some people on other teams were let go entirely. But some of the blame most definitely falls on COVID-19 as markets around the world try to rebound from this economic crisis.

We lost a person in our department who accepted the company’s offer for a retirement package. While we all thanked him via email and Slack messages, it sucks that we didn’t get a chance to say goodbye in person. I wish him the best in his retirement.

The rest of us are still hanging in there as we continue to plug along in this strange new working world, strange to me at least.

I was never ready for this to happen and hadn’t made room for or given much thought to where my work computer would go. In the end, I put it on my old drawing table in front of my personal computer which, as you probably know, doesn’t get much use these days because it sucks.

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This is my workspace (the calendar on the screen covers up the company name). I’m pretty much crammed in the corner of the den but I’m making it work. And yes, it’s dark and those are the only lights I have on most of the time while I work but I turn on another lamp occasionally in case my eyes start to feel strained.

For now, the stimulus money sits in the bank untouched and although you can’t see it, the five-leaf clover rests under the monitor in a Ziploc bag because it worked for me the first time.

Let’s hope it continues to do the trick.

Next episode: The Days of Wine and COVID, Part II: Working from Home