So, how are you holding up?

Putting politics aside for the moment, I’m just curious as to how all of you are doing right now. Are you and your families holding up alright?

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  1. Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    We are all doing ok here in California. So far so good. I need to leave soon though. Partially because my hostess is a nurse practitioner with a very vulnerable population and she is going to start back with in-person appointments rather than video appointments. Partially because I have an oncology followup in May and I need to get home in time to be quarantined for 2 weeks before the appt.

    I am closely watching hospital admissions on my route home. If the hospitals are not overwhelmed I am going to head home. This time in my camper van. I am going to pack food, a toilet, and everything I need but gas so I can avoid people and isolate myself on my route. I have a plan for getting gas where I will use dog-poop bags (because I cannot for the life of me find gloves to buy) to put over my hands while I pump the gas. I have disinfectant wipes and almost a whole quart on hand sanitizer purchased from Detroit Bus Company.

    The tenant who would have been dangerous to me moved out. Whew. I am going to go straight home and will quarantine myself there with my other roommate who is not dangerous to me.

    My biggest worry is that Trump will issue a national do-not-travel order and then I will just have to accept that I am stuck here and will have to make medical arrangements. It feels weird because I think that actually is what Trump should do. Most travelers are not going to have the means to isolate themselves the way I can.

    I have been lucky for sure. I still have a job for now but I am worried about it because the small businesses we depend upon are largely closed. Many got that paycheck protection program money which will help but many did not. I hope they get it in the second round. Anyways, they are giving me extra time off so I don’t need to use my vacation time to come home. I really appreciate that!

    So yes, I do see at least some of my privilege. Like wobble, I really hope that this is going to change how many people see the world. I hope that people can really see how someone like me is going to weather this storm but not everyone is so lucky. I am keenly aware that every time I order groceries delivered, someone is putting themselves at risk. Someone who surely isn’t getting paid enough. I tip well but my friends who are out there delivering groceries tell me that isn’t typical right now.

    Oh yeah. I guess I am bored too. Bored enough to be writing essays on someone else’s blog. LOL. Appreciative of the platform though!

  2. Capt. McSorely
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    We’re holding our own….

  3. James Malayang
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I’m a glass half full guy, so forgive the positive attitude while others are dying. Hunkered down in an Ypsi Twp neighborhood with a work-at-home space facing the street. It’s nice to see people walking by, kids, who I rarely saw prior, bike by, and every dog is getting walked. I’m going stir crazy and miss Side Track, and Depot Town in general.

  4. bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Aloha Im a glass is half empty kinda guy, but thanks to social solidarity life is not bad yet. People still doing very creative things like

  5. Bob
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    We are doing pretty well. Probably better than I would have expected. My kids are doing online schooling though it’s hardly enough. It’s superficial learning and we’re trying to supplement it. We see both sides as my wife is doing it from the other side, trying to teach AP English to HS kids who have completely checked out. It’s amazing that seventy percent of them aren’t even checking in to the zoom meetings or responding to messages. I’m also part of the school system so I’m getting paid at the moment. Luckily I’ve always had at least three income streams going at any given time. I’ve been able to freelance in a safe manner and get myself out of the house a little each day. We’re luckier than many I think. I just wonder what it’s doing to your kids long term. It can’t be good for anyone’s psyche. My kids seem to be ok but who really knows? I don’t like video games much or generally think all the technology they’re saturated with is healthy, but interactive gaming has been a lifesaver for many. You can pretend all the art projects and reading in the world are enough but the reality is there are a lot of hours to kill. At least my kids can interact with their friends online. Not the greatest but it sure helps.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Lynne— Try Restaurant/Food service supply stores that are open to the public for gloves. GFS here. Not sure what CA equivalent is where you live. In Bay Area it would be Sysco.

    Re: how I’m doing. Finally got a drive through Covid test this am for the viral chest congestion I’ve had since early March. I was assured for ever that I couldn’t have it, now the information re early infections in CA ( visited end of Feb) means I could.

    Unlikely as I never had a fever, but Covid test means I can get treated for low blood O2/chest congestion without going to a Covid urgent care (which if I don’t have it, could be lethal) . It’s been 6 weeks and I’m ecstatic. I want my energy back.

    My kids and parents and other family are healthy so far and handling things well, so I’m happy. Being alone half the week is not an issue for me. I grew up on a farm. I know how to occupy myself. I’m still working even though no one can pay me so we’ll see how that goes.

    I will say that I know any personal revelation here can and will be used to attack me by other commenters. I’m putting this info out there anyway. Their glee in bullying is their thing.

    It’s probably stupid to respond. Blame it on the depleted blood o2.

    Oh and my dad is writing daily limericks. his Earth day offering:

    With their peculiar form of dating,
    the toads in our pond are mating.
    With great persistence,
    they ignore social distance,
    as they go about procreating

  7. Arthur M. Anderson
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Capt McSorely, Okay, fine. I’ll be talking to you later.

  8. Posted April 23, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Hello, Mark, I hope you’re staying safe and avoiding your fellow humans. I’m okay, doing a lot of reading and writing, and glad that I left Manhattan for New Paltz a few years ago. I live alone, so I’m spared family squabbles. Many of my friends are older and/or doctors, so I’m worried about them, but so far, everyone’s okay. I’m making a few bucks somehow teaching ukulele over Zoom; I’ve had many weird gigs in my life, and that’s one of them.

    To balance out all the China-bashing, here’s one of my favorite musicians, Wang Changyuan, with her guzheng classic, “Battling the Typhoon.” I think she lives in Brooklyn now, and I hope she’s okay:

    Don’t get sick!

  9. Anonymous
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m still working at my hospital. Since my usual sources of entertainment and socializing are not available, I’ve been exercising daily and teaching a teenage driver in consistent low traffic conditions. I’ve found a farm close by that has locally raised beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and eggs (chicken and duck). Online beginner guitar lessons have also been interesting, although my fingers are sore. Maybe I’ll be able to sing kumbaya for real by the end of the summer.

  10. Posted April 23, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    James, silver linings abound for sure. It is nice that you have a charming neighborhood to look out at during the quarantine!

    Bob, fwiw, I am staying out here with a friend who homeschooled her kids for years. She hardly spent any time on it, maybe 15-30 minutes a day and the rest of the time, they were allowed to do whatever they wanted more or less. The kids are mostly grown now and are fine academically. The oldest is graduating from UC-Berkeley this May and the youngest is practically a renaissance woman in that she paints well, plays the piano, cooks gourmet meals, sings, writes novels, etc. Quite a lot for a 17 year old! She decided to go to the public high school and is a straight-A student there. I suspect that your kids will be fine. Their worst problem right now is probably dealing with the collective trauma of things and talking to their friends while playing video games might be one of the healthiest things they can be doing.

    JH, Thanks for the glove suggestion. I will try that! I hope that whatever crud you have is just regular run-of-the-mill crud and not the ‘rona! While it is true that revealing much here does end up giving material to the bullies, so what? These guys are like Trump, they think they can just start name-calling and we’ll start to see our proper place in the patriarchy. I could argue that we DO see our proper place and that is why they are so troubled. LOL That limerick is funny :) I guess that IS the genre though!

  11. Bob
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I feel the most for the seniors who just abruptly lost the payoff so many worked so hard for. It’s probably not the most important thing but the graduations, parties, proms, senior skip days, the general sense of closure. All gone. There is no way to meaningfully recover that stuff. Not to mention the impact the loss of sports and activities will have on kids who need those scholarships. All gone. It’s a real shame. We’re looking at safe alternatives to honor these kids in our district but nothing is going to be more than a token gesture.

    Also, I cruised by HDubs house to check on him. You will all be relieved to know he’s still a total cunt.

  12. bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Aloha JH , and anyone else in like employment situations. They have expanded UI eligibility to many categories of previously excluded types of employment. If not qualified for state benefits you may still qualify for the Federal Covid assistance.
    The UI system is under a lot of strain. But we can count on Director Gray (one of our neighbors and a great appointment by Whitmer) to do the right thing for unemployed folks.

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I applied for UI. Thanks, Wobblie. I’ll be ok.

  14. Jim
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    We’re doing well. When the isolation starts to get to us we remind ourselves how fortunate we are to live in a nice house in a walkable neighborhood and to have jobs we can do from home. We are worried about catching the bug though, so we are following protocols strictly.

  15. Posted April 23, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    My daughter was sick in February. It was scary. She had a high fever, and she fainted on three occasions, falling and hitting her head each time. She was briefly admitted to the hospital. At the time, we weren’t concerned about coronavirus, as it hadn’t yet been identified in the state. And we still think it’s unlikely that’s what it was. Her doctor, however, just suggested that we get her antibodies checked once those tests become available. She thinks it’s at least conceivable that it was COVID-19. I suspect it’s unlikely, as we live in pretty close quarters, and yet never got it ourselves, but I suppose it’s possible, especially given that she had chest pain throughout, etc. I guess we’ll know more once the antibody tests roll out.

    Otherwise things are OK… at least for now. There is a lot of financial uncertainty, to be sure, but I suspect we’re better off than most. I’m working harder than ever, which is probably a good thing. It’s keeping me distracted. Really, it’s all I do. With the exception of the occasional visit to the yard, I’m working. And, at night, I’m catching up on the news. Other than cooking, doing laundry, and tending to the kids, that’s pretty much it. Every day is the same. There are no more weekends. But we are holding together alright. And I’m thankful for that. There is unbelievable sadness, but there is also joy to be had. I’m grateful for it.

  16. Posted April 23, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Safe travels, Lynne. I hope you make it home safely. And I’m happy to be able to provide the platform. Please check in as you make your way across the country, if you can, and let us know how you’re doing.

    And, James, I miss Sidetrack too. Every night over dinner, we inevitably fall into conversation about which restaurants we miss the most. Sidetrack is always on the list, as is Blue Nile in Ann Arbor.

    Bob, I share you concern about kids and gaming. Getting access to the ipad is all my son seems to care about these days. It has a kind of hold on him that I find concerning. We let him on it – more than we probably should – as it keeps him connected to his friends, but we’d prefer that he spent more time playing, building, making art, cooking, etc. I try to encourage him, but I’ve yet to find anything that comes close to capturing his interest the same way. He likes playing catch, and having me read to him, but it’s not the same as accumulating fake currency in an online world where, if I understand correctly, he’s some kind of skateboard-riding pet breeder.

  17. Posted April 23, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing the frog-fucking limerick, Jean. And I hope your test results come back negative.

    Thank you for the Wang Changyuan link, Doug. I’ll share it with the kids tomorrow. It’s lovely. And I’m happy to hear that people still have money to spend on uke lessons. How’s the market for obscure French translations? Are you noticing an uptick?

  18. Posted April 23, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Anonymous, please stay safe at the hospital. And promise me that, when all of this is over, you’ll play kumbaya for us? I took three or four guitar lessons when I was in high school with my friend Sue’s brother Paul. I learned part of a Pink Floyd song. This would have been about ’85. I should have stuck with it. I regret that.

  19. Posted April 23, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    If this is the Jim I think it is, I’m glad that you are doing well. If I’m ever able to get another bottle of wine in the house, we’ll have to Zoom again. I was supposed to have some bottles in my last Kroger pickup, but, for whatever reason, they decided not to get them for me… along with the potatoes, napa, nutritional yeast, and a bunch of other things I’d requested. I’ve still not gone into a store myself yet. We’ve also not bought food from any restaurants. I know I should be supporting local restaurants. I’ve just not been able to make it over that hump yet. If I can scrub vegetables, though, I can put a hamburger in the microwave for a few seconds… I’m sure, after another week or two of this, I’ll come around. I found myself craving Shake Shack a few weeks ago. I never went, but the craving was there.

  20. Posted April 23, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    This is nice. Not talking about politics. We should do this more often.

    I’m glad to hear that you’re all well.

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted April 23, 2020 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m getting an antibody test if mine comes back negative. I’ll let you know how it goes, Mark.

  22. Posted April 23, 2020 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Apparently my students still want me to point out what they’re doing wrong. I guess they need a break from cat videos.

    The last “obscure” writer I translated was Alfred Jarry, who is even better known than you outside Ypsilanti. Readers seem to like it. My main project now is a book about anomalous music, for a nice publisher in London. And you? How are those Ypsipanties selling?

  23. Posted April 23, 2020 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Wait, there is Shake Shack in Michigan? Did that happen while I was gone? I stopped at one in Florida earlier this year. I liked it. :)

  24. Anonymous
    Posted April 24, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    The Shake Shack that I’ve been to is in a higher end outdoor mall called Arbor Crossing on Washtenaw in Ann Arbor, across from Whole Foods and Barnes and Noble. As an alternate less expensive choice, I’ve also tried the Impossible Whopper. It’s a pretty convincing substitute for the real thing. It’s a bit drier, which only is obvious if you do a side to side taste test.
    I got blood drawn yesterday for COVID-19 antibodies as part of a study being conducted at work for employees. I go back in a couple of weeks for a second draw to see if there is any change over time.

  25. Bob
    Posted April 24, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Mark, I think my son is a few years older than your son. For what it’s worth it’s the weather and the closure of the skateparks that are driving the gaming. My kid would much rather be ripping it up with his buds at the skatepark all day. My daughter would much rather be playing volleyball or going to her gymnastics than playing Roblox or watching Stranger Things again. Their options are limited. I suppose some kids only want to do gaming but your son will likely move out of this phase.

  26. Jean Henry
    Posted April 25, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    For those with older or very skilled kids, I highly recommend Celeste. The protagonist has anxiety and bipolar disorder. Her challenges become the players. Genius empathy building. Like all media, games are a tool and an art. They don’t all have to be destructive.

    I’m pro chores for kids too, especially outdoor projects. We’ll never have their captive attention and time like this again. I’ve been sick and have failed miserably at this but hope to get some projects going soon. That’s how I was raised in the country without a lot of community resources. It kept the four of us out of trouble… mostly.

  27. Jean Henry
    Posted April 25, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

  28. Posted April 25, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Anonymous! I’ve only shopped in that mall one time so I must have missed the Shake Shack addition. But lucky for me, it is on my way home from work so if we are ever allowed to go back to the office, it will be an easy stop for me!

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