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Sunshine and Video Conferences

This is the post I had intended to write when the other one popped out. I was just going to write a quick aside about the cultural side and our frustration over the situation, and it turned into a whole thing! Let’s get back on track by talking about our day to day life during shelter in place, shall we?

It’s hard to believe it’s been over a month since I wrote my Shelter in Place entry. The passage of time seemed to speed up in April, after March felt so long. I think it’s because of how much changed in March. In the beginning of the month everything was normal, we were even still traveling! News came quickly as the closures piled up. April, and now into May, we’ve had a lot of sameness. The shelter in place orders haven’t changed here in the bay area in two months. Thankfully MJ and I are still able to work normal schedules from home during the week, as our au pair cares for little Adam. The weekends are home-bound, but we have little home improvement projects here and there. We eat at home, work at home, sleep at home. We go out just to pick up food and groceries, or to essential doctor visits.

Pretty much all events I was planning to attend this year have been canceled or moved virtual. This meant that instead of celebrating Passover with our congregation in San Francisco like we’ve done these past few years, we did our first one at our own home! We picked up a Seder kit from Wise Sons in San Francisco, complete with brisket and other side dishes, and got out MJ’s vintage seder plate. We did it a little early in the evening so Adam could enjoy the festivities with us.

For the second night, we joined a community Seder over Zoom with some of MJ’s friends and acquaintances. Done at the proper time, Adam joined us for the beginning and then we enjoyed this much longer Seder and meal late into the evening. I’m glad that virtual Seders were approved as a form of celebration this year, in spite of the situation, it was really meaningful to participate with people from across the country.

With in-person events being canceled at work, I’ve had to get more creative with my job. I’m participating in a lot of events that have gone virtual, but I realized that “taking a photo of the speaker” doesn’t really translate well into virtual events, so I’ve had to figure out alternative ways to share my experience. At a recent Open Mainframe Project event I brought my own audience, so each photo of my speaker featured a different crew of critters. It was silly, but it was fun and memorable. And especially for the speakers, my hope is that it helped with the interactive feel of the event, something I know very well having done a few presentations myself now while staring into the webcam and hoping people were listening on the other end.

On April 15th we got to the “MJ needs a haircut” part of shelter in place. With some electric clippers in hand, we headed out to the back yard and I did my worst. Or best. Either way, it actually turned out fine! Though I suspect we’ll have at least one more at home haircut to complete before this is all over.

We’ve continued playing games in the evenings, most recently adding Exploding Kittens and Blackjack to our pile of games. We’ve migrated from our dining room table to the actual card table that we have downstairs in the living room. Being home all the time means we seem to be using almost the entire house every day, which is nice.

Through all of this I also realized it’s easy to get very sedentary, especially these past few weeks as I’ve battled a sinus infection. So I’ve started taking walks every day that the weather allows, and with it being spring in northern California, that is most days! Other days I commit to time on the treadmill. It’s already making an improvement to my evening mood.

The sinus infection has been an unfortunate turn of events. It started in mid-April, and I just finished a round of antibiotics this past Thursday. Timing was not great. The sinus infection gave me a terrible cough and sore throat during the worst of it, which I’d have to declare when I went to see my doctor for an unrelated matter. I knew they wouldn’t let me in with these symptoms, so I was sent to a COVID-19 drive-up testing facility in Fremont to get tested. The test is not as bad as it looks, but when you have a raging sinus infection that is already making your sinuses hurt, it ends up being an incredibly unpleasant experience. The swab was taken at noon on Friday, and I had the results back by 9AM Saturday morning. So I was all clear for my appointment on Monday!

I haven’t been the only one not feeling well, Caligula has been losing weight and sleeping a lot. He’s been in and out of the vet, and we’ve done over a dozen tests to see what’s wrong and he’s now on some medication and we switched from dry to wet food after his eating nearly ceased. At sixteen years old, we know he’s only got so much time left, but we want to do everything we can to make sure his frailness and increased fondness for sleeping is not due to some kind of preventable disease. So far we haven’t found anything, so we’re just doing our best to make sure he’s happy and fed.

Finally, we’ve been trying to carve out some time to work on a few projects at home. The family room is in pretty decent shape, we moved the chair from Adam’s bedroom into there, so adults have a place to sit while Adam plays. Most of the room is devoted to his toys. The last big thing in that room is getting the flat screen TV in a safer position. It’s OK for his age now, but at some point soon we’ll have a tipping risk, so it either needs to be secured to the table it’s on, or mounted on the wall.

We’re also making major progress on getting the bedroom closet doors installed! We did my office first, completed the master bedroom last weekend, and hope to do the other bedroom this weekend. The nursery will have to wait, as those closet doors are behind the door to the room, and the door to the room would currently collide with them. My hope this weekend is that we can get the hardware installed on the doors too, so we can open the doors without having to reach to the top of them! They do look good so far, which I’m grateful for, it’s been an expensive, long project.

Our county is preparing to slowly start opening more businesses for curbside pickup. I’m happy about this change, as I know small businesses are suffering with the closure, and I hope they’ll be able to staff their shops and get enough business to keep going. We’ll definitely be cautiously patronizing all of the ones we can. I mean, I haven’t gotten new comic books in two months! It’s a small step, but does get us on the path. As I mentioned in that last post, I don’t feel safe in the path we’re on to reopening, but we’ve built a society where we can’t actually stay cooped up forever, and the tests we need to have in place simply haven’t materialized. Hoping for the best, and we’ll continue to be careful.