Tag Archives: archivists

COVID-19 Diary: March 30-31, 2020

This week has been very dull compared to the previous one… There’s not really much new to say about work — still working from home, both of us — so I’ll just focus on the other things.

Here’s a meme I saw around that time. I profess to be a Ravenclaw, but according to this description, I’m handling things somewhere between Ravenclaw and Slytherin:

Hogwarts Houses during Lockdown, March 2020

Hogwarts Houses during Lockdown, March 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

Matt went to Kroger in the evening to pick up our grocery order (which we placed a few days ago- they gather everything for you, and you just show up and collect the bags). They were out of a few things we requested (sub buns, certain crackers, dry milk- for bread machine recipes), but to be honest, that could just be because the Fairborn Kroger always seems to have weird inventory issues ever since it opened (summer 2017 I think it was?), running out of seemingly weird things.

Matt said gasoline was $1.45 per gallon at one of the gas stations he passed by on his way to the grocery store. CRAZY. I’m not even sure it got that low in the 2008-2009 crash. (I took a lot of pictures of the gas prices going up, up, up, to over $4.50/gallon, that summer of 2008…and then I took some of them going down, down, down… Oh, wait, nope…just checked the “archives,” and I have some pics showing it as low as $1.37 on Nov. 22, 2008.)

Wright State has announced that most summer classes, which begin on May 11, will also be held online-only.

I saw this nifty info-graphic on Facebook, summarizing the most important points of Ohio’s current “Stay-at-Home” order:

Ohio's Stay at Home Order, as of March 30, 2020

Ohio’s Stay at Home Order, as of March 30, 2020

The Ohio COVID-19 web site is pretty darn good.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

I got some good work done fully in peace before Jack woke up that day, so that was lovely. Later he wanted to steal my wireless computer mouse, and I think was trying to hack the VPN…

Tiniest human co-worker on my home computer, March 31, 2020

Tiniest human co-worker on my home computer, March 31, 2020

We watched governor, as usual. Over 2000 confirmed cases now, and I think it was 55 dead?

We (mostly Matt) made delicious Indian food for dinner: butter chicken (from a jar), basmati rice, and Aloo Matar (potatoes, peas, & tomatoes). OMG so good.

Tiniest feline co-worker begging to be let into the office, March 31, 2020

Tiniest feline co-worker begging to be let into the office, March 31, 2020

COVID-19 Diary: March 28-29, 2020

Another weekend that would be just like all the other days now, except that we’re not trying to also work from home.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

I had trouble falling asleep on Friday night (Saturday morning), had trouble shutting my brain off and tearing my eyes away from my phone (social media). So I turned on a Harry Potter movie in the bedroom to lull me to sleep (used to do this a lot a few years ago but not very often anymore).

About 3:00 a.m., a major thunderstorm woke us up. The power went out for a bit – I could tell because the white noise fan was off (honestly it was probably that, rather than the thunder, that woke me), and also the baby monitor (running on battery) was now beeping because it had lost its link to the other baby monitor. I turned it off so it would stop beeping, and we managed to go back to sleep. At some point the power came back on, but the baby monitor was still off, and we slept in until 10:30, unsure whether Jack had slept all that time or not…but he didn’t seem distressed when we went to get him, so…I guess it’s fine. Also, sleeping in was THE BEST.

Jack wanted to go outside immediately again, so we took our breakfast (brunch?) outside to eat. I pulled some dead flowers and weeds and dug up another large tuft of the evil saw-grass, since the ground was wet enough (and the roots still weak enough from winter) to get it out. I hate that stuff, and it was EVERYWHERE in the landscaping when we bought this house.

After we came inside, Jack wanted to play Play-Doh, and I tried to get Matt to play it with us. He sort of pretended not to hear, I think, or played the avoidance card? But he started doing the dishes AND then making the lasagna I’d planned to make that day, so I didn’t press the Play-Doh thing. Turns out he hates the smell of Play-Doh? I mean, yeah, it doesn’t smell great, but I still love it, and so does Jack. I guess it’s one of “our things.”

We opened up the windows for a little bit – it was so nice out! 70 degrees! But we had to close them about 20 minutes later, as another major thunderstorm hit right about 2:00, with pea-size hail.

Cats enjoying the open windows (with screens) at 1:45 on March 28, 2020

Cats enjoying the open windows (with screens) at 1:45 on March 28, 2020

Absolutely blinding rain and pea-size hail at 2:00 p.m. (15 minutes later)

Absolutely blinding rain and pea-size hail at 2:00 p.m. (15 minutes later)

The power went out again thanks to that storm, and so we listened to the governor’s press conference on the radio like it was the Dark Ages, haha. Today they’re reporting 1400+ confirmed cases in Ohio and 25 deaths.

Lisa listening to the governor on the radio during power outage, March 28, 2020

Lisa listening to the governor on the radio during power outage, March 28, 2020

The lasagna was already in the oven when the power went out, so we just left it in there. Power was off for a little over an hour – literally just long enough to have to listen to the entire governor press conference on the radio, haha. When the power was back on, then we had to guess how much longer to cook the lasagna since it had cooked a little while at 350, sat in a still-somewhat-warm-and-cooling-very-slowly oven for another hour, and then…??? Well, apparently we guessed right because it came out fine & delicious. (We don’t cook the noddles first; they cook by being “steamed” under foil with extra water in the sauce…so if we guessed wrong…crunchy pasta. Boo.)

Jack was late going down for his nap, and so Matt and I ate the lasagna ALONE IN PEACE. Jesus Christ, it was like a holiday. Or a date. I did not get up from the table one time during that meal. NOT ONCE.

The last two nights, Matt has somehow managed to accidentally dump an entire cup of tea (like one of those giant, tall, insulated coffee cups, not a tea cup or mug) on the floor, trying to either make it or take it to his final destination: yesterday in the kitchen right by the Keurig and the second time was in the front hall trying to open the door to the basement (where his gaming computer is). He’s not usually a “dropper.” I’m chalking it up to stress and jitters about all the bad stuff. We just get the not-nice towels from the laundry room and clean it up…

Sunday, March 29, 2020

We all slept in until almost 11:00 a.m.! And I know the monitor was on this time, so I don’t even have to feel guilty about it. We are probably letting Jack stay up too late and getting him off his routine. OK, not “probably,” we are. But look, I’m not waking him up at 7:00 every day right now just for the hell of it. I’m not even getting up at 7:00 every day right now.

Jack wanted to go outside immediately again upon waking up, but I talked him into eating some food first. (We all ate some food first.) It was extremely windy outside today and about 65 degrees. After we came back inside, Jack was contentedly watching TV and playing, and Matt was sitting in the same room using his laptop, and so I sneaked off to write a blog post.

Gov. DeWine wasn’t planning to do a press conference on Sunday; he was going to give everyone “the day off” for Sunday, unless something pressing came up. And of course it did. He’s upset because the FDA won’t approve the full capability of the new Battelle N95 mask sanitizing machines. FDA approved sanitizing 10,000 per day per machine, but apparently each machine is capable of doing 80,000 per day. He even called President Trump, and the president said he’d do all he can to get it approved…so we’ll see what happens. (Spoiler alert: it did get approved.)

Jack was a bottomless pit of eating today. Usually we have a hard time getting him to eat. There’s only a handful of things he will even eat, these days, and it’s hard to get him…corralled…to actually eat. Or, he’ll tell you he wants something, and then as soon as you set it in front of him, he says, “No,” and pushes it away, or just doesn’t eat it, or….yeah. So that’s super fun. But at least today he’s eating good.

Matt put Jack down for a nap in his bedroom, in his crib, and I went to the shower. Soon, someone or something was rustling my shower curtain…and then pulled it back, and it was Jack! Uhhhh…? Apparently he has now learned how to climb out of his crib. (He has a habit of throwing his blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals out of the bed, so we theorize that he landed on a nice soft pile of bedding…) Anyway, in order to prevent further mayhem while I finished my shower, I sang several verses of “Wheels on the Bus” (including making up new ones when I couldn’t remember any more of the right ones), in order to keep him where I could see him (that is, laughing at me, as I sang nursery rhymes in the shower).

Jack never did take a nap, and he stayed up until 8:00. He was definitely living his best life that day: we took another wagon walk, baked banana muffins, played with sidewalk chalk and Play-Doh; and I green-lighted him eating both a bowl of yogurt and a bowl of applesauce on the couch (a sure sign that I am losing it).

Cat comforts me as I lie on the closet floor for no apparent reason

How things are going: I just laid on the closet floor with the cat for about 10 minutes, for no apparent reason, after putting away laundry. Notice the cat has put a comforting paw on my arm.

After Jack was in bed for the night (or so we thought) about 8:00, I went to work on the “I Spy” quilt I am making for him. I haven’t worked on it near as much as I would have thought…somehow there just doesn’t seem to be time for much sewing right now, much as I enjoy it. Though I enjoy writing too, and I’ve obviously been doing a lot more of that the last couple weeks, so…

“I Spy” quilt pieces, March 29, 2020. For an “I Spy” quilt, you cut out specific things from a variety of fabrics, sew all together into one quilt, then play the “I spy…” game and see if the child can find (on the quilt) the item you mention.

I was reading a book and having a snack around 11:00 when I heard a thud from upstairs. Then a few seconds later, I heard the unmistakable sound of a door hinge creak. I gave it a minute or two, expecting to see my toddler appear downstairs, but he didn’t…so then I got nervous. I went into our front hall, which has a sort of open atrium to the upstairs hall/railing. And I saw this little shadow standing at the top of the stairs (because of course we’ve been lazy about shutting the stairs gates at night). It was actually pretty eerie, like something out of a spooky story. So I whisked up there and picked him up, not sure how sleepy he still was (or possibly sleep-walking, something that runs in Matt’s family) and whether he could manage the stairs. (I guess I should have thought of this before I waited to see if he appeared downstairs on his own, come to think of it…) I took him down to the basement to show Matt, “Look what I brought you! Look who’s up!” Long story short, we were all up until almost 1:00 a.m. trying to get him to stay in his room and go to sleep. SIGH.

Sunday night activities included taking the front rail off Jack's bed so he wouldn't keep climbing out and potentially get hurt (this did not go over well)

Sunday night activities included taking the front rail off Jack’s bed so he wouldn’t keep climbing out and potentially get hurt (this did not go over well)

The cats were hiding in our bedroom (this is not a normal spot for them at night), very disturbed by all the Sunday night shenanigans

The cats were hiding in our bedroom (this is not a normal spot for them at night), very disturbed by all the Sunday night shenanigans

Another meme to end on a funny note…pretty sure this is how our cats feel as well: WHY ARE YOU HERE ALL THE TIME NOW?

Cat tries to re-home humans.

Cat tries to re-home humans.

More later.

COVID-19 Diary: March 26-27, 2020

Something I forgot to mention in the previous post, which was announced on March 25th, is that Wright State students are now being given the option to have their Spring 2020 courses (the semester currently in-session, which was switched to all-online-only mid-semester) graded as Pass/Fail rather than getting a true letter grade. A letter grade will count towards their GPA, whereas a pass/fail course does not. They have until May 15th to decide this, on a course-by-course basis. That is, they will get a chance to see their grade first, then decide if they want to change the course grade type to pass/fail instead. The date to withdraw from a course entirely has also been extended through April 17th. I’m not sure how all this stacks up against other universities that weren’t having problems before this, but it’s no secret that Wright State needs to curtail the hemorrhaging of the student body as much as possible. Between the faculty strike last year and the financial and legal troubles of the last few years, enrollment numbers have been…concerning. (Here’s a good article from the WSU Guardian student newspaper describing the new grading option.)

Thursday, March 26, 2020

It was gorgeous today. Jack and I took another wagon ride around the neighborhood.

“Dr. Amy Acton had lots of interesting graphs in the governor’s press conference today. We may(?) be ‘flattening the curve’ (slowing rate of spread) here in Ohio?…” Total 800+ confirmed cases reported today.

Someone started an excellent meme(? I guess for lack of a better term?) with our new COVID-19 quarantine schedule in Ohio: eating pretty much constantly because we can, and at 2:00 p.m. everyone is either doing “Wine with DeWine” or “Snackin’ with Acton,” depending on your preference. I don’t really drink wine, so I’m usually snackin’.

Quarantine Meal Schedule: Wine w/ DeWine (or Snackin w/ Acton)

Quarantine Meal Schedule: Wine w/ DeWine (or Snackin w/ Acton)

New York Times reports today that United States now officially has more confirmed cases of COVID-19 than any other single country has had (including China).

“Matt & I both took Jack back outside after his nap – wanted to enjoy this beautiful day before it gets rainy tomorrow…” It was mostly clear, cloudy & sprinkles later; high almost 70 degrees!

Friday, March 27, 2020

I did some of my work on the borrowed work laptop today at the kitchen table while Jack played, and we sort of watched a YouTube video documentary about the Cass Scenic Railroad (which somehow Jack managed to turn on- on the big TV- without help). (We need to go check that out someday; I have ancestors from that area…)

Apparently, we are about to get $2,900.00 in coronavirus federal stimulus (CARES Act). We are very lucky that we are both still getting paid & don’t need it right now.

We watched the governor and Dr. Acton at 2:00. They reported 1100+ total confirmed cases now. “They’re saying peak might not be until May, which I guess is good because it gives industry more time to prepare – manufacture equipment & build more hospitals(?)…”

My friend who had a baby earlier this month did a Facebook Live video stream so people could “meet” the baby since nobody is really supposed to come over. It was pretty much the highlight of my day. He’s so cute!

Matt ordered groceries from Kroger. The soonest available curbside pickup time they have is Monday evening. Not surprising that this service is very popular right now, and good for them, waiving the usual $5 fee right now!

I chatted with another friend a little later. She is having a rough time so far this year. Her cat died earlier this year. She’s been experiencing some new health problems the last month or two (not COVID-19). And now her husband, who had worked for years at a hospital (in a support role, not medical), was recently laid off because that hospital only does elective surgeries (something I did not know), and now obviously everyone’s been asked to not do any elective surgeries right now in order to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) like those N95 masks for medical professionals to use on their ever-increasing number of the coronavirus patients.

I responded to a few work emails at like 10:30 at night that night. They were inquiries sent to our department list. I did “reply all” so my co-workers would know I was responding to the person. I got a reply back from my supervisor after a few minutes saying she’d already responded to the person and to stop working and enjoy the weekend, then another to reassure me that she wasn’t mad. That was nice. I didn’t think she was mad, but it’s nice to be sure. I have to chuckle though – I wasn’t the only one looking at work email at 10:30 on a Friday night, haha! I did decide to “check out” for the rest of the weekend, as suggested. That’s something that’s weird about working from home; it’s harder to draw that line between “working” and “not working.”

**********

And now, to end on a high note, and since I didn’t have many exciting photo-journalistic illustrations for this entry, I give you a handful of memes I saw on the Internet (Facebook or Twitter) and saved on my phone on either March 26 or 27, to give you an idea of what was funny on those days…

“Dr. Fauci unveils a mask that could save millions of lives!” (Donald Trump with duct-tape over his mouth.) Seriously, Donald. Shut it and let the pro’s handle this.

If you are a Millennial and don't know the precise tune to which you should sing these words, did your parents keep you under a rock in the early 1990s?

If you are a Millennial and don’t know the precise tune to which you should sing these words, did your parents keep you under a rock in the early 1990s? (Also, it should be noted that the misspelling of “quarantine” bugs me.)

“I think my generation is taking this extra serious because we remember how bad we were at Oregon Trail.” I racked up a lot of tombstones, but man…computer class day with those Apple computers and Oregon Trail? That was a good day right there.

Social Distancing Pickup Lines (not at all relevant for me but too funny not to save and share)

Social Distancing Pickup Lines (not at all relevant for me but too funny not to save and share)

See you again soon.

COVID-19 Diary: March 23-25, 2020

Starting a second week at home…

Monday, March 23, 2020

I’ve been having lots of weird dreams since I’ve been home. Last night, I dreamed that we bought a crappy rental property house and kept finding things wrong with it that we didn’t realize before we bought it (probably because we didn’t even tour the entire house first).

Then, I dreamed my sister Gina was asking me questions about one of our archival collections for a research paper she was writing. My sister is a nurse, and while we do have some medical-related collections, the one she was asking about – MS-146, Katharine Kennedy Brown – is not one of them, not in the slightest. (Am I so hard up for archives that I’m dreaming reference questions now?)

Jack and I went outside to play at one point. It was in the 40s, and I got cold really fast. He cried when I took (carried) him inside. I wish the weather was nicer for this COVID-19 quarantine/isolation time so we could be outside a bit more.

“I’m sure Jack is frustrated too – he’s used to a lot more stimulation & fun activities. I made sure to tell him there is no school right now & he’s not being punished by not being ‘allowed’ to go to school – but I’m not sure if he understands all that.”

WPAFB finally announced today that they will be going “Essential Only” also, which means that Matt will now also be home with us indefinitely. Both of us being here is very helpful, because we can trade off taking care of Jack (during his waking hours) and schedule our working hours somewhat alternately.

“I go back and forth multiple times a day between wanting to let mom come help and worrying for her health if she does.”

Jack video-chatted with his cousins in Cincinnati and then later with grandma (my mom).

442 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio today

“Matt noticed the pull-up diapers and cat food we ordered from Amazon a week or so ago are now out of stock (on Amazon). Shit’s getting so crazy. Will rationing come soon? Everything feels scarce. I’m conserving toilet paper & paper towels.”

Funny I saw on Facebook on March 23:

Funny I saw on Facebook on March 23: “I used to spin that toilet paper roll like I was on the Wheel of Fortune… Now I turn it like I’m cracking a safe!!!”

Seriously, perhaps this is too much information, but I’m self-rationing toilet paper to a certain extent — and I mentioned this to my husband recently and he admits he’s been doing the same. I’m like, “Yeah, three squares, that’s good. That’ll do it.” And paper towels – I’ve started using wash cloths and towels slightly more often for spills and counter-top-dirt that I would have normally wiped away with a disposable paper towel – from the fear that we won’t be able to get more of those either when they run out. Same with plastic Ziploc-style bags – I’m using our reusable Rubbermaid food containers slightly more often than I might have; like usually if there’s part of a meal left on my son’s plate, I’d just get a big Ziploc bag and stick the whole plate inside and put that in the refrigerator; now I’m actually transferring the stuff into a little reusable plastic food tub more often than not.

I keep thinking about…like…World War II…and the rationing. I have seen ration stamps and ration cards/books at the archives where I work. It’s always seemed so far away, but now I keep thinking…is that coming? There are already weird issues with getting certain things at the store – like, toilet paper (or apparently flour in some places) – like you just can’t find them. And then, actually, at a lot of stores, they actually are rationing toilet paper. It’s not, like, government-organized, but a lot of stores are having a “limit 1 package” thing on toilet paper right now (again, if you can even find it). And then there were also scarcity issues during wars and such where maybe it wasn’t exactly that you weren’t “allowed” to buy more than X of a certain product but you just…couldn’t get it for some reason, like maybe it came primarily from a country you’re at war with or something? Or like the German subs have your coastline surrounded and keep torpedoing ships trying to bring things in from outside? I’ve sort of lost where I’m going with this train of thought, honestly, but…this rationing and scarcity (whether real or imagined) is often on my mind. It bugs me even more now when my son wastes food (throws it on the floor, feeds it to the cat, just doesn’t eat it, etc.) – like, buddy, I don’t know how many more chicken nuggets or mini corn dogs we’re going to be able to get you, y’know?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Matt is now also working from home until…who knows when? Jack wanted to hang out with him, then me, then…pretty much whoever wasn’t the one trying to take care of him at the time.

Jack and I went outside at one point and raked some of the old leaves (yes from Fall- the ornamental pear trees don’t drop their leaves until very late and it’s always too cold to care about them) off the flower beds—discovered the irises are starting to poke up, in addition to the crocuses we’ve already seen.

Iris leaves peeking out, March 25

Iris leaves peeking out, March 25

Then Jack and I took a walk around the neighborhood, with Jack in the wagon. Hooray, I got more than 5,000 steps today! It was nice and brisk and about 50 degrees & sunny – I know Jack was happy to be outside (so was I) – CABIN FEVER!

Nothing new and exciting in the governor’s speech today. Over 550 confirmed cases. I wrote my first COVID-19 blog post on WordPress, with the intention of donating to our COVID-19 Diaries Project at the archives.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

I didn’t feel very good again today. Maybe it’s all just stress?

We had a department meeting via WebEx conferencing at 10:00. It was weird and difficult meeting that way when you’re used to just sitting around a table with your co-workers. Audio or video sometimes lagged and so we’d accidentally be talking over each other or you’d miss what someone said. I’m not saying I have a better idea, and it’s great we have the technology to do it, but as with so many things right now, it’s obviously not an ideal way (i.e. not our first choice) of how to do things.

Archives staff meeting via WebEx, March 25, 2020

Archives staff meeting via WebEx, March 25, 2020

Mini U (Jack’s daycare) called to check on us. Haha. It’s like they know we’re not used to being at home with our child 24/7! And trying to work. I was really confused when the number showed up on my phone. There is a single generic number that shows up on caller ID anytime any Wright State phone calls you, and Mini U has a WSU phone line – so it said Wright State was calling. Who the hell is calling me from Wright State, on my cell phone? Almost nobody is THERE. I’m glad I answered it though. It was nice of them to check up on us.

March 25 was the day I actually connected my work computer to the printer- to print a coloring sheet I had created from one of our archives photos.

March 25 was the day I actually connected my work computer to the printer- to print a coloring sheet I had created from one of our archives photos.

I wrote a blog post for work – So you’ve decided to keep a COVID-19 Diary, now what? (ideas for your COVID-19 Diary) – while we watched the governor’s press conference. 704 confirmed cases and 10 deaths in Ohio.

We took Jack outside again in the evening. It was sunny and gorgeous, high of about 60 – lots of people mowing grass. I picked up sticks in the yard (thinking Matt may want to mow grass soon too), and Jack helped me collect pine cones (which I hope to turn into crafts someday).

Collecting pine cones in our yard, March 25, 2020

Collecting pine cones in our yard, March 25, 2020

At one point while we were outside, Jack saw the neighbor kids in their backyard, and he started running around (practically dancing) and shrieking – I guess with the realization that there are in fact other children still left in the world? SO MUCH CABIN FEVER.

That was also the day I saw this hilarious “Social Distancing Bingo” card on social media, so I completed my answers (seen below) and re-shared it:

Social Distancing Bingo card, with my answers marked, March 25, 2020

Social Distancing Bingo card, with my answers marked, March 25, 2020

I think that’s enough for today.

COVID-19 Diary: March 20-22, 2020

The end to one of the craziest weeks I have had in quite a while…

Friday, March 20, 2020

A crazy thunderstorm woke me up at 4:00 a.m. There are flash flood watches all over the area today.

Both still working from home. Jack likes to spend time in the basement with Daddy (where Matt’s office is), so we trade off work times and Jack/break times to get our hours in, stretching the “work day” out as needed.

Wright State’s HR sent out an email yesterday that (basically) until they know the financial fallout of COVID-19 to the university, all job postings/searches are postponed indefinitely. The precise wording of the start of the email is:

Due to the significant budgetary implications caused by the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Wright State University is implementing a partial freeze on all external hiring.
Specific points:
*Any offers that were fully executed by March 18, 2020, will be honored.
*All other requested offers in progress, searches in progress, and requested positions are postponed.

Wellllllp, so much for getting adding a new archivist anytime soon. And, probably more importantly, the process of getting “a new Dawne” (remember my retiring supervisor in the archives?) has now been postponed indefinitely. Sigh.

On the plus side, we also got an email from the daycare stating that nobody will have any additional charges accrued to their account for as long as the temporary closure goes on. I was worried about that- whether we would still have to pay, whether it be full price, or even a reduced fee, just to hold his spot. I mean, they’ve got bills to pay, too, you know? But I’m so glad they’ve chosen this route! That’s a big relief.

“Emails flying around today that university may go to Essential Personnel Only being allowed on campus (too many people still using their offices I guess), so was recommended we go today to get our office computers if we want them! So I went. I borrowed a laptop indefinitely on Monday, but… Bill (fellow archivist) and Dawne (my supervisor) there too. Library eerily quiet & empty. 😦 took some pics…

Deserted Dunbar Library, Wright State University, March 20, 2020

Deserted Dunbar Library, Wright State University, March 20, 2020

“I asked if I could take my office rolly chair too & Dawne said sure – this has me really concerned how long we may be ‘out of the office’!! 😦

Desk chair and wagon, headed for the elevator in Dunbar Library, March 20, 2020

Desk chair and wagon, headed for the elevator in Dunbar Library, March 20, 2020

Yes, I brought my son’s collapsible wagon with me to collect my computer and whatever else (the box contains random bits of administrative paperwork that I had “in progress” at the time and still needed to finish working on, as well as my desk photos and my name badge – I don’t know why, I just felt better about having those at home with me. I did not take any archival collections home with me to work on. I kind of regret not asking if I could take a couple boxes of electronic media home to work on. (I have all the drives at home already – optical, zip, 3.5″ floppy – yep I’m a nerd like that.) But the idea of having actual archival materials at home (that don’t belong to me) makes me nervous; what if my house burns down? (Yeah okay, bigger problems, but I’d still feel bad.) Or, more likely: what if my cat barfs on them? (Entirely plausible.) What if my toddler breaks into my office? (This has already happened at least once.)

She says almost immediately after taking other university property home with her (with the blessing and encouragement of library administration, though, mind you!). Yeah, but that’s not the same thing at all. If my cat dumps over an entire glass of water on my work computer (again, entirely plausible), yeah that sucks, but I can pay to replace it. It’s the priceless, irreplaceable things that make me nervous. Anyway…

“I went to Meijer in Beavercreek on my way home – they were out of all toilet paper, flour, most soup & pasta & fresh meat & salad & butter – plenty of fruit, milk, cheese, sugar, lunch meat.” Also, there were a lot of people there. I think we were trying to remain “socially distant” from each other, but…it’s hard with that many people, you know? I did see a few people wearing colorful cloth masks. I tried extra hard to stay away from them, not knowing who was actually a danger to whom!

Toilet paper and other paper goods aisle, Meijer, Beavercreek, Ohio, March 20, 2020, about 5:45 pm

Toilet paper and other paper goods aisle, Meijer, Beavercreek, Ohio, March 20, 2020, about 5:45 pm

“THIS IS ALL SO WEIRD.

“I haven’t been this constantly…scared?…since 9/11 (September 2001).”

At least during 9/11, most things stayed normal, you know? I mean, they cancelled classes for one day. (It was my first week as a freshman at Wright State University. So that was fun.) But other than that, the show went on as planned, pretty much. This is actually worse, in a way, because you’ve got NOT GOING ANYWHERE FOREVER (ok-not-forever-but-it-feels-like-forever) staring you in the face every day.

In lighter, happier news… I live in pajamas now. But I change my pajamas at least once a day – like, I sleep in some pajamas and then put on different pajamas for the day, sometimes change again in the evening, then change to go to sleep. Anyone else? Just me?

Facebook post from March 20th:

Facebook post from March 20th: “So, does everybody have work pajamas, after-work pajamas, and actual-sleep pajamas now? Because I do.”

 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

“Fell asleep on the couch around 12:30 last night (Friday night/ Saturday 12:30 a.m.) & slept all night until about 9:30 – woke up with (my cat) Will snuggled in the crook of my arm – best sleep in days…

When the best part of waking up on the couch is a cat snuggled up next to you, March 21, 2020

When the best part of waking up on the couch is a cat snuggled up next to you, March 21, 2020

“Realized I forgot the power cord for my work computer – I was pretty frazzled yesterday – felt all shaky going to get it – so I went back to the library again & got it.

More Deserted Dunbar Library pictures, March 21, 2020

More Deserted Dunbar Library pictures, March 21, 2020

“Stopped by JoAnn Fabrics to look for 1/8″ elastic in case I need to help make surgical masks due to shortage (it’s all over the web today to do that) – of course 1/8″ elastic is to crafters now as toilet paper is to everyone else – like trying to find a purple unicorn – even Amazon said delivery dates in May (I ordered some anyway) – later found a big roll on Ebay that claims to be here March 30th – we’ll see – I expect them to suddenly realize they’re out of stock.”

This is what 288 yards of 1/8

This is what 288 yards of 1/8″ elastic looks like, March 29, 2020

Spoiler alert, the roll of elastic from Ebay did actually come and on March 29th (1 day earlier than estimated) no less. I paid like $25 for 288 yards. I have no idea if that’s a good price or if I got gouged, because I’ve never bought this type of elastic before. Oh well, now I have some. I confess I have not made any masks yet; I’ve been busy with trying to work from home in the presence of a two-year-old and all the other usual household things. (Working from home has been amazing for my laundry game, though – wow – so nice to just throw a load in or switch from washer to dryer with just a 1-2 minute break and then get back to work. Can’t do that most of the time! Ah, silver linings.)

“Good news is my work computer works great at home & all my network drives just magically appeared when I connected VPN… I got some work done during Jack’s nap and even after because he wanted Matt today not me.” (I even managed to get the computer to talk to our printer as well – it probably helps that the printer is already networked, so TBH it was probably one of the easiest things I’ve done all week, haha.)

Work computer successfully set up at home! March 21, 2020

Work computer successfully set up at home! March 21, 2020

“Made fish, tater tots, mac & cheese for dinner.

“Jack very whiny today, driving us bonkers, hope he’s not getting sick – too cold to play outside.” (Looking back on this from a greater distance, he’s probably just as upset by all of this upheaval as we are, but he doesn’t understand WHY. His routine is all messed up, and he probably misses his friends and his teachers and all the activities.)

“We decided to solicit COVID-19 diaries for the archives! Gotta write my ‘clean’ copy (type it up) – wish we’d done this (or something like it) for the tornado and shootings last year.” (Dayton had a pretty shitty year in 2019: tornadoes on Memorial Day and then a mass shooting in the Oregon District on August 4.)

“I’m all out of sorts – need a new book – but can’t decide – just wander around tinkering.” It’s ridiculous, I’d like pick up something and half think about maybe using it, reading it, doing it, (insert whatever appropriate verb here) with it, and then give up and roam around the house some more. Everything’s all messed up.

I will say, a lot of things got better for me personally after I knew the library was closing and that we were going to work from home. It took a lot of the stress out of some things, just knowing THIS IS WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO. Waking up every day and not knowing what the hell would be expected of us at work that day (or if we were even GOING to work the next day) was killer.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still wake up every day, like Captain Picard requesting a damage report, but…

Every Day in 2020 Now: Capt. Picard

Every Day in 2020 Now: Capt. Picard “Damage Report.”

Matt had longer to wait before things were more settled with him; it was later in the week….and I could really tell. Where my edginess had finally calmed down a bit, his was still happening…that nervous energy of “what’s next? what’s my work going to do? how long do I have to keep going out into danger or what…?” And it was a lot more noticeable in him after mine finally took a little chill, after the library closed.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

“Last night started a new ebook (from public library Overdrive) called Nyxia & fell asleep in bed cuddling my red panda – I know I’m getting weird about that panda but…shit is really weird right now.” (I’ve decided that it’s sort of like how they say that petting an animal is a stress reliever? But when your live kitties don’t want to cuddle up on your lap, this super-soft stuffed animal is…a nice alternative. Like how we had stuffed animals as allergen-free alternatives to puppies at our library “fuzz therapy” event in the Fall! Exactly like that…see? I’m not losing it. Much. Haha.)

“Jack woke up about 9:00 or 9:30. We all have cabin fever.

“Governor announced a formal ‘shelter in place’ or ‘stay at home’ order (exceptions for essential activities like grocery shopping). Over 300 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ohio as of today (100+ more than yesterday). Matt has made a predictive equation on a graph – he predicts over 500 tomorrow. Gov. has also ordered daycares closed through April 30th!

“My brother-in-law Chase’s grandma had a stroke. She’s in hospital but they can’t go visit her because of the pandemic 😦

“I got a bit of work done during Jack’s nap (sacrificing my viewing of Gov. DeWine press conference, but Matt watched and filled me in.)

“Jack and I played Play-Doh and fingerpaints today.

“Still no word on Matt’s former co-worker’s COVID test results, but WPAFB did announce a positive case (first one on Base) for someone in Building 262, Area A (AFMC Headquarters) –  Matt is all jittery not knowing what’s next…”

Let’s end on another funny note. Here’s a hilarious post I saw around that time:

“Millennials are not partying. We and our anxiety issues are holed up working from home, watching Hulu, and yelling at our parents not to go outside. It’s Gen Z you want…” Blame Gen Z for everything now. It’s their turn! We’re tired.

It’s about how everyone’s always blaming “those damn millennials,” and in this case, the young whipper-snappers you want to shake your fist at these days — for bucking the shelter in place order, for instance, and still insisting on going out to the bars the previous weekend for their St. Patrick’s Day fun — that’s not us Millennials; that’s Gen Z. Millennials are getting old, tired, and cranky. Some of us are shaking our fists right there with ya.

COVID-19 Diary: March 18-19, 2020

The catch-up continues…

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

“Matt is teleworking Mon-Weds-Fri until further notice. They’ve split into 2 teams and they are keeping each team separate to avoid cross-exposure/infection (everybody teleworks on Fridays, the other team teleworks Tuesday/Thursday).

“So he was HOME with us today…”

Hooray! This was a great improvement over the day before.

“It’s getting more tempting to let Mom come help 😦

“Sara’s trip to Hawaii had to be cancelled (rescheduled) so she is free until March 30 & volunteered to come help with Jack – I will probably take her up on it – but maybe they will close the Base…” (and Matt would be free all day).

A funny meme I saw: Bookstore window says,

A funny meme I saw: Bookstore window says, “Please note: The post-apocalyptical fiction section has been moved to Current Affairs.”

A funny tweet from @katebevan that I saw around this time:

A funny tweet from @katebevan that I saw around this time: “Shout out to the nation’s cats, who are dealing with the horrifying realisation that their humans are going to be at home for the foreseeable, interrupting their naps, sitting on their sofas, and generally disrupting their daily routines of snoozes and Important Cat Business.”

Thursday, March 19, 2020

I’m still working from home with Jack.

Another funny message offering encouragement to parents:

Another funny message offering encouragement to parents: “IF YOU KEEP THEM ALIVE THAT IS SUFFICIENT.” (This reassurance is most welcome.)

Matt went to work again but then texted about 9:30 to say that a co-worker at his old job was apparently showing symptoms of COVID-19 and being tested for it. He had seen this co-worker the previous week when he still worked in that building. So he was coming home to self-isolate (at his new supervisor’s agreement) and wait for the test results to come in.

“Matt seems really rattled about it and more adamant that my mom should not come here to help us. (I agree.)”

(We never did hear the results of that test…)

Both of us working at the kitchen table temporarily after Matt came home from work early on March 19th.

Both of us working at the kitchen table temporarily after Matt came home from work early on March 19th.

I read an article saying that Type A blood (Jack and possibly Matt- he doesn’t know his) may be slightly more susceptible to COVID-19 and that Type O (me) may be more resitant to it. Not sure how scientific it was though.

“Will loves to sleep in Jack’s tiny recliner next to me in the office while I work – it keeps him off my chair and my keyboard.” (The cat often likes to sit behind me in my computer chair, shoving me forward to the edge of it. If I had known that giving him his own armchair in the office would keep him out of my way, I would have done it years ago…)

My cat Will lounging in my son's tiny recliner in my office, March 19, 2020

My cat Will lounging in my son’s tiny recliner in my office, March 19, 2020

“We ordered pizza for dinner (delivery) – Matt made me get the door & interact with the pizza guy.” (He was very concerned about interacting unnecessarily with anyone; normally, Matt always gets the door to deal with deliveries, if he’s home.)

“Governor’s press conference – said to fly flag (so Matt got ours out of closet) & check our temps often (so we do).”

Matt and Jack relaxing on the evening of March 19th; note the thermometer close at hand on the end table.

Matt and Jack relaxing on the evening of March 19th; note the thermometer close at hand on the end table.

Flag flying in front of our house, March 29, 2020 (yes 10 days later- it's the first picture I have showing this)

Flag flying in front of our house, March 29, 2020 (yes 10 days later- it’s the first picture I have showing this)

“Evening: I finally finished Chain of Gold…was pretty good as usual…”

Sorry, not as many days reviewed in this one was I would have liked. My toddler thinks 11 p.m. is an appropriate time to STILL refuse to go to sleep.

COVID-19 Diary: March 15-17, 2020 – Cavete Idus Martii

“Beware the Ides of March.”
-Shakespeare, “Julius Caesar”

Out of all the months of the year, over the course of my life, March has seemed to include the highest incidence of major, negative stuff happening. I have no idea why. When it involves something I have personally done or caused or enacted, I don’t know if it’s like some kind of weird seasonally-affected thing where I’m just damn tired of everything being cold and gray and soggy and did I mention COLD. Or if it’s some kind of bizarre subconscious, self-sabotaging, paranoid, Latin-infused sleeper planted into 15-year-old me when our Latin I teacher Sister Dympna taught us about the whole “Beware Ides of March” thing: that day (March 15) in 44 B.C. when Julius Caesar was assassinated and thus marked a major turning point in Roman history.  I’m not posting the examples here, but just take my word for it: historically, I’ve seen a lot of bad things go down in March.

I actually thought this year would be a good one! It started off well enough, with that awesome book tour event I went to (and a new book from my fave author as well). The job posting for my supervisor Dawne’s position had just gone live on the university’s HR web site. She is retiring this year, and the last few years, we never know if somebody will get to be replaced when they leave due to financial hardships the university has been experiencing the last few years. There was even talk of possibly maybe perhaps fingers-crossed requesting a new archivist to be hired (without an existing one even leaving!) to replace some position(s) we lost a few years ago due to resignations.

You guys, I let the unthinkable actually cross my mind: “This March is going to be great, isn’t it?” Annnnd, I jinxed it.

Nah, I know it wasn’t really me, but…damn.

Before I dive into the next few days of COVID-19 diary, here’s a bit of comic relief, from a Facebook friend who shall remain anonymous – but man did this ever crack me up:

E-card from 2016 reads:

E-card from 2016 reads: “People are losing the spirit of the Ides of March. It’s about coming together to stab in groups.” Revised 2020 text reads: “Because of social distancing, all group stabbings have been cancelled for tomorrow. Solo stabbing is still allowed.”

The original e-card from 2016 reads: “People are losing the spirit of the Ides of March. It’s about coming together to stab in groups.”

The revised 2020 text, posted on March 14, reads: “Because of social distancing, all group stabbings have been cancelled for tomorrow. Solo stabbing is still allowed.”

And now for your regularly scheduled diary stuff (again, quotations are verbatim from my paper diary):

Sunday, March 15, 2020

I didn’t feel very well most of that day. I kept going back and forth about whether I felt “well” all week since Tuesday. “Just when I think it’s better, it’s not again- have eaten a few Tums antacids over the day. Not sure if illness, something I ate, indigestion, or stress from all this COVID-19 mess 😦 😦 ”

We watched the governor’s press conference in the afternoon (3:30 this time): “He is mandating closure of the dining rooms of bars & restaurants (delivery & carry-out ok) – also, daycare closures not mandated yet but he said ‘it’s coming’ 😦 ”

My supervisor Dawne sent us all an email that evening letting us know that, per our University Librarian (head of the library) Sue, it is likely that the public service points of the library will all close soon, but for now, we are to report to work in the morning.

Monday, March 16, 2020

“Work was weird – this feeling of just ‘waiting’ to know what’s going to happen next. My only game plan for the day was to make sure to copy some large files onto an external hard drive so I can work with them at home & not have to download over the VPN…

“Late in the afternoon we got word that the entire library would be closed completely starting Tuesday (for COVID-19 pandemic) & staff would work from home…”

More of the now-almost-daily (and in this case multiple times a day) archives staff meetings, March 16, 2020

More of the now-almost-daily (and in this case multiple times a day) archives staff meetings, March 16, 2020

“We already had the archives reading room closed to public Monday & (had already) told volunteers to stay home.

“I borrowed a laptop from the library so I could work ‘anywhere’ in the house – like where Jack has toys.”

Other getting-ready-to-leave-for-who-knows-how-long activities included everyone quickly filling out work-from-home agreements with HR, brainstorming ideas of things our student workers could also do at home (if they want to get their hours, & their pay, in), trying to make sure that everything is in a state that you’re okay with it being left in for…again, who knows how long… For instance, we covered our exhibit cases to protect the items from light damage; nobody’s going to be seeing them for a while.

Covered exhibit cases in the archives, before leaving indefinitely, March 16, 2020

Covered exhibit cases in the archives, before leaving indefinitely, March 16, 2020

That evening, “I cleaned up my (home) office & second desk so I’d have a place to work.”

My cleaned-up at-home office, with second desk and library-loaner laptop at the ready, March 16, 2020

My cleaned-up at-home office, with second desk and library-loaner laptop at the ready, March 16, 2020

It wasn’t just that particular day that “was weird.” Everything had been super-weird at work ever since things started snowballing a week before, when classes were suddenly shifted to online-only and places started shutting down to varying degrees, to facilitate (or to a certain degree force) social distancing and curtail the spread of the disease.

As I said in the previous entry, I completely support closing any and all libraries on account of this thing. I am shocked and appalled that, as I write this, almost 2 weeks later, there are still libraries in various parts of the country that are still open.

And, as anyone who has ever used a database that I designed will tell you, I am a also a big fan of systematically preventing, by design, things you don’t want. If you don’t want something to happen and you can make it so it can’t happen…well, that’s an attractive option, and I support that. Don’t want people gathering for class? Cancel in-person classes! Don’t want people gathering for sports? Cancel all the sports! Don’t want people gathering in restaurant dining rooms? Declare that restaurant dining rooms are now closed! Don’t want people putting bull-shit formatted dates in your Date field? Make the data type “Date” and add an input mask to (en)force the formatting you want! (Whoops, sorry, that’s another rant…)

In happier news for this day, it was my husband Matt’s first day at his new job, and he came home declaring that he thinks he’s really going to like it there. 😀

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

It was St. Patrick’s Day, but I completely forgot about wearing green. Big surprise there, with everything going on. (St. Patrick’s Day was actually partly the reason for the governor’s declaration on Sunday that all the eat-in areas of restaurants and bars must be closed: too many people refused to let a little COVID-19 cut into their St. Paddy’s Day celebrations on Saturday night. People refuse to be smart enough to stop congregating in restaurants and bars and stay out of crowded areas? Take their restaurants and bars and crowded areas away from them. And I applaud that.)

Matt went to work, and this was my first day working from home. With a two-year-old.

Technically, “daycare is still open thru Friday but it seemed kinda shitty to keep sending him out into ‘exposure’ when I no longer have to report to work. I think Matt was glad I chose this, though he said it was my decision (& seemed to mean it). Mom said she was proud of me but also that she’d have been glad to come help – but I’m worried about letting her – she’s 66 years old & I don’t want her or Dad to get sick & die!

“So Jack & I had kind of a rough day – at one point I was frustratedly yelling, ‘I want to go back to work!’ and he was chanting it back at me – which was a little disturbing & made me feel bad.

“We made banana muffins, played Play Doh, colored, brought his chair into my office & his tablet & watched cartoons on my office TV…”

Tiny coworker, March 17, 2020

Tiny coworker, March 17, 2020

As you might gather from this, trying to work from home with a two-year-old and no help is not ideal. Thankfully (spoiler alert), Matt would be working-from-home soon too, and so we’ve been able to help each other get things done while still keeping the boy entertained.

And as you might also gather from the above (particularly the part where I beg to go back to work): I would not do well as a stay-at-home mommy. Granted, in our current reality, I am simultaneously trying to be stay-at-home mommy AND work-from-home mommy, which is quite a lot more complicated. Especially when the work-from-home work is not work that’s typically, usually done at home, nor is it work that (in a lot of cases) translates well to being done at home. I mean, yeah, there’s plenty of stuff we can do at home (“we” being archivists in general as well as my particular archives co-workers specifically)—but we usually don’t. So this whole new weird dynamic is screwing with everyone. (And I know it’s not JUST US that is having all kinds of problems. And there are others out there having WAY WORSE problems, I know that too… Which brings me to the other point that, while we attempt to do all this stuff at home and try to keep some sense of normality……..BUT OH YEAH BTW THE WORLD OUTSIDE IS KINDA TRYING TO END, KTHXBAI.