Home > Living in Uncertain Times

Living in Uncertain Times

March 14th, 2020 at 02:41 pm

The past week has been a whirlwind of bad news and unexpected developments, most of it COVID-19-related.

I got the results back from my DEXA bone scan, and it indicates osteopenia. This shocked me, because I've been active all my life, from walking 4 miles back and forth to school until I got my driver's permit, to mowing my one acre with a walk-behind mower for 20 years, and everything in between. I've walked on my lunch break at work for decades, and more.

So 2 days later, I joined our local gym, the "sports academy," which is quite a bit more expensive ($42/mth) than most other local gyms these days, but I like it because of the convenient location, the friendly staff and, perhaps because of the cost, most of the membership is definitely over 50, so I feel very comfortable. It's not your typical macho pickup joint. I saw any number of people who had to have been in their 70s working out!

I committed to doing strength training on the machines 3x a week, and this would have been my 2nd week doing so, but things have gotten so nuts with the virus that I began feeling uneasy about returning to the gym, even with my own little spray bottle of bleach/water solution. I was there on Wednesday and don't think I'm going back for a while.

I had a good conversation with a staff person there who was very understanding and said they were having a meeting about it. They may offer an extension of memberships so if you take 2 or 3 months off now, they'll extend the membership by that much. or something like that, so I'm not too worried about that.

I have several sets of hand weights up to 10 pounds and a very good set of exercises for bone health you can do at home. I'm not sure it's as complete a workout as what I could expect at the gym, but it may have to do (along with my habitual walking) for a few months.

I'm actually more concerned about my job. When I left the office Wednesday, I had been following the virus news closely, but had every intention of returning to work on Monday, per my schedule, because we are a very small office and I figured the chances of contagion were also small, but now it's Saturday, and I feel differently.

My job editing lends itself to work at home, yet this company has always been reluctant to let you do that. I take a financial hit anyway when I do work from home, say, during a snowstorm, because I can only charge for actual time worked, not time spent sitting around waiting for assignments to come in. That's different than how it works when I'm on-site, where I can charge for my entire time spent there, regardless of whether I'm actually working, or not. And there's a lot of downtime.

But beyond that, I'm thinking it's likely we'll all see temporary layoffs, because our clients (very large pharma companies) will ban the kind of training workshops we put together for them, and if they can't be all turned into webcasts instead of in-person meetings, we'll see a work shortage.

A former coworker who now works for our largest client confirmed that this is exactly what's happening at her firm. Travel and meetings have been banned for the next 3 weeks and everyone there is working from home.

My neighbor told me a week ago he spent $1000 on groceries. At the time, I thought it unnecessary, but now in hindsight I see that wasn't a bad idea.

I went to Stop & Shop early today and not only was the entire one side of the cleaning aisle completely empty, but the cat food and bread shelves were only about 50% full, and I noticed other shortages in fresh produce. I do hope that once supermarkets restock, things will settle down.

Luckily I had a gallon of bleach at home so I made my own spray for surfaces, and my coworker gave me some Purell at the office Wednesday which I took home with me.

I am definitely practicing "social distancing" but am keeping in touch with family and friends through phone, text, email and, as I jokingly said to my neighbor behind me, through yodeling up the hill.

I saw my dad on Thursday and had decided that though the risk is small, I didn't really want to take him to a restaurant for lunch if we could easily avoid that, so I made a "picnic" lunch of homemade veggie soup, some peanut butter cookies and hot tea in thermoses.

I expected some resistance from him as I know that, being homebound, he really looks forward to our outings, but since he watches the news all day, he was fully informed about what was going on and did not poo poo my concerns as I thought he would.

I told him we could still take a drive somewhere, but he said let's wait for a sunny day. I did have to do grocery shopping for him, but tried to be careful in wearing gloves and spraying down the cart handle bar. I told the bagger I would bag my own groceries. Maybe I'm overreacting (I didn't see anyone else wearing gloves at the store) but I'd rather be safe than sorry, and there are now a dozen people who tested positive in my state, and all but one of them are in my county.

I really hope that people take this virus seriously. The more quickly we can take extraordinary measures by closing schools, movie theaters, etc., the more quickly we can nip this thing in the bud, or "flatten the curve," as they've been saying in the press conferences. If we delay or take half-measures for the next few weeks, it could make this whole thing much worse for us. Just sayin'.

Oh yeah, and I've lost about $300K in the stock market, despite being extremely conservatively invested with just 50% stock exposure. Not touching it, of course, as I expect we'll make a full rebound once they wrest control of the virus or come up with a vaccine.

2 Responses to “Living in Uncertain Times”

  1. LifeBalance Says:

    I think most people are taking it seriously. Our schools have closed and I think the spring athletic seasons are canceled too. There's a lot of fear - I worry about what misbehavior we might see as things get worse before they get better.

    One of our boys has a cold but no fever at all. I've been loading him up with vitamins and anti-viral herbs. This morning when I heard him cough I ran to get something and he said "Mama, stop!" I had to admit that I was getting unreasonably worried about a cold.

    We went to pick up an extra bottle of rubbing alcohol to wipe down our phones and keyboards - something we should do periodically anyway - and there is no rubbing alcohol bottle in any local store. DH finally found a box of individual alcohol wipes which is probably better for our purposes anyway.

    I haven't looked at my total retirement loss. I don't want to know yet!

  2. Lucky Robin Says:

    Do you have any ammonia? That is as good as bleach, just never use them together because the chemical reaction can make you pass out. Also white vinegar, too, for cleaning surfaces if bleach or ammonia run out. If you soak some orange peels in vinegar overnight and then strain out the vinegar it will smell a lot better.

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