In my first Notes From the Pandemic post, I stated that my life hasn’t changed a whole lot since all the various social distancing recommendations, quarantines, stay-at-home orders, and non-essential business closures first started. Yet, it is actually rather difficult to go about the daily routines without always being aware that the surrounding and some of the daily routines are radically different.
Case in point: Brandon being at home with me. He has now been here for over three weeks straight. This is the longest stretch of time we’ve been under the same roof since his mother and I finally moved into new places after our separation. I’m enjoying the having him around — even if as a teenager most of his time is spent in his room playing games, doing his distance learning, and socializing online with friends. The only slight drawback is that his room is right next to my home office. Frequently, he will open his door and start excitedly talking about whatever it is he wants to share. I am working on getting him to wait until I can properly disengage from work, but it’s likely this effort will take a while.
On the plus side, Sally is home all the time as well. It’s rather nice to be walk away from the office, go up the stairs, and then spend a few minutes with her. Happily, this happens at least a few times a day.
The other most notable change in routine is my actual work schedule. During the school year, I make use of the flex time scheduling benefit in order to be able to visit Brandon one during the middle of the week. This results in two 9½-hour days, a five-hour day, and two eight-hour days. His staying here means a traditional work week — not to mention significantly less time in the car. No more weekly 80-mile round-trips or the two trips each weekend to exchange him with his mom. Actually, there’s almost no time driving at all. The gym is closed, and we’re trying to minimize our visits to the grocery store — which is just a little over a mile away — as much as possible. As someone else on Facebook put it, we’re getting three weeks (or more) to the gallon.
Having all that time back, as well as a more regular schedule, is greatly appreciated. However, there’s lots of driving that I miss. Driving to O’Faolain’s to simply unwind and have some fries with a couple pints of cider… Driving to favorite shops to simply browse… Occasionally driving to the town center at lunchtime just to grab something different to eat… Making a one-day road trip with Sally to visit the nearby places we love… These were not regular parts of the daily or weekly routine, but even though the inability to do so is not always in my thoughts, it seems to unpleasantly linger like an barely perceptible smog.
A few other thoughts before closing this out:
- The Washington Post is reporting that a number of meat processing plants are shutting down due to COVID-19 outbreaks. There will certainly be shortages of various meat products coming. It looks like a lot of people will start needing to be vegetarians, whether they want to or not. On a related note, it may be a good time to stock up on some of my favorite meat substitute products — especially Impossible Burger.
- Although I need a car less than at any time since living in New York City over 20 years ago, it still needs to be properly maintained. It needs to go into for an inspection, oil change, and a small array of maintenance repairs. Normally, picking a day to drop the car off for such things requires careful planning to make sure we can survive with just one vehicle until it’s ready. Not anymore. Pretty certain that having just one car for a couple days won’t create any hardships at all this time around.
- As of 6:29 AM EDT today, The Washington Post reports there are 33,286 confirmed deaths in this country due to COVID-19. This saddens me greatly. At the same time, it’s infuriating that we have a President who did nothing to prepare our country for this when he had the chance back January and February. If there really is a hell in the afterlife, there should be a special, uniquely tailored punishment both for him and all the sycophants who enabled this travesty of governance. The Orange Shitgoblin has blood on his hands.