Tag Archives: scarcity

COVID-19 Diary: April 25-26, 2020

Always running, but I’m always running behind…

Saturday, April 25, 2020

We mostly worked in the yard, as it was nice and sunny (60s) until we got some rain showers about 7 pm. Matt mowed the grass. I dug up this weird rock wall/edging around a big flower bed in the back yard. We can’t keep up with all those flowers, and it always turns into a jungle — and we can’t just MOW IT because of all the rocks around it, so…good-bye, rocks. I got Matt to put the truck in the yard so I could load the rocks into the back, then I drove it across the yard to the edge of the woods and unloaded all the rocks into the woods. SO EXHAUSTING. 11,000 steps.

Digging up rocks, Apr 25

Digging up rocks, Apr 25

Rocks in the truck bed, Apr 25

Rocks in the truck bed, Apr 25

Matt installed a new gate for my office doorway, because Jack has been able to knock down the other (pressure) gate. This one screws to the wall AND HAS A CAT DOOR! The cats will be so happy. We made them both try out the cat door, and they had no problem with it. And so far (knock on wood), Jack has not tried to go through it himself.

New office doorway gate, Apr 25

New office doorway gate, Apr 25

The cat door works! Sorry, blurry action shot

The cat door works! Sorry, blurry action shot

In the evening, I made two more masks each for Matt and me.

Four more masks, Apr 25

Four more masks, Apr 25

A friend whose parents live in Minnesota has gone up to visit them, because her father is dying. He has a degenerative disease that affects his mind and memory, and so he lives in a care facility. At first they were told they wouldn’t be able to visit with him at all (wouldn’t be allowed into the facility), but they were able to go in and spend a lot of time with him after all. I’m glad for that.

Jack woke up at midnight just screaming and crying, no idea what that was about…

Sunday, April 26, 2020

This is the week we had been planning to go on vacation for our anniversary. We were going to leave Jack with my Mom and go…somewhere… I’m not even sure we fully determined where we were going to go, before the whole thing fell through with the COVID-19 crisis. I guess that’s better than already having reservations for something and having to figure out if we would be able to cancel it all.

I went to the IGA in Enon for milk and like four other things. I managed to spend only $40! They had plenty of toilet paper, meat, produce, and dairy. They were getting low on flour and were out of yeast. I didn’t see any employees wearing masks and only a few of the shoppers. (OK I can only recall actually even seeing TWO other shoppers on that rainy day grocery trip; one was wearing a mask and one wasn’t.)

Lisa new mask

New mask, who dis? Apr 26

IGA grocery store in Enon, Ohio, Apr 26, 2020

IGA grocery store in Enon, Ohio, Apr 26, 2020

Occupancy limit 84 and special hours 7-7, senior hours 7-8 Tues & Thurs, IGA Enon, Apr 26

Occupancy limit 84 and special hours 7-7, senior hours 7-8a Tues & Thurs, IGA Enon, Apr 26

Due to current conditions, we cannot guarantee sale items available, no rainchecks, IGA Enon, Apr 26

Due to current conditions, we cannot guarantee sale items available, no rainchecks, IGA Enon, Apr 26

Social distancing reminder sign at IGA, Apr 26

Social distancing reminder sign at IGA, Apr 26

Flour, IGA, Apr 26

Flour, IGA, Apr 26

(No) Yeast, IGA, Apr 26

(No) Yeast, IGA, Apr 26

Plenty of toilet paper, IGA, Apr 26

Plenty of toilet paper, IGA, Apr 26

We made hot sub sandwiches, chicken and (homemade) noodles again, and Matt made an apple pie from scratch!

Homemade apple pie! Apr 26

Matt’s homemade apple pie! Apr 26

I extracted a few more rocks from the soft wet dirt after it stopped raining. It feels good to feel like I’m goddamn actually accomplishing something tangible, even if it is just moving rocks from one side of the yard to the other like freaking Sisyphus. (OK not exactly like Sisyphus; to date, none of the rocks have moved themselves BACK into the flower bed, thank goodness.)

I ordered Jack a bunch of summer clothes before it suddenly gets warm and he doesn’t have any shorts – and in case everything takes forever to ship. (Well, we have a few from my sister, but the hand-me-downs and the seasons don’t always line up; and if he EVER goes back to school, he’ll need a lot more.) The things I ordered from Target came really fast, in just a few days; the stuff I ordered from Carter’s still has yet to arrive, as of this writing.

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Info about contact tracing from Clark Co Combined Health District, Apr 25-26

Info about contact tracing from Clark Co Combined Health District, Apr 25-26

Hunger Games Katniss: When it's my turn to to go tot he supermarket

Hunger Games Katniss: When it’s my turn to to go tot he supermarket

COVID-19 Diary: April 20-24, 2020

The saga continues.

Monday, April 20, 2020

That was the day we got that upsetting email from WSU President Edwards about the deans taking a 20% pay cut, budget not looking good, and halting all capital projects (our archives building! sad), etc. (I wrote about this on Apr 22 and Apr 23.)

Lisa and Jack working, Apr 20, 2020

Lisa and Jack working, Apr 20, 2020

Governor’s press conference announced 500 deaths so far in Ohio. There are protesters demanding the state reopen, but if we do now all our work is for nothing because cases will just sky-rocket as people gather. We need the ability to test more people, and there aren’t enough tests. My favorite protest sign is the “Give me liberty or give me death” (Patrick Henry): how about both, if you want everything reopened? Is a professional haircut or manicure really worth your life? Or your grandma’s?

The governor also announced that kids will not go back to K-12 school buildings this year, wasn’t sure yet about reopening daycares — which should be fun, if our workplaces reopen but not childcare centers? The fuck are we supposed to do? (I realize I’m fortunate that this I do not already have this problem, as many essential workers, like my grocery store clerks and gas station attendants and of course healthcare professionals, already do/might. There are special childcare centers just for essential workers, but I can’t imagine there’s enough of those right now either.)

Delicious homemade vegetable beef soup, Apr 20, 2020

Delicious homemade vegetable beef soup, Apr 20, 2020

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

I had another staff meeting in the morning via Webex. And this time, Jack “attended” the meeting with me, because Matt had to go (physically) to work for a while during that same time. This went better than I expected, as he mostly just watched TV, and I took my meeting on my university-borrowed laptop at the kitchen table where I could see him.

Matt’s trip to WPAFB was to renew his CAC card, which was expiring. (We later found out that they extended the expiration dates for everyone – similar to what the state did with driver’s licenses – so he really didn’t have to go after all, but that news came out like 1-2 days after he had already done it.) He said they had gloves, plexiglas shields, and some of the people there were in masks.

We got an email from our daycare with a survey in it. They asked things like how soon we’d like to come back (as soon as possible please!), how we felt about certain potential changes (e.g., being full-5-day-only for a while to limit the mixing of groups or raises in tuition prices to cover paying more teachers to accommodate smaller teacher-child ratios), and how we’re doing (I’ve definitely been better). They actually called again a week or two later to check on us as well.

We made homemade egg noodles again to go in stroganoff. We tried the pasta attachment for our Kitchen-Aid mixer, which we’ve had for like 10 years but never used. I think we must have done something wrong, because it all clumped together, and we ended up having…more like…egg noodle gnocchi as we pinched bits of it off and tossed in the boiling water to cook. It still tasted really good though!

homemade beef stroganoff with egg noodle gnocchi, Apr 21, 2020

homemade beef stroganoff with egg noodle gnocchi, Apr 21, 2020

I hit my 100-day streak on learning German in Duolingo. We’re slowly working our way through that Amazon Prime drama “Hunters” about Nazi hunters in the ’70s, and I’m overly pleased with myself when I can actually catch a word here and there.

One of my uncles is currently in a medical facility for some neck issues and numbness. Due to his age, he’s not a candidate for surgery. He’s also not allowed visitors due to COVID-19. So that’s sad. 😦

I did some more work after Jack went to bed, as usual…

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

I honestly don’t have much at all to say about this day. Fighting a toddler in order to work is exhausting. I started trying to map out a big back-yard garden (hmm never did finish that).

I ordered some more mask fabric from my favorite fabric store – Fabric Shack in Waynesville. (Not because I ran out of fabric – that will likely never happen, with my stash, but because…I wanted more/different fabric. Also, small business!)

I wrote the first post about Dr. Edwards’ email “Recovery, Interrupted,” and apparently this post was extremely popular, receiving over 100 hits in the first 24 hours!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Again, not much to say about this day.

Wright State University Libraries staff members for National Library Workers' Day, posted to the library's social media Apr 23, 2020

Wright State University Libraries staff members (my co-workers) for National Library Workers’ Day, posted to the library’s social media Apr 23, 2020

Jack insisted on drinking water out of a small glass measuring cup, holding it by the handle like a coffee cup. Weirdo. Whatever, I’ll allow it. My standards are on a pretty serious slide these days. Is he likely to get hurt doing it? (How hurt…?) Is he likely to cause property damage doing it? (How much property damage…?) Yeah. The Me of two months ago would never believe I’ve now (as of this writing) stooped to letting him play Play-Doh on the floor of my office… Anyway.

We did finally get out the Kinetic Sand that he got for Easter, too. I’m extremely impressed with it. It really does stick only to itself (and not you) and doesn’t make a mess. As advertised! It has a weird…stretchy…consistency…but I really have no complaints! Would recommend.

Lisa and Jack, kinetic sand, Apr 23, 2020

Lisa and Jack, kinetic sand, Apr 23, 2020

I wrote the second post about Dr. Edwards’ email “Interruption Redux” – mainly because I spent so much time writing the back story on the first post that I didn’t have much time to dissect the actual email before it was really late, and I was really hungry. That one wasn’t quite as popular as the first post.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Emergency staff meeting to discuss emergency supply budget cuts and a few details about reopening – like do we want plexiglas shields? (Yes!) Where? (Everywhere! jk – but no seriously, both sides of our L-shaped desk.)

Later, we took a ride, and I got Matt to take me to Home Depot – I went in, and Jack and Matt waited in the truck – to buy “a few” plants. I had been getting nervous about whether places would have plants. I keep looking at the Burpee web site (you can actually order plants?!), and they always seem to be out of everything I want. Well, Home Depot had plenty of vegetable plants and seeds and everything else – so “I’ll be happy if I can just get a few tomato and zucchini plants this year” turned into “oops I spent $200 in the garden section.” (I probably could have gotten a little better price at Lowe’s, but Lowe’s had a line to get in due to the new social distancing/capacity limitations, and Home Depot did not.) I also noticed that there were not many people wearing masks in Home Depot; even some of the employees were not wearing them.

Flowers, vegetables, and herbs from Home Depot, Apr 24, 2020

Flowers, vegetables, and herbs from Home Depot, Apr 24, 2020

In happy-fun-time Toddler News, Jack has learned how to unlock and open the front door, so Matt installed some preventative measures on that. SIGH. On the bright side, our house sits back a bit from the road, and the street is not at all busy and ends in a cul-de-sac, so the odds of him actually getting hit by a car are low, I think? But more like, he’d just wander off and someone on the Nextdoor app would post a pic and be like, “Ey, did somebody lose a toddler?”

Once again, stayed up until midnight working in order to get shit done. Story of our lives these days.

Trying to work with cats, Apr 24, 2020

Trying to work with cats, Apr 24, 2020

cats asleep in cat beds

My two midnight “co-workers” sleeping on the job, Apr 24, 2020

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FUNNY STUFF (AND SOME NOT FUNNY) FROM AROUND THIS TIME

“Quarantine is a great time to get ahead on your research and writing,” say academics while thousands of people are dying. (Hey, I’m guilty too; been doing a lot of online professional development lately.)

“What Face Masks Say About a Person” comic

Tweet from @MatthewModine, Apr 21, 2020:

Tweet from @MatthewModine, Apr 21, 2020: “The coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken.”

Masks plus Social Distancing vs Coronavirus

Masks plus Social Distancing vs Coronavirus

Why wear a mask graphic

Why wear a mask graphic (no idea if those percentages are accurate or based on science, but the gist is valid as far as I understand things)

How do we exit the Groundhog Day loop?

How do we exit the Groundhog Day loop?

How I used to begin work emails vs. How I begin work emails now

How I used to begin work emails vs. How I begin work emails now: SO TRUE. I feel like a horrible callous person if I forget to include some version of “I hope you’re doing well” in my emails now.

Quarantine State of Mind

Quarantine State of Mind: did I post this already? Ah well it’s worth posting again!

Isolation Well-Being Checklist

Isolation Well-Being Checklist: A nice sentiment and probably good advice, and I would LOVE IT if I had even close to enough time to complete this list daily.

Coronabingo card

Coronabingo card: YASSSS another Coronavirus Bingo card, and I AM HERE FOR IT. (BTW I’ve done almost everything on this card, except bangs and TikTok.)

And finally, last but not least (I really should do a post solely in Hunger Games memes)…

Effie Trinket from Hunger Games: States opening back up like

Effie Trinket from Hunger Games: States opening back up like “may the odds be ever in your favor.”

THE END

COVID-19 Diary: April 18-19, 2020

Maybe two weeks behind is just how it’s going to be on these daily-grind type entries. Ah well.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Matt made pancakes and eggs for breakfast. Then, I cleaned the entire kitchen, including the stove, microwave, and floor. It had been a while. I vacuumed everywhere. It felt so good to get that done. Ah, something I can control, right?

Matt mowed grass, and I dug up a pointless flower bed next to the garage. We are thinking of putting a pea-gravel pit in there for Jack (in lieu of a sandbox- less messy but still fun for tiny dump trucks). Might put some pavers in part of it and another weird flower bed by the house (inside the back fence) and put the grill there. The previous owners of our house were (retired and) really into flower gardening. Ain’t nobody got time for that, and I can’t stand when it turns into a jungle, so away they go (some of them anyway).

Digging up flower beds, April 18, 2020

Digging up flower beds, April 18, 2020

We made vegetable soup and chicken sweet potato chili. Over dinner, we discussed the rumblings of meat shortages as folks in processing plants are coming down with COVID-19. We rather seriously discussed buying a 1/4 cow (like, half of a “side of beef”) over dinner.

When I mentioned this to my Mom a few days alter, she said that her father, a butcher by occupation, was never interested in buying that much of a single cow all in one go: “if you get a tough cow, you’ve got A LOT of tough beef.” He’d rather stock up when it’s on sale, and then you don’t put all your eggs in one basket as to the quality of the meat. That makes total sense. But at the same time, the whole point of even discussing this was because we’re getting nervous that meat’s either going to get really expensive or become unavailable. Oh the joys of these uncertain times.

Panda eating habits as etymology for the word Pandemic

Panda eating habits as etymology for the word Pandemic. (I was wrong; it’s not from Greek; it’s definitely this panda thing.)

In the evening, we watched a concert on Facebook Live: an acoustic live-from-his-living-room set by Justin Morris, the lead singer of this Pittsburgh-area band Mercury that we like. (I think I’ve seen them play live 3 times, between 2003 and 2007? Pretty sure the last time was 2007, though!) It was funny to hear him joking about the toys around his house and how the kids & wife had been banished to the basement during the show. We all got old! Haha. (I was really hoping one of his kids would wander through, like that YouTube video of the guy doing the video-conference or reporting the news from home or something, and his two kids bust into the room and the wife or nanny or whoever is scrambling to get them out of there.) ANYWAY, it was a BRILLIANT escape for an hour. Jack was actually awake at the time, but by some miracle he allowed us to enjoy this. He loves music, so I guess maybe he liked it too. (They don’t seem to have many songs on YouTube, but here’s Superhero, one of my favorites.) Also, that is the most comfortable I have EVER been during a concert of any kind, haha.

Justin Morris from Mercury doing a Facebook-Live concert from his living room, April 18, 2020

Justin Morris from Mercury doing a Facebook-Live concert from his living room, April 18, 2020

In the evening I wrote my toilet paper entry on here, and we watched some Hulu.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Grocery day! My turn! A little excited — I GET TO LEAVE THE HOUSE AND THE BABY! — and a little nervous — I HAVE TO LEAVE THE HOUSE DURING PANDEMIC!

Quarantine has turned us all into dogs. We roam the house all day looking for food. We are told 'no' if we get too close to strangers. And we get really excited about car rides.

Quarantine has turned us all into dogs. We roam the house all day looking for food. We are told ‘no’ if we get too close to strangers. And we get really excited about car rides.

I set the alarm for 8:30, got up, dressed, took breakfast in the car, and went to the Meijer in Huber Heights. I wanted to get there early before they maybe ran out of certain things – like toilet paper, flour, or yeast. (Also I don’t have statistics on which churches are doing what during this stay-at-home recommendation, but I figured it being Sunday morning would still help me out, too.)

I saw lots of people wearing masks, including some (but not all) employees. I wore my mask.

Lisa in mask for Meijer trip, April 19, 2020

Lisa in mask for Meijer trip, April 19, 2020

The cashiers have new plexiglass sneeze-guards in front of them.

My cashier behind her plexiglas shield (asked permission to photo), Meijer Huber Heights, Apr 19, 2020

My cashier behind her plexiglas shield (asked permission to photo), Meijer Huber Heights, Apr 19, 2020

I got 2 big packs of toilet paper (it was limit 2 and they had several) and 1 big pack of paper towels and a few other (non-perishable) things, and the cart was full.

Paper towel and toilet paper aisle at Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Paper towel and toilet paper aisle at Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

A few large paper product packages will fill up the entire cart, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

A few large paper product packages will fill up the entire cart, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

So I checked out, took it to the car, and went back in to get the rest of the stuff on my list. (I did not buy any more of the paper products. I wasn’t trying to cheat on the limit. I just…legitimately ran out of cart space in the first go-round.) I bought WAY too much stuff. We will not need to go to the store again for a while except to replenish milk and produce and things that you can’t really stock up on very easily.

Here are some more photos from my trip to Meijer in Huber Heights, Ohio:

Entrance sign at Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Entrance sign at Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Entrance sign at Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Entrance sign at Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Disinfecting wipes aisle, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Disinfecting wipes aisle, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Dish soap, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Dish soap, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Peanut Butter, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Peanut Butter, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Hand soap, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Hand soap, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Canned soup, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Canned soup, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Vanilla, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Vanilla, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020: I was surprised that the big bottles of pure (non-imitation) vanilla were gone. (That’s what I was after! So I bought the green bottle of the organic one instead and paid a little more- but still not quite as much per ounce as the small bottles.)

Anniversary cards, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Anniversary cards, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020: Hmm, how bad do I want one of these? Better choose carefully based on the front cover and hope the inside is acceptable, so I don’t have to touch too many! (Probably should have skipped it…but it’s been two weeks now, and it doesn’t seem to have given me COVID, so I guess I’m ok? Unless I’m asymptomatic…hmm.)

Floor sticker in the check-out aisle marking appropriate social distancing, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Floor sticker in the check-out aisle marking appropriate social distancing, Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

I filled up the Explorer for $16.00. The tank was on about 1/4, and I filled it up for $16.00. (Granted, this particular SUV has a stupid small fuel tank; I think that’s how they got their “fuel economy” rating – keep the weight down by keeping the gas tank relatively small – but ANYWAY.) Yes, gasoline was $1.27/gallon at the gas station there at the Meijer. Since then, we have seen it as low as $1.09/gallon. WHAT YEAR IS IT? These are the kind of prices we have only seen when we were in high school… (Matt: “Back in my day, I could hardly cram $10 worth of gas into that Camaro…” Yeah, yeah, that’s a great story, old man! Haha. We’re old.)

Gasoline for $1.27/gallon at Meijer Huber Heights, Apr 19, 2020

Gasoline for $1.27/gallon at Meijer Huber Heights, Apr 19, 2020

Gasoline purchase (12.4 gallons of 87 octane for $15.86), Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Gasoline purchase (12.4 gallons of 87 octane for $15.86), Meijer, Apr 19, 2020

Being “out” was slightly intoxicating. I could see how it would be a slippery slope to just…go back to “normal” and go shopping whenever we felt like it. It was SO NICE TO BE OUT.

I also treated myself to a new nail polish and painted my fingernails for the first time in YEARS, because right now, I don’t have to worry about the nail polish rubbing off on historic documents and making those reddish streaks.

Archivist nail polish, Apr 19, 2020

Archivist nail polish, Apr 19, 2020

It was so weird having fingernail polish on for the first 24 hours or so – I kept catching sight of them out of the corner of my eye and being like, What’s on my hands? Is that blood? Oh wait, nah, it’s cool. After the first day or so, I’m like, “Damn, my hands look so pretty! I wish I could do this more often…” Jack noticed them immediately. He thought the reddish-wine color looked “purple,” and he grabbed my hand and said, “Mommy fingers purple.” He got used to it. He noticed again immediately when I removed the polish a week or so later because it wasn’t looking good anymore.

I did about two hours of work while Jack had a nap. Sadly, naps are becoming a rare thing for him these days. GREAT. That’s just what we need right now, for him to outgrow napping. He probably still would if he got up early, but we let him sleep in so we can have peace in the morning, and then he doesn’t need a nap.

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Here are some funnies I saved to my phone around that same time period (Apr 18-19):

Video Chat Bingo

Video Chat Bingo

If Donald Trump had captained the Titanic

If Donald Trump had captained the Titanic

(Also: I now know that the word “berg” means mountain in German. Thanks, Duolingo!)

What is your Stay Home Score? from Dayton Metro Library

What is your Stay Home Score? from Dayton Metro Library

Launch the second wave, a political cartoon by Benjamin Slyngstad (@Slyngstad_cartoons)

Launch the second wave, a political cartoon by Benjamin Slyngstad (@Slyngstad_cartoons)

Onward and upward! (But not OUTward.)

COVID-19 Diary: A Minute on Mask Mandates

There’s been a lot in Governor DeWine’s press conferences this week about whether or not face coverings (masks etc.) are mandatory and in what circumstances.

Long story short, he announced on Monday that “face coverings” would be mandatory for all customers in Ohio, and then on Tuesday he back-pedaled on making masks “required” for customers. (They will still be required for employees, with some logical exceptions.)

Apparently there was a major backlash about the mandatory-masks-for-customers edict. I can understand why some customers might complain; people will complain about anything. Plus I’m sure there are people who are having trouble getting any masks or making masks if they aren’t crafty or can’t get supplies or are having cash flow issues (as so many are right now).

I was surprised to hear there was backlash from businesses also. They complained that the governor was forcing them to be a policing agency for this policy. I guess I just hadn’t thought of that.

My first thought on Monday when the mandate was originally announced, that customers would be required to wear masks, was, “Hooray! Now we (libraries/archives) don’t have to decide this! The decision has already been made, at the state level. We will have the force of the governor’s mandate behind this rule.”

So now I don’t know what will happen.

Businesses/organizations can still choose to require masks for customers, I guess. (Right?) But which ones will, and which ones won’t?

I understand that MY mask protects YOU, and YOUR mask protects ME. I am down with the masks, personally.

Lisa in a homemade mask on a grocery run, April 26, 2020

Lisa in a homemade mask on a grocery run, April 26, 2020

I wear a mask when I go out, and I’d like to see everyone else wearing them, too. (But I have seen people more often NOT wearing masks, than wearing them, when I’ve been out.)

Will the library/archives where I work require patrons to wear mask?

Will we have masks to offer people if they show up and don’t have a mask (not because they refuse to wear one but just because they don’t have one or didn’t know)?

If they don’t require masks, can I refuse to assist people who aren’t wearing masks, because it’s not safe for me? (Because it’s NOT.)

Is it right to ask our student workers to assist patrons who aren’t wearing masks? I mean, I guess if they know it’s a possibility when they accept the job…? But then you’re asking them to choose between their health and a job.

For that matter, I hope isn’t an issue that I myself have to face either. (I would hope that others don’t have to face it either, but I already know that many out there are — not just healthcare workers who have vowed to help the sick and chosen that as their career, but acquaintances I have in various other industries where employers just don’t want them to wear masks.)

I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer is.

But I’ll be wearing my mask. “Don your cape,” as Dr. Acton says. And I hope that the people around me will be doing the same.

COVID-19 Diary: April 13-17, 2020

Back to your regularly scheduled day-by-day. I made a goal for this week to try to get “caught up” here on WordPress, but you remember what I said about having purchased a goal planner for the first time, for the year 2020…

Monday, April 13, 2020

In today’s press conference, Dr. Acton said that masks are likely to be a thing for a year or so. (I better make more.) Governor DeWine compared the virus to a monster lurking outside, waiting to pick people off – an excellent analogy, really paints a picture.

Speaking of painting a picture, I took Jack outside at one point, at his request. He doesn’t seem to “get” that it’s not fun for us to be outside when it’s cloudy, windy, wet, and cold (40 degrees). I didn’t last long. I bribed him with an art project, to get him to come inside. We tried out his watercolors from the Easter bunny. I think he liked it, even if he didn’t entirely “get” how they work.

At least I didn’t bribe him with chocolate (this time). At one point on this day, he got into the pantry cabinet in the basement (having escaped from Matt’s office, which is in the basement), found a 4-pound bag of granulated sugar, and proceeded to carry the bag upstairs to me, then declaring, “I want sugar.” Same, buddy. (How did he know that was a bag of sugar?!) No joke. (I did not give him the sugar; I took the bag away before he could open it and dump it everywhere.)

My supervisor Dawne has been interviewed by a number of media outlets about the COVID-19 diary project. Among these were two different reporters from the New York Times. The first of these articles came out today: “Why You Should Keep a Coronavirus Diary” by Jen A. Miller. The second one came out two days later: “What Historians Will See When They Look Back on the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020” by Audra Birch.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

We had a staff meeting in the morning. I “arrived” at the video-conference wearing one of my masks, and everyone laughed (the desired effect).

I watched Gov. DeWine’s press conference on my Kindle Fire while working.

Watching Gov. DeWine on Kindle while working on my work computer, Apr. 14, 2020

Watching Gov. DeWine on Kindle while working on my work computer, Apr. 14, 2020

I purchased four Society of American Archivists webinars using a 20% sale coupon they have going. A lot of organizations are offering reduced rate or free access to their online training materials or publications during this time. They know everybody (OK well archivists and librarians- that is what I know about) is looking for useful things they can do from home, and boning up on professional development stuff via webinar is definitely a good option when you can’t get to your (physical) collections. I needed two more online courses for my Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) certification renewal, which is due this summer, and I bought the other two because they looked interesting and were “on sale.”

My brother-in-law Jerry asked me (via text) if I’m making masks. He said he’s been wearing one of the N95 masks (that I assume he already had just lying around the house- because you can’t find them in stores right now), but he feels guilty about it (since they’ve been saying to donate those for healthcare workers) – so I made 9 masks for their family: 2 regular ones each for Jerry, Gina, and the two kids, and a special “extra” Chicago Cubs mask for Jerry. (I still had fabric from when I made him pillow cases a few years ago.) I even modified the instructions to make the kids’ masks a little smaller. (These are from the Crafty Daily video/design.)

Masks for Gina and Jerry & the kids, Apr. 14, 2020

Masks for Gina and Jerry & the kids, Apr. 14, 2020

I took the masks straight to the post office at like 10:30 p.m. after I finished them; they arrived Thursday, and they love them. 🙂

Jack is driving us nuts. We’re probably driving him nuts, too. We’re all driving EACH OTHER nuts.

Dory from Finding Nemo:

Dory from Finding Nemo: “Oh look! Mom’s last nerve! I wanna touch it…”

Belle from Beauty and the Beast:

Belle from Beauty and the Beast: “I want much more than this pandemic life!” (Are there so many B&B memes about the pandemic because she was also cooped up for so long?)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

This was supposed to be Tax Day, but they extended the deadline for state and federal income tax returns into the summer. I had already submitted our taxes in February, I think, so no problem for us either way.

We got our federal stimulus money today (2 adults x $1200 plus 1 child x $500 = $2900). It was direct-deposited, and I popped it straight over into our Emergency Fund savings account. I guess it’s supposed to stimulate the economy, but things are so unpredictable right now, so we’re sitting on it for now.

I created a Zoom video-conferencing account and learned how to do it. I had heard that you could do a custom “virtual” background using any image, and I wanted to know what dimensions were best, how it worked, how it looked, so I could theoretically make some background images using photos from work (as an outreach freebie downloadable). I did make a few backgrounds, but the idea sort of got buried under other more important things.

Experimenting with a Zoom virtual background I created from the Wright Brothers Collection, Apr. 15, 2020

Experimenting with a Zoom virtual background I created from the Wright Brothers Collection, Apr. 15, 2020

In the evening I watched a (free) webinar about something I have literally been wanting to learn how to do for like 3 years. This is the kind of thing that you never feel like you can justify actually taking the time to do because there’s so much other legitimately more important stuff you could/should be doing with your time. Well, most of that stuff is in boxes on the shelves at work right now, and I am not one of the few people currently authorized to spend time in the library building right now, so…as I said…now’s a good time for learning new things and making an investment in your own professional development.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

It was very hard to concentrate on this day. I don’t know why, exactly. I think I read something recently that this is a “thing”: about having a few good days in a row, like thinking you’ve finally got your shit together for the way life is right now, and then suddenly you just…don’t…again. Oh, hey, here’s the thing I was thinking of:

Quarantine State of Mind: Good Days vs. Hell Zone

Quarantine State of Mind: Good Days vs. Hell Zone

The more I hear about….everything…okay, mostly, major outbreaks of the virus in food processing plants (especially meat for some reason?)…the closer I get to the “edge” when it comes to…like…living off the land, being self-sustaining. OK, let’s be real, we’re never going to do that. Unless society completely breaks down. Which it could. (These are not the right thoughts for 10:30 at night, as it is now, but…alas. This is the rabbit hole down which we tumble…)

In the past few weeks, things I have joked about (OK I am like 94% joking about these things) include:

  • Getting chickens – eggs! delicious meat! (ok yeah I’d need a LOT of chickens)
  • Getting a goat (ok that was mostly for munching the grass but also- milk!)
  • Whether the farmer whose cow pasture butts up to the property two houses down would notice if one of his cows mysteriously went missing- does he really know how many cows he has? (OK I am 100% joking on that one, I am not going to steal my neighbor’s cow- but I only mention it so you can see how weird things are getting.)
  • Whether we would need to make our fire pit bigger or smaller in order to effectively use it to cook food (for, you know, when society collapses – course if I don’t have chickens or cows, not sure what I’m going to cook over that open flame anyway).
  • Planting vegetables in all the flower beds instead of flowers. (Honestly, I’d rather have vegetable plants anyway.)

Which brings us to a thing that really DID happen.

We bought a greenhouse. Yep. It’s a Palram 6-foot-by-8-foot metal-and-plexiglas “hobby greenhouse”, with 7-foot ceiling, cost about $500 on Amazon, should arrive in a couple of days from now (like Apr. 28th). I was getting paranoid about being able to find plants for my “victory garden” by the time the last frost comes (early May is when we plant here in Zone 6) – so I thought maybe we can get things earlier if we have a safe place to keep them “frost-free”? (Well, spoiler alert, it’s still not here yet, and I bought vegetable plants this past Friday, April 24, but the greenhouse will still be good for things like strawberries I would think, and it will keep the bunnies off them. Also, I can start seeds in it – next year, if not this year – and the cat won’t eat the tiny plants! Yes, I have two cats, but only one of them is the problem – he won’t suffer a house plant to live.)

My sister Sara asked if I would make some cloth masks for her and her husband Chase. They are both medical professionals, and they have the good masks at work, but she wanted some cloth ones for them to wear on errands like the grocery store. I started those (also Crafty Daily’s) on Thursday night and finished them the next day. I made them four each because I figured out a very efficient way to fold the fabric to cut 4 masks at once with little waste. I also made a couple of little cardboard templates to help measuring and marking go faster.

His & Hers masks for Chase & Sara, Apr. 17, 2020

His & Hers masks for Chase & Sara, Apr. 17, 2020

Made a couple of templates to mark the mask measurements more quickly

Made a couple of templates to mark the mask measurements more quickly

Friday, April 17, 2020

I had a bunch of weird dreams Thursday night. One was about going to the grocery store, and then Matt showed up at the grocery store, too, and I’m like, “Where’s Jack?” Like, I know he’s not here with you because (a) I don’t see him and (b) we’re not even really supposed to go to the store any more than we can help it and we are for damn sure not supposed to be bringing kids with us to the store – so only one of us can really run errands at a time, awesome. He said he left Jack with a relative, and it was not someone that I would have expected him to have baby-sit our child (not to mention that none of our relatives live nearby). But on the bright side, we were able to get toilet paper in the dream!

Another weird Thursday night dream involved breaking up with my high school boyfriend. Again. Perhaps it was a riff on this whole Groundhog Day merry-go-round we’re all on right now? Deja vu and all that?

COVID-19 Groundhog Day

COVID-19 Groundhog Day

One of the weird dreams I had on Friday night involved learning to fly a helicopter. I’m pretty sure the helicopter tried to crash…for reasons that I’m pretty sure weren’t my fault. Just bad luck, I guess.

**********

A few more random things I saw on Facebook and saved because they spoke to me.

“You do not need to thrive right now. You don’t need to use this time wisely. It is ok to just survive it.” (I mean, we gotta work from home…and keep a toddler alive…oh, and ourselves. But other than that, sure, yeah.)

This infographic of tips for mental health was shared by my same friend who shared the thing I posted previously about how you feel like you’re doing a shitty job at parenting AND work because nobody should have to be doing all of those things at once. Anyway, here it is:

Mental Health tips infographic

Mental Health tips infographic

I especially like the overthinking one. I HAVE TO read some, in bed, before I try to fall asleep. Even if it’s 2 a.m. (and sometimes, lately, it has been) and I’m dead tired (obviously, it’s 2 a.m.), I HAVE TO read for at least a few minutes to…take my mind somewhere else, SOMEWHERE ELSE, that is not here, this, the pandemic, my job, my kid, my parents, my community…it’s just…somewhere else, something else, a distraction…so my mind can click “off” and fall asleep.

COVID-19 Diary: April 9-12, 2020 (Easter Time)

I’ll be honest with you, part of the reason I wrote the “Random Toilet Paper Thoughts” entry last night was because I wanted to sit down and write something but didn’t really want to write about Easter weekend just yet. Plus, who doesn’t like a good break from the day-to-day once in a while, right?

Easter this year was kind of a shit show. I initially wrote in my paper diary that this was the first major holiday we had ever spent away from our families (who live 2 hours away anyway, so I guess that makes it easier to resist the temptation to blow off the whole “social distancing from anyone who doesn’t live with you” thing). But upon further reflection, I recall that this is not the case. When the archives was open on Sundays, we were not closed on Easter Sunday, and I am sure I worked at least one of those. And I’m pretty sure there was another Easter (or maybe it was the same one?) where I didn’t go home, and I recall a lot of crying that day for reasons I won’t get into. And then, there was my son’s first Thanksgiving, when we didn’t go home because he was sick, and we didn’t want to be those assholes who came anyway with a sick child because we “didn’t want to miss it.” Yeah, and everyone else doesn’t want you to give them strep throat or the stomach flu or whatever the hell else it might be (we weren’t sure yet at the time). I made a lasagna for us to eat, and I have this sad picture of me sitting on the floor, holding a pitiful sick baby with one arm and eating lasagna from a plate on an ottoman with the other hand.

But I digress… While I may sometimes fantasize about spending a nice quiet holiday at home by ourselves — instead of packing up everything, traveling 2 hours, and either being away from home for days or (perhaps worse?) making it a whirlwind trip of only 1-2 days (such as Easter, when we usually have to work Friday and Monday) — well, this was my chance, right?! We had our own holiday at home! We could make our own traditions — or at least do the usual ones, at our own speed and style — right? This is an opportunity!

OK.

Guys.

I did my best to make this holiday special for just the three of us.

I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who really gave a shit.

And I’m just hoping that Jack wasn’t sufficiently traumatized by the bad parts as to actually remember any of them.

And I realized that the real reason we get together with our families and friends for holidays is actually strength in numbers.

Facebook post: I think I know the real reason we celebrate holidays with family and friends: Strength in numbers

Facebook post, April 12: I think I know the real reason we celebrate holidays with family and friends: Strength in numbers

Thursday, April 9, 2020

This was a pretty bad day for me as far as work (and really everything else too) goes, because Matt had to be gone for a lot of the day. And, as my son is a toddler and not an infant, he currently stays awake for most of the day. So you can see my problem.

Mask and gloves in Matt's truck before he left for the day

Mask and gloves in Matt’s truck before he left for the day

Matt had to go to work for a few hours to get “up to speed” on some stuff at his new job, to increase the amount of projects he’s able to work on from home. (He was only physically there 2 days before he had to start working from home.) Then since he was already in the area where all the stores are, he ran some grocery errands. (I already talked about these in the previous entry.) He wore his new mask everywhere. He said he did not have to stand in any lines to get into any of the stores (like Sam’s Club or IGA). Then after dinner, he went out again to pick up our ClickList grocery order at Kroger (in Fairborn), and he had to wait in line (in the line of cars) for TWO HOURS. He had offered to take the baby with him so I could have some peace, but Jesus, I’m so glad he didn’t. (The previous time we did ClickList a couple weeks earlier, the entire round-trip literally only took 30 minutes!)

ClickList Pickup Line at Kroger in Fairborn, Ohio, April 9, 2020, 6:47 p.m.

ClickList Pickup Line at Kroger in Fairborn, Ohio, April 9, 2020, 6:47 p.m.

Kroger ClickList line, 8:03 p.m.

ClickList Pickup Line at Kroger in Fairborn, Ohio, April 9, 2020, 8:03 p.m.

I put Jack to bed on my own, and he was crying a lot (not wanting to go to sleep), and I couldn’t take it, so I went to the garage — where I wouldn’t be able to hear him cry because I had had it — planning to sit in my car, when realized it was gone because oh yeah, Matt took it to Kroger. (I have an SUV; he has a truck.) So I sat in a camp chair in the garage, practicing my German on Duolingo. Then after I’d sat still for too long, the motion-sensor lights went off. And I just continued to sit there, in the dark (except for the light of my phone screen), waiting for Matt to come home. When he finally got home, he was like, “Why are you sitting in the dark all creepy?”

Because I needed some goddamn peace, that’s why.

After we got all the groceries (about 1/2 of what we actually ordered- they were out of everything else) inside and put away, I insisted that he watch some Netflix with me instead of going to the basement to play on his computer. He did so, without a word.

Friday, April 10, 2020

This was a better day, work-wise. Matt made sure I got plenty of big chunks of good-concentration time, and I was able to make good progress on an important project related to our efforts to collect COVID-19 diaries (such as this one).

Mom sent Jack some Easter presents in the mail, so we recorded a video of him opening the box up. I think he was most excited about the chocolate, haha.

Mom also mentioned in a text that she would be at church from 12-1. I almost had a fit, until later she clarified that she should have put it in quotation marks (“at church”) because she just meant she was watching the Good Friday service online. She said all the bishops have closed all the Catholic churches in compliance with the governor’s stay-at-home order, so she couldn’t physically go to Mass even if she wanted to.

I started looking at buying vegetable plants and/or seeds online. (I know it’s late for seeds.) I’m getting nervous about whether I’ll be able to find what I want when the time finally comes. (We don’t plant until the first or second week of May here; our last freeze can be really late and kill everything.)

Easter Ideas (Goals) in my goal journal

Easter Ideas (Goals) in my goal journal

Jack and I (and Matt) made cut-out sugar cookies after dinner. Jack loves to bake, and making cookies was on my list of “Easter goals.” (I legit made a list in my goal journal- see above.) Jack and I mixed everything up. He loves putting ingredients in the bowl. Then we got to the rolling part, and I don’t know how I sucked Matt into helping with that part, but he did. And it was very frustrating for everyone involved. Matt did a great job rolling, it wasn’t that. But I think it was too close to bedtime when we started, and the baby is two, and he was being contrary, not listening, trying to “do it himself,” and sticking his fingers into/through the dough (like poking holes in the cookies), trying to “help” pick them up and put them on the cookie sheet.

Baking cookies, April 10, 2020

Baking cookies, April 10, 2020

Oh my goodness. There was yelling. There was crying (only Jack). I hope he either doesn’t remember or only remembers that we made cookies and how delicious they were. And they were. I have a favorite go-to baking recipes web site called Live Well Bake Often, and I consider the author Danielle to be the Muse of Baking. (Here’s the sugar cookies recipe we used.) I have literally not tried a single one of her recipes that wasn’t delicious. I even made the homemade frosting for these cookies, and OH. MY. DAMN. In hindsight, making an entire batch of sugar cookies when you aren’t allowed to take them anywhere to share with people was probably a bad decision, but oh well.

Sugar cookies with homemade frosting and (store-bought) Easter sprinkles, April 10

Sugar cookies with homemade frosting and (store-bought) Easter sprinkles, April 10

In the evening, after Jack was in bed, I needed some “sewing therapy.” I tried out a new “3D” mask pattern from YouTube (by ArtThao162). I had noticed that there were a lot of videos (for this type of mask in particular) that were not in English (they mostly appeared to be from Asia). And someone had told me that Asians really know their masks because it is fairly common to wear them over there, not just because of COVID-19. I will say, I like the mask pattern by ArtThao162 a lot. I later (Sunday night- needed more thread-therapy) found a video for a very similar but slightly simpler (and faster-to-make) mask by Crafty Daily. I think the ArtThao162 may hold its shape better after washing, but…I think I can get the creases back in the Crafty Daily one by just ironing them back in, if I find that it matters. Anyway, here are a couple pictures- the first is me in the ArtThao162 mask, and the second is Matt wearing the one I made from the Crafty Daily pattern. (I have since made several Crafty Daily’s for family members.)

Lisa in the ArthThao162 mask

Lisa in the ArthThao162 mask

Matt in the Crafty Daily mask

Matt in the Crafty Daily mask

Masks hanging by the door to the garage, Apr. 11

Masks hanging by the door to the garage, Apr. 11

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Easter Bunny got Jack’s basket ready, and I did some sewing on a drawstring pouch to hold some large wooden beads I got him. More sewing therapy! That pouch was fun. I also found the pouch pattern (by Sannari) on YouTube.

The weather Saturday was supposed to be nicer than Sunday (and it was), so we did our Easter egg hunt. I had hidden 15 plastic eggs in the front yard (with Matt’s reluctant assistance – mostly I wanted to make sure he knew where the eggs were in case Jack didn’t find them all, so he couldn’t complain later if he hit one with the lawn mower). Thankfully, Jack was able to find them all. I tried to put them mostly “in plain sight” since he’s only two years old, but there were a few that were challenging for him to find. Luckily, he never crossed the line over into “frustrated,” though. He really seemed to enjoy it. The egg hunt was definitely the highlight of the weekend festivities.

Egg Hunt 1, Saturday, April 11

Egg Hunt 1, Saturday, April 11

We all went for a ride in the car at one point. We drove down to Siebenthaler’s nursery in Beavercreek to see what we could see from the road. It looks like they have plenty of plants. So that’s definitely an option for our garden this year. We also took a ride by the stores and restaurants over on North Fairfield in Beavercreek/Fairborn. There was considerably less traffic than usual for a Saturday afternoon. The governor had recently issued the order for stores to establish a threshold for their maximum safe customer capacity in order to allow for proper “social distancing,” and so for some places that means waiting in line outside the store until it’s your turn to go inside (like that guy in southeast Asia from Matt’s YouTube video had to do!). We saw people standing in line outside of Lowe’s and JoAnn Fabrics. On the way home, we saw that the price of gasoline had dropped to $1.34 per gallon at the UDF in Enon.

Customers waiting in line outside the Lowe's home improvement store in Beavercreek/Fairborn, Ohio, Apr. 11, 2020

Customers waiting in line outside the Lowe’s home improvement store in Beavercreek/Fairborn, Ohio, Apr. 11, 2020 (notice a few masks)

Short line outside JoAnn Fabrics in Beavercreek/Fairborn, Ohio, Apr. 11

Short line outside JoAnn Fabrics in Beavercreek/Fairborn, Ohio, Apr. 11

Sunday, April 12, 2020 – Easter Sunday

It seemed like Easter was starting off okay. We all stayed in bed until 10:00. This turned out not to have been a blessing, though, as the baby had removed his diaper (again) at some point during the night and had left some little Easter eggs of his own around his room. Oh. My. God. I took him straight to the bathtub, and for some reason he hates morning baths with a fiery passion to rival the pits of Mordor, so that was fun trying to restrain him from escaping the tub AND wash him at the same time. Matt somehow slept through all of this, still. He sleeps like the dead. I later stripped the crib, and Matt ran the big carpet shampooer all over the room.

Matt did make waffles for breakfast, and those were pretty good.

And the boy seemed pleased with what the Easter Bunny had brought him. He fixed on the Legos immediately, and he has since gotten really into the wooden beads (in the pouch!). AND OBVIOUSLY THE CHOCOLATE. I got my little Chocolate Monster honest; chocolate is very important to me as well.

Easter Basket, April 12, 2020

Easter Basket, April 12, 2020

The Bunny overdid it a bit, because a few weeks before Easter when we were suddenly in need of activities…thought to save them for the basket…should have just gotten them out to play. Actually, I realize now there’s still a couple things I forgot to get out and give him – hid them in a separate place – Mom warned me about that, haha…

The rain held off for a while, and we were able to hide and hunt Easter eggs in the yard again, which Jack really enjoyed. This was (again) by far the highlight of the day.

Egg Hunt 2, Apr. 12

Egg Hunt 2, Apr. 12

We colored a half-dozen Easter eggs. Jack kept spilling the dye cups, and Matt was about to lose it. We’ve all got pretty short fuses these days. About half of the eggs somehow ended up cracked. Oh well. My salads have had some colorful diced egg in them this week. As you can see, I even wore silly bunny ears to try to make things festive. Also, as you can see, Matt is not exactly having the time of his life. At least Jack looks excited? Hopefully he was not scarred by the chaos that ensued every time he spilled that yellow dye cup. (It was always the yellow one…and to be fair, I think the yellow one had some manufacturing defects; the plastic on that one seemed thinner and flimsier than the others…just sayin’.)

Coloring Easter Eggs, Apr. 12

Coloring Easter Eggs, Apr. 12

I feel like these Easter eggs are a pretty good metaphor for the entire weekend. BUT I TRIED, GODDAMMIT.

Matt had bought a ham for dinner and wanted some cheesy potatoes. This is what his grandma usually makes for Easter and probably what we would have been eating for dinner if we had been able to have a normal Easter with family. We also had green beans and salad. It was a pretty tasty dinner.

Easter ham and potatoes (and beans), Apr. 12

Easter ham and potatoes (and beans), Apr. 12

We made a new kind of cheesy potatoes, though, and later I think those disagreed with me. Ah, a fitting end to things. Since I felt kind of funky, I was lying on the couch, thinking about reading but not sure I had the heart for it, and so I just laid there with my eyes closed for a while. My little gray cat hopped up immediately and curled up beside me. I eventually fell asleep right there on the couch and slept all night with one or both cats next to me the whole time.

And again, let’s end with a couple of jokes. These are maybe a little dark, but they both had me ROLLING. (You might have noticed that church service was conspicuously absent from our Easter weekend. I was raised Catholic but have not practiced since my parents stopped making me…) Anyway, for your enjoyment (or at the very least hopefully not total offense), a couple of Jesus jokes for Easter 2020:

Tweet from @jessecase, March 17, 2020:

Tweet from @jessecase, March 17, 2020: “The Vatican canceled Easter. You know much stuff has to suck for the Pope to be like, ‘You know what, this year Jesus stays dead.'”

Jesus, peeking head out of cave:

Jesus, peeking head out of cave: “Can I come out yet?” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine: “Nope.” Because stay-at-home order.

I know I still have lots to be thankful for and what-not, but it’s still…not how I planned it. (HAHA THIS WHOLE YEAR IS NOT HOW I PLANNED IT.)

Anyway, here’s hoping y’all had a good Easter, and maybe we’ll have better luck next year.

COVID-19 Diary: Random Toilet Paper Thoughts

So this whole toilet paper thing.

And, it seems like, other (disposable) paper products as well, right? Napkins and paper towels and tissues?

Toilet paper aisle at Meijer store in Beavercreek, Ohio, on March 20, 2020

Toilet paper aisle at Meijer store in Beavercreek, Ohio, on March 20, 2020

Granted, I haven’t been to a store in weeks myself. (The photo above is from one of my last excursions to a store – a trip to Meijer in Beavercreek on March 20th.)

But Matt went to like three places last Thursday — Sam’s Club (Beavercreek), Meijer (also Beavercreek), and IGA (Enon) — and it was like a damn victory lap when he came home with a 6-pack of Quilted Northern mega-roll toilet paper and a 2-pack of Meijer-brand paper towels. (These were both from Meijer, and he said there were several packages of both things but it was “limit 1” per customer – which is probably the only reason there were several packages left. Sam’s Club was out of toilet paper.)

Matt reads a lot more random stuff on the Internet than I do — or at least, different stuff, and he came across this article called “What Everyone is Getting Wrong about the Toilet Paper Shortage: It isn’t really about hoarding. And there isn’t an easy fix” by Will Oremus (Apr. 2, Marker.Medium.com). It had some very intriguing information in it. I’ll admit I did not fact-check this thing (bad librarian), but what he said made a lot of sense. The gist of it is that we’re all spending more time at home and doing more of our bathroom business at home, instead of at work or school. And, as you might have noticed, the toilet paper that you typically find at work or school is that tissue-paper-thin kind, often on giant rolls, right? (I have a good friend who introduced me to the term “John Wayne toilet paper” for this stuff, and it comes to mind now…)

John Wayne toilet paper: it's rough, it's tough, and it don't take shit from nobody.

John Wayne toilet paper: it’s rough, it’s tough, and it don’t take shit from nobody.

And I think most of us typically avoid purchasing “John Wayne toilet paper” (whether in big or small rolls) for home use, right? We buy the small rolls of usually thicker, softer paper.

But anyway, so that Will Oremus article makes some really good points about the whole toilet paper industry, and how there are companies and factories that are geared (literally) to produce basically one type of toilet paper or another — the industrial stuff or the home-use stuff. And that’s all well and good and makes tons of sense. But now the supply and demand is all thrown out of whack — not necessarily (or perhaps, not initially?) because people are hoarding, but because there’s truthfully a greater actual need for the home-use type toilet paper than what there usually is. So it sounds like there might actually be a real shortage, and then everyone hears there’s a shortage and starts buying it up like crazy, and then that just exacerbates the whole problem even more.

So, that’s just awesome. And here we are.

This shortage, whether real (sure seems real) or perceived, or whatever, has led me through some weird thoughts, plans, actions. OK, not SUPER WEIRD actions; this entry is still “safe for work.” But it has…changed my behaviors a little bit.

Changed behaviors:

Use less toilet paper. I have started consciously using less toilet paper than usual. Like, start with 3 squares, see how that goes. Take a few more squares if necessary. But pretty well staying with the 3-square increment. It’s made me very aware of how much toilet paper I was using before. How much money could I have been saving on toilet paper?

I used to spin the toilet paper roll like I was on the Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I'm cracking a safe.

I used to spin the toilet paper roll like I was on the Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I’m cracking a safe.

Every time I finish a roll of toilet paper it feels like a petal falling off the enchanted rose in Beauty and the Beast

Tweet from Stephen LaConte (@stephenlc) from March 29th: Every time I finish a roll of toilet paper it feels like a petal falling off the enchanted rose in Beauty and the Beast

Use less other paper stuff. I am trying to make a conscious effort to use wash cloths and kitchen towels more often, rather than just grabbing a paper towel or a napkin every time to wipe up something small. I have plenty of these, and I can wash them. I might have a hard time finding more paper towels when we run out. This is good for the environment. I should do this all the time. I should have been doing this all along, but I was lulled into this sense of…plenty…that is now shattering with the awareness that the supply of some things (ok all things) is in fact NOT infinite.

COVID-19 is the new Great Depression for ingraining weird actions into our lives that will stay with us forever

COVID-19 is the new Great Depression for ingraining weird actions into our lives that will stay with us forever

Not flushing (pee). Okay this one is actually less about toilet paper and more about conserving other resources like electricity and water, but since we were talking about bathroom stuff already, I thought I’d slip it in here. We have a well, so we have a theoretically “infinite” supply of water (all totally legitimate quarry-related ground-water issues aside, that’s a tale for another time), but it takes electricity to run our well pump. And we’re here a lot more than usual and using the bathroom at home a lot more than usual. And that’s more electricity, right? On top of all the OTHER additional electricity we’re probably using by being here, cooking and using electronics and stuff? So I thought, Hey, if it’s yellow, let it mellow… We’ve all heard that one before, right? Well, my husband has convinced me that it doesn’t take THAT much electricity and kindly asked me to please STOP doing this one. So I did.

Weird thoughts and plans:

Sacrificial towels. I have given serious thought to what I have in the house that we could cut up and use as “reusable” toilet paper. I have a whole basket of Matt’s old undershirts that I cut up (a long time ago) to use as dusting rags. Those would be good. Nice and soft. I also have a whole “hierarchy” of bath towels, if things get really dicey — the ones that are old and don’t match anything anymore but are still fluffy and soft — those might be good.

Practical logistics. OK, so if we can’t get toilet paper anymore and have to start using towels to clean up our unspeakables…what’s the game plan for washing those things? People who did cloth-diapering (which I did not) probably already know how to deal with this. But I’m thinking something akin to the “poop bucket” of infancy. This was a trick my sister told me about for when my son was small and more prone to get poop on clothes (although hmm that’ll be coming back again soon with potty-training)….anyway, keep a bucket with water and Oxyclean in the laundry room and just toss soiled clothing into it. When it’s laundry time, you dump the whole thing, poop water and all, into the washing machine. Run the “spin” cycle to get all the yucky water out, and then you start a new wash cycle and do what you normally do. Yes, this. The Poop Bucket Rides Again! And hmm, that would be really inconvenient to have to have three of those (and try to keep the toddler from messing with THREE of those), plus carrying the bucket of poopy water down the stairs (two of our bathrooms are upstairs and 1 downstairs) sounds like a terrible awful no-good plan. The downstairs bathroom is right by the laundry room already, and we also have a long-standing gate keeping the baby out of that area. Yes, one poop bucket in the downstairs half-bath, and sorry about your luck, folks, that’s the only place anyone is authorized to poop! (This is only if we have to enact the cut-up-towels plan, of course…until then, poop where you please! As long as it’s a toilet or diaper, as age-appropriate.)

Rationing. War. Is rationing coming next? Of toilet paper? Of other stuff? Gasoline? Flour? Sugar? Yeast? Butter? (Why are we all baking? That’s another entry.) The governor keeps making references to this thing like an enemy in a war, and that feels so true. But we can’t see it. And we can’t stop it. But the hiding in our homes and the scarcity of certain things…reminds me of what I’ve read that war can be like…

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Speaking of potty-training, we are doing a half-ass job of that at the moment. Our son is not quite two-and-a-half, so I know there’s plenty of time before it gets “weird” for him to not be potty-trained. But….trying to work from home and keep him alive AND deal with potty training? Hmm… I don’t know about all that. Plus, as it stands, every time he spins the toilet paper roll, he totally spins it Wheel of Fortune style (because he’s two!), and I can’t deal with that kind of gluttony under the current circumstances.

Living through a Pandemic vs. Potty training a toddler

Living through a Pandemic vs. Potty training a toddler

I feel like there have been a lot more “weird thoughts” but these are all the ones I can think of right now that pertain to the whole toilet paper thing.

I am probably thinking there should be a lot more to say in this area, because I have had a LOT of other weird thoughts….just maybe not about toilet paper. I should save those for another entry, but here’s a sampling: Should we buy a side of beef now in case the meat gets scarce? (We were discussing this at dinner tonight.) Should we buy a greenhouse to grow more of our own vegetables earlier, since the frost is so late here? (Spoiler alert: we did buy a small greenhouse, it’ll be here next week. This is currently our most expensive pandemic panic purchase.) What if society collapses, and there IS no electricity and we have to start curing meats and cooking outside over a fire? And SHIT (literally), what are we going to do for toilets…?

Yeah, things are great. Things are going well here in my mind.

Dog drinking coffee surrounded by flames, saying,

“THIS IS FINE.” (Narrator: It wasn’t fine.)

COVID-19 Diary: April 5-8, 2020

I’m slacking off on here! Fear not, everything is safely written down in paper journal nightly or every-other-nightly. You’d think that with working from home, I’d feel like I have more time, but somehow, that’s just not the case. Matt commented on this as well. We somehow feel like we actually have less time. After “fighting” our way through the work day while trying to keep a two-year-old alive (at the very least) and safe (pretty high priority) and entertained (mostly so he doesn’t destroy the house), in the evening we are still trying to catch up on our work day, instead of flat-out relaxing. I think this is exacerbated by the lack of a firm division between “work” and “home,” like there used to be. I read an article at some point in the past few weeks (can’t find it now) about people regretting their life choices with regards to those “open floor-plan” homes that have been all the rage for the last several years. I wouldn’t say that’s a problem for us; we each have an “office” space that is fairly separate from the main living part of the house—but there’s a little tyrant running around the place, banging on doors if you’ve closed them, and trying to disable your technology saying “Mommy laptop closed” or “Daddy phone away” (and trying to forcibly make these demands a reality if you drag your feet on them). So the times get blurred, and the lines get blurred too.

Actually, about a week ago, I read this article — “The Parents are Not Alright by Chloe Cooney” — that summarizes things pretty well, I think. We are not all right. And as much as we’d like to, we can’t (shouldn’t) turn to our parents for help (as much as I know they’d like to), because we don’t want to put them at risk. And we’re not really supposed to interact with anyone any more than we have to, so that rules out baby-sitters (not that we had any, other than the daycare). Another article I read recently (that I can’t remember the name of now) suggested banding together with one or two other families and taking turns watching all the kids so the rest of you could focus and get shit done. You’re still mostly social distancing because you’ve just basically made yourselves like an extended family unit. Like: “I’m taking the day off on Monday to watch 6 kids, and the other 5 of you can work. Then Tuesday, someone else watches the kids, and I & 4 others get to concentrate fully…” Then again, come to think of it, maybe I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and NOT be responsible for several children for an entire day. I have enough trouble with one, even when I’m not also trying to work, haha.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

I made my first mask, using the CDC sewn face mask guidelines. It’s extremely simple to make, but I don’t like it very much. I tried to make another one with the same pattern but used denim, and the denim was too thick, it wouldn’t “bunch” right on the sides. That’s OK; I have tons of denim. (I’ve been hoarding my husband’s old jeans for years, any time he got a hole in them somewhere that rendered them out-of-commission. Free fabric!)

Lisa, first mask, April 5, 2020

Lisa, first mask, April 5, 2020

We made chicken and noodles from scratch. I don’t think I’ve ever made homemade egg noodles in my life — okay maybe like once in elementary school for the big fancy all-school Thanksgiving or something? — but we were inspired by Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine’s chicken and noodles recipe. And OH. MY. DAMN. were those noodles good! Jack loves to “help” with everything, especially baking, and so we let him help. Matt did most of it, honestly; he mixed and rolled and cut. Jack and I took the strips and broke them up into smaller noodles. Jack was good at that, haha, just pulling off pieces of noodle to make them smaller. It wasn’t hard, just more time-consuming than opening a bag of egg noodles and tossing into the pot. But SO DELICIOUS, WOULD DO AGAIN.

Homemade chicken and noodles, April 5, 2020

Homemade chicken and noodles (and bread), April 5, 2020

We also made bread in the bread machine. That was pretty damn good too. I hear it’s getting tough to find flour and yeast. Apparently, everyone is baking right now. I don’t know if it’s “stress” baking or “I have all this time now to bake” baking or “what if the store runs out of bread, I better get flour and yeast” baking (that last one is what mine was, when I bought flour and yeast).

I have had a LOT of thoughts lately about how self-sufficient we are or could be (or rather, lack thereof). We’re so dependent on…the way things usually work. I warned Matt, only half-jokingly, that I might become a “prepper” after this. I saw someone online joking about how this COVID thing is “not helping my pre-existing hoarder tendencies.” SAME. Like, I know we used to have home hair clippers, and now I can’t find them; I think I gave them to Goodwill because we never used them anymore. We just went to the walk-in hair-cutters. And now those are all closed. And now you CAN’T FIND CLIPPERS to buy either. That’s the kind of shit that will make you want to never get rid of anything ever again. And then someday, somebody will be all, “Dude, what made you this crazy?” And we’ll say, “Settle in, kids, it’s a long story. It was the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020…” (It’s like, did you ever see or hear of an elderly person who did weird things because of the 1929 stock market crash and/or the Great Depression? And it was like, why are they still doing that? It’s been YEARS. Well, this is the kind of shit that — I expect — will scar you into that sort of thing. Like, Matt knew someone who legit buried money in jars in the back yard because of the 1929 stock market crash. DECADES LATER.)

Speaking of food stuffs, though, Matt was going to go the grocery store to get a handful of things that day. He was even willing to wear my flowered mask (since that’s the only cloth one I had made so far at the time). But I talked him out of it. We still had plenty of food, just were out of a few things we “like” to have around. I talked him into making another Kroger curb-side pickup order instead; the first available time to pick up was Thursday evening. Ugh. But we took it.

I got a little shook up right before we settled down to watch some television that night. I was cruising Twitter (as per usual) and saw some archivists tweeting about how it was…I don’t know…greedy? thoughtless? inappropriate? to be asking people to keep COVID-19 diaries and then donate them to us. (My archives is doing this very thing.) Like we are somehow preying on their vulnerabilities for the benefit of our collection development. I’m not sure I’m getting the words exactly right (I know I’m not), and I remember who it was, but I’m not going to go find their tweet because (a) I don’t want to relive it and (b) I’m not trying to call this person out. I’m just saying that I saw it, and it upset me. It wasn’t even directed at us or any particular archive in particular, but I saw it, and my stomach sunk. I had never thought of it that way, that we might be somehow taking advantage of people for our own gain. So when we were making our peanut butter sandwiches (nighttime TV-watching snack), I said to Matt, “Tell me we’re not terrible for doing this COVID-19 Diaries project,” and of course he said, “No, of course not, why?” So I told him, and he just kind of shook his head like, no way, not horrible at all. And then I thought about it some more and psyched myself up about it: I mean, nobody is making people write diaries or making them give the diaries to us. I still think people should be writing down (or documenting in an art form of their choosing) whatever their thoughts and feelings and experiences are right now EVEN IF they don’t give them to us. There’s a reason I have kept a diary since I was 13. It helps you chronicle your life, and it helps you think. Or it does me. (I was careful to put this very sentiment into my “So, you’ve decided to keep a Coronavirus diary, now what?” blog post I wrote for work — that I encourage the keeping of a diary during this crazy time, or any time really, even if you don’t give it to an archive.) Anyway. I hate when I see shit that upsets me too close to bedtime. Or ever. But especially too close to bedtime.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Another Monday, another work-from-home day. With a baby. Here’s a picture of the sort of thing that happens when I forget to lock the office door or if he knocks down the baby gate on the other side. (My “office” was originally the dining room of the house; but it’s always been my office since we’ve lived here, because I don’t need or want a formal dining room—and I do need/want an office.)

Trying to work from home on an archives finding aid with a two-year-old on my lap, April 6, 2020

Trying to work from home on an archives finding aid with a two-year-old on my lap, April 6, 2020

I watched some more mask videos and tried out a new, more fitted pattern (video by Sew Much Moore). It actually had a pattern to print out and cut out and came in four sizes. I made a big one for Matt. On Tuesday evening, I made a smaller one for me (I think I went too small actually). A little later in the week I made another for Matt with a pipe-cleaner in a pocket across the bridge of the nose (once my pipe-cleaners I ordered arrived from Amazon); wire not as strong as one might have hoped, but better. Figured I should probably try some more mask videos later. (Spoiler alert, I did, at least one more…)

Face Mask with pattern by Sew Much Moore, April 6, 2020

Face Mask with pattern by Sew Much Moore, April 6, 2020

Matt in a Sew Much Moore mask

Matt in a Sew Much Moore mask

Lisa in a Sew Much Moore mask

Lisa in a Sew Much Moore mask

My friend whose husband got laid off from a local hospital (wrote about this a few entries ago) called to chat, and she told me that he has found another job already. So that’s good news for them, hooray!

And finally, while writing one of my previous posts (the one with the Coronavirus Bingo card), I had the idea to make a Bingo game for the archives, with activities that involve our online resources (photos, videos, etc.). I’m pretty excited about it; I think it came out well.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I had a series of nightmares. In one, Matt lost his (new) job. Next, I was in a library and it was raining…inside…but just over one range of shelves. (That is actually a rather legitimate fear for a library worker, come to think of it, especially one who works in a library with a giant skylight. And roof leaks do tend to be rather localized.) And the last one (the least nightmarish of the bunch), I was attempting to explain the many different parts of the Dayton Daily News Archive (our largest collection) to an extremely large group of people—like, seriously, it was like regular people sitting at the Hogwarts House tables in the Great Hall…and I wasn’t up at the front, I was just kind of down in the aisles, and I was having to yell, and it wasn’t working out very well. Great, I’m having work nightmares, and I can’t even use that collection right now.

As I said, I did some work on the face masks on Tuesday. Jack really doesn’t like it when anyone wears a mask. We learned this during a few of his doctor visits when the doctors were wearing a mask for whatever reason. He’d stare at them like they were monsters and then start crying. He hasn’t done the crying thing to us at least — I guess we are familiar enough that he knows it’s still US — but he’ll say “mask off” and try to take it off us if he can get close enough. I let him come into my sewing room one day, and we were sitting at my cutting table (all cutting tools pushed FAR AWAY), and he upset a few stick pins on the table, and we were putting them back into the container, and while he was distracted with that, I slipped my mask on and positioned my phone for selfies to catch his reaction. He smiled at first because he just saw the phone on reverse camera mode (so he could see himself), but you can see his expression change when he saw that I was wearing a mask…and then you can see him taking it off me. I’m glad he didn’t cry; I wasn’t trying to traumatize him or anything.

Jack doesn't like masks, April 7, 2020

Jack doesn’t like masks, April 7, 2020

My sister Sara, a nurse practitioner in the Columbus area, sent us all some pictures of herself heading in to work that day, wearing her mask. She also has one of those headbands with the buttons to help alleviate the pressure of wearing the elastic all day; she said a co-worker’s relative made them for everyone. (She also gave me permission to post these pictures; I asked.)

Sara in a mask in the hospital elevator, April 7, 2020

Sara in a mask in the hospital elevator, April 7, 2020

Sara modeling her nifty button-equipped headband to save her ears from the mask elastic, April 7, 2020

Sara modeling her nifty button-equipped headband to save her ears from the mask elastic, April 7, 2020

There’s not much else to say about Tuesday, except that it was a gorgeous day (sunny and 75) and we basically ate all our meals outside on the back porch.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

There was a major thunderstorm about 4:00 a.m. The lightning looked like a rave. We had dime-size hail, and I found a pile of it still accumulated in a shady part of the front yard later that afternoon. And the baby woke up crying about 5:00; he was all right but had a hard time getting him back to sleep. I was very tired that day.

We had another web-conference staff meeting. It was good to see people and talk and laugh.

Archives staff meeting via WebEx, April 8, 2020

Archives staff meeting via WebEx, April 8, 2020

Did I ever mention we finally found out about Matt’s co-worker who was tested for COVID-19? He did NOT have it.

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Let’s end on a positive note again — I think I like doing that! Plus, it’s hard to work some of these funnies into the narrative, but I feel like it’s important to include them if they spoke to me enough that I saved them. Like a scrapbook!

“We cannot go to the emergency room right now!”

I have absolutely said this phrase (or something very similar) either out loud, or at least in my head, MANY times over the past few weeks. Usually it’s directed at the baby. But I do remember one of the times I was sewing, I tried to injure myself somehow ( I forget- probably something involving unsafe procedure with a rotary cutter), and I thought to myself, Wouldn’t it be ironic as hell if I hurt myself making my COVID-19 face masks and have to go to the hospital and GET COVID-19 because I was at the hospital because I hurt myself trying to make face masks?!

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Harry Potter series!

“Watching the federal government deal with COVID-19 is like watching the Ministry of Magic deal with Voldemort’s return.”

“Watching the federal government deal with COVID-19 is like watching the Ministry of Magic deal with Voldemort’s return.” ABSOLUTELY ACCURATE. (If you do not get this reference, refer to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling….after reading books 1-4 first. How have you not read this? I thought I was the last person on earth who hadn’t, and even I read them all in 2009.)

Governor DeWine as Picard with Jon Husted and Dr. Amy Acton and Marla Berkowitz

Governor DeWine as Picard with Jon Husted and Dr. Amy Acton and Marla Berkowitz

I don’t know who made this; it wasn’t me. My husband found it on the Internet and showed it to me. I have already shared a Picard “Damage Report” meme in a previous post, and although I am not what I’d consider a “Trekkie,” I have watched enough Trek to love these. I LOVE THIS. For those maybe not from Ohio (or from Ohio but currently living under a rock — not that I blame you — and not watching the daily press conferences), these folks are: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (center as Captain Picard); Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (left as Cmdr. Riker); Dr. Amy Acton, head of the Ohio Dept. of Health (right as Counselor Troi); and sign-language interpreter Marla Berkowitz (top as Worf- it’s perfect because she is usually shown in a picture-in-picture box at the upper right of the screen above DeWine’s—or whoever is speaking’s—head).

Rickey, out.