Life amended: Update after week one of preemptive Coronavirus quarantine

It’s Saturday morning. A time when my blog entries normally focus on my birds flying around my room, cuddling kittens and sipping coffee in bed trying to forget the stress of the week.

The vernal equinox came and went and I didn’t even acknowledge it.

My normal two-week schedule at the office is 75 hours as a salaried development officer in a human services non-profit. I worked 86 and am trying not to add more hours this weekend.

Our CEO made the decision to close our buildings completely for the next week, assuming our facilities have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus. So we will be working from home.

I love working from home, so that’s not an issue for me.

And in general, the pandemic brings me a sense of calm. The empathetic side of me relishes the slow down of the world. It brings me peace.

The only real worry I have right now is my right foot. I thought I had a splinter. My daughter, whose eyesight is way better than mine, assured me no. But it still hurts, and I think it’s been almost 2 weeks. And the ball of my foot is painful and swollen.

I started soaking it in Epsom salts and in my impatience this morning, I clumsily lanced it and am soaking it again. I still believe something is in there and will cause an infection if I’m not prudent.

Bandage and betadine next.

Fog

Of course I have helpers.

Misty

But they have gone on to do their own thing…

Hard to believe these guys were feral.

The first Pennsylvania death from the Coronavirus happened in the hospital where my daughter and her father were born. Cases are now here in our county. And all of the neighboring counties.

I urge you all to remember that every time you come in contact with anyone, you are also being exposed to everyone they have been near.

I know I am healthy. I know I am not in a high risk group. But I don’t want to carry this illness to anyone I care about. I don’t want to be the reason someone else dies.

I don’t want to see the economy and our quality of life degrade to the level of some dystopian fantasy novel.

That will happen soon enough because of overpopulation and global warming.

Overpopulation and Global Warming.

Let that sink in.

So, I downloaded the list of life sustaining businesses allowed to be open at this time. Beer distributors and Wawa made the cut.

Target made the cut. (They have groceries, health items and CVS pharmacies.) But I hear from my former Target colleagues that families are treating it like an outing and bringing the whole gang. People are shopping for bikinis.

We’re in for a long road.

Hear me, bikini people?

Your First World Privilege Is Ending

Today was my first day of working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Dining Room/Grant Command Central

I haven’t worked from home since my daughter turned 18 months old.

It felt liberating. Roll out of bed, have a cup of coffee, toast a bagel, and head to the dining room table to fire up the borrowed laptop.

In my pajamas.

This whole COVID-19 illness has had a profound impact on communities and on families. The economy and job security are threatened. We will all survive— but as someone working in non-profits, I see this crisis from multiple angles.

But when I first saw empty shelves in grocery stores I thought, “Wow, this is like shopping in Africa.”

You see, in my travels in Africa, shopping is a different experience than here. Shops usually only have one version of any item. And they might not have any of some items. And they are small.

People in less developed countries have less choice than we do. They have less resources. They have less opportunities. They have less corporate businesses. They have unpredictable utilities.

This virus has proven a great equalizer— because suddenly ordinary Americans no longer have access to all the stuff and businesses that they traditionally frequent.

No longer do you have 15 varieties of toilet paper to chose from.

No longer can you just find when you want at the exact moment you want it.

Let this remind you that this is what some people in the world face everyday either due to living in the wrong country or due to poverty.

Privilege is redefined now.

Be humble.

Nala learns new tricks

This is a brief entry about my four-year-old Goffin’s cockatoo with an attitude, Nala. She adores me, but tends to be a tad, um, bitchy with anyone else.

I’ve been very impressed with how she’s adapted both to a new life and a new routine in my crazy menagerie/train station of a house.

I brought her home in early January and have no experience with parrots and barely any experience with birds.

During the last few days I’ve noticed a change in her vocabulary. She already knew what sounds like “Mommy” when I got her—said only when leave the room.

She also learned very quickly to return my kisses with her only little kissy noises.

But now she seems to have learned “step up.” It sounds like what I can only describe as a bird hiccough in two syllables mimicking the phrase. But she says it when she wants me or after I ask her to step up and she’s not sure if she wants to.

So this is an exciting development.

Nala and Misty

She can also hold her own very well against our once feral kittens.

Lighthearted Ipsy Review of the March 2020 Glam Bag

I promised a review of my March 2020 Glam bag from Ipsy. Life has been a little draining so I haven’t quite tried everything— I think all I have left to try is the nail polish and I can’t try that because I have a gel manicure on acrylic-coated nails right now.

I tried the hydrating hair mask over the weekend. I feel like it did nothing for my thick, curly hair. But, as my hair is so thick and curly it’s also super dry because curls do that.

The teenager has a completely different hair texture so maybe she’ll try it and give us a different report.

But that was the whole point of trying Ipsy—sampling products instead of committing.

Now the Naked Cosmetic eye shadow and the Hanalei Lip Balm were my two full-sized products this month and I am very pleased. Who doesn’t love a new lip balm? And this one seemed delightful on my lips.

And the eye shadow happens to be my favorite shade of quasi nude, neutral but glittery eyes that makes me look alive instead of old and sleep-deprived.

So let me just reiterate I know nothing about make up. My mom would never allow me to wear make up and even now that I’m in my mid-40s she comments that she disapproves.

The one product I was anxious to try is the primer. This one, tarte quench hydrating primer, seems really nice so I’ll keep trying it and see if my color stays put better.

Last, but not least, we have Hey Honey Relax Propolis and Honey soothing moisturizer. I struggle with dry skin, and I tend to favorite Johnson & Johnson lavender baby moisturizer because I can’t handle heavy scents and I am prone to contact dermatitis from everything.

This lotion felt really nice and I’m not sure how I feel about the scent. It richly smells of honey. So much I want to eat it, or at least lick my hands.

Through tired eyes

I. Am. Exhausted.

March was shaping up to be an exhausting month at work before it even started because of all the grants I had to finish— I forget how many so we’ll round to ten. And a couple needed reports.

Then we added a couple last minute important government opportunities and dealt with some EITC issues… if you don’t know what EITC is don’t worry about it, it’s a Pennsylvania tax program for corporations that benefits education.

And then we hit the state emergency of Corona virus/COVID-19 shutdown.

My employer has the largest full-choice food pantry in the County and we serve hundreds of households every month. We educated about a hundred people daily in our classrooms. We serve students in the schools. Provide assistance to walk-ins, existing clients and referrals.

So this has changed everything. The CEO is scrambling. Meetings are going virtual. Our educators are looking at distance learning. Our food pantry staff and volunteers are bagging food instead of letting clients shop.

And now we need to design a schedule and a work plan to use our homes as offices.

Ideally, we no more than 3 people in our admin building at a time. (There are only six of us.)

Tomorrow I have to take the old MacBook Air into the office and hope I can get it to connect to the remote server. Otherwise, I am not allowed to work from home.

And I forgot my journal on my desk, and my planner, but my planner I can survive without. But my journal? Noooooooo!

Every morning, I get up, pour a cup of mostly decaf coffee and write in my journal while the cats eat. Not having this ritual will be upsetting.

To lighten the mood, here is a cat photo from the freshly cleaned room of the teenager:

And an unboxing of this months treats— a Universal Yums box from Brazil (featuring Nala, my naughty Goffin’s cockatoo):

Universal Yums March 2020

Sunday update in the midst of the Pandemic

These are indeed interesting times.

My mom and I went to Grocery Outlet because I wanted some fresh produce. Got blood oranges, spaghetti squash, cabbage, potatoes, radishes, and fresh Brussel sprouts. I was looking for items that would store nicely if something does confine us with COVID-19.

When I got home, the teenager helped me dig a splinter out of my foot and treat it with betadine.

We did two loads of laundry and the teen taught the budgies to hand feed.

We stripped and made both our beds— which ended up with some Oz antics.

And I made two delicious meals for myself prior to my fasting bloodwork tomorrow: leftover sesame chicken with pan-seared Brussel sprouts seasoned with four color peppercorns and tofu burger on whole grain wheat with avocado, sautéed radish and dill havarti cheese.

Of course, the afternoon led to some discussions among my neighbors of whether or not Coronavirus is worse than the normal flu. Does it matter? Flu outbreaks have killed people at fairly regular intervals. I’m not concerned that I will die from it, but I am concerned that I could help spread it if I’m not careful.

The neighbor we went to dinner last night spent the evening playing Yahtzee with another neighbor whose son just came home from college. The son woke up with a 102 degree fever today coughing. And his lab partner just got home from Germany.

And there’s a presumptive positive case in the next town over where my in-laws live. So it’s coming.

And I’m not an alarmist or panic-stricken but I agree that we all should be limiting our interactions. The more careful we are now, hopefully we can minimize the impact on our community and our economy.

And here’s some animal photos:

Just another Saturday

I woke up this morning worried about things I can’t control, and to a cat coughing up a hairball somewhere in the darkness of my room. It was 4 a.m. and to get myself back to sleep, I keep imagining a cleansing white light.

I imagined the white light getting brighter and brighter. It filled my house, came up my stairs and saturated my room. It brought me calm and helped me get to sleep.

I finally gave up on sleep around 7 a.m. but laid in bed until 7:30. I got up, fed the cats, started a load of laundry and cared for the birds.

Then I finished the first season of Hell’s Kitchen while folding clean laundry and hanging wet wash.

I had a piece of toast, put dishes away, washed the pots and pans, and scrubbed the kitchen counter (even the trivet and the toaster— have to periodically get those crumbs out of the toaster.)

And I found what could be very handy if COVID-19 ends up in my neighborhood: a bottle of Hibiclens the doctor told the teenager to use in the shower before her surgery in November.

My college professor neighbor and I had coffee on her porch, while I was clad in my African dress that I bought in Djibouti for my trip to Somalia.

I vacuumed the sun porch. Did some necessary paperwork. Gave Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo, a shower. Scrubbed the tub, but not as well as I would have liked.

But I didn’t strip my bed or play with my new make up.

This evening my other neighbor took us to dinner at La Bella’s as a thank you for watching her dog.

Amazing Bread

The teenager decided to compliment our server every time she came to the table. I had chicken penne vodka. The child had seafood spaghetti vodka. The portions were ginormous and the seafood seemed good. I’m not a seafood fan.

See those bumpy calamari?

I think I’ll have enough leftovers for TWO lunches. As with the teen. And my neighbor. And then my neighbor took us to Owwowcow for ice cream. I got cinnamon bourbon.

The food was scrumptious but made me sad because I’m still having mild dental issues. My neighbor is looking at a root canal so we’re a good pair.

And now we’re home. Roomba is vacuuming my bedroom.

The teen is trying cone incense for the first time. She tried to pick natural varieties that wouldn’t burn my eyes and sinuses. She asked me what to burn, so we went for the cleansing sandalwood— vanilla sandalwood to be exact.

I used to use sandalwood soap to bathe before I practiced rituals and vanilla is a very pure, comforting flavor and scent to me.

I asked the teen, who now has her own altar with her own selected candles on it, why do you burn incense?

She answered, “because it clears my sinuses and helps me focus.”

Good girl, I thought.