weekend free-for-all – March 21-22, 2020

Sophie joins new cats Hank and Shadow for sleeping.

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: Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles. In 1930s New York, a typist gets drawn into the city’s social elite. An enjoyable distraction.

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

{ 1,688 comments… read them below }

  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. AwfulDragonfly*

      Does anyone else have a story about being accidentally awful? I was checking out at the grocery store today (we aren’t on lockdown) and told the clerk that I would grab the receipt, joking that I was sure they’d come into contact with more people that day than I had. What I MEANT to convey was, “I commend you for doing a vital job, even though you could get sick, so the least I can do is minimize your exposure to me. Thank you.” From the look on the poor kid’s face, what ended up being communicated was, “Don’t touch me or my things, you dirty pleb.” I felt so bad and just slunk away.
      Anyone else do a meanness where they meant a kindness?

      1. gsa*

        Both.

        Things will get uglier and some people will be noticeable kinder. Kind people are always kind, just not always noticed.

      2. Laure001*

        AwfulDragonfly, I feel for you… I didn’t do any coronavirus blunder recently because I have been stuck at home for the last ten days, but what you just described happens to me all the time… Trying to say something kind, or tell a nice joke, and have it sound the opposite of what I wanted to convey.
        You are not alone!

      3. NotAdapting*

        I accidentally went looking for support from a coworker who’s spouse is an ER doc. They are the ones needing support not giving. Oops!

      4. tangerineRose*

        I was at Wal-Mart recently to pick up a prescription. I bring my own bags, so I was OK with the greeter checking my receipt, but we started chatting a little, and I was backing away from her a bit because you know, social distancing, and I think she was disconcerted about it. I guess I should have said something about why I was backing up.

      5. Sara(h)*

        We’ve all been there. But it’s easy to course-correct once you see the look on his face, right, and explain what you meant, isn’t it? Anyway, one thing that might help in general is that I’ve made a point of thanking cashiers and other retail workers for working during this time, and acknowledge appreciated it is.

      6. Penny Parker*

        I volunteer at a food pantry and one of the other volunteers is a woman from China who is working in an internship at a local non-profit before graduate school this fall at an Ivy League university. When I saw her at work early this month I had just gotten orders from the Chair of the Board for the food pantry of “no and-shaking”. I am a big handshaker. I greeted this exchange student by saying, Oops, no handshaking today!” and then I saw her face. I felt so badly, but I’m sure not as bad as she felt! I did explain and apologize for being so abrupt. In the end I do believe she understood and accepted my apology. My children are people-of-color; I have personally face so *much* prejudice, including a serious attack on my family’s life (truck tried to force us off a bridge while screaming racial slurs; 1970s era), so I viscerally felt her response to my abruptness. I am so sorry for being so abrupt; I am such a hand-shaker (my profession is in cold-call sales) and I was trying to remind myself and restrain myself because I DID want to shake her hand!

    2. Aphrodite*

      I’ve always been a sensitive person, able to read and to feel the vibes in any setting, any room, any situation. I actually thank my body’s ability to do this but it is a major drawback in stressful times like now.

      What do you do to get away from too much talk and focus at this time, especially if you are sensitive too and feel as if you are going mad? I saw a picture somewhere else today and alternately fascinated and appalled me–a woman, wearing pretty red lingerie, bent over and peering into a refrigerator. It was before isolation and after isolation, and two images, like a before and after, were basically the same except for the body. That was a difference of about 40-50 pounds.

      I suddenly realize how accurate this might represent me and wondered how I might alter that. What are all of you doing or want to do or think you can do with just a bit of willpower? I can’t be the only one feeling as if I am walking on ticking time bombs because of the tension and stress all around. I am happy to see people in my neighborhood on NextDoor setting up things to do and help and doing their best to spread kindness but I also wonder if people will continue their efforts at kindness or will they succumb to the tension as the days and maybe weeks go on. Will things get ugly or will more people try to be kinder than usual?

      1. gsa*

        Both.

        Things will get uglier and some people will be noticeable kinder. Kind people are always kind, just not always noticed.

      2. Laure001*

        Aphrodite, I have been quarantined for nine days (I am in Paris, and fell sick just before the President ordered us to stay at home), and the opposite of that ad is happening to me. I got back to Weight Watchers and it’s working smoothly because I can control everything I eat, while normally I’m always having lunch with a friend or a glass of wine with the girls. I’m doing ten minutes of yoga a day, not much, but before I did… nothing. I already look better. And around me (on WhatsApp) friends are doing the same. Even my husband says he’s going back on the treadmill (it didn’t happen yet though).

      3. Laure001*

        As to your other question, will people be kind or awful, of course both is the right answer, but around me I experienced only kindness and concern for now.

      4. nep*

        A friend texted me that pic yesterday.
        I hear your concern. Sounds trite, but it’s up to individuals whether things will get ugly or not. And I truly believe that kindness begets kindness–or at least begets civility.

        1. nep*

          And oops–realising I shouldn’t have responded as all this should be up in the proper thread.

      5. Not So NewReader*

        My aunt shared a tidbit of advice with me that is applicable to many situations.
        The general idea is that if you are able to see where there might be a problem in the future, then you have been granted the opportunity to mitigate or eliminate that problem now.

        I have my fridge loaded with fruits and veggies. If I start grazing there is nothing else to graze on, I have no choice other than fruits or veggies. Years ago I learned how to eat a box of cookies in one sitting. I can’t unlearn that. I can however keep the cookies out of the house.

        Willpower is not a given. It’s a thing we build up. I noticed I have better self-discipline or will power when I am rested. So I work at setting myself up for a good night’s sleep. For me, will power is a form of strength. So I like to think about ways of building up strength. Good foods, rest, proper hydration. Down time is important to me. Time out from everything can be whatever you want- a computer game, a good book, a craft, calling a friend or playing with your pets (if you have pets). I plan on down time as something I must do to keep my mind set built up.

        It’s not easy. A tool I have used over and over is I tell myself, “The choices I make today will impact tomorrow and many more of my tomorrows. I can’t make today any better than what it is, but I can build a better tomorrow.” At some point we will get out of this. Hopefully we will all be a bit wiser and we will learn to be more grateful and not take basic stuff for granted.

      6. MOAS*

        I think more people will be kind which will make the ugliness stand out more. Definitely seeing this in my work related groups.

      7. NaoNao*

        I know gaining weight is a common worry when you’re stuck at home, but I’d like to add to the voices that say they’re losing or maintaining right now! I was getting a super sugary Starbucks “coffee” and a 500 cal breakfast sandwich every morning and calorie-bomb takeout for lunch every day. This was interspersed with snacks and more coffees and then a late dinner every day.

        Now I’m making meals mostly from scratch and I’m on a strict plan with my SO: three reasonable meals a day and 2 snacks and that’s it. I have divided up my snack food into baggies that are one serving size—and those are what we get for snacks—no foraging in the fridge. We have a small shelf of “unlimited” items like tea, coffee, Jello, stir-in flavors for water, nuts/seeds, and fizzy tablets of supplements for a pick me up if we need one.

        I’ve seen an **immediate** drop in weight–mostly water/bloat but I literally lost most of a burgeoning pooch in like 3 days. I also have acid reflux mostly under control and have so much more energy (not to mention money!).

        My SO and I are taking this time to “reset” our unhealthy relationship with food and dial back the endless flow of ultra high calorie takeout/resto food we were indulging in due to crazy schedules.

        1. MOAS*

          Same, the only “silver lining” i kind of see is that I’m not sneaking desserts and sweets while I’m at work. Family at home is strict (rightfully so in this case) about having sweets at home. Food is my comfort, so I hate that my comfort is gone, but for the better I suppose

        2. Meepmeep*

          My wife is losing weight too. No sweets, no going out for unhealthy food, and plenty of veggies and other healthy stuff at home. We are doing a vegetarian lunch every day. I’m wondering how much weight she’ll end up losing.

      8. Rebecca*

        I’m so lucky, I live in a rural area, so I can still go outside and walk, go hiking, etc. and still be compliant with social distancing and quarantine. I’m trying not to sit and mindlessly eat things, although I got some chips, sunflower seeds in the shell, stuff like that, because it’s nice to have a little bit of comfort food. I’m focusing on checking on my neighbors, going for walks, and keeping my distance. Grateful for my cats, too, it’s nice to snuggle up with a purring kitty.

      9. Lockdown*

        I completely misunderstood. I thought the woman had starved. I was confused about the comments. And when I finally understood I honestly had a hard time taking it seriously. Sorry it is not a problem if your fridge is too full.

        1. MOAS*

          Granted a full fridge is better than an empty fridge and I truly feel for people who have issues getting food…..but eating disorders/binge eating are an issue too. Let’s not minimize peoples dietary struggles.

          Also I’ve seen the same or similar meme, and I find them silly/funny.

        2. Kiwi with laser beams*

          Oh my God, I’m glad I haven’t seen that meme. I would roll my eyes so hard that I’d need to visit my ophthalmologist, and the medical system probably doesn’t need another casualty (and I say this as someone who DOES have medical-level weight issues).

      10. Quinalla*

        I hear you, I’m sensitive too and also introverted, so I’m making sure to exercise to relieve stress (any weight loss is just a side effect, the stress is what I want to relieve), keeping to a loose routine, getting some alone time as I’m at home with my 3 kids and husband and keeping my mind active and trying to keep busy with things like organizing, baking, cleaning, etc.. My husband is doing the same with cooking, baking, cleaning, etc. too to keep busy. Luckily, I can do 95% of my job from home, so that is helping a lot with that. We are playing even more board and computer games than normal too. I also am making sure to get outside at least once a day, even if just on our screened porch – so nice to have this right now – and make sure the kids do too. We have a big yard and are at the end of a cul-d-sac so we can be in our yard and still be practicing social distancing even if our neighbors are outside.

        As far as people getting kinder or meaner, it will be both, always both. There will be some fatigue and burnout set in for some of course that are trying to be kind which is why it is important to not overdo it. But that is easy to say and hard to do, I know!

    3. Director of Alpaca Exams*

      What have you stocked up on that’s not on the usual rice-and-beans list? My mother’s freezer is full of imported butter and my cousin bought a lobe of bottarga (fish roe). I can’t judge—our food shopping was a little more sensible, but then my partner and I ordered $300 worth of high-quality jigsaw puzzles.

        1. nep*

          You’re not alone. Heard a piece on NPR the other day…people are having to cross state lines to find ammo. Hoping the scenario folks are preparing for never comes.

        2. Rebecca*

          I did an ammo check, in pretty good shape, and I’m cleaning the Ithaca 37 pump shotgun today along with my hunting rifle. It won’t hurt, it will give me something to do, and hoping I need neither.

          1. NoLongerYoung*

            Most of my family lives in the rural cold country now, and the generation before that was born not far from you. And yes, my 91 year old mom was a crack shot in her day (her vision is fine, her balance is not, now). My dad, brother, nephew – all hunt, and one of my family members works at a meat locker now. (Which we didn’t need because my family bartered the meat cutting skills we had, for even more meat). Everyone hunts. And if needed, fishes. Cans. Has a garden. And makes incredible bread, jams, and pies/other baked goods. An interesting family – reading the “new yorker,” visiting museums… and basically living off the land for food.

            So yes,the first stop the family made was to make sure there was enough ammo. Because you are allowed to hunt on your own land…. and if one is unemployed, you can always feed your family.

          1. Rebecca*

            If I have to hunt for meat, yes. I have about 2 months worth of meat in the deep freeze, not much for around here, I know people who have a year’s worth. I have access to farm eggs at our feed mill, which will remain open as it’s a life sustaining business for animals. There are a lot of Amish farms here, too, so I can get raw milk there. Just have to drive to get it. Plus there are about a zillion squirrels (hence the shotgun) and although it might be odd for some here, I actually like to eat them. And the rifle, for a deer if needed, that I will share with my neighbors. No, I’m not guarding toilet paper :) and I’m not planning to shoot the virus! Glad I live where I do – I know every one of my neighbors by sight, what vehicles they drive, etc. so it will be easy to spot people who are up to no good, like the fake Red Cross people I’ve heard about going door to door.

                1. Rebecca*

                  Exactly, I live in the country, and we are normally prepared for power outages and supply interruption. We have 1 Walmart supercenter in our county and several smaller grocery stores for 37,000+ people. I have friends who never buy meat at the store, they hunt and keep chickens, pigs, butcher cows, etc. It’s a totally different type of lifestyle. I do love my internet and modern comforts, but am glad I live where I live. I’ve never seen stores here literally stripped of stock on an ongoing basis. Glad the trucks and trains are still delivering!

                  And I don’t waste aluminum foil on making hats.

                2. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

                  I was just thinking the other day how farmers and hunters are laughing at the rest of us. THEY know they can take care of themselves and their families. The rest of us do not know how to hunt our Doritos in the wild.

                3. Elizabeth West*

                  Yeah, this is a thing there even when everything is going good. Rural folks are used to doing for themselves.

              1. MO42*

                As gsa just said, “Things will get uglier and some people will be noticeable kinder. Kind people are always kind, just not always noticed.”

            1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

              I hear a lot of snide comments about people who are buying guns and ammo, and it just bemuses me that so many don’t get it. I am very much a gun control advocate but if I were in the US right now I would have long since been taking classes on how to use a gun and do it safely. There are so many people who are ready to attack others for various reasons and in a rapidly deteriorating situation like this I would want to be prepared for the worst.

              And of course the ability to hunt might be a useful skill if you are staying away from other people as much as possible, or food shortages.

              1. ThatGirl*

                People who buy guns for self defense against supposed mobs are part of the problem, not the solution.

                1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

                  It is the same dilemma as nuclear weapons and mutually assured destruction, IMHO. If you are the only one with no defense, then you become the target.

              2. Cat*

                A fun you buy for self defense is more likely to be used to hurt someone in your family than it is for self defense. Obviously hunting is different.

            1. Arts Akimbo*

              LOL, OMG have I lived this scenario! The zucchini apocalypse, Night of the Living Squash! Neighbor comes shambling over, arms laden and says, “It’s for… BREADS…!”

            2. KoiFeeder*

              You joke, but the zucchini-pocalypse my mom planted did get used for target practice!

              With swords, though. No shooting anything near the koi pond.

      1. MistOrMister*

        Masa flour, grits, olives and canned artichokes. And, accidentally, potatoes. All the potatoes in the fricking world ffs. When I went shopping last week and everything was sold out, there was a 10 pound bag of potatoes left and I thought, potatoes are good! Then i got home and went to put them away….and found i still had half a previous 10 pound bag. Because I am a dumbo apparently. I am now trying to unload potatoes on my friend!

          1. MistOrMister*

            I have zero freezer space. I was thinking of making some to dehydrate, though. Not sure how well it will reconstitute…

            1. Seeking Second Childhood*

              Stored in a cool dark place with some airflow, potatoes keep well. They grow well in containers on patios from the ones that sprout in storage. And around here, potatoes and flour are both flying off the shelves like toilet paper.

        1. Buni*

          Homemade crisps (‘chips’ to you, I suspect). I do love a home-fried crisp, you can add whatever flavour you like, and they’ll keep for a bit (not that mine ever seem to last…)

        2. Jaid*

          I ordered groceries from Whole Food Amazon and they subbed Skinny Pop Popcorn for jelly beans. And tossed in a pound of heirloom cherry tomatoes for funsies.

          1. totally at risk*

            Well at least they shipped. Mine sent me a note, no deliveries but I can pick up. I am immune compromised so no, not going out. sigh. Friends are bring me stuff. I am not in need but “the grocery store was my happy place”

        3. Jedi Squirrel*

          If you can’t wait until dinner for your taco fix, you can make spicy fried potatoes for breakfast.

          Chop up potatoes, fry until crispish. Add some taco seasoning and a bit of water to dissolve (maybe two tablespoons of each). Cook until the water is gone, and then cook until the potatoes are crispy again, although they won’t be as crisp as before. Serve in a warmed up tortilla (cheese is optional, but lovely) as a breakfast taco.

        4. Arts Akimbo*

          Olives! I am apparently the only person in my neighborhood who wants canned black olives during a crisis! The shelves are bare, except for all these olives! Moar for me!

      2. Anne Kaffeekanne*

        My favourite teas. Now that I’m working from home I drink at least 5 cups a day so I go through a lot of tea. Only one grocery store here even has my favourite kind and even they don’t always have it, so I went home with several weeks’ worth of tea.

        1. Jen in Oregon*

          I just made a $52 order of tea as well. Drinking 4-5 cups of herbal tea at night is the only thing keeping me from eating our 2 months of food stores within a week.

          1. Julia*

            People always look at me like I must be super rich when I buy 100$ worth of tea per quarter (they have limited seasonal editions, and they’re so good!), but I rarely drink coffee or alcohol and making my own tea at home comes out much cheaper than buying drinks, especially if I also carry my own thermos most days.

      3. Meepmeep*

        We went through our pantry. We are apparently fully stocked up on chia seeds. Neither of us remembers acquiring 3 packages of chia seeds, and neither of us knows what to do with them.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            Ah man! I wish I’d know this…I just tossed a package of chia seeds! I have the cocoa powder and sweetener.

          2. Elizabeth West*

            I made this a bunch from a recipe someone else posted here. Not cocoa flavored, but with a bit of honey and some fruit, it was a nice desk breakfast.

            I like to sprinkle them on my yogurt or oatmeal.

        1. Amethystmoon*

          There’s always making overnight chia. If you have milk, or plant milk, you can add 2 tbsp. chia to every half-cup of milk. Let sit in fridge overnight and eat for breakfast or snacks. If you have canned fruit, or even fresh or frozen, it will go well on your chia pudding.

      4. Ranon*

        Popsicles, ramen and Gatorade. Because if we actually come down with this thing I want my favorite sick bed foods in my house.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Sadly there is no ramen to be had in my area. Granted, I’m talking about the super cheap packages for like 25 cents that you cook on the stove, which is likely why they’re nowhere to be found.

        2. Juli G.*

          Yep, I stashed a bunch of ginger ale where the family can’t find in case of illness (you can probably guess – we live in Michigan).

          1. Ranon*

            Oh yeah, we got the good stuff with real ginger- I figure we’ll either be glad to have it or we’ll make some nice cocktails when we’re through the worst of this

      5. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

        Salmon patties, shrimps and morcilla vasca. Too bad the supermarket I bought them is not nearby our home, so they count as a treat.

      6. Campfire Raccoon*

        I tried to buy only things that we need or normally eat, but I have 5 kids (3 of my own 2 of the neighbor’s). I don’t keep junk food in the house at all: usually I’ll give the kids money for a harder chore, and they’ll ride down to Circle K to pick out their own snacks. I realized once they figured out they can’t leave the house, morale would be LOW. So I did a run to the store for snacks only. Thankfully that isle was still fully stocked – and now I have an entire locked cabinet in the garage of snacks.

      7. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        Ice cream, though I’ve already gone from “good, I have lots” to “we need chocolate ice cream.” (What I have is strawberry, ginger, and a little bit of black raspberry.)

        Other than that, what I bought and don’t usually is canned fruit, high-protein cereal, a can of sardines… Mostly I just got more of things I use anyway, because I don’t want to be sitting there staring at practical or easy-to-store foods I never eat.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          So YOU’RE the one who keeps buying all the chocolate ice cream before peapod can get it to me!

        2. CastIrony*

          I want to get ice cream, but I tell myself I don’t really need it and it’s not worth the risk.

        3. The Other Dawn*

          I’m stuck with a half gallon of maple walnut ice cream, which I don’t eat and neither does my husband. I bought it for my cousin’s visit this week, but Amtrak cancelled her train. I’m thinking I’ll bring it to work once I’m off medical leave. I don’t to throw it away.

      8. anon24*

        Before this all blew up when it looked pretty certain it was coming to the US I shelled out for 6 months of canned pet food for my cats. If there’s shortages at least they will eat, and if not it’s not like it will go bad. I also have a couple extra bags of cat litter on hand just in case that stuff gets hard to find.

      9. Puffle*

        I’ve got extra supplies of my cat’s prescription food- I can eat whatever, but she has to have a specific diet.

        Made a very British discovery though. I was a little concerned as I’ve run out of my usual tea, so I did an inventory of the cupboards: I’ve already got 2 tins of leaf tea, and 4 boxes of teabags. I think I’ll survive somehow!

        1. KR*

          I feel you on the prescription food. My first thought when I heard about the supply chain issues was if I had enough of my dogs medicine.

      10. The Cosmic Avenger*

        I already had bought a few months worth of my noodle bowls for lunch at work, so now I’ve started making them here at home, but it’ll probably take me 4-5 months to finish those. I’ve ordered smokehouse almonds and Cadbury creme eggs from Amazon (no rush shipping, of course) and put them on my Subscribe & Save list, because they will last a damned long time, and I can probably get by on almost anything if I can treat myself to those as a snack/dessert.

      11. PhyllisB*

        Haven’t stockpiled anything, but was wanting to get ground beef to make tacos yesterday, and none to be had. This is getting ridiculous.

          1. MomToVegetarian&Celiacs*

            You would think! But we’ve been looking for tofu for days and can’t find it anywhere (we’re currently on day 5 of shelter-in-place; hopefully it comes back into stock soon). At least gluten free pasta has been easy to find…

            1. Marmaduke*

              Yeah, I can’t find any GF bread in my town, but so far the pasta is holding out. Praying that holds up.

            2. AvonLady Barksdale*

              Same! We only eat vegetarian at home and I usually get two blocks of tofu a week. There is none to be had in my neighborhood. We went to a Wegmans in the burbs last night and managed to get two blocks of silken, which is fine but can’t be roasted.

              I’m making my own seitan today as a project but also because I need more options than eggs and beans.

              1. Sam I Am*

                “We only eat vegetarians at home” is what I read. Gotta slow my roll on the skimming…

          2. Shakti*

            Everywhere is out of tofu and vegetarian proteins! It’s really frustrating because we’re vegetarian and just trying to buy reasonable amounts of food and everything is sold out!

      12. Clisby*

        A couple of weeks extra of toilet paper (I always keep 2 weeks worth on hand, and now have at least a month’s supply). Nothing else. The only shortages I’ve noticed are toilet paper and (in some stores, but not most) paper towels. And hand sanitizer. I can see that the grocery stores I go to occasionally are really low on some particular type of meat, but so far I haven’t looked for any food I can’t find.

        1. Worked in IT forever*

          I wish I knew how to colour my hair. I always get it done by my hairdresser, and I doubt that’ll be possible for a while where I live. I’m sure I’ll botch it up if I try it myself. I did buy my trusty root touchup powder, though.

          1. NoLongerYoung*

            I posted a little about it last weekend on the open thread, in a comment. Take a look. I can post more next weekend (I hope). Look for my name (yeah, sorry, wrote a lot… but one really good comment on hair color, years of experience with using the pro stuff at home, brush and bowl).

      13. KoiFeeder*

        I… bought a gameboy.

        Like, technically I can defend my purchase, but I still bought an entire gameboy.

          1. KoiFeeder*

            Oh, for sure. It’s the limited edition kyogre gameboy that I always wanted, from a dude that refurbishes gameboys, so if there’s any issues I can yeet it back to him and get repairs. So I’m very happy, and I’m going to play so much pokemon sapphire.

            It just feels a little silly, you know?

            1. Julia*

              Honestly, I am so glad I have my Switch (and the newly released Pokémon Mystery Dungeon), plus playing online with other people feels less isolating.

        1. Wired Wolf*

          I broke down and bought myself a Switch…but I’m still gonna have to fight mom for the TV. We’re in a one-bedroom while our regular place is being renovated, work was supposed to start April 1 but now it may be postponed. She got the bedroom and the living room is large enough that I have just under half as my “room” but the lack of any sort of door is going to get irritating I can tell.

          A neighbor who plays Minecraft wants to set up a server for the building…I’m rebuilding my computer anyway so could probably use the old one to run that.

      14. AnonoDoc*

        LOL, it was before coronavirus even made the first human sick, but we have at least a year’s supply of green coffee beans (because Mr. Anono’s new obsession is home roasting and all the descriptions are SOOOOOO tempting) So we may run out of food but we will be well-caffeinated!

      15. Overeducated*

        Kid’s craft supplies (paint, popsicle sticks, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, etc). I hate crafts but I’ve got a preschooler to keep busy 24/7, so….

      16. Amy*

        Chicken feed. Our last trip to the outside world before locking down our household was to the feed store since Amazon was selling $10 bags of feed for $50 apiece (talk about price gouging). Gotta keep our girls fed – because we love them, AND their eggs are a reliable source of protein in these crazy times!

        Also sidewalk chalk for the little one, which is now pretty much sold out online.

      17. Nicki Name*

        Oranges. They’ll keep a while, and it doesn’t feel right starting my day without one.

      18. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        I’ve managed to buy a lot of sardines over the past few months. I like them but my husband doesn’t, so I was mostly planning to eat them myself when I’m on my own but now we will both be here for months, I expect. So he might have to deal.

        I also have accumulated three jars of roasted peppers, four bottles of hot sauce, and three bottles of soy sauce. None of that was deliberate stocking up, I just went in for something else and thought “Oh I might be out of that” and now I have a ton.

      19. noahwynn*

        Strawberries. I’ll be eating them everyday this week. They’re so good and only $1.19.

        1. Misty*

          I have a group of friends who (before the virus) used to hang out in person once a week, the person who hosted the event would seriously have four to six different types of lemonade every single time we hung out. I never understood it lol

        2. Sam I Am*

          Lemonade was the one ingredient missing from my list to make my signature cocktail yesterday.
          #kitchenblunder

      20. Not A Manager*

        Jigsaw puzzles, a sewing machine, crochet hooks, fabric and yarn.

        Electrolyte powder, blood oximeter.

        Everclear.

      21. Senior Montoya*

        I finally checked the freezer in my hub’s beer fridge — apparently I thought I was going to do a lot more baking back over the winter holidays, because I have enough butter to last til the next millienum.

      22. Talia*

        A giant Lindor truffle that was on after-Valentine’s sale. I can only assume that what’s inside is a bunch of smaller Lindor truffles because I don’t see how you’d get something that giant with the gel fillings that are usually in them to stay intact long enough to eat it.

      23. Anonymous Educator*

        I wish people wouldn’t stock up on anything. The supply chain hasn’t changed, but the demand has gotten ridiculous. I didn’t panic-buy toilet paper, and recently I had to get more toilet paper just because it would be the normal time to get more toilet paper. No toilet paper at the chain stores. No toilet paper at the locally owned small stores. No toilet paper anywhere. Can’t buy it online. People have to stop this ridiculousness. Fortunately, I managed to randomly stumble on (by just driving around) a “dollar” store that sells toilet paper and limits them to two packs per customer.

        Can we not make things like Mad Max prematurely?

        1. RagingADHD*

          Yes, the panic hoarding is counterproductive, but having an extra week or 2 worth of necessities isn’t unreasonable, particularly in view of possibly needing to shelter in place or be quarantined.

          If everyone was just reasonable about it, there would still be plenty.

      24. NoLongerYoung*

        7# of Lavazza coffee beans (super cheap at business costco, folks… especially compared to Keurig cup coffee).

    4. Crazy Broke Asian*

      I read the Dear Therapist’s Guide to Staying Sane During a Pandemic, written by Lori Gottlieb, earlier this week, and I’m immensely grateful for it. I’d been feeling a bit guilty for enjoying WFH and the bonus leisure time when the world is struggling with the virus. The column’s both/and framing was very helpful. Definitely recommend it!

      1. Canuck girl*

        Thanks for this, really appreciate it… just read it and it gave me a sense of sanity and peace…even tho the nagging anxiety is still there lol, but, framing it the way Gottlieb did, helped me.

      2. AnonoDoc*

        Enjoying work from home is exactly what we need you to do! You are doing your part in the war effort!

      3. old curmudgeon*

        My son sent me an email with the subject line “Cool thing from the Rotterdam Philharmonic” that puts a whole new spin on WFH. It brought tears to my eyes, and even though the link will probably put this in the moderation queue, I am sharing it here. My kid’s email reads:

        They telecomm’d to perform The Ode To Joy. You can turn Closed Captioning on in YouTube if you want to see the translation of their message at the beginning.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eXT60rbBVk&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3kkIsgVFYK4JbEsBb4o4QwkcgUFCOkhApwz_kcJHtA3u5QU35CIy2IL58&app=desktop

    5. Scc@rlettNZ*

      The NZ government announced a four level alert system to try and prevent the spread of Covid-19. We are currently at level 2 but I personally think it should be at level 3 (which would mean schools closed and non-essential businesses working from home).

      We have one chance to get ahead of this thing and I really hope those in charge aren’t leaving it too late.

      1. MistOrMister*

        I wish the US would go into a mandatory lockdown. We’re beyond the point where we need it. It is unfortunate that as long as the government doesn’t implement the stronger options, this thing keeps spreading almost exponentially. It looks like for every person trying to practice social distancing, you’ve got however many more saying this is a hoax or won’t impact them and going to crowded places. It’s scary. I can do everything right for weeks or months and all it takes is one boob coughing in my face in Giant and now I’m infected…

        1. Tau*

          Over here in Germany, I’m feeling conflicted about lockdowns. Some states already have them, mine doesn’t… but frankly, the measures we’ve taken and the official recommendations are such that if people followed them, it should actually be just as effective but still leave people a little room for flexibility. And most people do seem to be following them! But you keep hearing reports of young people gathering in groups in the park sharing a beer bottle (!) and people having “corona parties” and, like, at that point? I too am hoping for a mandatory lockdown.

            1. Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

              I’m in Florida. That made me so mad. Beaches should have been closed from the start. It’s not like we didn’t know they were coming.

              1. OhBehave*

                I have friends in Florida who plead with people to stay home. Some ignored them. A friend is have a great vacation there, posting pics, etc. She is not getting much response!

          1. Asenath*

            In my part of Canada we have almost no cases, and the ones we have are from travellers, so, so far, no community transmission. That we know of. We’re pretty much shut down anyway. Everything I usually do (except grocery shopping, which I don’t need to do because I always have lots of the basics) is shut down, although one online course is still going ahead. It was offered face-to-face as well, but now, obviously, it isn’t. So I’m pretty well in quarantine because there’s almost nowhere to go and nothing to do! The people I know best are pretty compliant, probably because they tend to be older and some are caring for family members who are at risk, but at least two cancelled vacations to well-known spring holiday destinations. I’ve heard from both that many, many people are still going there with all the holiday crowds and are not worried about corona virus!! I catch myself thinking that we are going to far – but then I remind myself how viruses spread and what’s happened in other places. Economically, this is a disaster too – I’m OK, but a lot of people are losing income and businesses are losing money and I’m not sure that the assistance programs will make it all up.

            1. Anon for this*

              I’m in Ontario, and we officially only have cases from travellers or close contacts of diagnosed cases too…because in order to get swabbed and therefore make it onto the case count, you have to be symptomatic *and* have either a recent travel history or close contact with a diagnosed case. There are almost certainly thousands of community-acquired cases in the province, we just don’t know who or where they are because we’re not looking for them. You should assume you have community transmission in your province and (continue to) act accordingly.

              1. Asenath*

                I agree, I think there’s little doubt that there are community cases in Newfoundland that haven’t been detected yet. I think they’re setting up more testing sites this week, but they are still going to have nurses screen the people who want to be tested. I suppose that makes sense, that they want to use the tests for the sickest and most at risk people first. I doubt the have enough supplies to test everyone.

          2. Myrin*

            Yeah, I’ve had my fist day of lockdown today! *waves to the north*

            I actually have a special… voucher (I guess?) from my employer, a drugstore, allowing me to go to and from work because we’re “systemrelevant” but in any case, I’m a very unexciting person and other than this strange gloomy feeling in the back of my head, this won’t change my life significantly.

            I gotta say, though, that I’m surprised you see most people following the recommendations and stuff because honestly, at least here, people 100% brought this onto themselves. I mean, maybe it’s because I’m from a big tourist-y region, but while I did see overall fewer people out and about during the last week, there were still so many people just going hiking in big groups or chilling at the lake or taking their kids on bike tours and I’m just like “can you not pls”. I’ve seen more unreasonableness and selfishness during the last few days than I really care for. :|

            1. Tau*

              *waves to the south* Hi there! Hope lockdown is treating you well, I’m now expecting to join you there come Monday!

              Honestly, we were out again today and now I kind of want to take it back. /o\ I had the impression that the measures were having more and more of an impact as the week went on and that yesterday the city was basically a ghost town, but today there were loads of people out and about…

              …but it’s actually super hard to estimate what that means, because basically everyone was in groups of <4 people. So, like, are these families who already live together and are getting some sun and fresh air while keeping their distance from everyone else (which, to be fair, my parents and I were also doing), or are people meeting up? I really can't say. I definitely get the impression that everyone in my social circle is taking this ultra seriously, but I'm having a hard time getting a grip on the mood of the general population.

              Definitely agreed on the unreasonableness and selfishness that's been on evidence, though. I'm _really_ hoping it's sunk in by now. One of the local Verbindung houses (er, the closest equivalent to this is probably a fraternity for the non-Germans) had a party last weekend and today dropped a letter in our mailbox offering to do the shopping in the neighbourhood who's at risk. Something of a turnaround there! (My mother: no way will those plague-ridden guys come near our doorstep…)

              1. Anne Kaffeekanne*

                [waves all around north and south] we’re not in lockdown yet either and I thought today was waaaayyy better than earlier this week, I have hope yet! I went for a long walk (all by myself) and saw only one bigger group in those 2.5h – everyone was either also on their own, couples, or very obviously families.

          3. Julia*

            Yeah, I hear from my family in Germany and can’t imagine what is going on right now, because Japan is pretty much business as usual.

        2. WellRed*

          The city manager shut down all bars and restaurants for St Pats. A bartender at a nearby town posted on FB: Hey, city’s closed, come celebrate with us! The gov has since ordered them all closed. For the record, pretty much no one else took bartender up on the suggestion.

        3. 653-CXK*

          The only thing a mandatory lockdown would do is have a vicious rebound effect once it’s lifted.

          A lockdown would give the people the false sense of security for only a limited amount of time…then when the lockdown is lifted and people think it’s all over is when the virus hits very hard, because the virus bided its time for a fresh environment to strike.

            1. ThatGirl*

              That’s because they have extensive testing in place, so they know who needs to stay home. All of this distancing would be less necessary if we had mass testing.

          1. AnonoDoc*

            It at least buys us more time to get supplies. And hopefully to flatten the curve. We are already a few days from being overwhelmed, and I am not in a part of the country that is a real hot-spot. This is real and we need this YESTERDAY.

            1. AnonoDoc*

              My hospital is literally begging the general public to donate anything that can be used as personal protective equipment. And the CDC is telling us health care front-line workers to use BANDANAS when we run out of face masks. I just cannot say strongly enough how serious this situation is!

              1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

                There is at least one facebook group now dedicated to people sewing face masks for distribution to hospitals and such. I’ve heard conflicting things on how useful they are but I will probably see if I have any suitable fabric around the house and make a few.

              2. Professor Plum*

                Look for the Facebook group Crafting Relief for America. Instructions and patterns for those who sew and a system to get the masks where needed. Plus there’s a request form for organizations to request DIY face masks.

        4. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

          I am really dreading what might happen in the US. So many places are utterly unprepared to have a lot of sick people at once, and so many have little or no access to health care. I know we talk about it a lot on here but man, it is really worrying. I’m afraid I might lose a lot of relatives in the next few months. :-(

        5. Dan*

          As a country, I do not want to see a total lock down. I do think the major densely packed cities (hi NYC!) have their own problems and thus their own solutions, but I don’t think that the solution they need is appropriate everywhere.

          I live in the suburbs of a major US city, where my lifestyle pretty much always has me social distanced. I’m an introvert and really do want to live by myself, but I do not want home confinement. I do want to be able to get out and get some exercise, and would like to get takeout and do what I can to keep some local businesses afloat.

          1. Tau*

            FWIW, most (all?) lockdowns in Europe have exceptions for things like personal exercise and going to buy essentials (food and medicine, mainly). I’m expecting them to declare one here any day now and I’m praying they’ll follow suit because I would like to spent 30 minutes or so on my bike pretending I have a commute each day.

          2. Oxford Comma*

            My state now is effectively in lockdown. You can leave to get groceries, go to the pharmacy, your doctors. You can get takeout or have food delivery. You are allowed to run, ride your bike, walk. I just wish we had done it sooner.

            1. tangerineRose*

              I’m still surprised more people don’t do this on their own. Once it was clear it was a problem, I’ve been isolating myself except for groceries and medicine kind of things. Who wants to get sick and/or start a pandemic? Also, when I have gone out, I’ve had disinfectant wipes with me and wiped down anything I touched and my hands.

          3. Salymander*

            The area I live in is currently under a shelter in place order, and it is ok to go out for exercise so long as you maintain social distancing. Actually, a lot of people are walking every day that never really did before. We can go to the grocery store or pharmacy as well. It is really not too bad. If it helps to slow the spread of the disease, so that the healthcare system is not overwhelmed by huge numbers all getting sick at once, then I am happy to stay home.

      2. PurpleMonster*

        Also in NZ – I think it will be at level 3 or 4 sometime next week. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is just to introduce people to the new alert system and prime us for the later stages soon. Slamming us into stage 4 would just create mass panic and we don’t need any more of that after my last trip to Pak n Save.

    6. Vic tower*

      My stress buckets are so full right now I cried at work yesterday. I’m 17 weeks pregnant, my husband had to have major emergency surgery two weeks ago and then needed readmission for a complication. And at work I’m head of a hospital department (I’m a doctor) so I’m going to loads of extra meetings about corona virus to try to plan our response. Plus all my usual clinical load. I want to be a leader so others can feel supported and encouraged but I am so close to my limits.
      I’ve wanted to be a mum for such a long time and I was so looking forward to being pregnant and savouring it. And now it feels like the most awful time and I find it so hard to just be happy about the good stuff.
      How is everyone else coping?

      1. Laure001*

        So sorry Vic Tower, you are in a very tough situation! Of course you cannot relax right, it will be better when you are reassured about your husband’s health….

      2. Pigeon*

        Hi Vic, I don’t know if you will see this but you’ll be in my thoughts. I hope you can find moments of joy and and we are so grateful for everything you are doing.

      3. Jules the 3rd*

        By prioritizing what I can make happen, and forgiving myself on what I can’t.

        Try do do an hour of your favorite thing on your next day off. Also try to take a small, meaningful break daily – maybe turn off your phone for 15 minutes? The ‘always on’ situation, of working a health care front line job in a pandemic while also pregnant and caring for your husband, is a level of tension on top of the work, see if you can give yourself even a tiny break from it.

        Deepest sympathy.

      4. OtterB*

        Sympathies! This is stress on top of stress. My situation is much easier, but all I can suggest is mini-breaks. A few minutes of meditative breathing (in – hold – out to a rhythmic count). Notice the small good things: a flower, a smile.

        Wishing the best for you, your husband, and your colleagues.

      5. AnonoDoc*

        I am so sorry! The number of meetings and the number of times a day everything changes (I am also a dept head, which is why I come hear to learn the management side!) is so stressful, and my family are all healthy!

        Virtual shoulder to cry on here.

      6. AnonoDoc*

        another ps — I decided after complete chaos on Thursday that I need to stay calm to keep my staff calm and carrying on, but also, the future is uncertain, and if this is going to kill me, then I sure as heck do not want to spend my last days/months in a panic. So I am making sure I walk outside — even if it for 5 minutes! and enjoy the early bulbs starting to come up, the birds coming back. I am cuddling my husband more than ever. And looking for humor where I can find it.

        Assuming your meetings have all moved to virtual — look for the “teleconference bingo” meme going around. I think yesterday I hit all but one multiple times!

      7. AnonoDoc*

        another ps — I decided after complete chaos on Thursday that I need to stay calm to keep my staff calm and carrying on, but also, the future is uncertain, and if this is going to kill me, then I sure as heck do not want to spend my last days/months in a panic. So I am making sure I walk outside — even if it for 5 minutes! and enjoy the early bulbs starting to come up, the birds coming back. I am cuddling my husband more than ever. And looking for humor where I can find it.

        Assuming your meetings have all moved to virtual — look for the “teleconference bingo” meme going around. I think yesterday I hit all but one multiple times!

        Arrrgh having trouble posting again.

      8. Sam I Am*

        I’m thinking of you.
        Remember that being happy during hard times and being sad during bright times are emotions. They can conflict with each other and make you feel guilty for being the opposite of how you might expect yourself to feel. But they’re emotions, and they’ll come and go as they like. So when you have the joy, feel the joy. When you have the sad, feel the sad. Forgive yourself for feeling both at the same time when it happens.. it can be confusing! This is an amazing time for you, and I’m rooting for you!

        Good luck to you, your family, and on and on into the world.

    7. MistOrMister*

      Anyone else enjoying the social distancing and feeling guilty about it? Working from home is a dream for me. I’m near my cats all day, can wear comfy clothes (I’m still getting dressed….have not yet joined the no pants for X days club,ha!), toss my robe on top for warmth and coziness, and have my meals freshly cooked instead of having to pre-make and heat at the office. I’m already not one who goes out a whole lot and I’m talking to my friends (via text or IM) the same amount as before, so I’m not feeling isolated. I might feel differently if we were actually locked down and not allowed to leave our houses. But for now, I am enjoying myself. And it makes me feel bad because I know the social distancing is tough on a lot of people. Not to mention, it feels like taking enjoyment in the pain of others since this is only possible because of a serious illness that is causing a lot of pain and suffering.

      1. Laure001*

        I have been self quarantined for ten days and I love it. My husband and I work easily from home, I get a lot done, I write more fanfiction:) :) in my free time, and I am saving a lot of money from restaurants and cafés. I know though that I am extroverted enough that I’m going to miss my friends soon. And I will miss going to a great restaurant with a cosy atmosphere and good wine…! But basically, yes, I enjoy it. :)

      2. Anne Kaffeekanne*

        It’s tough for me, but it helps me a lot to hear that it’s really good for other people. Please keep enjoying yourself, please don’t feel guilty!

      3. Outside Earthling*

        Yes, I am enjoying the altered lifestyle. I don’t think you should feel guilty. It’s a very different thing from enjoying the crisis itself. I am single and don’t have kids so I don’t have the difficulties others have around childcare and finding a quiet space to work. My favorite things in life are reading novels, listening to music, watching Netflix and doing jigsaws. Now I get to do more of that. Also, I’ve been dealing with quite a lot of family-related angst and boundary crossing recently and it’s just easier to manage that and disengage now. So yes, I am taking to the changes well. That could all change in a heartbeat of course if I or people I love become unwell but for now, I am enjoying doing more of the things that make me happy. It’s nice to see there are others out there who feel similarly!

      4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        It’s not really any different for me. I left my house about once every two weeks before. My only real impact is that we were supposed to be leaving for Disneyworld this afternoon for my husband’s 40th birthday, and he’d been looking forward to that for a year and a half :(

        1. Max Kitty*

          Lots of sympathy on the missed birthday visit! The same thing is likely to happen to me, except Disneyland. I’m going to pick an “alternate birthday” date in the summer and go then, wear the birthday button, and do all the special things I was going to do on my birthday trip.

      5. Not So NewReader*

        As a kid if my parents sent me to my room, it did not feel like punishment at all. I think as an adult my enjoyment of my own house is an extension of the earlier “denning” thing I enjoyed. It’s comforting to me in some ways.

        I think the best we can do is when others reach out to us, either online or by phone, we can make the effort to chat with them. Eh, we never know how we are reassuring others just by being willing to spend some time with them.

        My older friend is concerned because she heard that very soon we will not be allowed to have people in our houses. So I suggested we wait until the warmest part of the day and sit outside in our own lawn chairs a bit apart from each other. We can visit and chat that way. We will see how this idea goes for us.

      6. MOAS*

        I don’t think you should feel guilty about it. my default mode has been everyone is suffering through this. I know there are people who normally live like this and that’s cool but I definitely also feel that being forced to do what you like is different from actually doing what you like. Anyways, as long as you’re not talking to someone who’s distressed and saying this is fun and enjoyable, you’re OK.

      7. Ranon*

        I’m glad you’re enjoying it! Hopefully that means you have the emotional resources to help hold other folks in your life up if they need it.

        I’m definitely feeling lucky over here- my kiddo’s at home so we’re having to combine work and parenting but I have a wonderful co-parent and we’re both able to moderate our workload so that things aren’t overwhelming. And it turns out I really like my house! We are always going out and doing things but holing up when we’re spending time in all our rooms is so different from my maternity leave which I basically spent on our recliner.

      8. Old and Don’t Care*

        Job loss and shuttering of businesses is tough on people too.

        Feel whatever you want; it doesn’t make any difference anyway. But I hate when decisions that need to be made get framed in terms of “how long people can put up with being cooped up”. There’s a lot more to it than that.

        (I don’t mind being home either, for the record.)

      9. Anonforthis*

        This is me. I usually suffer pretty hard from depression, but it is like my depression has lifted. I feel great. I love working from home. I feel so relaxed and stress-free. I haven’t cried in a week (my usual crying frequency is multiple times daily). I haven’t felt suicidal in a week (usually this is an hourly feeling for me). I would never wish this on the world just for my own mental health but I’m going to try to get as much from it as I can.

        My therapist was laughing at me when I told her.

        1. The New Wanderer*

          It can be a real help though. My daughter has a lot of anxiety centered around school and now that schools are closed for a while, her mental health has really improved. She has wanted to home school for years (basically all of elem school) and now it seems it really suits her.

      10. Grapey*

        Not at all guilty here. Also not guilty for being grateful to not have kids or for having a happy marriage given all the complaining I’m seeing on my social medias about people having to stay with their family.

      11. OtterB*

        I miss people from my canceled weekly activity. My young adult with intellectual disabilities is home with her part-time job and her multiple community activies canceled, and she’s a little bored but mostly self-entertaining. My husband will miss some group activities and his volunteering stint at a hospital, which doesn’t want volunteers right now. Meanwhile, I admit to a certain quiet pleasure in seeing All The Things melt off our shared calendar. I am enjoying it for the moment. But I expect that will wear off before this ends.

      12. Amethystmoon*

        I’m enjoying it, although I do put on jeans and a T-shirt and brush my hair and take showers. But it’s the kind of t-shirt I can’t even wear to work. We still have to go in on a limited basis, though if they make even grocery industry on lock down and close the offices, they won’t have a choice. But I work in an office with a warehouse attached, so I don’t see how they can close it down. The warehouse people will still have to come in. I think they will have to be forced to adapt to using less paper if this thing lasts a while.

      13. Gatomon*

        Yes, I don’t know how I’ll go back to the office now. I am lucky enough to have a great WFH setup by semi-accident and it sure beats a dingy dark cube with an aisleway directly behind me (people walking behind me makes me anxious). I’m very introverted so chatting via IM is enough for me usually, I’ve taken week-long staycations where I’ve left the house maybe twice and loved every second of it. I get plenty of sun now through a south-facing slider. I’m considering picking up a lawn chair so I can work from my patio if the wifi is strong enough now that spring is happening.

      14. Filosofickle*

        All the Enneagram videos videos about 5s in quarantine start with “THIS IS MY MOMENT”. It me.

        I’m already a hermit, and nesting at home with my partner is my ideal life. What’s interesting is I’m actually talking to people MORE right now and it’s perfect for me. I’m the one reaching out, which is even weirder, because I know they need connection and it’s much easier for me to take care of people via virtual visits. Lots of meaningful connections without leaving the house!

        Sadly my mind I can’t completely escape the weight of a collapsing economy, including my own bleak income situation, so it doesn’t all feel good. And my partner is miserable. But puttering around at home cooking, cuddling with him, and taking hikes…yeah that part feels good.

        1. Overeducated*

          Yes on connecting more. I have a baby, a young kid, and a shortage of money and PTO as a result, so I don’t get out to cultural events like performances or see far away family and friends much. Now I can stream opera, a discussion group i can’t usually get to is meeting online, and we had a huge extended family video chat this morning. I feel like these are lessons to take back to “normal” life, whenever we get there.

          1. Filosofickle*

            I hope so, too! I’m seeing so many cool things being shared online — dance classes, school plays, music performances. We’re doing a good job at reaching out to each other and putting video to good use. On neighborhood walks, everyone waves now. Companies are learning that lots of things CAN be done from a distance.

            For how long did disabled and aspiring WFH folks hear that things simply could not be done remotely? Now suddenly the world has figured out how to hold remote conferences and events. It was always possible, they just didn’t want to.

      15. Anonnington*

        Dude. Yes. My work means going out in public a lot. I’m really enjoying having a break from that.

      16. Anono-me*

        As, someone who is finding the social distancing difficult. I am glad for you. And I am glad that you shared that your current situation is one that is good for you. The Silver Lining stories are a comfort and joy to me in a stressful time. Please don’t feel guilty my account.

      17. noahwynn*

        First, don’t feel guilty, you haven’t done anything wrong. You can enjoy something that others dislike or hate without enjoying it at them.

        I’m definetly not enjoying it 100%, but I’m learning that maybe I’m more extroverted than I have always thought. I’m seriously missing people. I live alone though and have worked from home since Monday. I do like how much I’m cooking at home though, and I did lose a few pounds this week because I’ve only had takeout once.

      18. The Rat-Catcher*

        I and my kids have been sick since Tuesday so no enjoyment here yet, but I suspect there will be (at least for a little while) when we are in better health. I had only a couple of hours each day to spend with them; now I have them home for a while.

      19. Sunflower*

        If there was an end date on this, I think I’d enjoy it much more. My friends and I joked last month how we’d love being stuck inside for 2 weeks- but that would be if we knew it would only be 2 weeks.

      20. KR*

        Honestly I already avoid people a lot in my life and will go through periods where I rarely leave the house for weeks. Social distance is business as usual for me except not being able to travel everywhere. I crave being outside and exploring.

      21. Meepmeep*

        I’m finding that my social life has not changed in the slightest, which is sad and pathetic, but true, alas. The people I talk to every day are my wife and daughter, who live with me, my mother (on the phone), and my best friend (on chat). I still do exactly the same thing while quarantined.

    8. DistantAudacity*

      It’s very interesting to see the various approaches taken by different countries/governments on closures etc. By which I mean US, UK and rest of Europe/Far-East Asia.

      Sitting in Norway I have to say I am very concerned for the US, what with seemingly late actions, lots of people unable to stay at home for economic reasons, the health care coverage (esp in vulnerable populations), etc.

      The economic ramifications are going to be severe here in Norway like everywhere else, but at least there will be basic support systems in place covering most, if not all. Things have been mostly closed for a week, government is stepping in with lots of support to people and businesses and banks (so that they can support businesses and people), paid sick leave and everyone is covered by a national healthcare service.

      1. MistOrMister*

        I am hoping this might force some needed changes for the US. I am sure a lot of people not seeking to get diagnosed (not like you can get a test anyway with the low supplies!!) because while the test is now free, good luck affording the health care if you have a serious case. I think this is really opening a lot of people’s eyes.

        It really is fascinating to see how each country is handling things! I know WHO doesn’t really have any authority, but I wonder if this will cause some sort of global pandemic team to be created – one that actually has some ability to enforce things. But I suppose probably not. Probably too much politics at play.

      2. Lady Jay*

        Sitting in the US, I am also very concerned for the US.

        We’re having more trouble than other countries coping with the disease thanks to a combination of factors, but the big ones include 1) inept leadership at all levels (national, state, local), 2) a national ethos of you-can’t-tell-me-what-to-do-laws-don’t-apply-to-me (we put individualism above the community), and 3) longtime underfunding of education, science and public health.

        Like MistOrMister below, I’m hoping it forces some needed changes – but while some seem to be happening (Detroit & New York keeping people’s water on, for instance), I’m not holding my breath generally.

        1. Doc in a Box*

          The hardest thing about the US response is how the federal government basically told states and localities, “Get your own supplies, don’t expect anything from us,” … and then promptly outbid said states and localities for masks and ventilators.

          I work in an outpatient setting, so we are converting to telephone or video visits for the time being. Until we shut down entirely because all doctors and nurses have been deployed elsewhere; we’ve been told there is a very high likelihood of this in the near future.

          Meanwhile, boxes of gloves have grown legs and walked off (they are now locked in a badge-entry closet) and people are bringing in gallon jugs to steal our hand sanitizer. We never had masks anyway, otherwise those would be the first to go. We’ve had to close down the medical school and the research enterprise in an effort to preserve PPE; almost all of our peer institutions have done the same.

          I get that people are scared and panicking, but we are the people who are going to be taking care of you when you are at your lowest, and we can’t do it safely, we can’t do it at all!

          1. Old and Don’t Care*

            I’ve seen a lot of stories about ramping up ventilator production. ((Whether trained medical staff will be the next chokepoint there remains to be seen, I suppose, but that’s a problem for another day.). But I haven’t seen much about ramped up production of masks, gloves, etc. I desperately hope this is happening and just not sexy enough to make the news.

            1. trolled substances*

              Trump placed an order for 500 million gloves. These should arrive in 18 months.
              Still need more. Experts say we need 3 billion gloves for the next year.

            2. AnonoDoc*

              Ventilators don’t do any good if we don’t have the nurses, respiratory therapists and docs to staff them. We are in short supply of all but especially nurses and RTs. And it takes a lot longer to train them (or cross-train nurses who haven’t seen a vent since they were in nursing clinical rotations) than it does to build the machine.

            3. AnonoDoc*

              Replied to another post on this I think. Trained medical staff is ALREADY a chokepoint, and will get worse as healthcare workers get sick. And it takes a lot longer to train up health care workers than it does to build a vent.

            4. c-*

              Today I read on the news about a group of engineers in Asturias (northern Spain) that is developing a process for reciclying masks, and another that is designing open-source blueprints for ventilators that can be 3-D printed from anywhere in the world. I was glad to read about it, so I hope it helps you too :)

          2. Dr. Anonymous*

            The Society for Critical Care Medicine has an emergency online course for physicians to get some minimal skill in critical care that is free. I’m hoping our subspecialists who are in forced idleness because of canceled elective procedures are availing themselves. I’m in primary care and I’m living the telephone life for all respiratory care and seeing non-respiratory patients who needs exams so they don’t all go to urgent care. Video visits starting up next week. The whole face of medical care in this country will be entirely different after this.

            1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

              Frankly I hope so, in a good way. There are probably many things that people don’t really need to go to the office for, segregating people to some degree for different issues might help prevent spreading diseases around more generally. I really hope that this disaster will result in a saner health care system.

              1. Dr. Anonymous*

                I agree, we need some changes. After all of this we will also have to change how we pay for medical care as there is no clear model to pay for much of the work that is being done now. It’s exciting but also I don’t know what it will be like.

            2. Doc in a Box*

              Yes! I have been reading the Internet Book of Critical Care through my quarantine! I learned a lot more than I ever did in my ICU rotations as a resident.

            3. The Doctor is In*

              Am doing telemedicine now from my primary care office. It’s surprising how much you can do that way! Using the Medici app (free version available) and my EMR has set up free telemedicine app.

        2. fposte*

          Oh, the individualism thing is *so stark* to me. It’s like our American brains struggle even to perceive how intermeshed we are and that when you take a risk you’re exposing everybody you contact nonconsensually. People say “If I get it I get it,” ignoring it’s that “If I get it my family/friends/shop clerks/medical workers/get it.” It bothers me enough during weather emergencies when people are like “Hey, I’ll weather it” and end up putting rescue teams at risk, but this is throwing your loved ones under the bus.

          Pundit Mark Shields has spoken for a long time about the fact that Americans have, since World War II, lost the skill of collective sacrifice–he’s been mainly referring to the volunteer military service, which draws disproportionately from some demographics and leaves others untouched. But I think the truth of that is coming out now about self-quarantine, and it’s going to make the tragedy unnecessarily worse.

          1. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

            Also the way people are clearing the shelves at stores not thinking to leave anything for anyone else. This pandemic is really bringing to light how Americans care only about preserving their own lives and their own family and don’t give damn about anyone else.

            1. Filosofickle*

              I keep hearing that if everyone would buy “normally” then we’d have food on the shelves but it’s more complex than that. It’s true there are jerks over-buying (no one should be buying 20 packs of TP), but it’s also true that people can’t shop “normally” right now. Demand is simply higher than capacity.

              We’re being told to have 2 weeks of food on hand. The CDC says 30 days! Two weeks of food for a family can be a LOT. I don’t know anyone who shops that much at one time. With more people stuck at home without offices and school, you’re covering more meals than normal. Lots of people barely cook regularly, so they’re buying more than they usually would. Shoppers may be buying for more than one household — last time I shopped it was for a quarantined person as well as my household.

              And at the same time, we’re being told to go out as little as possible and minimize trips. So, yeah, I’m going to buy more than I would normally. I won’t buy beyond what I need, but I will try to buy for two weeks and that’s a lot.

              My point is, if every family in America is shopping for 2 weeks for whole families eating 3 meals a day plus snacks at home, the stores will be stripped clean. It’s not all panic buying. Some of it is people just trying to follow guidelines and stay safe.

              1. Misty*

                This.

                While I’m sure some people are panic buying or stocking up a lot, my roommates and I (6 people) are now eating 3 meals at home a day! Before this we were never home so we never ate at home. All we used to have was sandwich stuff, alcohol, and coffee supplies in our kitchen. I used to have coffee in the morning on my drive to college, eat a sandwich I brought from home at college, and then eat dinner at my friend’s houses, my parent’s home, or at college. Now we have food that can actually make meals. But it took quite a bit of shopping last week to be set up in order for us all to live/eat/work/school at home.

                1. Salymander*

                  Yeah, my teenager is home all day every day and eats all meals and snacks at home. That is a lot more food. Must be having a growth spurt or something.
                  Also, husband works in an essential industry type job, and lately has been working 16 hour days. When he is off work, he is either crashed out asleep or eating soooo much food. I have been cooking and baking almost constantly in an effort to keep up.
                  Btw, those if you staying home in an effort to slow the spread of the disease? Thank you so much! You are helping people like my husband to keep doing those essential-to-life type jobs (hopefully) without getting sick. At least his commute is better anyway. So, thanks!!!

              2. Dan*

                I 100% agree with your statement “it’s more complex than that.”

                I live by myself (and thus only have to feed me and the dog.) My normal routine is to commute 25 minutes to the office, and eat lunch at the company cafeteria 5 days a week. Dinners are a mix of cooking in and eating at fast casual places. A couple of times a month, my SO and I head into the city center for a “nice” dinner. Normally, I grocery shop every week or two, and the core part of my shopping is usually to buy enough ingredients for one or two “serves 4” size meals. (Meaning, I cook once and it stretches 2-3 meals.)

                Well, for those of us who can do so with minimal impact to the business, work has us on mandatory WFH. So that’s 5 lunches I now have to procure that I otherwise wouldn’t. I’m not in a lockdown state, but I neighbor a major city and another state that sort of us. So on my side of “the river”, most restaurants have closed their dining rooms, with some closing up shop altogether. Takeout is available at some places. But to hear some people talk, even getting takeout should be a no-no.

                So now I’m planning for 14 meals a week in-house, whereas normally I’d be looking at less than half that. And part of this whole social distancing thing *does* mean minimizing trips to the grocery store, which by definition means buying more when I do go. Buying enough food for two weeks, which is 28 meals, is a *hell* of a lot more food than I would normally otherwise buy.

              3. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

                Yes, this. I went to the store the other night and bought a little more than I intended (but still we’re talking one of those wheeled baskets full, not even an proper cart). The guy ahead of me in line was chatting to the checkout clerk about panic buying and strongly hinting that I was doing that, so I felt a little self-conscious. But on the other hand I have been in the house by myself for two weeks, but my husband decided at the last minute to come here to stay (he was in the other apartment we rent for work purposes) in case we go into major lockdown. So I bought some extra stuff for both of us.

              4. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

                I was mainly referring to the people hoarding toilet paper and cleaning supplies, especially before the lockdown set in. It makes sense for people to be buying more food now.

              5. Senior Montoya*

                Yes, I got the stink eye while in line at the grocery store two weeks ago, but I was buying for my family (which now included an unexpectedly home college kid) plus for our office manager, who was unable to get to the store herself because she was working so many hours for us.

              6. Quinalla*

                Agreed, it is much more complicated. There are some assholes going in and buying 20 packs of giant TP, but most are just buying more than normal because they have to.

          2. Amethystmoon*

            This is because there have been several generations since WW II. I talked to my 97 year-old grandma the other day to see how she was doing, and she said it wasn’t even like this then. Though they were limited to going out in groups of 4, but things weren’t closed. I also think it helped that most people obeyed the rules a lot better during that time, but what do I know?

            1. fposte*

              It was also a time of more concentrated messaging, I think, as opposed to now when you can have thousands of voices telling you anything you want to think, and there was a more palpable enemy.

              I bought new Spanish flu books but work has been so intense that I haven’t had time to read them; I’m curious how much divergence in response there was then.

          3. Nervous Nellie*

            Ah, Mark Shields! Yes, he has been trying to raise the alert. Back in WW2, we were told to grow victory gardens and share with neighbors, and everyone participated in metal drives, rubber drives, etc. After 9/11, we were only told to go shopping. How the world changes.

            I am seeing frequent mentions of this in many news sites, so hopefully, Mark Shields is getting some help spreading the word. No man is an island, much as some would like it.

            1. Clisby*

              There was also rationing, so people were limited in how much of certain items they could buy.

              1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

                I am astonished that supermarkets and the like did not unilaterally bring in item limits after the first day of panic buying, to be frank.

                1. fposte*

                  I think some of that might have been because a lot of it wasn’t from bulk buying per se but from one thousand people who each bought an extra box of pasta or pack of TP.

          4. nom de plume*

            Fposte, as someone in a country that has gone into lockdown, it’s mind-boggling to see that the US reaction continues to be “The Man can’t tell me what to do! Tyranny!” You know what, I’m *grateful* the government stepped in. People were, quite frankly, being negligent, irresponsible, and selfish – as if the pandemic was somewhere, out there, irrelevant to them, and god forbid they endure a bit of discomfort to preserve hardship further down the road.

            Do I love being in lockdown? Nah. Do I feel safer for it than I did two weeks ago, seeing crowded urban spaces full of large groups? You bet.

            1. Lady Jay*

              I really wish the government would step in, frankly. All those little “where are you politically” quizzes show that I’m fairly anti-authoritarian, but in this case, we Americans are proving that we’re not capable of making socially conscious decisions. This is where government comes in: to *force* decisions necessary to the communal well-being.

              Plus, it would help my fairly careless but beloved family members to stay the f at home.

          5. Lissa*

            I’m in Canada, and it really feels like a spectrum here. There are a few people who aren’t changing their lives at all if they can help it and are only not doing things because everything is closed. There’s people following the most strict recommendations, not seeing anyone or leaving their house at all. And there’s people who are somewhere in the middle – not going to crowded places but still having a friend or two over, being careful with things like handwashing and not getting too close, but still doing takeout and getting coffee where possible. The people doing nothing and brushing it off or being actively mad things are closed frustrate the hell out of me, but I understand those people who are making changes but maybe not doing everything as well as they could, because humans are seriously bad at isolation, and changing things in response to something they can’t “see”. I just hope the fact that there have been sweeping changes will at least help slow the spread.

            I was saying to my friend the other day that it’s the weirdest disaster, because unlike a war or earthquake it isn’t really visible to many people who don’t work in the healthcare system. I don’t know anyone who’s sick, walking around outside feels “normal” if I don’t get too near businesses to see they’re closed. It’s just…really disorienting!

              1. Lady Jay*

                Hit me about a week ago that this is bigger than 9/11 – by orders of magnitude. But it’s easy to miss for precisely this reason: so many people are going about as normal, so many people are not visibly sick (esp. if you’re not the kind of person to spend time online), that it doesn’t *feel* like something of that scale is happening.

            1. Tau*

              I hear you about the weirdest disaster thing. I think another one of the ways in which it’s so surreal is that (at least here) it’s not quite disaster state _right now_ but disaster state is now unavoidable. Like, the current number of patients here is manageable and small compared to the overall population, our local hospital is losing money because it’s cancelled all non-urgent operations and the doctors are sitting idle, but it’s going to explode in the coming weeks and there’s nothing we can do to prevent it. The whole thing is just eerie, as though you’re watching a tsunami hit in the slowest of slow motion.

              TBH, I think this is one way in which the drastic measures help – everything being closed signals to people “this is not business as usual, we are in crisis mode” in a way they can understand.

              1. fposte*

                I saw somebody describe it as seeing the tide drop before the tsunami comes in. That pretty much summed it up for me.

            2. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

              This is my thinking too. People have trouble understanding things that aren’t visible to them, like a virus. I also think it is arrogance on some people’s part. People have trouble believing that something as innocuous as a tiny virus is outside of their control and can alter their lives so significantly. People also tend to feel entitled to things that benefit them individually, regardless of how it might affect others.

              I’ve actually been reading articles about how plant and animal species in quarantined lands are thriving because of the lack of human traffic. It’s almost as if this virus is a favor to nature.

          6. Have dragon, will quest in exchange for hummus*

            I still remember, a couple of weeks ago, overhearing someone behind me talk about how “everyone’s politicizing this and blowing it out of proportion.” Holy Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, Batman.

        3. Former Employee*

          I have to disagree in terms of the state and local level. I believe that our Gov. Gavin Newsom (CA) is doing a great job here in CA. I also applaud Gov. Cuomo of NY and some of the other governors who have really stepped up.

          There are also many county and city executives who are not as well known who have really shown why they are the right people for those types of jobs.

          However, the fact that we squandered valuable time at the beginning thanks to the current occupant of the White House could cost us dearly.

          1. Lady Jay*

            So much of this depends on *which* state or locality, though. Yeah, Gavin Newsome has done great. Jay Inslee has as well, as has Andrew Cuomo (as you point out). But the governors of OK, TN, FL, and WV, among other places, are failing this pretty badly. Other places, like IA, are trying to chart a middle road – I believe IA’s governor is on record as saying that widespread testing is not urgent.

            As someone who lives in one of these states, I can’t help but see them as complicit in worsening the pandemic. Sure, 45 is definitely the main cause of the dysfunction here, but some governors are refusing to step into the leadership void in ways that have potentially catastrophic implications.

      3. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

        This. I was reading an article written by a journalist who is returning home from Japan, and his flight to Brazil from Miami was half anxious people desperate to return to their countries, half Americans agressivly not following WHO recommendations.

    9. TimeCat*

      I am really struggling mentally. I have never had an event make me question my sanity as much as this. The fact that life can just break down this quickly, the unknown, and the fact that our leaders are bungling this so badly.

      I have a toddler and I am trying my best to make sure he does well through this. But I am also expected to telework as well. I feel like I can’t keep up.

      1. Agnodike*

        I’m doing my job in healthcare management from home with a three-year-old. I have 10 000 meetings a day about pandemic planning and also 10 000 meetings a day about toy cars and playdough. I’m trying not to schedule anything for my kid’s nap (please, please let her not drop this nap!!) so I have time to cry. I feel you.

      2. Sunflower*

        Please look into tele-mental health if you can and are interested. NY has called for mental health folks to volunteer their time if possible. My therapist does not usually offer virtual sessions but will be for the next few weeks.

      3. merp*

        Similar boat. I’m still expected in the office 3 days a week, and I’m so scared to get sick or get someone else sick. I can’t tell anymore if I’m overreacting, underreacting, if my reactions are reasonable.. I’m already an anxious person, especially about health issues, so maybe I’m being paranoid! But I don’t know how to talk to my boss about this when I don’t have a solution other than “I think we should close” and she’s not the person to make that decision.

    10. coffee cup*

      I feel a bit weird about things. I’m a classic ‘can stay at home with my own company for hours’ introvert who loves reading and chilling and yoga at home. I also enjoy socialising and having my ‘fix’ of hanging out with friends before I need to retreat. I think I do need that balance for things to keep going. And although it’s only been a couple of days and I’m really just doing what I would normally do at a weekend so far, I’m finding it weird and I’m feeling restless. I can’t settle to watch a show or read a book or do any yoga. I’m not sure why and what to do about it. Doesn’t help that I’m on my SSRIs and they are generally fine but make me very tired. I live alone, too (which usually I enjoy!). I just can’t work out what to do with myself and worry that working from home will have a bad effect on me.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        It sounds like you’re similar to me. I’m a homebody but I like to get out and talk to people, and this situation is having an impact on my focus. I already work from home, but I had been working hard on crafting an outside-of-the-home life.

        As for what to do… try to set up calls with friends. I find it helpful to have a project with clear goals– for me, it’s baking a loaf of bread or cleaning a room. Even laundry helps. I put on my headphones and listen to podcasts and do the work. Also, taking a long walk (if you’re not on lockdown) could help.

        Don’t beat yourself up for feeling out of sorts! We are in strange times.

        1. coffee cup*

          Yes, that sounds very similar! I always thought I’d love to work from home as I like being on my own and doing quiet things, but I didn’t enjoy it at all on Friday. Mind you, I haven’t set up my desk properly yet. That’ll be tomorrow’s job, and hopefully it’ll make things seem more ‘work’. I’m calling my friend tomorrow and trying to set up going for a run with another (socially distanced, of course!) during the week. I just don’t want to be weirdly stressed and tired all the time!

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            This will sound flip, but I promise I don’t mean it that way– let yourself be tired and stressed. You have nowhere to be, so take a nap if you feel tired. When the stress comes on, give it 10 minutes to take over your brain, then take a deep breath and start putting your desk together. Don’t fight whatever is going on in your body– fighting it will just postpone it.

      2. Juli G.*

        I’m also struggling. On top of it, a lot of my anxiety stems from house clutter. And honestly, I am not a neat person. My standards are not very high. I work a lot of hours and unfortunately, I’m the only one that cares about keeping our home picked up. I have been down a person at work and finally got the opportunity to hire and train someone new so my workload is even worse. Now I’m trapped in this house trying to clean while my family just makes a mess every time I leave a room. At least I could break away and be at work, in my office, with control. I feel completely helpless.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          At least you’re in your own house. I’m stuck in someone else’s space after moving and have very little privacy. I can’t even really cook properly. I don’t even have my stuff.

          Getting out was the right thing to do from a job-hunting standpoint, but if I’d known this stupid pandemic was coming, I would have stayed where I was.

          1. Tau*

            Sympathies – I’m at least intentionally in someone else’s space (me + living alone + WFH + lockdown would be a mental health disaster, so I fled back to my parents’ place), but my god do I miss my stuff. My sewing machine! My desktop! My books! :'(

        2. Former Employee*

          Can you afford to rent a small, temporary space to use as your personal office? Since almost no one is renting space now, you might be able to get something pretty cheap.

          Since I don’t know the make up of your family, I can’t suggest much. If they are all adults or if there are children, but they are older, I’m not sure why they are making messes. Of course, if you have toddlers or other little ones, it’s natural that messes appear wherever they go.

          1. Juli G.*

            I could afford it at this moment but we’re waiting for the moment my husband is no longer allowed to work and then we’ll be without some income. We’ll be much better than a lot of people but we’re budgeting in anticipation.

            My kids are old enough to clean up after themselves although young enough that it makes sense I need to remind. The main issue is my husband. It’s one of those problems I’ve been ignoring and now it’s a matter of Confront It With No Escape or continue to ignore.

            One blessing – we do live in a suburb with a fenced in yard so my kids can be outside as spring arrives and we have more space.

      3. Natalie*

        I’m somewhat similar, and my book club did a virtual happy hour on Thursday and it was really nice! I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, honestly. Doesn’t need to be a group event, but maybe have virtual lunch or dinner with a friend or watch a movie together?

        Also, if you have paper and envelopes, writing letters is kind of fun, too, and has a different feel. I’m writing to my 100-year-old grandfather because his hearing really doesn’t allow for phone calls, and he’s obviously in a care facility with no visitors allowed.

      4. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

        Same. I’m not minding the telework aspect of it. But I would like to still be able to socialize, which I now can’t do.

    11. nep*

      Not minding the lockdown, as trips to the grocery store for myself or Shipt were just about all I ever did outside the house pre-COVID19 (aside from a class I taught). Just wondering how things will go for my grand niece who will have her 6th birthday in a few weeks. I don’t know yet what her parents are planning; her last couple of birthdays involved a bunch of her friends, of course. I just want her to have a fun day, as unmarred as possible by the current situation.
      Has anyone here celebrated a young child’s birthday amid the shutdown?

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        So far, food shopping has been quite civilised here. We are in lockdown, but the supermarkets have got in extra security, and are limiting the number of people in the store on a one in, one out basis. Pasta and tinned tomatoes are in very short supply, but then, since most of them come from Italy, I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise.

        1. nep*

          This is what our Trader Joe’s is doing. Workers manning the door, handing out wipes and gloves, controlling the number of people inside. Good idea. It was great to have some space in there.

      2. Ranon*

        In our area people have been cancelling/ postponing kids’ birthdays for two weeks now, which is about two weeks before we had confirmed community spread. I hope her parents can find a way for her to have fun at home, maybe video calls? My kiddo is younger but we sent a video of him singing happy birthday to one of his friends.

      3. fposte*

        Virtual parties are definitely a thing, and you can bet that there will be guidance and suggestions for those all over the internet pretty soon.

        1. Nervous Nellie*

          Virtual everything is becoming a thing, and it’s great. I ‘had lunch’ with a friend by phone this week, and a lively happy hour phone visit with another friend last night. We sent each other pics of our little homemade cheese trays, and of the bottles we were ‘testing’. Great fun.

          A pal’s teenage son has a video conference birthday party with his buddies tonight. We are so fortunate in all of this to have phones & internet to cushion the isolation.

      4. Jules the 3rd*

        A friend just had her kid’s 7th. She gave a holiday from the take-home work from school, took a walk with him, let him play as he wanted, and arranged a ‘surprise’ bday party with family over computers and phones. So he got a cake and to blow it out, and people sang happy bday to him.

      5. King Friday XIII*

        Prince Tuesday turns 6 next month and right now we’re just… going to have a party later, whenever later is, and probably facetime her grandparents for her birthday. One of her presents is a screen time upgrade since she’s more of a gamer and less of a watcher now and we’re letting her have that a little early.

    12. MOAS*

      I’m in some professional groups and majority of the members are self employed and are able to work from home. There are a few who have been posting about their part time/seasonal workers who want to work remotely and some of the comments feon other “pros” are so disheartening – they’re being lazy, they want free money, they’re hysterical they deserve to get fired etc. they’re the worst.

    13. OyHiOh*

      This week, I had the absolute, utter pleasure of reporting our Conservative jewish congregation to the Health Department. You see, early Thursday morning, a state executive order came down, prohibiting all groups of more than 10 and this time (change from a previous “10 or more” order), it specifically mentioned faith based groups. In defiance of this order and basic common sense, the board president sent out an email saying they’re still planning to meet this week, with cautions and caveats galore.
      *We were told all hard surfaces will be wiped down with disinfecting wipes on Friday (LOL! COVID sees your whimpy wipes and calls your bluff).
      *We were told to wash our hands immediately upon entering the building (the logistics of doing so without spreading bugs defies me given the street level lobby and the half set of stairs down to the bathroom – it’s not “go downstairs” so much so as, this building was constructed with weirdly narrow risers on the stairs and even I, a youngish healthy stable adult need the stair rail to be safe).
      *We were told to stay at least six feet apart in the service and during the social afterwards (y’all, they’re still planning to serve food on Saturday!)
      *We were told to RSVP to the board president and, “if more than 10 people RSVP, we’ll have to reassess.”

      Without revealing personal medical histories, I know for a fact that every single person who attends regularly is a high risk/vulnerable adult by a multiple of 2 or more. In addition, most of the core group travel in from various small communities in our region, most of which do not have local hospitals. This is a disaster waiting to happen. So Thursday, I emailed the Health Dept, included a forward of the email in question, and left it in their hands. Naturally, I’ve not heard back other than acknowledgement of receipt, as it should be. I may happen to wander by the synagogue tomorrow and note if any cars are present. If there are, I may happen to send another email to the Health Department, and this time including the attorney general’s office as well. His office stated on Friday that they want to know about violations of the state executive orders “if you’ve contacted your county Health Dept and not received a response.”

      I understand the resistance to change. Physically and metaphorically, it’s an old congregation. Mental flexibility is not one of their strengths. For several people in the core group, their memories of this congregation go back to their teens or younger. It’s an emotional touchstone. A reassurance. God knows we’re all looking for touchstones these days! But this is a stupid thing to do. If someone drags COVID into that building, it will sicken the entire group, and spread it out into a bunch of little communities that can least withstand the assault.

      I spent most of Wednesday having an all day anxiety attack. At that point, I’d been fighting with our school district for five days straight, was in information overload, had not had a vocal conversation with an adult human in five days, had not (still haven’t, was an early adopter of social distance) been within touching distance of an adult human in five days and just couldn’t keep it together anymore. Random bouts of crying all day. Called Neptune that evening – funny, that! We’ve been in close contact for a year now and this week is the first *phone* conversations we’ve ever had. Talking to him helped. I realized also that I was going to have to get over my phone aversion and start calling people so I’ve been slowly trying to do that. It’s not easy – I feel the tension of ICU phone calls every time I pick up the phone – but I’m re learning how to do this.

      School district is a disaster in about a dozen different ways. It all boils down to, we’re a place where the superintendent’s word is “god” and will not be argued with. There’s been issues with optics and transparency for decades, that are becoming glaringly obvious and uncomfortable as well. For example, we’re going to digital classrooms a week from Monday, when our spring break ends. This is fine. They announced the transition early enough that teachers have some time to open up Google Classrooms, set up learning opportunities, etc. The problem is that we’re a district where most families have two or more children. We’re a working class, service industry dependent town. It is not a given that each child in a family can individually access the internet. Because of an odd quirk in state law, districts can (and ours does) distribute local funds based on property taxes in a school’s neighborhood, more funds to higher income neighborhoods, less to lower. Yes, groteque especially given what I’m about to say. The school my children started at had five technology carts that teachers had to check out for their classrooms to have access to individual computers. The school my children go to now has a Chromebook assigned to every individual student. At our present school, getting a device into the hands of every individual student would be as simple as the principal arranging a way for parents to pick up their children’s assigned Chromebooks (we signed tech responsibility forms at the beginning of the year and they are worded to include take home responsibilities and consequences). However, allowing some students to take home these devices would be . . . . awkward given the obvious inequality in distribution.

      At this point, I’m out of stones to fling at the district. I’ve fought my best fight. I’ve pointed out over and over again how it’s not that what they’re doing is “wrong,” it’s that their communication to parents is unclear, vague, and confusing. There’s a lot of “this isn’t best practice” going on as well but I no longer have energy to fight that either. In the next 10 days, I have to figure out how to keep my writing going (I may not, looking at grocery store temping for the duration) and somehow also educate my children – an exercise which I predict will not go well given that I’ve already fail at home schooling once in their young lives. The first attempt ended with a 4th grader reading at 1st grade level and a 2nd grader with zero phonetic awareness – this is what happens when a college educated parent not trained in reading specialization attempts to homeschool two kids with severe dyslexia!!! Supposedly, we’ll have just two weeks of digital classrooms but I predict that when the executive order runs out in the middle of April, we’ll either extend digital classrooms until the first week of June when we’re supposed to end (OMG, please dear god no), or just throw in the towel, close school down, and hope for the best next fall.

      Most of all, I’m struggling with the duality of existance. The tension between distance and near isolation for the good of my community pulling against the need for human touch. Look, I love my dragons. We hug, kiss, hold hands, groom each other’s hair, but at the end of the day, that’s energy I put into them. It’s not energy given back. The care and love they receive is not the same as a hug shared with an adult human friend. It’s that second part of human contact that I’m dying over.

      1. Peasblossom*

        First, I’m sorry it sounds like you’re really anxious (I am too; it’s been…tough), but I hope your account of how you reported your congregation to the Health Department was exaggerated for comic effect. While I absolutely understand and think it’s critical to practice social distancing as much as possible, I’d like to think you at least expressed your concerns to the board president first and perhaps even helped to brainstorm ways for the congregation–one that it sounds like is particularly vulnerable and isolated–to stay connected.

        1. OyHiOh*

          Sadly, a tragedy in the making, not a comedy. The attempts to talk to the board president, and others in position to influence him were already tried, and failed. He, and the core group of attendees, seem determined to press on, regardless of the information presented. This congregation does not have a rabbi, nor is there a head rabbi for the community or region whose authority I could appeal to before going to the Health Dept.

          I gather that board president, and possibly one or two others, believe that the crisis is overblown and a much less serious situation than “the liberal media” is making it out to be. These are difficult and perilous times.

          1. Laura H.*

            While I think in some ways, it’s an over-reaction that’s more colored by all the jerks who are panic-buying (and in some cases are making fools of themselves while they do it), the folks not following the guidelines, and, to a point, the media.

            I’m sorry for the situation you’re in, and I would do the same things if my congregation wasn’t taking the necessary precautions. While I do believe the faithful and practicing need our religious communities now more than ever, we need them to minister within these guidelines so that they and others can stay healthy.

            1. OyHiOh*

              See, the rabbi of our other congregation set up a livestream Friday night and conducted a beautiful Shabbat observance from her home. We usually have around 20 attend an average Friday. 40 plus people watched the livestream. That’s the sort of thing you do!

              1. tangerineRose*

                I think you did the right thing and may have saved lives. The livestream sounds good too.

        2. Anono-me*

          I believe that these are people that Oyhioh has interacted with for some time and that some of the people in leadership positions have a history of not listening to gentle advice about problems that the group leaders don’t want to see.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Duality of existence.

        You know, the times in my life I have felt the most drained was doing elder care. As you say here, how do I put stuff into me so I can continue on having people so dependent on me? They were on the taking side of life it was not reasonable to expect them to give a lot.

        A super helpful thing I learned is that this is NORMAL to feel drained. There wasn’t anything “wrong” with me. So yeah, it’s normal to need adult contact. And it’s normal to feel drained from attending to other people’s needs. Throw in a strong sense of obligation and this gets to be some heavy duty stuff. This is normal to feel overwhelmed.

        Several areas to look at:

        1) Self-care. [Insert long paragraph here. Punchline: Remember it’s not an all or nothing thing. Some attempt will give you some benefit.]

        2) Daily routines. Getting up, eating, dressing etc around the same time each morning no matter what. Take a nap later if need be and if you can. Meals at the same time every day. or within a predictable window of time. Going to bed on time. This is a good one not to skip. It’s good to know the day will end and we can rest. Our routines can be oddly comforting. When my husband died, I found I liked doing dishes. It was familiar to me; it was not hard so I didn’t screw it up too much; and it gave me that quick fix sense of accomplishment when I otherwise felt gutted. Our routines can anchor us.

        3) Pair up with people. Check in with them on a daily or every other day basis. I bet Neptune would do this with you. But you are a nice person, so I bet you can find 1 or 2 other people who would be willing to partner up for check ins. You don’t need a ton of people but you do need the consistency.
        I had an aunt who emailed me every day. As her husband got sicker and sicker she started emailing twice a day. Then her husband passed and we switched to the phone. We called each other every morning and every night. Then my husband passed and we just keep going.
        Key point: This was a person who gave as much as she took. We had a back and forth going on. We’d find ideas to help her with her concerns and we’d find ideas to help me with my concerns.

        Then my aunt passed away. wth. Life comes at us fast.
        Along came my guardian angle friend. And I am back to talking twice a day with a person who is willing to be a constant in my life. We don’t need a ton of people to feel anchored. They do need to be well chosen people.

        4) Be strategic about where you put your energy you use for things outside of your family and home. This can work into a very long paragraph, so I will cut to the punchline: I see a lot of things that I feel are wrong. If I put time into fighting those battles I will only defeat myself. I need to take care of my basics first. So when I chose a battle, that involves others I try to pick those battles that benefit me as well. It can be a huge piece of humble pie to think about not fixing some of the things I see. In times of crisis we have to streamline and we cannot take on every issue we see. I don’t think you are doing this, but it is a real easy pit to fall into and we need to deliberately watch to make sure we don’t. Of the issues we take on, we have to decide how much time we will put into it.

        Oddly this ties into our sense of being overwhelmed. When we cut down on the number of battles we are willing to take on, we can reclaim some of our own brain space (and therefore sanity) and we can retain more of our resources (energy, compassion, thoughtfulness). My wise friend used to say, “On a better day, we can go in on a situation and get the desired results.” I have used this saying so many times. It seems to work out that way, too. Usually there is a better day later on and I do get good results.

        Keep making tweaks to your life and your day until things look different for you. Keep the tweaks small and reasonable.

        1. Jean (just Jean)*

          Thank you for your comments: a tutorial on how to get along with less than usual–which may not be the same as “less than necessary.” Hard-won wisdom, I’m sure.
          Perhaps this hard time can become a reset moment for society? We’ve become so go-go-go and gratification-focused. Perhaps we can scale everything back and redistribute resources in a more human fashion rather than forcing everyone onto the treadmill of chasing the best job, highest salary, largest home, most extensive physical pleasure–and feeling completely insignificant if we can’t obtain all of the above.
          I recall my unmarried great-aunts who carried on, not always blissfully, but usually with some measure of cheer, purpose, and constructive action. People have navigated terrible times before us, and probably will afterwards also. Not to minimize the current situation, but to reassure that sometimes “keeping going/keeping calm” is the best we can manage. That, plus small adjustments to improve our circumstances or outlook.

        2. Auntie Social*

          I remember being so tired after a day of taking care of my MIL w/Parkinson’s, and about to go to my unclean house with unfed pets, and MIL would ask “And what delicious meal are you making my son tonight?” “Wine”.

        3. Anono-me*

          This is a really good response to Oyhioh. But I think a great deal of it applies to all of us. Thank you

      3. Pippa*

        Sending compassion.
        About the home instruction – you’ve fought as best you can, next is to follow their instruction as best you can, then leave it. Put it down. Use whatever schoolday time is left to instruct your dragons in things in which you and they are strong – creative things. Let your dragons into the writing process. Spelling does not count for free writing although you can go back through and help with that if needed. Have them illustrate. Or make diaramas with toys. Take pictures.
        Measure and cook together. Plan meals. Talk about nutrition and budgeting, serving size and shopping. Teach them laundry symbols and ironing. I obviously could go on. Part of the home school journey for me was teaching my kids about what I was doing as I was doing it or as we were doing it together. Not all the time in a”life is a lecture” way but in a shared way. sometimes they really wanted a lot of info, sometimes not. But that’s kids.
        My point is – you’ve got this even if the school district doesn’t deal with it in the best way.
        Sending compassion. This is all so hard.

      4. Mozzarella*

        I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having a hard time. Be kind to yourself.

        I was wondering if this post should be in the corona virus thread? There’s maybe more chance that you’d get helpful replies there.

        1. Mozzarella*

          Please ignore my comment, hadn’t realised that the post had already been moved… which explains why there are now plenty of relevant replies!

      5. AnonoDoc*

        Thank you. For all of this.

        And I have a family member who is a teacher in your state who is dealing with all of this scrambling. As always, crises hit those already hard-upon the hardest.

      6. Anono-me*

        The situation with your congregation must be so hard on you. Thank you for not just throwing up your hands and saying ‘Whatever. I have enough on my plate’.

        I am glad that you have so many loved ones in your life including Neptune and the Dragons. Can you Skype or FaceTime sometimes rather than talk on the phone?

        Do your kids have to stay in this school district? In my state and in a couple others at least, kids can transfer school districts. (In this state it is touted as part of a ‘solution’ to all the racial inequities in education, so I don’t know if it applies to all states.) I know most people don’t do this because the logistics are just too difficult. But if everybody is going to distance learning, why not? Also, I checked Ohio Connections Academy is a completely online public schools program.

        I would like to say thank you. I have taken a great deal of comfort and inspiration from people such as yourself, who have gone through absolutely devastating experiences then bravely and generously shared their re/building process.

        1. OyHiOh*

          We have state wide open enrollment. The catch, of course, is that parents are responsible for transportation outside their district. Actually, parents are responsible for transportation outside their zoned *school* but that’s a slightly different issue. I don’t have a car. Hopefully I’ll get one this summer but in the meantime, I have to figure this out with what is available in our district. There are a couple charter schools that might be possible. I’ve reformed, in the wake of early home school attempts, and become a hard core proponent of public school education but if it comes down to it, I’ll go with a local charter school.

          1. Anono-me*

            To clarify what I was wondering was if the kids could transfer to a better online or temporarily online school for the rest of this school year? No matter what school they go to right now, it’s going to be online, most likely for the rest of the school year.

        2. OyHiOh*

          And thank you for your kind words, all of you who have chimed in over the past year. I feel like I’m failing at life most of the time (dealing with a SSA dependent benefits disaster this week on top of everything else . . . ) but trying to keep going best as I can.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            It’s not failure. It’s that life is that freakin’ hard. We all need each other. You have not failed, not by a long stretch. Matter of fact, you have jumped a great many hurdles.
            You have made it this far. You will be okay. I can see that from here.

      7. Dr. Anonymous*

        Hugs and best wishes. Pretty much all the children in the country will fall behind in the next few months and I think your only job as a parent is to keep your children alive and civilized as best you can and be supportive of whatever educational system they end up with later when it’s time to pick up the pieces. Parents should not feel required to transform themselves into professional educators. There will be some way to make up the time.

        1. OyHiOh*

          And, as always, the fall behind/try to catch up curve will impact the IEP and ESL kids the hardest. It’s a rock and a hard place and part of the duality that I’m struggling to accept: That in this world “social distance/shelter in place is vitally necessary” and “shelter in place negatively impacts people experiencing domestic violence, the most vulnerable students in our public schools,and some people with mental illness.” I think that, eventually, I’ll be able to accept that both exist in the same hand, but right this minute, my brain does not like that state of affairs.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Accept vs. Know.

            We can know something exists, that is not the same as accepting it. We can know something exists and be powerless to change it. That is not the same as accepting it.

            What we can do is realize that when we feel vulnerable ourselves it is super easy to be aware of those who have even greater vulnerability. We feel our own loss of power and we become painfully aware of others who have lost even more power/autonomy. This becomes a slippery slope. It’s hard to climb that slope that is sooo darn steep.

            You might want to take a look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. A sense of belonging, having friends having an intimate relationship (if wanted) come before self-actualization. Self-actualization can be changing the world or whatever we think it is. Relationships are our foundation that we need before we head out into the world. Ask any lonely person, they will tell you, “My job, my life, everything would be better if only my mother were here/my BFF hadn’t moved away/my sib would talk to me/etc.

            You’ve been doing life at 90 mph for a while now. And it might be time to take a look at relationships. Maybe there are people you would like to reconnect with or just check in with. Now might be the time to do that.

            Another concept to think about is a rippling effect we have. I help one person. Because they got some help they are able to go forward and help 3 people. Those people in turn help 2 people each because of the help one person gave them. Indirectly I have helped 6 additional people and I don’t even know it. We have no idea what we are sending out when we help just one person. No I can’t help that person suffering DV who I don’t even know about and I am sure this person exists. But maybe I unknowingly do something nice for their parent and in turn the parent finds just the right words to talk to their adult child. I will never know this either. We send out a ripple. We impact more people than we know.

            Alison can count up her views and see her ripple that she is sending out. This is very rare in life, we just don’t get to see it that much.

            I actually found a lot of comfort in knowing that I had to get me on solid ground before I could do much about world problems. Thanks, Maslow. My ground still is not that solid. Matter of fact, I think I had a set back tonight. However, I can still hope that maybe I did/said something this week that was of value to someone, somewhere. And if I am lucky my set back will clear up tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed.

            1. Epsilon Delta*

              Expanding on that thought (albeit with a different choice of vocabulary): “Acceptance is not the decision to do nothing. It is only the intention to agree with reality, and I have never found a time where it was better to disagree with reality…This is not the same as agreeing that it ought to be that way, just agreeing that this is reality right now and that I would allow it to be real.”

              Highly recommend reading the whole post. https://www.raptitude.com/2013/11/accept-it-whether-you-can-change-it-or-not/

          2. Dr. Anonymous*

            You’re right, of course, and it sucks. That was clueless of me.

            And of course since no one else can fix it right now you want to do all you can to keep your kids’ developmental heads above water and not just worry about basic safety. But if you can’t do it all, it’s not because you are not good enough. It’s because the situation is too huge, for whatever it’s worth.

      8. Former Employee*

        “The school my children go to now has a Chromebook assigned to every individual student. At our present school, getting a device into the hands of every individual student would be as simple as the principal arranging a way for parents to pick up their children’s assigned Chromebooks (we signed tech responsibility forms at the beginning of the year and they are worded to include take home responsibilities and consequences). However, allowing some students to take home these devices would be . . . . awkward given the obvious inequality in distribution.”

        I don’t understand this. If each student has a device assigned to them and each student can take one home, what is awkward and where is the inequality?

        1. OyHiOh*

          Our neighborhood school has a Book for every kid. Other neighborhood schools in our district do not. So if one group of 5th graders can take Books home, and other groups of 5th graders don’t have individually assigned books to take home, that’s problematic at the district level. Raises questions. Why do some kids have this resource and others do not?

          1. nonegiven*

            Let your kids take them home and do their school work.

            Then talk to School Board/State/Dept of Education/Google/Comcast/Spectrum/Apple, etc. and see if you can get them to do something for the other kids.

      9. Bibliovore*

        oh OyHiOh,
        Thank you for checking in. I have been thinking of you. For you and yours. Authors and illustrators reading aloud and activities. Give yourself a break. You are doing great. on Facebook #operationreadaloud.

    14. Siberian Kitten Gal*

      Hubs and I made the decision to wait for trying for kids (was going to start this year at 33, prob waiting till coronavirus dies down when I’m 34). Which means 1st kid at 35.

      As an only child who cried out of sheer loneliness, and knowing my family history of stillbirth and miscarriages, I know this means having 2 kids or 1 or none. But hubs is adamant (and I agree) we can’t knowingly try for kids when there’s blood bank shortages which in hemorrhaging during childbirth, could mean maternal demise.

      Silver lining: we’ll have more money saved once kid is born, and people can visit us in the hospital. Also, blood banks and hospitals not overwhelmed with coronavirus. And we’d have a baby shower and celebrate with all our friends and family (I never had a wedding shower and my wedding was tiny, so this is important to me).

      1. TimeCat*

        I feel you. My poor friend just had an IVF cycle fail right before this all hit the fan. Now, who knows when she can try again.

      2. Jean (just Jean)*

        Sorry to read this. You must be hurting. But you’re being wise and (speaking as the parent of an only) smaller families are still families, the way that couples and singles and people with housemates and people living with much-loved animals are still families. You can still have some of those times of craziness and closeness, even if it does not look the same as the Von Trapps or the family in Cheaper by the Dozen.

      3. Epsilon Delta*

        YEP SAME. I had two miscarriages in the last twelve months, and I’m now on birth control. We are not having a second kid. I was kind of coming to that conclusion already, but now it’s been made for me.

      4. Panthera uncia*

        I’m so sorry that you were lonely as a singleton, but please know that there are many only children out there who totally thrived in that environment. I’m a loner bookworm, and I adored my childhood. Your child may love it, and if not–you are there, with the personal history to commiserate, and to ensure plenty of play dates.

        Also, something that many people don’t think about: having a sibling does not guarantee the “built-in friend” that everyone assumes. My husband’s brother is a violent addict, and has caused him nothing but misery throughout his life. BIL will become even more of a problem for us once my in-laws are dead, because he lives in their childhood home with them and earns no income. My husband has said many times how much he envies me for not having to deal with siblings.

        1. You're not my supervisor*

          Honestly, my brother is a lovely person and we are not close at all. We talk at holidays. We just don’t have much in common and he lives thousands of miles away. So yeah, siblings arent always close for life, even with the absence of an addict type scenario

          1. Julia*

            This. My brothers have had very differerent experiences with the same parents (very much a “boys first” family) and I have mostly stopped talking to them because it just makes me sad.

            1. MOAS*

              I feel you. I have to take care of my widowed mother, and my brother thinks I’m doing a sh*t job. I thought dad’s death would bring us closer but sadly it hasnt. My husband has 3 brothers and 2 sisters, two of his siblings see him as a cash cow b/c we’re childless (so what do we need hte money for?) 1 has cut everyone off and 1 is flighty at best. Sometimes issues happen as adults, sometimes they stem from childhood. Sadly not everyone can be a Ross & Monica.

              1. JT*

                I feel the same way after my brother died. It’s been hard to get “ok” with the fact that your family won’t ever be who you want them to be. Like if a death doesn’t do it, nothing will be able to.

      5. MOAS*

        I totally understand the feeling of sheer loneliness and wanting siblings – I grew up with a brother 6 years older than me but we weren’t close and I was very lonely growing up. I see my own friends who have siblings (esp sisters) and they seem to be close and I envy it.

    15. Tomacco*

      Many of my college academic classes (anatomy, physiology, pathology etc.) have moved online, and while my instructors and classmates are all doing our best, my heart is just not in it. I’m not retaining anything, new material or old. We’re supposed to go back by March 30th and have mid-terms, but it seems less and less likely that will happen. And even if it does I’ll probably fail them all – I can’t focus on a damn thing right now.

      I’m one of those people who, after much consideration, decided to quit a comfortable, stable job with benefits to go back to school. Global Pandemic was definitely not on my pros and cons list, oy.

      1. Ranon*

        Can you do video call study groups with other classmates? Sometimes having another person helps my brain focus when it would be spiralling about other things left to its own devices.

      2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

        I received an email from my university yesterday! One of the two courses I chose (Legislation) has fully switched to virtual classroom. The other, Physics, is tricky since we have lab activities and the teachers are known to be tech adverse.

      3. Misty*

        Same.

        I had a full time job for the last five years and quit it in February as I went back to college this semester and they weren’t working with my class schedule. If I had realized everything was going online, I would have kept the job.

        Also am finding it hard to care about classes and writing papers at all when it’s all online.

      4. Epsilon Delta*

        I was studying for a certification when this hit. I didn’t have time to study at all this week between flexing my hours to do childcare and just feeling drained. I tried to study this morning. Got about 30 minutes into it and gave up.
        Fortunately I have 6 months to take the test and my boss is fine with me pushing it back. I was originally planning to take it in May.

      5. Filosofickle*

        My partner is in grad school and of course their classes have moved online. He hates it. It’s so much harder for him to concentrate on Zoom, and not getting to leave the house is dragging him down badly. When choosing a school, he ruled out every online program for this reason! He’s already disappointed that they’ve announced rest of this semester will be online, so come summer and fall semesters…I’m not sure how he’s going to manage. It’s a psychotherapy program, so in-person connection and exercises are part of the learning.

    16. Lady Jay*

      Who else is having a hard time figuring out how to talk to family members about taking appropriate precautions?

      I’ve been checking in w/ family, asking them about what they’re doing to stay safe, but I haven’t explicitly told them, “Hey, here’s what social distancing is and here’s why you should do it.” Now, I think I might send that email this week – while my family’s various churches and schools are closed, I found out that my 60-year-old aunt traveled *across state lines* to visit my 80-year-old grandparents, and I just don’t think my family gets how serious this is – how cases are spiking across the country, how easily this is transmitted, and how much it is not. the. flu. I’m not really looking forward to writing this email because I’m a little worried that I’m going to come across as hectoring but also I want my family to be alive and well on the other side of this.

      1. MistOrMister*

        I have no idea what to say to my parents. I am trying to encourage them to stay home, spending a billion dollars to provide them with sanitizer, offering to get them stuff at the store, etc. And then they go out anyway. I go to grocery store 1 to get something they requested and an hour later they tell me they’re at grocery store 2 shopping. Grocery store 2 is half a mile from 1 and I could easily have gone there!! Or they go out to eat or whatever. They seem to feel that this is serious but they also dont have to follow the advice strictly. So….I don’t know what to do either.

      2. Emily*

        I don’t think my parents are currently doing anything wildly inappropriate (my mom is on the internet/facebook enough to be acquainted with the concepts of social distancing, flattening the curve, etc.), but I do think I’m taking it more seriously than they are. On the phone a week ago, my mom said that it was really people over 65 who are higher-risk (both of my parents are 61). They’re also supposed to get their downstairs floors redone/kitchen remodeled in April (I suggested that they wait and my mom said they couldn’t – the contract work had been scheduled several months ago and signed and paid for) and I’m crossing my fingers that their state goes into a mandatory shelter-in-place (or similar) before then so that the work has to be postponed.

        Apparently multiple people in the family are putting pressure on my dad’s parents (early 80s with pre-existing conditions) to take it seriously. I’m not sure how that’s going, but I’m thinking of calling them this weekend to check in and say hi.

      3. Ranon*

        We did the “you need to stay home, this thing will kill you” phone calls last week. It’s not easy or fun! I’m sending my grandparents “here’s a cute picture of your grandkid, are you staying home?” texts every few days and I know my mom and sister are too.

      4. WellRed*

        My 71 year old aunt asked yesterday if I wanted to go with when she heads out of state to visit my 74 yo mom. What?! I told her no and btw, all the restaurants there are closed (big part of what we do for fun). Calling mom later to check in and gauge her level of taking it seriously.

      5. Nita*

        Ugh. I just found out two days ago that my 65-year-old father (who I thought is getting food deliveries) is still going to the store to pick out the produce – the “delivery” is just the store dropping it off afterwards. This despite the fact that there are actual delivery options available. He is NOT in good health and never has been, so I’m trying to steel myself for the fact that this will not go well… I can’t really shop for my parents because I’m probably more of a risk to them than whoever is in the store, at this point (I live an hour away, have been on the subway a lot, and there’s a confirmed case in my office). But it’s not necessary for me to shop for them, if they just get it through their head that they need to stop and make a different plan.

        And my 84-year-old aunt who has a long history of doing unsafe things – traveling all over town on her own, getting lost every single time, and buying all kinds of heavy produce that she has to get up and down several flights of subway stairs (none of this is necessary, she has ride options and her daughter or a health aide can shop for her). She’s gotten away with it so far, often by having someone from the family run out and find her when she’s lost/taking several hours to schlep that stupid produce that she could have just bought in a store next to her house. This year, though, who knows. Just this week she went halfway across town to shop, went to the Botanic Garden, and would have gone to a concert if the venue hadn’t closed its doors.

        My husband and I can’t parent these people… they’re all grown-ups. It feels like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

        1. WellRed*

          I honestly wouldn’t trust some insta shopper to pick out my produce. I’m picky about it.

          1. Dr. Anonymous*

            That’s fine under normal circumstances and I’ve seen some ugly produce. But people making choices like that now means a chance that you’re going to have a primary care doctor who hasn’t worked in a hospital in seven years picking out your vent settings, and means good friends of mine who work in critical care are going to be exposed to LOTS of virus all at once, likely with inadequate personal protective equipment, and possibly get infected and die. So I hope everyone is minimizing contact at the grocery store and that people at risk of complications are not going at all. The lives we save belong to other people.

      6. Seeking Second Childhood*

        A night or two ago Neil Gaiman retweeted something about this from someone in London it was interesting hearing that the Muslim Community there is having the same issue I’m having here with my in-laws. One of them said what finally convinced her father to stay home was that Hajj had been cancelled…so I tried it. My in-laws are divorced so I had to have the hard talk twice.
        Translated for religion: Pope Francis has cancelled public Holy Week events at the Vatican. That got my MIL to agree to watch TV mass. (Yay St. Clair!!)
        For FIL, I also pointed out the new statistics showing a blood type correlation. I’m O- which is the least likely to die if infected, my husband is A+ which is the most likely to die if infected.
        One of those two things worked, and my father-in-law has agreed to not drop by with dinner for 2 weeks and “see how the numbers are then.” Theoretically I’m now doing the marketing for him too since he’s nearby. And both are going to let someone else get the groceries.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I think I overstated it, maybe the Pope actually cancelled current public events and put Holy Week on a tentative list — but I’m willing to be wrong if it keeps them & us safe.
          (Likewise, it’s umrah currently cancelled because no foreigners can come into the city — but with people overseas making plans a few months out, many might have to miss this year regardless.)

        2. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

          I read a post in Tumblr that said “You know shit got real when Jesus doesn’t regenerate this year”.

      7. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

        In the last years, my father has reverted to a balding teenager, dismissing well intended advice, name calling and rude. I’m aware that there’s a high chance he’ll arrested sooner or later for breaking government mandated quarantine. Which will be better for him, but worse for us because the social backslash is merciless and has escalated to doxxing.

        1. fposte*

          I’m afraid of that extreme too. I think that people should stay the eff home and define “essential” a lot more literally than they are, but I also don’t want to get into a situation where we’re calling authorities on individuals because they stood too close to a neighbor.

      8. Sunflower*

        My father is 70 and refuses to stop going to the golf course- did I mention he had lung cancer last year? My parents live in the PA on the PA/DE border and while PA has totally shut done, DE has not. The course is practicing social distancing measures but my sister, who lives next door to my parents, is freaking out. Add this on top that my family already has weird communications outside of a pandemic happening. My mom is convinced my Dad had it back in January when a few of my family members got really sick for a few weeks- I would definitely not rule that out but there’s no way to know(or know if you can get it again)

        Lots of states/cities have put out guidance on social distancing, etc. I’d recommend just sending out what your state (or New York/CA guidance) has said with a ‘not sure if you saw this but this what everyone is doing these days!’ note. Offer to help with questions or concerns they have.

        At the end of the day, I need to accept that my parents are adults and I can’t make them do anything. They watch the news, everything in their state has been shut down. I live in NYC where things are really bad- you’d think it would make them more understanding but I think they see themselves as ‘not a hotbed’ so they aren’t worried .

        1. Mindovermoneychick*

          Your parents must live close to my parents. They are in Chadds Fords. My dad decided to drop golf because he doesn’t care about it that much anyway but was keeping up indoor tennis in DE last we talked. Calling today to see if that’s changed at all.

      9. Not A Manager*

        I have adult children in another city. They are in their 20’s, so too old to boss around but too young to have brains in their heads. They seem to think that “hygiene precautions” mean “when I take public transport I don’t actively lick the hold poles.” I try to give them measured advice, and I’ll repeat it a few times, but if they haven’t changed anything after hearing it seven times I’m not sure what an eighth repetition would accomplish. And I don’t want to turn every phone call into a lecture or they’ll just call less often.

        I’ve told them for weeks to stock up. Not, like, hoard ALL THE THINGS, but get enough that if they can’t leave the house for whatever reason they are okay for food and medical needs. So my kid called me yesterday and was like, “I needed flour so I went to the store and THEY WERE OUT OF FLOUR. So I went to another store and they HAD A LINE OUTSIDE.” My kid was shocked, shocked.

        You can only do what you can do. I am grateful that they have secure housing and as much chance of access to medical care as anyone else with health insurance.

      10. Salymander*

        My MIL went to the DMV after being told that she should stay home because she has recently (like, 2 months ago) been hospitalized for severe (almost fatal) respiratory illness. She is still going out with friends. She thinks that people who shower everyday and do deep breathing exercises will not get sick. She thinks that you can tell who is infected just by looking at them. We keep talking to get about it, but she is on the other side of the country. I am concerned for her and everyone around her.

    17. Rebecca*

      Central PA here – finally, stores are limiting items. And I was able to get toilet paper for my mother, through a friend who works where they make it, and she stood in line after a 12 hour shift with dozens of other workers to buy this one thing for us. Thank you card and gift card will be on its way. I got grocery pickup at Walmart last night, and there were things I just couldn’t get, nor in the other grocery store next door. I have never seen empty shelves like this, no eggs, butter, toilet paper, very few paper towels, no clorox or lysol liquid or wipes (I was able to get one small bottle of Pine Sol). There are now signs in the store limiting purchases, and I’m glad for that, so when supplies do come in, they’ll last a bit longer. Our stores have also reduced hours, Walmart from 24/7 to 7:30 AM to 8:30 PM.

      PennDOT reopened rest areas again for truckers. Zero idea who thought that through…gee, we have a state a bit over 300 miles wide, and with thousands of miles of roads for truckers to travel to bring us our stuff, so, we’ll close the rest areas. Facepalm. After a huge upcry from the people and legislators, finally opening some up again.

      And because PA has draconian liquor laws, and the stores are run by the State, they’re closed and in some cases boarded up. We had one store in my county, and there was a rush – announced Monday that by Tuesday night it would be closed. Now all non life sustaining businesses must close, originally by yesterday, but now pushed back to Monday to let them prepare. I’ve been working from home since Tuesday, and grateful. Interestingly, beer distributors “are to remain open” which is probably a good thing under the circumstances.

      All in all, OK here, I’m just going to go hiking, get out of my bunker, a/k/a basement office at regular times for a walk, just like I did at my office, and carry on as usual. I’m checking on older neighbors, from a distance :) making sure they’re OK and don’t need anything. That’s all we can do right now – stay away from each other, and wait it out. The first confirmed case in my area, in the county next door, was announced yesterday, so it’s coming.

      Oddly, I’m not worried about me, but I am about other people.

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        Yeah, I’m in the South with similar liquor laws and I’m telling people to stock up on the liquor now, and if they’re into specialty beers… that too.

        1. OyHiOh*

          We might get be in the same state. A lot of local restaurants are making a big deal about alcohol to go with food orders. The alcohol sales generate the most income for a lot of restaurants. It’s a good move from a business perspective.

        2. Rebecca*

          We can only buy liquor at the PA State run liquor store, not in a grocery store or any other place. It’s only been within the last 2 years or so that we could buy beer in a grocery store or at a gas station instead of a beer distributor, and there are restrictions – like you can only take out so many ounces from the grocery store at one time, like a 12 pack. You have to literally go in, get a 12 pack, buy it, take it to the car, go back in, get a bottle of wine and another 6 pack, for example, buy that, go out, and if you want more, you just have to make as many transactions that way. I think it’s ridiculous.

          1. Sunflower*

            I think you can buy bottles of wine from restaurants if you’re in a pinch. Also some online retailers will ship to PA.

        3. Clisby*

          Mine (SC) is now allowing beer and wine to be sold curbside. Haven’t heard of anything like that for liquor – here, it comes under different laws.

      2. Panthera uncia*

        Closing the liquor stores is a really, really bad idea. Alcoholics who are cut off cold turkey can die.

        1. fposte*

          The cold truth is that some people will die as a result of the restrictions resulting from the virus. The question isn’t simply “Will people die if we close this?” but “Is it riskier for the populace as a whole to restrict this or keep it running?”

          1. Tau*

            It’s the terrible calculus of our time – all choices will end up killing people, and we have to figure out which ones will do the least harm. We’re almost certainly going to end up with a high death toll from COVID no matter what we do, too, the question is just how high. And even if things like car accidents are likely to go down, I shudder to think of what’s probably going to happen to the murder and suicide rates.

          2. Agnodike*

            Yes, but we’re not closing pharmacies. Alcohol is an addictive substance and also a necessary daily treatment for alcohol dependence outside of a managed care setting. If the pharmacy is an essential service, the liquor store is too, and if they’re going to close, there needs to be a plan in place for distribution.

            1. fposte*

              I’m not arguing for closing liquor stores; I’m arguing that “some people will die” isn’t enough right now to say “then we won’t do it.” Liquor stores are not equivalent to a pharmacies in a lot of ways, , including regulation and alternative availability in a lot of areas; the decision shouldn’t yoke them together.

              1. Agnodike*

                Actually, I think it’s eminently reasonable, as someone who works in health policy and management, to take into account whether our public health policy decisions will disproportionately impact people who are already vulnerable and under-resourced, as the people most likely to die of the DTs are. We should be careful when we make a decision that may negatively impact the safety of a group to put alternatives in place wherever possible, and this is certainly a place where it’s been demonstrated to be possible. Being cavalier about human life is something to do only when all alternatives have been exhausted, and only while being mindful that our society and its citizens tend to unfairly value some lives above others.

                1. fposte*

                  I agree entirely with your comment there. I think your real message is “People should be aware that closing liquor stores may be harmful in ways they don’t realize,” and that I’m on board with. The point I’m making is independent of whether we’re talking liquor stores or pet stores or pharmacies–the math isn’t simply “Closing this will hurt people,” it’s also “How much will it hurt the community, and how much will it hurt the community to keep it open.” There’s no group that should be proof against that kind of calculus, and that’s why I can’t get on board with a statement that says “X shouldn’t be closed because it hurts group A.” We’re past the point where decisions can be made solely on what hurts any group A.

        2. BummerinPA*

          Way late to this, but in Pennsylvania they are actually keeping beer distributors open for this very reason. Which is sad, but I guess helpful for hospitals. Also, the beer distributors supply to restaurants and grocery stores. Because, yes, this is a weird place.

      3. Nervous Nellie*

        Hiya! Ahem – worried for your Mum, you kindly got her TP, and yet you think it’s odd that you are more worried about others than yourself? You are the soul of generosity, my friend!

        Here in WA we are very hard-hit, but our Governor doesn’t yet feel the need to lock us down. Yet. He’s getting there, though, because reporters keep busting people by showing them congregating in parks, beaches, etc. People have blown up his Twitter feed begging him to quarantine us all. Good thing I hit the liquor store a couple of weeks ago. :) I’ve been in for a week, and am ready for more.

        Grocery stores’ social distancing practices here are very hit and miss – some are doing crowd control at the doors, others are doing nothing at all. I won’t need to go out for at least a week, and am worried what I might face when I do. I can live with empty shelves, but not crowded stores. We have had grocery shortages before here when people have prepped for a freak snowfall, so the sight of empty shelves won’t be a big deal. Just inconvenient.

        When you think about it, this could be so much worse. We are not facing a plague of locusts (like Congo), Ebola with its horrible symptoms, a nuclear attack, or an earthquake. We have hot & cold running water, central heating, TV and internet, and each other. While many of us have or will lose jobs (myself included – and yes, I am scared about that) and face great financial uncertainty, we will still have our lives. This is going to strip away all the things that don’t matter. But to be clear, liquor stores matter, LOL.

        1. Rebecca*

          Stay safe out there – I’ve seen the news stories. This could be so much worse! I just realized I was out of mayo, but if I can’t buy any tomorrow, I’ll make some with my immersion blender, an egg, and mustard powder (or whatever it is you put in it, have to look up the recipe). I would like a 5 lb bag of flour. I’m hungry for cake, so I thought I’d make one.

          You mentioned grocery stores – when I went to the store last night, and then for grocery pickup, a woman went into the lobby, grabbed a bunch of wipes, and passed them out to us near the cart area. We all stayed away from each other, and people did in the store did too. I used hand sanitizer many times in the store, and handed an item to a disabled person on a scooter because she couldn’t reach (I asked first, she was glad for the help) and I used sanitizer again before touching the item and handing it to her. While there were a lot of empty spots, people were nicer, more patient and it was more calm.

          Good luck out there. And man, if our governor took our beer away at a time like this – yikes. Put me in the bunker for 2 weeks but don’t take away my Yuengling!!

          1. Nervous Nellie*

            Oh, what a hoot! Yeah, Yuengling. Wow – had it once. I think it’s the oldest American brewery. A national treasure at any rate.

            Your supermarket story is encouraging. We have nothing so calm and orderly here.

            And three cheers for resourcefulness! Homemade mayo is so delicious. You’ve inspired me – I am going to make a quiche today from meat & potato leftovers. That will conserve my eggs and prevent waste. I have a couple of cups of flour left – just enough, and better that I should make that than cookies! :)

            Be safe!

      4. Jaid*

        Some Philly supermarkets sell beer and liquor, so I picked up a bottle of Manischewitz Concord Grape while on a grocery run. I still forgot to pick up butter though. Sigh.

        Oh and while getting take-out, some dude was coughing a freaking lot. If I get the virus because I wanted some onion rings, I’m gonna be so mad at myself.

      5. Mimmy*

        Our state (NJ) is on lockdown beginning tonight at 9 pm; liquor stores are considered essential. I thought it was funny until a friend pointed out something similar to what Panthera uncia said above, that those with alcohol use problems would go into withdrawal and needing to be hospitalized – that’s the last thing hospitals need right now.

        1. Epsilon Delta*

          My being a Wisconsinite may be informing this response, but I imagine that closing off access to one of the few legal drugs at this point in time would incite a Lot of Resistance and Emotions. In addition to the alcoholics who medically need the alcohol, everybody is looking for ways to take the edge off a little.

          1. Mimblewimble*

            Here in Seattle, cannabis sales have increased since the outbreak started. Guess that’s how people around here are dealing with isolation.

    18. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      We’re on lockdown since yesterday. I’m doing just fine, but some people I know are not enjoying this, especially hypochondriacs. In my case, I noticed that my skin is itchy and so sensitive than a mosquito bite left a red patch the size of my hand.

      1. Mimblewimble*

        I’m in Seattle. We’re not on lockdown yet, but it’s coming. My mom is out of work through May (she works in a dental office), and my dad is worried he’ll lose his job at a car dealership, especially now that the big 3 automakers have stopped production. I’m a little worried that I’ll end up supporting both parents (they’re divorced), which will eat through my savings.

        My brother just returned from an overseas deployment so he’s in a mandatory 14 day quarantine. His girlfriend is a nurse and her hospital just had it’s first positive COVID-19 case a few days ago. So she’s worried about infecting my brother. And I had to convince my grandma to not visit her uncle who’s in a nursing home, which was important to her as her social life and things that she normally does to stay active have all stopped so she’s feeling depressed.

        I’ve been sick since Tuesday with symptoms but they’re not bad enough to be tested, according to my doctor. Thankfully it’s just been a bad route of the flu and nothing worse – no breathing problems or high fever.

        On a positive note, I have a secure job where I can WFH, my company is in a position to handle what’s going on with COVID-19, I have plenty of food so I don’t need to go out (I live alone and delivery services are overwhelmed to the point where I can’t even select a delivery day or time), and I don’t mind staying at home for long periods at a time.

        Stay positive, stay safe, and wash your hands!

    19. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’m insomniac in the best of times and this is not the best of times. Middle of the night I find myself dwelling on nightmare scenarios. Usually they melt away after a good night’s sleep. But then Spring Break really did go off like a modern “Masque of the Red Death.”
      So last night’s catastrophising hasn’t faded …

    20. Llellayena*

      Corona and crafting!

      So I saw on tv last night that there are places around the country asking people who can sew to make masks. I promptly emailed my quilt guild and we are now looking into we could do that locally (the stories on tv were far away, not sure how much is happening around here). If anyone has info on this happening in/near NJ, please post so I can pass the info on. Or jump on the wagon to make some for your locality!

      Alternately, anyone else crafting to relieve the boredom of isolation? What are you making?

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        Good to read this! I hope it’s actually helpful (do you need special supplies? Or just a thin layer of padding between the front and back cover?) but it sounds like a great way to give people something constructive to do with their time. That is, the people who actually have free time. Many home-bound folks are caretakers for the young and old. Others are trying to meet (unrealistic?) workplace productivity demands while also wrangling cooped-up kids or spouses/companions. Then there are the unfortunate souls whose domestic unhappiness of whatever type has just been captured in amber. Not fun being stuck at home with a lousy, or worse, companion. I am grateful not to belong to this group.

        1. Anono-me*

          Forbes has mask making instructions that look pretty good. Apparently a tight weave to the fabric and a snug fit to the mask are both very important. (These are instructions for better than nothing masks, not for medical grade masks)

          I don’t have elastic, but I do have hair bands.

          I am going to try to do the Forbes pattern except use a fabric strip looped around the hair band for the ear loops so they can stretch and be snug.

        2. Llellayena*

          The 100m masks linked above uses medical grade supplies, but they hand out kits since that fabric is not commercially available. The other patterns I found use 100% cotton, tight weave. As a quilter, I don’t think that will be a problem for me! Right now I’m just not sure which version will be needed around here and how to arrange where they go when they’re complete.

      2. Emily*

        I actually picked up watercolor painting a few months ago! It’s been nice to have a new, low-stakes, creative hobby in addition to my usual outlets. It’s also a good difficulty level for me: easy enough to paint something that I’m pleased with (because I’m pretty good at drawing and have dabbled in a lot of different arts and crafts over the years), but also a lot for me to learn and work on if I so choose (because I have very little experience with this specific medium).

        Maybe this would also be a good time for me to finally finish the climbing chalk bag that I started making for my boyfriend several years ago…but I haven’t picked it back up yet. The crocheted outside of the bag is completed, but I need to finish the inner bag/closure and sew everything together. Instead of working off of a single pattern, I found around 3 or 4 slightly different patterns/tutorials online and decided that I understood the general concept, which has added a little extra decision-making and problem-solving along the way.

      3. Epsilon Delta*

        My best friend’s birthday is on Tuesday, so I made her a card and a collage of old photos from high school and our early 20s. Mailed it out yesterday, so it might not reach her by Tuesday, but hopefully it brightens her day. Seeing all the old photos lifted my spirits.

    21. JDC*

      Well we are locked down now. Also lengthens kids at home time. He was already 2 weeks into spring break when they stopped school thats fun. Husband was told he won’t be back to work until May.

    22. Coronanonymous*

      Is anyone else dealing with disagreements between themselves and a partner or roommate about how much risk is acceptable, how intensely we should be social distancing, etc.

      1. Coronanonymous*

        Huh, I had a much longer post written out with more context, but only the first paragraph I wrote appeared after I submitted.

      2. WellRed*

        I have 2 roommates. One hasn’t left the house in nearly two weeks and got us stocked (not in a greedy way) with Lysol and TP. Other roommate., who just moved in and now moving out works healthcare adjacent so still working. Not helping with disinfecting and I think she went home for the weekend. Grrr! I just want her gone.

        1. Anonymous ball of anxiety*

          That’s got to be stressful with Roommate #2. As I waffle back and forth between feeling OK and feeling terrified, I sometimes look to how folks in the health care field are behaving for reassurance. My doctor is still in the “just wash your hands and stay 6′ from everyone” camp, and I recently had a video conference with some health professionals who were all in a room together, although sitting a little further apart than usual. But I wonder whether I should find that reassuring, as maybe they have a higher tolerance for risk or just feel like they’re all going to get sick anyway because they can’t stop working.

      3. Panthera uncia*

        My husband has the worst ADHD you can imagine. Like the amount of Adderall it took to rein in his symptoms was putting him into organ failure, so they had to back him off.

        So, you can imagine the fights we’re having over his climbing the walls and insisting that he has to “get the hell out of the house” constantly.

      4. Filosofickle*

        Yes. My partner is taking shelter in place mostly seriously, but that’s only because there’s nowhere to go! Still, he doesn’t take it as seriously as me. If gyms weren’t closed, I doubt I could have gotten him to stay home from that. Yesterday he went to hang out with his mom and brother, who live in separate homes but visit almost daily. His brother has an essential job with a utility so he continues to go to work with lots of people every day. How many people is he coming into contact with? Their mom is in her 70s, I can’t believe the brother is risking bringing all that to her.

        Personally I am choosing not to see anyone or visit any other household, including my own 75 y.o. parents. (Who are high risk and aren’t fully isolating themselves.) I’m doing everything I can to stay safe and it upsets me that my partner makes me more vulnerable.

        1. Mimblewimble*

          If your partner is going to continue to visit his family, he should think about taking disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer with him so he can wipe down surfaces. COVID-19 can spread through surfaces, so it’s not only about who his family is coming into contact with (who could then pass on something to him), but also about what he and they are touching that may harbor the virus (which can then be passed on to him or his family).

          Stay safe!

          1. Filosofickle*

            I wish we had some! We have a well-stocked pantry, but no wipes or hand sanitizer. (It’s not something we buy and by the time it registered they were necessary, they were gone.) Just yesterday I heard of a restock spotted at Target so maybe there’s hope.

            1. Natalie*

              If you have household bleach and a spray bottle you can make a dilute bleach solution for disinfecting. I posted a CDC link down thread with ratios.

    23. Coronanon*

      Is anyone else dealing with disagreements between themselves and a partner or roommate about how much risk is acceptable, how intensely we should be social distancing, etc.?

      My partner and I live in a part of the US that still has pretty low apparent infection numbers (though with the lack of testing, we can’t know the true numbers). So far, the state and local governments have closed restaurants and bars and all large gatherings, But there are the beginnings of community spread, and we do live in a city.

      I’ve always been more risk averse than my partner, and this has caused minor fights in the past. In our current situation, while she’s taking coronavirus seriously (working from home, not going out socially), I worry she won’t take social distancing as far as I think is necessary. For example, she said even if/when there is a big outbreak in our region, she’s still want to go visit her (young and middle aged) family members in a nearby every month or two in person as long as they’re we’re asymptomatic, unless the government orders our community to shelter in place. I, on the other hand, think we need to be prepared to not really see anyone for many months, possibly even longer, starting right now, and try to follow public health guidance as intensely as possible. This is partly for our own health, but also for the community.

      We’re young and largely healthy, though I have a mild case of asthma (it’s well-controlled with medication) which worries me a bit. No one else loves with us.

      It’s frustrating to disagree with my partner about this because it is so serious. I’m not asking which of me or my partner is right, but more for commiseration and/or advice about being in this type of situation.

      1. Anonymous ball of anxiety*

        I’m in a similar situation, in a similar-sounding part of the US. Not sure if you’re noticing this, too, but it’s made more complicated by the fact that my partner’s and my levels of risk tolerance vary from day to day. I went from having a panic attack pumping gas last weekend to feeling OK going to the store yesterday and seeing close friends (who’ve also been having this debate among themselves) for some socially distant drinks to freaking out this morning about how everything I did yesterday was a terrible idea that’s going to get me and a bunch of people killed. My partner’s feelings vary, too – one minute he’s more risk averse than me and I’m the one volunteering to make a grocery run, and the next he’s saying he feels fine grabbing some takeout.

        I think it would help to have more clear and consistent guidance from public health officials. There are still so many mixed signals right now, with so many people in our area still working alongside one another and the public that it feels weird to voluntarily self-isolate completely, and the space for making judgment calls is where we’re having arguments. A shelter-in-place order would remove that space for debate and hopefully we’ll be on the same page.

      2. 90 supply nogo for controlled substances*

        I sympathize with you regarding your uninformed partner. She needs to educate herself with regards to spreading the Coronavirus. She’s the one who could be asymptomatic and giving it to her family members, rather than the other way around.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        Part of the problem with this type of discussion is that it’s going out into the future. For the sake of your relationship, you could both agree to use a wait and see approach. Often times people will say X but when the rubber meets the road they actually do Y. This can be because in the moment there is new information or a more pressing problem. Being in the moment gives us a clarity we do not have now.

        I have a good friend (we depend on each other) and we see things a bit differently. But we both can agree to focus on the needs of today and the needs of this week. This gives us more opportunities to agree with each other than disagree with each other.

        Keep your basics in place. Promise to take care of each other. Promise to keep yourselves up to date so you two can make good decisions this week that you will actually be acting on. You can decide to agree that losing time arguing about the future causes you guys to lose the present. Vow to keep yourselves in present time so you stay sharp.

      4. Epsilon Delta*

        Husband is usually more risk averse than me. That has flipped and now I am the one being extra cautious. For the most part we are in agreement but disagree on the details. Example: He wants to keep going to stores while being careful, whereas I want to order online and pay extra for shipping. I talked to my husband and quoted back something he said to me, “if people don’t stop doing non-optional outings then they’re going to force us to shelter in place,” and since he had said it to me a day ago (referring to the idiots going on spring break) it seemed to sink in. He’s still interpreting “non-optional” differently than me though.

      5. Mimblewimble*

        If you haven’t already, it might be worth having a conversation with your partner about COVID-19, your concerns and theirs, and see if you guys can come to an agreement on what you will do (with the understanding that your plan of action may change as the situation changes). There may be room for compromise: for example, unless your local and state public health officials say otherwise, it may be fine for your partner to continue to visit family and friends as long as she practices social distancing.

        If they refuse to take basic precautionary measures, then I think it’s ok if you take actions that make you feel safe, such as having a plan of shelter in place orders are given; or maybe you clean high touch surfaces more often than normal. Ultimately you have to do what makes you feel safe without going crazy, while maintaining your relationship.

        It’s a tough situation all around, and there is no easy answer. But having a conversation so you can both better understand where the other is coming from, is a good place to start.

        Stay positive and stay safe!

      6. Arts Akimbo*

        Just today I had a small argument about what emergency supplies we needed. He was having a panic attack about the money it was costing us to stock up to the CDC-recommended 30-day food stores, but I mean… it would be more of a panic later on, should we be going hungry– or, heaven forbid, uncaffeinated! He settled down afterwards and is glad we have it, but… man. Y2K all over again!

        1. Filosofickle*

          I recommend this to anyone who can at all afford it, if you’re in a place where stores haven’t been cleaned out. We have shelter in place and can barely get week’s worth of groceries — canned and boxed goods were wiped out and not coming back fast enough. Meat is scarce. Flour is nowhere to be found. It will all be replenished, but there’s going to be weeks of sporadically empty shelves first. Anyone who can get ahead of this absolutely should. (Especially the caffeine!)

    24. fposte*

      I love the at home, but there’s too much stressful stuff for it to be really enjoyable. I take a walk twice a day, and neighbor kids down the street have chalked messages in the street, so I’m going to go down later and draw some responses (thanks to Oy, I have chalk!). Definitely doing FaceTime and Zoom socializing and trying to schedule that so I get some human input on a regular basis. I hope it doesn’t get too far into the political to say I’ve actually found my state’s messaging to be pretty good, being serious without being alarmist, and the additional speakers at daily press conferences are really well chosen to speak to different ongoing concerns.

    25. ThatGirl*

      My birthday is a week from Sunday and my plans have all fallen away. I live in Illinois and we’re now under a shelter in place order starting tonight. I’m still thinking about what local businesses I can support to make it a little more special. But instead of a spa day I’m gonna have to settle for a bubble bath and facial mask.

      Oh, and the dog is sick so I have to take him to the vet in a bit. Joy.

      Oh well. At least my husband’s employer finally got its sh&t together.

      1. The Rat-Catcher*

        I wish my husband’s employer would. His and mine are both essential services, the job functions are identical, yet mine is making every effort to get by with a skeleton crew and his has sent home NO ONE. (Really, they are fudging by classifying him as “essential” given that an injury is currently preventing him from performing his regular job duties.) I’m so mad.

    26. Canuck girl*

      Anyone getting their coats dry cleaned these days…and you trust it? My washer isn’t suited for one of my winter coats. The coat really needs cleaning and I’ve been wearing it to get groceries and had put my hands in the pockets…which to me now, feels like there are cesspools of bacteria in the pockets…uggh.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Do you have a dryer?
        I use those at home dry cleaning kits. I follow the instructions on the box. It works probably just as well as an actual dry cleaner in my opinion. I have never been that impressed with the results of dry cleaning so this is FWIW.

        1. Canuck girl*

          I have a dryer, but I fear the coat may be ruined. I have another coat that’s down-filled and that’s a whole other ballgame. I will look into the home dry cleaning kits, thank you.

          1. fposte*

            Does it need cleaning because it’s dirty or are you wanting a cordon sanitaire for the virus? While they haven’t pinned down an exact time yet, it’s clear the virus is only viable for a finite amount of time on objects. 72 hours seems to be the top estimate; put the coat away for a week if you want a margin for error.

            1. Anon PhD*

              Great reminder, thank you. And part of my decision was just made for me anyway…the drycleaner called and said they are closing for two weeks, so I get to pick up my clothes, but not drop off any. And the jacket in question, well, I’ll need to order that home dry cleaning kit.

    27. m*

      The racism around this whole thing is so depressing. And I’m talking about stuff that goes far far beyond just ‘steer clear of Asian people/restaurants’. The reaction to /anything/ China does is so frustrating –
      Report that numbers are down: obviously they’re lying
      Report that they’re donating supplies to other countries: PROPAGANDA!
      Report about them doing anything helpful at all: all of this is their fault! They should pay!

      I mean…you don’t have to believe their numbers and you can accuse them of trying to spin the story. I’m Chinese and have friends in the mainland and none of us take anything the officials report as given. But that doesn’t change the fact that once the virus got beyond their borders it was up to respective governments to protect their own citizens.

      If you wonder what ‘counts as racist’ and what’s simply ‘stating the facts’, it’s in the way the blame is worded. The US government also tried to downplay/cover-up the severity of the situation, and did f-all for over a month despite having so many warnings. Yet when people acknowledge this they’d talk about the administration and the politicians, but when talking about the Chinese situation they go straight to saying ‘you can’t trust the Chinese’. That’s the point of distinction.

      You can be angry with their government (and all the people responsible for wet markets and all other forms of cruelty), but don’t group the entire country into the same basket just because we all look the same to you. The most ironic part is that the US /voted/ their leaders in, while the ordinary citizens in China had no choice.

      I really need to stop reading comment sections.

      1. fposte*

        I have been hugely touched by how many of my contacts in China, some whom I’ve never met in person, have gotten in touch to ask how we’re doing and to give quarantine advice.

      2. Clisby*

        Oh, no kidding. I just read an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal about the fact that, in return for the Vatican and Italy donating medical equipment early in the outbreak in Wuhan, China is now sending ventilators, masks, test kits, and 300 Chinese intensive-care doctors and nurses to help out Italy. Of course the author has to point out that this is not purely altruistic – China’s looking for good PR, and some of the medical equipment is made in China. Like, sure, countries always deal with each other out of pure altruism.

      3. AnonoDoc*

        I am so sorry!

        I keep telling people that if the outbreak had started here in the US it would have taken FAR longer to notice and identify the new virus. And the honest truth is NO country has accurate statistics right now, though Singapore and S. Korea look to have the most robust data.

      4. Dan*

        Given the order in which you wrote this, my first response (while reading) was, “well, one *cannot* trust the numbers reported by the Chinese media, and if one wants to call that racist, then so be it.” Heck, you even say your friends don’t trust the numbers.

        But I think you buried the lede a bit, so to speak. Your third paragraph make salient points, but TBH, I think it’s much bigger than that. You are absolutely correct that in the US, we refer to our political administration at almost all levels by the name of the person holding the highest office for that branch. That is, we refer to Trump by name far more often than we make abstract references to “The President of the United States.” And when one refers to “Washington” in the context of “Washington is broken”, they are referring to a political body far broader than the presidency.

        To the point I think you’ve made, for whatever reason (and I never thought of it as racist) Western media doesn’t emphasize the names of high-ranking Chinese politicians. Heck, while I very much recognize the name “Xi Jinping”, I had to google his actual position (and wiki attributes him to holding three positions.) We often see references to “Beijing” or even “China” when talking about politics, with the reference being the Chinese national government, and not the people itself.

        Don’t get me wrong, comments by non-media/non-politicians that say things like “this whole things started because Chinese people eat weird animals” are definitely racist. At the same time, we’ve seen SARS, the avian bird flu, and now COIVD-19 originate from China, and I have no idea why that is.

        1. nom de plume*

          “At the same time, we’ve seen SARS, the avian bird flu, and now COIVD-19 originate from China, and I have no idea why that is.”
          It’s also irrelevant to keep harping on it at this point, the way Trump and other outlets deliberately does. It’s despicable.

          1. Dan*

            I stated a fact. I didn’t harp, sorry if it’s uncomfortable.

            And I don’t hang on every word from Trump, far from it. In fact, I very seldom listen to any audio of his speeches and I never read his tweets.

            1. Blueberry*

              To epidemiologists, probably. Unless you’re an epidemiologist, how do you plan to apply this knowledge in everyday life?

              1. Eeeek*

                Oh I don’t honestly think it applies to me personally. It is irrelevant to harp on it, not irrelevant information to have I meant.

                1. Blueberry*

                  I agree with you totally — I was trying to reply to ‘…’s insistence on amateur epidemiology (and before that to Dan’s “these three dangerous diseases emerged from a particular country! WHO KNOWS WHY *hint hint*”), and had a nesting fail. I think your comments here have been excellent. :)

          2. Tau*

            And, y’know, it doesn’t actually surprise me that the second most populated country on Earth which includes areas with very dense population and also people working closely with livestock might be the origin point for a few unpleasant animal-to-human virus transfers. The Chinese government is also clearly aware of it, given that they had a quick and drastic enough response that they managed to isolate and contain the virus within their borders. The fact that we didn’t take their warnings seriously enough and didn’t manage the same is, frankly, on us.

        2. AnonoDoc*

          And the “Spanish” flu of 1918 probably originated in Oklahoma. So what?

          Diseases do not respect boundaries.

        3. Lora*

          Dan, here is the thing: there is an entire branch of science devoted to the study of emerging diseases, which anyone can spend many lifetimes studying. You don’t know it, because you did not study epidemiology and microbiology in school, okay, that’s fine, everyone cannot possibly be an expert in everything. So you have two choices: 1) take some classes, do some reading, find out the actual reasons why new diseases emerge where they do 2) trust what experts who have spent their lives studying these things have to say about it. But when people throw their hands in the air and say, “well I dunno…” it comes across as extremely disingenuous.

          I get very frustrated with people who say, as certain politicians are wont to do, “who knew that?!? *I* didn’t know that!” like all the branches of knowledge of all fields, everywhere, in excruciating detail, should be somehow transmitted to them in grade school. While this is certainly the Victorian ideal of a liberal arts education, there is an upper limit of how long any given degree can be, and I don’t reckon you’d have loved to spend an extra several years in school learning about something you’d rarely use in real life, unrelated to your field of study.

          Diseases tend to emerge in warmish climates, where the population density is high, where people travel and come into close contact frequently, and where a zoonotic pathogen has an opportunity to mix, mingle and recombine several times across species: this gives it more opportunities to find a genetic combination that is more adaptive in humans. In North America, this has occurred in the form of hantavirus, West Nile, EEE, norovirus (though one strain seems to be from northern Europe), various prion diseases (Elk Wasting Disease, scrapie, BSE), various tickborne diseases that are now emerging, dengue. In South America, there have been some novel hemorrhagic fevers and of course Zika. In Africa, it’s been Ebola, Lassa and Chikungunya. In Europe, they’ve most notably had CJD.

          In some regions there are environmentally specific causes of new disease emergence. In countries where antibiotics are either over-used or discharged into the environment without pollution controls, multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections are common (e.g. MRSA, Cdiff and CREs in the US).

          New pathogens emerge in a lot of places (even in now-thawing polar regions), and epidemiologists and public health organizations do their very best on extremely thin shoestring budgets to raise awareness, but they can only do so much. If you want some reading while you’re cooped up, a good one for lay people is Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague, though it’s a little older now.

      5. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

        Yeah – it’s racism when you are quick to judge an entire demographic (especially one as huge as the Chinese population) by their most negative players.

        I mean, I’m sure a lot of people judge Americans by the Trump administration, but if you are American, you can’t ignore the fact that our government has done a piss poor job of handling this crisis compared to other countries, and we are not in a position to look down on other governments.

        Also, if you’re going to avoid Chinese restaurants, you should avoid ALL restaurants. Anyone can be a carrier of this virus.

    28. Nervous Nellie*

      Hi AAM friends!
      A couple of happy links to cheer up the homestay, educate the home schooled, and remind us that there is still beauty in the world.

      Downloadable coloring book pages from classical paintings:
      https://lifehacker.com/download-coloring-pages-from-over-100-museums-1832753859

      Google Arts & Culture – Collections – links to hundreds of virtual museum tours around the world. Turn up the brightness on your monitor, and visit the Rijksmuseum, the Louvre, the Uffizi Gallery and a bajillion more:
      https://artsandculture.google.com/partner?hl=en

    29. Epsilon Delta*

      Something I have not seen anything about is child custody exchanges. We have to do three exchanges a week, and it’s not even a semi-friendly situation so it’s not like we can say “hey you or we will hang on to the kid until this blows over and then we’ll work out makeup time.” We have to stick exactly to the agreement. I’m not sure how that would be handled when we go into “shelter in place.” Is it considered essential travel?

      1. Renata Ricotta*

        In California, a legally binding custody agreement would probably be considered contact required to perform a “legally mandated activity.” I’m sorry you’re not in a situation where you can’t negotiate a common sense emergency adjustment, that’s really tough. :(

      2. fposte*

        Right now in my state it is: “Following the direction of law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement” is considered essential travel. But it’s going to depend on your jurisdiction’s terms and whether they’ve hammered those details out.

      3. Filosofickle*

        Ooh, I was wondering about this. We’re in shelter in place right now, and a friend of mine has a contentious shared custody situation. I’m curious how they’re handling it but of course it’s none of my business so I’m not asking!

        That would definitely be approved travel. (FWIW, we’re on SIP but it’s not like cops are monitoring travel. It’s a long way til that kind of thing happens.) My question would be safety. It seems like the only safe way to do it is to maintain strict isolation for both households, so the child can’t transfer anything. I get that idea from SIP guidelines — they said you can visit another family but only if you stay isolated and agree that you only visit each other. But what are the odds of getting a difficult ex to do that?

      4. Tau*

        My brother has resigned himself to not getting his visitation rights until this is all over and is trying for daily Skype sessions with his daughter until things calm down. But that’s an every-other-weekend visitation situation, not three times a week, and although relations cannot be called friendly by any means (and I’m quite doubtful he’ll get make-up time) it sounds like both parties are still a little more able to arrange a compromise than what you’re dealing with. I’m sorry!

    30. Gatomon*

      I’m freaking out – my longest and closest friend started having COVID-19 symptoms last night and is in a high-risk category. She doesn’t have a high enough fever to get officially tested because her state is low on tests, but her symptoms are pretty much a lock for it. So far she’s reported it’s mild, but I’m super worried for her of course.

      I’m thousands of miles away so there’s no way I’ve been exposed via her, but apparently this is really seriously happening….

      1. Gatomon*

        My friend appears to only have mild symptoms so far, which is a huge relief. I just got back from a grocery run and was able to actually find a small handsoap thing, a massive jug of Dawn and garbage bags (all of which I needed).

        Not driving to work has confirmed my car has some sort of electrical problem though. I first saw this when I spent a week at home sick back in January, but it appears it’s back again. If I don’t start it every 3 – 4 days, the battery dies. This will probably end in a trip to the mechanic though, I’m a disaster with anything beyond changing windshield wipers.

    31. Panthera uncia*

      A friend of our family died on Wednesday (a stroke, not corona) and the family can’t have a funeral. I can’t imagine piling that on top of the usual grieving process. I feel so terrible for them.

      1. Oxford Comma*

        Yeah, we’re facing that too. I feel horrible. It’s one of my mother’s oldest friends and someone we’ve known all our lives. No wake, no funeral. All I can do is send a card.

    32. All the Time in the World*

      I’m taking voluntary Safety Leave Due Emergency Conditions leave from work for the next two weeks, since I have some health problems that put me at higher risk from Covid. Last night I forgot to put my glasses on the night stand beside my bed and instead put them on my large bed. So guess what happened? The lenses are still fine, but I might need new frames. I have another pair to use, but I don’t like them as much. I’m going to Costco later today and see if they can repair them or put them in new frames, but I was planning on staying put for at least a couple of days.

    33. Tris Prior*

      My partner’s sister lives in a small town in another state, and is a flaming Republican. She and her husband (who is a first responder, FFS) thinks all of this is no big deal and it’s just like the flu and it’s a Democrat conspiracy. It’s people like her who are going to drive the spread of this thing. She is making no effort to social distance whatsoever and is mostly pissed off that a band she was going to see cancelled their tour. I’m so angry with her. Partner was the one talking to her and he couldn’t convince her otherwise, she will not listen to us because we are the godless heathen liberals.

      The thing that hit me really hard today was the email from my vet saying that if our pet is sick or injured enough to be brought in (we have to call for triage first and may be prescribed meds over the phone if that’s possible), we have to call the vet when we’ve parked, they will come out to the car in protective gear (assuming there is any) and get our pet and take them inside, and we have to wait in the car. They’ll call us during the exam to explain what they’re doing. I understand why. But my cats are terrified at the vet and the thought of not being able to be in there to comfort them as they’re being poked at by strangers hit me hard. Let’s hope they stay healthy, meanwhile my daredevil girl kitty is giving me heart attacks on the regular with her complete disregard for her own safety!

      1. ThatGirl*

        I had to take my dog to the vet this morning. They picked him up from the car and the doc called me to discuss. No protective gear but she kept her distance. It went fine, but I hope your kitties stay well.

        1. Tris Prior*

          I hope your dog is OK!
          The other issue is that we don’t have a car. If we have to sit and wait in the car, I can’t take Lyft, so that means a zipcar and who knows who was just coughing in it. And since we’re now shelter in place, it will be even more impossible to buy anything to clean the car with; wipes were completely gone 2 weeks ago already.

          But, there’s nothing wrong with them at present, so I am trying not to let the what-ifs get to me.

          1. ThatGirl*

            Thank you :) He’ll be fine, he has a sensitive tummy and picked a bad time to get into something he shouldn’t.

            I’m sure your kitties will be fine but I understand the anxiety.

        2. Sophia Brooks*

          Weird. It was the vet thing that got to me, too. I feel that my vets are able to read the real medical articles and know what they are talking about, and that they love animals and want to be able to treat them. I was getting consistant texts throughout the week with rapidly increasing measures. I thought if the vets were that freaked out, there must be something real.

          With regard to the Lyft, I bet you could get out of the Lyft and have them meet you on the sidewalk? At least that is how my vet’s is.

        3. KR*

          Same – took my dog in today. They came down to get him, did their thing, communicated through the phone. They did a great job.

          1. ThatGirl*

            Our vet is great but I did forget to ask a question and they closed shortly after I left. I may need to call them tomorrow.

    34. KoiFeeder*

      I don’t know if this qualifies for corona or not- I would be really surprised if it was, because I’m high-risk in like three different ways -but I’ve had a 101º fever for three days and I’m just sitting here like “is this a virus? is this complications from gallbladder surgery? is this an autoimmune flare?” and I cannot get through to any doctors. Yay. At least it’s just a fever and nothing else.

      1. Anonymous ball of anxiety*

        I hope you feel better soon! If you can’t reach a doctor and want to talk to someone, does your health insurance company have a nurse hotline you could try?

        1. KoiFeeder*

          I am not on speaking terms with my health insurance because their call line is designed to filter out robocallers and I don’t have enough vocal affect to use the speech commands without being hung up on. I legitimately have to ask other people to call my insurance for me because there’s no number commands and my mouth noises are not good enough.

          It’s kind of sad, actually.

      2. Former Employee*

        “I cannot get through to any doctors.”

        I understand why it might be difficult to get through to primary care doctors now, but I don’t know why it would be a problem to get in touch with the surgeon who did the gall bladder surgery.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          Well, to be honest… I haven’t called that surgeon. I was a bit of a surprise case in the ER, so my surgery was a “we literally cannot comprehend how your gallbladder didn’t explode hours ago, we need to you to go under ASAP” sort of deal and they just kinda grabbed the first surgeon they saw.

          She typically works with cancer patients, and the last thing I want to do is show up in the cancer care center with a potentially contagious disease (it’s probably not COVID, but that’s cold comfort to people undergoing chemo!).

            1. KoiFeeder*

              If you all think that’s a good idea, I will, because y’all are adultier adults here.

              I just can’t do anything today. No doctors on sunday. :p

              1. Old and Don’t Care*

                Did you get post op instructions? When a relative of mine had surgery a few weeks ago, he received a sheaf of discharge instructions including what temperature represented a fever that he should call the surgeon’s office for. (And, I think, for what time period those instructions applied.)

      3. Anono-me*

        Good morning.

        I hope that you are feeling better today and that you were able to get ahold of a medical professional yesterday.

    35. Loopy*

      So. Cleaning in the age of Corona. What are others doing for areas like the kitchen? Products? Frequency? Reliable guidelines?

      1. Tris Prior*

        I’d also like to know what’s safe to use around cats who insist on licking all surfaces and floors. I have read that Lysol is NOT safe (and boy do I feel guilty now about Lysoling the crap out of the house a couple years ago when we both got the flu. Our elderly lady kitty died about a month after that – and she was very old and had a bunch of stuff wrong with her but that certainly can’t have helped.)

        1. Natalie*

          You don’t actually need anything fancy or super strong – covid19 is causing a pandemic because of how it passes person to person, not because it’s especially hardy on surfaces.

          A standard diluted bleach solution (1/3 cup household bleach per gallon water) is sufficient to sanitize surfaces and should be dilute enough that it’s not dangerous for people or pets. And for frame of reference, the recommended amount for flood waters is a full cup of bleach in a gallon of water.

      2. Ranon*

        The virus has a lipid (fat) layer so soap works great. I’m mostly cleaning with dish soap and scrubbing, tbh, with 70% rubbing alcohol to disinfect high touch surfaces occasionally.

        Think “someone in my house has norovirus” and you’ll be most of the way there as far as cleaning goes.

    36. Melody Pond*

      Question for the masses:

      Do you think it’s better to shop online and have groceries delivered right now?

      I’m wrestling with this. On the one hand, if I shop online, some person is going to have to go pick up my groceries and someone (either the same or a different person) will have to deliver them – and that requires them to be out and about and potentially exposed. But on the other hand – a single worker out in the world could theoretically do the grocery shopping or delivery for several consumers, and does that mean that overall exposure between humans is reduced because there are fewer humans out in the world?

      1. KoiFeeder*

        With my autoimmune issues, delivery has been a lifesaver. For someone who’s lower risk, YMMV.

      2. Oxford Comma*

        I am going to have to face this in a few weeks. Leaning toward delivery unless I can get to a store in a non-peak time.

      3. Filosofickle*

        It is a dilemma. The other reason I think delivery isn’t all bad is that people are in dire straits and need to make money right now. Yes, it offloads my risk onto them but if I tip A LOT then at least they earn money their households may desperately need.

        That said, all delivery services including Instacart and Amazon/WF are overwhelmed near me in CA so I am shopping for myself. Some aren’t accepting any new orders. Some project delivery times a week out, but many of those orders get cancelled because of empty shelves or lack of drivers. Compounded by people waiting in line to get into stores. Costco has lines 80+ people deep at opening. Delivery shoppers are stuck in that, too, and every order takes 3 times as long.

      4. Dan*

        If the only goal is to maximize social distancing, then yes, I would have to say that it’s better to do delivery. Jamming a grocery store full of people has got to be the complete opposite full of that.

        But given out of stock inventory and all of that, it’s not clear to me how effective delivery services can really be. If the store is out of stock of something, I can improvise (or not) on the fly. I just don’t see how app-based delivery services can manage when inventory is unknown.

        1. Tau*

          Grocery stores in our area now have maximum numbers of people allowed to be in the store at once, any queues including to enter the store must have at least 2m distance between people, and they can only provide shopping carts if they can disinfect the handles between uses. So “jamming full of people” isn’t exactly accurate, although I still think delivery would be safer. (Not actually sure it’s available, mind you – it was never a big thing here – and try convincing my mother of that.)

      5. noahwynn*

        Honestly, I have to leave my house at some point or I will go crazy. I’ve been looking forward all week to the grocery store and Target trip. Both places had an employee wiping down carts before you got one and people were generally good about not crowding areas.

        I considered doing Instacart or Amazon Fresh, both of which I’ve used in the past, but neither had delivery slots for days and neither could confirm that items would be in stock. I was totally out of TP, and I had no issues buying a single pack at Target.

      6. Jaid*

        I’ve been trying to order groceries online, but all the delivery slots are taken into the next week. ShopRite, WalMart, etc. Amazon Whole Foods is the only place I can get a delivery time for and screw next day delivery.

      7. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        Here they are recommending delivery and asking ourselves to avoid shopping in person if they can. The supermarkets and delivery outlets are quickly hiring thousands, and those with relevant experience are in some cases starting shifts within hours of applying.

        Our regular grocery delivery uses robots to pick from a huge warehouse, filling lined crates. Currently they unload those crates right outside your door (wearing latex gloves) then knock and leave.

        Meanwhile local small businesses are getting in on the act, offering delivery where they previously did not. There’s a sudden spike in demand for the local butcher, baker and greengrocer. Small local shops are still well stocked and very popular. Community groups are springing up to run errands for the particularly vulnerable eg picking up prescriptions and groceries.

      8. nonegiven*

        Order sooner than later. I was almost out of cat food and it took a week to get it delivered.

    37. Lcsa99*

      I’ve been extremely dissapointed to see that the only restaurants in our area that aren’t up and running are chinese. I hate that people are blaming this thing on people just because of their race. Eating chinese food and talking to someone chinese isn’t going to give me this virus.

      1. JKP*

        If it makes you feel better, we tried to order Chinese takeout tonight from our favorite place, and they were so busy with takeout orders, it was a 2 hour wait and they couldn’t customize our order, so we ended up getting takeout somewhere else.

    38. Depressed about all this.*

      I’ve been relying on friend gatherings (D&D nights, art studio) to help keep me afloat. TL;DR I’m still digging my way out of a really deep depressive/suicidal few years, and I’ve only now been able to do basic stuff like keep my apartment clean. And I still struggle to keep a basic routine: I’m getting there, and have tried a basic one this week… but damn, I run out of energy quick.

      I’m really, really afraid that I’m gonna slip down again without that contact. I wanna do Zoom and Discord, but it ain’t the same.

      I just walked through our (small town) Main Street. Food places are open but doing take-out/pickup only. The bookstore is closed. My downstairs neighbor is now completely out of work.

      I’m incredibly sad that the human contact you could get at these places is effectively gone, and I’m worried about these guys’ finances. I’ve acccepted that well be Living Like This for several months at least.

      It’s not the spending that I miss, but seeing all the life that used to be around. That I’m going to be on my own now. And now the governor has said that non-essential gatherings are forbidden, so no more Dragonborn Sorcerer for me.

      I’ve thought of suicide two or three times today, and I have a few ideas about how to do it with easily accessible items. And if I take advantage of hospital overload, nobody can stop me , and I can die even if I fail initially. I need help.

      1. WellRed*

        Please call your doctor or the suicide hotline. At the very least, call or zoom a friend. It’s not the same, but it’s something.

      2. Misty*

        Please call the suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255)

        Please don’t give up. I know things are really hard right now. Could you reach out to a friend in your area? Maybe also try to find a therapist if you don’t have one? I know a lot of therapists are doing video sessions. I see a therapist and it’s been really helpful.

        I’m keeping you in my thoughts. Please stay safe.

      3. Dr. Anonymous*

        Please call 911 right now so you can be safe. At least call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text CONNECT to 741741. You need a human connection right now and we can’t help you enough here!

      4. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Hi! This isn’t something that this forum is able to handle here, but there are people who are trained to help you. Please call the National Suicide Hotline today: 1-800-273-8255. We want you to get help, and they will help. – Alison

    39. families!*

      I am a single person living alone, and wonder about safety precautions in my apartment. I do wash my hands, and have been wiping high touch areas, and anything that comes into the apartment. I have been isolating, and wash my hands when I get home from my occasional solo walk. I have cats also but they don’t go outside. If something is contaminated in the apartment, doesn’t it mean I am contaminated? Basically I want to dry my hands with my hand towel rather than use paper towels all the time because I want to conserve them. But is that foolish?

      And PSA If you have single friends/friends who live alone, reach out to them! I notice I have to do this more now as couples and people with families naturally tend to fold inside themselves and it’s a bit exhausting.

      1. Dan*

        I’m a single person living alone, so I totally get where you’re coming from.

        Your last PSA relates to a topic that comes up a lot — “I wish people would reach out to me more often.” Often, it’s in the context that coupled-people have a responsibility to reach out to their single friends. Generally, the consensus is that you are responsible for your own social happiness, and it’s not appropriate to offload that on to others.

        That aside, I can guarantee you that in this day and age, *everybody* is exhausted, trying to figure out how to keep up with everything that’s going on. Trying to adapt to the new normal with schools closed and a lot of people out of a job has got to be a lot more exhausting then what I have to deal with.

      2. WellRed*

        If you are self isolating and minimize what comes in, it’s unlikely you have contamination. If you are really anxious about it, stay in and don’t bring in anything for a few days.

      3. fposte*

        I live alone and I’ve been self-quarantined for 10 days now. I wash up after I bring in a delivery and I don’t touch the delivered stuff further for 72 hours save to refrigerate perishables. I think you’re fine with cloth towels.

        But also I think our minds work in terms of “contamination”/”clean” (and that’s only going to get worse, I’m afraid) while it’s not really that simple; we don’t and can’t live life in operating room sterility, and there are certainly homes where a bit of virus came in on a surface and dried up without doing anything to anybody.

    40. Elizabeth West*

      Our state hasn’t locked us down, but they’ve restricted gatherings to 10 people. Grocery stores have instituted early-bird hours for seniors and anyone who needs to avoid crowds for medical reasons, including the one my mum shops at (yay).

      I’ve been waiting for the new contact lenses and glasses I spent way too much money on at America’s Best. The store is now closed, although employees are working. You have to call them and leave a message and they’ll call and schedule a time for you to pick up your stuff. Luckily, I was able to already get the two trial pairs of contacts, which seem to be perfect. I can see to drive; I can see the computer. I hope I’m able to get the rest and my glasses soon. Ugh.

      Also, my sangha in OldCity has gone online due to the virus. I asked if I could stay on the email list after I moved, and so I was able to join them this morning for a virtual group meditation. It was really nice to see everyone! This won’t last when things are able to go back to in-person sits, but hopefully by that time I’ll be settled and can find a group where I am. Don’t know where that will be. Everything is in limbo now, even work-seeking.

      If everything works out the way I want I will never say another word. But since every time I make a move things only get worse, it’s exceedingly hard to have much confidence in the future.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Oh, and this is for anyone:

        There is a Chrome extension called Netflix Party that lets people simulcast stuff on Netflix with a chat. Y’all might look into that if you want to watch a movie with someone but can’t get out. Obviously it’s only good if both people have a Netflix account, but it’s something.

        I used to do this (without the extension) when I was in a long-distance relationship, and honestly, it’s not that bad. You could also simulcast and do an online audio call so you can hear each other.

    41. noahwynn*

      My neighbor that lives in the apartment across from me texted me last night and asked if I wanted to watch a movie together. We’re both single, have no family close by, and have been working from home. Talking, we’ve both been following the suggestions to stay home when possible and while we’ve both been to the grocery store, we’ve both been avoiding eating takeout to try and save money. Neither of us had been anywhere except for just walking aroud outside in almost a week. So he came over, we hung out together last night.

      I know that it breaks away from the suggestion and recommendation. However, it also seems super low-risk since we both literally haven’t had contact with anyone else except at the grocery store/Target in almost two weeks. It also really helped my mental sanity. It doesn’t seem any worse than a couple or a family that all works at multiple jobs that require them to be there instead of home and all live in the same house.

      Maybe I’m just trying to justify it for myself because I’ve been so anxious and it helped so much having another person there that I could talk to. I’ve talked to friends on the phone and stuff, but it isn’t the same. My mom Facetimes me daily, but it isn’t the same. Not really asking for permission, and honestly, we will probably hang out together again. I need a friend, someone physically here and he seems to need the same.

      1. Misty*

        I’ve heard of people who are doing this! It makes sense – if you’re both socially distancing and only seeing each other then I think it’s fine. I mean I live with six people so what’s the difference if you see one person who doesn’t live in the same house?

      2. Blueberry*

        I’ve heard of people finding quarantine partners. As long as you two keep your circle closed no one else can introduce anything and you can’t risk anyone else.

    42. MOAS*

      I was really trying to stay positive and look up and find little things to enjoy. I created a list of things to do…read a book, try out new makeup looks, do facials etc. Last week I complained about not being able to go to the mall, which I know was silly, but this week I’ve had 3 panic attacks, am in danger of losing my job after this and worrying about my baby and giving birth.

      I have a huge list of things I would like to do but…I’m drained. I spent majority of today in bed.

      I’m thankful to have my job which I might not have soon, and a physically healthy pregnancy and things that could potentially keep me occupied….but I am just drained.

    43. =^-^=*

      Any tips on dealing with anxiety during this time? I am not thinking negative thoughts but the anxiety is living in my body. I can feel it surging in my chest and stomach, and my heart is pounding. I try deep breathing, going for walks, spending time with my kid, it is just getting worse every day. I think it is dread at not knowing if I am going to get laid off or not (and my husband doesn’t work). I likely won’t know until the end of next week.

      I am getting really clingy with my husband but he doesn’t get it, he is not anxious, and I am not normally anxious. He is doing his own things (last night was online gaming night with his friends/family so I spent the evening alone).

      We have plans to play a board game later and do a virtual museum / aquarium tour, and I have a phone call scheduled with a friend I haven’t spoken to in a while, but in between these activities the anxiety just keeps ramping up.

      Any tips?

      1. Misty*

        I was having severe anxiety when I first started staying home 24/7 (last Saturday). I think it’s because I was reading the news too much and also just everything. This may be a really random suggestion but I started watching live cams of zoos basically in the background 24/7. That’s been helping me a lot. I know you already mentioned you were doing the aquarium tour, but you could check it out.

        The last few days I’ve been watching this eagle basically for hours on end:
        https://explore.org/livecams/currently-live/bald-eagle-west-end-catalina

        If you like birds, which I do, it’s surprisingly calming. Plus you can keep it on in the background while you do other things around the house. I basically have it running 24/7 at this point. If you have any activity that calms you, I would say to start doing that as much as possible, that’s what’s helped me (with the eagle cam lol) Sorry this suggestion is so random.

      2. fposte*

        For me it really helps to do exercise that speeds up my heart rate for a bit, “to the point of perspiration,” as the docs always advise us. Walking really *fast* for a while might be enough (I go for walks but don’t go fast enough). It gives the flight-or-fight instinct something to chew on and leaves me calmer afterwards.

        1. =^-^=*

          I’m going to try ramping up the exercise. It’s funny because I’m not normally an outdoorsy, active person. I think you’re right about the fight-or-flight thing. I feel like I could run run run run run. And I hate running!

    44. Me*

      Does anyone have any advice for adults living with their parents for the time being? I’m home from school, for the duration, my state just started lock-down, and my mom and I get along better when we’re not together 24/7. I’ve been home for extended stays before, but this whole situation is stressful and it’s already getting to us.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        Nothing certain here, just random thoughts:
        – Assume good intentions
        – Reach out with kindness
        – Stay calm & know your inner signals of “I can’t stay calm much longer” so you can (gently, kindly) step away
        – Find something to distract yourself (knitting? rearranging your dresser? deep breathing?) once you are alone

        This is a terribly difficult time for everyone. I’m sorry you and your mom are giving each other the urge to get prickly.

      2. Natalie*

        If your state’s lockdown is like the rest of them, you can leave for exercise. Definitely take some long walks/runs/bike rides alone.

      3. Not A Manager*

        I was thinking about what we would do if my adult kids were here. One thing I thought of was scheduling private time in shared areas (like TV room or kitchen). So that you can retreat to somewhere other than your bedroom and still have time alone or room to FaceTime your friends.

    45. Jdc*

      Grr. Woke up full of phlegm. I’ve been on and off with this for months, three rounds of antibiotics. Now of course everyone will think it’s corona of course. I’ll of course monitor myself but it’s been going on so long I’m pretty confident as it never fully went away prior. Same thing last year.

      I recall some people a while back talking about people who have sinus infections often and treatments but I can’t for the life of me remember anything else.

      I nested this under the corona thread since I’m mentioning it.

    46. LQ*

      I’m going to see if I can make some sense with this. I work (not work related I promise) in one of the business realms COVID has increased the work for significantly. We are in full disaster mode. So I’m there more, others are too. I’m with humans more. More hours. Putting in everything I can. I’m around humans much more than I usually am. But I feel so lonely. I can’t do the things that normally help me re-center and feel like myself. I’m incredibly introverted. If I was just doing the same or less and from home and like oh that’s fine. But the extra human contact. The exhaustion. The news. The humans. The tired. The fear. The stress. What’s next what’s next. What’s next. I don’t get to get coffee in the mornings. I don’t get to have lunch out. I don’t get to go to brunch and have a social interaction with friends. I only have the crushing panic of COVIDWORKFEARPANIC and hollow loneliness at home.

      I just feel lonely and alone.

      1. Misty*

        I feel lonely too. I thought with everyone being home maybe I could talk to my friends on the phone every day (even if for like 5 to 15 mins to check in) but since my friends all have kids, they actually seem more busy than usual.

        It seems like even though you are around people more, it’s more in a stressful setting than usual? Like the lack of brunch and just relaxing with people seems to be gone which leads to being more disconnected/lonely. I’m sorry that you’re lonely. It’s a really hard time for sure, especially with no certain end date in sight. I’m keeping you in my thoughts this upcoming week.

    47. Elizabeth West*

      Well, they announced a stay-at-home order yesterday for St. Louis County and city, starting Monday. I need to sneak out today and see if I can get some hair color in case of video interviews (not likely but you never know).

      This isn’t that much different from my life right now; I don’t have money to go anywhere anyway and no one is calling me for interviews. As long as there is internet, I’ll be fine.

    48. tangerineRose*

      I’ve been washing my groceries with the thought that if the virus got on them, soap and water should help. But now it’s been over 3 days since I got them, and I’m thinking that if the virus was on them, it should be dead by now, right? Even if the food was in the fridge or freezer?

      I don’t understand why a mask (or scarf over face) wouldn’t help since the droplets can stay in the air for 3 hours. I’m not going to try to get a mask because there are a lot of other people who need them more than do, but…

      1. tangerineRose*

        I looked at the CDC’s website and haven’t found anything so far about droplets staying in the air, so maybe that’s not true. Big relief. I’m still mostly staying indoors though.

    49. Ann O’Nemity*

      I’m so stressed about childcare right now. My kids’ daycare went back and forth about closing all week. Everyday we got multiple emails with flip flopping, contradictory information. It was an emotional roller coaster. They finally closed Friday.

      We were able to hire one of the teaching aides to come nanny our kids. It’s more expensive but I was so relieved that we had a plan to move forward. And my kids know and like her. But wait! Now the daycare wants to reopen with smaller classes in April. I don’t know if we’ll be selected. If not, we’ll lose our nanny and need other options. And here’s the kicker, the daycare wants us to pay 30% of tuition even if we’re not selected to hold our place for when they can go back to larger classes.

      I’m trying to be sympathetic to the terrible situation the daycare is in, but this is crazy. Right?

      1. Misty*

        I feel like the daycare needs to try to make a plan and stick to it rather than going back and forth. Because a lot of people need to make plans in order to be able to work/school from home. So I agree with you that they need to come up with a plan and stop going back and forth.

        Also that sucks about the 30% thing. Esp if they don’t know when they will go back to holding bigger classes. Like daycare is expensive so how long will they be holding smaller classes for? If it’s only for a week or two maybe it’s not super unreasonable to have people pay 30% to hold their spots, but what if it ends up being a month or two? I feel that would be unreasonable.

        But I don’t know anything about daycares except that my best friend has multiple children who are in one and she says it costs a ton!

        1. Ann O’Nemity*

          So far they say the smaller classes will last 6 weeks at least. This rest of March was already paid for, no refunds.

    50. Jdc*

      The cleaning binge has begun. I was cleaning to sanitize but I finally got to move furniture and appliances level. Feel icky today but the constant naps help. I do love my house being so clean though.

      It’s snow here. Wtf. Outside of Chicago.

      I want to get onto my garden, detail the cars. Anything I can do outside but still at home. Should start to warm up next week. Crossing my fingers that’s holds.

      American Airlines said any flights booked by the 31st they will not charge any fees. I was intending to book a June flight for months so now that it’s cheap and I have that assurance I think I’ll do it. Not sure it’ll happen but it’s to my mom so rescheduling later isn’t an issue because I’ll always want to go see her. We shall see. At least I can try to take advantage of the few hundred dollar savings and if it doesn’t pan out then it doesn’t.

      1. Jdc*

        Guys the kid isn’t gonna make it because I’m going to strangle him. Good grief. Hours of arguing over one chore he has to do when he’s sat on his butt for three straight weeks. Grrr. And why is husband not saying anything. Hello my dear. Get up and tell your child what to do. I wouldn’t even care if he did his laundry if he didn’t constantly smell so bad that it stinks up the house.

    51. Misty*

      I can’t stop crying tonight. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

      I had the last two weeks off for extended spring break and classes start tomorrow, I guess it just really hit me that things are super weird right now.

      So disconnected from people right now. I miss my friends. And like the stupidest stuff like my regular coffee shop. I’m trying to focus on being grateful that I’m fine and so far everyone I love is fine, and we’re all social distancing so hopefully we will continue to be fine.

      I should prob stop reading the news everyday. Being informed to this degree isn’t worth my mental health.

  2. Mid*

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a reasonably priced (sub $300, ideally sub $200) queen sized bed-frame with a headboard attached, that can hold 700+ lbs? I’ve looked on Amazon, IKEA, and AllModern. IKEA doesn’t publish weight limits and AllModern was too pricy for me so far.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Just confirming that I would skip Ikea – our king-sized frame is basically two twin-sized sets of slats in a larger frame, and my husband’s side (he’s 6’4″ and ~225 lbs) is starting to make some ominous sounds if he’s not a little careful with how he moves around on it. The slats are getting to be close to five years old, so I’m sure that doesn’t help, but I am rather smaller than that and my side isn’t making any ominous sounds at all, despite being the same product and of the same age.

      1. CoffeeforLife*

        Total aside, but you can replace the slats at a hardware store. The big box ones will cut to the length you need. Generally the board you buy will be thicker/stronger. We did this for our bed when the cheap boards cracked (and we are both sub 200lbs)

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I’ll look into it, but but the slats in my bed frame are … hm. Curved, so they’re kind of springy? There’s not a few of them supporting a traditional box spring and mattress, there’s about 24-30 of them running width-wise across a twin-sized frame, and they basically *are* the box spring. I dunno if that makes sense. But they’re bow-shaped and flexible, on purpose. So I’m not sure how easy they would be to replace elsewhere. (They pop into a line of cups on each side of the frame, so they are definitely replaceable with more of the same thing – we just haven’t gotten around to it yet.)

          1. StellaBella*

            I have the same IKEA bed. You could swap your side slat thingy with hubby’s side to get more use out of the slats. Should be easy to do.

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              Yeah, the plan is actually to get one new set, put the new ones on my side (because, as he puts it, I appear to like sleeping on rocks, so his old ones are way too “soft” for me now), put my old ones on his side, and chuck his old ones. We’ve been sporadically talking about doing this for months, but since my side is still fine for me, I don’t think about it except in the middle of the night when he’s rolling over and I find myself listening to hear whether this is it, is he gonna crash through right now :) And then I forget again by morning. I wonder if we can order a set for delivery at a reasonable price. Task for today!

      2. Enough*

        We added slats to all our beds years ago, even the kid’s beds. The standard 3 just were never enough for stability.

    2. whocanpickone*

      I recommend the Zinus Smart base Elite. The convo of bed frame plus headboard and attachments is under $300 and it holds up to 2,000 or 4,000 pounds (a lot). As a bonus, you can fit a tote under it for storage.

    3. JDC*

      Got mine at JCPenny online. Great prices and I was shocked they had so much as I haven’t walked into a store of theirs since the 90s.

      1. Chaordic One*

        Much of their online merchandise isn’t carried in their stores. It is almost like some kind of secret that they carry things like this.

        1. JDC*

          Yes! Also Target has very high end furniture and home furnishings in their website. $10K rugs, etc. Who knew.

    4. Enough*

      Could consider putting support underneath. Had a frame that was a bit to bendable. Put cinder blocks underneath. It kept everything from ‘sagging’ enough to keep the slats from slipping from the frame.

    5. MsChanandlerBong*

      Check out Wayfair. My frame is a king, but it was $180. Seems sturdy enough so far. My husband and I are not skinny people.

  3. NeverNicky*

    I was fortunate to read Rules of Civility pre- publication and it was one of my books of the year.

    The author’s “A Gentleman in Moscow” is also excellent, and apt for these times, as said gentleman is under house arrest in a hotel. It’s charming and life affirming.

    1. MK*

      I second this. Rules of Civility was very enjoyable, but A Gentleman in Moscow a truly great novel.

    2. Sunflower Sea Star*

      I listened to Gentleman in Moscow and it was a great book and excellently read.

  4. Remy LeBeau*

    Is it fair for people to expect someone with a disability to pass for a neurotypical?

    If you’re dealing with something difficult, like legal issues, taxes, navigating governmental systems, etc, is it fair to tell people to “google” for resources?

    Is it fair to tell someone to just figure things out, no matter how overwhelming certain subjects can be (like subjects mentioned above)?

    I want to know what people think. I’m not going to judge.

    1. Director of Alpaca Exams*

      I’m not sure what you mean by “fair”—to whom? What’s the context? Who’s asking?

      I think it’s fair to say, “I’m sorry, I’m overstretched/that’s not my job and I can’t help you with that.” People get to decide how to use their own resources.

      I think it’s kind to say, “I can’t help you with that, but if you google [keyword] you might be able to find a person/agency/nonprofit that can help you.”

      1. Remy LeBeau*

        I’m not sure if context is going to help. I’m just trying to figure out if it’s reasonable to expect others to do everything by yourself and adapt to society despite having a disability.

        And if that’s the case, that’s essentially telling me to lift myself up by bootstraps, and I now doubt the people I am dealing with actually want solutions to anything.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          You have switched from asking if this is “fair” to asking if it is “reasonable.” These are two different things. Suppose you want to sue someone, and you don’t have the money to hire a lawyer. Go down to the clerk’s office in the courthouse and they will be very little help. They might help you fill out paperwork, but they won’t help you figure out how to draw up a lawsuit that makes a lick of sense, legally speaking. Why not? Because, even if the individual clerk has a pretty good understanding of these things, this quite literally is not their job. Indeed, it quite specifically is not their job to provide legal advice, and could get fired for it. So when a clerk is unhelpful, they are acting reasonably. Is it fair that someone without the resources to hire a lawyer is put at a huge disadvantage in the legal system? Of course not.

    2. CorruptedbyCoffee*

      I deal with a lot of people who want help with these kinds of things, some reasonable, some not. As a helper, what I want to see when someone wants me to do something involved for them is:

      that they are polite, not demanding I drop everything or help them before others.

      They respect my limits. Often, I have to be available to help many people, or cover other things. There are limits on how much time I can spend on your particular issue, and as much as I’d like to be able to do anything, there are things that just aren’t realistic to expect from me. Many times, I get requests that are simply not feasible given our staffing and expertise. Sometimes I can point you in the right direction for help, but it may not be immediate and it may require effort.

      That they’re putting forth effort. I get two kinds of people that come to me for help – the kind that shove a pile of stuff at me and tell me they don’t want to talk it out or do anything, just fix it NOW, and those that are trying to learn and actively helping me help them.

      Often, it makes more sense to go through something with someone together until they can do it consistently and then be available for questions than it does to do something involved repeatedly for someone. The kind of help I can give often involves helping someone if they get stuck, or teaching them to do it slowly and with lots of help until theyre comfortable with it. But you have to be willing to try.

      I don’t generally tell people to Google things, but I also feel that some people try to avoid doing things they find frustrating or don’t want to learn by insisting others do it for them. Often, I can help you find the right forms or resources, but I can’t make decisions for you, or fill them out. There are things only you can do.

      Basically, I never expect anyone to pass as neurotypical. But I also don’t expect people to throw up their hands and demand I fix things that overwhelm them. We all get overwhelmed sometimes, and that’s okay. It’s okay to have a harder time with something than others. But I expect anyone who comes to me for help to try. If they’re trying but they can’t do it, sometimes I’m able to find another way. But you gotta start somewhere that doesn’t just throw all the responsibility on someone else. Help them help you.

      1. Remy LeBeau*

        My thinking is, if people expect me to figure all of that stuff by myself, then why do helpers like you exist? It doesn’t make sense.

        I feel like the people I’m dealing with are toxic.

        1. fposte*

          Is this the same person over and over again or different people? If the latter, one thing that may be happening is that people pushing you off don’t necessarily realize that there’s an “all that stuff” and that you’re not getting help with any of it, whereas that’s something very clear to you. They may just think they’re saying “I can’t help you with this one thing” to somebody who has other options. And they may be saying that because they don’t know or because they only know a little.

          I realize that doesn’t get you any farther to knowing what you need to know, but your original question asked about expectations, and I think it’s possible that it’s not so much that people have unreasonable expectations of you as they don’t know what you do about your needs and the answers you’ve been getting.

        2. CorruptedbyCoffee*

          I mean, I exist, but I’m overworked, understaffed and I’m not a miracle worker. Notice how I said be polite and try when I’m helping you, and you took that as “all by myself?” That’s likely part of the problem. We exist to help lots of people. Tons of people. So many people, in fact, that we cannot focus exclusively on one person. That’s why you will always be the best informed advocate for you, and it is important that you participate.

          1. Remy LeBeau*

            Yeah, I’m trying to figure that out now. I had no idea systems were set up that way.

        3. JT*

          I’m sure there are a lot of tasks that CorruptedbyCoffee is doing as a helper, but they can’t do everything. No one has the resources to do everything. It’s not fair to why they exist.

          1. Remy LeBeau*

            Yeah, that’s what I’m trying to figure out. How much can they help? Is there a way to bridge that gap?

            1. Blueberry*

              One thing that may help is to divide the pile of “everything I need help on” into specific pieces and find different people/different resources to handle each piece. This may take some tracking/organization (You may need to keep a list “I asked AMy to help me find a lawyer, I asked Bill for help shopping, etc”) but it may help keep any one person you ask for help from feeling overwhelmed and pushing you away entirely.

            2. JT*

              I get that’s what you’re trying to ask. But to respond with why do you exist if you can’t do everything is extremely unfair. Do you feel the helpers do nothing for you, since they can’t do everything? No one person, no one job can do everything.

              1. Remy LeBeau*

                It’s a legitimate question. And it’s not that I’m relying on one person, it’s more that I’m trying to come up with a way so helpers like one of the commenters above don’t end up overworked.

                I’m analyzing everything that’s being said here.

                1. JT*

                  So you’d rather have no helpers, think the job shouldn’t exist? Because they can’t do everything for you.

    3. Lena Clare*

      It sounds like you’re very aggrieved by being dismissed.

      Have you explicitly said to people “I am finding this incredibly difficult, can you help me with it?” and then been specific about the help you need?

      Many NT people also find those kinds of things difficult to deal with, so don’t be surprised that they tell you to go figure it out yourself.

      It might be more helpful for you to find a group, such as a charity or peer-support group (you don’t mention your neurodivergence), to ask for help there.

      For example, in the UK, there’s the Citizen Advice Bureau who help with benefits form filling in. They are only offering phone support at the moment, as I imagine other organisations are also.

      Additionally, if you are entitled to social security benefits for your disability, do you have a contact who can support you with information? If so, they may be able to give advice, such as where to find a helper.

      1. Remy LeBeau*

        Ironically, by the time I read this, I figured out how to get help.

        Based on your comment, I’m starting to see the kinds of people I’ve been dealing with.

        1. Lena Clare*

          Hm, I don’t know if you mean I’ve been helpful, or if you’re being sarcastic about me not being helpful?

          1. Remy LeBeau*

            I mean that your comment is helpful and I think I have a better idea now how to help myself.

            1. Lena Clare*

              Ah ok thank you. I think some tone is lost in text and I didn’t get what you meant at first. All the best.

              1. Remy LeBeau*

                Yeah, a couple of people pointed out my phrasing, but I’m not really rattled by it, because regardless of how people interact with me here, it gives me insight into the bigger picture.

    4. MK*

      I think it’s fair to expect people with a disability to do as much as their health/condition allows them to, and to try to learn doing stuff that overwelms them. Helpers exist to help, not necessarily do everything for you.

      I understand that bring told to Google things feels dismissive, but often it is the easiest and quickest way to figure things out.

      1. Remy LeBeau*

        What is a person supposed to do if they can’t help themselves?

        I’ve known people who got stuck in psychwards because they couldn’t help themselves.

        I think people just don’t care, and if that’s the case, then I guess that’s that. I’ll have to find people who actually give a damn.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          If you think it’s that people don’t care, there’s your answer. Find ones that do. It will take some time and effort on your part, but you can’t make people care.

          Outside of that, I agree with everything CorruptedbyCoffee says above. I don’t work as a helper and I don’t deal with anyone with a disability (that I’m aware of), but speaking for my home and work lives, all of CorruptedbyCoffee says is pretty much how I handle things and I think it can be applied when dealing with anyone.

          1. Remy LeBeau*

            Yeah, I think I understand what’s going on now.

            It’s not easy, but luckily, I figured something out of this.

        2. Snark*

          In general, if you’re not capable of being resourceful and independent enough to do a job without the ongoing and intensive assistance of others, it’s probably not the right role for you.

          It’s not a question of not caring, it’s a question of whether you’re capable of doing what you’re paid to do most of the time without someone walking you through it.

      2. MatKnifeNinja*

        My 60 year old cousin, who is on the spectrum, lives with me.

        He skates the border between level I and level II. His social skills are greatly impacted. He’ll talk your ear off on string theory, but looking up a doctor’s office number and calling for an appointment is like scaling a mountain.

        My cousin has severe anxiety. So anything outside his neat little daily routine throws him into a potential melt down.

        Our relationship is mostly you be you boo. But this is the deal, I’m not his personal care taker.

        He gets mad because he believes all NTs swim through life like a dolphin. Gliding along with minimal effort tail swish. That I should do his adulting for him, since it’s harder for him. I told him, adulting sucks for NTs too, and it’s more duck that dolphin. Googling is a PITA for me. I might do it better because I’ve done it more. The doctor office desk help is just as horrible with me, as with him. The person has issues, and everyone is fair game for verbal abuse.

        I will always have his back, but he has to attempt stuff first. If the medical billing office is screwing with him, I’ll go full blow torch, but I’m not going to do it all. I’ve got a life too.

        When people tell you “to look it up.”, (if you have the physical and mental ability to do it), the default shouldn’t be, they are jackalopes. Some people suck at helping, and a teachable moment is beyond them. They’d do this to anyone. Some people want the attempt, because their time is valuable too. If I know my cousin has done a, b and c, then I can skip ahead and go death con 10.

        I now tell my cousin to YouTube some issue first. Especially when tech starts acting up. 9/10 there is a vid with a solution. (think smart phone). It’s not that I’m a heartless hag, but I’d do the same exact thing. Maybe I’ll need to fine tune the search, but he needs to hunt first. And he’s capable of doing that much.

        The day you need to start worrying is when people take over your request. With my cousin, people aren’t trying to be “helpful”, they want him out of their hair as quickly as possible. It’s like throwing a bone to a annoying dog. They’ll do anything to get him the eff out of there.

        I don’t expect my cousin to pass. He can do whatever makes him feel comfortable within reason. If he can spend hours googling the economic crisis if 2008, he can hunt for an address, phone number, or business hours. If he can call for a pizza, he can call the dentist.
        All I ask for is an attempt, because I get crabby, tired and worn out. I have enough trouble handling my life, let alone be his life micromanager too.

        1. Jean (just Jean)*

          I luuurrve your phrase go full blow torch. May I steal it (with credit to “a commenter on AAM” or “someone on the blog I follow”)?

        2. AVP*

          There’s a fantastic scene about this in the show Schitt’s Creek, when one character is super anxious about taking a driving test and the other is like, who cares, you’ll be fine, why are you even nervous? Obviously one has deep anxiety and the other doesn’t and they are learning to deal with the other’s POV. As someone who has struggled with anxiety for decades (well, forever), I loved it – definitely youtube it if you can!

    5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      You say you’re not going to judge, but the phrasing on your questions makes it very plain what answers you consider acceptable, even though truly answering them absent any other context is an exercise in “maybe, it depends.”

      1. Remy LeBeau*

        I don’t know if this answers your question, but my intention here is to find out what people think.

        1. Traffic_Spiral*

          But you’ve refused to give people any context as to what you’re asking about or who you’re asking it of, or how often you ask it, with an undertone that implies “boohoo no one loves me, guess I’ll go and eat worms.”

          1. Remy LeBeau*

            Removed. You are coming across as rude to other commenters, and you can’t do that here. – Alison

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Is it fair to tell people to google?

      No. Absolutely not. You are singing one of my favorite songs. Our systems are not usable by the average person.

      In some jobs that is all the employee is allowed to say. “You will have to google.”

      I wanted to open my husband’s estate in probate court. I thought I would do it myself. (Insert rolling on the floor laughter here.) I picked up the bizillion page form from the court and brought it home. I couldn’t figure out the legalese. So I called a lawyer friend and asked her to help. She agreed to look at it with me. Since it wasn’t her field she pretty much threw her hands up in the air.
      I went back to the court to ask questions. The person was not kind. You know, you can tell people to google and you can say it in an apologetic or explanatory tone. Or you can bite people’s heads off. This person chose the latter option. She made me feel awful for asking.

      The problem comes in where she represents our government. As I walked out of there, I felt like my government had just told me, “It’s too flippin’ bad you’re a widow. But, you know what? We just really do not care.”

      In talking around I came to learn that court employees are under a tight set of rules. Almost anything they say can be construed as legal advice. So the default is to tell people to look it up. And this is happening in many arenas.

      I am most fortunate to be pretty healthy. Many people have more difficulties than I ever will. Our systems suck. Our systems are so encumbered that to do almost anything you need to pay someone to help you with it. Try working with code enforcement. It’s a wonder we build anything at all. Our municipality has a $6M project. If we try to do get help ourselves, we get told, “Look it up on google.” We have to hire people to get basic info, the costs involved here drive the project up by at least 40% if not more. People around me are complaining that they can’t repair their own cars anymore. Every hiccup has to go into the shop and costs upwards of $500. I could go on and on talking about veterinarian care, medical care, legal help etc.

      I am sorry to say but it’s not just you being treated like crap. It’s happening to a lot of people. And I am in total agreement. It’s wrong. It’s so very wrong. I guess we have to wait until our systems collapse because under this burden of their own making before we see change.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        I am in the legal field, but not this corner of it. I have nonetheless, not entirely voluntarily, had a few occasions to deal with this corner. A few pro tips:

        If the estate is anything above “dirt simple” you are probably better off paying a lawyer. Many (all?) jurisdictions have different systems for small and for large estates, the difference being strictly defined. The small estate rules are much simpler, and designed so that laypeople can navigate them. If this is a large estate, lawyer up. Estates lawyers are easy to find. Discuss the fee structure up front. Many (all?) jurisdictions have statutory caps, based on the size of the estate, so you have protections here. Payment generally is at the back end, taken from the proceeds of the estate, so this shouldn’t produce a cash flow problem.

        A pro tip: In my jurisdiction (I don’t know how general this is) there are two different offices you are dealing with: the Register of Wills and the Orphan’s Court. Know the difference. Around here they are in the same building, most of which is the Circuit Court, but these are distinct organizations. Around here, the Register of Wills has people whose job is to help people trying to navigate the system. The ones I have dealt with were extremely helpful. So you need to figure out if there is some equivalent in your jurisdiction, and work your way past the front desk to get to them. Indeed, it is a general truth that the person who first talks to you at the counter is probably a low-level clerk: fine for routine stuff, but not the person who can help for anything non-routine.

        Which brings me to my last point: dealing with court personnel. Their helpfulness varies wildly. Unfortunately, the larger the court, the less helpful they tend to be, simply due to time constraints. But even then, there are ways to smooth the process. If you are asking them to do something for you, acknowledge this. Yes, this is their job. I am talking practicalities here. I have been known to cheerfully announce “I am here to give you extra work!” This approach works surprisingly well. I also sometimes use “I am throwing myself on your mercy here.” The goal is to make a connection, which will make the individual invested in helping you rather than merely an obstacle keeping them from whatever it is they would be doing if you hadn’t shown up.

        And yes, being neurotypical is a huge advantage here. No, this isn’t fair.

      2. Sue*

        I’m sorry that a court clerk was rude to you. In my court, the clerk would be admonished for rude behavior even though they have to deal with incredibly rude customers every day. We have people calling names, using foul language, screaming on the phone, you name it. I have seen litigants in the courtroom behaving in ways people wouldn’t believe.
        It’s customer service but dealing with sometimes emotional/life altering issues that some people do not handle well. At all.
        Lawyers are highly trained, the profession has become very specialized and we deal with things that many people feel they should be able to figure out on their own. It is usually more complicated than it might seem on the surface and dealing with people who represent themselves usually takes much longer and is much more difficult than with attorneys who have the training and experience to follow the rules/understand the process.
        The cost of legal help is prohibitive for many, I’m dealing with a relative’s lawsuit right now so I realize how crazy expensive it is. I also have a relative starting law school in the fall and the cost is $70,000/per year + living costs (for 3 years) so it isn’t too hard to see how the costs get so high.
        All this is to say, I sympathize but also see the other side and…it’s complicated, ugh.

      3. The Other Dawn*

        “Is it fair to tell people to google?”

        This isn’t directed a you, I’m just giving my opinion in general: I think it’s absolutely fair to ask people to Google something; however, it truly context-dependent.

        In the case of a legal matter, probably not fair. It can be helpful to gather basic info, but when it comes to estates and other complicated matters, we definitely need legal advice. Of course, that’s cost-prohibitive to most people so we go around in circles trying to do what we can on our own for as long as possible–usually until we’re beyond pulling out our hair–and then we break down and find a lawyer or similar.

        Now if it’s something about a subject I know about, of course I’ll help them out and answer questions.

        When it comes to info that’s easily searchable online and I know about as much as the person asking me the question, you bet I’m going to tell them to Google it. They’re usually being helpless and lazy. Not always, of course, but in most cases they are, based on my own experience.

        I don’t mind helping someone, but they need to make an attempt to help themselves first when possible.

        1. Remy LeBeau*

          I didn’t want to mention it, but I’m in a helping professional too. It’s important for me to bridge that gap (how much can we really help people?), not just for myself, but for other people too.

          1. Wandering*

            Would you expand on this for us? What kinds of general/systemic issues do you bump up against as you try to help others as well as yourself? How do you balance the bulk of your work and the individual questions or concerns that aren’t as quick to address or resolve? Are there systemic issues of particular concern?

            1. Remy LeBeau*

              A lot of bureaucracy, lack of technology (not updated), and just information gaps, and it’s not easy to navigate. The last part is especially important.

        2. another Hero*

          There’s also just imo a huge difference between telling someone to google something if you’re talking about it online and saying the same thing to a stranger irl, which means assuming they have internet access and internet skills. That’s not about assuming someone is nt but it is an access issue. There’s also a difference between telling someone to google something specific (if you ask me what latitude Beijing is on and I know you have internet, telling you to google that is a-ok, bc otherwise I’d be googling it, and if I’m not aware of needing to do that for you, I probably won’t, outside of At Work) and telling them to google something nebulous – there are times I’ve helped people come up with terms they might use for a search if actually doing the search is outside my wheelhouse.

    7. Natural40*

      “I’m not going to judge.”

      If you genuinely meant that, it may be helpful to you to know that your responses in this thread do not come across as nonjudgmental. You appear to have a clear answer that you are looking for. You appear to judge those who do not agree with that answer. If you really don’t mean to be judgemental, you may wish to reconsider how you are coming across and how you phrase your replies to people to more accurately reflect your real thinking.

      Perhaps, though, you only said that to make your initial post seem less offputting, in which case carry on.

    8. Anonnington*

      It totally depends on the disability and the context. I think those questions are too broad to answer definitively.

      But I’ll try.

      Obviously, all of the questions you asked rest on knowing that the person identifies as non-neurotypical. And that you might know what their diagnosis is. It isn’t entirely clear whether you’re non-neurotypical or are interacting with people who are. So this applies to both perspectives.

      When the diagnosis, or status as non-neurotypical, comes up, it should open the door for relevant information to be provided and relevant questions to be asked in a respectful way. The questions you asked should be part of a conversation between those who need to know.

      “I have X Diagnosis. I pass for neurotypical in [situations] but not [other situations]. I struggle with ____ and excel at _____ .”

      “What about taxes? Is that easy or do you need assistance with anything?”

      And this should be the kind of conversation that can continue over time.

      “I said I was fine with taxes, but now that the filing rules have changed, I’m finding it harder and could use some help.”

      “How are you with phone calls? What about customer service by phone?”

      This goes for all disabilities. Questions are good. Questions are productive. Have the conversation with the person.

      It can sork when someone is being ableist and you have to have this kind of conversation. But wait! Sometimes, those people don’t realize they’re being ableist. Sometimes, if you talk with them very directly and openly, they’ll have an, “Aha!” moment, and they’ll actually look up to you because nine times out of ten they also have a diagnosis or some kind of unique circumstance that they don’t know how to be open about. Then you suddenly become a role model for them, and form a bond. One time out of ten, they continue to be ableist jerks and then you scream and run away and warn other people to stay away from them.

      Other side: People with disabilities get a lot of judgment, incorrect assumptions, and being left out of conversations – being talked at and talked about instead of being conversed with. So many will appreciate just being asked about things. If they are not neurotypical, allow for the fact that they might need to be asked in a different way (for example, written vs spoken) and may need some extra time before responding. Be flexible and relaxed and friendly about that. “I want to ask some questions about Diagnosis X. I can write them down if they would be easier, and there’s no need to respond right now. I just need to know so we can work together more productively.”

      Easy.

      1. Remy LeBeau*

        I see.

        So that’s what’s going on.

        I think I’ll leave my questions as they are. This was very revealing to me.

    9. KoiFeeder*

      To pass? Not really. But, and I’m not the autism pope so YMMV, frankly I prefer dealing with google than dealing with people! Google doesn’t call me names for not knowing things.

      1. Remy LeBeau*

        Yeah, I tried to pass, and it was a struggle.

        I just feel like life doesn’t have to be hard, but people make it out to be for some reason.

        1. university minion*

          Life is hard. For everyone. It may be differently difficult for you than for me, but it’s hard. You never know what’s going on behind each person’s facade. We’re all stumbling through.

          As far as your original question is concerned, in my corner of the world, I often ask people to exhaust their other options (of which there are many) before I can 1 on 1 walk them through it. Sometimes I even tell them, “Google ‘extremely specific search terms’ to find exactly what you’re looking for.” I show them to those options and explain which ones are best suited to what they’re attempting to do. I ask them to try it while following the steps I’ve given them. The reason for this? There are tons of resources for the thing that I do and I support a LOT of users. I really need people to use those resources for simple things like, say, logging in, so I can spend time with the folks who are stuck on really complicated, one-off things for which no documentation exists, or their case becomes the documentation. If I can’t help a person in the exact manner in which they would prefer to receive assistance, I’m not being busy *at* them.

            1. Ethyl*

              I’ve read this entire thread and I’m stuff baffled at what you think “is going on.” People have jobs, and sometimes things are their job and sometimes things aren’t their job. Just because you want people who work at the unemployment office or the courthouse or the library to do everything for you doesn’t make it “unfair” or abelist for that to not be their job.

              My spouse is the director of IT for a large university department. I don’t really grok a lot of what he does, because it’s extremely high-level stuff. But he still has people calling with questions like how to plug in their computer or how to format a word document. That stuff isn’t his job, and he does need to tell people to look things up in the help file, because his attention needs to be on higher level matters. I’m sure some of those people think it’s “unfair,” and I’m sure each of them thinks “but it would just take him five seconds to tell me how to do it.” But they don’t understand that they aren’t the only person he is getting these questions from, and all those five seconds add up and take time away from critical tasks that only he can do.

              1. The Other Dawn*

                “I’ve read this entire thread and I’m stuff baffled at what you think “is going on.” ”

                Thank you. I thought it was just me. I’m not sure, either.

              2. Remy LeBeau*

                That’s not what I’m saying. I’m trying to get a bigger picture of what’s happening.

                Please don’t put words in my mouth, thank you.

                And believe me, just as you said, people have lives. The person on the other side isn’t going to be completely aware of all the ins and outs, and that in of itself is a huge problem.

                1. Ethyl*

                  Seriously though, wtf are you talking about? A bigger picture of WHAT? I’m putting words in your mouth because you aren’t saying anything intelligible.

                2. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  Remy: You’re not being as clear as you think! Your responses are confusing, although I’m sure you don’t mean that. I’m going to ask that we leave this here.

    10. Maya Elena*

      Google has also gotten much worse lately in getting results that aren’t cookie cutter. Like, if you try to search anything health related and specific (e.g. “lower abdomen twinge left side”) , it auto-generalizes your search terms and brings up Mayo/WebMD/Healthline whatever general “stomach ache” sites. But I see this play out with almost all my searches, from medial to parenting to home improvement.
      So if you feel like googling isn’t actually helping I don’t think it’s you so much as Google.

      1. Remy LeBeau*

        Yeah. I’m trying really hard to understand why people think the way they do and figure out how to help myself.

        1. Wandering*

          Just a reminder that we don’t all think the same way, we don’t all have the same strengths (or weaknesses), without regard for whether or not we’re neurotypical. This gives us a much richer world than we would otherwise have. It also gives us all trouble in greater & lesser degrees.

      2. misspiggy*

        Yes, I’ve definitely found this, and I’m used to finding Google easy. Switching on Verbatim in Search Tools, and putting my query in quotes, and putting – before terms I don’t want, do help, but not as much as before.

        I’m starting to use Bing and DuckDuckGo more, but as mentioned above YouTube is often more helpful for some things now.

      3. KoiFeeder*

        Oh, for sure- I’ve turned to DuckDuckGo recently, because it’s better. I just like, you know, not dealing with people who IME are actively judging me the whole time for not being “normal” like they are.

        Normal’s not even a setting on my dryer. Weird is, though! It makes the clothes wetter.

      4. nonegiven*

        I used to use Boolean terms to narrow my searches, I started with Altavista quite some time ago.

        I lately find better results if I just ask Google a question, but sometimes it insists on picking out one word and going off on a tangent. I have no idea what to trade that word for to leave out all results to do with that tangent. I’m about to go off trying other search engines.

    11. Person from the Resume*

      Fair for whom?

      Yes. Because some services and businesses are designed to support the neutrotypical. Hopefully government has an option is assist non-Neutrotypical but it might be a special service.

  5. Yancy*

    Question about the movie/book “Bird Box”. I guess this is a spoiler?
    *
    *
    *
    *
    Why didn’t the birds in the box go insane and kill themselves and each other when they saw the creatures? Did they say why and I missed it?

    1. Campfire Raccoon*

      Avian brains are very, very different from the mammalian brain. Even in Harry Potter, the boggarts didn’t harm “lower creatures”.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        Actually, I thought in the book that a flock of finches went insane and killed each other, but did not commit suicide.

        If I recall correctly, the birds in the box were budgies, right? Which actually makes sense- most parrots/parakeets are not properly physically, mentally, or socially stimulated! They were probably already insane.

    2. alex b*

      Ugh Bird Box. I don’t think they explained that, one of many plot-holes. Somehow the birds were “immune.”
      I love a good dystopian movie, I love a good horror movie, but this was not good. It somehow managed to be even worse than The Happening, which had a similar premise. I didn’t read the book, though.

    1. NY CPA*

      Ive been extremely disappointed with them. The fabric looked/felt cheap. I also ordered custom sizes (same measurements) for 3 dresses and they all came out COMPLETELY different sizes so I have zero trust in their sizing generally. Returns were a massive PITA as well.

      1. Grits McGee*

        I haven’t had much luck with the custom sizing either. Weirdly placed bust seams, too-long shoulders, awkward hem lengths; I just assumed it was because I was bad at measuring myself, but maybe it’s a bigger quality issue.

      2. LQ*

        I have had pretty good luck. Once I found a cut and fabric that worked for me I stopped and just order that cut and that fabric in whatever design is available basically. There were some I tried that were Not For Me. Sizing has been really good for me overall. I’m absurdly tall and don’t fit into human clothes so I may be coming from a different perspective. But I’ve loved it once I got the right cut and fabric.

          1. LQ*

            This is the odd thing, I’ve had a lot of issues with Long Tall Sally with really shoddy construction and single use only things. Wear it onces and it’s falling apart.

    2. Blueberry*

      I learned about them from one of my best dressd friends, and the two dresses I bought for my birthday are both perfect. I hope you have my luck!

    1. MistOrMister*

      I made buttermilk pie last night and also exeprienced a houseful of olfactory deliciousness. I’ve also had an easy to make pasta for lunch, seasoned with sesame oil and soy sauce for a couple of days. I left yesterday afternoon for an hour, came back and realized the house smelled like heaven!!

      1. I edit everything*

        Buttermilk pie is the only pie I crave. I like pie, generally, but that’s the one that I *have* to make when the urge hits. Which it now has. Guess what I’m making this week!

    2. Lena Clare*

      I’ve made butter chicken (which, given I’m vegan, contains neither butter nor chicken!), chocolate fudge cake, vegetable paella, and black bean chilli. All delicious!

      1. MistOrMister*

        How does one make vegan butter chicken? My friend talks about making butter chicken every so often and it sounds really good, but being vegetarian I never really thought about it.

        1. Lena Clare*

          I adapted a recipe from Jackfruit & Blue Ginger by Sasha Gill, because I didn’t have the fresh ingredients in, and I didn’t want to make the seitan ‘chicken’.

          But here’s the recipe
          – Fry 1 tsp cumin seeds and half a tsp coriander seeds in oil for 1 minute, then add 1 white onion, 4 garlic cloves, and 1 cm ginger (all finely chopped) and cook until the Onion is soft and translucent, adding a small splash of water if it begins to stick.

          – Stir in half a tsp of ground turmeric, a quarter tsp of chili powder, and a pinch of ground cinnamon, then pour in 500 ml (2 cups) tomato passata.

          – Drain 40 g (1/4 cup) of soaked-for-1-hour cashews (I used almonds because I’m allergic), then add them to the pan as well and cook everything gently for 5 minutes.

          – Transfer the mixture to a blender, add 125 ml (1/2 cup) plant milk, 1 tsp white sugar, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp salt, and a pinch of black pepper, and puree to make a smooth sauce.

          – Pour back into the pan over a medium heat, add 2 tsps of garam masala and torn pieces of seitan ‘chicken’ (I used vegan Quorn pieces) and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes to reduce a little.

          – Garnish with coriander leaves and lime wedges. Serve with rice and naan.

          This serves 4, generously, and was even nicer the next day.
          Enjoy:)

          1. Lena Clare*

            Btw, that book is GORGEOUS and I make so many things from there.
            I think it has a different title in the US.

    3. Drtheliz*

      Sloooow cooked Ratatouille:
      Start at lunch, because it needs time but very little attention.
      Put herbs, garlic, good 1-2 tbsp oil and a pinch of sugar in the pan. Fry on low heat until it’s a brownish bubbly mush. Add onion and a little bit of tomato passata (just enough to coat the onions), cook on low heat until onions have softened. Add the rest of the passata – I use the half litre tubs – and turn the heat as low as it’ll go. Simmer for a couple hours, turn off heat.
      ~10 minutes before it’s time to serve, turn the heat back on to medium, add the rest of the veg – I use frozen – and a handful of sunflower seeds. Start the noodles. When the veg and noodles are cooked, mix and serve with a little grated cheese on top. Optional: stir in some last minute balsamic vinegar.
      I had a fine dinner last night :)

    4. The Other Dawn*

      Not much cooking going on since I had surgery recently, but I have lots of pre-made meals in the freezer that I either bought (chicken pot pie, chicken alfredo) or prepared ahead (stuffed peppers, shepherd’s pie).

      I cooked a store-bought chicken pot pie for lunch yesterday, which was delicious. I got it at Sams’s Club and froze it. It was $17, but it was huge and packed with chicken and veggies. Very much worth it. Dinner was pizza delivery from a new pizza place: a white pizza with mozzarella, goat cheese, prosciutto, walnuts, and honey. It was fabulous!

      1. The Messy Headed Momma*

        I read this last line as, “a white pizza with mozzarella, goat cheese, prosciutto, walnuts,
        and Honey, it was fabulous!”
        Yay, grammar!

      1. Arts Akimbo*

        Ha! I read this as “Jelly– I wish I had some!” probably because I’m turning my blueberries into jam tomorrow!

      1. DarthVelma*

        Isn’t waking up to a lovely smell like that the absolute best. :-)

        You brought to mind one of my very favorite childhood memories. Every so often, my parents would let my brother and I sleep in as late as we liked on Saturday morning. We’d wake up mid-morning to the smell of brownies baking. It’s like waking up to the olfactory equivalent of a warm hug and being told you’re loved.

    5. GoryDetails*

      Corned beef and cabbage! Oven-braised, which I prefer to the stovetop-simmer version. (I’m also experimenting with fermenting, on a teensy weensy scale: had read a recipe for very simple fermentation of Swiss chard stems, had a bunch of ruby chard from my last expedition to the market, and made up a single jelly-jar from the stems. No idea if it’ll work or not, but it looks very pretty, and if it turns out badly it’s not much of a loss.)

    6. Ali G*

      I’m making meatballs in the slow cooker today. Tomorrow we will smoke chicken drumsticks and then crisp them in the airfryer.

    7. Richard Hershberger*

      Excellent idea! I am planning a grocery run today. You have just added to the shopping list.

    8. Forrest Rhodes*

      Green chile stew is simmering as we speak, apartment is overflowing with chile-garlic-onion fragrance. Am pacing in front of the stove with fork in hand, waiting for an excuse to taste-test.

    9. old curmudgeon*

      We made corned beef hash last night from leftovers from earlier in the week, and it was SOOOO good.

      We made migas for breakfast and that was wonderful, too. There’s one brand that offers uncooked corn tortillas, which are ideal for making migas. Cut up four uncooked tortillas in about 1″ pieces, fry ’em with a bit of minced onion, and once the tortilla pieces pick up a bit of color and the onions are starting to sweat, drop in four eggs and scramble it all together. Serve with your favorite salsa, and you are in heaven.

      A few years ago, we used to carpool with a woman who was fascinated by all the cooking we’d do. One day we mentioned having had migas for breakfast, which she had never heard of. After that conversation, she’d ask regularly if we had had them again, only she couldn’t quite remember exactly what the word was. So we’d get in the car in the morning and she’d chirp “good morning! Did you guys have Miyagis again today?”

      1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

        I made migas this morning with leftover tortilla chips (local brand) that were getting stale. So chips work too if slightly less traditional than fried leftover tortillas.

    10. MsChanandlerBong*

      I am using this time to make dishes I don’t normally make because they are a little more labor-intensive. I just baked some cornbread so that I can make a pan of my Thanksgiving stuffing later. The store didn’t have bread, but I got some dinner rolls that I can use in place of it (I usually use half cornbread and half toasted white bread). I think tomorrow I am going to learn how to make my own bread at home. Might also make a big batch of pizza sauce so that I can make some homemade pizzas. The cornbread smells amazing!

      1. AVP*

        oh that’s funny, I didn’t see this when I posted the below! I’m also trying to find the complicated recipes that I always think I’ll make time for and never get around to.

    11. AVP*

      Is anyone baking a lot of bread? I had intended to while we’re stuck in the apartment for a few week but there’s actually been a run of flour in my neighborhood! I was shocked and didn’t think to stock up, so we’re doing lots of red sauce this weekend instead.

    12. Jaid*

      I roasted fennel and shallots. Also, radish leaves can be cooked and eaten. I’m not a big veggie person, but now is the time to experiment.

    13. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Sous-vide …What is this magic? I got a huge beef loin on sale from a club store, and the first steaks we cut off it were unpleasantly tough. My husband put the rest into the sous-video on low for two (!!) days and it came out tender and tasty.
      We declared it pirate night (break the rules of table manners) so we could snitch pieces off the board as it was sliced.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          We do that with steaks, best has been when weather allowed us to use the grill outside. :)

    14. Sparkly Librarian*

      I thought I had a ham in the bottom of the freezer and had planned out a week of meals based around it… but I was mistaken. So it’s apocalypse turkey time! My mom is sending up some sourdough stuffing mix and a very neglected onion by way of my sister, who is dropping off supplies for both of our households. That can of cranberry sauce from last Thanksgiving in the pantry (or maybe I’ll make a sauce from the frozen fresh ones I stashed after making Xmas tree garlands), half a packet of instant mashed potatoes (needs must), and some leftover spiced veggies from Indian delivery lunch will be joining it.

    15. Blueberry*

      Yay food! I am just about to finish up my baked macaroni and cheeese and need to decide what to make next. Beef stew is now in the running!

  6. Sc@rlettNZ*

    Aww, Sophie, Hank and Shadow make a gorgeous kitty pile. I wish my two ginger siblings still got along that well. When they were younger they always slept curled together, and used to groom one another.

    Now they are probably 30% friends and 70% enemies. Poor Elijah is nursing a large scratch under one eye and a big bloody ding on his ear. I didn’t see it happen, but it would have been his brother – no neighbourhood cats will come anywhere near our property as Mr Klaus is the biggest, baddest cat for miles around.

    1. old curmudgeon*

      I am astounded and impressed that Sophie tolerates that much cuddling with Hank and Shadow already! You are clearly the cat-whisperer, Alison!

      We adopted a pair of littermates over two years ago, and the original resident cat in the house STILL despises them. I have a photo I recently caught of the two youngsters cuddled up next to the old fellow’s rump that speaks volumes – the younger guys are clearly in heaven at being able to cuddle, and the old man looks like he’s just been asked to eat a whole lemon.

      1. Minocho*

        my two are littermates and get along well, unless the female is stressed out by travel. But there was period when they co-existed with my old man Yami (passed away xmas 2018), and he liked the little spitfire female, but hated the male, who was a a fellow house panther. The young house panther loved him, though! He would wait until Yami fell asleep, the cuddle up next to him!

    2. Wandering*

      They make a lovely pile! And it makes me happy to see. So glad you share these photos with us, Alison!

  7. Robin*

    Does anyone have links for advice/discussion boards about no contact in a family when you are not yourself one of the direct no-contact parties?
    I am minimum contact with uncle and wanting to be in more contact with cousin who, I’ve just found out, is no contact with their father.
    I would be grateful for some scripts to handle the minimum/no contact person. Thanks.

      1. Robin*

        I am having difficulties finding one that isn’t about the direct party, but rather when you are on the sideline.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Assuming you mean something like, Uncle Fergus starts asking you about Cousin Wakeen, how to shut Uncle Fergus down? If you’re already minimum contact with Fergus, I’d say the first step would be just not to mention Wakeen to him at all. It’s not like no-contact Wakeen is gonna be like “Hey, I’m going to break contact long enough to tell Fergus I’m hanging out with Robin, bwa ha ha!” (Hopefully :P )

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        (er. *make* contact, not *break* contact.)

        If Fergus does find out somehow – when my housemate started dating, he asked me not to talk about his girlfriend with his mom. I obviously did not want to do this anyway, because I can’t stand his girlfriend, but if Miss Patti brought up the ladyfriend, I just said “Sorry, not a discussion I’m having, I’m sure you understand!” and changed the subject. Of course you don’t want to get involved with other people’s family politics any more than absolutely necessary, because that’s reasonable – so present it as a reasonable foregone conclusion and just kinda brush past it onto something else.

        Basically you’re aiming for something like “Oops, I’m sure spilling your coffee on the table was an accident, let’s just get that cleaned up and get you a fresh cup of coffee and say no more about it.” – and then if Fergus looks you in the face and deliberately upturns the second cup of coffee while giving you an ugly grin, then either Fergus is a cat or an asshole and you can adjust your expectations of future interactions accordingly.

    2. Sunflower Sea Star*

      I’m in this situation myself. Large family (I’m one of 9 kids). No contact with my parents, but am in contact with most of my siblings, even though there are several sets of siblings not in contact with each other. And Some siblings are no contact with parents, others are not.
      I often joke we need a web site to keep current on who is talking to who. Or not.
      My best advice to you is to make each of those relationships 1:1
      Never ever discuss family members with other family members. If cousin wants to dish about how horrible uncle is, don’t listen. Change the subject. This has literally saved my bacon. I once hung up on one of my sisters when she wouldn’t stop trash talking our brother. Just said “I’m not doing this, I don’t talk about family members with family members” and hung up.
      Years later, that brother tried to tell that sister that his anger towards her was justified and that I agreed with him and was angry too.
      Sister knew immediately he was lying because she knew I would never talk about her with him.
      It sucks when you can’t have family as a group. I anticipate that I’ll never have all my living siblings and parents in the same place ever again. There will never be a newer family photo than the one we took in the late 80s.
      But this is the only way I’ve found to have functioning mostly good relationships with most of my siblings.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      If you can find an intermediary who is not your uncle that is your best bet. Who is Cousin in contact with that you also are in contact with?

      Just based on my own family experience, the uncle would probably not even know where the cousin or how to contact them. So to try to ask Uncle could just be a waste of time and nerves.

      Some families have peacemaker type people who are in contact with others. If you have such a person that is the person I would ask how to get in contact with Cousin Sue/Bob.

      If you have a friend who lives near your cousin perhaps they would help you.

      This is a rare thing but I will throw it out there- sometimes churches can help reunite family.

    4. Robin*

      Thanks for all your replies and sorry for being abscent. This weekend did not go as planned. Uncle, as I feared, did not handle well being told that his adult child did not want him to know anything about them and to be honest I am not sure if I should worry about uncle being suidicidal.

      1. Observer*

        This is not your responsibility. Also, if cousin is no contact with their parent, your refusal to discuss cousin is NOT news to Uncle. It’s just “news” that they can’t get YOU to be his conduit to his child. I have no idea if uncle is actually suicidal, but his hinting that he is, is definitely manipulative. And if he is suicidal it’s not because of something you did.

  8. Crazy Broke Asian*

    Podcast recommendations, please? I prefer those with short, stand alone episodes. Most genres and niche topics are okay for me, but no sports, comedy, or news please.

    1. misspiggy*

      As My Wimsey Takes Me is a delightful discursion through the Lord Peter Wimsey detective novels. Some two-part episodes.

      1. Miss Climpson*

        Thank you so much for this! I’ve read all the Wimsey books multiple times, and this looks delightful!

        1. Runaway Shinobi*

          If you like that, Shedunnit by Caroline Crampton will be right up your street. It’s about golden age detective fiction. Very well done.

      2. Crazy Broke Asian*

        Embarrassed to admit that while I consider myself a mystery fan, I’ve never read the Wimsey novels. I think I’ll use this stay at home time to start reading them!

    2. DistantAudacity*

      BBC’s “in our time” is always great. Each episode is about 40 minutes, drawing from a wide range of topics across all sciences, arts and literature. There are several hundred by now.

      Also, “The curious cases of Rutherford and Fry” (still bbc) – this one’s more light-hearted, and hard-science focused.

      And: “13 minutes to the moon”. First season dug into Apollo 11, last year. They are now doing Apollo 13 (it includes new interviews with Jim Lovell and Fred Haies, and also Mission Control ECOM guy (Cy Liebergott (sp?)). One of the reasons why I enjoy it is that digs into a lot of the Mission Control side of things. Also awesome Hans Zimmer music.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I agree with the In Our Time podcast from Melvyn Bragg. He covers all sorts of topics in stand alone episodes and has a back catalogue dating back to 1999. I listened to an excellent discussion on Cleopatra yesterday and before that humanism, the epic of Gilgamesh, Rosseau on education, and so many more. It’s mainly history, philosophy, and culture, and I love them.

        1. Not a cat*

          I like “In Our Time” also. However, I find Melvin gets impatient with the female experts rather easily.

      2. Best Cat in the World*

        Was going to recommend Curious Cases! I love it! I binged a load of it yesterday and it was great for distracting me.

        You’re Dead to Me is another good one, stand alone history one. One of the panel members each time is a comedian but it’s not the main focus of the episodes.

        Shall have to look for the new one on Apollo 13!

    3. CoffeeforLife*

      I like Criminal. They are usually pretty short and cover some fascinating topics, like the lady who stowed away on a cruise ship on a dare.

      Stuff you Should Know has thousands of episodes.

      You probably already know of these though :)

    4. StellaBella*

      BBC Natural Histories.
      BBC Science Hour, but has some news.
      Stuff You Should Know.
      Stuff Mom Never Told You.
      Quirks and Quarks.
      BBC In Our Time.
      ABC Australia has good ones too.

    5. Jonah*

      Family Ghosts is an excellent storytelling podcast where the host helps someone dig into a family secret and find answers in each episode. Some are sad. Some are lighthearted. Some are just plain weird. But they’re absolutely fantastic. In the first ep, the host investigates whether his own grandfather, a jeweler, was married to an big time jewel thief as the family legend said.

    6. Ranon*

      Ologies for science- format is an interview with a scientist about their work/ field

      Disability Visibility podcast- each episode looks at disability from a different lens (e.g. disabled writers, parenting) again with an interview format

      Nocturne- NPR style nonfiction storytelling about all sorts of things somehow related to night

    7. Lemonwhirl*

      Reply All is great – it covers mostly tech/internet topics in a really funny way. They did a fascinating episode lately about this guy who remembered a pop song from his teenage years but then couldn’t find the song anywhere on the Internet. The hosts have a great semi-antagonistic relationship and it’s like listening to two clever friends bicker.

    8. CatCat*

      I like “Tales,” which gives you the history of and reading of classic fairy tales. Note, most of the stories have very dark or violent elements so not for little kids.

    9. Jedi Squirrel*

      A while ago, I started a podcast wiki where people could share information on their favorite podcasts. I took it down due to lack of interest.

      Given the current situation, is it time to resurrect it? Would anybody be interested in participating?

    10. Miss Dove*

      Futility Closet – little quirky stories from history, with the hosts trying to stump each other with a lateral thinking puzzle at the end.

      This Day in History Class – short (about 6 minutes each) about something that happened on this day in history.

      Moonrise – 13 episode limited series about the race to the moon – absolutely fascinating.

      Dressed: The History of Fashion – as someone with no interest in fashion, it is surprising how interesting these episodes are.

    11. Marthooh*

      “The Memory Palace” Interesting short bits of American history, beautifully written. But TW do not listen to episode #1 TW! Unless you like hearing about horrible deaths.

      No, just don’t listen to the first episode.

    12. Richard Hershberger*

      The British History Podcast is astonishingly good. I am not a fan of the podcast format, but I listen to this one. That being said, it mostly fails your stand-alone criterion. To get some idea, it is over three hundred episodes in, and the Norman Conquest is just now coming into view. This is not a survey course.

      1. Jedi Squirrel*

        It has been said that cricket matches last so long because the British are not a particularly spiritual history, and this gives them some idea of eternity. Apparently, the same principle applies to podcasts. ;)

    13. Just a Guy in a Cube*

      Out of the Blocks is brief profiles of people from area of Baltimore each episode, and incredibly human.

      Government Accountability Office and Proceedings if National Academy of Science (PNAS) each have short (5-10 minute) focused episodes

      Ear Hustle, based in San Quentin State Prison.

      Make Me Smart is an interesting Marketplace spin-off, that’s going to daily.

    14. Forensic13*

      99% Invisible sometimes has more news-related episodes, but mostly it’s random interesting stories.

    15. blaise zamboni*

      Sawbones! Episodes are ~30-40 minutes and cover the history of medicine, which sometimes intersects with other historical realms. The episode that got me hooked was about the reversal of the Chicago river. It’s generally light-hearted and kinda humorous, but not “comedy”.

      1. Something Blue*

        Seconding Sawbones! They have a friendly tone and cover interesting medical and health topics.

        They also cover a bit of history surrounding the topic so it’s especially interesting if you like history of medicine topics.

    16. Pieismyreligion*

      Death, Sex and Money- convos about things we don’t normally talk about. Some great interviews (I especially enjoyed the Bill Withers episode) but also talking w everyday people.

      Endless Thread- the hosts find interesting Reddit posts and explore them more deeply. Totally random subject every episode.

    17. smoke tree*

      I have many podcast recommendations! Here are some of my favourites (with descriptions taken from their websites, because I’m not good at writing summaries):

      The Allusionist: a podcast about language

      Flash Forward: a podcast about possible and not so possible futures

      Marlon and Jake Read Dead People: a podcast hosted by Marlon James and his editor Jake Morrissey, where they give their uncensored opinions about dead authors

      Ologies: a comedic science podcast

      You Must Remember This: a podcast about the secret and/or forgotten history of Hollywood’s first century

      The Soundtrack Show: a weekly look at film scores and soundtracks for some of the most popular movies, TV Shows, Video Games and Theater pieces of all time

      The Anthropocene Reviewed: John Green reviews facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale

      Imaginary Worlds: a podcast about science-fiction and other fantasy genres

      1. smoke tree*

        Forgot about your criteria! Pretty much all of these work as standalones (some have themed arcs, but you can listen to each one individually and it still makes sense). The Allusionist and the Anthropocene Reviewed are usually between 15 and 30 minutes, although the others are typically 45 to an hour.

    18. Mid*

      I love “And That’s Why We Drink” which is about an hour per episode, and covers one true crime and one ghost story per episode. I’m also a fan of “The Adventure Zone” but that’s not stand alone. “More Perfect” is about Supreme Court cases but not really about current events. “Black Girl Nerds” is good. “Sluts and Scholars” is one I’m just starting but like so far.

    19. Fikly*

      Mike Rowe’s That’s the Way I Heard It is delightful. Very short (sub 15 minute episodes) stories about famous people/incidents told in very unexpected ways that leave you hanging until the end trying to figure out who they are about.

    20. Crazy Broke Asian*

      Thank you, everyone! I love how wide-ranging the recs are. Gonna use all this bonus leisure time to get through them.

    21. Something Blue*

      What about short stories podcasts?

      Classic Tales Podcasts and 1001 Classic Short Stories feature stories in public domain with a variety of themes. Kind of like Project Gutenberg but as audio.

      Selected Shorts has episodes with a theme and reads 2-3 stories an episode, and their choices are usually more contemporary (not in public domain).

    22. alex b*

      Stuff You Should Know! 2 smart, nice guys have the best job in the world: researching random, interesting topics and teaching about them for 30-45 mins.

    23. urban teacher*

      Just discovered Cocaine and Rhinestones. It’s a guy researching different stories about country music. I’m finding it fascinating.

    24. Raia*

      Death by Monsters – Matthew, Nick, and Paula talk about monsters, mysteries and the unknown, hilariously.
      This Game is Broken – Matthew and Dave talk about board games, play games about board games, and there is sometimes music charades about board games.

  9. MistOrMister*

    Any movie recommendations for old films (30s and 40s) that are free on Prime? I’ve just finished Another Man’s Poison and The Lady Vanishes, and have a bunch on my watchlist but am always looking for more. I discovered TCM and AMC (back when they were playing the old movies, not modern AMC) 20+ years ago and something about the movies from that era is so satisfying.

    1. Anonymouse for this*

      My Man Godfrey with William Powell. Great movie – there’s also a remake with David Niven.

      1. MistOrMister*

        I’ve seen the William Powell version. I agree that it’s a good one. Pretty sure I’ve watched it at least twice and told my mom bout it!! Haven’t seen the David Niven one, I’ll look it up. Thanks.

        1. anonymouse for this*

          The Ghost and Mrs Muir looks like it’s free on YouTube. I miss TCM – my cable provider dropped the channel. Have been digging out my old dvds to watch. Separate Tables and Best Years of Our Lives currently queued up. Am resisting the urge to comfort shop on Amazon for more.

    2. GoryDetails*

      I don’t know if it’s free with Prime or not, but I love Letter to Three Wives; good stories, interesting characters, and some snapshots of expectations in the post-WWII US.

      I just saw Good Morning, Miss Dove on a cable channel – can’t recall which one, not TCM or AMC though. While some of it doesn’t hold up (Miss Dove doesn’t believe in allergies, or in using kids’ nicknames even if they prefer that), for the most part it’s a charming story.

    3. MissDisplaced*

      I don’t know why, but I just love all the old Fred Astaire movies. I think they just capture that pre-war era so wonderfully and he was so talented.

      Meet Me in Saint Louis is also charming. You can’t go wrong with Judy Garland.

      Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd films: A silent trip around Los Angeles in the 20’s. I may be biased as I lived in LA, so part of the fun is trying to recognize locations.

      Three Stooges: Yeah, they’re not for everyone, but OMG they still make me laugh at the stunts and slapstick. I often wonder how they performed some of those pre-CGI.

      Maybe concentrate on actors: Gregory Peck, Bette Davis, Bogart, Garbo, etc.

    4. CastIrony*

      Casablanca was hard for me to follow and understand, but it’s an old movie, though I am not sure how old it is.

      1. Imtheone*

        It might help to google the movie, since when it was made, there were things people assumed everyone would know, for example: the status of Casablanca during WWII, whether the French authorities were independent of the Nazi regime, when the US entered the war, etc.

    5. Former Employee*

      I don’t know anything about Prime, but check out the old Humphrey Bogart movies, especially ones with Lauren Bacall, such as: To Have and Have Not (her debut; she was barely 20); Key Largo; Dark Passage. I can never follow The Big Sleep.

      Also, the classic WWII era films, such as Mrs. Miniver and The Best Years of Our Lives; someone else already mentioned Casablanca.

      And if you’ve never seen “Harvey” and would enjoy something charming and humorous with James Stewart (as Elwood P. Dowd) and a very tall invisible rabbit named Harvey, this is the movie for you. It has some wonderful lines such as “Don’t be didactic Myrtle Mae. It’s not becoming in a young girl…”

      1. GoryDetails*

        Oh, yes, “Harvey”! A delightful film, with some great lines. One of my favorites is this one, from Elwood:

        “Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be’ – she always called me Elwood – ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.’ Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”

    6. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      If you are willing to go up to the early 1950s then I would suggest Indiscretion of an American Wife. Its the butchered edit of Il Stazione, so in the Italian realist style, quite a bit of which was cut out in the edit that would have had everything make more sense. I watched it for the pretty that is Monty Clift, but seeing Richard Beymer (aka Ben Horne in Twin Peaks) as a teen was a surprise.

    7. Texan In Exile*

      You also might want to see if your library has Hoopla, which gives you free online access to movies with your library card.

    8. lifesempossible*

      I just watched Gaslight. (There are two versions, only one is Prime right now.)

      Laurel & Hardy — Amazon has March of the Wooden Soldiers and Jack & The Beanstalk. (may be slightly earlier in era)

      And they have at least one Shirley Temple movie there! The Little Princess or something like that.

  10. Princess Deviant*

    Oh Alison, I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart to see your cats getting on. I don’t know why, but for some reason Hank and Shadow’s foster situation really touched me and I so wanted to adopt them myself (but I’m nowhere near), and I’m so delighted you’re able to give us updates about them – they’re a little bit of light in all this chaos at the moment!

    A question for everyone.

    What nice things have you got going on this week?

    1. MistOrMister*

      I’m taking my parents a pie I made yesterday – which for some reason feels really satisfying – along with a couple of things they asked me to get at the store. And I think I see some house cleaning in the future. Which isn’t a nice thing at all, except for once it’s done I will feel fabulous :)

    2. Princess Deviant*

      Working from home, I’m spending all day with my cats (they are very unhelpful, lol), and have got more time to cook more.

      I hate driving so I’m really grateful that I’m not having to drive anywhere at the moment.

      Reading a lot and having naps in the afternoon <3

    3. Fran*

      I am finally on maternity leave. I have been on sick leave for the last month but having the appointments to renew it among the pandemic was stressful. Now all I have to do is go to my appointments twice a month and pay close attention to any new symptoms I develop. We have received-ordered most of the baby stuff. Nursery is ready. I am just enjoying doing nothing with breaks of reading about nursing and caring for a newborn.

    4. The Messy Headed Momma*

      Sunday is our 10th anniversary! We are going for a very long drive, through as much beautiful scenery as we can find. Kinda perfect for social distancing, my hubby’s bum ankle & hours of quiet time together…he researched the route – I can’t wait!!

      1. Loubelou*

        We adopted our kitten yesterday! His name is Simba, he’s a ginger tabby.
        With me being home all the time now it was the perfect time to adopt. He’s settling in so well though he is not helpful with the home working!

  11. Teddyduchampssleepingbag*

    I cuddled my cats most of the day. We have 15 indoor and a feral colony of 25 outdoor cats we care for. Meow.

    1. Anono-me*

      You may not realize this color but there is a real dearth of cute cat pictures on the internet. Especially on this site. If you have any group photos that you could post that would be lovely.

    2. WindowboxGardener*

      How do you keep the house clean with multiples?

      I know tone is lost in text, I am genuinely, warmly asking as someone who just went from one cat to two and I feel like it’s exponentially harder to keep clean now. Do you have any pro tips?

      1. cat socks*

        What specific cleaning issues are you having? I have five cats and my biggest problem is tracking cat litter. I have multiple boxes in the laundry room and I have three Black Hole cat litter mats which helps some. I still need to sweep the area because the mats don’t catch everything.

        I keep blankets on the couches for the cats to help keep hair off the cushions. I don’t have too much of a problem with cat hair. Or maybe I’ve just become blind to it. A couple of my longer haired cats leave clumps of fur around that I’m able to easily spot and pick up. I vacuum once a week.

        1. Mid*

          I use a bartenders mat in front of the box and it works wonders on tracking. I went from having to vacuum every single day with the old mat to barely once a week. Some cats might not like the texture, but mine is fine with it.

      2. Professional Straphanger*

        We have six cats and a Roomba. The Roomba doesn’t take the place of proper vacuuming but running it in a different part of the house every day makes it easier by picking up litter and loose fur. I then vacuum the whole house on the weekend. I also have a lambswool duster for fine fur on furniture, ceiling fans etc. On top of all that, once a month I have a cleaning service come in to do a professional cleaning.

  12. Anonymouse for this*

    My cat who is completely uninterested in catnip just went nuts when I opened a box of mint matchmakers (English candy). She charged over from the armchair she was lounging on, kept sniffing the box, rubbing her head all over it and batting at my hand that was holding the box. So what weird things are your pets up to?

    1. CoffeeforLife*

      My foster dog likes to take big mouthfuls of water and splash it on the floor and then lick it up. Thanks weirdo.

      My senior dog, who hates toys and is scared of everything, found a plastic lid at the edge of the yard. She was chewing it and even battled the foster when she tried taking it away. Strange times. I took it away after an amusing watch.

    2. Jonah*

      I gave my senior chow-lab mix a bath on the porch yesterday since it was 85° here and she’s always hot. I used a new shampoo to help with her skin issues and it made her fur look like she’s had a run-in with an out of control hair stylist from 2003 with an affinity for the crimped look. She’s still mad at me.

    3. Stephanie*

      My three dogs have all recently started digging in the yard and eating something that they’re finding in the dirt. Not sure what they’re eating, and it’s kind of gross. But dogs are kind of gross, in general (I still love them, though).

    4. Fosterdog*

      We live on a small ranch and we cross a bridge to get to the barn. One of our resident dogs is obsessed with the bridge. For two weeks all he wants to to is sniff the bridge all over. We have to tear him away from it to come home. There is quite a bit of wild cat scat around, so I’m picturing a bobcat or mountain lion lolling around on the bridge when we’re not around. I’m sure our dog knows exactly what’s going on. If only he could talk.

        1. Fosterdog*

          LOL! That must be it. We really investigated this morning, underneath and everything. Invisibility is the only answer that makes sense. Thank you!

      1. Mid*

        Yes they are. I had to get rid of my mint plant because my cat kept uprooting and eating it.

    5. Cats cats cats*

      My cat is obsessed with plastic. She can be asleep and I go to touch some plastic and in seconds she’s downstairs tries to take it from me.

      1. Ey-not-Cy*

        Our cat loves tape. Or anything sticky. I always have to give her a piece if I am wrapping presents so she’ll leave me alone. She also runs in for any package opening sounds. She loves those plastic bags with sticky edges that clothing comes shipped in. We’ve been known to put labels on her back for distractions (her) and giggles (us.) Of course, then I get to peel them off the floor, later. Lol.

      2. Lcsa99*

        Yup thus is our cat! He is so freaking sneaky when it comes to tape so we have to be super careful when we use it, and he absolutely loves the little plastic strips that come with packages.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        A friend banned plastic grocery bags and ribbons from her house because her cat ate them and needed surgery to remove a blockage. :(

        1. OyHiOh*

          I used to have a cat obsessed with plastic bags. In the interests of her safety, I made her a blanket out of a furry plush fabric I caught her sitting on several times. Folded the fabric in half, sewed three sides together. Laid several plastic bags flat inside, stitched the last side up. Used some blanket binding to make the edges look nice and did a basic looped “quilting” stitch across the whole thing so she couldn’t scrunch the bags into one corner of the thing. She adored that blanket. Would sit and crunch on it for hours.

    6. Jellyfish*

      One of my cats has a thing for mint too, and she gets obsessed with the topical IcyHot muscle relaxant. It has menthol in it.

    7. NewReadingGlasses*

      One of my cats is weirdly affected by cedar. I have to put anything coming out of the cedar chest out of his reach until it airs out, or he attacks it and drools all over it.

    8. Fikly*

      I used to have a cat who was obsessed with kale and rosemary. She was an odd duck.

      She also made herself sick by stealing a banana, hiding it under the couch, and gnawing on it for a full week (peel and all) before we found it. The vet didn’t believe us until we showed her the picture.

      And then we became the people whose bananas were stored in cabinets.

  13. Foreign Octopus*

    Book thread!

    What’s everyone reading this week?

    I finally finished A Rising Man, by Abir Mukherjee and I was distinctly underwhelmed by it. I’ve now picked up The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin.

    1. Just a PM*

      I have Maggie Hope #8, Prisoner in the Castle, and Brit in the FBI #3, The Lost Key. But for some reason, I can’t motivate myself to read anymore, even though I really want to read these books. Up till I went into self-isolation mode, I was doing 2 books a week. Granted, I was doing most of the reading on my bus commute (WFH now because pandemic).

    2. Tomacco*

      How to be a Tudor, by Ruth Goodman. After that I’m moving on to the giant stack of unread New Yorkers on my nightstand.

    3. Lady Jay*

      Left Hand is so, so good – full of hope in dark times. Enjoy!

      I finished Old Man’s War by John Scalzi and enjoyed it – it was my third Scalzi novel and so far, he’s been a reliably good read. I made a point to check out another book of his before our library closed indefinitely on Thursday.

      But right now, I’m reading Midnight in Chernobyl via audio. Chernobyl has never fascinated me before, but apocalyptic/disaster stuff is extra interesting to me now because *waves hands around*. Plus, the Soviet history is really interesting, and the book’s doing a great job of explaining the nuclear engineering stuff in a way that non-scientist readers can understand.

      1. GoryDetails*

        I read Voices from Chernobyl recently – harrowing, riveting, scary. [And, perhaps, a good distraction just now; I’m another who enjoys reading catastrophe books when other catastrophes are in play.]

      2. old curmudgeon*

        Scalzi is hit-or-miss for me – I bounced hard off Old Man’s War and Redshirts, but I absolutely love his Interdependency series (third book is being released next month!) and the Haden Syndrome series that starts with Lock In. And Agent to the Stars is a riot.

        1. Lady Jay*

          The Interdependency is what brought me to Scalzi and remains my favourite among his works – just strong, slightly pulpy space opera which is perfect for hard times (I read the first one away at a conference after the toughest part of my work year).

          I did not think I would like Old Man’s War at all – it kept being compared to the Forever War, which I did NOT like. But the characters were warming enough and the story larger than the war parts to keep me reading. I got Lock In yesterday at the library, so I’ll report back.

      3. Fikly*

        If you like audio, many of Scalzi’s books are read by Wil Wheaton, who is an excellent reader (I’m brain fogging on the name for this).

    4. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I stocked up at the library. In normal times I don’t get to read actual books (young children).

      Top of the pile is “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. I know I’m very late to it but I’m looking forward to the read.

    5. GoryDetails*

      Currently reading Le Road Trip: A Traveler’s Journal of Love and France, by Vivian Swift. I adore her mix of travel, memoir, and lovely illustrations, and this book – in which she and her new husband enjoy France in their own inimitable fashion – is quite charming. (I also recommend Swift’s other books, including When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler’s Journal of Staying Put, and Gardens of Awe and Folly.)

      And for a change of pace, The Call by Peadar O’Guilin is a grisly and relentless horror novel in which the Sidhe have isolated all of Ireland from the rest of the world and are systematically capturing young teens to hunt. Interesting twist on the taken-by-the-faeries myths.

    6. GoryDetails*

      Forgot to mention the longest book I’m currently reading – or actually, listening to: The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel, the final book in her “Thomas Cromwell” trilogy. Since I know Cromwell’s historical fate there’s a LOT of impending-doom, but as ever the mix of historical details and the minutiae of daily life are fascinating. [I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but this History Blog post about conservation efforts on a Tudor-era ceiling in Hampton Court Palace seemed timely: http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/58155 )

    7. Richard Hershberger*

      For a recent non-fiction suggestion, The Anarchy by William Dalrymple. It is about how the British East India Company went from being an underfunded trading company to ruling India. This is really quite astonishing, when you think about it. The vastly oversimplified short version is that they had a short-lived but decisive advantage in military technology at the precise moment that the Moghul Empire as vulnerable for reasons of its own. Also, a lot of lucky breaks. The books is aimed at a general audience, and is written in very readable English, not High Academic Gibberish.

    8. Jules the 3rd*

      Working my way through Lois McMasters Bujold’s Vorkosigan saga for the umpteenth time – on Civil Campaign. Should finish early next week, and move on to her fantasy stuff. Then I’ll have to actually think about what to read…

      1. Teacher Lady*

        Have you previously read her fantasy? I am a huge Vorkosigan fan, and just finished Curse of Chalion for the first time…barely. It literally took me two months to finish it, during which time I read a dozen other books as well. I think I noticed the world-building a lot more in Chalion (compared to the world of the Vorkosigans) and wasn’t into it. Once the big adventure/quest of Chalion got underway, I really enjoyed it, but that wasn’t until about 2/3 of the way through the book.

        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          I like pretty much all Bujold except for the Chalion books, which are ok but seem…ponderous? Maybe? Like there’s just too much slow explanation of things. I haven’t re-read them for long enough that I’m a bit short on details of why I don’t read them more often, but they just aren’t as interesting to me as her other series. (It’s not just a fantasy versus SF thing, because I really liked her Sharing Knife books.)

          I think part of the problem is that one of the things that Bujold does best is tell a fantasy or SF story that isn’t about saving/changing the world, just people living in it and doing their best to deal with people-level problems, and the Chalion books (or at least the first one, which is honestly the only one I can remember all of the plot details of right now, even though I know I’ve read three of them multiple times) is going a little “bigger” in terms of the problem to be solved.

          (I do read plenty of books in which which people saving and change the world by other authors. I’m just a bit tired of it since so much SF/Fantasy is on that level.)

          1. Richard Hershberger*

            Try, if you have not already, the Penric novellas. These are set in the same world as Chalion, but in a different time and place and can be read entirely separately. They are quite character-driven, with Penric taking the Miles role, if not quite so aggressively.

      2. Ali*

        She is one of my favorite authors! After you finish working through her, I recommend “The Goblin Emperor” by Addison and the Graceling series by Cashore.

    9. Sleepless*

      One of my most prized possessions is a first edition hardback copy of The Left Hand of Darkness.

    10. Pliant Platapus*

      Just picked up The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brain Food by Lisa Mosconi M.D., The Last Negroes at Harvard by Kent Garrett & Jeanne Ellsworth, The Hidden World of the Fox by Adele Brand, Pretty Bitches edt. by Lizzie Skurnick

    11. Just a Guy in a Cube*

      I’m enduring Priory if the Orange Tree because my daughter gave it to me for Christmas and is delighted to see day reading it. Trying to read the essays in “The Eiffel Tower and other Mythologies” by Barthes and Voices from Chernobyl … but working to find something to really dig into. (Which should maybe be Mantel’s books 2 & 3).

    12. smoke tree*

      I’m reading The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. I think it’s great (although I love all of her speculative fiction, so that’s not much of a surprise) but it’s making me want to re-read Handmaid’s Tale. It’s been a while and I’ve forgotten a lot of the details.

      I remember that my main takeaway from The Left Hand of Darkness was that I thought the use of masculine pronouns really undermined the story, but maybe that was an ungenerous reading. I think she mentioned in later interviews that she regretted that choice.

    13. Nacho*

      I’m reading Ex-heros, a story about a post-apocalyptic world where a virus has killed everyone and turned them into zombies. Seemed appropriate.

    14. Lost in the Woods*

      Left Hand is one of my favorite books of all time!

      I’m almost finished with Hangfire by Eoin Colfer. It’s interesting, but very weird – I associate his literary voice so much with books I read as a kid that the shift to adult language and tone is very jarring.

    15. Sparkly Librarian*

      Everything. I finally have time to get to my To Be Read stack. I re-read The War That Saved My Life (kids’ historical fiction, WWII Britain, intersections of disability and foster family trauma) because it seemed appropriate, and I have the sequel as well. Glancing over at the literal stacks, I see Crier’s War, X, Too Afraid to Cry, The Length of a String.

    16. Former Employee*

      One of the best books I’ve read in a long time is “The Best American Essays of 2019”. The guest editor was Rebecca Solnit. I have to warn people that some of these are very depressing, especially the ones about the gone birds, i.e., birds that have gone extinct and the disappearing landscape. Then there are the ones that are just upsetting in a whole different way, such as the one that explores the idea that young men should be allowed to assault young women while another is about incels.

    17. Jackalope*

      Just finished Ann Patchett’s “Commonwealth”, which was really enjoyable and engaging. I also liked her other book that I read, “State of Wonder”, although that one had a few more things that annoyed me.

    18. Llama Face!*

      I’m re-reading Home From the Sea, one of Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series books, and just noticed there is totally an Amelia Peabody cameo in the early chapters. How I missed it the first time I don’t know.

    19. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Too much internet due to stress.
      I’m taking vurtual river strolls with Lara Maiklem: “Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames”. And when I can concentrate, the next in line is “Gateway” by Frederik Pohl.

    20. Akcipitrokulo*

      Forcing myself to finish a truly toxic book which appeared in kindle unlimited recommendations as a cosy murder mystery. And… yeah. Main character has zero agency. She gets told what to do by bunch of boundary stomping “friends” including what is meant to be an endearing group of grandma detectives. She’s just left abusive husband when he gets killed, and she is prime suspect.

      Skipping over the ridiculous aspects… the detective is the bad guy because he suspects her and is obviously trying to frame her because of course she would never do it… friend policeman crosses so many lines… they find out what time of death is because the “grandma posse” know the coroner so he tells them confidential info about a murder…

      The live interest is a ccreepy abusive boundary destroying dangerous shit… but it’s in her best interests so must be twue wuv that makes him ignore her stated wishes. Like “don’t come with me to this meeting, I want privacy”, “stay away from me at funeral” or “get out of my apartment”.

      *sigh*

      This is Christian Grey level of creepy unhealthy stalkerish “love”. Without the bdsm part… but actually, I think this guy is worse.

      1. Akcipitrokulo*

        oh… it’s called “Love in the time of murder” by D E Haggerty. Horrible, rancid book.

      2. Jean (just Jean)*

        Sounds dreadful! Can you give yourself permission to put it down in real life (and then respond to all those enthusiastic kindle recommendations)? Seems a shame to torment yourself instead of reading or doing something else more pleasant.
        OTOH there is grim pleasure in noting the many ways a work of art is terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad (credit to Judy Viorst, author of the children’s picture book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day). I still recall with glee the novel that I finally closed after about 100 pages in which the characters alternately committed fornication and murder.

  14. Loopy*

    I got a bunch of free bok choy and am not a cook (I’ve posted about this several times :P) but want to use it.

    I have zero idea what to do with it, any tips for very very very easy but delicious ways to prepare itor incoporate it into a meal? I could Google but I’ve learned all recipe sites cannot be trusted and I don’t really have any favorite go-tos for cooking!

    1. MatKnifeNinja*

      You can cut it very thin and use it in a salad for crunch.

      Easiest recipe. Grain of choice (white rice/quinoa/whatever), set aside. Scramble up some egg. Set aside. Veggies of choice sliced thin, think stir fry style. Cook your veggies to the crispness you want, and while cooking add what you want for seasoning (soy sauce/hoisin/Mrs Dash/butter…it’s your choice). When veggies are near done, put in scrambled egg (and or tofu/meat if you want-precook meat before hand). Toss until mixed, then put over rice. Some also put the rice in the pan, but if you don’t really know how to cook, the rice can stick. Done!

      Also thinly sliced book choy is great in soups too. HTH :)

    2. Curly sue*

      I love a simple bok choy stir fry – depending on the size you can slice the stems or not (1″ pieces work well). Wash well and dry, toss into hot oil and keep it moving until the leaves all wilt, season with a sprinkle of salt. There’s a YouTube channel called Asian garden to table, iirc, where I learned that one. She does great demos that are easy to follow.

      If you prefer sauces, my go-to for stir fries is the honey garlic stir fry sauce from a blog called ‘dinner at the zoo’. I make variations of that with different proteins and veg at least once a week.

    3. Nancy*

      Oh, I love bok choy. But unfortunately I can’t usually find it where I live. But anyway, what I do is tear off the leaves, so they’re still whole, and wash them, and chop some garlic. I stir fry the garlic in oil until softish and then add the bok choi and some soy sauce, and cook for another two mins or so. I’d typically have it as a side dish at dinner, or maybe with scrambled eggs earlier in the day.

    4. purple otter*

      The best way to eat bok choy is a simple stir fry. Similar to Nancy’s version.

      1) Wash bok choy, esp in between the leaves. Shake it dry.
      2) Chop off stems if you want a cleaner look.
      3) Chop it into roughly 1-in pieces. I prefer to separate the white part and the leafy part for easier cooking.
      4) slice up some garlic – I do one clove per bok choy bulb, but that’s because I love garlic
      5) Add a neutral vegetable oil to pan (I usually use canola or light olive oil)
      6) Add the sliced garlic to hot oil, let it sizzle for about 20-30 seconds
      7) Add the white fleshy crunchy part to pan, stir fry/saute until it starts to look a little translucent
      8) Add the leafy part to pan, stir fry/saute until it starts to just slightly wilt.
      9) turn off heat, add salt to taste if you like (I usually skip this)
      10) serve hot and EAT!

      Alternatively, if you’d like a slightly more fancy preparation, look up Braised Chinese Mushrooms with Bok Choy by Woks of Life. FWIW I rely on Woks of Life a lot for Chinese-style cooking, and as a Chinese American, their recipes taste like my grandma’s delicious cooking.

    5. Jonah*

      I worked at a fancy grocery store a few years ago, and I had lots of customers who would halve it and roast it in the oven with a little olive oil and salt and drizzle with balsamic. You can also use it egg rolls!

    6. Campfire Raccoon*

      Stir fry or soups! I love bok choy in miso or fish-based soups. But I’d toss it in last second for soups. Most choy types are kinda watery, and are better a little stiff. That is, you don’t want to boil the heck out of them.

  15. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    A couple weeks ago I asked for advice on large breed dogs, because I was considering applying for adoption for one of a litter of Dane/mastiff puppies.

    Well, I submitted my application on Monday and they’ve already done the personal reference checks (two friends who have lived with me and various pets in the past) and vet reference checks (I’ve had the same vet for all our dogs and cats for the last five years), and now we’re on to the home check! Which, under the current circumstances, is being done as a video submission rather than in person. So this weekend I am cleaning up my house and then doing a video tour for the puppy adoption home check. :)

    1. Dog Fosterer*

      Good for you! The foster home will be equally happy to have found you (and to hand them over, haha). I recently fostered a litter of herding breed, and the rescue was very careful about finding experienced homes. There were a couple competition people (spend weekends on rally-o and agility type of thing) and I am so happy for those pups. They are much better matches to the breed than I could ever hope to be!

      I look forward to more updates.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        The dogs I already have are both hounds, a bloodhound (who is getting on in years, so fairly sedate) and a whippet mix (who, being a sighthound, has two settings — RUNNING LIKE CRAZY IN CIRCLES AROUND THE BACKYARD and SOUND ASLEEP). So I’m pretty sure that a giant couch potato, as Danes and mastiffs are both prone to be, will fit right in. :) Plus I will have an excuse to get a goofy orange couch for my home office, to accommodate everyone. I’m excited. :)

        1. Auntie Social*

          My SIL just got two dachshund pups—she went around babyproofing the house like mad beforehand. Her neighbor thought it was all a bit much and Liz said “You don’t know hounds, do you?” She’s a good wiener mom.

        2. Stephanie*

          Congrats! I have two greyhounds and a greyhound/whippet mix, and I love your description of sighthounds. Very apt. People are always so surprised at how chill they are when they meet them. (The RUNNING LIKE CRAZY IN CIRCLES AROUND THE BACK YARD setting usually only lasts for 5-10 minutes, and the rest of the day is sleeping.)

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I do love greyhounds. :) I volunteered with a grey rescue back in Washington for a while before I moved – we don’t seem to have as many of them in the Midwest I don’t think?

            1. Stephanie*

              We’re in Michigan, there are at least couple of rescue groups in our area. Our whippet/greyhound mix is dog number 7 for us, and 5 of those have been greyhounds. (Our first dog was a mutt from the Humane Society, we’re pretty sure she was an Irish Wolfhound mix. Sighthounds seem to be our type of dog.) We always seem to end up with three, somehow. They’re the best.

        3. NoLongerYoung*

          Woo hoo… I will need to see pictures. I’ve had wonderful past foster big dogs and miss them so much. Envious in the nicest way….

    2. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

      Yay! Giant breeds are awesome. Just be careful as they grow incredibly fast. They are clumsy and sweet and sadly, prone to dying at younger ages because of their size. (This is why Irish Wolfhounds are called the ‘heartbreak’ breed.) But you will never regret them.

  16. The Other Dawn*

    I’m on the other side of back surgery #2 and I’m home recovering this weekend.

    It seemed like there was a big possibility of my staying two nights, but the day after surgery my doctor said he was enthusiastically on board with me going home later that day. Even though there’s no coronavirus in that hospital yet, his feeling is we need to discharge people as soon as possible so as to free up resources for anything that might happen.

    Thankfully he was able to prescribe a steroid taper pack yesterday to take care of the sciatica that was setting in due to the inflammation (sciatica is such a PITA!!! Literally.) . It set in big time last Saturday night and they couldn’t give me anything to help since the second surgery was coming up Tuesday. When I got to the hospital Tuesday I told the doctor to please put me out of my misery ASAP so I wouldn’t have to feel it anymore; pain meds weren’t helping much.

    I’ll do a blog post at some point and link it so as not to clog up the weekend thread. It will give me something to do other than stare at the cats and dream of being able to drive myself to the store, etc.

    1. fposte*

      I was worried that there’d be some delay in your second surgery–I’m glad that it went ahead and you’re home.

      I know we had different back surgeries, but I had an unexpected amount of post-surgical pain too, and it really did eventually settle down, albeit slower than my surgeon had bragged.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I was very worried it would be cancelled. I asked the hospital when I was admitted that morning and they said it’s the doctor’s (or patient’s) decision to cancel. I asked my doctor the next day and he said that he considered my case to be urgent since I’d had part one already. I had temporary “parts” in me (I saw the list on the screen that morning and it looked like a receipt from the auto parts store!), which means I couldn’t wait too long for the second surgery. He said things like carpel tunnel, knee replacements, and things like that are being postponed unless they’re truly urgent, such as the person has no use of the limb or the pain is poorly controlled.

        I would say the sciatica last week was very unexpected, mainly because there’s no disc there anymore so what the heck is pressing on the nerve now?! I asked the doctor and he said it’s inflammation due to the trauma of surgery. Plus part of the second surgery is total decompression of area. He does some of that in the first one, but the second one is where he completes it and does all the other stuff he needs to do. It was robot-assisted. Cool stuff, actually.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      You sound upbeat, I am happy to “hear” that. I hope your recovery is steady and not hard to push through. Boredom is a symptom of healing, so I hope you are soon telling us you are bored. ;)

    3. Mimmy*

      So glad you got through both surgeries with no delays! Sorry to hear about the unexpected sciatica. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

    4. My Brain Is Exploding*

      Thanks for the update! Glad you were even able to have the surgeries. Hope your recovery goes well.

    5. NoLongerYoung*

      glad to hear it went well!
      home – best. and that the pain management is working….

  17. Panic/anxiety attack*

    So I had a really bad anxiety attack last night that left me awake for hours and I couldn’t shut my mind off.

    Earlier that night my sibling texted me. 1 minute later my parent called saying sibling has been texting me for a long time. I check my phone and sibling said go to parent. I panicked and got out of bed, put on my pants and went downstairs. Meanwhile sibling kept texting saying what’s wrong with you why are u taking so long why can’t you get up etc. (I’m pregnant, I’m putting on pants and I can’t move as fast as I used to).

    I go down and meanwhile parent is calm and normal and I freak out like WHAT IS GOING ON?!!! Sibling was on the phone yelled at me to calm the F down and…they needed me to read off a verification code because parent doesn’t know how to read text messages. I found the code and went back upstairs.

    I texted them saying their tone and urgency made it seem like an emergency so I panicked. They said that they heard me and that I treat parent like shit.

    Ok. I could have ignored it. But I didn’t. I said that they can think that and they’re never receptive to my side of things. I told them that parent is always complaining about them to me but I don’t believe any of it.

    at this point…my body went into full panic mode. My sugar dropped super low and my heart was pounding. I shut my phone off before I could say anything more regretful. I started thinking about all the things sibling could say/do, like have me kicked out of the house or tell people i abuse our parent or if god forbid something happens to parent I get arrested for murder. The thought of being pregnant and homeless or arrested in the middle of this pandemic freaked me out.

    Rationally…I KNOW that’s not going to happen! It would never get to that point. I know that. I hate when I get like this. This is the 3rd time this…..spiral has happened this week alone, when it’s never this frequent. I hate the thoughts my mind go to, and the physical reaction I had, it felt like I was being choked and my heart was pounding hard. Normally with the first physical symptom I’d take a Xanax but I can’t take those now so I feel like I have to just deal with the thoughts and just ride It out. It was only 20 minutes or so but it was intense.

      1. Panic/anxiety attack*

        Thank you. The worst of it lasts about 20 minutes but the thoughts stay for hours and just won’t stop.

    1. Ranon*

      I’m so sorry! There are anxiety meds that are safe to use during pregnancy, it may be worth talking to your doctor about them, if you’re at all able to. Pregnancy can genuinely rewire your brain to screw with your anxiety and it unfortunately doesn’t always/ often get better postpartum so if you can, please start talking with your doctor about it now.

      1. Panic/anxiety attack*

        I had anxiety attacks before getting pregnant, maybe 2-3 a year and I took the Rx very little. Based on my conversation with my obgyn and google, xanax isn’t recommended due to the fact that baby can be addicted to it. I really don’t think 1 pill to stop an attack can harm it but I don’t want to do that.

        1. Ranon*

          There are non Xanax options that are more of a maintenance medication rather than an emergency option- if anxiety is becoming pervasive for you it’s really worth talking to your doctor. Pre and post partum anxiety are real things and very worth making sure your doctor is aware of them, tracking, and treating if necessary.

    2. Anon Anon Anon*

      …. am I missing something? Your sibling sounds like an asshole and caused you to have a panic attack. What the heck is their problem?

        1. valentine*

          Your sibling sounds like an asshole and caused you to have a panic attack.
          I would be done with both sibling and parent. They both thought it reasonable to rouse you (1) from bed (2) into clothing (3) while pregnant for a load of BS. Sibling can teach parent how to access texts. Any good reason parent can’t live with sib? Does parent or sib own your house? (Wondering about the homelessness worry.)

          It’ll help you to establish boundaries that spouse can take the lead in enforcing:
          ~no more triangulation; parent could have simply called you, instead of sib texting
          ~parent only allowed to call spouse after x:00 for real emergencies (provide short list) for themselves, and not involving anyone else

          Ask your doctor how to manage panic attacks without Xanax. Get a second or third opinion on the no-Xanax rule. If you have a therapist, ask them how to handle the toxic tag team of parent-sib. Because you’re going to need a long-term plan. Because parent and sib are only going to treat you worse post-birth, when there’s someone who objectively takes priority over them.

          1. Panic/anxiety attack*

            Parent doesn’t want to live with sibling. Sibling flies them over for 1 month, and parent cuts their visit short after 1-2 weeks, saying they “miss me too much”. House is under my parent’s name but it’s being left to me in the will. Honestly, the homeless worry was …such an irrational thought. It was like……
            sibling: You treat parent like shit”
            me: No I don’t, this is what’s going on.
            s: if you have such a problem, then get out of the house, it belongs to parent
            m: *ends up homeless*

            Sibling is a 6 hour flight away and is hands off, but any contact leaves me on edge, especially now. I am angry at myself for panicking and losing my cool with parent but those texts were absolutely unnecessary.

            I think I will need a new therapist. I have someone I talk to but they’re a psychologist and can’t rx medicine. The last visit they were pretty much “you’ll figure it out.”

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Perhaps you can talk with a doc about your mineral levels. The panic and pounding heart might be helped with some vitamins or minerals. Perhaps you could consider a drink with electrolytes in it.

      I think that sib and parent must be told that you cannot be the go-to person for emergencies of any sort. It’s just not good for your body and your baby.

      1. Panic/anxiety attack*

        I see my doctor on Thursday. I have had normal stress/worry throughout my pregnancy but never such an intense physical reaction. And that too 3x this week. I want to chalk it up to these really uncertain times.

      2. Panic/anxiety attack*

        It wasn’t even an emergency. But the way they were texting me made it seem like it was. afterwards parent saw how I was and yelled at them for treating me like that. Sibling laughed (It was on speakerphone). I don’t expect sibling to apologize—I know how they are. Our other parent died not too long ago and the primary care of living parent has fallen to me and my spouse. I visited sibling not too long ago and they did not utter a single word about our late parent which broke my heart a little. that’s always at the back of my mind with them. Times like this i intensely miss my parent Because they held us all together.

        1. Julia*

          I am the only daughter to a mother who favors her sons, and all the emotional caretaking was supposed to fall on me. My younger brother has literally told me he preferred our mother to text me because it frees him up, and my older brother usually just goes off on a tangent and lectures me about being stupid or overreacting.

          I am glad your parent at least told your sibling off, because mine never would, but personally I would ask for better boundaries to be enforced, or threaten to stop caring for them if that doesn’t happen. Especially since you’re also pregnant right now!

          1. MOAS*

            That is so rough, I am so sorry. I am from a culture where parents traditionally are taken care of by their sons, in a joint family system. But even then the physical and emotional labor falls to the son’s wife. From what I’ve read here and in other places over the years, emotional labor being a woman’s job is something that’s very very universal.

            1. Julia*

              Thank you. My (Japanese) mother-in-law also took care of her husband’s parents before they died, I heard, although at least she was a housewife and not also working full time, and presumably knew what she signed up for.
              My mother doesn’t believe in therapy, yet told me all sorts of things about her marriage to my father I did not want to hear. And now she wonders why I don’t want to talk much anymore…

    4. Reba*

      You did the right thing by turning off your phone.

      Have you every had success with other interventions for panic attacks besides meds? I’m thinking of the 4-7-8 deep breathing thing or the yoga “square breath.” I’m glad you got through it but maybe there are still things you could try to mitigate the feelings while you ride it out.

      This is a terribly stressful time to be pregnant (or just like, alive but I think especially for those that are expecting).

      Your sibling is a dick and a half. Sorry.

      1. Panic/anxiety attack*

        I have them so infrequently that I am not opposed to taking a medicine so I am not at risk for dependency/addiction. But for the times I can’t take medicine, I should find another way.

    5. GoldenState*

      Hey PAA,

      I don’t tolerate anti anxiety meds well at all, so finally what we found that works for me is a simple very low dose beta blocker. My panic attacks are accompanied by a racing heart and shortness of breath, and the beta blocker completely prevents that. It keeps the physical reaction from reinforcing what I feel, which gives me the space I need to handle the mental aspect how I need too. I have no idea if those are safe, but maybe bring it up with your primary care?
      Sometimes people in general and women in particular don’t always feel okay asking for some kind of intervention for their symptoms because “it’s not that bad” or “I should be able to handle it”. But you deserve to be comfortable and as content as possible, and they may have a solution or resource you haven’t considered.
      I so hope this gets better for you soon.

    6. Sriracha*

      I’m so sorry. It must be so difficult being pregnant, getting over a tooth being pulled, being a manager at work and dealing with a stressful mother and now having to battle anxiety. Sending good vibes your way. Remember that it is okay to put yourself first. I hope you feel better and will be thinking of you.

      1. MOAS*

        I know you probably meant well but there was a reason I used a different username. I’m hoping that it was an accident because I know I switch between names frequently but I don’t expect to get “outed” when I’m talking about something personal to me. Especially when I’m not being mean to anyone, trolling or being a sock puppet.

        1. JT*

          I mean this kindly, but if you want posts to be “anonymous”, think of how much info you are putting online. We all know so much about you. Which is good, if that’s what you want! But not if you’re trying to be anonymous to an extent.