Working Wednesday, March 18, 2020

. Welp, here we all are with time at home to craft and rehab and cook and panic. How long are we going to have this opportunity to cocoon? From what I’ve read, it’s anywhere from two weeks (those people are delusional) to eighteen months (those people do not understand people). In the US, the most common estimates I’ve seen are “end of the summer” and “nobody knows.” So the first thing most of us are probably working on is establishing the new normal. Upside: working in pjs and sleeping later. Downside: IF I DON’T GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE I’M GONNA DIE. Actually, if you do get out of the house, you might . . . never mind.

So what did you work on this week? Besides your new normal and your nerves, although feel free to talk about those, too. We’re all in this together, Argh People. Except, you know, apart.

101 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, March 18, 2020

  1. I’m working out figuring out how to teach ESL online. My first class yesterday went smoother than I thought, but I think a lot of that is due to my students being patient and gracious. I’d like things to go better each day.

    I think my big thing is figuring out my new normal for my kids. That is the hardest thing for me. As of right now, they think that school is only closed till April 1st. The school hasn’t said otherwise (yet) and i don’t want to tell them anything until I know. I may end up transitioning away from teaching ESL (once we get more official word on this being long-term and hopefully how long-term) and doing my best to figure out how to homeschool then, since of course my husband will be teleworking most of the time too. I definitely do not have a natural aptitude for home schooling. I remember a well-meaning older lady suggesting that to me once and I tried really hard not to react poorly, but I think I gave her a look like she just suggested I eat cockroaches. And guys, we have a small duplex. This is going to be quite the adventure for all of us.

    I’m trying really hard not to whine or fret b/c so many people are in a much more dire situation, but. . . it’s not ideal. For any of us. Let’s put it that way.

    But, I’ve been doing lots of yoga and walking and trying to clear off one cluttered surface every day. So that’s good.

  2. Working on work, and holding everything together, and dealing with not knowing what tomorrow holds, and still running even though the half marathon I’m booked to do in May is cancelled, and kids and life and dinner and grading and everything and I really need to get the f off Twitter (I’m sure I’ve said that before) and limit my media (except Siousxie Welles, see my comment on Jenny’s last post).

    I’m also watching Good Omens for the end of the world. And tomorrow (since we’re not in isolation) I’m going to messageall the mums I know and invite them over for cake before school pick up on Friday afternoon. I need the connection. Maybe cake and wine. Hmmm. Noble reisling, sounds like a plan. (Unless of course they recommend community wide isolation before then).

    Anyway, here, have Dylan Moran ranting about the state of world two years ago, so real today it hurts. But too funny.
    If we have to isolate, a binge re-watch of Black Books is definitely on the cards. In the meantime…argh.

    1. That was two years ago? We must have fixed it all by now, yeah?

      Oh, well. I binge-watched you-tube for hours, so there’s that. I need to get up in a few hours and go to work.

  3. In between work stuff, I am getting some unfinished projects done. Finished a knitted shawl yesterday, will finish another one (crocheted) today. Probably also a beading project or two today or tomorrow.

    Making a list of small projects around the house that I can do to break up the day — gardening, decluttering, possibly some painting.

    I feel freed actually. And am looking forward to the next few weeks. Hubby is going to continue to go in to his (virtually deserted) institute a couple of days a week so I’ll have some real peace and quiet.

  4. I’m trying to figure out how to teach my classes online. I am the person who is responsible for extensions/suspensions for all of our MBA students, so I am processing lots of covid-19 related extension requests. We have students in seven countries around the world, so I am watching its effect spread geographically through extension requests. I am reading each new covid-19 update from the university and its various functions, which now seem to have slowed to around one an hour. They have, however, become steadily longer, as more words apparently helps. Many of them are aimed at telling us how to teach online, so I need to read them.

    I have spent some time trying to update my pantry – I have coeliac’s disease but all of the gluten-free flour and pasta seems to have gone instantly! And the rice as well. But I can do beans and lentils like no one’s business, so beans and lentils it will be. Interestingly, there is lots of fresh stuff available, so if you want mangoes or kale, its still in the shops.

    I have also been doing some knitting. I’m just about to finish a lovely and colourful knitted tee; I will show it off next Wednesday, once it’s been blocked.

    1. I noticed that yesterday at the grocery. Tons of bok ahoy and lettuce. Weirdly, the ham was almost out. Possibly because it’s cured and lasts longer?

      1. It’s the only meat left? Haven’t seen chicken or beef in 4 days of shopping. Steaks, pork and some ham lol

  5. My spouse and I are both still working. My mother, bless her forever, is taking the kids the rest of this week and most of next week.

    I need to start accessing the kids’ school stuff. This is where it’s going to get interesting because they both attend a foreign language immersion school. So the amount of schoolwork we are actually able to teach/help with is extremely limited as we don’t speak or read German. Google Translate can only do so much.

    I stayed home with them on Monday, worked from home a bit. Spouse worked from home on Tuesday. The kids stayed in PJs most of the weekend, Monday and Tuesday. They showered and put clean PJs on.

    1. Um, Beth, there are a few of us Arghers who speak German. If I can help, I’ll be glad to 😘

    2. Bavarian Cherry here: What German Chocolate Betty said, we of German mother tongue can help out gladly 🙂

      Bavaria is the first of the German Bundesländer to have introduced a moderate Lock down as of today, i.e. we are not forbidden to leave our homes, but apart from shops selling the necessary goods (such as toilet paper, obviously Germans were most concerned that our toilet paper runs out…) every shop has to be closed.

      Schools are closed since Monday, every one who’s able to work from home is told to do so. However, I still lack some into in order to efficiently work from home, so that’s a bummer. Argh.

      What I’ve worked on so far: establishing a routine for the four of us now at home.
      Not easy, it’s our first real day at home.

      Yesterday we all tried to get all the things urgently needed, i.e. the reading materials older son had to get in haste (why not think about it a few days earlier, argh).
      And download the massive lists of homework for both kinds – they do not have their own computer yet. Which took a lot of time as our ministry’s learning platform was never meant to provide the whole Bundesland with stuff.
      And then was under attack from some idiot(s) on the very first day. So we had no access for more than one day. Argh again.

      Also, it’s little princess’s birthday today.
      No party with friends (as meticulously planned) or grandparents, no possibility to go to the movies or else. At least the sun is shining.
      Interestingly, she’s downstairs doing her Latin homework WITHOUT PROTESTING although yesterday she insisted that she won’t do any school stuff today because of her birthday…

      Older son and his class is so swamped with school work he and his friends have decided they can forget about gaming for the unforeseeable future.
      Some of his teachers obviously think now is the occasion to get all the work done they are too inefficient to get done in the class room. Argh!!

      Lots of love from sunny and silent Munich.
      Keep safe and healthy!

      Bavarian Cherry

      1. Dear all,

        thank you soooooo much for all your lovely responses and best wishes for little princess who was very moved 🙂

        All the best from Munich in shut down day 1
        Bavarian Cherry

  6. Found out yesterday that I am being temporarily laid off after all, starting next Monday. I’ll find out the details today from my boss, but I get to keep my health insurance at least through April. And my apartment’s doing 25% off rent for people affected, and my parents can help me out some, plus I have the ghostwriting and some savings, so I will be fine.

    In the mean time I have 2 big ghostwriting deadlines today (because someone didn’t get me their part of one project soon enough), plus another day of regular work. So no fun projects today.

    I always said I wanted to try writing full time. So I’m just going to tell myself that (once I survive 3 more days of 3 jobs), that’s what I’ll be doing.

    Fun things in the work: my friends started a podcast critiquing bad romcoms, and then offering the good romcom you SHOULD watch instead of the one they just tore to pieces. And I got invited to be a guest. So that will be fun.

  7. Working from home, with an IT job, but my focus is crap. Waking up and disinfecting all the dials, buttons, switches, phones, clickers. Without my one hour commute I feel I have time for yoga, so that’s good. Waiting for a hi-def monitor to be delivered so I don’t squint for the duration. Got sound-cancelling earphones to help with focus, since people are around me a lot. I don’t have meetings, which would actually be a nice break.
    Maybe it’s time to give an hour a day to the ukulele.

    1. I find the ukulele oddly relaxing. It lifts my spirits. I say oddly (relaxing) because I’m crap at it so it really should be winding me up.

  8. I’m feeling surprisingly happy, though there’s quite a bit of background fear for all of us. But it feels as if everyone’s joining me: ‘social isolation’ is pretty much my norm. So I’m hoping friends and relations start using the phone more, as they did ten years ago. I also recommended it to my main Penguin contact, since they’re all now working from home; it was a real blow when they stopped answering the phone ten or twelve years ago. (Not that I expect them to start phoning me, but I urged them to phone each other.)

    I’m hoping to get my two raised beds made this next week; then I’ll be all set for planting up the remaining walls and fences. I’ve got loads to do on my allotment. I can still go for walks, and the National Trust intend to keep as many of their gardens open as possible – for free – so I’ll be able to go on outings. Should be able to go for walks with local friends, too – at arm’s length.

    I’m still juggling two freelance jobs, and am resigned to them taking a little longer than I’d like, to avoid pushing myself too hard and getting run down. Also thinking of setting myself a new Daily Feb-style challenge, to photograph something hopeful each day and post to Instagram.

    1. Oh, a new Daily Challenge is a good idea.

      I’ve got raised beds and I’m starting to work on them now. I finally decided to have the mulch and dirt delivered; it’s not cheap but it makes a lot more sense. Then one trip to get plants if it’s possible, and if not, I’ll order seeds online. Everything I want to plant is easy–lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, basil, parsley–with the possible exception of bok choy, so I have high hopes, even with my black thumb.

      1. That sounds good; and if the seeds don’t cooperate, you should be able to buy young plants online as a fallback.

      2. We can Absolutely continue doing #Daily things! What kind of cheerleading do we need? We can call it #DailyCovid-19? #artinthetimeofcoronavirus? most of you people come up with much cleverer names than me – I’ll leave it to the community!

        1. I like things that aren’t about the virus. Part of the problem here is that we’re forgetting that huge amounts of our lives will not be about the virus. It’s changing the way we go about things, but not the way we live. People who craft will keep crafting. People who write will keep writing. People who talk to dogs will keep talking to dogs. People who stare at the ceiling and count their blessings will keep counting their blessings. Those thing may be affected by the virus, but they’re not about the virus.

          So something with “today” in it? Never a better time to live in the moment than when you don’t know what the next moment will bring. Today’s Good Thing? A Piece of Today? Your Moment of Now?

          I kind of like that last one because it doesn’t imply that you have to post something positive. Sometimes you just need a primal scream. This is Argh. we understand Primal Screams.

  9. We are stocking up a bit on food, got some version of most things. Not venturing out again until next week.

    Dentist called and confirmed our appts for next weekend. They ran through their changes they initiated with C-19. That was interesting. It comes down to no patient touches anything, you can wait in the car until your appt is ready, and as much due diligence as they can muster for cleanliness when they were already clean. Nice to hear, I’m going.

    Doggo is loving the at home time, so that’s nice. Work is busy, which I’m grateful for.

    The relatives that were going to come down are not. One cousin of the aunt who’s crochet projects I’m finishing is pregnant, which means she’ll be the first to use one of the blankets, which is just wonderful!

    Otherwise, we’re hunkered down. My stomach is a little knotty, but it’s all gonna be ok. I say that to people, and it sounds like false cheer to my ears, like I’m trying to comfort myself. Irritates the heck out of me… but we will be. I’m enjoying seeing the community in people. I’m not a big community person bc I’m an introvert and struggle to invest in things, but this makes me wanna go knock on the doors of all my nearby neighbors and see if anyone is struggling to get anything.

    Everyone be safe, keep calm and carry on! (I’m wearing my Supernatural sweatshirt version- Keep Calm and Carry On My Wayward Son haha)

    1. My dentist was the same; she’s just excellent. I was the only patient in the office, and the first thing she did was explain what they were doing about the virus.

      1. I’m due to go to a health centre in Shrewsbury on Friday about the laser treatment I need to clear the vision in my left eye. Unfortunately, the outfit that’s subcontracting the work from the NHS must get more money for making people come twice, so they say they won’t treat anyone until a second appointment (unlike the hospital – but the wait for them is at least six months). I’ve emailed the subcontractors, asking them to reconsider this practice in the light of the coronavirus, but just got a standard brush-off. I’m afraid the health centre’s going to be a risky place to visit; but I’m not in a high-risk group, so hopefully will be fine.

      2. The Alberta Dental Association lowered the boom and told everyone to close to non emergency dental procedures but my dentist appears to be open.

        1. I’m torn. Mine is a cleaning, so can wait. But, I feel it’s important to continue supporting businesses right now. My area is wary, but not heavily impacted. Be safe, careful and cautious, and just watch the case count? But then I googled and saw theres quite a few cases of unknown community spread near me. If we only had the testing.

          Will judge again closer to next week. But leaning towards cancelling now…

  10. DH and I have long worked from home, so that’s not a big adjustment. I’m grateful that for now, work continues. I have also decreed that we can’t both be terrified at the same time. We have to take turns. Sharing, right?

    Technology helps. We’ve had one Skype telehealth visit. And today our tai chi leader tested a Zoom class. It was so nice to see smiling faces in the thumbnail views across the top of the screen. Plus, when we all raised and lowered our arms, it looked cool.

  11. I was inspired by Kate’s dedication to the ukelele in Feb, and I found a guitarlele which is basically a uke plus 2 strings, and I lurve it!! I’ve started an online course for it, and the tips of my fingers on my left hand are kind of numb, but I am entertained. I’m still working on the #100dayproject, today is 57/100, and realized they span the beginning of our awareness of the coronavirus at the beginning. Maybe they’ll mark the end to some of the panic at the end. Plus some daily writing online, and I have my mornings full. I’m working on walking more, and might even address the catastrophe that is our garden, now that the ground is thawing.

    My younger child was supposed to be on a ship, sailing from New Zealand to Tahiti next week, but that has been postponed by the admin. It is perfectly reasonable, and honestly a smart thing to do, but the kids (truthfully I think the adults as well) are devastated. They made a slide show for the “cruise” marking their best moments in the shore component, finished with a sunset slide and are swearing to keep in touch. The kids all have a certificate good for one 6 week cruise in the next couple years, once things settle out some.

    My husband is working from home, and has been cut to 1/2 time, but we’re fine. Good neighbors, good environment, delighted to have the younger kid home, the elder kid is living like an actual adult with housemates and working from home and etc. so everyone seems pretty well planted for the duration. So long as the duration is less than 3 months. We’ll reassess then.

  12. My employer has a pretty robust remote-working infrastructure; I was due to start working from home one day a week after passing my 6 month review. Well, that would have been March 16 but on the 13th the firm decided to remote nearly all US and European employees. I’d been given a week’s notice to get a home workstation set up.

    I’m doing everything I usually do, only without a commute. Social distancing is what I always do. Some of the husband’s clients (he’s a self-employed physical therapist) are self-quarantining, meaning his income is down, so it’s a good thing I can work.

    And now instead of filling downtime writing on a legal pad, I can type directly into whichever WIP has given me an idea.

    Wishing all Arghers health, safety, and security.

  13. We are retired. Most of our retirement is in stocks and bonds and in the last 2 weeks thirty percent of our retirement just evaporated. So we will continue on working on the house in the hopes that the housing markets stay good so that if we run out of money we can always sell the house and live on that.

    On an up note we are having gorgeous weather, the house is well stocked with food (it almost always is), we are in good health and Lindy is -as always- the most delightful Siamese ever born. Plus we just had his nails trimmed. Which is good. He’s polydactyl, I am not about to do it myself since he hates it.

  14. I’m remembering why I hate teleworking (though grateful for the option in these times). I want to do things around the house, but I actually have to sit at the computer and do work stuff. On the plus side, I get to wake up 15 minutes before work instead of getting up earlier to get ready, have breakfast, etc. I just make breakfast during breaks!

    I work on a 3-agency group. The primary agency is not doing very well at thinking creatively about how to get things done. It’s very frustrating. And fits in with my overall frustration with the government’s response. And my overall rage at who set us up for the coming situation and who enabled him to do it.

    [rage rage rage rage rage]

    Luckily I can leave my house and go for a walk and still avoid people. Yesterday it looked like we all had force fields around us… I’d be walking down the sidewalk and either I or the person coming toward me would veer into the street and then back onto the sidewalk.

  15. Sister and I got home from Canada yesterday. SO glad to be home before they closed borders.

    Piles of tasks at work, but only three of us in the office, so we are continuing to come in. I appreciate that as I cannot do anything productive for work from home.

    Have yet to visit a grocery store, but both of the ones I frequent have been emailing about being open and doing their best to keep things in stock, so hopefully not too dire. Many restaurants doing curbside pick up offers, so a great excuse to eat excellent food and support local businesses.

    Find myself appalled by people behaving badly, and brought to tears by people behaving well.

    Sending massive good wishes to all here, and everyone connected to you, and everyone connected to them – to the ends of the earth. Including the earth, for that matter.

  16. I bought a large armfull of yarn right before all this, since one of the local craft store is going out of business. It was worth breaking my ” Shop the Stash” resolution.

    Now I need to organize said stash and finish some projects finally.

    The octopus toy for my nephew needs to have its arms sewn in and a face embroidered. I also have a blanket that is over 2 years of to finish someday. Time to watch movies and craft!

  17. I’m sitting in the deserted waiting room of our local-ish Ford dealership waiting on the truck to be ready, it needed an oil change. The upside was that I was able to get some shopping in, but no TP as the paper goods aisles were empty, even with a 1 per person rule.

    Yesterday my manager sent out an email saying that work volume was down because the clinics were closed and elective surgeries were canceled and asking people who don’t normally meet their minimum minutes to stay off the system. I checked back in after lunch, having made plans to tidy up the office, and proceeded to work like a dog for the next 5 hours doing files that included elective surgeries!

    My truck is now done and what I want to know is why the service guys have to park like jerks. I could barely get in but there’s easily 4 feet of space on the passenger side. They do this to me, but not to Paul, every time!!!

  18. I’m recording myself doing the calendar and weather every day to send to my pre-k class and reading a story and doing felt boards and finger plays for my toddler class since classes are cancelled and the building we meet in is completely closed. I went over to record this morning and there was no one else there. Very strange. It is also very strange to watch a recording of yourself. But I’ve heard back that kids are watching. And had a few people send me pictures of work their children are doing at home.

    Be well.

  19. I’m retired, so I’m comfortable staying home. I had been arranging trips for seniors for my local senior center, but I need to contact the center mgmt., and see if they think we will even open the senior centers before the end of summer. (I’m located in Kenmore, WA, close to Kirkland, WA, where a lot of people have become sick and passed. We have been isolating for several weeks now.)

    I’ve been reading a lot, and working off my 40-item-long To-Do list. I may even clear it! Though I was looking at my closets and cupboards, and thinking about taking one a day and cleaning them out. I’m still downsizing; I just don’t know if I want to have movers, etc., come into the house to remove the two large bookcases, piano, sofa, etc., that I want to get rid of. Need to think on that still.

    I’m supposed to work for the Census Bureau as a Field Enumerator Supervisor, and I don’t know how that is supposed to work. I keep expecting to hear that the Census is being delayed; no such message yet. We’ll see.

    I’ve just read that my local grocery store is dedicating their first two hours of opening (7 – 9 AM) on Tuesdays and Thursdays to Seniors and those at greater risk for the virus. What a good idea! I won’t take advantage of it, because I have a Large Bear – i.e., 30-year-old son – living with me (and attending a nearby university, finishing his Mech Eng degree) who does our shopping as necessary. I will leave those hours for anyone who does not have a shopper like I do.

    It’s sunny, I’ll take a walk later! Cannot watch TV today; the son is taking final exams (take-home finals) on the dining room table and I don’t want to distract him.

    Everyone, stay safe, sane, and healthy thru this virus! We will get through this!

    1. Yes, I was thrilled to get a census job and anxiously waiting to hear back after the background check, and now I’m thinking this virus is going to affect the census a lot.
      Since my job in a dog kennel depends on people traveling I’m expecting a lot of income cutting. How I will keep paying my bills is a concern if it goes on for long.

    2. I completed my 2020 census form last night online, and have to say it didn’t ask much, except that it wanted Details about my ethnic ancestry. On the one hand, as a customer of 23 and Me, I had more details about my ethnic ancestry than they were probably expecting and I gave them both barrels, right down to a less-than-1% Southern European fraction. On the other hand, the form really didn’t ask much, except my name, address, and how many people were in the household.

      1. I went with “American”. I could have given the 23 and me answer (northern European mongrel), but you mostly have to go back to the 16 and 1700s to find my immigrant ancestors, and by that point it’s lost all its meaning.

        1. I said European but I like American as an answer better. It’s a ridiculous question.

  20. Anyone know a daily happy blog? Like, go here for something happy, maybe news related, maybe not. Like the unicorn puppy, or the penguins at the zoo?

    I was just thinking, wouldn’t that be fun to see? But then it probably already exists?

  21. I can work from home, but I hate doing it. There are too many other things I’d like to do while I’m home! So I keep going to the office. We are a small company, and with several people working from home, it’s easy to keep my social distance.

    I was scheduled to take the day off to work on the now-cancelled quilt show. I’ve stayed home, working on projects and watching TV (not the news). It’s been lovely.

    I found out that two nephews have pregnant wives both due in August. It is time to get started on baby projects! Life goes on!

  22. I made myself a new shirt from my fabric stash and have another cut out. It’s technically my spring break this week so I’m taking advantage and getting some projects done. Next week looks like I’ll be working from school helping with meals for students at home. It’ll be nice to be productive and not so cooped up.

  23. I am retired, but usually very active. We are being requested to stay home (except for essential trips) because of the virus spread, and most places are closed. I am staying busy by reading, playing music, painting watercolor, exercising and video classes, and cleaning/organizing house. Maybe by the end of this my garage will be clean and organized.

  24. So many things. I was at work yesterday and today helping to figure out which high schoolers don’t have the ability to do online learning, helping to hand out assignments to the parents of elementary kids (we are a K-6 and 9-12 school). But that should be the end of their need for me. I can do attendance on the computer from home. (everyone is marked absent-excused for the foreseeable future.)

    I canceled Pippin’s well doggy visit with the vet. We can wait a few weeks for that. The Doctor changed my visit Friday to a phone call. That’s fine with me. It’s a forty-minute drive each way.

    I’ve decided that I must have a routine each day or I will spend every day wallowing in anxiety and get nothing done. SO – get up at 8:00, write two hours. Sew or craft in the afternoon. (and maybe haul my fabric stash down from the attic and sort through it.) TV in the evening. Or Books. Also, exercise. This is how I will avert thoughts of the zombie flu apocalypse coming to my door.

    1. What a good idea to establish a home routine! I need to do that; thanks for the idea!

  25. I’ve been working on Book Nine. I don’t have a firm idea yet, so no title, either. 🙂 But research is fun. I’ve travelled down all sorts of internet worm holes looking for something that strikes my fancy.

    I also am working on NOT obsessing that I had a request for submission from Carina Press for Book Eight, which I finished about a month ago. I sent the manuscript in a couple weeks ago but who knows when I’ll hear anything.

    Also working on enjoying the sunshine and social-distance dog-walking. We are not in total lockdown but the province has closed all restaurants (other than for takeout) and bars (they announced that the day before St. Patrick’s Day). Hoping this is as bad as it gets but are preparing for more.

  26. I’ve been a telecommute person for years. My husband has a physical job that can’t be done remotely. We are trying to be as careful as possible.

    I read an article about Madeline L’Engle in the New York Review of Books (I think it was that journal.)

    It said a couple dozen publishers rejected “A Wrinkle in Time.” Kind of mind boggling.

  27. As long as you aren’t sick, it’s important for both mental and physical health to get some fresh air and mild exercise regularly, but do so outdoors and at a safe distance from other people.

    In the Netherlands, schools and hospitality businesses are shut down, events for more than 10 people are canceled, everyone who can is working from home, funerals are limited to 30 mourners max (no touching, no coffee and talking afterwards) and the general advice is to keep at least 5 feet distance from each other, wash hands frequently & thoroughly and stay home as much as possible, and to self-quarantine as soon as you get a cold or a temperature.

    Still there is also the advice to try and get some fresh air each day, get in the garden, take a walk or ride a bike. Walk the dogs. Try biking to the grocery store, much better for avoiding virusses than taking transit. Make sure to keep a safe distance from anyone else, 6-7 feet (in the store, too), and pick a quiet time for your walk, but don’t stay completely cooped up unless you are even slightly sick/have a cold. No need to go stir-crazy before you have to.

    The French and Germans give similar advice, but the Spanish have forbidden recreational biking, for fear of people having accidents. Not really well-thought-out, that: taking a gentle ride on safe streets is not the same as mountainbiking or racing in a peloton.

  28. I’ve been working on A New Decameron: Stories For a Plague Year in which I’m writing a frame story around stories from writer friends. You wouldn’t like to give us one, would you Jenny? We could have the first chapter of Nita, which everyone here has seen before, but which would be new to my SF reading friends. Anyway, it’s at here if anyone wants stories while self-isolating, I’ve got some great people onboard, and it’s certainly keeping me busy so far.

    1. I’m not quite understanding the whole thing. I went to look and there’s no explanation on the site. You’re writing the frame, I get that, but the rest are plague stories? And this is for what? That sounds abrupt, sorry. This is to help people entertain themselves during the self-isolation? Sorry, I’m so slow here.

      1. Maya Chhabra had the terrific idea of making a new Decameron for Corvid19 — as you know, Boccaccio’s Decameron takes place during the Black Death in Florence, when ten young people self-quarantine and tell a story each for ten days. There’s a frame story, which starts off describing the plague-stricken city and then the lives of the ten young people off in the idyllic countryside.

        Maya’s idea was that we could put together something like that quite quickly now, posting a story every day for people to read, the stories written by lots of different people, with a frame story which I’m writing. The stories could be written specially, or they could be already written but unpublished stories, or they could the first chapters of novels in progress or coming soon. (Sample chapter lengths in that case, so publishers would be OK with it being posted.) It’s going to be a mix, along with a few obscure reprints that are hard to get hold of elsewhere.

        We have set up a Patreon to post them on, the content will be free and visible to all, but people can contribute. The money will be shared between all the authors and our charity, Cittadini del Mondo, a Rome based charity that runs a clinic and library for refugees. The plan is that there’d be some to-be-determined remuneration for the creators at some future point — and 80 people have signed up, so there might well be.

        The idea is to give people a new thing to read every day while they’re self isolating.

        There was an explanation page, but I can’t find it now either, argh.

          1. I reread The Decameron recently, just for fun so this suggestion isn’t intended to be at all knowledgeable. Nor do I suspect that you are intending to follow the original.

            Boccaccio’s frame of 10 young women and men starts with them as characters and metamorphosizes to them into archetypes as the days progress. The gardens in which they sing, dance, and tell stories also become more beautiful.

            I found this amusing because the tales themselves are what I call “Salesmen’s tales.” These are the stories that raconteurs tell on sales trips, befitting Boccaccio’s work and life (and my stepfather’s as well. He had sample menus, shoes, and catalogs of things like gravestones in the trunk of his car. He could hit the establishments on four corners of an intersection and sell something different at four places). On some of the 10 days of storytelling, that day’s leader announces a theme for the day (like, tales that end happily ever after); the rest of the days are free for alls.

            Anyway, it’s important to the framework that Boccaccio was the only author and that Boccaccio wrote the Decameron after the plague, so he knew the outcome and could put an interpretation on the event. And he was a Christian who believed in Renaissance values.

            Unless the Patreon project wants to tell (some) authors what themes to follow, and unless there’s a consensus about an interpretation of COVID-19 (like, the inevitable test to see whether world societies can live up to their myths of morality), I don’t see much point in more than a very light frame.

            Thanks for letting me spew. I love thinking about this stuff.

  29. Had my first work from home day today. It was fine. Didn’t have to get up for work until about fifteen minutes before, lazily slogged in in pajamas all day, it was nice and quiet, got a lot of stuff done, only one computer system was busted all day so that’s pretty good for here…

  30. I’m doing what I normally do. I resumed raking my flower beds. Nice to uncover the daffodils. And I really have to do some ‘sorting’ in the house on rainy or cold days when I don’t want to be out except for walking the dog. I think a good project will be going through all of the recipes I’ve torn out of newspapers and magazines and throwing out 90% of them. I am not going to make all of them!

  31. I finished a crochet blanket just in time for the baby’s 21st birthday, which means I can finally start something new! I raided the stash and found some acrylic the middle daughter had abandoned, I think it’ll blanket-up quite nicely.
    We had booked four days by the sea to be together for said birthday. As expected, nothing goes to plan. Both girls have colds, so my mother couldn’t risk joining us as she has COPD/asthma/chronic pneumonia/nothing, depending on which specialist you listen to. We had to cut it short as my husband has been called to go back to work early.
    He leaves tomorrow for Papua New Guinea and I have no idea when he’ll be back. I will shut the gate tomorrow and thoroughly enjoy my social isolating for a while. We have yarn, books, a veggie patch, internet and dogs, what more could I need?

  32. My husband and I both have full-time jobs. We’re lucky enough to be able to work from home, but now our four-year-old is home. We are each managing about four hours of work a day and are more exhausted than we have ever been. (Admittedly, the time right after our little guy was born is blurry in my memory, but we weren’t trying to work then, so I think the tiredness might be about equal.)

    I know we are extremely fortunate, in that neither of us is likely to lose our jobs right now and our risk-level is relatively low despite our geographic location. But I admit to some jealousy of people who suddenly have lots of time to work on projects and to-do lists. My hobbies are essential to mental health, but time for anything but getting through the day is in dangerously short supply right now.

    Thanks, all of Argh, for being a place for a primal scream (even if it’s more like a whimper right now) and endless inspiration. And I will be looking out tomorrow for great books that can be read in three-minute increments when I can manage to steal some time for myself….

  33. There are no crafty women in my family. Although my best friend is a knitting fiend and participates in something called Sock Madness.

    Things are getting worse here in Montco/PA. We’re up to 42 cases & one is a 1 yesr old boy who is in the hospital.

    A man in a town next to mine couldn’t get tested here, so drove to Delaware and he tested positive.

  34. There are no crafty women in my family. Although my best friend is a knitting fiend and participates in something called Sock Madness.

    There are now 42 cases of Covid-19 in Montco/PA and one is a 1 year old boy who is in the hospital.

    A man in the town next to mine couldn’t get tested here, so he drove to Delaware where he tested positive.

    On a weird aside I went to Costco for my favorite coffee beans and they took out the coffee grinders.

  35. I am a receptionist for a credit union so can’t work from home. All those who work back office and are able to do so have been asked to work remotely. We were informed just before closing today that they are closing the lobby as of tomorrow; only the drive through tellers will be open to the public. The rest of us are going to handle the overload from the call center, and I (lucky me!) get to communicate with any members who come to the door. I have to take their names and phone #’s (through the door) and tell them someone will call them to set up by appointment. I can see it now…but at least I will still have a paycheck!

    1. My bank closed the main office to all but drive-through Tuesday, but the branch (the only branch) near me is still open (and practicing even more social distancing than security usually demands) and I was able to get to my safe deposit and put my new vehicle title in, and swap my backup drives. I expect they will close the lobby there, too, before much longer.

  36. I dragged myself out of bed this morning — disarranging covers, pillows, and cats — to get myself to Target when they opened at 8:00 am, they having announced that Wednesday mornings the first hour of shopping is reserved for the elderly and vulnerable. I came home with one pack of TP (though that’s plenty), litter, kibbles, soda, and some groceries, pretty satisfactory.

  37. I have plans, big plans. My drawers will be organized. My garage will be cleaned.My light up deer and penguins put away. My house sparkling and dog hair free. I will get 20,000 steps, practice yoga and figure out how to hang the crown molding. Or if today is any indication I’ll play spider solitude, surf the web and yell at my kid to clean her room.

  38. I’m mostly just panicking. My parents and I skipped the last few days of our trip and made it out of California after the place went into lockdown, but before all the flights got cancelled. We are now home, and required to self-isolate for 14 days or face fines up to $13,000. Getting home was a serious win, and I was prepared to be relatively cheerful about spending the rest of my leave essentially locked in my bedroom.

    That is, until I looked at my work email (which I hadn’t been able to access overseas) and found out that I might be getting stood down for two months with no pay. It seems that I probably can’t convert the rest of my annual leave to sick leave so that I can then use the annual leave later on when there is no work for me. I may have effectively just lost my job.

    This is quite possibly my worst birthday ever, but on the plus side, some wonderful friends restocked my kitchen so that I wouldn’t starve from not being able to go out, and there’s whiskey and tea aplenty.

  39. Evidently hernia repair is considered elective – my doctor called yesterday and cancelled the surgery I was supposed to have today. He thinks I can make it a little longer and right now he does not wanted me exposed to the hospital environment. I am very immune compromised with the years of chemo and he does not want to take a chance. If it gets bad I will go to the emergency room and he will handle it then. So yeah, one more thing to worry about. I am also in the process of getting cataract surgery ( the chemo I am on I have to be off of for 4-5 weeks before any surgery) so we were trying to kill two birds with one stone. Interestingly the cataract surgery is still on – for now.

    Other than that we are making lists of spring work/repair around the ranch. I can’t lift but I can drive a tractor. It should be in perfect shape in a month or two!

    1. When I had cataract surgery, it was pretty quick – just two or three hours in an outpatient clinic – so I imagine much less risk than (I’m guessing) a general anaesthetic and an overnight stay. Hope all goes well for you.

      1. Im working from home 10-12 hour days trying to deal with coronavirus related policy issues. Meanwhile DH is doing the odd consulting job remotely but mostly cleaning up the yard—taking out old wire fencing that has been there since we bought it 25 years ago, cutting down invasive plants, putting bricks around the pump for watering plants, making three birdhouses, and generally taking out his anxiety on it. It makes me feel like I’m not pulling my weight!

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