weekend free-for-all – March 14-15, 2020

We foster failed (again) and have adopted our foster kitties, Hank and Shadow.

This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. (This one is truly no work and no school.)

Book recommendation of the week: My Dark Vanessa, by Kate Elizabeth Russell, about a lonely 15-year-old who becomes involved with her teacher and later struggles to understand the relationship as abuse. It’s disturbing and hauntingly written and kept me up reading until 5 am, which is a problem but also a strong endorsement.

* I make a commission if you use that Amazon link.

{ 1,570 comments… read them below }

    1. Windchime*

      I’m not usually happy to see people fail, but I’m thrilled with this. Hank and Shadow are beautiful and they make a great addition to the family. Is Mr. AMA equally smitten with the kitties?

    2. Mystykyn*

      Quite right. I only fostered once and he stayed. We loved each other for nearly 21 years.

    3. Lena Clare*

      I feel really glad to hear that you’ve adopted them! It seems like they are really happy to be with you and your other cats, and it warms my heart to see them so content and know that it’s permanent! Thanks :)

      1. No Tribble At All*

        I know, right? Yay for black cats! (I say, as one is sitting on my lap right now).

      2. Alexandra Lynch*

        Mine has decided that a good way to end the night would be by leaping from the floor to the mantelpiece and knocking down the deity statues we have there, you know, so the cat won’t knock them about. (sigh) The squirt bottle is within my reach, until she gets bored with it and gives up.

      3. Marion Ravenwood*

        Me too. My gorgeous boys (who now live with my ex) were both black cats, and I miss them terribly. If I ever buy somewhere else then I’m definitely going to get another black cat of my own – I already have a name picked out for a girl kitty…

      1. Artemesia*

        I have a niece who fosters dogs. They are now a 4 dog , 3 kid, 2 cat, 6 chicken family. They are great at fostering dogs to get them used to kids, cats and chickens and thus make them adoptable to homes with other pets and kids, but they ended up adopting 3 of the fosters that didn’t get placed.

    4. K_in_G*

      I agree — instead of “foster failed”, let’s say you “foster fell”, as in “fell in love”. It still conveys that your adopting them wasn’t the original plan, but without making it sound like that outcome was terrible.

    5. Randomity*

      You are so terrible at fostering cats and I’m so thrilled that you are keeping them <3 THEY ARE SO BEAUTIFUL!!

    6. MistOrMister*

      This is lovely!! My cats were faily fosters as well. In my defense, the male turned out to be a sprayer (I have tried absolutely everything recommended and nothing works) and I figured, no one is going to adopt this cat knowing his penchant for wall-pees, so I kept the both. Best decision ever :)

    7. old curmudgeon*

      Winner!! I kind of expected that when I saw you post their photos the first time – when you love ’em enough to photograph them, they’re probably going to stay. Congratulations to you and your new feline overlords!

    8. Liane*

      There is an applicable meme I recently sent my choir director. It shows a bunch of kitties in one of those door shoe holders. Caption: I only wanted 1 cat, but if it is god’s will that I have 3…then 7 it is.
      When I saw the first picture, my reaction was, “adoption announcement coming next week.” I know the handsome guys have a great home.

    9. Foster-failure too*

      My Katie dog left us and I wasn’t ready for a new dog. A put myself on a foster dog list. Went through all the paperwork etc. The dog was only supposed to be her for one day waiting for transport. Over ten-years-old, blind in one eye, two bad back legs and a mouth full of rotten teeth. Yep. Never been happier to have failed at something. Our little old lady dog is doing just fine now. Kiss the kitties for me.

    10. Lcsa99*

      I am so happy for you guys – and all the kitties! It sounds like they are a perfect addition to the family and it will be awesome for all of us to see them more often!

    11. Rebecca*

      I love them! They remind me of my former black cat (who has now allowed the new owners of my old house to adopt him) and my other black and white cats :) :) :)

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Let’s keep all the coronavirus stuff in this thread right here so that it doesn’t take over the entire comment section and people can easily skip it if they want to. If you want to talk corona, please do it as a reply here. Thank you!

    1. Iris West-Allen*

      What are people’s thoughts on online ordering during the coronavirus outbreak? I feel like I’m being paranoid by not ordering some things I want off Amazon, but it also kind of freaks me out to think of how many people might handle my order and who they’ve been exposed to. So am I crazy?

      1. All Hail Queen Sally*

        I did order a few bags of cat food. The store that used to carry it has dropped it and I no longer want to continue driving around to different stores looking for it. It is an uncommon type of a common brand, but no one will special order it for me. I don’t want to risk the wrath of Daisy if her food runs out.

      2. All Hail Queen Sally*

        I meant to add, just let the package sit for a couple days in your garage before you open it. I heard the virus can live for 48 hrs.

        1. tangerineRose*

          Good to know. I’m still being overcautious; I just went through my mail (which I had let sit for at least 12 hours) and paid bills, washing my hands here and there, and next I’m going to wipe off my keyboard, etc. It’s still nice to know this is probably overkill.

      3. R*

        I don’t think I’m following. What is the difference between Amazon and UPS handling your order vs Kroger & its employees & shippers?

        1. Iris West-Allen*

          I probably should have mentioned that my state has only just gotten its first cases of the virus, and there aren’t any yet within a few hours of where I live. But I suppose you’re right, there isn’t really a difference when you put it like that.

          1. Artemesia*

            First tested case. Probably no state without lots of cases. There are 45 in my state but there are countless reports of people with all the symptoms who have been denied tests.

            1. Doc in a Box*

              This. Epidemiological estimates are that the official case counts are off by a factor of 50-100. Another model suggests that for every death, assume 350 active cases. Testing in the US is limited even for patients who are high-risk and symptomatic, and public health guidance was minimal until just a few days ago when localities started banning large gatherings and closing schools. This has allowed the virus to spread unidentified for weeks.

              As an example, I recently returned from a CDC Level 3 country, where I was almost certainly exposed (spent a week in heavily trafficked tourist locations, eating in crowded restaurants, etc). There was no sign or anything in the airport about how to self-monitor (something I’ve seen while flying during SARS, MERS, and H1N1). No questions at passport control about where I had been.

              I’m relatively low-risk personally — although there are reports of otherwise healthy people in 30s-40s suddenly going into respiratory or cardiac failure — but my average patient age is > 75, and they almost all have heart or lung problems. I am self-quarantining for 14 days and was told I will not be tested unless I develop a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Some locations are only testing individuals who are sick enough to require hospitalization; others are told to go home and wait it out. I even got some pushback from administration when I announced self-quarantine — until I pointed out hospital policy as well as the legal and PR disaster if I were to be a vector.

              The situation in the US will be much more like Italy or China than like South Korea or Taiwan, both of which have managed containment through rapid, high-throughput screening and effective quarantine. Actually, I think the US will be much much worse than Europe, because we don’t even have a coordinated national health system or safety net. (I personally know of people who are not getting tested because if positive, the treatment would bankrupt them. They are gambling with their lives, and the lives of others, because they literally cannot afford to do otherwise.)

              1. Old and Don’t Care*

                What do you mean by not getting tested because the treatment would bankrupt them? If they are not symptomatic what treatment would they get if they tested positive?

                1. Doc in a Box*

                  Quarantine, really. People who are hourly or retail, or who have had known exposure through a co-worker etc who later tested positive, have little to no employee protection in the US. There’s a new bill in Congress that may change that, but it first has to pass the Senate, whose majority leader has not exactly been in favor of workers’ rights.

                2. Doc in a Box*

                  To further clarify: ideally, contact tracing would allow people with known exposures but no symptoms to be notified and then they could self-quarantine. But most such contact tracing teams are severely under-staffed due to budget cuts at both the local and federal level. So they are doing their best but there are a lot of people who can’t afford to take a day off work, would have to go to work even if they were feeling bad, etc.

                  My health system is unable to test even people who have known exposures and are symptomatic. They are told to go home and wait until they need oxygen. It’s a shambles.

        2. Please Don't*

          I think it’s just that Amazon is where the items are not that Amazon in particular is the problem.

        3. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Right, there doesn’t seem to be much difference to me. Amaazon has so many regional warehouses, most of the things I order come from within my state or a nearby state when I track them (although of course they may have come from farther away before that). Our supermarket probably has packaged goods shipped from all around the country.

          More importantly, just because a state has no confirmed cases doesn’t mean that it’s not there. We are criminally unprepared to test people, and there is evidence that young people in particular can be asymptomatic carriers, which is why experts are encouraging self-isolation as much as possible, and social distancing otherwise.

      4. Windchime*

        It’s the strangest thing. People are all focusing on toilet paper, of all things. Yes, it’s necessary but people are stockpiling. My sister was in a line at Costco to get a package of tp (which was being rationed) and she saw a fight break out. It’s crazy. The shelves in all the stores are completely empty of toilet paper, so my son tried to order from Amazon and apparently they are out, too. I have a bit of a stockpile (purchased months ago) so I think I’m OK but I honestly don’t know what people will do when it’s not available anywhere due to hoarding.

        Oh, and the schools in my state (Washington) are now closed for 6 weeks. It’s going to really affect our local economy in a big way.

        1. Marzipan*

          I genuinely don’t understand the toilet paper thing. I got it in relation to Brexit; there were logistical reasons why a hard Brexit could have impacted the UK’s toilet paper supply. I don’t get it in relation to coronavirus. It’s just become a thing because people think it’s a thing.

          The thing that amused me last weekend, when I went to the supermarket, was that people had bought all the bread flour, but not the wholemeal bread flour!

          1. Bluesboy*

            My Mum and Dad tell me that there was exactly the same reaction in the UK back in the 1970s when there was the striking crises and the three day week. I guess people just really, really worry about life without toilet paper!

            No worries here in Italy though- we have bidets!

            1. Randomity*

              When the really bad floods and the lorry strikes happened in 2000 my ex panic bought Pepsi and toilet paper. People are really weird about it.

            2. Heffalump*

              I got a battery-powered hand-held bidet a few weeks ago, and it’s great. I wish I’d gotten it years ago. Just a small amount of TP to pat myself dry afterwards.

          2. Kuododi*

            My personal belief is that tp hoarding gives people a sense they are doing something in the face of what feels like an insurmountable crisis. This is in face of the actual, valid recommendations to minimize risk of transmission. (IOW…wash your hands like you mean business. Practice good routine healthcare and maintenance). Best regards to all. Kuododi

          3. A.N. O'Nyme*

            iirc it started because there were rumors toilet paper would be reused to make more face masks (which makes zero sense but anyway), then that got reported on in the news, then the virus reached other parts of the world and now everyone is stockpiling tp.
            Plus, because the packages are usually rather large the racks look empty much faster, people see the empty rack and thin “OH NO SHORTAGE” and then start stockpiling themselves.

            1. Tau*

              This is also my reaction. Like, if you’re going to hoard something in preparation for societal breakdown, maybe at least make it *food* or something?

              1. Stormfeather*

                I think they’re at least starting to do that as well. The stores around here (western Maryland) have been slammed the last few days – the toilet paper is just all gone (I managed to get a 24 pack yesterday in the third store I checked and I think there was one package left after that one, but I was also down to my last few rolls so it was time to get it anyhow), and it looked like people were starting to get things like tissues, canned goods, microwaveable foods, ground beef, etc and those were fairly thin on the shelves or just gone.

                I bought a little more than usual myself just because if everyone’s going into Panic Mode and wiping out the shelves I wanna make sure I have at least a couple weeks’ to a month or more worth of stuff… but TBH I tend to try to make sure I have a variety of non-perishables at hand and stocked anyhow, so it wasn’t that much more of a purchase than usual.

            2. LJay*


              Like, we have our normal amount of toilet paper in the apartment in that we purchased like a 12 pack the last time we ran out and still have some rolls left.

              If we run out and I can’t resupply because everyone else is hoarding or because the supply chain collapsed? I’ve got a shower. And plenty of other methods that probably work better than just plain paper (if a bit more inconvenient).

              Running out of food would be much worse than toilet paper.

          4. London Calling*

            Because on SM thousands of people are shitting themselves with fear. The government is experimenting on us! it wants all the old ones to die so it doesn’t have to pay out pensions!

          5. Not Me*

            I noticed that this morning in the US this morning! I’m in downtown Chicago and was shocked this morning at the grocery store alllll the flour except the wholewheat flour was taken, and no other baking supplies. I wonder what they’re going to do with all that flour?

            1. Cookie Mom*

              I’m in the Chicago area and I bought the last bag of flour (unbleached). My purchase was due to Covid-19–my kids are now home for an extended period and they like to bake an inordinate amount cookies when they’re home. Not great when you’re trying a low-carb diet :(

          6. Elizabeth West*

            I think a lot of it is because they’re afraid of running out if they can’t leave to go buy some, and also fear of other people getting it all.

          7. Paperdoll Wahine*

            So the toilet paper thing has happened historically here in Hawaii pending a Hurricane, because we are extremely vulnerable to supply chain collapse.

            FEMA provides many things in time of disaster, but because toilet paper is not essential to survival, they don’t waste precious cargo space to bring it. So post disaster, the horror of no TP is a real possibility. At least here.

            Thereby, it it is up to the Citizenry of Hawaii to stock and supply ourselves with TP during uncertain times.

            Why this is happening on the Mainland? Maybe we inadvertently set the example.

            Ensuring one’s supply of TP for one’s bunghole, during a time of pending doom generally seems like a responsible thing to do. No?

            The results? Kinda horrific.

          8. Inca*

            I have wonderer about it, also because it happens in different countries
            Thusfar I’ve come to the conclusions that:
            1. it’s memeable and partially internet-spread
            2. toiletpaper is bulky. So it easily looks dramatic, both the empty shelves and the stocking in carts.

          9. Trixie, the Great and Pedantic*

            I live in a very Hispanic neighborhood. My husband went out to stock up and reported that the supermarket had plenty of bread but ran out of tortillas, and had plenty of wheat flour but was completely out of masa.

            But yes, we’re also dealing with gaping holes where the toilet paper should be.

        2. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

          Same here in Finland. I’ve heard this started in Australia where toilet paper is imported from China. So makes sense there but not here, we have vast forests and lots of paper industry, toilet paper is the last thing to run out here but people just don’t get it. In general, we’ve decided to keep schools going on for now but restrict and cancel events and hobbies quite a lot. A couple hundred cases here I think. Lots of working from home for anyone who can. Contradicting instructions in the media and wild rumours in online discussion. Some still think there’s nothing to be concerned about, some overreact wildly. So probably the same as everywhere…

          1. EM*

            Australia manufactures toilet paper locally too- it’s really not a real shortage, more like a run on the banks. Some people buy out a lot and then everyone else does/has to because they’re worried there will be none left. It’s self escalating

          2. allathian*

            Exactly, it’s odd. Of course, we Finns are big on personal space, which is probably the biggest reason why it’s not spreading as much here as, say, in Italy.

        3. Rebecca*

          I live in rural PA, we have 1 Walmart supercenter in our entire county, and a few grocery stores. That’s it, along with Dollar Generals (that popped up like dandelions). No one has toilet paper, or if they do, it’s rationed now. I put together my Walmart grocery pick up order, and white onions of all things were limited to 2. All the things people said we’d need – hand sanitizer, wipes, etc. are just gone. Shipments come in and are immediately scarfed up.

          This is just a microcosm of what will happen when something worse happens and our 24/7/365 supply chain is interrupted.

          1. MistOrMister*

            I don’t understand the onions. I usually get a bag once every few weeks and they were completely out at two stores and very low at two others. What are people doing with all the onions dang it????

              1. fposte*

                Yeah, we were cleaned out of onions and potatoes, and I was sort of pleased and proud that my area was loading up on things to cook well with.

            1. Overeducated*

              We use up a bag of onions every week or two making big recipes for a family. If we’re supposed to have 2 weeks worth of food on hand, I definitely want an unopened bag of onions, two if I’m already out. Same for carrots and cabbage, which we eat a lot of due to budget, and which last longer than a lot of fresh veggies.

            2. WellRed*

              I’d just like to confirm the important onions. My large supermarket completely out. Lots of other produce (though dwindling).

              1. Anonymouse*

                I went to a Thursday where there was not a single regular potato (and there were 6 sweet potatoes left) or onion, nor bell pepper, nor carrots, nor cucumber. There was a little bit of celery. All of the bananas were gone. I picked up a dozen eggs. When I passed by the egg case a few minutes later, all of the dozen cartons were gone and all the 60 egg pallets and 18 egg cartons and there were only a few 6 egg cartons left. (Then I went to another grocery store and they had just reloaded their entire egg case so were full up.) There was no bread on the bread isle. No flour, sugar, rice, pasta or beans. Most canned veggies gone too. Almost all of the bacon was gone from the case. No ground beef. Hardly any chicken–there were some drumsticks and that was it.

                What’s even more amusing is seeing what is still on the shelf after everything has been picked over. At Walmart tonight–there were plenty of canned mushrooms, saurkraut and artichoke hearts! All the hot dogs were gone except one particular brand which was still stocked full. Now I’m wondering what is wrong with that brand. In the deli meats there was only hard salami, and the weird bologna flavors.

                I was actually looking for TP–the problem is all the hoarders make it so the people who aren’t hoarding can’t find any when they run out. Not out yet completely–have 3 mega rolls left so maybe a week or two if me and my roommate are judicious–maybe by then the panic will have died down and there will be normal supplies again.

        4. Book Lover*

          I don’t understand the toilet paper issue. Use small soft hand towels. Lots of people do that for diaper changes in babies to save on waste, and lots of people use bidets too. Toilet paper is not the be all end all.

          1. ThatGirl*

            It’s more that there is not truly a shortage, people are just panicking. That said I’m not using a hand towel to wipe myself.

          2. Mx*

            When I was in India, there was this little ‘douchette’, a very small shower, by the toilet. But we don’t have this over here.

        5. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

          I think some people either think they will be quarantined at some point or might be planning on self-quarantining. I come from a state that gets a lot of hurricanes during hurricane season, and I’m used to people losing their minds like this. At least no one has to worry about hoarding water here.

          1. HBJ*

            This makes even less sense to me than any other reason. I did the math. In our family of three TP users, we go through about 7 rolls in 2 weeks. That’s almost the smallest package you can buy! You probably need one small or medium package to get through a two-week quarantine, not 3 Costco packs.

            1. Jules the 3rd*

              Yeah, we bought 1 costco pack last week, they last us 4 weeks or so. I’m comfortable with what we’ve got.

              I think the hoarding is two rational reasons:
              1) TP is easy to store (can even be outside) and you’ll always use it
              2) People are trying to cut down on that ‘oh, just one important thing!’ trip for a while. That’s the hardest thing for us – thinking of that one more thing that we *could* get, and ‘hey, we’re out running this other errand, we can just stop by the grocery store for that yogurt…’

              I’m trying to move to ‘groceries once every two weeks’, but those one-offs are still happening.

              1. MagicUnicorn*

                I’m adding those one-offs to my grocery list, then next time I have another item to add I roll my eyes at myself and delete half the things I thought I couldn’t do without. This is working surprisingly well.

        6. Artemesia*

          The first articles about ‘being prepared’ stressed stockpiling toilet paper — it was in headlines — and water (inexplicably) I think when people have no clue what to do of course they do something, anything, so toilet paper.

          When I started stocking up a bit a few weeks ago I bought a couple of bags of dried beans, some pasta, some canned fruit, etc and did get a big thing of TP but we always try to be stocked on that. We live in a smallish condo and so didn’t have much stored food and we don’t eat canned food generally so having some beans, tuna, a few tins of fruit seemed prudent. I also stocked up on hand sanitizer and soap and detergent — sanitizer hasn’t been available in the stores here now for at least two weeks.

          When we lived in Nashville whenever there was a forecast for snow, the stores were emptied of milk and bread so I knew there would be a run on supplies when things got scary; I live in Chicago now and snow doesn’t produce panic buying but plaque does. Our stores are still pretty well supplied, but yesterday the beans, pasta sauce, pasta, applesauce etc were pretty much empty shelves; didn’t check out the TP but at least until yesterday they have had plenty.

          1. MissDisplaced*

            That is super annoying. You can’t find masks, sanitizer or wipes anywhere right now.
            I’m lucky I had some from the fall when I stocked up.

          2. T R*

            Amazon and eBay are banning these people for price-gouging, which might slow it down a bit. Who wants to have to sell a garage’s worth of hand sanitizer out of a van?

          3. Rebecca*

            Completely reprehensible. All this does is prevent people who need it from getting it! I’m glad he was shut down, and I think he should be prosecuted. This is no different than jacking up gas prices and price gouging on plywood prior to a hurricane.

          4. Gingerblue*

            Revolting. And apparently the Tennessee AG’s office agrees—they’ve just sent those people a letter ordering them to cease sales and turn over their entire stock. Goodness know’s there’s more like them out there, but still a delicious moment.

            1. Beaded Librarian*

              I saw a video that the AG people were actively removing the hand sanitizer from a storage unit. And I think they are being charged

        7. Marion Ravenwood*

          What amuses me is people stockpiling toilet paper whilst completely ignoring facial tissues. OK, it’s not exactly the same thing, but it does the job in a pinch and you can use them to blow your nose too (though not with the same tissue obviously!).

          Also for those struggling to get toilet paper (in the UK at least), it might be worth trying your local corner shop if the supermarkets are out.

          1. JKP*

            Facial tissue is not designed to degrade properly in the sewer system. In a pinch, using a tissue is not a big deal, but if a lot of people are using tissue instead of toilet paper, there could be problems.

            1. Noblepower*

              Although this is a respiratory disease, not a gastrointestinal one, so I’m also confused as to why the tissue section is still well-stocked but the tp is all gone. You know what’s better than sneezing on your elbow? Sneezing into a tissue, throwing it away and washing your hands…

        8. Koala dreams*

          I was shopping today, and the first store was out of toilet paper but not soap! The second store had both, but the workers were very busy filling the shelf with paper. I did buy some paper today, but just one pack. Soap I already bought last week, and I think that bottle will last a while together with the bottle I found in the kitchen cabinet today.

          Other than paper and a few hygiene products, the supermarket had most things available.

        9. Upstater-ish*

          It’s safe. It’s a lot less scary to worry about toilet paper than getting the virus.

      5. Onlineshopper*

        In Europa, we are asked to stay working at home. I want to order some crafting supplies to have things to do at home (no commute so extra time to so things), but I feel bad for forcing other workers to work when the policy is to try to stay at home as much as possible. Are you also feeling like this?

        1. Copenhagen*

          I see it this way; those of us who can work from home have to do so, in order for those who can’t to stay safe. We still need the economy to keep running and this has been very tough on small businesses already. You could order from a smaller business (and make sure to order in a quantity where you know you’ll only need one delivery and won’t have to order again in a week, since the delivery companies seem to be quite busy at the moment) and craft away, knowing that you helped someone stay afloat in the midst of all this.

        2. WellRed*

          Those workers probably don’t have the option to work from home and won’t get paid otherwise, if that helps anything.

        3. Artemesia*

          In the US at least those who can’t work don’t get paid for the most part so anything we do that requires someone to work is a good thing on balance. Most people who can are being asked to work from home but people who work in restaurants, stores etc can’t do that. Those people restocking grocery store shelves are getting paid — if they need fewer people, they don’t get paid.

          1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

            I can’t work from home. I work at an off-site university location. If we don’t work, the students don’t get fed even though the campus has cancelled classes. We have international students that can’t go home. Most of them want to but can’t with all the travel restrictions in place. For many, it’s the first time away from home and a fun-filled semester has turned into an anxious time.

        4. kt*

          Agree with all of the above. It’s a great time to support local businesses. You could call a local craft store for instance and ask them to package things up (sort of like takeout for craft supplies). This keeps workers safe and you crafty!

          1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

            I’m still ordering from my favourite Chinese restaurant, they’re doing okay because they have a large and loyal customer base.

            1. Trixie, the Great and Pedantic*

              One of the indies in Queens, Astoria Bookshop, is offering “curbside service”: “You can continue to purchase books from us through our website, for USPS delivery or for curbside pickup, meaning we will pass your books to you through the front door.”

          1. Gingerblue*

            Ravelry put up a long post about dealing with the virus (sensible, given that it’s an important social outlet for a lot of people). Among other things, they suggested that stores offer this, and that crafters who were financially able to stock up a bit on yarn, since small local stores are likely to be hit hard by the pandemic. So it’s not completely out of nowhere!

      6. LGC*

        Honestly, I think it’s one of the less risky options! What you’re supposed to do is avoid being in close proximity to other people, not to seal yourself off from anything another human has ever touched (so I’ve heard).

        So if anyone really matters, it’s the people in your local post office/UPS facility/so on.

      7. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        You should just wash your hands after opening your packages. There’s less exposure to warehoused items than in public stores.

        Public touching EVERYTHING and rifling through stock verses a distribution center employee with protocol to limit the touch factor. Then it’s in a box. Throw the outside covering away ASAP. Wash your hands and your risk is low.

        Meanwhile the stuff we get at the store is pawed through relentlessly by people. I’m still flinching after seeing a consumer who was pawing at the grocery sacks trying to get them from a cashier earlier without wanting to pay our mandared 10c fee on them. He touched like all of them while arguing with the cashier. (He was also wearing a face mask that didn’t cover his nose. The masks aren’t even very effective but wearing them wrong is my own special trigger lol)

        1. MissDisplaced*

          People seriously. I just received an order from Japan. If you’re concerned, just keep the box outside, spray the box with Lysol, remove the item, spray it as well, then throw away the boxes and papers. It’s not a super bug.

      8. blackcat*

        If you are really concerned, leaving it outside for 24 hours will kill the virus if it’s a cardboard box. (heard on NPR that the max is 72 hours on hard surfaces, 24 on cardboard)

      9. Panthera uncia*

        I buy almost all my skincare from Korea, so I’m torn on whether to bother ordering right now. I know the CDC says it’s not a safety concern, but I assume commerce from Asia has slowed to a crawl, and I don’t want to pay for products that may just sit somewhere spoiling for months.

      10. Marion Ravenwood*

        I feel really conflicted about it. I need to order some birthday/Mother’s Day presents this week as suddenly being thrown into flat-hunting means I won’t have time to go to the shops as originally planned, but at the same time I’m aware I feel bad that I might be exposing people in jobs where they can’t necessarily take sick leave to the virus (warehouse staff, delivery drivers etc). Same with ordering stuff from the supermarket online, even though I need some supplies as I don’t think I’d have enough to last me two weeks if I had to self-isolate. So I honestly don’t know.

      11. LJay*

        Wash the item (if possible), dispose of the packaging as soon as possible after opening, wash the surface the packaging was on, wash your hands.

        Everything you buy in a store has also gone through a big supply chain of people touching it just like the stuff from Amazon has. (Unless it’s like a local farmer’s market or something.)

    2. All Hail Queen Sally*

      The Coronamania has started in my state! We got our first case on Wednesday; now we are up to 10 cases. Our Governor is very proactive and has cancelled events, schools for the next three weeks, and urging everyone to keep a low profile. Our hospitals have 3000 hospital beds standing by and are setting up drive through clinics in parking lots. Grocery stores have been stripped of cleaning supplies, paper products, and now the run on food has begun. I will be settling in with all my books, knitting, and crochet projects.

      1. Please Don't*

        We’re up to low 40s with the first one’s in my county. My state won’t get any more specific about location than. I just wish they would let us know probable origin. Big difference between just was overseas last week, got back from neighboring state or we have no idea.
        I got a kick out Montana’s ‘only’ case. A resident went to Maryland, got sick there and has yet to return home. And so far Montana and West Virginia seem to be the only states virus free.

        1. Someone On-Line*

          I would not say the states are virus-free. I would say they haven’t tested enough people to find the positives yet.

          1. Jules the 3rd*

            well, Montana…

            I generally agree with you, we’re not seeing the iceberg, but I could understand a state that’s got low density population like Montana not having any yet. WV, yeah, it’s just not tested yet.

        2. All Hail Queen Sally*

          My state did let us know that the first few were all travel related and the last few people were all in direct contact (family members) with the first few. They have let us know which county each of the positive cases are from. We have not had any other cases (so far).

          1. fhqwhgads*

            This is probably misleading though. My understanding is in the US at this point, they’re only testing people who had recently traveled to areas known to have lots of cases (and people who live with those people)…so….of course the first positives in any county are travel-related. Hardly anyone without strongly suspected exposure is getting tested at the moment (not by their choice).

            1. Jules the 3rd*

              yep. My county’s had known cases for a couple of weeks now (US South; connections to the WA nursing home, the Biogen conference). I went in last week with fever / cough, tested negative for flu, was denied covid19 testing as I hadn’t traveled out of state. They don’t have the ability to process it even if I had done a test.

              I’m wfh and limiting errands since I started coughing, and talking to my parents only on the phone, no visits.

            2. That Girl from Quinn's House*

              With the exception of the few states who went rogue, the testing criteria is still that you must have a known exposure and/or be sick enough to be admitted to the hospital.

            3. kt*

              Yep. Even healthcare workers in my state are not being tested unless they are meeting those criteria, which seems really not-good to me.

              1. Doc in a Box*

                Yup. I’m recently returned from a CDC Level 3 country where I was almost certainly infected, have self-quarantined and was told I will not be tested unless I develop fever, cough, or shortness of breath. The academic medical center where I work sent out guidance not to test a suspected case unless the person needs hospitalization; suspected milder cases are being told to go home and wait it out. I understand that there are only a limited number of tests, but this is deeply disturbing given what we know about this virus’s dynamics.

        3. Merely Montanan*

          Ha! Montana has four cases as of late Friday, so not anymore. My mother says the police are stopping and checking cars that ate out of state to try to contain the virus between towns.

          And yes, I resent you getting a kick out of Montana when I see people panicking and people from other states and towns buy up all the toilet paper in town.

      2. Lionheart26*

        I’m living in Germany. The school where I work has been shut for a week and will stay closed till April 20. Not too much chaos and panic in my small town though.
        My husband want to visit his family in Azerbaijan, a country that is refusing German visitors. He says that it doesn’t apply to him, but I’m terrified he’ll be put into quarantine for his entire 2 week stay. They have apparently built a shed with very basic facilities next to the airport. Fingers crossed his flight is cancelled!

        1. All Hail Queen Sally*

          Yes, and as of today we are up to 13 cases, but how the last 3 acquired it is unknown. I volunteer at a museum and we were told on Thurs that the museum would stay open; however today on the news, they announced that all museums would be closed. I do agree with this, because almost all of our exhibits have a “touch me” component.

    3. Sc@rlettNZ*

      The NZ Prime Minister just announced that everyone entering NZ, regardless of where they came from, has to self isolate for 14 days (I’ve no idea how they can actually ensure that people do). All cruise ships have also been banned.

      I’ve also heard from a fairly reliable source that the city I live in now has its first case but so far there’s been no official confirmation).

      1. AcademiaNut*

        In Taiwan they’re monitoring self-quarantine via government issued cellphones. The fine for breaking quarantine is ~30,000 USD (a decent year’s salary).

        1. pentamom*

          Are they surgically embedding the cellphone in people’s bodies? Because otherwise I don’t see how that works at all.

          1. Product Person*

            Are they surgically embedding the cellphone in people’s bodies? Because otherwise I don’t see how that works at all.

            I can think of many ways of enforcing quarantine via cellphone! One relatively easy way, even if bothersome for the person being tracked, would be to monitor position via GPS, generating an alert if it goes beyond the authorized perimeter. And every X min, random interval, prompt the person to use their fingerprint to confirm they are at the same place as the cellphone. Only stop after dark/store closures to allow for rest/sleep. Even if the person violated the quarantine during the night, the risk would be dramatically reduced because the opportunities for transmission would be minimized (especially in places where bars, movie theaters etc. have been temporarily closed).

            1. Mx*

              But if they need to sleep during the day that wouldn’t work. And if you are sick you may sleep more.

      2. Colette*

        My coworker has been planning a trip to Australia/New Zealand for the last 6 months. He cancelled this morning. (Which is good, but disappointing. He’s hoping to reschedule for November.)

        1. Artemesia*

          We have been promising our granddaughter a trip to Paris when she was 10 for 4 years; we have tickets for April 1. So really disappointing and who knows if we will be able to do this at our age in another year even if we survive this epidemic. Small beans compared to people losing jobs, or health or life but a disappointment nevertheless. I have been unable to get in touch with the airline and am of course hoping we can get a refund (a voucher has to be spent within a year of original ticket sale, so probably doesn’t get us past the epidemic) The lines are of course crushed with people calling so we will try in a few days and hope they cancel our flights and refund us.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          If I had any money, I would be in Krakow in May for the Film Music Festival. I have never been able to go. It would probably be canceled this year, but I’m skint so it’s not doable in any case. At least I’m not losing any money on the trip, since it’s nonexistent!

          1. AnotherKiwi*

            Thanks – I know inevitable that it will spread but we’re moving from Wellington to Christchurch in three weeks and I’m particularly concerned about the prospect of a lockdown on inter-island travel! (Although I think it’s unlikely)

            1. Amanda*

              Thank goodness I’m not the only one moving somewhere else in the midst of all this. I move in two weeks (I’m in the US, and my new job is a 7 hour drive away and is already talking about us working from home following-or possibly starting with-my orientation). What makes me even more anxious is that my family-parents and brother-are all helping me go get set up. This has been in the works for over a month, and now I’m completely paranoid.

    4. Marzipan*

      I have to say that being enormously pregnant in the middle of a pandemic is quite the thing.

      On the one hand, I have been incredibly chill throughout pretty much the entire pregnancy – I’m normally quite prone to anxiety, and had rather assumed that (or worse) would continue to be the case in pregnancy, and then somehow the opposite had happened and I’ve just sailed serenely along not worrying about much of anything. So, I’m actually not freaking out about it, which is good. (Ironically my normal tendency towards fretting is such that at the back of my mind I think I always assumed that some crisis was going to ensue if I ever got pregnant – like, the caldera under Yellowstone park would blow, or something.)

      And, to a large extent I’m assuming that once the Marzipan Baby arrives, I’ll be mostly sitting around the house anyway, in the initial stages. I haven’t even felt like I needed to stock up on stuff all that much, because I already had my Brexit stockpile stashed away. The evidence seems to be that pregnant women aren’t particularly at risk, and that children seem not to be greatly affected. I think the parts I’m more wary of, though, are things like, I know the day will come when I get ill with something and so does the baby and I have to muddle through that on my own, but I’d have really liked not to be faced with that prospect quite so soon. I’m also wondering how things will pan out hospital-wise, if larger numbers of people are ill in a few weeks when I’m due. And, the logistics of some stuff become more complicated if there are any limits around getting out and about, or availability of things. I guess it just loads up some additional unknowns into what was already the ultimate unknown.

      1. Marzipan*

        Oh, and also – I’m supposed to be going to my MA graduation next weekend (did the MA ages ago but never got around to going to a graduation ceremony, figured this was my last real chance!) and I wish they would just get on and cancel it if they’re going to. Last message they sent it was still going ahead, but it looks as though the UK government might be about to do a U-turn on large gatherings so I’m pretty sure it’s not happening. I totally think cancelling it is sensible and appropriate – I was questioning whether it was a good idea to go, in any case. I’d just like to know!

        1. The German Chick*

          Fellow German pregnant lady here, due any minute! We’ll be fine! The situation will have normalized in a few months. The only thing I am worried about is that the natal care at my hospital will be limited due to the midwives being out due to a Corona scare or closed kindergartens.

        2. Artemesia*

          A friend’s daughter was getting her doctorate at Oxford in March and they have cancelled that ceremony. My friend who is a French/US citizen is in Paris now and is desperately trying to get back here; she was originally booked to fly from London in a couple of weeks.

      2. Copenhagen*

        Fellow Danish pregnant lady here. Denmark is in complete lock down (the borders close in 2½ hours for all non-essential movement). I’m pretty sure I have the virus and it’s… Okay. It’s not that bad and I don’t feel scared for me or the baby. But I can see how this could be a horrible virus if you’re old or immunocompromised! I’m young, my health is good and I’m not leaving my apartment until I’m free of symptoms to keep others safe.

        The health care system here is stretched pretty thin already, and they’ve stopped testing people if they only have mild symptoms. They’re handling the extra pressure and need for resources by cancelling all non-essential things, like knee-surgeries. But pregnancy and birth is still very essential and so far the only changes made is, that we potentially aren’t allowed to bring a loved one with us to the visits and scans (but of course they’re allowed at the birth!). It sucks, but it’s what it takes to keep the midwives and nurses healthy.

        It will end up being quite the “when you were born…” story to pass onto our children.

      3. Flexing Rhetoric*

        So I just had my baby three weeks ago, and honestly, being home with bub has made this whole panic thing a lot easier. I already have several weeks worth of diapers and wipes, and people already expected me to stay away from large crowds. I just stay home and cuddle the baby and play with the toddler, and the world is going on outside my door. Once I have to go back to work, it will be different, but for now I feel as protected as I can be. (Oh, and at least here in my city, maxi pads are still available, but make sure you have several weeks’ worth if they are getting scarce in your area.)

      4. Artemesia*

        I am normally a fairly anxious person but when I was pregnant I was just the opposite — never worried about the babies or the pregnancy — just chill. I think there are some good natural drugs the body pumps out to keep you happy while pregnant. Hope all goes well and luckily this epidemic seems not to be extra virulent for those who are pregnant. The 1918 epidemic was.

        1. CollegeSupervisor*

          I’m a bit jealous of that chill-ness. When I was pregnant, there were articles all over the place about the maternal mortality rate and I kept fighting anxiety the whole pregnancy. I’m pretty sure I annoyed the nurses after my delivery because I kept being sure I was dying every time I was feeling even a little bit weird (hence my prescription for an anti-depressant for anxiety before even leaving the hospital).

      5. kt*

        I have no idea what the birthing situation is like in your country, but in my area of the US “birthing centers” are a thing. For low-risk pregnancies, you can basically give birth in a house staffed by midwives and usually a doc. They’re meant to provide a homey environment with quick access to medical care (so trying to get the nicer parts of a home birth while adding in another level of medical access and technology). If I were able, that’s the perfect kind of environment during this sort of thing: staffed by hygiene-conscious people, should have no sick people at all (anyone sick needs to be referred to a medical center)….

        I had been set to do this but then my baby was still breech at 38 weeks so I had to go to a hospital. I managed to find a hospital that caters to Amish people, though, and had my breech baby in a similarly-low-intervention environment (with a surgery room next door just in case). Anyhow, good luck!!

        1. Marzipan*

          In the UK, you broadly have the option of hospital (midwives/doctors as appropriate), a midwife-led birthing unit, or a home birth (again, with midwives in attendance). But, I’m technically fairly high-risk for a variety of reasons, so I’ve been steered pretty solidly towards hospital.

      6. Turquoisecow*

        Pregnant but not due till September. In the US and my town has basically been instructed to self-quarantine as much as possible. Husband and I both work from home and I’m pretty chill.

        I’ve talked to a few people who said they were pretty chill during pregnancy. I sometimes have bouts of depression but I’ve been pretty ok so far.

    5. Jaid*

      My parents work as volunteer docents at a fairly popular museum on Sundays. They’re 75 and 80 years old. I called to ask that they’d consider staying home. Dad was fine with the idea, but Mom was of the opinion that this was like getting the flu, which she never got, and with precautions she wouldn’t get C19 either.

      Fortunately, the museum, like most other places, announced it was closing starting this weekend, so that’s one less worry for me.

      G-d bless Mom, but though she’s from the Bronx, she’s no George Carlin (watch his video on germs…).

      1. All Hail Queen Sally*

        I volunteer at a museum on Monday afternoons. Although I am in the demographic to be cautious (over 60 with an underlying health condition–diabetes) I am one of the younger volunteers, so as long as our museum is open (as of now it still is) I will be going in.

      2. Parenthetically*

        Arrrrgh my mother is the same about this. She’s in her late 60s and has a couple of troubling comorbidities and was angry with my dad yesterday for telling me she was planning on going out to the grocery store.

      3. LizB*

        A friend’s 70yo, medically fragile dad is still planning to fly to California for a trip next week. His daughter-in-law who lives in CA and planned the trip is saying he should still come because, “You can’t stop living!” My friend and I are like… I mean, you can, unfortunately. In a very literal sense. Cancel the trip!

      4. Elizabeth West*

        “Know why we didn’t get polio? We swam in raw sewage! Polio never had a chance!”

      5. Nom de Plume*

        Argh. My mother is like this too. She’s 71, has high blood pressure. My sister and I have been trying to convince her to curtail her social calendar. I finally put it to her this way, I said that the entire country is making enormous sacrifices to prevent spreading the illness to people like her who are at higher risk of dying from it. My son’s school will be remote next week, and my entire company is working from home. Events are cancelled, and things are closing down. I said the least she could do was to not do optional activities like going to the gym to walk on a treadmill.

      6. NoLongerYoung*

        Adding to the mom stories. Had a nice chat with mom tonight. She’s over 90 but still driving, active, and going daily (although slower). I talked her into staying home “while we see how this goes.” She has allergies; wanted to see the doctor for a minor item… (in her small regional area, the rounds of the doc/care team, and then the pharmacy, are a monthly thing it seems). For her current, minor thing – she has an allergy-caused sneeze/runny nose, and just saw the nurse last week – I discussed with her just taking her temp 2x a day, but not going into the doctor unless she calls first and they say she needs to come in for that runny nose. Pointed out that she and her still large circle of friends (a dozen all over 80, wonderful group of ladies, one just recently out of the hospital, 2 died in the last year)… that one of them, statistically, was likely to get it. Said “you don’t want to be the one who picks it up and brings it back to them?” She has enough food for 2 months, multiple local people who will go to the next town over and bring groceries back (should she need any). Had not occurred to her to stay home. Walmart is a social outing.
        She finally understood that although their county seems rural and not a hotbed, it was quite likely that this was already there, just no one sick enough to have been tested yet. Finally. So she’s staying in. Whew.

    6. No more flights*

      My country has just cancelled all flights in or out for the next 2 weeks. Just waiting to see what’s going to happen at work. We’re not really set up to work from home – lots of security hoops to jump through to get our laptops to work remotely and not everyone has laptops. So when I go in to work tomorrow I’ll be processing requests for the team. Am currently spacing out watching Mountain Men on History channel.

    7. Ludo*

      Of course the virus is scary and I’m worried about those who might not be able to fight it off, but I’m really worried about the human aspect of it-economy tanking, looting, rioting. I hope nothing like that happens worse than the fights we’ve already seen

      1. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

        The way people are behaving in this pandemic is something I will never be able to unsee.

        1. Not a cat*

          I was just talking about this w/ my roommate. Was at the supermarket yesterday, there was a person w/ a full cart of TP (there was nothing else left and no limits set). He was wheeling around to the back of the line saying, “fuck these people, I got mine…”

      2. Epsilon Delta*

        That is 100% what I am concerned about. I worry that a public panic would be much more fatal than the virus itself and I am not convinced that disrupting people’s routines will help. I’m trying not to think about it. I just washed everything around the house with soap and water, am washing my hands frequently and thoroughly, and am trying to focus on being worried about getting sick instead.

    8. Crazy Broke Asian*

      I’ve been using hand sanitiser regularly for a decade now, and honestly I’m tired of people who say, “soap is better!” Yeah, sure, let me fix a sink to my belt and carry it everywhere, including to the train so packed that people fainting is a regular occurrence.

      What am I supposed to do anyway after handling cash or touching hand rails? Just carry on and wait for soap access, thus ensuring the germs are transferred from cash/rails/whatever to my phone/zipper/whatever?

      1. misspiggy*

        It probably depends on how good you are at not touching your face, and only eating after you’ve managed to wash your hands. If you’re less likely to manage those two, hand sanitiser is probably a good idea in addition to handwashing when you can.

        1. Crazy Broke Asian*

          Our hands are only as clean as the next thing we touch, though. So if I wash my hands, then touch the bag’s zipper to take out my lunch box, they’re dirty again already.

      2. Batgirl*

        I’ve always assumed you can’t possibly keep your hands clean enough due to all the things we have to touch; so just focus on washing hands before you eat/as much as possible. You make a great point about phones though. They are uses so close to the mouth and it’s probably not going to be possible to wash your hands before receiving a call!How often are you applying hand sanitizer to keep all your items clean?

        1. Crazy Broke Asian*

          Very often. I keep cash and train ticket on the right pocket of my trousers, and phone on the left, so I always use sanitiser after touching the right pocket. After touching the hand rails on escalators and on the train. I try to only use one hand for touching things, so like right hand is for touching stuff, left is for phone. If I need to switch then I spray sanitiser before switching.

          Oh, and I also do the 20-second hand wash, been doing so since five years ago actually.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        Alcohol doesn’t break the fatty outer layer of the virus the way soap does. So yeah, soap IS better. But hand sanitizer (over 60% alcohol) will get you through until have access to soap and water. You should still avoid touching your face until you can wash your hands with soap.

      4. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

        I think the advice to use soap is for when it is available. Sanitizer is useful when you don’t have access to soap. I use both. Using sanitizer more frequently now.

      5. Nom de Plume*

        I’ve been washing my hands as soon as I get home and try not to touch my face when out. It’s hard.

    9. A.N. O'Nyme*

      I’m still surprised at the amount of people who seem to consider “washing your hands” to be a radical new concept. Like ????? You should be doing that anyway????

      1. m*

        The advice is to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and rub thoroughly. If you’re one of those people who think doing a quick splash of water counts as ‘washing your hands’ then you’re probably not much better,

          1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            The official guidelines here are at least 20 seconds of soap scrubbing (plus rinsing) at least five times a day.

            Five times a day seems like a very low base.

            1. A.N. O'Nyme*

              I actually don’t know the official guidelines here, I’m just in the habit of going for around 60 seconds because that’s the guideline at my job (we work with food, albeit indirectly – there’s usually at least two layers of packaging between me and the food itself). I realise that 60 seconds is longer than most people do, however. It’s just fascinating to see people who I know (almost) never wash their hands after using the bathroom suddenly be so rigorous about it.

          2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

            People find 20 seconds extremely long. That’s why everyone is posting that meme with 20 seconds worth of lyrics.

            We did the experiment in school where you put your head down and look up after you think it’s been 1 minute. Everyone drastically underestimates unless they’re actively counting lol

            1. A.N. O'Nyme*

              Oh yeah, I remember that experiment! I think in our class a couple of us actually overestimated (the last one to raise their hand clocked in at around 1m20s iirc.

        1. fposte*

          I don’t think the time reminder is nearly as useful as the charts and videos showing the steps–if you’re just rubbing the palms together for 20 seconds, which I see sometimes, that’s not getting you much.

            1. fposte*

              The recommended routine, which I confess I’m one of the people who just learned, is palm to palm with fingers interlaced; fingers of one hand rotating on the palm of the other and then swap; hands on top of each other with fingers interlaced to scrub backs and then swap; interlock hands by folding fingers of one hand into the folded fingers of another rotate one hand rather than keeping them mirrored/parallel) and scrub nails and tips; give each thumb a hand job; then get under the nails if they’re too long to be treated by the earlier step alone.

      2. Jdc*

        This is the one that freaks me out the most. The amount of people I’ve now realized aren’t washing their hands. No wonder I’ve been sick all winter.

      3. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

        I know, right?

        That being said, those of use who have always had crappy immune systems have always known to be as cautious as people are right now. I never touch public platforms, hand sanitize regularly, and carry around wipes with me in situations where I have to touch public surfaces. I always wipe down my seat when I get on an airplane. I’m also careful not to touch my face so as not to break out. I’m now glad everyone else is following suit.

        1. Artemesia*

          This is an airborne virus and most people will get it by breathing it in, so yeah hand washing is important but it won’t prevent you getting it when someone near you sneezes or coughs or just breaths.

          1. kt*

            We should be careful about the details here: COVID-19 is for sure transmitted through droplets (coughs, sneezes, exhales) but we are not sure that it is airborne like measles (just floating through the air for half an hour after a person shedding the virus leaves). The problem is that “airborne” has a particular jargon meaning but a different colloquial meaning. Anyhow, for practical purposes stay away from people right now, but don’t worry it’s in the air after a person has left.

            1. Róisín*

              I thought we were pretty sure it WASN’T airborne. It’s not floating in the air, it’s settling on surfaces in cough/sneeze droplets and then we’re transmitting it through touch.

              1. Pennyworth*

                I think there is some recent research that in certain conditions it can linger in the air for up to three hours, which is concerning.

                On the handwashing, our school did an exeriment with the kids where they used glitter in hand lotion, then asked them to wash it off thoroughly. Of course some didn’t wash off, and by the end of the class there was glitter on a lot of surfaces and a lot of faces.

              2. fposte*

                One article I read explains that “airborne” means different things to different scientists and that the differentiation between droplet size is not universally agreed on. So it’s not measles, where you can enter a room hours after the sick person has left and catch the disease, but you also don’t have to touch somebody to contract it either.

                1. Jenny F. Scientist*

                  I read the paper in question (I’m a biochemist). Small droplets for sure persist in the air for at LEAST 3 hours and are still infectious; the dynamics of real world transmission all suggest it’s being transmitted by airborne droplets. (Airborne means the virus particle itself is basically floating around in the air, like measles or chickenpox, which are SUPER DUPER contagious. Droplet transmission is only VERY contagious.)

      4. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

        Oh my YES! I’ve been telling my students to wash their hands thoroughly for weeks and it’s finally sinking in but they still forget. I was always hearing “I washed them this morning.”

        1. Epsilon Delta*

          I had multiple talks with my 11 year old about hand hygiene. It’s been a long struggle over the years to get her to do more than rub soap between her palms for a few seconds then rinse it off.

          So we sat down and had a talk about the corona virus, and how the two people she cares about most (grandma and cousin) could end up in the hospital or worse if they get it because of their health conditions. That plus the schools closing seem to have finally encouraged her to wash properly. We practiced washing for 20 seconds and getting all parts of the hand. She is doing it now. I hope the habit sticks permanently, but for now I’ll take it if we can get through this crisis with good hand hygiene.

    10. LDN Layabout*

      As someone who has also uttered the words ‘it’s just allergies!’ (or hayfever, in my case) I think all of us who may have coughs/sneezes/drippy noses need to be a bit more gracious to people who are panicking right now (…unless they’re spraying disinfectant at us, obviously).

      The issue is how many people are either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, quite frankly unless you’ve been tested recently? None of us can say we don’t have it. So while in a normal year, I get why the Typhoid Mary treatment would be annoying, I have a lot more sympathy for it right now.

      1. Lemonwhirl*

        I also have allergies right now and that was part of the reason that I requested full-time working from home on Wednesday. (I live 140km round-trip from the office, so I was already on 3 days a week at home.) I knew it would only be a matter of time before allergies became a visible/audible issue. But then they announced the schools closure here in Ireland and encouraged work-from-home as much as possible the very next day.

        1. LDN Layabout*

          We’re testing out wfh on Tuesday (everyone has the capability to, this is to test what happens when we ALL log in at the same time – I predict a mess) and I’m also ordering a monitor/office chair so my neck/back don’t conk out after a few weeks.

          1. Anonymouse*

            My entire company (all locations) did that type of test yesterday-there was some lag in getting the 2FA codes for logging into the VPN but other than that, I didn’t see or hear of any issues. Just got notification today that my location is now on WFH until March 31.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I have allergies currently too (thank you, Forsythia, you bitch). The last time I went to Walmart, I made sure to pick up some allergy medication. If I do have an in-person interview, I don’t want to arrive all sneezy and sniffly. Also, the sinus pain ain’t fun.

    11. m*

      For all the criticisms thrown at the Chinese government (and rightly so) a few weeks ago about covering up true numbers and not being transparent with the population about case numbers, the US is quickly heading the same way and so few seem willing to acknowledge that.

      People (including those on this forum) seem to believe that ‘no reported cases’ means there aren’t any, and ignore the fact you can’t report what you don’t test. It’s probably not as bad as the Chinese government who /knew/ there were cases and didn’t say anything, but trying to /stay/ ignorant is surely a huge problem as well.

      The major difference now is that the US can’t control or track movement of people the way the Chinese can, and now it’s just a waiting game to see when everything comes to the surface. If people were willing to voluntarily restrict their own movement without government clamp downs then perhaps it wouldn’t be as bad. But that is extremely unlikley to happen.

      1. Lemonwhirl*

        I would really like to see data that includes number of tests administered daily. The widely reported numbers in my country are only cases/deaths. Maybe the number of tests is available somewhere, but I’ve not seen it widely reported yet.

        1. Parenthetically*

          Our Governor is giving a daily update that includes negative tests as well, thankfully!

        2. kt*

          From the Minnesota State Department of Health: As of March 14, 2020:
          868 approximate number of patients tested
          21 positives

          Indeed number of tests is really important, as “percent positive” is a silly metric otherwise.

          1. Kage*

            I don’t think the MN Dept of Health numbers are helpful at all as doesn’t it take a few days to get results? My understanding is the “patients tested” number is just the totally people th I’ve given the test to – not the actual tests they have had come back. So really, they’re giving a false sense of low spread as you’re seeing a super low positive percentage whereas they might find out in a few days that there are more positives within their rested number. I’d want to see number of tests taken, number of received results, and then number of positives out of those received results.

      2. Tau*

        I stare at the data a lot because I live in Germany and we have a ridiculously mismatched number of cases vs deaths compared to other countries. Like, around the same number of cases as France with only 10% of the deaths. Something is screwy here, and I’m crossing my fingers that it’s us catching more of the milder or asymptomatic cases.

        1. Book Lover*

          It may be that you are doing a far better job of testing. It is also true that Italy has far more cases than have been tested because testing is no longer needed. People who are sick stay home and people who can’t breathe call emergency services. Testing is irrelevant once the whole country is quarantined.

          1. Book Lover*

            And I realized that didn’t come out quite the way I intended. Point being that there are many presumptive cases without testing, and countries that are testing aggressively will have apparently lower mortality rates if they are catching people with mild symptoms compared with countries with low testing/stringent requirements for testing, I think.

      3. Jackalope*

        Part of the problem with voluntary self-quarantine as opposed to govt imposed quarantine is that it has different consequences. For example, keeping kids home from school for weeks because they or a family member are at risk is going to get them way behind and they may not be able to catch up. Closing all schools for weeks means that all students lose the same amount of time and they may well take action (extending the school year, for example) to get everyone caught up. Staying home from work for a few weeks on self-quarantine means anything from burning through a bunch of leave to even losing your job. Staying home because the govt requires it means you will still be employed and may still get paid. And so on. Saying people should self-quarantine is a great idea but much harder to do in practicality than an official lock-down.

      4. Dinopigeon*

        It’s not so much unwilling as unable. Many people can’t weather the economic consequences of voluntary self-quarantine. In most areas parents can’t just pull their kids out of school indefinitely. Some people can’t afford to stock up on food or their area is already sold out of everything. Others are caregivers, and it’s all well and good to say “don’t visit your elderly relatives” until those same relatives are absolutely reliant on you to survive.

        Personally I’m not being allowed to work remotely until my employer decides we should do so, even though our building seems almost expressly designed to spread illness (open concept, agile seating, and no kleenex anywhere since we went “green” a few years ago… and housing hundreds of people from all over the city). So believe me, I want to stay home, but I can’t.

    12. Foreign Octopus*

      Spain declared a state of emergency on Thursday and my province has now gone into a 14-day lockdown starting today, only supermarkets and pharmacies will be open. This isn’t a bad thing, what makes it bad though is that my parents (for reasons that I’ll never understand) decided to go ahead with the English friends who arrived yesterday and will be leaving on Tuesday. At a time of a WHO-verified global pandemic, why on earth did no one think to cancel?

      I really like their friends but it’s so stupid to be travelling at the moment for non-essential travel. And we don’t even know if they’ll be able to get back to Britain on Tuesday as it’s not like the British government has been clear about what they’re doing.

      I’ve also got a cold (worst possible timing) but it does give me a reason to self-isolate.

      1. KaciHall*

        We had cousins from Canada, that we’d never met in person before, decide to surprise visit us yesterday. I’m so confused by it. Like, they were vacationing (snow birding?) in Florida the last couple months, but decided to go home to Newfoundland since everything is closing down there. And stopped at our house in Indiana. Technically, they stopped at our family business, with literally NO warning.

        I’m fairly certain that’s NOT on the way, and why make unnecessary stops to get home if you don’t have to?

    13. The Other Dawn*

      I’ve been home-bound for a couple weeks now due to my back surgeries, with several more weeks to come. Seeing all the social media posts and hearing stories from others in regards to the state of grocery stores, I’m quite happy that I stocked up on many items over the course of the past month (I stocked up because I wouldn’t be able to shop by myself, not because of the virus). I’m also happy that I’m isolated and my husband took a lot of time off to stay home with me.

      I’m normally not one to worry too much about anything, but I am starting to worry about a couple things. I’m worried my cousin won’t make it here at the end of the week. She’s scheduled to come Friday on Amtrak from PA to CT. She got one ticket change notification yesterday; however, her train has not yet been cancelled. She said it’s the Acela trains that are being cancelled at the moment. I worry that she might come into contact with the virus, both for her sake and mine; however, she’s older and doesn’t work, so her potential contact with anyone infected is a bit less than others who are currently working. But she’ll also be taking a train with lots of other people. I’m also starting to wonder if my next surgery (03/17) will go on as planned. I assume it will (got the pre-op call yesterday), and I really hope it will–I’m ready to get it over with. Considering how much hand sanitizer use I saw when I was there for the first surgery, I’m not really worried I’d become infected while at the hospital (there are no know cases in my area yet).

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I’m also worried about my friend who recently had a mastectomy and is undergoing radiation at the moment. She just started this week and I think has at least five more treatments to go. Her immune system is down because of this. Considering they found 12 cancerous nodes (out of 13 removed) in her arm when they removed the breast AND the cancer is the most aggressive, fastest moving breast cancer one can have, she really can’t/shouldn’t put off her treatments. I hope she’ll be OK.

        1. Cover your cough*

          It is interesting how time changes perspective. I recommended everyone stock up 5 weeks ago and you responded to my post by saying I was causing a panic by recommending stocking up.
          Glad you are ready.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            That wasn’t me. What appears to be several different people asked if people are stocking up and I said “nope.”

            1. The Other Dawn*

              Correction: I said I wasn’t stocking up because of this virus, but because of surgery.

      2. Sydney Bristow*

        My husband took Amtrak this morning from PA to NYC. All of the smaller stops between Lancaster and Philly were skipped. He said that there were a total of 14 people on the segment between Philly and NYC and that the conductors were talking like it is going to be closed down too. This was the Keystone line, so that may not be what your cousin is taking, but thought I’d share.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Thanks. She messaged me yesterday that it’s been cancelled (Lancaster to Philly, then Philly to New Haven), so she has to call and see if there’s anything else available.

    14. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I’ve been sent this article: https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca

      It’s about best practices to prevent spread and flatten the curve. There’s modeling you can put your own data into (location, workplace size) to see what measures should be taken when.

      It is long and detailed, and perhaps needs a content note for those with relevant anxiety triggers. I found it useful because data analysis is better than ideological or political speculation.

      Long and short: we were meant to be going to a party tonight and now … probably aren’t going.

      1. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

        The person who wrote this article doesn’t seem to be a medical professional and gives different information about things like unsymptomatic people spreading the disease and getting it from surfaces than what experts commonly say. I wouldn’t consider this very reliable information.

        1. Nom de Plume*

          Yeah….that struck me as well. I searched for this guys credentials, and I can’t find any! Like is he a statistician? Does he have a masters in public health? Epidemiologist? Virologist? Doctor? Anything??

          1. Nerdy Library Clerk*

            As someone who works with the public, this is what worries me. I don’t want to unknowingly pick it up at work and spread it elsewhere, or pick it up elsewhere and spread it at work. Especially the latter. Our patrons include a lot of people from higher risk demographics. So far, we’re staying open to provide services (though we’ve canceled programing and made changes to help with social distancing), but that’s partially operating on the idea that staff will know that they’re sick and stay home. If we can spread it without knowing, that’s a much bigger problem.

        2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          He’s an engineer (credentials at the bottom of the article) and the article is about modeling, not medicine.

          I found it useful because analysing the data currently available to us helps to frame the risk. It doesn’t change the advice to individuals, but it probably would be useful to higher-level decision makers, and gives the rest of us an insight into the kind of reports they’re likely to be using to make the decisions that we may not understand or agree with.

    15. coffee cup*

      People’s panic-buying is really getting on my nerves. Those who genuinely need things can’t get them because of it. In the UK food banks are low on supplies because people are just buying stuff without thinking about it. We’re not short of food and supplies but we will be if this keeps going. I really needed paracetamol for a headache and it was all gone! Saw a guy buying three packs. Although amusingly yesterday people had panic-bought hummus.

      1. LittleBeans*

        Agreed. I’m planning to go the store at 6am today because i need groceries, and the last 2 times i tried, cashier lines were wrapped around the store.

        Also, i have one pack of toilet paper in the house, haven’t hoarded, but now worried i won’t be able to buy even a single pack when we run out!

        1. coffee cup*

          Exactly! You don’t start off hoarding but kind of inadvertently have to do a bit of it because of others.

          1. MOAS*

            Exactly. We went out to groceries a few times and picked up what we could for toilet paper. Not fighting or hoarding but what if we run out and nothing is left? Luckily we use water in the bathroom so we don’t need as much TP but it’s

            My company had a meeting about it as well and one of the managers seriously asked if we would run out. We all laughed him included but it’s a real possibility.

            1. Meepmeep*

              We missed the boat on toilet paper hoarding. The shelves were empty when I went to the grocery store today. I guess we’ll be ordering online.

      2. Lemonwhirl*

        I’m surprised you can buy 3 packs of paracetamol at a time. There’s a law here that we can only buy 1 pack at a time. And that means you can’t buy a pack of regular paracetamol and some Calpol at the same time. Or paracetamol and lemsip at the same time.

        1. coffee cup*

          I know! But I saw him do it. Self-service… maybe they didn’t really check. I had to go through a check to buy the one pack I managed to get (eventually)!

        2. Parenthetically*

          What on earth! What’s the reasoning behind that? Our shops sell 2-packs of 1000 ibuprofen and/or tylenol tablets.

          1. va*

            Where Im from, theyre restricted to one or two small packages and age restricted if you buy them a grocery store. Its for suicide prevention.

            You can get the bigger packages at the pharmacies though, I think because theyre staffed with people with medical training.

          2. Artemesia*

            FWIW I read a French warning that Ibuprofen is not safe to take with Corona but one should use Tylenol for fever. Haven’t seen it elsewhere.

          3. Lemonwhirl*

            It’s because of the potential liver damage that too much Tylenol/paracetamol can do. There was a great This American Life episode on it years ago. It was called “Use Only as Directed”.

      3. LDN Layabout*

        Also if you’re someone who has periods, in the UK…make sure you have /some/, e.g. enough for your next one, supplies at home.

        The shops near us have been sold out/close to sold out for the past week. F not having loo roll, I’m not free bleeding.

        1. Lore*

          I had a hysterectomy a few weeks ago and had been feeling very relieved to get it taken care of before they started postponing elective surgeries to protect hospital capacity. I did not even think about the possibility of supply shortages—and given the volume of product I needed for a while, that would’ve gotten horrifying quickly.

        2. Elf*

          Order some reusable supplies online (period panties/menstrual cup/reuasble pads). Many people (including me) just like them better, but they are also better for the environment and if you have them around it’s one less thing to fuss about in this insanity.

          1. Róisín*

            I use reusables and it’s amazing how much I just don’t think about periods as something that requires supplies anymore. Legit forget people need to buy things for that on a regular basis.

        3. Totally Anon*

          A store I was at on Thursday was completely cleaned out of all pads and had I think one box of tampons left. Thing to consider–I was actually there for incontinence pads and those were still full up–a lighter flow incontinence pad is not going to be much different than a heavy flow menstrual pad.

      4. Ranon*

        We doubled our regular donation to our local food bank, they’ve got a lot of work to do going forward and people’s behavior right now isn’t helping…

      5. A.N. O'Nyme*

        …And now I’m thinking of James Veitch’s obsession with hummus. Guy might end up being right about hummus being a good investment.
        (Look up his TED talks about what happens if you reply to scammers if you don’t know the context, it’s hilarious).

      6. London Calling*

        My area is having a very middle class panic. The local supermarket has been stripped clean of quinoa, bulgur wheat and cous cous.

        1. Old and Don’t Care*

          Yes, I was having a “need” to buy farro today but couldn’t find any. I’m sure there will be some in a couple days, and if I had some one hand I might not even be using it. Strange times.

      7. Agnodike*

        My favourite was going to the store and noted that the “colour-safe bleach” was all sold out, but the sanitizing bleach was barely touched. I guess people are worried about their finishes and don’t realize that “colour-safe bleach” is not bleach.

        1. London Calling*

          Bog standard cheap bleach sold out, more expensive cleaning fluids still there. And while the supermarket had no tissues at all the chemist down the road did. Told him he needs to diversify into dried pasta and make a FORTUNE.

      8. Coco*

        I bought 2 bottles of gin yesterday. I usually buy 2 bottles in a year. I guess this is hoarding but if it makes anyone better I’ve had 3 gin and tonics so far …

    16. Retail not Retail*

      I’m sick of companies issuing statements where most of the message is about the customer and there are 2 lines about employees. We’re sanitizing and “asking” or “encouraging” them to stay home if sick. Are you paying them?

      I’m probably about to get banned from a local theater’s fb page for asking that. Oh they are limiting admission to 50% capacity of an auditorium, that’s interesting.

      My former employer says there’s a company sponsored fund if you know missing two weeks of work is a hardship.

      I do not care about me as a consumer!

      Anyway I started hacking like crazy yesterday – popcorn down the wrong spot but luckily (?) my allergies manifest in congestion.

      Also question – have you noticed men spitting less? I sure haven’t.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        I nearly got spit on Tuesday. Stranger spit into the street as I passed him to cross the street. Yes, it was the French Quarter so it totally could be some dude bro tourist although he wasn’t obviously traveling in a pack like tourist do.

        It was super weird because I don’t see people spitting normally. I mean your spitting question is weird because I’m like people regularly spit in public enough that you can notice a decrease?

        That dude was an bizarre outlier to me. I mostly hang out with queer ladies though so it could be your circle of acquaintances have guys who do this. Some learned macho behavior?

        1. Jdc*

          I see people spit constantly. I don’t get it although probably a lot more since I’ve moved to the Midwest. A guy spit right at my feet one day and I let him have it.

        2. Artemesia*

          I live in a big northern US city and I have maybe seen two people spit on the street in the past year — just not something that happens much. (I have seen more homeless people pee on buses than people spitting on the street)

        1. WellRed*

          Why DO men spit so much in general? I’ve never understood that. Are they more saliva-ry then women?

          1. fposte*

            I think it’s more that they grew up with cultural acceptance. I dislike it with runners, too, where it’s also culturally accepted, but plenty of runners manage to swallow instead.

            1. Retail not Retail*

              Definitely a cultural thing – I work outdoors on a grounds crew with a work release crew of about seven guys. And I’m in the south!

              One of my male coworkers does spit but he always blames allergies since he doesn’t smoke.

              If you ask a spitting guy why, they can’t answer.

      2. Tris Prior*

        OMG, there are still enormous WADS of spit all over our el platforms. I nearly set one of my grocery bags down on one of them.

      3. mlem*

        The Cinemaworld company that runs three locations (one in RI, one in FL?, one in idk) stated that they’re doing 14 days of “pay to stay home” for staff who are advised to self-quarantine by a public health agency. Shake Shack assures its customers that their teams all have sick time and are being taken care of. There are a few other companies that are actually fronting this information; I’m trying to pay attention so I can try to patronize the ones who really do follow through.

      4. Sharrbe*

        Ugh. No. And why do they spit on the sidewalk when there’s grass six inches away?!? Just spit there so no one else has to look at or worse, step in?

      5. Trixie, the Great and Pedantic*

        Slightly less? On the other hand, there was a gob of it in the aisle of the bus today. My internal screaming would have taken out eardrums had it been external.

        (I didn’t *want* to travel, but my landlady only takes the rent in cash. And I figured I could do early voting and thus avoid the lines… five hours later they canceled the election.)

    17. Rebecca*

      My work laptop is now up and running for home use, and I worry how the VPN will take all the additional traffic. I’m in PA, our governor just ordered all schools closed for 2 weeks, but I still have to report to work at an office that I don’t need to go to in order to work, if that makes any sense. because reasons my company can’t articulate. Gas prices dropped here, we have the highest gas taxes in the country, so seeing gas for $2.39/gallon prompted me to fill up my car and the truck.

      I’m concerned because I know several people who insist the media and “the left” are making this sound worse than it is to hurt the president, and they’re just going on like nothing is wrong. I’m not panicking or hiding, but I am washing my hands more and distancing from others, like today, I’m going to the feed mill but then I’m going hiking. Grocery pickup is busy, so I chose Sunday 8 AM pickup. Mostly I’m staying away from my mother. She rants on and on about the Dow, how “she” is losing money (like no one else is), how “she” isn’t going to stay in the house because she’s been in long enough this winter, how “she” needs her thyroid medication, and if supplies are interrupted, what will “she” do? Oh, and HRH has 3 or 4 rolls of her special high end toilet paper, because she refused to buy more several weeks ago when I pointed out the hoarding had begun. The other day she was angry at me because she is almost out! I was like, uh, I told you many times about this, offered to get some, you were out with other people, at stores, several times, and didn’t buy any as well! She said very snottily, “well, I guess I’ll have to find an old Sears catalog” to which I replied, “ok, but just in case you can’t find one, I won’t take the newspapers for recycling for a while.” Mic drop. Every. Single. Thing. is always just about her. She even said that if she gets it, too bad, she’ll either die or not, etc. Not even one iota of “gee, if I get it, I might give it to Rebecca”. Nope. Not one thought about getting this stuff and passing it to others, if she can get out to shop for shoes, she’s going. Rant over.

      I just hope this prompts a change in sick leave policies in the USA, but somehow, I don’t think it will.

      1. Quiet Liberal*

        I’m sorry you have to go through this with your mother. She sounds like coworkers (who really are all very nice ladies) but I am so sick of people who get their “news” from Facebook and spout their “theories” all damn day! One gal literally did not know what Mar-a-Lago was! Another is a part-time EMT and poo poo’s all the enhanced infectious disease training they are having to do right now. This person keeps saying they think this thing is all overblown. I think to myself that I sure hope they aren’t the EMT on the ambulance if I am the patient! My state is super conservative and head-in-the-sand, so I have to bite my tongue a lot just to get along. Sigh.

        1. Rebecca*

          My coworkers are passing around all the fake news from “Stanford” and all these things that can kill the virus, that type of thing, and it’s such crap and I think – do you even read this stuff? Gee, I dunno – maybe the Centers for Disease Control just might know a little more than someone’s cousin’s friend’s husband’s sister….OMG!! One of them proudly pointed to the photo of the Lysol can going around, it said it kills coronavirus, and said “look, if this is so new, why is it on a can??? CONSPIRACY!!” I said, do some research, this class of virus was identified in the 1960’s, this is a strain of it. I just walked away from my mother, again, she’s on one of her “they should have done X” about the people hoarding, because she is almost out of toilet paper, and NO, I am NOT going to run around to multiple stores when a pandemic has been declared to expose myself to it! Seriously.

          1. Quiet Liberal*

            I couldn’t agree more. I’m not going anywhere where there will be a mass of people for a while. Coworkers are mad because events they have tickets to are cancelled. Also, they keep saying, wrongly, that it only affects older people and the infirm. So? Those folks aren’t worth keeping safe? WTH?

        2. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

          So interesting that in your area it’s the conservatives who aren’t taking things seriously. In Finland right wing & conservative politicians accuse our left leaning government of not doing enough. They seem to love the idea of closed borders and martial law…

          1. Gatomon*

            Yes, in the US it’s a bit backwards because the administration/conservative mediasphere has been sending out “don’t panic it’s a hoax” signals to try and deflect any harm coming to them for bungling the response. But the administration is conservative technically so it’s probable that the opposition party will have an issue with the party in power’s response no matter which is which.

      2. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Ugh. It’s all crazy-making, but since I like giving basic investing advice the “losing money” part really bugs me.

        You are not losing money in a recession unless you sell….so DON’T SELL. Geez, by late 2009 I was already doing better than I was in 2008. I feel for people who JUST retired, but if you are risk averse you shouldn’t be invested more than 50% in stocks.

        1. Epsilon Delta*

          I upped my retirement contribution rate on Friday. Buy low & all that. I am focusing on looking at the number of shares, not their value today.

          Quit Like a Millionaire is an excellent book to read with the market the way it is right now.

          1. Anonymouse*

            My retirement contribution goes up every year on a regular schedule (it auto adds an additional percentage point each year until it hits the max I give it) and it just so happens that the annual increase happens on April 1.

      3. PhyllisB*

        My mother is the opposite. She has declared she is not leaving the house for six weeks. She went to her doctor Thursday (just a wellness check-up) and he told her not to leave the house, even for church. I asked her did that mean she wasn’t even going to have her hair done? She said if she wasn’t going anywhere she didn’t need to go to the beauty shop. She is 89 so I understand, but think of all the service people whose income will be severely impacted by all this.

        1. Venus*

          At that age the death rate is quite high, so good for her! We are hunkering down here (as a city) so very few people are going out. The service industry will be hit, although I have seen some stores offer to get items ready for you at the cash (call in your order and pick it up), and deliver for a small fee. I’m planning on getting a bunch of my favourite meals as take-out in coming weeks.

        2. Old and Don’t Care*

          She’s doing the right thing. Her hairdresser won’t be doing her hair if she’s in the hospital. (I guess “she” in this sentence could refer to your mom or the hairdresser!)

      4. Nervous Nellie*

        Oh, Rebecca! Your Mum, I swear! You have the patience of a saint. I called my folks in Canada yesterday to see how they are doing. Dad just got a pacemaker, and they are both in their 80s. I said to Mum, who was talking over Dad, that they should really get my healthy sister, who lives next door to them, to do their grocery errands, and I got an earful from my Mum about ‘adding to the hysteria about this silly new flu’. She ranted for a solid 5 minutes. If I have to hear that they are healthy as horses (who are winded after walking out to get the mail), I am going to scream. I like the idea of the Sears catalog, though – what a hoot. :) Stay well, my friend!

        1. Rebecca*

          Thanks! I just went for a great hike with my neighbor, we found stone steps in the woods, LOL “this looks legit, let’s follow them!” and my whole thing is going to be just do go on as normal, wash my hands, keep away from other people in case I’m a carrier, and hope for the best.

    18. nep*

      Did anyone see the video showing Italians singing from their balconies in several cities? (Or maybe some here have experienced this first-hand.) So lovely.

      1. Artemesia*

        The Met is live streaming operas (from previous performances) starting Monday I think. You can stream it from their web site.

        We are in the likely to die age group and so are hunkering down — small dinner parties with friends and lots of movies on TV and books downloaded from the library.

    19. ScienceLady*

      As someone with some anxiety, I’m struggling to not be overwhelmed by anxiety of the unknown right now. I’d love suggestions and thoughts from others on how they’re managing their anxiety and fear of the unknown. I’m avoiding the news and self quarantining to avoid infecting anyone (though not sick). I’m not anxious about the virus, but the economic repercussions.

      1. nep*

        Same here–the economic repercussions and all that comes with that. I see the store shelves emptying as I do Shipt shops, and I just hope supplies will keep coming; if not, I shudder to think of the outcome.
        May infections peak soon in the US so things can slooooowly start getting back to normal. But of course we’ve got no idea how any people are even infected as we speak, and so we can’t know how this will go.
        Best wishes, all.

      2. cat socks*

        I too am worried about the economic repercussions. The health aspect may clear up but I wonder what the long term effects will be to people’s livelihood. I wonder too if this could affect relationships as people are now forced to spend more time together than they normally do. Or maybe there will be another baby boom.

        1. Talia*

          I saw a Facebook meme joking about the possibility of baby boom by saying that in another 13 years after the pandemic we’ll have a generation referred to as “the quaranteens”.

      3. Gatomon*

        I’m worried about the economic repercussions too, and the overall toll if we don’t “flatten the curve” effectively. I especially worry for gig economy workers and contract workers who probably don’t qualify for UI benefits and also have no sick leave and possibly poor or no health care coverage.

        As long as my job holds up I’ll probably continue with normalish spending for myself, but instead of paying down my student loans I’ll be stashing that extra money as cash until I can get a better idea of what will happen. I can always make a large lump payment later if everything is okay.

    20. Person from the Resume*

      I live alone and work from home. I get my human interaction from friends and going out to events. I don’t want to be stuck in home with no one to talk to for weeks.

      I play in a softball league and that should be fairly safe (not a contact sport)- just no hugging or post game high fives. But I expect it to be cancelled soon.

      I ride my bike a lot and will continue but that’s usually a lone activity.

      Im not a huge fan of phone calls except for long distance friends.

      I’m worried about the emotional toll. I’m introverted but I’m already missing people.

      Also I cannot not touch my face. My nose and eyes itch/tickle all the time apparently.

      1. Tau*

        I hear you. My job is now WFH and all my social events are cancelled. (My choir director sent out a hilarious email where he considers our options. Skype rehearsals?) I don’t do well with social isolation and am actually heading to stay at my parents for the foreseeable future because otherwise this is going to end in disaster.

      2. Canuck girl*

        I hear you as well. My job is not WFH yet, but it may be a matter of time before they mandate it and then it will be me, in a not so big apartment. I enjoy phonecalls, but they don’t replace human interaction. No idea how long my small yoga classes will continue, at least a few friends are living nearby, but STILL..uggh. Add to that my fear of how long it may now take me to find a nice boyfriend/life partner given this social distancing…I know, I know, other ppl have way worse problems because of C19, but I was really hopimg to date more this year, and now, who knows. Staying with my folks permanently could drive me bonkers too, though they are already inviting me, which is nice of them. Anyway, all that to say, I totally hear you.

      3. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

        I’m worried about the emotional toll, too. My husband has worked from home for years – by the end of the day he’s usually ready to get out of the house and be around other people. I’ve worked from home this past week with an ordinary cold, and even spending most of the week not having the energy to leave the house I was going stir crazy. Now we’re both going to be dealing with that for at least the next 2-3 weeks, maybe longer.

        The highlights of my week have been a) going into my office to get my docking station and monitors before they converted everyone to WFH, and b) a web call with some friends to work on a proposal we’re putting together to present a panel at a conference. I wonder if they’ll be interested in continuing the weekly calls after we put in our submission, just because most of us are stuck at home now?

      4. A Usual Suspect*

        Usual commentator here but going stealth. I already worked from home most of the time (and have been doing for years, it took a while to learn how to manage myself/loneliness/time/etc) and watching events get cancelled or go virtual makes me ache. I understand why. And I’m all for it. But I feel more isolated than before.

        I had a difficult year (but always doing what I can to turn it around!) and lost a pet, a friend, and am managing chronic mental illness the best I can amongst all of this. Within this time span I also got hooked on a drug, saw myself going down a path I did before, and quit it.

        There’s some dark humor in me that as frustrated and uncomfortable and up and down as I am, I can imagine a scene from Airplane with “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit…”

        I have support but for me, I know there’s no substitute for in-person contact and I know that’s not a possibility.

      5. Loopy*

        So much sympathy for this. I actually struggle with working from home and worry immensely about being told my company is moving to WFH. I mean, of course I understand the need but I know I will feel absolutely insane for social contact after day 2.

      6. Trixie, the Great and Pedantic*

        My face has never itched so much as when I’m not supposed to touch it. I have no idea how you do your hair, but if it’s long, maybe try pulling it back?

      7. allathian*

        I’m lucky in that I get most of the social interaction I need by calling my friends and family, or long chat sessions on WhatsApp, and by spending time with my husband and son. Both of us are WFH for the next two weeks at least. I work from our home office and my husband’s set his computer up in our bedroom.

        I feel sort of guilty that it’s a relief to have a completely empty social calendar. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy spending time with my friends and extended family, but it’s exhausting. And for the last six months or so, I feel like it’s been a bit too much of a good thing. I’m introverted enough to need lots of time to myself to recover from things like travel and spending time with people, and it’s a relief to have a legitimate reason to avoid such things for a while. The guilt comes from the fact that the corona virus pandemic causes a lot of real suffering to many people, both directly as a disease and indirectly, in the form of financial hardship.

        I know that I won’t feel the same if this goes on for, like, six months, but for now I’m just fine with WFH, requests to limit travel and social events, etc.

    21. PhyllisB*

      Just came on here so this may have already been addressed, but why the panic buying of toilet paper? I can understand hand sanitizer and such, but TOILET PAPER??? I went to Sam’s today and people were coming out with like six of these huge packs (the ones that are equal to 120 rolls.) I bought one package.

      1. Jdc*

        My husband said “wow people really taking their pooping seriously, who knew!?” Ive heard a couple people grumble about just being due for TP anyway and now they can’t get any. I happened to go to Big Lots yesterday which is not a store I normally go to but they just opened a new one and I wanted some cheap candles. Only place I’ve been in a week that had TP. I’m one who replaces TP before it’s gone or too low anyway. I don’t know why, just always have, so it isn’t much of an issue for me. Frankly we stocked up on wine and cheese, but that’s nothing new for us. Ha

      2. fposte*

        I’m amused by how many reports of bidet-buying I’ve heard. I guess you never know what weird economic ripples an event will have.

        1. Can’t Sit Still*

          Guilty! LOL! But I already have issues due to medications I’m taking, and I figured I might as well. (I had to get a blue one because the plain white ones were sold out.)

          1. fposte*

            Heh. I’ve thought about getting one for a while but want a fancier one than I can install myself, so I decided I’d still wait.

    22. Jdc*

      Stepson is already a week into his two week spring break and driving me up the walk, and yesterday we got the info that no school for the whole month. I am probably going to lose my mind.

            1. Jdc*

              I don’t hate myself that much. We actually have him on a separate network so we can just shut it off but the benefit of him having WiFi is he isn’t badgering us. I really miss the days when kids were barely home. I was out of the house having fun until i was made to come home most days.

          1. kt*

            If you’ve got a back yard, lock him out there!!

            Ok, just fantasizing. But the great outdoors are healthy….

            1. Jdc*

              He is not an outside kid. Haha. I’d love to tell him to go “play”. It just would be nice if at 17 he had something he enjoyed doing other than video games. He likes playing volleyball a lot but they don’t have a boys team. Which frankly is BS. We’ve told him he can start using his dads car now when he wants, so long as dad doesn’t need it. He can’t drive mine. Thought that might get him out more, maybe after the snow today since it’ll be gone soon and being a week into boredom he will get out of the house. Sadly it’s snowing today so no locking him out today.

              1. allathian*

                Send him out to shovel the driveway. Maybe he could earn some money by shoveling the neighbors’ driveways as well? That’d at least get him out of the house.

    23. GoryDetails*

      [Checking in from southern New Hampshire – very low incidence of COVID-19 in-state so far, though my town borders on Massachusetts, which has higher numbers.]

      I do feel a lot of respect for everyone who’s continuing to work – to produce needed items, to pack and transport and deliver them, to stock (and re-stock and re-re-stock!) the stores, and to deal with the increasingly-testy and/or panicky public. I went out to lunch yesterday at a favorite local spot, which was operating as usual; ventured to the supermarket for my usual shopping and found it very busy but not nightmarish. I did see empty shelves: the paper goods, the cheaper brands of milk and eggs (though the pricier organic stuff was still plentiful), and, interestingly, the chicken aisle. All other types of meats were in good supply, but all the chicken was gone. [I also hit up the pet-supply store; while I could get by on pantry-foods for quite some time, the cats will get miffed if I run out of their food or litter.] During all this, I was very thankful for all the people who were continuing to work – and was very aware of how different a picture this would be if the delivery folk and supermarket folk and gas-station-refilling folk had to stand down…

      1. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

        I went to the grocery store and it was mad. This was my usual run – not even to stock up. I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who is continuing to work, especially when their work involves helping crazy humans deal with this situation, and those who don’t have the option to retreat back to their homes with 25 packs of toilet paper and self-quarantine.

    24. Professional Merchandiser*

      Well, I can’t work from home. See my user name. I do merchandising at a Big Box store, so unless they close or ban vendors I will be there every day. Will just be diligent about hand washing. I’ve been asked by my family to wear masks, but I read in the paper that they’re begging healthy people NOT to wear masks. Don’t see any on the shelves anyway.

      1. Venus*

        Maybe tell your family that the science shows that wearing masks (except for the very specialized ones) is worse. If you wear a mask then bacteria and viruses often get behind the mask, and multiply quickly.

        Wash your hands, and one option I heard is to put something smelly (mint oil?) on your hands, in the hope that the smell reminds you not to touch your face.

        Best of luck!

    25. CatCat*

      I am holed up this weekend because of coronavirus and bad weather. I am skipping my swimming and group fitness classes as well as my WW meeting.

      I wish WW would offer a video or telephone call-in option. I think it’s irresponsible of WW to continue in-person meetings in my state in light of the public health recommendations on social distancing.

    26. 653-CXK*

      Thank you, Allison. I’m glad you’ve shepherded all of the posts about The Bug here (btw, nice kitties!)

      My company works with the elderly, so they’ve shut down our day center effective 3/17 until The Bug runs its course. I’ve taken my laptop home daily just in case we’re told to work from home; I tested my work VPN and plugged my laptop into my TV set (HDMI cable) and I’m good to go. I don’t work very far anyway, so even if I continue working at my location, the bus commutes will be a lot less crowded (until someone gets The Bug; then WFH is a moot point).

      It’s useless for me to panic or indulge in mania of All Things Bug. I feel the best way to battle The Bug is just plain common sense…wash your hands, use sanitizer, and stay away from people who are ill or if you’re ill yourself. There is absolutely no need to hoard (do you want to be the idiot who has 40+ rolls of toilet paper, six loaves of moldy bread, or ten gallons of spoiled milk because you had FOMO – fear of missing out – and those supplies could have gone to a person who really needed it?), no need to cancel kid’s gatherings or playdates (they’ve faced worse), and above all, no need to fear The Bug IF we’re well informed and we know our boundaries.

      Conversely, it’s also a fool’s errand to pretend The Bug doesn’t exist – The Bug is here, but it’s a crap shoot (no pun intended) on how severe The Bug will be to you. For instance, I could avoid The Bug altogether, while my neighbor gets asymptomatic symptoms and passes it on, another gets a very mild strain, someone else gets a more serious strain, and an elderly neighbor dies from it. Some people go on and on about the media overhyping this (and the potential “analysis paralysis” that follows), but on the other hand, if The Bug appeared suddenly and wiped out millions of people and we weren’t warned about it, that would inflame the masses into saying “we weren’t warned about this!”

      Keep calm and carry on. That’s what I plan on doing.

    27. Not a cat*

      Thank you for this segregation! All the worrying and renting of garments has increased my stress level to 11.

    28. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I feel vindicated! I don’t know what to call it, not hoarding or even prepping, but when we bought this house (our first), the first thing I wanted to do was put shelving in the basement, so I could go buy a cart full of whatever nonperishable staple I found deeply discounted. I also regularly buy the megapacks of toilet paper, paper towels, etc., when we get down to less then half of the current one, so there’s no “OMG we’re out!” crap! If the current supply is less than half, and it’s not perishable, buy another!

      OK, maybe not half, but we are rarely down to our last one without having another pack already on the shelf.

      Anyway, I went and look through the cleaning supplies shelf, and was pleased to discover, new and unopened: a refill bottle of hand soap, three bottles of 91% isopropyl alcohol (I keep it as a deicer for car locks and windshield washer fluid, along with a cleaning solvent for adhesives and other stuff), a large bottle of hand sanitizer, and a set of dish gloves. Thank you, past me! :D

      Also, we had a few hundred dollars left in our Flexible Spending Account (for health/medical purposes), so I finally ordered those big first aid/emergency kits I had had on my wish list for years, one for each car, and one for the house. I would have ordered them even without the pandemic, but now I feel a little silly having them all arrive just a day before our governor declared a state of emergency!

    29. Canuck girl*

      I was supposed to see my family doctor on monday, during his walkin hours (his appts are booked waaay in advance) to check on how my sleep disturbance is going (it seems to be fueled by anxiety related to learning how to navigate relationships and burnout from a tough work / study situation that ended in 2nd half of 2019). He put me on trazodone and a temporary “add on” of imovane to smooth things out so I stop waking at 4am (it’s working). I am seeing a new therapist next week to get a better handle on the anxiety..cause it definitely spiked. But, to ensure I dont get used to the meds and to monitor things, and dont run out meds, I was to see him. And now what? I am in Canada, so things are not bad compared to other countries, but no one wants to go to the doc cause of fear of C19. I also wanted his opinion on some light in btw period spotting. I have the option of using Maple (paid virtual doc consult), but what about continuity and I mean, it’s virtual. I am thinking of calling his office to se if he’s willong to have a phonecall with ne. Anyone else have a similar dilemma? Tips? Sigh…

      1. Dr. Anonymous*

        I’m not in Canada, but I would absolutely call. This helps the docs figure out who does and doesn’t need to be seen and handle somethings on the phone they otherwise wouldn’t. Just say you’re supposed to follow up on sleep disturbance and do they still want you to come in or would they rather refill by phone?

    30. Greywacke Jones*

      We are trying to decide when we opt to keep our kids home. We have three under three, all at a home daycare with a relatively small group of kids (maybe 10-15? A lot are part time). My wife and I will both be working remotely starting Monday and are lucky that we are both able to do so. Daycare is willing to stay open for now, but I worry they are not taking it as seriously since kids don’t seem as badly affected. My feeling is it is still people coming together and interacting in close quarters. However having them home would make working extremely difficult which seems silly to worry about, but we need our jobs too. In-laws may be able to help a bit and my mom offered to fly out and help as well but that seems like a risk too. Anyone else trying to make a similar decision?

      1. Ranon*

        We’re not in regular contact with high risk folks and no one in the family is high risk so our plan is to keep the kiddo in daycare but be super aggressive about keeping him home at the merest hint of a symptom of anything. If daycare closes we’ve talked to some other low risk families about doing a very small circle (2-3 families) childcare co-op. I would absolutely not ask grandparents to provide care.

        We’re also reaching out to families in healthcare with kiddos who might need 24/7 care if the system gets overwhelmed, we can fit another kid in our house if it’s needed.

      2. Anon for this*

        We have a three-year-old in a home daycare. I have cancer. We’re pulling her out and we’ll figure it out somehow. Probably I will be able to work less and we’ll take a financial hit, but we’re lucky that we probably won’t starve if we do. Schools are closed here but Public Health is dragging their feet on shutting the daycares down. I understand it from an economic perspective, but daycares are enormous amplifiers of disease, and we’re barely tracking community cases as it is. In my family, we can’t take the risk.

        1. allathian*

          The jury is still out on whether kids are high-risk carriers for C-19 like they are for most forms of influenza and other respiratory illnesses. Very few cases of serious illness have been reported worldwide for the under-18 population. I suspect that most of those were kids with a preexisting condition, such as asthma.

      3. Overeducated*

        We are struggling with this too. We have one kid in a medium sized center (about 30 kids) and a baby due to start Monday. We’re leaning toward keeping the baby home because we don’t see the point in starting the transition if the center is likely to close in the next week, and if the medical system is strained we might not want to risk the usual “new to day care” bugs and flu. We are conflicted about the older kid because his immune system is stronger, he benefits from the routine and socialization, and frankly trying to telework with two kids home will be impossible and we have very little leave left after parental leaves. Good luck with your decision.

      4. Meepmeep*

        We didn’t get the choice – the kid’s preschool closed and now we are “homeschooling”. She’s 4, and so far seems to be a good sport about it. We trade off working and watching the kid; she drew a very special “Do Not Disturb” sign for the home office door, and so far things are going OK.

        I’m actually kinda finding that working out childcare between me and my wife feels less stressful than relying on preschool and then scrambling when they go on vacation or take a holiday off or whatever. This way, there are no surprise disruptions to the schedule and no stress about having our jobs depend on someone else.

        Mind you, I only work part time so we don’t need to fit two full-time workdays into our routine. It’s harder when both parents work full time.

    31. 2e*

      My partner and I are seriously thinking about what we’ll do if, come May, we feel it is irresponsible to go ahead with the wedding we have been planning for two years. I absolutely know that if this is ends up being my biggest coronavirus related concern, I am very fortunate. But it still sucks, especially after a rough year so far for other reasons. We are reviewing our vendor contracts this weekend to see what options might exist and figure out a go/no-go date (the last day we can cancel or postpone and recover some of what we’ve committed to spend on the wedding).

      I was planning to work on some sewing projects for our wedding weekend and honeymoon this weekend, but don’t really have the heart to pour creative efforts into something so uncertain right now. Maybe I’ll work on a couple knit tops to wear during the working from home I will be doing until further notice instead.

      1. fposte*

        Oh, I feel so much for the people with weddings coming up! It’s such a hard decision. I’m hoping that some good ideas spring up about this, like FaceTime celebrations or something. My best wishes to you for a good outcome there.

        1. Marion Ravenwood*

          My boyfriend’s friend/colleague is getting married in July, and at this point it looks like they’re going to have to cancel the stag/hen dos and possibly the wedding itself. I feel so bad for them, especially given how much planning goes into all this, but hoping that something gets worked out.

          That said, I’m also due to go to my cousin’s wedding over Easter weekend, and so far that’s still going ahead, so we’ll see…

      2. Canuck girl*

        I feel for you as well, esp given how long you have been planning this. I wish you all the best with however this unfolds. Worst case, is that city hall will still let you get married, possibly in city hall (in my city they are). You just may have a much smaller party.

        1. 2e*

          Thanks. As long as the courthouse is open such that we can get our license, my backup-backup plan is to ask our priest if the rehearsal Friday night can just be the wedding, and maybe have the planned rehearsal dinner (under 30 people at my parents’ house) be the celebration afterward.

      3. LizB*

        I feel for you so much. We’re invited to two weddings in May, one that would require a flight, one that is in town. Right now we’re thinking we don’t go to the out-of-town one (but send a lovely gift, of course!), and see what things are like closer to the in-town one. If either couple cancels, we’ll definitely do our best to make it to a rescheduled celebration. It just sucks so much.

      4. Róisín*

        I’m in a wedding that’s supposed to take place mid-April, and the bride is freaking out about it getting cancelled. I love her, but I’ve had to mute the group text because I don’t have the mental capacity to deal with her panic.

      5. Amy*

        I feel you. We’re completely undecided about our wedding and just trying to wait a month or so (the wedding is memorial day weekend) to figure it out. There’s still so much to do, but I can’t muster the energy for any of it right now.

        Mainly, we’re hunkering down and trying to see what happens (and worrying about his boys, since their mom plans to stick to her travel plans for spring break).

    32. Morning reader*

      On the toilet paper issue: I wonder what people did before TP? Is anyone here old enough to remember?
      About a month ago I did a home craft project of ripping up all the old towels (from my late parents’ house) into squares, sewing up the edges, and using them for toilet wipes. I keep them in a pretty basket in front of the toilet; after use they go in a lidded bin. Once a week I wash on hot with bleach. So I’m using lots less TP! They also seem softer and less prone to shred than tp. (Used only for #1, so I still need TP sometimes.)
      I also washed and ironed all the old cloth napkins and handkerchiefs. This was initially to be more environmentally friendly and waste less but I am finding it to be very useful in this hoarding time. A bit more laundry but way less expense and paper use.

      1. fposte*

        It looks like toilet paper started in the Civil War, but plenty of people chose to stick with cheaper alternatives for a long time. The classic outhouse material was the old Sears catalog–plenty of reading and thick absorbent paper. (Probably had a few inky bottoms!) Corn cobs were also common material in farm country.

        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          What worries me is that toilet paper is very specifically designed to disintegrate in water and not clog up pipes, which was not a concern with outhouses (which were not phased out in America that long ago, really – my great grandmother apparently did not feel the need to have hers replaced with indoor plumbing and my dad remembers that being a part of visiting her in Oregon in the 50s and 60s). Many of these potential improvised items should not be flushed (including facial tissues and paper towels, which is what I suspect most people would try first), and I worry that we’re going to get more sewer system clogs as a result of all of this panic-buying of toilet paper leaving others without.

          It also baffles me because, presumably, everyone’s using about as much toilet paper as they always did, so one would assume the stocks on store shelves would refill rather quickly as everyone who is already sleeping on their toilet paper hoard like a particularly low-CR dragon is not out buying more. I’d guessed it was going to be an annoying week before the toilet paper peak demand smoothed out due to resupply (unlike things like masks that the world is actually using more of than usual), and yet it seems to still be an ongoing thing. They were out at Costco when I went on Wednesday afternoon this week. (I needed milk, and I usually buy toilet paper the next time I’m at Costco after I move the last 2 six-packs from the previous trip from the hallway closet into the bathroom cabinet, but I guess I’ll be waiting another week or two to see if everyone else has their stockpile up and running. I checked, and the guest bathroom has an un-opened six-pack as well as the six-pack I keep in the pantry as a backup, so I guess I’m still well stocked, but I am curious if there will also be a major down-turn in toilet paper demand in about a month after everyone has their stockpile.)

          In unrelated news, I got a text from T-Mobile that my cell minutes expire Monday unless I refill my prepaid phone, so I guess I’m leaving the house today since I would like to maintain phone service. (I have $40 or so left from last year’s $100 refill, but minutes expire after a year unless you top up the phone with another $100.) I’m pretty sure that I have allergies or some other bug, because I have a sore throat, watery eyes, and a slightly stuffy nose, but I was going to stick close to home anyway. I am not impressed that T-Mobile isn’t extending minutes expiration due to this pandemic, and also not impressed they decided to give me 2 days notice by texting me at 8am on a Saturday, but here we are. (I don’t give them a credit card number and instead pay cash in a store to refill my phone.)

          1. fposte*

            Good point about the flushability there–definitely not something people were trying with corncobs!

            I think some people are buying for profiteering resale, which is why the demand is artificially high.

          2. Talia*

            I think most people aren’t so much sleeping on their hoards as reselling it online for a ridiculous markup and profiting.

      2. MissDisplaced*

        In the Outhouse: The Sears catalogue! According to former President Jimmy Carter! This is before it was printed on shiny paper.

        Other “toilet paper” for the outhouse
        >Old newspapers & magazines
        >Old books

        My mom said when women got their periods they used cut up old rags pinned to their underwear. They then washed these. And this was in the 1940’s and early 1950’s

      3. Forrest Rhodes*

        According to my grandparents, that’s what the Sears catalog was for—once everyone in the house had looked through it.

      4. Disco Janet*

        One of my coworkers who really loves his bidet has been talking about it more than usual lately for this purpose, haha!

    33. I’m bored Mom!*

      Looking for creative ways to keep a 10 year old busy and entertained while we are at home for (at least) the next few weeks due to schools closed (distance learning) and cancelled Spring break plans.

      So far I have thought of: baking cookies, baking bread/bagels, doing some container gardening, playing board games, doing some computer programming (I’ve also been wanting to learn Python). We can do some hikes in our neighborhood. Crafts could be an option, but I need some specific ideas because when I approach it generically I’m met with a lack of enthusiasm.

      I love my kid, but I’m a bit worried about losing my patience after being around each other all day long. I need to keep us busy and minimize the “I’m bored” talk.

      1. GoryDetails*

        I’m fond of geocaching (see geocaching.com for details); a mix of getting out and about, and treasure-hunting (though sometimes the “treasure” is a tiny container with a scrap of paper in it). If you have a handheld GPS (or phone with a GPS feature) you might give it a try; it’s free to sign up, and you can see if there are any easy-to-reach caches in your area. If your child isn’t into it this won’t help, but it might be a way to make a game out of hiking or even trips to big-mall parking lots – people hide caches in all sorts of places…

        1. I’m bored Mom!*

          Wow – this is great! I’ve never heard of this before, but I think my kid will love this. He loves puzzles and adventures, so this is a nice twist for getting outside and walking around. Looks like there are a bunch in our town – so I am going to give it a try. Thank you!

          1. JKP*

            My brother loves geocaching with his boys. The etiquette is that if you take a treasure, you leave a treasure. So he should bring little toys or stuff he wants to leave behind if he wants the treasure at the geocache. It’s a great way to recycle small toys.

      2. Anon5775*

        Read books, challenge them to create their own new board game on a piece of cardboard, drawing, computer games that are learning based (like to learn keyboard skills etc), do a workout following a Youtube video, challenge them to help meal plan or find recipes they want to try from cookbooks or online, get out the Legos, etc. As a kid, my sisters and I remember super silly things like building little structures from a deck of cards, then backing away and trying to “bomb” them with marbles that we aimed at them Good luck!

      3. Not A Manager*

        I sent a few things to my young relatives: A jacks set, a beginner crochet set, and a large jigsaw puzzle.

      4. Llellayena*

        Home book club? Grab some books from the library before they close and everyone in the house read the same one and talk about it.

        Legos? Other building/making crafts? You can probably look up ideas of what to make online and try to recreate it.

        If you have a sewing machine, teach him how to sew? With a goal of making his Halloween costume if he’s not interested in pillows or normal clothing!

        Crafts can get expensive fast, so your options there need to be based on what you can budget. The first thing I thought of was chain mail. The kid could have fun with all the different patterns just with rings. But the number of rings you need can add up fast.

        1. Nervous Nellie*

          And if you are casting about for things to read – gutenberg.org is a goldmine of full, complete books. I am working my way through the PG Wodehouse list as a chuckle is so badly needed these days. For eager home schoolers, I also recommend Calculus Made Easy, a quirky and surprising funny math textbook written by Silvanus Thompson around the time of the last pandemic. :)

          1. Miss Silver*

            Calculus Made Easy literally saved me my freshman year at Bryn Mawr. I remember it fondly.

        2. I’m bored Mom!*

          My son loves to read! Unfortunately our public library closed yesterday. Luckily we managed to run and get a few books before it closed and I’m going to try to check out what they have online that we might be able access.

          I’ll totally check out Gutenberg.org – thanks for the recommendation.

          1. Nervous Nellie*

            Happy to help! My local libraries closed today too. I hope Gutenberg has some fun titles for your family. Hibernating is so much easier with a good book!
            My library system has lots that can be had from a home computer – streaming video, ebooks, audio books, tax help, census help, games, all of it. They listed these options on their press release about the building closures. I hope your library makes it easy to find all this good stuff!

          2. OyHiOh*

            Nervous Nellie, our district did the same thing. They even rearranged their online resources to make it easier to find learning/entertainment online, under the header “library at home.” Making it so much easier to find the right sections.

      5. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        My family used to do “treasure hunts” where one family member would write a series of clues that each led to where the next clue around the house. 10 is old enough that after they have the model of how this works, they’d probably be able to write clues for you to solve as well as follow clues from you, so it could become a daily thing where you alternate if it catches on with your particular kid. You could even include puzzles with the clues if both of you like puzzles. (Word searches and mazes are both very easy to make yourself, so they’re good kinds of puzzles to work in as a starting point.)

        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          The things that kept me busy for days on end at that age and through my teen years were mostly worldbuilding stuff. I created an elaborate society for my Barbie dolls and kept buying more on clearance since I needed more dolls for my model so they could fill various societal niches. I am probably one of the few people who ended up spending LESS money once they discovered TTRPGs, since GURPS made me realize that I could instead keep characters on index cards and make maps on paper rather than turning an entire room into some Barbie-scale fantasy society, and so I could buy fewer GURPS books than I’d been buying Barbie dolls for much better, more flexible results. (It also let me stop sewing clothes and crafting items for my dolls, which by that point had numbers taped to their back so I could refer to my notes about what that specific doll was doing. Also, no one else would “play Barbies” with me by that point because they found all of this totally incomprehensible, but people would play a campaign in a homebrew GURPS setting.) I think the switch from Barbie-based worldbuilding to GURPS-based worldbuilding happened around age 13 for me.

        2. I’m bored Mom!*

          That’s a great idea! We used to do this when he was younger – with picture clues that led to the next clue. So I love the ideas of puzzles and clues – that would be more age appropriate and totally fun. Thank you!

      6. LizB*

        Specific craft ideas: popsicle stick bird feeders, paper airplane contest (perfect your design with online resources and have a race!), cards to send to far-flung friends and family also in quarantine or nursing home residents who can’t have visitors, fuse beads, shrinkidinks, diy jigsaw puzzles and then swap to have the other person solve yours. And, as always, slime.

      7. kt*

        There are TONS of science and math and STEM people who are going to be live-streaming or recording talks on their research, fun problems, what it’s like to be an astronaut, etc — half of them are stuck at home, too, right? For instance, Google Po Shen Loh live-streams — he’s a math guy who is going to be doing a lot of live talks online. I’ll see if I can find some more links…

      8. Kuododi*

        My sister and I when we were late middle school or possibly early high school both made the dreadful mistake of telling Daddy we were “bored.” Dad gave us both that “Daddy’s terrifying look.” (Patented). His next response was assigning DS and me to complete every hot, sweaty and nauseating task in and around their house. Needless to say, I would resort to attempting to read Daddy’s old engineering books. This was a desperate attempt to avoid another “I’m bored” conflict. Best wishes

      9. Disco Janet*

        I suggest making a schedule for school days – there are already some floating out there online. Reserve chunks of the day for schoolwork, chores, quiet time (reading, puzzles, etc), fun breaks, etc.

      10. Cruciatus*

        I love geocaching. Another option might be Pokemon Go. I play at the local university which is currently mostly abandoned so plenty of social distancing options! I know it might sound lame, but I’m in my late 30s and really like this game–though I never cared about Pokemon before. It forces you to walk around outside to get further in the game–and there are aspects you can do at home. But they’d need smart phones. There are pay options in the game (same for geocaching), but you can also do it for free, it just may take a little more time.

        There’s also Harry Potter Wizards Unite which I think is from the same people as Pokemon Go, but you have to play it out and about in the world. But again, same caveat that you need a smart phone or tablet with a data plan to play.

      11. Seeking Second Childhood*

        A friend taught her dress-obsessed daughter to sew at a similar age, and made it a lesson in math & finance too. Calculate material needed, show the measurements adding up, show how much supplies cost (with tax), and when the numbers add up they bought supplies.
        If dresses arent the thing, memorial day parade will come and colonial American boys&girls make great costume projects.

      12. I’m bored Mom!*

        Thanks everyone! These are great ideas. I really appreciate the links, and I’ve learned about a bunch of stuff I didn’t even know about. Geocaching! Chain mail crafting! I’ll look through the different links, and may buy some crafting materials. I’m trying keep this positive and to look at this as an opportunity for us to explore activities we wouldn’t normally have the time for.

      13. Meepmeep*

        I’m doing a “pretend school” with my kid. (Much smaller than yours). Basically, fairly structured homeschooling, with plenty of wiggle breaks and dance parties in between. It fills up the day and keeps us all from climbing the walls.

    34. Bookwyrm*

      Anyone else dealing with ‘am I regular sick or corona sick’? I woke up today with a cough. Now I have a chronic cough anyway from small lung capacity but it seemed worse than normal. It’s probably my anxiety going into overdrive, like when my work had bedbugs and I suddenly started scratching like crazy at home, even though I never carried an infestation into my house. But I’m suddenly very nervous.

      1. Ranon*

        Stay home, keep tabs on your temperature, call your doctor if you need advice. If you think it’s possible you have it, best to stay home and avoid spreading anything. If you start having serious trouble breathing, call ahead to the hospital and see what they want you to do. I hope it’s just allergies, sending good vibes your way!

      2. fposte*

        Yep! I’m 95% sure it’s not because it’s nose, throat, and ears and no fever and I’ve got no likely contacts, but I’m keeping serious distance from everybody anyway. And last night I was like “Oh, no, it feels like my chest is getting sore too!” and starting to list what I need to tell my colleagues about work if I get worse. This morning–chest is fine, so it was probably anxiety.

        I kind of feel like if I’m going through all this trouble I wish it *were* corona so I could have gotten it out of the way rather than having to keep worrying.

        1. Morning reader*

          Similar situation here. I got a cold two weeks ago and the cough is still dissipating. A couple of days ago I got worried that it might be the CV, starting taking my temp compulsively. (It was 99 one evening and 98.8 another but mostly it’s been my usual 98.4) I don’t know if I’ve got it… no diagnosed cases in my immediate area…. but I’m doing the stay home for at least two weeks thing just in case. In a way I’d be relieved if I had it now since it’s not so bad, just a cold really. And maybe I’d have some acquired immunity? Either way, nothing to be done. The anxiety at this point is worse than the cold. After I read this thread I’m going to avoid the news and audiobook/podcast/Netflix my way through the weekend.

        2. hermit crab*

          Same here – my allergies make me cough and my anxiety manifests as chest pains. Woohoo!

      3. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        Yup. It’s allergy season here, so I frankly would not be feeling 100% right now even if I’d been completely isolated from humanity for 6 months. I have been having a sore throat and watery eyes for quite some time, which are really not particularly corona-symptoms but still make me wonder if I should just stay home. Also, I’m around a lot of members of the public for my job, so I have had plenty of chances to pick something up and pass it on in turn. I usually do not get particularly sick each winter in a given year despite of my contact with the public (I am pretty good about things like washing my wands regularly, not touching people if I don’t have to, and not eating food that’s been left out for everyone else to breathe on and fondle while they browse for the perfect cookie), so I’m just very “I have no idea” about this whole thing, and particularly on how much I should just isolate myself at home until I’m “well” since I probably won’t feel 100% until summer due to allergies.

      4. Belgian*

        Yes. I have had breathing issues due to asthma for the past 6 weeks, with a couple of viral infections thrown in for good fun. Last night I started feeling feverish and had a sore throat. This morning I felt better, but now I’m starting to feel worse again.
        In any case, I’m keeping myself isolated for the foreseeable future.

      5. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

        It’s likely not, but I came down with a cold last week and stayed home from work for the rest of the week. I was well enough to return to the office this week, but noticed that my runny nose and fatigue have been lingering even until today. I’ve been getting 8 hours of sleep and drinking coffee and still feel tired with a headache. I think this virus is just lasting longer than others.

        Either way, I’m homebound for the rest of the week so that will give me time to recover.

      6. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

        I’m at the tail end of my regular March cold, and I’ve had people asking me occasionally. But there’s been no fever, and my cough has been wet and productive from the start. (As opposed to the fever and dry cough that are the big coronavirus symptoms.) But I worked from home most of this past week (except Monday, when I took a sick day), so I hope that means I’ll miss on the regular secondary infection that usually follows.

      7. Can’t Sit Still*

        Thursday, I was dragging in the morning, and by 1 pm, I was exhausted and had a fever. I took the afternoon off and then Friday. I feel better today, but still, the fever spikes around noon – 1 every day. I have chest tightness with a cough, too. I’m pretty sure it’s just a mild flu with allergies at this point, since a mild case of COVID-19 is supposed to like the worst flu you’ve ever had.

        I’ve been WFH since last Friday, and isolating for the most part, but went into total isolation on Thursday. The last time I left my apartment was on Wednesday and I’m already bored out of my skull.

        1. WellRed*

          I’ve not heard that description of covid at all and that it can be quite mild to the point you don’t know you have it.

          1. Can’t Sit Still*

            That’s why I’m not leaving my apartment for two weeks, just in case. And I keep telling myself it’s just the flu, because once the asthma/panic attack cycle starts, I usually end up in the ER.

          2. Quandong*

            Like WellRed I have read about very mild symptoms and people who are completely asymptomatic who have COVID-19. This ‘like the worst flu you’ve ever had’ doesn’t fit the reporting I have read from researchers.

      8. Dr. Anonymous*

        I always advise people if there’s any doubt, to just call your doctor’s office for advice. Most people can rest at home, but some people with chronic medical conditions or risk factors may need to be seen. You won’t make anybody in the waiting room sick by calling the office, so don’t be afraid to do it.

      9. Jaid*

        When the weather changes drastically, I’ll get a low grade fever and fatigue. It’ll be 97 in the morning and 99 later in the day. Sometimes a headache and a slightly crusty nose, but no coughing or sneezing or actual runny nose.

        I’m not feeling that great, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the virus. But I went home early on Thursday and stayed there Friday and am deciding on whether to stay home tomorrow.

        My work is on paper, so no WFH for me. ‘Cause I’m federal, I’m curious to see if they shut us down over the next week. So far the emergency hotline says my campus is open…

      10. Anon in NYC*

        I think I might have it. I have a cold that started with extreme fatigue. After two days of wanting to sleep all the time, I got respiratory congestion, a tight feeling in my throat, and my eyes were watering like crazy. Like I was crying. I just ate healthy, immune-boosting meals, stayed hydrated, and cracked a window for fresh air. After two days, the shortness of breath went away and it just felt like a mild chest cold.

        I’ve had pneumonia before. The respiratory part was almost there, but not as bad. I never had all the aches and pains. I never had a fever either. Just tightness in my chest and throat.

        So I’ve been avoiding people. I’m still recovering, but almost back to normal.

        I haven’t called my doctor. Just to get to the doctor’s office, I would be exposing more people to whatever I have, and I doubt I could get tested because I’m not that sick.

    35. Meepmeep*

      We are in San Francisco. The kid’s preschool is closed, the library is closed, everything is closed, and her ballet school is giving online classes now. We both work from home anyway, so this is not a big disruption for us – we’ll just trade off working and watching the kid – but we may also be inviting some of the kid’s friends over for play dates, since their parents are not as lucky as we are. Plus, the kid needs some company other than us.

    36. Morning reader*

      Virus stock market/investment question. I’m not a big investor but a do have some reserves tucked away in my old 457 account, which I don’t pay taxes on until I take the money. A friend has been encouraging me to transfer it all to a Roth IRA during my low-income years, before I take Social Security. It appears now would be a good time… if it’s lost value, putting it in a Roth would make the gains (assuming it ever comes back) tax free for me in the future.

      I’m happy leaving it as is. I don’t plan to need it for 5-7 years yet. (Assuming I live that long, which is now more than ever, uncertain.) Anybody have an opinion on whether this might be a good idea?

      A twist is that my income is low enough this year that I don’t have to pay anything for my health insurance through the ACA. If I take money out as income this year, wouldn’t that blow my subsidy? My plan is about $900 a month without subsidy. Any tax savings long term could be completely overwhelmed by that potential $10,000+ cost this year. Thanks! Something to think about here besides suffering and death!

      1. fposte*

        Answering in reverse: yes, the amount you convert to Roth would be taxed as ordinary income, and that can definitely blow your ACA subsidy.

        Otherwise, it can indeed be advantageous to convert eligible pre-tax accounts to Roth during a low-income year, and the younger you are the more advantageous it’s likely to be (because of the tax-free growth in the Roth). The lessened value of the 457 does mean you’d pay less taxes when you convert, which is also helpful. You do have to make sure you’re not running afoul of the pro rata rule, which my cold means I can’t clearly explain right now, but maybe one of the usual suspects can chime in with a note on that.

      2. The Cosmic Avenger*

        It is definitely a good time to take money out of accounts where withdrawals are taxed as income and move the money to a Roth IRA, where it will grow tax-free. A lot of people are doing that on the financial/investment boards I read, because if you can withdraw $10K now and it will be worth $50K in 20 years, why not pay tax on the $10K instead of $50K?

        However, it looks like there are a lot more restrictions on 457 plans than other retirement accounts, so you might not be able to do that. I found this on a reliable site: “Participants cannot access money in their 457 plans until a ‘triggering’ event. Essentially, you can’t get money out of your 457 unless you change or lose your job, you reach age 70 1/2 or you have a demonstrable financial hardship. Until one of these events occurs, you cannot roll your 457 over to a Roth IRA, according to IRS Code Section 457(d)(1).” So I’d say ask the brokerage that holds your 457 if you can do it, they probably have advisors who can help.

        But if you can convert/withdraw, I would normally say you should do it up to the top of your expected tax bracket, except you will want to preserve your ACA subsidy. Go to Healthcare dot gov to check your eligibility and when it phases out. If that weren’t an issue, let’s say you’re in the 22% tax bracket, filing as single. The max income before you hit the 24% tax bracket is $84,200, so if your total taxable income is normally $75K, you’d want to convert only $9,200 so that it is all taxed at 22%, not 24%; then you can do the same next year. (Maybe that’s not the best example because of the mere 2% increase between brackets, but you get the idea.)

        Good luck!

        1. fposte*

          Good points! I did assume from what Morning Reader was saying that this was from a former job, which would widen her options there, but that might not be the case.

          I have the sweet deal of an in-plan Roth rollover in my 457 and made use of that in 2018 and ’19. Another advantage there–no pro rata rule.

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            I’m glad you chimed in — I have never had a 457, so I had never heard of the pro rata rule, and honestly I’m not even sure how they work! That’s why I focused on the generalities.

            1. fposte*

              The pro rata rule is an IRA thing that deals with how much is taxable when you convert from pretax dollars, so it comes up a lot with Roth conversions from a rollover from any workplace retirement account; IIRC, what could bite Morning reader is if she has an existing traditional IRA but she only wants to do a Roth conversion on the assets being rolled over from the 457. But I’d really want my brain to work better than it is right now to say with more certainty.

    37. MOAS*

      Not sure if this should Go in the thread above but…
      Anybody trying to carry on with a normal life? I still plan to go to the mall/gym/run errands etc this weekend, I went out with friends last weekend and coworkers the weekend before. I would prefer to not work from home. I’ve never been a stay at home homebody type so the idea of staying home all weekend is killing me.

      1. Following one's heart*

        Hey – I am the same..never a big homebody, despise the idea of sticking to indoors. I went to the mall yesterday, got my regular haircut (salon across from mall), have a few small errands and going for a walk with a friend later on. I went to a small student conference last weekend. As much as I can, trying to stick to a normal-ish routine.

      2. Ranon*

        Nope! This isn’t a normal situation and I don’t want to endanger others with my actions, so I’m taking precautions. It’s not about my health, it’s about the folks much higher risk than me.

        1. fposte*

          Yes, I think there are some different historical narratives here that complicate things. It can be tempting to for a defiant Blitz mentality of “If a bomb gets me, it gets me, and I’m not going to let the war get me down!” but that doesn’t work for a pandemic–it’s as if your going out meant your family was substantially likelier to get hit by a bomb.

        2. MOAS*

          Yeah, I’ll be staying home this weekend. But I am a little confused by that – how would I infect others if I’m not sick myself?

          1. fposte*

            “Not sick” and “Not *yet* sick” look exactly the same. You can have the virus for up to two weeks before you feel sick. So we can’t, any of us, declare ourselves “not sick” right now; that’s why there’s the big shutdowns at universities and schools and the push to stay home, because we can only sort the one from the other in retrospect when it’s too late to change our behavior.

          2. LizB*

            To add to what fposte said, the more you go out in public spaces, the higher your chances are of getting the virus, and then continuing to spread it for a while before you get any symptoms. So even if you’re truly not infected at all now, the trip to the gym could be where you pick it up, and then the errands keep it moving around to other locations, where other truly-not-infected-yet people can pick it up, etc. etc.

          3. Dr. Anonymous*

            But you can take walks, go hiking, wave at people as you pass by. You don’t have to hide in your house. Just stay a good 6 feet away from people if you can, pass them right by and don’t hang out with them having close conversations, and don’t touch things other people touch.

            1. Anonymouse*

              This! I am going to be working from home for the next two weeks and will go mad if I don’t get out during that entire time. I plan to use my bicycle on the trail nearby that I rarely see anybody on.

            2. NoLongerYoung*

              yes. I have been walking dog (a lot); yesterday did a short drive, filled with gas (no one at the station at my island, reasonable precautions), etc. Did one critical errand, but made it first thing in the morning where I was the only person in the deserted store. (Figured it was as clean as it was ever going to be).

              I have some lovely parks I can walk to or drive to (short drives) that are barely / seldom used.

              So lots of options of things I know I like to do, but have not been doing enough of. And I have 2 good friends who like to walk/ hike, so I can meet up at social distance and walk. (I do not like being in a couple of those spots completely alone).

      3. WellRed*

        I ran a few quick errands on the way home, am supposed to meet with a couple prospective roommates this weekend but have let them know we can cancel. no one wants to be homeless in two weeks in our high rent, low vacancy city and I can’t afford extra rent, so yes, it’s difficult all around.

      4. Laura H.*

        In some ways yes, in other ways no, because I can’t go about my normal routine- both because factors outside my control have shifted and because I’m healthy but someone in my household is not (other things not the Bug).

        I have minimized my goings out/ I’ll get everything I need to done in one go, so that I don’t go in and out repeatedly. But I do need to go out sometimes and also try to take the needed precautions.

        But staying in a lot more is what I have to do now. I’m adjusting, and realizing that as the most social in the household, I’M the one with the most opportunity to pick up and carry goodness knows what. Majorly cutting down on my outings and being ok with ceasing completely should it come to that, is going to be helpful in the long run even if I go mildly stir crazy now…

      5. Anon for this*

        Actually, staying home all weekend will not kill you, but if you asymptomatically transmit COVID-19 to one of my close contacts who’s running a necessary errand like buying food or medicine, that might indeed kill me! I’d rather give my cancer a chance to knock me off later without having to worry about COVID-19 getting me first. Sorry you’re bored; maybe think of this as a challenge to your creativity.

        1. kt*

          Allelluia and amen! Sing this chorus again!

          Stay away from other people for *their* sake, like the person I know with cystic fibrosis who’s one of the healthiest people I know otherwise, or the family member with MS and asthma who’s also a mom and in a job without much PTO, or my 93-yr-old family member and his caretakers.

      6. cat socks*

        I had to think about this for a minute and I realized my normal life is pretty home-oriented to begin with. I went into the office as normal last week, but will start WFH full time next week. Unfortunately my husband works maintenance for his office building, so as of now he has to go into work to maintain their HVAC systems.

        I managed to get to the grocery store on Friday morning and should be stocked up for a couple of weeks. I’m planning on going to church tomorrow and my volunteer shift at the cat shelter on Thursday. But otherwise I’ll be at home. I usually stay in the house on Saturday’s anyway so today is as normal.

        My husband and I went out to dinner on Friday and happy hour at the Mexican restaurant was pretty packed and looked normal. I wonder if that will change in the upcoming weeks. We tend to get carryout a couple of times a week instead of cooking so I might still do that depending on circumstances.

        1. Tmarie*

          I would re-think church for a couple of weeks at least. I know that they are canceling many church services here in Washington.

          The cat shelter probably has fewer chances of cross-contamination.

          1. cat socks*

            They did end up canceling church services. The shelter is cleaned twice a day and I already wear a smock and gloves when cleaning cages. They go through a lot of bleach and I’m concerned that they won’t be able to get the cleaning products they need with people hoarding stuff. Especially with kitten season coming up they need to be well stocked.

      7. m*

        Trying to pretend everything is normal is probably one of the reasons this got so out of hand in the first place. As people already said, this is not ‘normal. The virus doesn’t care about your attitude.

        Going places away from crowds (walk through a quiet park maybe, if you need to go outside) is probably fine. Going to places that are crowded with a lot of commonly-touched surfaces (gyms!) probably not.

    38. Mimmy*

      I am at a loss for words about this week, especially the last couple of days–I haven’t seen anything of this magnitude since 9/11. I have so many questions.

      My husband and I are homebodies to begin with, but I’m still sad at seeing all the changes so quickly. I know it’s temporary but still, it’s crazy. My job suspended its program “until further notice” but staff are still expected to come in. I think that’s what is confusing me – schools and programs that serve the public / specific populations get shut down but staff still have to go in?

      Also what’s confusing a lot of people is that this isn’t a severe illness for the majority of people. I think there was more concern with SARS and H1N1, but the US didn’t take these drastic measures.

      I also saw on the news this morning that the UK is taking the opposite approach – herd immunity so that everyone gets it so that the virus doesn’t come back. o_O

      1. Ranon*

        It doesn’t matter that most people will be okay, it matters that enough people won’t be okay that we can easily overwhelm our healthcare system if too many people get sick at once- and if that happens, people die. People who won’t die if we implement social distancing and flatten the curve. This is a different illness than the ones in the past and it requires a different response. It is incredibly deadly for the elderly and that should not be taken lightly

      2. Lady Jay*

        This is bigger than 9/11. It’s the new defining moment of our time. When the virus eventually passes, the world will be different in ways we cannot even imagine.

      3. kt*

        sarcasm tag/ Great plus for the UK approach: once it rips through the elderly and immunocompomised populations, they’ll really be able to spend less on health costs in future years! /end sarcasm tag

      4. cats_away*

        Here’s a (slightly out of date) website with COVID-19 mortality by age group and pre-existing condition: https: //www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/
        Basically, 50-59 yr olds have a 1.3% mortality rate (13x that of seasonal flu) and the mortality rates only climb from there. There’s a mortality rate of 7% of people with diabetes who also get COVID-19. Preliminary reports also indicate that mortality rate does vary based on resources – ~3-4% in Hubei province in China (where the virus first emerged), compared with 1% in other locations in China. Letting the infection speed through the population will kill more people (because of scarce resources) than slowing down the spread. So if the UK sticks with it’s approach that’s a really sociopathic mindset that will lead to needless deaths.

      5. Ann O.*

        SARS and H1N1 didn’t cross the containment threshold in the US. I think things were a lot more restricted in East Asia, which is supposed to be why Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, and South Korea had much more success with containment measures. They were prepared. South Korea only had to move to social distancing because of the unfortunate circumstance of having a super spreader break their containment.

      6. ...*

        SARS only infected 8000 people over the course of like 9 months, and H1N1 has a death rate 30x lower than COVID. That’s why.

    39. Parenthetically*

      Stupidly, I forgot to buy sugar. All of us take sugar in our tea.

      This is making me feel like we have to be really careful with the food we do have, and I have never felt more solidarity with my ancestors who lived through rationing.

      1. Following one's heart*

        I just ran out of salt…been meaning to buy it for a few weeks and here I am.

        1. WellRed*

          I have so much salt I’d be happy to give you some if you were a neighbor. People on the NextDoor app in my city have begun posting a willingness to help others in whatever way they can.

      2. LizB*

        The block I live on has an email list, and I sent out a message asking how people are doing and if anyone needs anything – it’s been very well received, so if you have any similar methods of communication, I bet a neighbor can spot you some sugar. (My whole block is doing just fine, thankfully.)

      3. Hell in a Teacup*

        I have a life hack for this:

        There is a tea on amazon called cotton candy tea. It’s basically black tea with cotton candy flakes in it. Use the flakes for sugar and BAM you have tea and sugar

      4. Epsilon Delta*

        Oh god so much. We are fairly well stocked on food and supplies, but for anything that is more than half gone I have been looking at it like, “do I really need to eat/use this thing right now? No, probably not.”

        I’m kind of open to well-implemented rationing right now. At least it would stop the stock piling and allow the supply chain to catch up.

      5. Old and Don’t Care*

        For little things you can go to a convenience store, drug store or even a gas station and be in and out in thirty seconds.

    40. Lcsa99*

      Has there been any evidence on how/if this can affect animals? I’ve read that it can be transmitted to pets, but I can’t tell if it’s just panicked theory or real, and I haven’t seen anything that says how bad it could be for them.

      1. fposte*

        It looks like it’s been hard to determine–WHO was initially saying pets couldn’t get it from people but has just stopped saying that. Basically it’s all about this one dog in Hong Kong, owned by somebody who got sick, who has been blood tested positive–however, the dog shows no symptoms and was originally thought just to have virus *on* it (swabs showed virus) much as household surfaces might.

        Given the volume, it seems like sick animals would have been noticed at this point if it were a common occurrence. However, pets should probably be factored into isolation–if somebody in the household is sick, limit the hugs the critters get for a while.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          If it turns out this came from pangolins I’m not worried about our pets as a vector. But if it’s bats? That’s way too close to home for my comfort– hamsters, bunnies, guinea pigs, gerbils, white rats & cute little Stewart Little mice, they’re all related.

    41. WellRed*

      Anyone heard any domestic flight updates or is it as usual unless you hear otherwise? My mom plans to fly home from Jacksonville to a Boston, then bus it to the Cape. Keeping our fingers crossed.

      1. LJay*

        Domestic flights are operating as usual, with possible cancellations for very light flight loads. (But even then they often need to get the plane into position for the next flight, for overnight maintenance, etc.)

    42. Laura H.*

      What are y’all’s religious authoritative bodies doing in response to COVID concerns?

      My archdiocese has suspended all masses for three weeks starting this one and my parish has also suspended/ cancelled/ postponed all activities within the same time span…

      My calendar has opened up significantly- I’m there 4 nights a week…

      I understand it’s for good reason but I also feel like we need that community now more than ever.

      But this too shall pass. And the good thing is, if it sticks to only the three weeks, Holy Week will still be observed in the parishes and so too will Easter. If it’s extended, this will be more interesting than when Lent started on Valentines Day with Easter on April Fools Day a couple years ago.

      1. cat socks*

        My church is still having services tomorrow, but we are also set up to live stream. There will be only be one main service instead of separate kids services. Doors will be propped open so people don’t have to touch handles. Social distancing is encouraged. It’s a fairly large facility so there is plenty of room to spread out. We are taking it week by week to see how things go.

      2. Bluebell*

        Our synagogue in Boston area has stopped all services. We did a Zoom virtual Friday night service last night. This morning I watched a livestream of a service one town over. They published a long list of rules for people attending this mornings bar mitzvah.

      3. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

        My church is still having services but sitting far away from each other (health authorities recommend 1m distance between people) and not touching objects like collection bags or communion cups (individual for everyone in any case, no common cup, but the minister doesn’t touch them) and families with risk group people should stay away anyway. Don’t come if sick, don’t come if quarantined, no handshakes, wash your hands, keep distance.

      4. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

        My parish is still holding regular Masses at church, but they’ve canceled them at the nearby nursing homes they support. The school Masses are also canceled because the governor has closed all schools for three weeks. They’re not offering the communion cup, and there is no sign of peace. An email went out to the parish mailing list telling people that they are NOT currently obligated to attend Mass, and reminding them that we have a livestream (this isn’t new, we’ve had one for years) they can watch while they stay home.

        Bingo is cancelled, the Lenten mission is canceled, all religious education activities (not associated with the school) are cancelled. This week’s fish fry was drive-through only, no dining room. I don’t know what they’ll do the rest of Lent, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they keep it closed with the schools. Choir practice is still on for now, but I have my doubts about attending. (I’ve already missed two weeks with an ordinary cold.)

        I’m attending Mass this weekend and next, because I’m on the cantor schedule. I may stay home after that – we’ll see how things are going at that point. At least in the balcony it’s really easy to maintain social distance whenever we’re not actually at the microphone.

        1. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

          Oh, and Grandma’s assisted living facility is limiting Mass attendance to residents only, no family members/other visitors. I’m not sure if they’re letting people from the nursing home side attend (usually it’s the resident’s choice), or if they’re going to require them to receive communion in their rooms.

      5. Texan in Exile aka golddigger*

        I had been trying to convince my 77 yr old mom not to go to mass tonight but she was adamant. I involved my sister, a nurse, to no avail.

        Fortunately, sense prevailed at the diocese and they cancelled all activities, including mass, for the next two weeks. But sheesh.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Remind her of St. Clare, patron saint of television and the precedent for televised mass.

      6. LizB*

        My perception is that Jewish organizations, both my local community and across the US, has been VERY quick to shut down and go virtual in the last few days. I’m seeing tons of synagogues, schools, etc. move to Zoom or other tools, livestream services, etc., and lots of online pop-up concerts, online Torah study sessions, etc added to keep people connected and talking even through isolation. I’m even seeing suggestions from Orthodox folks who don’t use techn0logy on Shabbat on how they can connect to their community virtually for a small portion of the evening service, then turn off when Shabbat really starts. We have no central authoritative body, so it’s mainly community by community, but I’m seeing a lot of great progress.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Ours shut down too, as did the shul in my last city. My current synagogue already does a lot of livestreaming (we’re Conservative but place major value on inclusivity) so this is more of the same. I’m worried about Pesach, though. Today matzah was on sale at Whole Foods but I can’t even go down that road yet.

          1. LizB*

            I’ve already seen people talking about celebrating Pesach Sheni as a possibility, hoping we’ll be in a better place for gatherings by then.

      7. OyHiOh*

        One of our two synagogues cancelled community Seder (a month from now) and we were on our way to cancelling our Purim Carnival (supposed to have been tomorrow) when cirumstances intervened and we had to shutter the place indefinitely. That community will reassess in two weeks or so. The other synagogue, as of yesterday (Friday) was blithely pretending that viral pneumonia does not exist and had not announced any plans to cancel anything. Their weekly newsletter did note they were hoping the full board would attend this morning so they could have a quick board meeting after service – to discuss cancelling services and/or their community seder.

        Ironically, synagogue #2 is, at first blush the more vulnerable community and yet they’re the ones acting like the threat doesn’t exist.

        To use my sister’s mantra: People are weird.

      8. Turtlewings*

        I’m LDS, and a few days ago the President of our church, who is a retired doctor in addition to being (in our belief) a Prophet of the Lord, suspended all church meetings worldwide indefinitely. It was a much bigger reaction than I expected and has done more to alarm me than anything else I’ve seen or read. If the Prophet is taking this seriously enough to tell us “stop going to church”… yikes…

      9. Llama face!*

        My church decided to cancel all regular gatherings and events for the next two weeks so far (with possibility of extension). Our official stance is that- even though we haven’t had any known community spread so far- we want to be good neighbours and avoid unnecessary risk to our community. It is likely that we will see cases popping up eventually so I am supportive of this choice. But people are of strong opinion on this (for and against) and are posting loudly on social media. Sigh.

        1. Llama face!*

          Also some members of the church community are getting organized to bring meals to people in self quarantine if/when that becomes necessary (using proper safety measures obv).

      10. Kuododi*

        DH and I are both ordained Cooperative Baptist clergy. The church we attend is currently closed on weekends but open during the week for staff only. DH place of employment has found it necessary to lock down face masks, sanitizer due to chronic thievery. Patients are under tight restrictions regarding number of, and length of stay for visitors. My parents church (UMC) is closed on the weekend and staff we’ll be at church during the week to attend the needs of the congregation. The church has opted to keep the facility closed to members/ guests for the short term future.

        This is not a house of worship tidbit of info but it’s related subject: as of Friday (yesterday) the LiveStrong program offered through the local Y is suspended at least until April 6. I half expected this as the purpose of the program is to give people in cancer recovery access to physical activity as well as trainer support. Myself and the other group members are all immunocompromized to various degrees of severity. None of us need to be exposed to various snotty nose, bad hygiene, hacking and spraying toxic sludge people. Hope this helps. Kuododi

    43. Too Much Anxiety*

      This technically applies to everything and all safety issues but right now it’s more relevant to coronavirus

      I have an anxiety issue where I get very concerned that people are not taking things seriously enough with regards to safety- especially when they make jokes about something that has happened or could happen… Some will argue that people make these types of jokes to cope with the situation but for me it just sends me down a spiral of “they’re not taking it seriously and they’re going to cause harm to others!” — it’s like I haven’t figured out the line between “reasonable joking to cope” and “actually not taking things seriously…

      I suppose the main idea would be “if all of their other actions seem to be taking things seriously than one joke shouldn’t be a sign they’re not” …. right? But I can’t stop worrying sometimes. It’s not helped by having a family situation where more often than not some safety issues were dismissed with “well nothing bad has actually happened” (example: we didn’t get robbed and murdered because dad left the sliding door open again) or “we haven’t gotten sick yet!” (example: unsafe food handling) — like every time I was over reacting by being concerned so now any joke just sends me back to that fear of no one takes things seriously.

      1. fposte*

        I think also anxiety makes it hard to imagine a framing other than your own, so it feels like people making jokes must feel like you would when you make jokes. But I don’t think that’s true–some people would make jokes in the same emotional situation as others would cry, and vice versa. I regularly read one forum where dark humor is a hugely established norm (I keep thinking of the Spinal Tap “none more black”), so there’s masses of tasteless jokes (some quite good, tbh) but also sincere concern and good information.

      2. Junior Dev*

        I am right there with you in that I hate the jokes.

        I have a take that’s been helpful to me, maybe it’ll help you. I think when people act as though they’re not worried about a problem, often it’s because they feel powerless and it’s a way of not feeling like a victim. I get this a lot when I talk about things like climate change or digital privacy—“well it’s gonna happen anyway so why bother.” I also think it’s true that a lot of people’s responses to panic have been unproductive and even harmful (see: comment above about fights breaking out over toilet paper). So not only are people joking in response to stress, they’re minimizing the problem because “taking it seriously” would involve admitting there’s a whole lot they don’t control.

        I try to remember that, with the exception of people I come into contact with every day, it’s people’s behavior in aggregate that matters and I am doing what I can.

    44. Lovecraft Beauty*

      I just found out my therapist was exposed to a now-confirmed COVID-19 case before our session this past week, so I’m being overcautious and self-isolating for the next two weeks.

      My roommate is going to be thrilled.

        1. Lovecraft Beauty*

          The cat is genuinely delighted by all the petting she is receiving as her due. My human roommate is less happy.

    45. Junior Dev*

      Anyone else freaking out over small symptoms?

      I have a low-grade sore throat which can be attributed to a couple days dealing with lots of dusty stuff. On the off chance I do get sick, I’m prepared with easy to eat soups and I have relatives who can take me to the hospital. But I probably won’t because I’m in my 20s and have been working from home all week. It’s just a perfect chance for my anxiety brain to latch onto something and catastrophize.

    46. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

      I’ve been resisting panicking about coronavirus until yesterday. I think it is because the number of cases in my city rose while my office finally implemented full time teleworking for at least the rest of the month. The anxious part of my brain is now genuinely worried that my friends and family will suffer (whenever I feel my brain going down this spiral, I try and distract myself in some way.) I’ve completely stopped eating out, but I’m still trying to think of what to do regarding hobbies/social life. I’m not self-quarantining unless I have to. However, today I’m staying in and using my extra time and energy to do some spring cleaning.

    47. Morning reader*

      The elderly. Pet peeve time. Could they please stop using that term? Hardly any boomers think they (we) are elderly. How about, Boomers and older, stay home. If you’re born before 1961, stay home. If you remember when the Beatles came to America, stay home. If you “like that old time rock and roll,” stay home. If you hula hooped in childhood but can’t do it anymore, stay home. If your children are millennials or Oregon trailers, stay home. If you once had a crush on David Cassidy or Farrah fawcett, stay home. If you can remember cars with no seat belts, stay home. If the first pack of cigarettes you bought cost less than a dollar, stay home.

      So many ways to say it. But elderly? No, I’m only 60-something, the baby of my family, I won’t be “elderly” for at least another 10 years. But I’m staying home.

      1. ThatGirl*

        I mean, I consider elderly to be 75-plus, but you are by definition a senior citizen. The dictionary doesn’t really care how you feel. I don’t feel middle aged but I’m pretty much there.

        1. fposte*

          I always love Henry Fonda’s line in On Golden Pond in response to the Katharine Hepburn character’s insistence that they’re middle-aged: “People don’t live to be a hundred and fifty, Ethel.”

          I mean, I take some of Morning reader’s point–it’s better if you use language that people won’t exempt themselves from. But I’d rather we had a more nuanced grasp of what terms like “elderly” mean and realize that maybe we’ve been dismissive of people in our own lives when we shouldn’t have been than to decide a term doesn’t apply to us.

          1. Bluebell*

            Meryl Streep also says this to Shirley MacLaine in Postcards from the Edge “Really, how many 120 year old women do you know?” I am a GenX/Boomer cusper, but with 2 health conditions, I’m “Team Stay Home” right now.

        2. Morning reader*

          My objection isn’t to the word per se, but the possibility of the message being less effective because so many listeners don’t recognize it means them. Or us. Yes I’m a senior citizen by some criteria, old enough for AARP but not SS. We Boomers like to think we’re young. Time to wake up. We’re elderly by CDC standards. I’ll admit it, just want the rest to get it too.

          1. Junior Dev*

            I think there’s a parallel to e.g. STD prevention efforts using the phrase “men who have sex with men” rather than saying gay/queer/homosexual men—the latter phrasing means that men who are engaged in that sexual behavior but don’t self-identify as gay will ignore your message or not come to use your services. We can have a broader conversation about stigma and how it makes it hard for people to be honest with themselves, but if you’re trying to stop the spread of an infectious disease, you meet people where they’re at.

          2. ThatGirl*

            I get it, my mom will be 70 this year and I don’t like to think of her as old. But she is. Certainly media could say Boomers or something but I don’t think they need to be cutesy. I’m almost 39. I’m a millennial. Time to realize everyone is older than they want to be.

      2. Panthera uncia*

        My mother is a 72-year-old teacher. She announced her retirement in February, so the height of this madness is the end of her decades-long career. Schools are now closed, and she will probably have to go back to school in late summer to make up the time. I’m so sad for her that she has to deal with this. I wanted her last year to go smoothly, and to give her fond memories. Instead, she is freaking out.

        1. Laura H.*

          I’m sorry your mom is worrying but I so appreciate what our teachers do! Jedi hugs to all the teachers out there!

      3. OyHiOh*

        I do agree that the language that’s used is important. I’m early forties – I struggle to wrap my mind around being “middle age” and if I have a bit of that mind warp, I’m certain that many people over age 60 are *really* struggling to see themselves as more vulnerable than most to a novel viral pneumonia.

        Side note, I wonder if calling it a novel viral pneumonia might get people to take this more seriously . . .

        My gentleman friend Neptune has a double wammy – over age 60 and a caretaker for another medically fragile adult. We’ve spent twelve to fourteen hours a week together over the past few months. Limiting social contact right now feels unbelievable painful but also absolutely crucially necessary. He’s scared . . . has something that could be allergies flaring up or the start of a mild cold and even though he knows it’s something that a couple days of rest and fluids will heal (or amping up his allergy meds as needed), it feels a lot more catastrophic than usual. He’s pissed about the members of our community that aren’t taking it seriously.

      4. Anonnington*

        I agree. That would be a lot more effective. And TV channels could help by adding programs aimed at Boomers and earlier generations. “If you remember this . . . stay home and watch it!”

    48. Swingbattabatta*

      I’m in seattle, and things are getting real here. Everything is shut down, numbers are spiking, and our healthcare system is already strained. Beds are filling up at the hospital, non-emergency surgeries are getting canceled, and everyone is grappling with what we will do in a week or two when there aren’t enough resources for the seriously ill.

      Take this seriously- even if you aren’t worried about getting sick, be worried about slowing the spread in an effort to protect the vulnerable and help our healthcare system. Don’t go traipsing around if you don’t have to.

    49. Lady Jay*

      Who has family not taking the virus seriously?

      My grandparents (80+) are apparently off to volunteer at a massive community book sale this weekend – and, just no. That is the wrong thing to be doing. My parents’ church has apparently stopped shaking hands, which is something, but they’re still holding church, still going to small groups, still attending community banquets.

      Meanwhile, my own church has cancelled, the uni where I study/teach has gone online at least until the end of the month, the uni library has closed, and I have three containers of Clorox wipes.

      I’m not sure how to get them to take this seriously. :( :( :(

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Oh my god, me.

        My younger brother has tested positive, which isn’t a surprise considering the UK’s response and the fact that he works 50 hours a week as a bartender at the a very busy hotel; my older brother has been telling them to make sure they have food in the house and that they have all their prescriptions as they’re both over 60 and recovering from colds; and what have they done? Invited guests over from Britain who arrived yesterday only to have Spain declare a state of emergency and for JetBlue to turn flights around in midair because we’re going into total lockdown as of Monday 8am.

        Mum said to me this morning – “oh, this is quite serious, isn’t it?”

        I want to scream!

      2. Anonymous at a University*

        My father. He’s over 70, and while he doesn’t have diabetes or the cardiovascular or lung conditions that make COVID-19 the most dangerous, he still has health problems that make me wish he would just STAY HOME. He has plenty of room to stock up on food, he just doesn’t want to. My sister, who was already out of work when this began, also wants him to help entertain her children who are out of school for the next few weeks, and nooooo. Stay home, all of you!

        (Our university has extended our spring break and will be going to online classes after that, so I am practicing what I’m preaching).

      3. Buni*

        I’m in my early 40s and in an at-risk category. My parents are both in their 70s, one of them at-risk. They informed me yesterday that if I get ill they will ‘swoop down, pick me up and take me in for convalescence’.

        So if I do get ill – and this will almost certainly mean my being hospitalised – I will a) let them know I’m in hospital, and b) absolutely not tell them which hospital it is.

        It’s a big city, they’ll never find me…

      4. Meepmeep*

        Oh God, my parents are driving me up the wall. They’re 78 and 81. They go out all the friggin’ time, to run nonessential errands, and no amount of yelling at them has changed that behavior. I’m terrified that they’re going to get it. My father, who is a well-educated man and should really know better, just went out the other day to go to Home Depot to get nails. Nails!

        I’m too far away to come to them and lock them in their house, but I wish I could.

    50. MOAS*

      So I’m staying home today.

      I can’t leave my room because i just went downstairs to grab a cold drink and my mom screamed at me why do I not care about the baby, cold drinks harm the baby. (She’s had this obsession almost all her life that Asians don’t get fat because they drink warm water and I’m fat from drinking cold drinks. And anytime I set foot outside To go to work or meet friends or run errands, she worries that I’m harming the baby). So I stay in my room.

      I have plenty at home to keep me occupied but the second you tell me I CANT go out or do something, I rage. Well by rage I mean vent here. I have books to read, naps to take, rooms to clean, Clothes to sort a baby to get ready for, Makeup brushes to wash, a device to binge watch Netflix/Hulu, everything to keep myself occupied for the weekend. sounds like a dream right?. But ASA I’m told I CANT do something I twitch. I wish I was happy being a homebody, I see so many memes of people rejoicing at staying home, and I feel defective.

      1. I'm A Little Teapot*

        Um…. once things calm down with this virus, can you move out? Your mom sucks. And she’s extremely lucky that I’m not her daughter because there would be such a fight the first time she tried something like that, she would be scarred for life. And that sort of behavior is really going to harm the baby – kids absolutely will be harmed by irrational behavior like that.

        1. MOAS*

          I screamed at her and today she said I’m scared of you and your brother (he probably spoke crossly to her too). 35+ years of religious and cultural conditioning that you don’t abandon your parents and massive guilt for even thinking it. Im doing the best I can within my limits. I pray that I can be a good mother and a good person to my child and hope that I will never treat her this way.

    51. Cheluzal*

      H1N1 killed more people and we did not have this response. Honestly wondering why we are doing what we’re doing if we didn’t before?

      1. fposte*

        H1N1 killed more people because it spread more, to between 700 million to 1.4 billion worldwide; its mortality rate was @ .02%, compared to seasonal flu’s .1%. Deaths in America for it are estimated in some places as @12,000, and in others @3,000. Seasonal flu is estimated to kill 12,000-60,000 annually, for comparison.

        Coronavirus case fatality rate is still evolving, because of lack of testing, and that’s a big problem. Case fatality rates of confirmed (so not estimating those who didn’t get tested) patients vary by locale and age, but the working averages seem to be 3.48% overall; 3.86% for China and 2.39% for the rest of the world. (Source: ourworldindata dot com.) That is massively, massively more fatal than H1N1 or even seasonal flu.

        And even if you assume that there are tons of undiagnosed mild cases that make the actual mortality rates lower, it’s inarguable that the functional load on health care in the affected countries is absurdly, unprecedently-since-1918 high, which is hugely significant in its own right. Even if thorough testing reveals it’s only ten times deadlier than seasonal flu rather than twenty or thirty, that’s been enough to overwhelm health care systems, and that’s worth trying to avoid.

      2. Agnodike*

        H1N1 killed about 12 500 people in one year. This virus has killed a little under half that in three months. You do the math.

        1. Agnodike*

          Sorry, mixed up the US numbers and the global numbers. It’s actually not too wild a comparison if you’re using single-country numbers since the majority of the deaths are still in China so far. But we are just at the beginning of what this epidemic could potentially do, with a fatality rate that’s still one of the many unknowns but almost certainly many times higher than flu.

      3. LQ*

        I think the ability to work from home has grown so much that it is more possible to flatten the curve now than it was before so there is a push to try to move toward that. The idea behind all the lockdowns now is to quell the spread as much as possible and slow it down. It could end up being less deadly than both the flu and H1N1. But part of that could potentially be the proactive (sort of) nature of the response here.

        I think that some people are assuming it’ll kill everyone who gets it because of the way governments are responding, or thinking that others (or governments) are assuming that. The messaging hasn’t been great but what is happening now isn’t about we are all dying. It’s about ensuring the health care system can handle it and slowing the rate of infection does that.

      4. Venus*

        “Because we are trying to learn from our mistakes” seems like an obvious answer.

        The mortality rates on Covid-19 are high if hospitals get overwhelmed (reference Italy), and I don’t want my country’s medical folks traumatized for life because they had to make awful moral decisions. Stay home, flatten the curve, and with any luck the mortality rates won’t spike.

      5. Ann O.*

        We don’t know how many COVID-19 will have killed because it’s not done. It appears to be more fatal than H1N1, however.

        I am not an expert, but what I’ve learned from reading is that H1N1, SARS, and MERS made infected people sicker more quickly than COVID-19 does. This also made containment measures more effective. Because of that, we never needed to get to lockdown measures. We are clearly past containment in the US. Most of the East Asian countries have been able to stay in containment because they had the experience from SARS and took COVID-19 very seriously from the beginning.

        COVID-19 is also a very difficult form of coronavirus from a containment perspective. It has a long incubation period; a good proportion of people seem have asymptomatic or mild forms and so spread it without knowing they’re sick; and it seems to be very contagious. But the incubation period is probably the most difficult factor. Everyone needs to look at the data from China and Italy and understand that you don’t see the effects of the severity until you need to do complete lockdown.

        The US curve is very scary, but it’s not scary because of our present yet. It’s scary because of what the data indicates our present means about our future. We’re buying our healthcare system time with social distancing and, if we’re lucky, flattening our curve so that we never get to an Italy or Wuhan type of lockdown.

        1. OyHiOh*

          H1N1 is now a standard component of flu vaccinations, BTW. I found out last fall when my children quizzed our PCP . . . . after losing their dad to H1N1 flu last winter, they’re quite reasonably more concerned than most kids. It’s not something most people think about, a decade later, but it’s still around and it’s just as virulent as ever.

          SARS and MERS are coronoviruses also

      6. Dr. Anonymous*

        Because this virus is moving fast and can make a lot of people very sick ALL AT THE SAME TIME. We don’t have the personnel or hospital beds to take care of them all at once. Or even a fraction of them. If we don’t slow the spread we’ll see terrible problems with access to critical care that we in the developed world never imagined.

      7. The Other Dawn*

        In addition to what others have said, I think another factor is that it’s 11 years later, and the science and medical fields have advanced since then. So people in those fields know more now than they did then, which is typical. That’s just my opinion.

    52. Bee*

      We live in the SF Bay Area and we’ve been self-isolating for almost week now already, which in hindsight, I’m glad we did. Last Sunday we went to my preschooler’s ballet class, where kids were coughing despite stern warnings from the studio to stay home if unwell. Then we did our normal post-dance Starbuck’s run, and as we sat down we heard even more coughing and sniffling. My husband basically had a meltdown and we went and ate our bagels in the car while we had a family meeting. Basically, he felt we weren’t being careful enough, and that taking the position of “We’ll do our normal routine until people around us start getting sick” is frankly, stupid. Because at that point it’s already too late. I have a chronic respiratory disease that predisposes me to more serious complications of COVID-19 and our household also includes my MIL, who is in her 70’s and lives in an in-law unit at our house.

      So we have done a soft lock-down since last Sunday night. We pulled our child out of preschool, told my MIL she needs to stay at home with us (and we’ll get her whatever she needs), and my husband has been working from home (we’re very fortunate that he can do this easily). I needed to keep attending school, but that was cancelled starting Thursday. Throughout the week I quietly stocked up on nonperishables and chicken feed, since our backyard hens will keep us in eggs if we really can’t go out for groceries. After going out in public I’m immediately throwing my clothes in the washer and washing my hands and/or showering. The only out-of-the-house activity we’re doing is walks (the streets and parks are nearly empty). We cancelled a long-awaited trip that was supposed to begin today, and it’s looking like we’ll cancel another trip we had planned for a few weeks from now (a California coast road trip that was to include Disneyland, which is currently closed, and a close friend’s wedding, which is likely being postponed.) We normally do a lot of activities around town and eat out at our favorite local cafes, but that’s not happening now, which is hard on morale. And I’m really worried about our small businesses here.

      I hope it’s enough. I do think we’ll probably all get it eventually, if we’re not already in the incubation period. I’m just hoping to “flatten the curve” and delay us getting sick as long possible. It’s frustrating how many people are really not taking it seriously, even here where community spread has been going on for weeks. Parents are still planning playdates, going to playgrounds, and sending their kids to daycare (which I can sympathize with if they need to work – that’s really difficult). My sister’s boyfriend is basically living life as usual, going to sporting events at big stadiums, etc. My mom, who is in her 60’s, is “considering working from home.” A friend and classmate of mine just left yesterday for a recreational trip to Japan, which she refused to cancel because of “all the time she put into getting restaurant reservations” there. She is immunocompromised and I’m really scared for her – and for the rest of us, when she comes back and we have to sit in a classroom with her. Though fortunately my school has just been moved online for the next month. And she may end up getting stuck abroad in quarantine.

      Keeping my preschooler happy, entertained, and fed is currently my biggest concern. And trying not to stress her out with talk about “the virus.” She and my dogs are LOVING all the family time, though. They may be the real winners here!

    53. Ranon*

      If you find yourself in an anxiety spiral, it can be helpful to figure out how you can help others:
      – If you have friends that are healthcare workers who are likely to be in the thick of this, reach out now and find out if they need you to walk their dogs/ check their mail/ take care of things and get a key. Is it likely that they’ll need 24/7 childcare, and is that a thing you can provide? Talk it through with them now.
      – Have some extra cash? Food banks are under stress right now and likely to be stressed further, they can use your help.
      – Healthy, low risk and symptom free? Blood banks are starting to run low, call yours and see how they are doing donations.
      – Are you low risk living near folks who are high risk? Reach out and let them know that you can run errands for them if they no longer feel safe leaving their houses to do so.
      – Did you panic buy masks and now feel guilty about it? Medshare.org may accept them as donations.

    54. LQ*

      Sort of corona related so I’m putting it here.

      I put in my order for grocery delivery. The poor shopper just texted me photos of empty shelves. I can tell she’s gotten guff earlier for not being able to get things people ordered. I told her to just do the best she can. But wow. (And yes, I plan to tip well!)

      1. LizB*

        Yeah, I tipped my shopper extravagantly yesterday. She found almost everything on my list! But there were just completely zero potatoes in the store. I hope everyone is treating her and her colleagues with kindness, but I’m sure many aren’t.

      2. Hell in a Teacup*

        I’ve been trying to work on being more assertive (like asking grocers where things are or when things would be back in stock). I made that a New Years resolution.

        I also used to work at a Sam’s Club so I knew I needed to throw that resolution out the window. I can be meek…it’s fine.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Stop&Shop has suspended curbside pickup in my region and is warning delivery customers that many things are unavailable.
        I’m about to go out to try and get distilled water for my CPAP machine. I will be boiling water for the neti pot until that shows up. Wishing I’d never stopped keeping 6 gallons on hand at a time.

        1. Sydney Bristow*

          CPAP.com has a distilled water pitcher. I just ordered one myself. I mentioned it to my husband last night and said “I’ll just buy that if things get really bad” and he said “I think we’re there already.”

    55. cat socks*

      Has anyone tried contacting Expedia to cancel travel? My parents had a package (flight + hotel) booked to Barbados in a few weeks. She filled out a cancellation form online and under “product” selected Package. She got an email back that she needs to call to cancel but can’t even get through because they are having technical difficulties. She submitted the form again, this time just for the flight portion so we’ll see how that goes.

      I feel awful for people working in the travel industry. I will most likely be canceling a trip to Jamaica at the end of April. I booked through Chase Sapphire Reserve so no idea how that will go. I’ll be WFH so I’ll just plan on being on hold for a long time.

      1. fposte*

        I had to do that with Expedia last year and found it hugely difficult; even when they told me they canceled something, they didn’t cancel it with the airline and I had to go through the whole rigmarole again. And that was not when they were being buried under communication. So I’d say cynically she should plan for this as an ongoing activity rather than an item on a checklist.

        1. cat socks*

          Hmm, so even at the best of times they are not good with cancellations. In the future, I wonder if booking directly with an airline or hotel is best in terms of trying to cancel a trip. Thanks for the info. I think the company will probably be processing cancellations for a while.

      2. WellRed*

        This is why I’ve never quite dared to book through Expedia or similar, even in good times. If there’s a problem it can be A Problem!

        1. cat socks*

          Yep, I’ve decided going forward to avoid booking third party travel. My Mom is going to try and dispute the charges with her credit card since she can’t get through to the company. The “Expedia” hashtag on Twitter is not a happy place.

      3. LJay*

        Most of the travel industry is advising that people do not call unless it is for a reservation in the next several days as they are so backed up dealing with all of those.

        Though, any time it is through a booking service that makes it more difficult as there are more pieces in place.

    56. Misty*

      Things started getting serious here on Tuesday.

      Now everything is closed it seems like: churches, acupuncture, public libraries, school/work.

      I live with a lot of people and usually we’re never home so it’s been interesting all being on top of each other since Tuesday. We’re not leaving the house except for emergencies (easy since our normal routines can’t happen since everything is closed).

      Is anyone else having a hard time trying to figure out how to be alone in a crowded house? I generally only sleep at home. I’ve never been home for so long before!

    57. MissDisplaced*

      I’m supposed to be flying to London tomorrow night for vacation. I fear it will be banned.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I know you’re probably looking forward to London because it’s London, but it is a very bad idea to go to the UK at the moment. Just because they have lockdown the country doesn’t mean there isn’t coronavirus there. The UK response has been borderline criminal as they don’t seem to care if people get it or not. If you go to London and then fly back to your home country, you are risking a lot.

        The choice is yours at the end of the day but please remember that you’re making this choice for everyone that you’re going to come into contact with as well.

        1. Foreign Octopus*

          Sorry, that’s supposed to read: “Just because they haven’t locked down the country”.

      2. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        The UK government strategy seems to be to get as many younger people as possible infected on the assumption that this will make them immune in the future, so keep that in mind when making your decision.

    58. RMNPgirl*

      I would like to urge everyone who is feeling healthy and well to go donate blood if you can. Due to social distancing and schools/colleges/businesses closing blood centers all across the country are having mobile blood drives cancelled and not as many people coming in to donor centers. We are going to be facing a nationwide blood shortage if healthy people do not continue to donate. Cancer patients, trauma victims, ob patients, etc are all still going to need blood during this time.
      There is no evidence of transfusion transmitted coronavirus and giving blood is safe. All blood donors have temperatures taken and are asked about their health, so it is a safe space to be around other people. If you want to know more, see resources from AABB, America’s Blood Centers, Red Cross, and FDA.

    59. Sejanus*

      Israeli PM Netanyahu just gave a news conference. The country is basically shutting down for the next month to hopefully stop the spread of corona virus. All malls, restaurants, shops, theaters, etc will close. Only pharmacies, supermarkets, and gas stations will stay open. All schools are closed. People should try to work from home, or at least try not to be anywhere with more than 10 people and to make sure to stand 2 meters (6.5 feet) away from others . There is plenty of food in the supermarkets and we’ll continue to receive food shipments ,so there’s no need to panic buy (which actually hasn’t been happening anyway to a huge extent, not like the rest of the world). Just shop as normal, you’re actually putting yourself in more danger by everyone buying huge amounts and causing everyone to stand in long lines in very crowded stores and possibly catch the virus .

    60. Elizabeth West*

      Okay, this seems a little creepy now, but for the last couple of years, I’ve been slowly building an emergency kit, mostly with natural disasters in mind (I live in tornado country—and just moved closer to a giant fault zone). But also, because of the current administration. Call me paranoid, but when you have someone in charge who is not rational, a little planning just in case seemed prudent.

      So last year, I bought one of those buckets of emergency food at Walmart (I think they’re all gone currently). I also was standing in line waiting for a prescription, and I saw some small boxes of surgical masks on sale. I bought two. I had no reason to get them, and I was thinking dust, not virus. But weird, huh?

      I’m also wondering if I should have just stayed where I was. I’m beginning to regret moving, even though I couldn’t find a job there. In fact, I haven’t had any luck here, and now with the dumb virus shutting everything down, I think it’s going to be worse. Really, everything could be worse, but I’m losing confidence that it will get better.

    61. Tris Prior*

      I have a vacation planned for May 2, which it’s looking fairly obvious that it’ll need to be cancelled. United, which I’m flying, says no charge for changing travel plans for travel through April 30. I hope they extend that, in light of these circumstances. I bought travel insurance but I just read it over and it looks like it doesn’t cover cancellation because travel isn’t a smart idea due to a pandemic, it would only cover coronavirus if I or Boyfriend actually got sick.

      Meanwhile, AirBNB is being pretty inflexible; I can get half my payment refunded if I cancel by 2 weeks before the trip, but I have to eat the other half. It would be fully refunded if I were going to China, Italy, or Korea, but I am not. In light of these circumstances, I think I will not be using AirBNB again. Again, I hope that as this worsens, they become more flexible. (Does my host seriously want us in her home? It’s a private room in a shared house. We’d be using the same bathroom as her.)

      The part about this that really sucks is that this wasn’t a pleasure trip. We hate where we live and had planned to take 3 recon trips to cities we are considering moving to, and decide on a destination by end of the year. So that we could theoretically move when our lease is up almost exactly a year from now. Pretty sure that plan is out the window now and we’ll need to stay put for another year, endure another punishing winter (the main reason we’re leaving), and I guess figure out how to cope with that.

      1. Kage*

        At least in the US, Airbnb has waived their cancellation policy and will give full refunds for trips with check-ins thru 4/1 at the moment due to COVID. I’m sure it’ll get extended, so I would just keep waiting and cancel your once it covers your check-in date. We are hosts and got lots of emails about how folks can get full refunds at the moment regardless of our regularly selected cancellation policy (each host has to pick their policy from Airbnb’s menu of options).

    62. De Minimis*

      I’m really worried about my personal situation…I am flying to one of the affected areas to apartment hunt because I’m starting a job there in a month [and I’m pretty sure my employer is going to expect me to be there, virus or not]
      and have to fly there next weekend to apartment hunt. No idea what to expect or what things will be like. I live in a city that is also fairly hard hit as far as cases [we’ve had one death here and one in a neighboring county] and everyone is on edge. Lots of panic buying and I’m worried about that too. I don’t know how I’m going to set up a household if I can’t buy food!

      Where I live now no one seems to be staying home at all, in fact it seems even busier than usual due to panic buying which was already bad but got way worse after they decided to close the schools until next month.

      1. WellRed*

        I’d be worried about being able to apt hunt. I’m roommate searching and one cancelled this weekend, out of two showings because of everything.

        1. De Minimis*

          That’s a big concern too, though I’m hoping maybe not many other people are out there looking. They also had snow today [unusual] so that probably slowed things down as well.

          I figure if I have to it won’t be that hard to find an Air-bnb until I find something more permanent.

        2. Marion Ravenwood*

          I’m coming at this from the other side (landlady’s selling our flat and so I need to be out by mid-May) and so far, apart from not shaking hands with people, it’s pretty much carrying on as normal here in London, at least based on my previous flat-hunting experience. I have wondered if doing something like Skype viewings would be better though (as some people seem to be doing with dating at the moment) as you can still see the room, talk to the current housemates etc, but don’t have to risk using public transport to travel between viewings or inviting a potentially unknowingly infected parade of strangers into your home.

    63. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Well crap. Illinois has a confirmed case of a resident of a “long-term care facility”. Given the death rates by age and the likely age ranges of the residents, I think we all know what’s likely to happen there.

        1. I'm A Little Teapot*

          Just saw it’s Willowbrook. I used to live there, I’ve driven by that facility. :(

    64. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      Another coronavirus question.

      For the past week I’ve been at our house in a different city while my husband is in our work flat in London. He has had a mild cough since I’ve been gone but we don’t have a thermometer in the apartment, so he hasn’t checked if he has an actual fever. Both of us have had lingering colds for a few months, and I had an unusually nasty bout of bronchitis in January, so it’s not clear if this is a new thing or just the same persistent cough. He says he doesn’t feel particularly ill.

      My husband is planning to stay home next week as a precaution. I have recently taken on a role organising small professional development events, and the first one is on Tuesday (in London). The other people on the committee think the event should go ahead, but I won’t be surprised if the advice changes before Tuesday to suspend even small events.

      My original plan was to go down on Monday afternoon and then attend the event, but I’m wondering if I should I stay put and skip it?

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Even if you were feeling fine I would urge you not to go! Countries that put off banning large gatherings are seeing exponential increases in the number of cases (and, consequently, the number of deaths), which are not yet scary but could easily be in a week or two at this rate. We are all feeling fine in our house, but are trying to self-isolate in order to 1) break the chain of contagion, and 2) normalize it for all of our peers, most of whom can telework, have plenty of leave, and plenty of resources. Not everyone can self-isolate, but the more people who do, the more we can slow down the spread. I just posted a link in the CV thread, please check it out. (Assuming it is unmoderated soon…I know Alison has a life…and kitties that need attention!)

    65. Trouble getting the Coronavirus test*

      My son’s fiance developed a minor cough, low grade fever and body aches on Tuesday. She has been working at home for the past 2 weeks for her employer’s requirements. We all live in the San Francisco Bay area.

      So she goes to a walk-in clinic the next day and is checked out by a nurse practitioner and sent home without a clear diagnosis. Later that day, the clinic doctor calls her and says they think she has Coronavirus and to call her doctor to authorize the test.

      She calls her doctor first thing Wednesday and leaves a message. A nurse calls her back and said the doctor will call her later that day. She doesn’t receive a call that day.

      On Thursday she waits to the late afternoon to call back and is informed that the doctor will call her back that day. Again she doesn’t receive a call from the doctor.

      As of today, still no call back from the doctor. There’s no way she can get the test without the doctor recommendation and She was told that the only place covered by her insurance is Stanford University hospital, which is a 2 hour drive from their home.

      She hasn’t gotten worse and she hasn’t gotten better. This is going on the 5th day with no ability to get tested without a call back from her doctor. My son is now self isolating and her 2 children have been pulled out of school.

      Very stressful for all involved and I think this scenario is now playing out across the United States infinitum.

    66. Sparkly Lady*

      I’m in the Bay Area, and it’s all just weird. The paradigm shift between Monday and today was so rapid. On Monday, I was honestly pretty chill about coronavirus. I knew it was spreading; I knew the Bay Area was one of the worst hit places in the country; but I also knew the reported case numbers were still pretty small. I had no idea about the infection curves in Wuhan, China whole, Italy, and South Korea or what they indicated about upcoming problems in the Bay Area.

      I’m also in the fitness industry and entertainment.

      By mid-week it was clear, things were serious and scary and there were going to be big, life altering changes in the very near future. But I still thought life altering changes were going to be more remote work for white collar workers, the end to handshakes/hugs/double kisses, and stronger hygiene protocols. I still expected my shows to be going on, schools to be open, and my fitness classes to continue.

      Now schools are closed; venues are closed; and classes are canceled. All of a sudden, I’m going to be functioning as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. And I’m grateful that at least my spouse has a fairly high paying white collar job because I am 100% out of work. I have no idea if I will have work when lockdown measures are lifted because I don’t know if the studios I teach at or venues that I perform at are going to survive this. I am terrified for my parents, who are at least taking this all very, very seriously and not leaving their house unless it’s a necessity (and using gloves/n-95 masks when they do… they had a bunch because of the fires and one parent is a professional who knows how to fit them).

    67. Long drives*

      Any tips for A married couple (no kids) about to go under quarantine? We’ve been together 25 years and things tend to ebb and flow. We just started clawing out of an ebb phase by widening our social interactions, sigh. I think being in close quarters for an extended time could get us to BEC levels fast.

      1. All monkeys are French*

        I would suggest some structured time together and some apart.
        Can you shift your sleep schedules a bit? My husband is a morning person and I’m a nightowl. I absolutely love my alone time at night after he’s gone to bed, and he feels similarly about his mornings.
        We make a point to eat one meal a day together which I really appreciate. It helps us feel connected.

      2. Dr. Anonymous*

        Don’t forget quarantine does not preclude the great outdoors. Take long, long walks if you can, together and/or separately. Getting out in the sunshine (or the rain–you’re not made of sugar and won’t melt) and out of your closed space will help a lot. Just don’t get close to anyone and don’t touch common surfaces when you’re out there.

    68. JKP*

      I own my own business that depends on people coming in to my office and meeting with me in person. I’ve pretty much only been going to work, home, store, and doing extra cleaning/washing at the office. I’m concerned that depending on how long this goes on, if too many clients cancel or if I have to close completely, I might not be able to recover financially. If it’s all over in the next month, I think I can deal with that, but if it drags out much longer, I’m screwed. These four months (Feb-May) are my busiest and easily 3/4 of my year’s income.

      Also, I’m not sure how I feel about this development: I just received notice from my certifying agency that while remotely working with clients was previously against our code of ethics, now they have reversed that position and it’s now allowed. I think it was previously against our code of ethics because frankly, it’s not very effective. If it was a bad idea before, I’m not sure how corona suddenly makes it a good idea for clients. The closest analogy would me if your massage therapist did remote sessions by telling you where to rub yourself.

      1. Not A Manager*

        Your last sentence did make me laugh out loud, which I really really needed. Thank you for that.

        I’m sorry about your office situation. I suppose at some point remotely telling someone where to rub themselves will have to do as far as massages go.

    69. Lost in the Woods*

      My best friend has been planning to visit me for the past four months. Obviously, she’s had to cancel, and I am so bummed. I really wanted to get to spend time with her in person, and now we’re likely not going to see each other until July. All the fun plans I came up with are down the drain – I got a pass to a local birding hotspot (she’s big in to birds), borrowed some nice binoculars, got a guide to birds in the area – all shot, at least for the time being. I was so looking forward to seeing her get excited about birds.

    70. Director of Alpaca Exams*

      A friend sent me this, and it gave me the good kind of goosebumps.


      What if you thought of it
      as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
      the most sacred of times?
      Cease from travel.
      Cease from buying and selling.
      Give up, just for now,
      on trying to make the world
      different than it is.
      Sing. Pray. Touch only those
      to whom you commit your life.
      Center down.

      And when your body has become still,
      reach out with your heart.
      Know that we are connected
      in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
      (You could hardly deny it now.)
      Know that our lives
      are in one another’s hands.
      (Surely, that has come clear.)
      Do not reach out your hands.
      Reach out your heart.
      Reach out your words.
      Reach out all the tendrils
      of compassion that move, invisibly,
      where we cannot touch.

      Promise this world your love–
      for better or for worse,
      in sickness and in health,
      so long as we all shall live.

      –Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

    71. TiffIf*

      I was reading an interesting Twitter thread yesterday where people were talking about the paradox of if we are successful at preventing the spread of the disease then it looks like all our precautions were an overreaction. So if, in the US, it ends up being far less dire than many places make it seem, don’t scoff at the unneeded self-isolation and social distancing–congratulate yourself on doing your part to slow the spread and flatten the curve!

      (Though do still scoff at the panic induced clearing out of all toilet paper.)

      Some of the people were comparing it to the Y2K scare–it seemed like a complete overreaction because nothing happened but that ‘nothing happened’ was only possible because of some very hard work by a lot of people before hand.

      1. DistantAudacity*

        Yes, exactly. It´s important to keep in mind.

        I´m in Norway – we are now pretty closed down, to hopefully achieve precisely that effect.

    72. Need the Test, Can't get one*

      Doctor thinks I have Coronavirus but I can’t get tested due to lack of test kit. 6 days and counting.
      Anyone else in this predicament? I’m very worried and it seems like this is the current condition for all US citizens that may have the virus.

      1. Dr. Anonymous*

        LOTS of people are in this predicament. Pretend you have it, confine yourself according to the CDC web site instructions, and call your doctor if you get short of breath or your symptoms worsen in any way that worries you. If in doubt, call your doctor for advice about your symptoms. In the meantime there’s a very good chance you’re one of the many people with mild symptoms. who recover just fine. I’m hoping more test kits and testing capacity in the labs will be available soon.

        I’m sorry it’s like this.

      2. Chocolate Teapot*

        It appears everything is shutting down here. I went shopping and the supermarket was almost empty of rice, pasta, polenta and potato dumplings. My church has limited services, and now these are taking place out of doors.

      3. Figgie*

        My spouse (who last had a fever when he was 16 years old and had strep throat) woke up yesterday with a headache, dry cough and fever. We just flew back from a conference in Texas on Thursday that had started the previous Thursday. So, he either got what appears to be COVID 19 on the flight down or at the conference. So far, I have had no symptoms and today he has muscle aches along with the other symptoms.

        Since the recommendation is that you stay home unless you have issues breathing, we are staying home. Fortunately, we arrived at the airport, drove home (stopped at Costco to get milk) and haven’t left the house since then. But who knows who else was exposed on the plane flight, even though we were wiping everything down and using hand sanitizer.

        There are no test kits available unless you are hospitalized (I checked with friends who work at the local hospital), so I don’t see any point in contacting our physician. He routinely works from home, so that isn’t going to be an issue and we have plenty of supplies to last for at least six weeks (other than milk). Part of me is just grateful that we are probably going to get sick and get it over with before things get really bad and part of me wishes that we hadn’t gotten it at all.

        It seems that at least for my spouse, aspirin and acetaminophen work the best at keeping his fever in check. Ibuprofen didn’t do a thing, nor did the naprosyn.

    73. Colette*

      I’m now arguing with people on Facebook because they’re sharing inaccurate information. “The Coronavirus will die at 27C, so drink hot drinks, never cold”. Our body temperature is 37C, so that makes no sense. I’m doing a lot of “what’s your source for that? That doesn’t match the WHO guidance”.

      And work hasn’t yet told us to work from home, so I might have to go in tomorrow. I have a French test that will be canceled if we are told to work from home, but if not, it’ll happen. After that I’m electing to WFH even if they don’t tell us to.

    74. Meepmeep*

      Anyone else experimenting with homeschooling because of this? We are stuck at home and decided to use the time to practice homeschooling the little rugrat (age 4). She’s doing great and we may just stick with this long term.

      But also, for those of you stuck at home with small children – any ideas for kid entertainment?

    75. Little Beans*

      How are people feeling about personal events that involve people gathering? I’m 7 months pregnant and we have our baby shower planned for late April. A lot of guests are family members who are older and might be in at-risk groups, including my mother-in-law who was supposed to be flying in from another state. We’re located in a region that does have several cases reported, and our county is recommending against any gatherings of 100 people or more – our current invitation list is about 100, although I’m sure the number of people actually attending would be less. I feel like we have to consider cancelling but I’d be so bummed!!

      1. Bluebell*

        Please cancel, especially considering you have guests in the at risk category. Maybe you can do it as a virtual shower and people can send you the gifts ahead of time? Then when this settles—hopefully by summer—you can have a lovely “welcome the baby” party.

      2. Bananatiel*

        I’m cancelling on everyone and everything for this month– I feel bad and like I’m letting people down but I’d feel worse if I got someone else sick without realizing it (I’m 31 and relatively healthy now). I’ve got a baby shower coming up this Saturday and I’m *definitely* not attending, so I’d consider whether guests will even be comfortable attending.

        Also, 100 guests is quite a lot in terms of exposure. The university I work for set guidelines to ban large gatherings before they outright ended all in-person classes and your baby shower almost meets that criteria, so that’s more food for thought.

    76. Lcsa99*

      I am getting so frustrated with the NY government. They just can’t decide what to do. They want us to reduce the amount of people in buildings but they are keeping schools and libraries open – both are places that easily have more people than the occupancy limit allows. And in the libraries there are no programs so librarians like my husband wouldn’t be doing anything! Now they are saying they will reduce hours but it won’t make a difference and it is still a waste of time for him to even be there. Now the governor wants to come up with a plan to close schools but he and the mayor always butt heads so it’s even less likely to happen now.

      All of the contradictory statements are just so frustrating. I am actually thankful I woke up with a cold this morning (no fever and I am congested so don’t think its coronavirus) but it’s enough to keep us home.

    77. IAmOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      Just received the news that my son’s school is closing their dorms. He’s a freshman and is loving being at school with new friends and freedom. He’s very unhappy. I feel bad for him and all the other students.

    78. Bananatiel*

      Maybe this is more of a venting session than anything else but I’m self-isolating out of an abundance of caution because a gym my coworkers go to was visited by a confirmed covid patient earlier this week before we started WFH. I’m 31, I’ll probably be fine but in the meantime I don’t want to accidentally spread it, god forbid I have it.

      This is… not an ideal time, but it’s not a great time for anyone obviously. It means no birthday celebrations at the home of my father, turning 70. He’s not pleased because he thinks this is all a hoax.

      One of my oldest and closest childhood friends is having a baby shower Saturday. She understands why I can’t come but they’re still holding the shower as of now, older family members and all.

      I cancelled on bridesmaids dress shopping for another friend. Her wedding is next year. Why on earth is it necessary to shop NOW? It takes like, two weeks to get the dresses. Anyway, they didn’t even decide on a dress so I hope no one gets sick from that considering a final decision wasn’t even made. Now she wants to book bachelorette party flights which feels positively delusional considering the dates she’s looking at are far from a guarantee based on everything I’ve read from reputable sources.

      I just… am surprised at how stressful this self-isolation has already been and it’s been a grand total of 24 hours so far. I did go out and take an hour-long walk down a street no one walks on and that helped, but UGH.

    79. Daji*

      Definitely feeling stressed out and unhappy since my routine has been disrupted (although I’m thankful my job has gone remote), which is a super important thing that helps me feel stable. On top of that, I’m technically in a higher-risk category with asthma, and every time I go out for necessities I worry I’ll be a victim of a hate crime due to being visibly Asian. (So as you can imagine I’m not going out very much.)

      I’ve also been looking, very slowly, for my biological family the last few years who are likely somewhere in China or Vietnam. No fun all around.

    80. Is It Performance Art*

      I’ve spent my life working in biomedical research or healthcare. Right now I work in healthcare (in a position that does not interact with patients) in one of the parts of the US that’s been hardest hit. It’s been really disappointing seeing a lot of the misinformation going around on social media. I have seen a lot of essays on What Must Be Done by people with no training in biopharma research, medicine or public health that are full of inaccuracies and or misinterpretation of the scientific literature. Some of my friends are sharing inaccurate posts from lay people with no relevant qualifications other than sharing some of their political beliefs. I’ve spent more time than I probably should trying to politely correct some of this, but it’s still frustrating.
      If you are going to post something about how to respond to the virus, what measures to take to control it, or an explanation of a scientific study, please make sure that the person has some training in biopharma research, medicine or public health.

  2. OyHiOh*

    Friday was “a day.” I spent the day on and off weeping as I watched my city and state take quite reasonable precautions and struggling with how much I felt like all the band aids on my life were getting ripped off.

    For me, having learned to live again through consciously seeking out social contact, for both myself and the dragons, social distancing, necessary as it is, feels awful. It makes me feel like I did a year ago, in the days before Mr Oy’s funeral when my contacts were limited to freaked out and grieving family. I know far too many people who are vulnerable for one reason or another to take chances. I *understand.* I’ll do the best I can. Dragons and I live in what is more or less a tiny house situation and they’re going to be home with me non stop for the next fourteen days minimum – no group outlets for them are open anywhere in the city – distance and mitigation are going to be hell, however necessary they are.

    On top of that, my Temple is back in the news, again. A homeless woman broke through the back fence, jimmied the back door to the social hall, trashed the place and set a fire. Thanks to alert neighbors, fire and PD were called quickly, but not without the loss of two classrooms worth of books and materials, and hours and hours of cleaning and smoke mitigation elsewhere in the building. We had already cancelled our Purim Carnival (this Sunday), and our community seder (a month from now) but now, no services either. It all just feels very small and cold.

    Friday, I sat on FB watching all the closures and cancellations roll in, fighting tears. A friend posted a photo and brief story from one of her friends, who works in a major theater, and their ghost light. There’s lots of theater superstition around the tradition of a ghost light but it basically serves as a night light, so that if you walk onto the stage in the dark, you won’t fall off the edge. “It’s there to keep us safe,” the friend of a friend wrote. It reminded me of the eternal lights in the synagogues I’ve attended, and the Eucharist lights in the churches my dad worked in growing up. And all of that reminded me of an article I read on Slate earlier this week about a piece of research done on Shakespeare’s work. Someone realized that he wrote three of his most well known tragedies in a single year. Three two or three act plays in twelve months. The writer went researching, trying to figure out why that particular year was so productive for him, and realized that it was a particularly bad plague year. Instead of traveling and performing, he shut himself up and wrote like a fiend for fifty-two weeks. This is relevent.

    I read a poem yesterday, by a woman named Judy Collins. The whole thing is just brilliant and beautiful but it starts “the planet is taking a breather/a few days of standing still . . . ” So I commented to the friend who posted about the ghost light my thoughts on the similarities in all of the “watch, be careful, something is present” lights, told her about the Shakespeare research and concluded “Be safe. Make, do, create. The lights will remain on. They will keep us safe and show us the way back when the planet is ready.”

    And every time I get a notification on the post, I tear up again. But I am making and doing and creating and when we can bring up the house lights again, I’ll be there.

    1. CoffeeforLife*

      That was poignant, beautiful, and hauntingly sad yet hopeful. Thank you for the imagery and for shaping how I’ll look to the next few weeks. Wishing you strength and humor to manage the coming days

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Isolation. This is an important topic. Isolated people tend to experience more health issues.
      But as you are saying here there is opportunity in everything.
      Oddly, I was just thinking to myself wouldn’t it be great if we took a month off EVERY YEAR and just refilled our own tanks and build up our own internal reserves? Do we have to wait until an entire nation is under threat of illness?
      Ironically, how many less of us would get sick if we could put time into our own self-care and our homes? Stressed out people are more vulnerable to whatever happens by.

      I love that tidbit about Shakespear. And yeah, this is how to handle things. What is everyone doing that they would not have done any other way? I am talking about positive activities, and I include things like rest and playing with the pets/kids- so pretty much anything is fair game. We can use the down time to fortify and build up our lives for when we get back on track here.

      You have beautiful thoughts, Rebecca. It takes only one voice to send out a wave that causes a change.

    3. Bg*

      Hugs to you. There is so much beauty in how people are reaching out right now. Italians singing through alleyways. Zoom parties. Every school person I know is compiling mental health resources to send home with kids. Mindfulness northwest does great online meditation groups. When I did the 9 week class I was disappointed to have to do it online (my dragons limit my options) but I was so impressed with how connected classmates became through break offs to small group discussion.
      I hope you find some good resources to keep you connected through this.

      1. OyHiOh*

        Our school district is crap. They closed school at mid day yesterday (we’re off on Fridays). They are refusing to treat this as anything more than a slightly longer than usual spring break. They are grudgingly serving three days worth of meals next week. They’ve publicly stated they will not consider distance learning/e learning strategies unless the school break extends past March 30 (end of our scheduled spring break). Students will be allowed in briefly on Monday to pick up essentials (meds kept at school, etc) but there’s no plans to distribute tech at the same time (my dragon’s school has classroom Chromebooks, in their school, an off site tech plan would be relatively easy to implement). The district is basically acting like the whole thing is ridiculous, won’t actually affect us (our super has stated in the past, on record, that our district is unique and special and normal rules of operation and school function don’t apply here) and they’re only closing down to comply with the governor’s directives to cancel gatherings of more than 250 people

        Resources for mental health and continued education? LOL!!

    4. Llellayena*

      This was absolutely beautiful and wonderfully poignant. Thank you. I need to go look up that poem now. And I’m sorry about your Temple, I hope everything is relatively easy to clean up.

      1. Llellayena*

        And the poem is apparently not google-able from what you posted. Can you provide a little more info?

        1. OyHiOh*

          A poem for today – Judy Collins

          The planet is taking a breather
          A few days of standing still
          No harm to the rivers and oceans
          Thanking God for your Treasury bill
          No trips to the fancy parties
          No singing in front of the stage
          The freezer is stocked with chicken soup
          And gloves are all the rage
          The ports are empty the rallies are still
          The mockingbird sings out his heart
          No time like the present for taking stock
          of music and poetry and art
          Perhaps in the stillness something will happen that no one could ever predict
          Problems resolved relationships healed
          all your big troubles licked

          So sleep till you’re really rested
          Do the treadmill and watch TV
          Everything changes so this won’t last
          And give thanks for caller ID

      2. OyHiOh*

        I saw the full text as a graphic on Facebook, attributed to Judy Collins. Got a call out up on my timeline to try and track it down.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      There was a piece in the Washington Post this week about Isaac Newton’s ‘abnnus mirabilis’ when Cambridge was closed for disease. Worth reading.

        1. Jenn*

          Me too! I’ve never had nails this longer. And let’s be honest for most people they are not that long!

    6. Parenthetically*

      “how much I felt like all the band aids on my life were getting ripped off.”

      This is exactly how I’ve felt. Thank you for putting it into words.

    7. NoLongerYoung*

      Oh, how beautiful and touching. Your way with words and personal insight help me, personally, so much – even when you may not realize you are reaching out and lifting others.

      I think of this as a time of remodeling. The plate is broken in my life, but the new mosaic that is being made of it will be more beautiful in it’s own way, different, and useful. Not ever the same. I would not have this opportunity to be the new me, if I were not resilient.

      Or, sometimes… I think of it as the refiner’s fire. I will come out of the furnace of affliction stronger and better in my new way.

      Sending a virtual hug. Looking up that poem now.

    8. Wandering*

      A friend wrote a nice blog post: Living Embodied in Social Isolation. Find it at http://www.embodimentllc dot com/blog/2020/3/15/living-embodied-in-social-isolation
      I find it helpful, perhaps others will as well.

      NB: She’s in Missouri, so if you’re interested in any of her online offerings keep that in mind for scheduling.

    9. Rebecca*

      Hang in there! I have been trying to get out and about with more people too, and now social distancing, but it’s for the greater good, and won’t last forever. I look at it as me being cautious in order to help someone else who might not be as sturdy. I like reading your updates!

  3. Sabine*

    Has Allison considered switching from being an amazon affiliate to a bookshop affiliate? I’m a long time avoider of all things Bezos and would love to see more bloggers divest.

    1. Mid*

      The hard part is that it would likely be a loss of revenue for Alison, and most smaller bookstores don’t have the global distribution, digital options, or variety of stock that Amazon does. I love my local bookstores, but amazon was a lifeline when I was living abroad and couldn’t find good books locally.

      1. WellRed*

        I think a huge part of the reason its’ harder to find good books locally could be traced to…Amazon. I’m also going to make a pitch for your local store: they can typically order any book and get it in very quickly, at least in the US. Of course, I understand the pleasures of just browsing and finding something on the shelf may be lost in that scenarios.

      2. Sabine*

        I’m not referring to an individual bookstore, but to Bookshop (should have capsed) which is a book fulfillment company that funds indie bookstores.

        1. IndieBooks*

          Actually, Bookshop offers substantially *better* affiliate commissions than Amazon does. So AMA stands to make more, while supporting indie bookstores in the process (we get a cut of all Bookshop.org sales – and yes, I work at an indie bookstore.)

          1. JKP*

            Yes, but if they only sell books, the total commission amount would be lower even with higher commission rates. Like if you go to Bookshop and buy 3 or 4 books, vs if you go to Amazon and don’t even buy the book but end up buying an xbox and bunch of video games and that coffee table you had your eye on. A several hundred dollar order with a lower commission will still net you more money than that higher commission on just the books.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      When you’re self employed, you use the avenues that generate the most revenue. She’s not lucrative enough to rally against the corporate giants, let the woman feed her family.

      Don’t like Amazon. Go ahead and don’t use it. Good luck fighting against it.

      I say it as an anti-mega Corp person who loaths tyrants and someone who’s personally been victimized by their bad company standards towards distribution center employees. Leave it alone.

      We can’t dismantle these beasts without government change. Individuals are not strong enough.

      I find it funny that the vast majority hates on working for small businesses here but wants to go in on the use of the powerhouses all the same. The scent of hypocrisy in the morning…

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Love this, TMBL.

        We can clearly identify problems, we know how to do that part very well. But identifying solutions does not come easy. It’s a rare person who can nail down a good solution to some of our biggest social quandaries.

        Right now, I have an older friend who is going blind. And she is watching her husband wind down his life. Amazon and other big actors are her life-line. They are keeping her supplied with things that she cannot access any other way without involving her friends and family to bring her everywhere. And then someone has to stay with her husband while she goes out. And, oh yeah, her sight is Not Good, so even once she gets to the store, it’s really not that much of an achievement because the challenges multiply once she enters the store. She is fully aware that Amazon and others are awful. But she has no choice.

        I am not saying this makes everything alright. And I do understand that not everyone has such dire circumstances as my friend. I believe we create change by going one person at a time. As we figure out new ways to meet people’s needs some of these big ugly beasts will fall by the wayside.

      2. Anonymous Educator*

        Also, good luck avoiding Amazon. There are so many companies using Amazon Web Services.

      3. Dan*

        Yeah, I come down on the side of “we all pick our lines, make decisions for what’s best for us, and leave the rest alone.” I work in tech, and Amazon pays very well for this type of work. While I don’t work for Amazon, I do know those who work on the tech side… some who quit working for my current employer because Amazon pays better.

        The other thing is, as a consumer… finding jeans in my size is a pain in the ass. Usually, there’s like *one* pair in the entire store. So if I want *two* I’m SOL, and if I want a choice of style, I’m SOL. The last two times I went to target, they had *zero* jeans in my size. I won’t say I “had” to shop at Amazon, but… the other day I ordered two pairs of jeans *in my size* with two clicks of a mouse, and they showed up on my doorstep two days later.

        My take with the warehouse workers is the same as it is for every entry level retail job — we do not have enough jobs for unskilled labor, and as a result of the excess supply of labor, companies don’t *need* to pay more than they do to keep their company running. (Amazon is a reasonably good example for this. Tech-side jobs pay well because the labor market is much more competitive. Warehouse jobs don’t, because there’s an excess supply of labor.)

        1. Observer*

          The problem with Amazon is not the payscale, which is actually decent for those jobs. The problem is that they really are abusive of their warehouse workers.

          I do avoid Shopping on Amazon when practical. But I am NOT going to criticize Allison (or anyone else) for using their affiliate links. If you REALLY want to take on the bad actors, look at the folks who are using Chinese supply chains and ask what they are doing about the documented use of slave labor and frankly inhuman working conditions in many factories. (Some companies ARE pushing their suppliers, but not all of them.)

          And TMBL is totally correct. For a cohort that so regularly slams small businesses *as a class*, it makes no sense to get THAT much on your high horse about using the big players.

      4. Anonymous Educator*

        Also, I’m sure if you ask your local bookstore to order Alison’s books, they probably would.

        1. WellRed*

          They would be happy to! And what’s the calculation for every dollar spent in your community is worth X? I mean, I get why people like Amazon, just remember, there are options if you don’t.

      5. tangerineRose*

        “She’s not lucrative enough to rally against the corporate giants, let the woman feed her family.” This!

      6. JKP*

        Also, people may not realize that amazon affiliate links give you money for everything that person buys in the next 24 hours after they click the link, not just the specific book that was linked. I use adblock on my browser, but I support sites like AAM by clicking on their amazon links before I buy whatever I was planning to buy anyway.

        1. IndieBooks*

          I said this upthread too, but Bookshop offers better affiliate commissions than Amazon (10 percent vs. 4.3, is my understanding) — so AAM would likely see a benefit to the switch.

          1. Observer*

            You know, I find this incredibly presumptuous. I think that Allison is perfectly capable of doing the math. Amazon provides enough information for people to be able to check what they are getting from them and what the channels are. Which means that Allison has a lot more information than you do about what “better commissions” are likely to actually turn out to pay out for her.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      They are horrible, but for me, I had to use them because the alternatives were too costly. I’m mulling over putting Tunerville on B&N even though the royalties are smaller. It’s not like I’m selling tons of copies, however, and I have NO advertising budget so even a Goodreads giveaway is out of the question.

    4. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

      You can simultaneously protest a flawed system while not shaming people who have limited choices within that system. Amazon exists because the way our government’s policies work, they are allowed to exist. If you can do things to limit Amazon’s influence and power, by all means do so – especially when it comes to supporting and voting for policies that make it difficult for Amazon-type companies to exist.

      Like, you can protest Wal-Mart while not shaming the working class for shopping or working at one because they don’t have much of a choice.

    5. Imtheone*

      My doctor says then to wash the eye lids gently with dilute baby shampoo (no sting) to rinse off the oils that are released with the hot compresses.

      – He said hotter than warm, but too hot. Do it twice daily if needed.

  4. Arya Parya*

    Does anyone have any advise on what to do about dry eyes? Lately my eyes have been very dry. This mostly bothers me at right, because my eye lids stick to my eyes. It hurts my eyes when I open them because of this.

    I already use eye drops during the day and an eye gel at night. I also try to drink enough. But this doesn’t seem to work.

    Does anyone have any experience with this and what helped to keep your eyes moist?

    1. nep*

      Do you happen to know whether the oil glands in your eyelids clog?
      I had a long overdue eye exam the other day, and the doctor said mine are slightly clogged in one eye. These Meibomian glands produce an oily substance that prevents evaporation of the eye’s tear film. Doc recommended warm compresses then afterward a gentle massage of the eyelid to help unclog them.
      I’ve also read that getting enough omega-3 fatty acids can help w dry eye.
      All the best.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        This can help a lot! I do a five minute soak with a hot washcloth, followed by the massage, and then washing the edges of the eyelids (you can use a Q-tip and diluted baby shampoo or special eyelid wipes). This helps unclog the glands, and also gets rid of bacteria buildup along the edges of the eyelids.

        Google blepharitis and see if it fits. And go to your doctor if you haven’t – if it’s inflammation, they can help get it under control with prescription drops, after which keeping the lids in good shape helps. Also make sure you’re using lubricating eye drops (the kind that replace tears), rather than red-eye ones.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          Another intermittent blepharitis sufferer here. The heat treatment makes far more difference to me than the drops, so I highly recommend. When it’s at its worst, ten minutes morning and evening.

        2. Natalie*

          I have a little eye shaped thing with beads that you can heat up in the microwave and it’s awesome. It stays warm longer than a washcloth and doesn’t drip on me.

          There’s really no downside to using a warm something on your eyes, so I’d give it a go and see if you feel better.

      2. Imtheone*

        My doctor says then to wash the eye lids gently with dilute baby shampoo (no sting) to rinse off the oils that are released with the hot compresses.

        – He said hotter than warm, but too hot. Do it twice daily if needed.

    2. Chaordic One*

      I suppose it depends on the cause of the dry eyes. In the past I had problems with a staph infection of the tear ducts. My doctor advised me to gently wash my eyelashes and eyebrows (which is where the staph germs seemed to like to hang out) with Johnson’s baby shampoo which contained alcohol which killed the staph germs. He advised me to stick to Johnson’s baby shampoo because some other brands did not contain alcohol. He also prescribed a hydrocortizone ointment which I gently applied around my eyelashes at night before bed. Of course, if this is not the cause of your dry eyes, this could make your condition worse.

    3. Sleve McDichael*

      I use tearsagain eye spray. It’s better than drops because you just close your eyes and spray them, and I can never get drops to go in. They might sell a similar product under a different name in your country, your pharmacist would know.

      1. Jemima Bond*

        A similar product in the U.K. is called Optrex Actimist. Never tried it myself but it’s that spray; seems easier than drops maybe?

    4. Mid*

      If this is something that’s recent or recently increased in severity, I’d see your eye doctor ASAP.

      Also I found that allergy meds/decongestants make my eyes horribly dry no matter what I do. So if you’re on one of those meds, discontinuing might help.

    5. CoffeeforLife*

      I second (fifth?seventh?) Seeing your ophthalmologist or optometrist. But when I had lasik (a long time ago) they put in silicone plugs to increase my tear production.

    6. Hopethishelps*

      Sorry about your eye problems! Try to find an ophthalmologist in your area who offers LipiFlow treatments. The treatments, along with blinking exercises and warm compresses, should help tremendously.

    7. Minimal Pear*

      My coworker has been dealing with really dry eyes and her doctor recommended fish oil and flaxseed oil supplements. I don’t know if it’s been helping, I think she’s only been taking them for a couple of days.

      1. Sprocket the Rocket*

        My eye doctor told me to try Flaxseed Oil – I did, anit has made a huge improvement for me. Used for several years now.

    8. Arya Parya*

      Thanks for all the advise. I got some new eye drops that according to the pharmacist should really help with dry eyes. I also got some fish oil capsules and will try a hot washcloth and hope some of that will help.

      1. Lost in the Woods*

        If you can, see your eye doctor because there are prescriptions that can be used if none of the OTC stuff works. Some people’s eyes also don’t shut fully at night which can be a contributor, and there are options to deal with that if it turns out to be a part of your problem. There are also oil based artificial tears (retaine MGD and refresh Mega come to mind) which can help if your problem is evaporative. Warm compresses need to be done for at least 5 minutes to have any effect; 10 is better, if you like the wash cloth you can invest in a microwavable mask which won’t require rewetting to stay warm.

        1. Wishing You Well*

          I agree with SEE YOUR EYE DOCTOR. Eye problems are nothing to mess with.
          I saw mine. She put me on “Refresh Plus” for dry eye. These are individual ampules of lubricant eye drops. I can use as much as needed because they are preservative-free. However, you have a different problem and you most likely need a prescription. Please see your doctor SOON.

    9. migrating coconuts*

      This is probably less of a possibility, but I suffered from dry eyes for a few years. Then I was diagnosed with a low thyroid, and when I started meds, the dry eye disappeared. That was more than 10 years ago. Just a thought.

      1. WS*

        Same here – the dry eyes never went away entirely but they improved greatly once I had appropriate levels of thyroid hormone!

    10. Dancing Otter*

      I found that a sleep mask helps, especially during ceiling fan season. It keeps my eyes more completely closed, and blocks much of the air flow that can cause evaporation. (A handkerchief and some ribbon is a good make-shift, or maybe a large bandana, but silky scarves don’t stay put.)

      Also, if the skin around your eyes is dry, you may be rubbing them in your sleep without realizing it. Basic moisturizer or eye cream, as long as you don’t get it IN your eyes, can help with that possibility.

    11. Beaded Librarian*

      Your eye doctor might me able to put in tear duct plugs to help if your now producing enough tears.

    12. Enter_the_Dragonfly*

      I have a few things that help 1. A really good humidifier! 2. The mascara diet: no mascara for at least 2 month, even the clear gel. 3. Keep up with the eye drop. 4. Take ‘blink breaks’ during the day, lots of people don’t blink often enough, especially when using screens.

    13. Beatrice*

      My eye doctor recommended trying fish oil supplements to help with my dry eyes. It did help a lot more than I expected!

      I also have oil glands around my eyes that seem to clog easily, so I’m supposed to use a warm water and gentle pressing regimen to express them. I’m not very good at keeping up with that. Another contributor for me is that I seem to sleep with my eyes open the slightest bit, so they get dry while I’m sleeping. That part is worse in winter when the air in my house is more dry – which I suppose means I could use a humidifier to help.

    14. Amy*

      As all your other advice notes, see someone. My dry eyes ended up being due to an allergy to the preservative in the eye drops I was using. Switching to preservative free drops was a total fix.

    15. MT*

      I’ve got severe dry eye and I’m pretty sure I’ve done/am doing everything recommended by everyone on here. Restasis, Lipiflow, Truetear device, fish oil pills, heated eye masks daily, allergy eye drops (for blepharitis), eyelid scrubs, daytime eye drops, night time eye drops, punctual plugs, etc. I just got Prokera done on my left eye due to corneal nerve damage, which isn’t a dry eye thing but exacerbated symptoms.

      The best thing you can do is see your eye doctor, or possibly even an eye doc who specializes in dry eye disease. This made all the difference for me because they have tests that other doctors don’t have. Dry eye is a symptom and the doctor can help narrow down what actually works for you depending on what your issue is. I already mentioned the Prokera but the random pain in my eyes was not going to be helped by adding eye drops to my eyes, but thanks for the suggestion coworkers/friends!

      Just something that I don’t see mentioned here is rubber sleep masks, like Onyx. They are basically swim goggles you wear at night (but more comfortable) so that if you sleep even a little bit with your eyes open at night, your corneas don’t dry out. Just put a gel drop in before you put them on and you will be moist all night. They also 100% block out light so that’s a plus! Best of luck, you will be able to find something that helps you, even if it takes time.

  5. Sc@rlettNZ*

    I’m so pleased you adopted Hank and Shadow Alison. They are adorable – from another foster-failer :-) :-)

  6. Skeeder Jones*

    As a (mostly) lurker, I accidentally posted this non-work related topic on the work related thread. My apologies!

    I’ve primarily been a lurker, with a few comments here and there but I’ve been going through some stuff recently so wanted to share.

    About 6 weeks ago, I had a car fire on the freeway. I was not hurt, no one was injured and the only damage was to the car and most of the contents. The car was totaled. I have been surprised at all the anxiety I have had post-fire. I constantly feel like there is some emergency that I need to attend to right away. I have to go through a list of things in my head and reassure myself that nothing is going wrong, even though inside, alarm bells are going off. It helps, somewhat.

    Lately, it’s been affecting me in other areas of my life. I work remotely so I have a lot of MS Teams/Webex meetings. Whenever there is a meeting where I have to present, I get anxiety until it is over and then afterwards, I feel like my presentation went wrong, when I KNOW it didn’t. I am normally really confident and used to presenting to senior leadership and these meetings have only been with my peers. I can’t make sense of it. Then, in the last 2 weeks, I started feeling this sense of failure after social interactions with good friends. I go through the entire interaction to make sure I didn’t say something the wrong way or make sure I didn’t say anything that they might have been hurt by. I have no idea what that is all about.

    I finally replaced the car yesterday so I’m hoping that will help me have closure and the anxiety will calm down. I can’t get into my therapist for two more weeks and it definitely got worse from the last time I saw her. I’ve been trying CBD oil and it is helping a little. Just thought it might help to throw it out there and I wanted to join the conversation.

    1. misspiggy*

      I’m sorry you’re going through this, but thank you for that clear description of how you’ve been feeling. It illuminates a lot of situations with me and others. It’s amazing what we hold in the murkier parts of our brains.

      I guess it makes sense that, now your brain has experience that one part of your life was less safe than expected, it’s questioning the safety of other parts of your life. I’ve got this image of a concerned dog looking at its owner nervously all the time, but I know it feels worse than that.

      1. Skeeder Jones*

        I think feeling not safe, and having concrete proof that I am not in control of a lot of things has definitely played a role here. It’s present but at a more manageable level today so I am grateful for that.

    2. migrating coconuts*

      Sounds like a bit of PTSD. Also sounds completely normal for what you went through. Hang in there!

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I was going to say this. I had some after my car got hit in 2013. It didn’t help that I still had to go through that same intersection every day.

        *hugs Skeeder*

      2. Skeeder Jones*

        Yes, it has definitely felt like PTSD. There is a part of me that keeps thinking that I don’t have the right to be this upset because I walked away physically ok. I know this to be a lie but… we all know our subconscious brain isn’t rational. It helps to put it out there and know I’m not alone.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Not a professional, but this to me sounds like a mix of shock and grief.
      The shock part is the harsh reality of how nasty things can get.
      The grief part is feeling a huge loss of a sense of security and a sense of normalcy.

      I remember the night I got robbed. It rocked my world, it took everything I knew to be true about life and junked all that. I remember looking at my own parents with suspicion and distrust. Reality was that I was VERY LUCKY. I was not injured. The event was quick and did not drag on. Police came immediately. My father got to me before the police even got there. I had to make myself list off over and over all these things that went right.
      I was amazed and worried by how angry I got. I got very angry. I was so not myself. The police never found the guy but I was worried that it would take a number of officers to keep me from pounding this idiot. Oh this is so very much not me to think like this.

      You will get your footing back, you will find that life rhythm again. Yes, getting your next car will help, no magic bullets but incremental improvements. Get into your self-care, eat plenty of veggies and fruits, even if you don’t feel like it. The way out is doing all these things that we don’t feel like doing. Go to bed on time, read in bed if you can’t sleep, just let your body be mellow. Call a friend and go for a walk together. Hydrate. Look at all yourself care basics and do as many as you can. And for pete’s sake, turn the damn news off. Give yourself breathing room.

      Read a little on the grief process. Learn about the importance of crying. Let yourself cry as much as you need to.
      With shock comes a rush/push, it’s a huge burst of energy, you probably exhausted yourself and don’t even realize to what degree. This would help explain why you are having difficulty carrying on conversations. Tired people can’t be chatty Cathys/Charlies. Be gentle with you, for the moment ease up on your expectations of yourself. This is only temporary, you will find your footing again. But part of finding your footing can entail going through a dry time. Life will go back to making sense again and you will find that over the weeks to come. It’s not instant but that is NOT the same as saying it isn’t there. It’s there.

      I am very sorry this happened to you. It’s a very frightening thing.

      1. Skeeder Jones*

        Thank you for the support and all the great suggestions! I am feeling a little better today, anxiety present but manageable. This week as a whole was better than last week so that gives me every reason to believe that next week will be even better. Strangely enough, I haven’t felt the need for crying. I am usually that person who cries at a commercial so this is a little unusual for me. I know I always do feel better after a good cry so I’ll have to be especially aware of any slight tearing up because you’re right, a good cry can do a lot for me right now.

      1. Skeeder Jones*

        Thank you, between the rain (SoCal) and coronavirus insanity, it’s been a good day to just hunker down in full comfort hygge mode. Lounge clothes, binge-watching, some cooking, lots of relaxing, and a couple of stray cats hanging out on my patio snoozing (I put food and blankets out for them). So far, anxiety is lower today than a week ago, but still there. It’s at a tolerable level.

    4. cleo*

      That sounds so hard. It also sounds like a pretty understandable reaction to a traumatic event. I have PTSD from childhood trauma and I have a few suggestions. And for what it’s worth, I think this is probably a short term thing for you.

      I think your focus should be on helping your nervous system get back to neutral, so you and your body and your nervous system feels safe again. (My therapist calls this neurocepting safety).

      Be kind and gentle to yourself – do things that help you be present, help you be in the present moment. Notice when you feel anxious and gently remind yourself that you’re safe right now. Feel your feet on the ground. Engage all 5 senses – I find a nice cup of tea to be very grounding because it’s a multi-sensory experience.

      Working with a trauma informed therapist for a few sessions could help (trauma informed is an umbrella term for therapy grounded in new research in neurobiology and neuropsychology, outlined the book The Body Keeps the Score).

      It might also help to confide in a trusted colleague that you’re feeling unusually anxious as a result of the fire. Sometimes admitting that I’m having a hard time helps me to relax and not feel like I have to white knuckle my way through it or act like I’m holding it all together.

      1. Skeeder Jones*

        Thanks Cleo! These are all great suggestions which will also help me feel like I’m “doing something” which is what my inner response system is longing for. I like the idea of sharing this with a co-worker as well. We are a 100% remote team but we are very close. (No changes from coronavirus since we’re already remote. But I do work in healthcare so we get never ending emails from different leadership on how the company is responding) I have only one meeting in the next 2 weeks where I have to present but I’m close to several of my team members who will be in the meeting so if I’m still struggling, I will reach out to a few of them so they can support me during the meeting (it’s literally my meeting, and I need some consensus to move forward with some of my work goals so there are some stakes here).

  7. Grand Mouse*

    OK, finances.
    Still been in a bad state. But more importantly, I am trying to give help to others.
    I have a friend in Clarkesville TN who has severe back injury limiting ability to work. she is basically surviving off the SSI income of her fiance, earning 830 a month. They have extremely cheap but unsafe housing. As in there are problems with pests and mold, but only paying 525. Landlords have not addressed maintenance and health issues, and she is afraid to push for fear of losing her housing

    She wants to work, but is significantly impacted by disability. And unfortunately, her fiance does not earn much. They are avoiding marrying because of what it would do to his benefits. They pay electric, internet, cell, car insurance, and health insurance. And she disclosed that she is behind on some of these, and cannot afford the copay for the medical help she needs. She is stuck in wanting to earn money to cover these costs, and not being well enough to get a job, and also not qualifying for any disability benefits

    I am in WA and while I know some social services, I don’t know for her area. If anyone could at least give an idea where to start. I have her permission to share details. Thank you so much!

    1. Wishing You Well*

      You’re in WA and she’s in TN. It’s very difficult to help long distance.
      Your friend needs to contact local government and charities for help. If she can’t do it, someone local needs to help her do it. They need to see her living situation firsthand to help.
      Please take care of yourself first before helping others. Remember the oxygen mask statement. “Still in a bad state” worries me.
      Wishing you and your friend better times.

    2. juneybug*

      Oh, I am so sorry your friend is going through such a difficult time. I have a few suggestions that might help. Maybe she can pick one item to work on and then move on to the next suggestion. Or have her boyfriend pick one area that might help their situation while she focuses on another area.

      1. Have her list all jobs that she could do with a bad back. I shared a link to help her get started –
      https://www.atlanticspinecenter.com/blog/v/best-careers-for-individuals-suffering-from-chronic-neck-or-back-pain/. She should be applying for any job where she can sit comfortability and still work. Have her seeks out assistance with resumes, interviews, etc. with her state’s work force office – https://www.tn.gov/workforce.html.

      2. I would also suggest for her or her boyfriend (or better yet, both of them) look at creating a side hustle. $400 – 500 extra a month could ease some of their financial burden.

      3. Sometimes we listen to others when we really should be talking to the experts. For example, your friend’s boyfriend should set up an appt at the local SSN office to ask their advice about benefits. Another example is she should visit her local welfare office. Again, seek out the experts and ask questions (what do I qualify for; who else can help me (other agencies or charities);, what questions am I not asking but should be asking; if I do quality, what are my next steps?; etc.)

      4. Another thing that might help her is to look for another place to rent. Knowing that there are other options to live can help provide the strength she needs to ask her landlord to fix the problems. Besides, she lives in a state where she can withhold rent until the landlord makes repairs. Have your friend contact her local building or housing authority (call the city manager’s office or check city or county website for info) for assistance before she withholds rent. Sometimes a phone call from the housing authority will move the repairs along. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/overview-landlord-tenant-laws-tennessee.html

      Her new tools should be a notebook to take notes, a phone with a camera to take photos, and a place to store all of this new information (maybe Google docs or a folder for papers).

      Last suggestion but I have found to be helpful – Sometimes when our pain level is so high, we can’t imagine a different path/career. Tell her to take 10 minutes a day to dream. Seriously, go in a room, sit comfortably, and dream of a career(s) with the amount of money she needs to not survive, but thrive, and just enjoy having fun with her dreams.

      She is lucky to have such a caring friend.

      Sending prayers her way!!

    3. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

      Tell her to see if there is a local community action agency. They can connect her with resources. 411 may be in her area as well.

    4. Red Sky*

      She may have already tried this, but most states/counties have a 211 information help line for local social services both gov and community…and I just checked and TN does. She can call 211 (make sure it’s from a local TN phone #) or visit their website http://tn211.mycommunitypt.com/ for local programs and services that may be able to help. Thanks for looking out for her, sometimes it can be so overwhelming when you’re in pain and broke it’s hard to figure out where to start.

    5. Maggles*

      Your friend should look for a medical legal partnership in her area. They are often associated with free clinics. A doctor can assess whether her living conditions are negatively impacting her health and then refer her to a lawyer who will work at a reduced rate or pro bono to get her slumlord to abide by the law. These programs were made for people like your friend!

    6. Anono-me*

      There’s a nationwide program for a free cell phone. I believe that it is called ‘Lifeline’. It’s very minimal. And the criteria to qualify are very stringent. But if she qualifies, that would be one less bill for her to worry about. Also many internet providers also have some sort of similar program ( again very minimal and very stringent qualifications).

      No matter what phone or internet provider they have, they may be able to stretch it by getting a free VoIP number and going to their local library if they’re going to be doing quite a bit of talking or Internet research or downloading. Both the library near us, and all of the ones in nearish Big City leave their free internet on 24/7.

    7. DCR*

      Any recommendations for good two player board games? Since it looks like we will be spending a lot more time at home for the foreseeable future, I would like to find some new activities to participate in. I like strategic games, but most of the ones I have require at least three players.

  8. 'Tis Me*

    I am 38 weeks pregnant and feel ready to pop. Despite not having finished packing hospital bags. And I’m still arguing with the husband over whether or not we need a double buggy for the toddler and new arrival.

    My argument: the toddler still needs to go in a buggy sometimes. When she’s overtired she is a danger to herself (case in point: yesterday when he brought her home from the school run collecting the 5 year old, she was hysterical and largely resembling a swamp monster having decided she wanted to hang out on the verge of a ditch with daffodils, maybe pick some flowers, not walk home – and when he went to hold her hand she backed away and fell into said ditch) and being able to physically restrain her and transport her safely is kinda essential. If she’s kicking off it’s not like I can pop a newborn down on the ground while I get her sorted.

    His argument: we don’t have much space and it will be another bulky thing to try to keep the place tidy around.

    Yeah, it’s not ideal – but surely safety and being able to reliably leave the house and return with the correct number of small people outranks tidiness??


      1. 'Tis Me*

        He seems to think that waiting until the baby arrives then seeing makes sense… There was a good deal in January on the one I want that I missed out on because he ended up in hospital for virtually a week, and I’m convinced the one I’ve found now will sell out if we wait, but it’s more than I’m happy spending while we’re still arguing about this.

        1. valentine*

          Get the double buggy. He’s doubly wrong. If you get a solo one, when he sees the light, the extra bulk will be the second one you’re hauling everywhere in case you need it, whereas, if toddler doesn’t need to ride, you have blessed storage.

          1. 'Tis Me*

            We still have the single – but with the cot attachment it’s also rated for overnight sleeping and was both girls’ first bed.

            He doesn’t seem to get why putting a newborn in a full cot is ridiculous (bear in mind he’s also 1.5 feet taller than me so details like “I will struggle to pick the baby up and down, especially while recovering from childbirth” don’t make sense to him)…

            1. Sleve McDichael*

              Show him this thread. The risk of injury to you and your baby if you are struggling to lift him/her is very real. Also, if you have a difficult birth or end up with stitches then it will make lifting even harder.

              Mr ‘Tis Me, imagine the aftermath of scrotum surgery. You wouldn’t want to be lifting heavy loads. You don’t need to be able to relate to be able to protect your wife.

        2. Ada*

          Can you convince him to buy it now but not open it, and suggest returning it in a few weeks if it looks like you won’t need it (which sounds like it probably won’t happen)?

    1. AcademiaNut*

      If you’re the one doing the toddler plus baby wrangling, you get the deciding vote!

      1. 'Tis Me*

        Currently he’s off sick indefinitely so he’s doing quite a lot of toddler-wrangling (although as I’m home too he’s also able to take the kiddos to school and preschool individually if we’re short on time, and he has the “carry toddler” option which I definitely don’t atm), but at some point he’ll be better and then I’m going to need to do the school run with 3 kiddos at least 2 days a week… The 5 year old is a sweetheart who doesn’t understand the concept of getting a move on. The 2 year old is usually a good walker and also likes going on the pram’s buggy board – the problem really is when she’s tired because tired toddlers are ridiculous…

        1. misspiggy*

          Can you use the recent experience of child actually falling into a ditch as ammunition?

          Is it worth asking him if something personal is behind his objection? None of it makes sense from a rational perspective.

          1. 'Tis Me*

            Not sure he’s feeling rational atm. He’s stressed because there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be done, I’m unable to help him, he shouldn’t be doing as much as he is, he’s on painkillers that make him feel queasy and is still in pain, with no idea of what’s actually causing the problem or when it’s likely to be resolved…

            It might only be 6 months or so that we’ll need a double buggy for before the toddler adjusts to all the stimulation at preschool and isn’t so exhausted – but those 6 months are still a serious concern to me.

            1. Sleve McDichael*

              Is it a value for money issue? If your husband is a mathsy kind of guy it might be worth dividing the cost of the buggy by 180 days to be able to say, ‘Mr ‘Tis Me, I’ve calculated that it will cost us $1.68 (say) per day, and considering the difficulties it will save me I think that is well and truly worth it. We spend more on cheese in a week (or whatever).’ (No idea what it would cost in your country or if you’re buying second hand, but I had a stab, you get the idea).

            2. Ranon*

              Can you buy used and resell? Most of them don’t depreciate much after the first buyer so it’s basically a free rental at that point.

    2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Get a double (tandem are neater if space is an issue).

      I didn’t need one between child1 and child2 because child1 was under 3 so we never went anywhere urgently. When child3 came along, I had a twice-daily school run and it was just too much for everyone.

      Option B is a sling (soft type, not Baby Bjorn) and a lie-flat stroller, so you push baby lying down until 5yo needs the stroller, then lift up the back to support 5yo and transfer baby to the sling. This is not a preferred option but does work.

    3. Batgirl*

      I think you want to clearly communicate that the issue is ‘We will not leaving be the house without a safety plan for tired toddler’ and not ‘this buggy is a deal’.
      I think safety pips joint agreements but I can see why you don’t want to spend money while it’s up in the air.
      I think the most aggravating thing is that he hasn’t come up with a non-double buggy solution to your safety issue. It’s not like you disagree on the safety plan for tired toddler, (like he thinks the baby can go in a baby carrier or an extra screw on seat for a single buggy) he hasn’t put forward any idea at all and that issue needs putting on the front burner.
      I would tell him you don’t agree to the leaving the house with them both in unsafe circumstances, so you’re getting the buggy. If he can find a solution that reassures you, you’ll sell it, removing the mess but the money needs to spent to allow you to leave the house until he does.
      Since his objection is mess rather than money I think you’ll have shown you’ve listened.

    4. JerryLarryTerryGarry*

      Get a sit/stand one! Toddler can hop on and off as needed, and you can strap in if particularly antsy. Having one definitely allowed me to confidently venture out with kids knowing I couldn’t physically wrangle both well.
      Double check that it will fit in your car/space. He’s right, they’re bigger and heavier.

    5. Jdc*

      Well for one I think it shouldn’t be much of a debate. Get what you want. However I can somewhat get on board with not buying something he won’t use in months possibly. Have you looked at the strollers that have the little platform for bigger kids to stand on. They essentially stand in front of you so your arms are around them. This doesn’t solve any running off issues but perhaps just with toddlers getting tired of walking. Kids seem to like them as it’s “fun”.

    6. Bg*

      I had 1 and then twins three years later. I had a bob then a double bob. Yes I loved it and couldn’t have navigated the early years without it. And the double wasn’t that much bigger.
      Baby wearing is a little more helpful for wrangling a toddler too. And in truth kids hit an age when they don’t want to be in a stroller. But I’d still recommend a double.

    7. Roller Kates*

      I live in 525 square feet with a 5 year old and a two year old, so I get the space issue!
      Have you considered a stroller board for the big one? Mine loves it. I got a universal one that attaches to my regular stroller. She can’t sit and take a rest, but she can hop on and go for a ride standing up. She calls it a skateboard and it’s a life saver for keeping her from getting too tired.

    8. Koala dreams*

      I’m sorry to hear that, it sounds very stressful for you.

      As for the buggy, can you and your husband write a pro and con list? It sounds like you are getting stuck in the discussion, and maybe it’ll help to see it written down.

      It sounds very weird to me that your husband’s answer to the argument “without a double buggy, only husband can bring the children outside” is an argument about cleaning. I wonder if it’s some miscommunication going on there.

    9. Meepmeep*

      The person who does most of the kid-wrangling gets to make the decision on how to make that kid-wrangling easier.

    10. Fellow Traveler*

      We have three kids (8, 3 and 5 months) and I struggle with the accumulation of things too. I’ve come to realize that baby stuff is not forever- it is for now, to get you through sanely and safely. There is a market to buy and sell and even just give away baby items. These years when kids are young are all consuming and it feels like you will never get out, but it is a little short sighted to dwell there.
      We didn’t get a double stroller for our third, but we did get the seat that attaches to the front- it’s not super comfortable, but it detaches and stores in a closet when we aren’t using it- and is helpful but awkward when we do need it. does your stroller have that option? The other thing we do is put the toddler in the stroller and wear the baby wherever we go.

    11. Sunflower Sea Star*

      Can you do a soft carrier/sling/wrap at least to start and while you look for a deal? I did that and it worked well for nearly a year.

  9. Semi permanent hair color*

    Hi. Does anyone have any recommendations on semi permanent hair color products for home use? I usually go to the salon to cover my greys but am looking to use a semi permanent product at home to decrease the number of visits or maybe when I’m emotionally ready, to go grey and stop coloring (so prefer to NOT use a permanent home product so it fades away). Clairol’s natural instincts product seems to be one of the few semi permanent ones but the reviews since the formula changed last year tend to skew ‘ it sucks now’. Has anyone found something they really like? (Esp if you have dark hair and your grey hair is white). Thanks.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      All I can say is test the product out on your tub before you go all out on it. When my daughter tried color depositing shampoo, the tub looked like a CSI set. Took weeks and multiple scrubbings to wear off. That said, her hair looked awesome. Brand name NRage, for anyone looking for colors not natural to humans.

      1. Wishing You Well*

        My bathroom cabinets will have to be repainted or replaced due to hair dye. I never want any dye of any kind in my house again!
        But, hey, to each their own!

    2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I use L’Oréal Casting Creme (645 Amber) to add a chestnut glow to my dark brown hair (and disguise greys). It’s very clean and easy to use as it’s a thick creamy texture similar to hair conditioner, and it smells kinda fruity. I don’t have many greys yet, but they are absolutely white so very noticeable undyed, but the dye colours them completely.

      I think the pack says 26 washes. I dye maybe every three months and wash twice a week, so that sounds about right.

    3. CoffeeforLife*

      If you have a Sally’s, their staff is pretty good/knowledgeable about which products to use for your coverage. I’d do salon type products because I feel like the supermarket brands always end up wrong.

      1. foolofgrace*

        Go to Sally Beauty and get Clairol Gray Busters. You buy the 2 oz. bottle of toner (the color) and separately a small bottle of 20 volume peroxide, and a toner bottle. Mix 2 oz. of each in the toner bottle and apply.

    4. bring on the silver!*

      I haven’t tried it yet, but there is a conditioning temporary color that I’ve seen others rave about. It’s called Overtone and comes in “real” hair colors as well as fun ones. I’m ordering a sample today and can report back at another date about its effectiveness. I’m almost 2 months in to not coloring my hair anymore and am researching all sorts of transitions as my hair grows out.

      1. Tegan*

        Overtone is AMAZING. I’ve used it on and off for probably 5 years now. I haven’t tried the “real”/natural hair colors, only the fantasy/brights, but it works so incredibly well and color aside is just my favorite actual conditioner for my hair.
        I’ve also recently stopped coloring my hair altogether, and I’m thinking about trying out some of their “for brown hair” fun shades. I have a lot of gray that I didn’t used to have, so it will be interesting to see what that does. I hope it works out well for you!

      2. LizB*

        I love Overtone! I tend to leave the deep treatment on for an hour rather than the 15 minutes they recommend, just to get more staying power, but that’s for vivid blues on bleached hair — I don’t know about “real” colors on gray. But given that it’s just a deep conditioner, essentially, I don’t at all mind leaving it in for a long time. My hair can use the moisture anyway!

        1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

          According to the people at Overtone, the effects are stronger and more predictable on bleached hair than on gray or naturally white hair.

          I wrote and asked them about this after buying the Extreme Blue to try, and getting an excellent purple. To get a real blue, they advised me to use the color that comes out “Teal” on bleached hair, and it worked.

      3. The New Wanderer*

        I’ve been using dpHUE Gloss conditioner that deposits color. It doesn’t color grays all they way but basically makes my white streak look like a blond highlight and decreases the obviousness of my roots, which seem like they’re 50/50 white and brown. I use it about 2x a week and leave on for about 5 minutes – it says up to 20 min but I don’t have the patience. Since using it I can go longer between permanent coloring, although I’m on the verge of just using this until enough white hair has grown out to make the transition less harsh.

        Since I’m working from home til at least late April, might as well see what happens when I put off coloring as long as possible!

    5. Not So NewReader*

      My hair was the color of coffee without creamer. Some people thought it was black hair, but direct sunlight brought out the red colors.
      I am now 75% white. Not grey, white, stark white.

      I was tempted to rinse it with coffee after I washed it, just to give it a natural shading. I never tried that. I waited way too long to start experimenting with the browns. I landed on adding drops of chamomile oil to my shampoo. So now instead of that garish white, I have a very muted soft blond tone and I am happy with it.

      What I liked about both of these ideas is that i could do them at home and at my own pacing. Compared to coloring, they were dirt cheap, too. The bottle of oil lasted me for years and years.

      1. Muriel Heslop*

        I love these natural ideas for hair coloring! I am not gray yet but I am interested in this route when I start. I’ll have to research what would work best for my hair color!

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I’m hoping I go all white like my dad so I can do fun mermaid hair and stuff like that. :)

        1. Tris Prior*

          I said similar to my hairstylist and she said that I’d still need bleach – not to lighten, but to make the hair porous and able to take dye. Because the fun colors are semipermanent and often don’t take well on gray/white hair (which I don’t have much of yet, but I have found this to be true when touching up my own color but not rebleaching between appointments.)

          Sorry… this made me very sad to learn.

          1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

            This will vary. I have mostly all grey now (was dark brown black). I can dye my hair with no bleaching and it holds well.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            Oh, I was thinking temporary stuff like hair chalk. It sits right on top and would show up better on white hair.

            1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

              I use Arctic Fox on my grey-white hair and it worked fantastic, no bleaching.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        That’s not semi-permanent color, though. It does work well; I used it when I was a redhead.

    6. Roller Kates*

      Kristin Ess Signature Gloss is what I use, it’s a gentle pretty tint that isn’t hard on my hair and blends really well between my roots and permanently dyed hair. I don’t know if it works in grays, but it helps me only go to the salon twice a year

    7. DistantAudacity*

      For a temporay fix, L ‘Oreal Paris Magic Root Cover Up Gray Concealer is super brilliant. I use it to cover up roots for the last couple of weeks before re-colouring.

      It has great reviews – link to a Slate review in reply.

    8. Daisy Avalin*

      I have naturally very dark brown hair in a pixie, and use Schwarzkopf Live Colour + Lift (permanent) in either Real Red or Deep Red, and dye it every 8 weeks or so. About halfway through the 8 weeks, I use Schwarzkopf Live Ultra Brights/Pastel in either Purple or Pink, just to cover the grey hairs since they do seem to ‘shed’ the dye quicker than the non-grey hair! I’ve been dyeing my hair at home with Schwarzkopf for about 11 years now, and found no problems with it, although I did bleach it before I dyed it the first time to make sure the dye took.

    9. Panthera uncia*

      I have brownish-black hair (level 3) and white grays that resist color, so I don’t use demi-permanent because it’s like taking a knife to a gunfight.

      But, when I was younger and my grays were less stubborn, I successfully used Wella Color Charm. I LOVE Wella products, and was so sad when my salon switched from their professional line to some “organic” brand that doesn’t do crap.

    10. Bea*

      Rant! I am trying to find a good replacement for Natural Instincts 4 Dark Brown also. It used to work perfectly! Why oh why did the company change the formula?! I have a very short, spiked on top, hair style that I have cut every 3 weeks. I have some shiny silver hairs that really show up. The old formula kept them covered from one haircut to the next, then I would color again the night of the haircut. Now the silver shows back up a little in 3 days. I even leave the color on for 5 extra minutes. The dark brown is more of a darker medium brown too. I am so frustrated! I started using the crema keratina version but can’t find it now.
      I don’t want to go back to a permanent hair color. As soon as I read that the formula was changing, I bought every box of the old formula on ebay and Amazon. Now I’m out and having to use the new. It just doesn’t work.

    11. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

      Arctic Fox has awesome colors, easy to use, and lasts around 2-3 months.

    12. Filosofickle*

      I was a Natural Instincts user for 10+ years and the new formula is less good but not bad. There are so few semis left on the market, there aren’t many alternatives. Covering gray is my biggest challenge, too, and white roots do not hold the dye well from any brand unfortunately.

      How adventurous are you? I was already mixing boxes to get my color, so I finally decided to go all out and switch to a salon demi product at home. I use Wella Color Touch. (NOT color charm.) I’m having pretty good results, I can go 3-4 weeks before the silver pops out. It’s lasting about 6 weeks overall before I need to do again. I could go to 8 if I could stand the roots, but my hair grows fast. Luckily, this is a brand my old stylist used so she was able to give me exact numbers for colors to mix & the developer %. I’m not sure if I’d have been able to figure it out without that guidance.

    13. NoLongerYoung*

      I can’t help with the semi-permanent, because my gray is so stubborn that I have to use permanent. I did a boatload of research. I do get the help of a friend (Because although I am > than 50% gray, the biggest patch is the crown at the back, and I need help seeing/reaching it).
      I use the Wella Koleston Perfect (it mixes 1:1) and a 20 Volume premium developer, with a purple tint. (if you don’t want to buy the purple in it, a few drops of manic panic will tint the purple into a regular premium developer.
      The double 00 has higher pigment, so a little more coverage too. And I go for ash, as my hair pulls orangish. (I don’t need to use even a hint of “warm” – my hair turns out that way, with hints of reddish undertones, just because of the massive amounts of gray). So for me, I’m using a 99/00 but you will want your own formula.
      You want the 20 vol. It is the best for gray. Gray is stubborn. You need to work out your own “hair math” formula, but you should not be going for more than 2 levels (one is best) above your natural original shade.
      Brush and bowl, apply to roots. It is really only working for about 20 minutes after it is MIXED, so you need to be pretty fast. Get it on there. I let mine process 45-55 minutes (cheap plastic shower cap), then pull through to the ends.
      And… if you want it to hold longer? Use the Wella (or other) post color treatment service. rinse your hair for the full 5 minutes (must run completely clear); drench it in the wella treatment; plastic shower cap treatment cap (I put a head wrap towel over it); 15 minutes on the timer. Then rinse again. This stops the processing and really helps set the color.
      With all of that, my horrible, stubborn gray does hold for up to 6 weeks. (except for grow out).
      And, less damage, better color.
      Note -the processing time is important. I think salons need to keep the chairs turning, and you have to come back sooner if the color doesn’t hold as well. I taught this to a coworker, because her hair grew fast, and she had 2 kids in college and just couldn’t go every month. (We were both 40+ but gray early).
      Also, do not overlap for the whole time. If you are going darker, you do damage and get what I would call “inky ends.” Your previously treated hair soaks up the color more. So the ends soak up – and get darker than the rest.
      If you are going lighter, you are damaging the ends and they are getting lighter and lighter each time.
      You only want to pull that color through long enough to deposit a little bit back on the previously treated hair. (For me, that’s 5 minutes – YMMV).

      Also – I tested. I tried, with my hair pulled up, 4 different combos/ times at the nape of my neck (on the natural hair) and had said friend take pictures of the results of each (writing down the combos in my notes, left to right).
      This made sure I had no super tragedies the first time. I feared having orange or green hair or something.

      I did – at the time – finally get “the other” to be my helper hands, once I had my routine down. He was resistant to help until I explained how much it affected our budget. He realized that it was the same technique as rustproofing/undercoating/painting a truck. even, even application, systematic, thorough. If someone can paint within the lines, they can do this to help you.

      Hope this helps. I have a stainless steel kitchen sink, sprayer hose, dedicated glass bowl, whisk, measuring cup (non reactive), etc. The web is your friend.

    14. Jostling*

      I have used Nice’n’Easy to color my hair for years and it is great. I do not use it to cover up greys, but I allow my roots to grow out substantially (they are a very different color from my treated hair) and my whole head ends up the same color at the end of the day. I do not follow the advised timing closely – I start with roots, as soon as roots are done move to lengths, let lengths sit under a plastic grocery bag for 20min, then shampoo as usual and condition with included conditioner. They’ve added a “floral scent” to mask the super chemical smell, which really just adds to the chemical small… may need to avoid if you have sensitivity to perfumes/scents like that, but otherwise, effective and a palatable price point! Use gloves, of course.

      1. Jostling*

        (It’s not semi-permanent, but it does fade substantially over 2-3 months. Doesn’t quite get back to my natural shade, but it does get much lighter, so I imagine it would not create harsh demarcation lines on greys as you grow them out.)

    15. pcake*

      Every semi perm colors I tried across many years bled. Into the tub, everyone’s car upholstery where my head touched, onto my clothes. The various hair colors bled into the tub, the pool and the ocean (and wow, did I feel silly in the clear waters at Catalina Island when I came back up into a big red spot from my hair!) And they also faded quickly, although I expect part of this could be my hair – everyone’s could be different.

      I changed to a not as unhealthy permanent color after wrestling with temp colors for about a decade. I’ve been using Naturtint for over six years. It’s not perfect, but it works out for me.

      Good luck to you!

  10. Bluesboy*

    Wondering if anyone has any tips on how to cut back on unconscious discrimination?

    I don’t see myself as a ‘discriminator’. And I firmly believe that we are all equal. But recently a couple of things have happened that have made me question my unconscious bias. If it would be helpful I can state them, but I don’t want to get bogged down on the specifics.

    It probably doesn’t help that I literally don’t know a single person who is out as gay or trans, and I work in a sector which is wildly sexist. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. OyHiOh*

      The usual suggestions are to read and listen to people producing material that is outside your “bubble.” So reading blogs, listening to podcasts, watching movies written by and about gay/trans/non binary/gender queer folx. Netflix and Hulu can get you well started for watching material. Read books and blogs by/for/about women. You might even specifically look for blogs/podcasts produced by women in your sector/industry. You’re not there to question their experiences or words so sit on your hands if you’re looking at anything with a comment section! You’re there to see the world from a different set of eyes. Keep your fingers off the keyboards. This is essential

      Second, train yourself to listen to and trust that this person’s experience is valid and true based on their interaction with the world. Trust in another human being’s experience goes a long way towards becoming more aware of unconscious bias, and mitigating it. You can’t really get rid of unconscious bias but you can become more aware of where it lurks in your thinking and take steps to work around it.

      1. OyHiOh*

        I worded a sentence in a way I didn’t intend. Should read, “So reading blogs, listening to podcasts, watching movies written by and about gay/trans/non binary/gender fluid folx.

        1. Homo neanderthalensis*

          The sentence is correct. I am Gender queer- and the queer community is large and diverse.

      2. Sleve McDichael*

        Captain Awkward’s blog might be a good place to start. Easy to develop sympathy very quickly for all the stuff humans put other humans through, plus useful tips for your own life about boundary setting, assertiveness and relationships. Plus a bunch of straight stuff you could maybe intersperse the other letters with if you’re really struggling with it all. I’m sure you’d probably be fine though.

        1. Bluesboy*

          I do look at Captain Awkward sometimes, and I enjoy it. I never thought of it as helping me with this though. I will look at it again. Thanks!

      3. Bluesboy*

        Thanks for this! I do read books and blogs by women, but they tend to be quite gender biased – by which I mean my passions are rugby and baking, so the stuff about rugby tends to be written by men and the stuff about baking by women. I just downloaded ‘Mud, Mauls and Mascara’ by a female rugby player though!

        Particularly useful is the comment about keeping out of the comments section in blogs, I will pay attention to that, and I will definitely look for sector blogs by women. Thanks

        1. LDN Layabout*

          Follow more female sports journalists/broadcasters on social media. They may be outnumbered by the men, but they are there, I promise you.

          (I can’t help with recs unfortunately, my own tastes are more football/cricket focused)

        2. PX*

          For rugby, you can look into supporting womens rugby (sevens + 15s) plus obviously Maggie Alphonsi is now a pundit. I’m bad about supporting the womens game too, but I think a couple of the England players are good on social media and do some commentary (think I’ve seen some in the Guardian?)

          World Rugby on Instagram are also doing their best to promote the men and womens game equally, so worth taking a look there as well.

      4. Ada*

        I’ll throw in a couple specific suggestions – Matt Baum and Contrapoints. Both are YouTubers who speak at length on these subjects and do a good job of making it digestible for people who don’t have first-hand experience with any of it.

        1. Have dragon, will quest in exchange for hummus*

          Seconding Contrapoints. Especially her most recent video, “Shame,” about realizing that after she transitioned (M to F), she’s attracted to women, which brought up a ton of internalized homophobia for her.

      5. Count Boochie Flagrante*

        I second the media consumption thing very hard. Lurking on a board that gradually started to discuss a lot of race issues back in the early-mid 00s really opened my eyes in a way that I hadn’t had access to previously. Just lurk, keep your mind open — in fact, the best rule is, go in purely as a listener. Don’t expect to take part in the discussion at all. Don’t try to argue in your mind with what you’re consuming. Take it in and turn it over and consider it. Build a picture in your mind, instead of trying to debate every brushstroke.

    2. WoodswomanWrites*

      In addition to the good suggestions already posted, here’s a excellent online source for compelling real-life stories of people across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, where you can just watch videos and listen. The It Gets Better Project was started to prevent suicide and depression for LGBTQ+ youth. There are tens of thousands of videos of people sharing their stories of their personal successes overcoming the discrimination they faced previously as young people, and the resulting shame and pain that came with it, and how they are now thriving adults and love themselves. It’s inspiring.

      Watching these ordinary people sharing their lived experiences–just listening and not judging–is a really powerful experience for opening up one’s perspective. Check it out at https://itgetsbetter.org/stories/

      And thank you for taking the step beyond your comfort zone. That takes real courage.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Fiction with LBGTQ characters who are more than sidekicks?
      Anything that’s received a Lamda Award, of course.
      If you have any interest in YA fantasy, stick with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books until “The Trials of Apollo.”
      If you’re more into mysteries with a touch of romance, try ‘Mise En Death” by Nikki Woolfolk.
      Those are just 2 I’m thinking of offhand with morning coffee. I’m hoping other commenters will add more.

      1. Pippa K*

        I really liked Ann Leckie’s novel Provenance, for the way she uses non-binary gender pronouns so seamlessly as part of the story world. Adopting new linguistic features can feel awkward, even when we’re supportive of the social changes that produce new pronoun options, etc., and this novel does a great job of making that work well. The more we see things in use, the more we have our own automatic framework for them. (I also like Leckie’s earlier Ancillary Justice and related novels, which deal with gender differently, but Provenance was interesting on this particular point.)

    4. Agnodike*

      I subscribe to Inclusion Insight, a weekly newsletter distributed by Annemarie Shrouder. She’s a diversity and inclusion consultant, and the newsletter is full of good, digestible, thought-provoking little pieces designed to help shift perspectives. (You should be able to find it if you google her name; if not I can post a link in a reply.)

      Good for you for addressing your biases! Believing everyone is equal is the first step but, as you’ve discovered, not enough!

    5. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Use queer news outlets and human rights advocacy sources. It’ll give you more IRL stories about real people effected by the subconscious biases that most people have.

      Even many within the community are biased. Don’t let the fact we fly under an inclusionary community title like “lgbtq+” fool you. I personally don’t know anyone trans outside of folks I’ve met online despite being queer myself.

    6. Oxford Comma*

      Have you read up on implicit bias? There are some interesting tests you can take that were a revelation to me.

    7. only acting normal*

      I recommend the Harvard Implicit site for their tests. It gives you an insight into your unconscious biases, so you know what areas you should concentrate on changing, and when you should be pausing to second guess your first instinct.

      My unconscious biases were surprising to me – not what I might have predicted at all.

    8. matcha123*

      While not knowing exactly what you have experienced that made you ask this question, I would suggest taking a moment to think over the situation before making a judgement.
      So, if you think someone has bad writing, for example, and that person is Asian, ask yourself if you inherently feel like Asians don’t really understand English and then take a look at the situation again. If a black coworker makes a decision and you feel like you need to question them in a way that you wouldn’t with a white male, ask yourself why.
      I agree that reading about a wide range of experiences is necessary, but I also think that you (and others) should stop and question whether or not you are looking at things fairly and then make a conscious effort to ensure that you are judging EVERYONE with the same standard.
      If it is related to people speaking badly about someone because they are a certain sex or whatever, and you have positive things to say about them, maybe make an effort to praise their work efforts or knowledge. “Lana explained that Jell-O is a great addition to our newest launch and I agree.” etc.

    9. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      One thing I do to get to know people who are different than me in various ways is to read widely on Twitter while not using it myself. (I technically have a Twitter account, unless they’ve deleted it, but I haven’t logged into it for more than 5 years.) I have a set of somewhere between 5 and 20 accounts that I check in on periodically to see what they’re talking about and how things are going. Not having an account keeps me from replying and launching into conversations that I don’t need to be in, and has been a great way to keep me listening rather than talking while I try to better understand the ongoing implications of racism in our society.

      (Noticing and correctly responding to racism in both myself and others is my own particular biggest clueless area as far as I’ve been able to determine, so it’s the thing I’m specifically working on getting better about. I just don’t have a good built-in “racism detector” and tend not to notice things, to the point that when I was dating someone non-white he’d notice people glaring at us when we’d go out together and I would not. This is nice on a personal level of not noticing when racists are disapproving of something I’m doing so as to better be able to ignore their disapproval, but less good on a doing my part to work on making the world a more equitable place level. I’m getting more observant, but I can tell this will be a long-term project for me.)

    10. theguvnah*

      “I don’t see myself as a discriminator”

      gently, you are because we all are. White supremacy and patriarchy are the seas we swim in, it’s the air we breathe. You are not immune, as no one is, form being deeply impacted by this reality.

      Understanding – truly understanding – that is work, but it is critical work, and it is what is necessary to unlock all of this and actually make changes.

      Someone suggested the Harvard implicit bias test and that is a good start. Please understand this is lifelong work.

      1. Bluesboy*

        You are right, of course, and thanks for being gentle! What I meant is that as a hiring manager I hired people of different genders and races and so didn’t think of myself as a person who would discriminate. Now I am starting to see how I was mistaken. Thank you for your input, and I am going to look at the Harvard implicit bias test now.

    11. riverflows*

      Lots of good insights already. You might also check out “Dear Ally Skills Teacher” at https://dearally.com/ for some good scripts and ways to practice being a good ally for marginalized groups.

  11. anonymouse for this*

    Am comfort baking – just made puff pastry pinwheels. One lot with goats cheese and another with jam and chocolate chips. Will have to look for mincemeat next time I’m at the store – the english version where its made with dried fruit :0)

    What’s everyone else baking/cooking.

    1. Bluesboy*

      I have the Great British Bake Off calendar, which is fun, because it means I’m ‘obliged’ to try at least one new recipe a month and not just stick with my tried and trusted recipes. So today will be breakfast muffins. January’s morello cherry and almond squares were a big success!

      We will be making focaccia today too, although my wife and I haven’t agreed on the recipe yet. My wife is Italian and so wants to source an authentic Italian recipe, but I want to use a Delia recipe, because Delia. She’s never once failed me.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        How abut you do them both and let us know the recipes & results compare?

        1. Bluesboy*

          That’s actually a good idea! We can’t leave the house at the moment for obvious reasons, so we definitely have time!

        2. Bluesboy*

          Delia won, as I expected…My wife isn’t too happy about an English cook’s recipe for focaccia winning, but she isn’t disagreeing, she preferred it too!

    2. Boldly Go*

      I really really really wanted to make a pot of chicken soup with vegetables, AKA Jewish penicillin. Alas, local stores have no veggies. Or actually, they have kale and radishes, but not the veggies I need (no carrots, celery, etc , in any shape or form – not fresh, frozen, prepared, canned, nada). Since I’m working from home and don’t have a car, I could only get to the store late in the day and there was nothing left. Sigh. I’m not really complaining, I’m so grateful that I have food and shelter at the moment, and enough toilet paper and soap . And I’m lucky that I can work from home, though I may need to go into the office once a week. I can live with that.

      1. Bluebell*

        I made matzo ball soup last night. Didn’t have fresh dill and parsley, but had carrots, celery, leeks, and still tasted very comforting.

    3. Kuododi*

      Homemade granola, sausage balls and syrup teacakes. (Teacakes being a beloved family recipe.)

      1. anonymouse for this*

        Hmm – I have never heard of syrup teacakes. Could you share the recipe? Thanks

        1. Kuododi*

          This may take a bit bc the specific recipe I use is not on the net so nothing to link to. Like I sd before it’s a family recipe passed through the generations. The teacakes are delightful little cookies. Not the sticky gooey kind of cookies. (Equally delightful but a different style.). The recipe calls for sorghum syrup, however any type of similar syrup (honey, molasses etc) will work out fine.

    4. A.N. O'Nyme*

      I made some really good noodle soup. We have these handy little bowls that can go in the freezer and microwave so I filled five of them up and ate the sixth serving fresh from the pot.

    5. Lena Clare*

      Just the basics for me, plus I’m on a calorie-controlled diet so I’m trying to not tempt myself by baking sweet things atm, although I make amazing vegan waffles if I do say so myself!

      I’m doing vegan versions of black bean chilli (need to get the ingredients today though), which is honestly the best chilli I’ve ever tasted (BOSH recipe), ‘meatballs’ with tomato sauce and pasta or in a sub, celery soup to use up leftovers, and lots of different tofu dishes – teriyaki, sweet and sour, and a sort of homemade sweet garlicky, salty, marinade-stir-fry thing with broccoli.

      I’m doing smoothies with frozen fruit and orange juice for breakfast when it’s warmer outside.

    6. Jemima Bond*

      Re mincemeat – what the version made with, that’s not made with dried fruit?
      Anyway mincemeat is not too difficult to make yourself if you like it. You basically need dried fruit, spices, sugar, brandy, citrus and suet (could probs get a veggie version if necessary) and there are loads of recipes online. Or here’s a recipe by Nigella Lawson whom I adore which has cranberries in and no suet. I’ve made it before and it was lovely https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/cranberrystuddedminc_90619

    7. StellaBella*

      Today I am making quinoa with peas and chopped tomatoes in a batch for a couple of days. I will also make an apple pie/tarte. And fruit smoothies with frozen fruit.

    8. CoffeeforLife*

      Going to make kitchen sink cookies, 2 loaves of english muffin bread, and peanut meringues.

      I went to Trader Joe’s last night and it looked like they were a brand new store getting ready to open…All of the shelves, produce bins, freezer bins were EMPTY. Like, nothing left, for the entire aisle eMpTy. They must have gotten a delivery (this was close to closing) because they were furiously stocking shelves. I am so happy we have enough for the coming weeks that I won’t need to fight for the last can of tomato paste.

    9. Loopy*

      I’m in a baking rut. I’ve been stressed so any involved projects feel daunting but simple things like cookies doesn’t excite me. I’m feeling finicky but wanting to get back to baking regularly. I wanted to bring things into the office but with the current coronoa concerns I’m not sure baked goods are welcome?

      But to answer: next weekend I’m making almond joy cupcakes for a birthday, and was thinking of then doing sugar cookies with royal icing and testing out how edible markers work on royal icing (If anyone knows, please let me know!).

      1. Bluesboy*

        I found going more international helped me with that. Baking something say from South America or Eastern Europe meant it was a new recipe, new flavours, but not necessarily difficult in terms of techniques. It’s a bit too easy to fall into a kind of Anglo-American baking routine, this helped me get out of the rut. If I remember correctly, I started with Hungarian Kalács

      2. Jaid*

        Kugel! Sweet noodle dish…cook a pound of egg noodles, about three eggs, a cup of sugar, a cup of dried fruit. Mix well and bake at around 375 until golden brown.

    10. Lemonwhirl*

      Thinking about making snake cookies for St Patrick’s Day on Tuesday. I have a 9 year old who would really enjoy that. Last year, we made a snake cake (super easy – used regular 9-in cake tins but put a ramekin in the middle of each pan then cut the cakes in half to assemble a snake).

    11. SpellingBee*

      I’ve had the whole orange Bundt cake from Joy the Baker on my list for awhile, so decided to make that today. It was going to be a birthday cake for my brother-in-law (he always asks for yellow cake with chocolate icing), but the family gathering at our house we had planned for the weekend got cancelled because folks were leery of traveling, which I perfectly understand. I’m in the mood to bake, though, so I get to pick! As a bonus this cake is supposed to freeze well, as with only the 2 of us here it’s sometimes hard to finish up a whole cake before it goes stale.

    12. Zephy*

      I’m participating in this year’s 52 Weeks of Cooking challenge over on Reddit, and this week’s theme was “Kawaii.” So, with yesterday being Friday the 13th and all, I attempted some black cat cake pops. It went…okay. TL;DR cake pops are a pain in the ass.

      Next week’s theme is “Peppers.” I feel like everyone and their grandma’s going to make stuffed peppers, so I want to come up with something else, but I’m stuck.

      1. Enter_the_Dragonfly*

        How about roast pepper salad? You roast a bunch of peppers (and colour), peel and seed them, cut them in to strips and serve at room temperature drizzled with olive oil (and optionally balsamic vinigar too). It’s one of my favourite side dishes! I know it as Algerian, but I bet other people have it too.

      2. Pieforbreakfast*

        I don’t know what the rules are for the challenge, like how present the peppers have to be, but you could make a pepper-based Shaksuka. Basically a roasted tomato and vegetable stew with eggs baked in at the end. Delicious.

    13. GoryDetails*

      Well, tonight I’m “cheating” a bit – I had a coupon for a Hello Fresh “Hot Honey Chicken” meal kit, and as I rather like kits (and have tried that one before with good results) I picked it up for tonight’s dinner.

      But I’ve also added several new must-try recipes to my list, from a couple of “rainbow”-themed cookbooks: Rainbow Food by Linda Louis, and Unicorn Food by Rachel Johnson. (The latter is mostly focused on sweet things, with lots of sprinkles and rainbow-colored icings, but it has some lovely recipes for color-palette assortments of fruit plates and veggie platters and smoothies. And there’s a rainbow-spring-roll recipe using the see-through rice wrappers to reveal the bright veggie colors that looks marvelous, if a bit fiddly.) From Rainbow Food, I have a purple soup recipe in hand, using purple cauliflower and purple potatoes; will see if it comes out as purple as in the photo!

    14. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      The puff pastry made me think of this:

      I can leftovers from when I made Cuban beef piccadillo (a good pantry friendly recipe that’s tasty) and made empanadas with puff pastry.

      I’ve also made Chester Napoleons – puff pastry cooked by itself (use a fork to poke some holes to decrease shrinkage) plus berries plus fresh whipped cream.

    15. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      It’s Pi day, so … pie. Chicken pot pie and maybe pumpkin pie because I have the ingredients (or will when my instacart order comes with more flour…)

      I may also do some cheese crackers. It’s a simple project without loading the house with sugar.

      I’m having a 4 day weekend – just my monthly random scheduled days off — I don’t expect my office to close, so this will be my little personal quarantine.

      1. Llellayena*

        Yep, considering making an apple pie. I picked up all the ingredients last week but had no time this week to pre-make it for today.

    16. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Batch 1: banana chocolate chip
      Batch 2: vegan (with applesauce base)

      Also: falafel :)

        1. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

          I cheated lol. Used gluten free dairy free store-bought brownie mix, and plan to substitute 1/3-1/4c applesauce in place of an egg

    17. ThatGirl*

      Plans for dark chocolate cupcakes with Irish cream buttercream today or tomorrow. Looking forward to those.

    18. Enter_the_Dragonfly*

      I finally have the chance to make my keto/paleo madeleines again today (the batter’s resting right now). I’m so pleased because I developed the recipe myself and they are my pride and joy. They rise to get that rounded split in the middle just like they should and as someone who still eats grains and sugar I can say with confidence that they taste better than the standard recipe! Two of the people in the house are permanently keto/paleo depending on inflammation levels and I love being able to make them treats that I enjoy too.

    19. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      I bake every day as part of my regular breakfast routine (goat cheese biscuits), but I’m realizing that sometime this week I’m probably ready to have Thanksgiving dinner. My grandmother went on hospice and died in November, and the family Thanksgiving meal was cancelled last year as a result in favor of us all just eating pizza/snacks/whatever while spending time with grandma, so I have all of the ingredients for pumpkin pie as well as a package of stuffing at the back of my pantry. I just stuck them all in the back because I did not feel like pie, and did not really need to eat an entire pie and box of stuffing by myself anyway, but I think it’s about time to get that eaten.

      Now I just need to decide on a pie crust recipe, since I usually buy a frozen GF crust to accommodate another family member and if I’m eating the entire pie myself it can have wheat flour in it. I know I’ll be using whole wheat flour because that’s what I have (I buy it in 50 lbs sacks since I bake biscuits with it every day), but I’m trying to decide between a recipe where I have to cut in the fat (I have butter and coconut oil available for solid fats) or one that cheats and uses a liquid fat (which I’d be using olive oil for). I’m kind of tempted to go the “tropical pumpkin” route and use the coconut oil, then maybe include some more tropical notes throughout with spice selection and maybe a pineapple topping, but I can’t quite taste it in my head to be sure it’s as good of an idea as I think it is. I know olive oil and butter would both taste good and I have everything to make a traditional pie, but I’m also kind of bored.

      Or, I could save my weird tropical ideas for the pecan pie that I also think I have everything to make, and let the pumpkin pie be a traditionalist. Plus, with the pecan pie I can make a smaller one since I wouldn’t have to open cans and then use up the rest of those ingredients up somehow.

      I’m not sure my dietary requirements are best served by me getting into baking pies for myself, though.

    20. Lives in a Shoe*

      So much sourdough. My plan is a batch a day. Took a baguette to neighbors yesterday, making an olive boule today… I presciently checked out a bunch of cookbooks last week, and we can freeze what we can’t eat or share.

      It’s perfect for work days because it only requires intermittent attention, and it makes me so happy.

      Quiche today because pi day.

    21. Filosofickle*

      Going to make a pot of quinoa bean veg soup later today because BF asked for healthy, immune boosting food and it’s raining. Then maybe a pie — I never got to make my favorite pie over the holidays and it’s pi day so this is my chance! I am also stocked for caramel corn, chocolate chip cookies, and a big pot of pasta. Trying not to go crazy and make everything at once, but it feels good to cook and I want it all now.

    22. burnt toast*

      Apple pie. Happy Pi day! Also, “pets de soeurs” with the leftover dough. I made extra dough, just to have leftover dough.

    23. Skeeder Jones*

      Planning on making lasagna today and then some brioche buns tonight and tomorrow (dough tonight, buns tomorrow). With the rain (So Cal) today, it’s a good baking day.

    24. TiffIf*

      Its Pi day! I made a pie in a pan I just bought called a “split decision” pan–you can make two half pies of different flavors in the same pan. I made one half savory, one half sweet!

    25. Buni*

      Probably some peanut butter cookies – the ridonk easy ones where it’s just the contents of the jar + one egg + 100g of flour (per 250g of butter). I think I have some dark chocolate chips so will throw those in as well.

    26. Imtheone*

      Granola – going to send some to my daughter.
      Cauliflower korma (recipe from Food52): one whole cauliflower, seasonings, yogurt, ground almonds – intended to serve 2 as a main course! Very good!

  12. Anon woman with breast cancer*

    Hi everyone. I want to thank this supportive community and share that next week is my final Taxol-chemo, mid April I will have my surgery (barring complications in the health system with virus stuff) to remove what is left of the tumour bastard, and then I have daily radiotherapy for a month! Getting closer to having breast cancer behind me. Thanks all for the kind tips and support and … get checked with a mammogram when you can! Early detection saves lives. :)

    1. Kuododi*

      Delighted to hear from you that things are progressing in a good direction I’m noones fount of all information however, if I can help in anyway with my perspective on getting through radiation treatment or anything else, by all means shoot me a message. You are in my heart.

      1. Anon woman with breast cancer*

        Thanks, Kuododi! You have a big heart! I guess for radiotherapy – aside from aloe vera for the radiation site (and internally with smoothies) – any advice on self care for this? What was the easiest part of it for you and the hardest?

        1. Breast Solidarity*

          For some reason my comments won’t post. For radiation my center gave me Jean’s Cream and Aquaphor. At the very end I did need a prescription for Silvadene for a couple small areas, but they healed quickly.

          For me the surgery was for sure the easiest. Radiation eventually did cause sleepiness, not at all like chemo, more like I wanted a nap some days.

          1. Anon woman with breast cancer*

            Thanks for this info – I will look up the things you mention. Good to know on the sleepiness!

        2. OperaArt*

          Aquaphor. Cheap cotton T-shirts at night to keep the Aquaphor from getting all over everything.
          Realizing that fatigue can hit *very* suddenly and deeply even when you start the day feeling good.

        3. Kuododi*

          Well let’s see… As far as skin care goes, I used Aveeno for the routine moisture care. (Any unscented lotion would be fine). At a point my skin reaction was uncomfortable enough the NP recommended a product called Alocaine. (Sp?). It’s a OTC prod uct which is a blend of aloe vera and lidocaine. (Fantastic help with burn recovery.). I also discovered Aveeno cracked skin ointment. It seems to have pushed my skin healing over the finish line.

          I would strongly recommend a friend or partner drive you back and forth to treatment. At the very least until you’re comfortable with how you’re responding to treatment. (I developed a horrible case of nausea and vertigo.)
          So don’t chance a wreck. Ask for help.

          Emotionally, I had some real struggle with what was happening. I hit a point where I was so angry/overwhelmed at the thought of medical personel daily coming to put hands on me for more and more testing/treatment. Fatigue was also wretched. I’d come home after a session and collapse on the bed.

          To help with those difficulties, I did things such as cancel all commitments which were not directly a part of cancer treatment. I also kept in regular communication with my therapist. Practiced meditation before bed and kept up with physical activity through my local Y and their LiveStrong program.

          I’m going to put a pause in this and post additional information later this pm. (Must recharge my phone among other issues.). I do hope this will be a help in the days ahead. Blessings to you. Kuododi

          1. Breast Solidarity*

            yeah, there were a few days I cried right through the radiation sessions. The therapists were lovely, they totally understood how emotionally draining it all was. That said, I had 33 days, I only cried the last week.