When I went to my dental appointment Wednesday morning, I was sniffling a bit from my normal allergies. Sniffling, sneezing, and watery eyes (especially in the morning) is totally normal for me. Normal or not, I was very conscious of the sideways looks I got from the other patients in the lounge area while I tired to surpress a couple of sneezes. I don't blame them, but I was glad to get called back to the exam room. (Turns out the tooth seems to be fine, and no need for a root canal--hallelujah!--the muscles in my jaw are basically still strained and inflamed from holding my mouth open for over two hours.) I noticed there was hand sanitizer everywhere: three or four bottles in the lounge, bottles on the exam room counters, and several at the main desk in the lobby. That seems to be the case everywhere right now.
Our school district seems to be preparing everyone, the teachers, parents and students, for taking instruction online from home. All students were issued laptops at the beginning of the year and those without internet access received services to remedy that. The technology department sent technicians out Friday afternoon with boxes of repaired and/or replaced laptops for students who needed them. A series of emails and letters have been going out explaining how everything will work "in the event" we have to close schools. I think it's a matter of "when" not "if" at this time. It seems likely that they're shooting for Monday or Tuesday to be the last day before going online. One big concern is feeding kids who get free breakfast and/or lunch, but arrangements have been made for our food services to report to work for a few hours each day and prepare plenty of food for students and their families who need to come and get it. Again, I don't think they're making all these provisions for nothing. The Superintendent must really think we're going to have to shut down for a while. Luckily, I should continue to get paid if that happens.
Gregg is not so lucky. Yesterday morning he went to one of the three nursing homes where he services aquariums, and got turned around at the door. All (all) visitors are banned for 30 days by order of South Carolina DHEC. Which is the right thing to do, of course, but those three nursing home jobs are over a quarter of his monthly salary.....and schools with aquariums are another small chunk of income, and he has two hospital aquariums which of course he also won't be allowed to service...…..all told, we're talking over half his salary. He's probably going to lose even more than that for a while, too. He's more at risk from this virus than the average person and we intend to be super careful. We're planning to self isolate at home as much as possible until this thing blows over. We have plenty of supplies, for us and the animals. As long as we don't get sick, being at home won't be any real hardship for us. Anyone else who can say the same should be doing it, too. Maybe if most of the population will be as diligent as possible, the spread of this virus can still be contained.
A great idea I heard was about supporting your local economy during these trying times. Everyone is afraid of the economic ramifications, and rightly so. Those who can afford it can still spend money at local businesses....on gift certificates to be used later on when we're over the hump. They could be purchased online or over the phone to avoid going out, and that would get some much needed cash flowing in your area. Another good idea would be to donate money to food banks to help your neighbors who are missing paychecks that are sorely needed. We need to do what we can to support our communities while (paradoxically) staying as far away from each other as possible! Crazy.
And one more thing: having a good supply of necessities on hand is smart, but hoarding them is a real asshole move. Lots of folks can't afford to buy in huge quantities, and when they're legitimately running out of things they can't get what they need because some jerk decided they wanted to have 500 roles of toilet paper on hand. Speaking of which, here's the TP aisle at my neighborhood Food Lion as of 5pm yesterday:
And on a less serious note, a related funny I saw this morning. It's still good to have a laugh now and then....
Hang in there, take care of yourselves, wash your hands, think about your neighbors and what they might need, and try not to panic. After all, this is the outcome we're hoping for: