weekend free-for-all – March 28-29, 2020

Sophie and Hank. Please compare their sizes.

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: Last Couple Standing, by Matthew Norman. When all their friends get divorced, a couple tries an ill-judged experiment.

I really want to read Emily St. John Mandel’s new book but I’m holding a grudge against her for writing Station Eleven, which I loved but which now is responsible for the worst case scenario post-pandemic images I have in my head. So I went for something lighter, and this was that.

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

{ 1,663 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. My Dear Wormwood*

      I was in the national broadcaster’s live corona-coverage blog today because they asked readers to say in the comments what we were all doing this weekend since we’ve all been told to stay home, and I said a 1000-piece puzzle, a online embroidery stitchalong, and an adult-sized hula hoop. Apparently that sounds like a good time all round!

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        That’s so cool! And your weekend sounds really fun, I hope it’s a good one :)

        I had a similar thing happen to me yesterday – a national radio station here asked for people to talk about their ‘weekend in lockdown’ plans as though they were the best thing ever and mixed them over a dance music track (think rave horns etc). I got on there talking about my plans to declutter and pack for my house move in May – assuming it all still goes ahead – and to do some baking. (I’m also going to be binge watching Criminal Minds ans having ‘date night’ with my boyfriend watching The Mandalorian ‘together’ on Disney+, but didn’t mention that.)

        1. Book Lover*

          Cross stitch stitchalongs you can find out about on Facebook groups – general or for a specific designer. Also flosstube. You could also possibly do Instagram searches for designers and check the tags for stitch along info but that isn’t as fun.

        2. Germank106*

          I’m sure the embroidery stitch alongs work the same way as the Knit alongs or Crochet alongs on Ravelry. In a stitch along only part of the pattern is revealed each week. That gives everyone participating the chance to work at their own pace. The best way to find an embroidery stitch along would be by checking Facebook groups or googling it.

        3. Windchime*

          Norwegian knitting designers Arne and Carlos have been under quarantine for two weeks and have been doing daily youtube “podcasts” with a knit-along that have been quite a bit of fun. I haven’t done the knit along but it’s fun to see two nice people talking about the mundane aspects of their day. They are going to continue the project for two more weeks, so if someone is looking for a small knitting project and a daily video, give Arne and Carlos a try.

    2. Marion Ravenwood*

      OK, so for background: I currently live in a two-bed flat with my landlady and her fiancé. As of Monday, the UK went into lockdown for at least three weeks. She recently sold the flat to pay for a house move, and the long and short of it is I’m currently due to move out in early May.

      We’ve always got on OK but weren’t super close, especially as I have quite an active social life normally and don’t spend tons of time at home, but as we’re now all ‘working’ together around the dining table (which she really kindly set up for us) I’m finding her fixation on the coronavirus stuff exhausting. The constant rolling news in the background in particular; I don’t feel it’s adding anything new and it just makes me feel more stressed out and anxious, especially with all the talk about going into lockdown last weekend before it actually happened. I’m trying things like not being in the room when she watches news headlines at lunch, having my own music on during the workday, trying to talk about different stuff when we go for walks etc, but I’m not sure how well it’s working. She does have some health issues which I think are also affecting things, so I feel guilty for not being kinder/more tolerant, but equally I could feel myself getting really cross with her yesterday (though I didn’t say anything) and am worried I’ll snap and then the next few weeks will be super awkward to say the least, especially if the lockdown goes on for longer.

      So, tl;dr – how do I ask (nicely) for the coronavirus stuff to be toned down? I don’t want to come across as being antisocial or mean, especially because it’s her flat (if we were all renting together I suspect it’d be a different dynamic), but I’m not sure I can deal with this for another two weeks minimum, much less a month. Thanks in advance for any help!

      1. MistOrMister*

        I had a friend tell me one day that she couldn’t discuss the virus any more that day because it was making her anxious. So we went 2 days with no virus discussions. When I had something to mention on the 3rd day I told her I read something I wanted to tell her about but only if she was ok with that topic. I think if you tell someone that constantly hearing about the virus is making you anxious and ask if they can try to not discuss with you for a time, most people are going to be receptive. Especially when it’s framed as this is something overwhelming and scary and it’s making you anxious. I didn’t feel at all offended when my friend said she couldn’t have virus convo for a while. It was presented as, for my sake I need to not talk/hear about this for a little while. No reasonable person should take offense at something like that.

        1. nep*

          Not a follower of Melissa [Hartwig] Urban, but something else brought me to her IG yesterday and she had a post about exactly that–how to let people know you’re not going there right now, not engaging in talk about the virus.
          Wishing you all the best, OP.

        2. Batgirl*

          Make it so it’s about you: “I will drive myself nuts if I talk about Coronavirus any more. Help me stay off topic?”

      2. Wormentude*

        Can you ask for it to be turned off while you work? Say that it is distracting. If not off, then maybe on mute as your landlady would still be able to read the ticker tape at the bottom.

        I think it’s probable that moving in 2 weeks won’t be happening as government are advising people agree to postpone, but depends if everyone involved can reach an agreement. Makes it all the more important to find a solution now.

        You could always take your lunch to eat in your room if landlady wants the news on then.

        And if all else fails, headphones.

        1. Marion Ravenwood*

          Sorry, I should have been clearer – the two weeks was a reference to the lockdown period (although now they’re saying it might be extended until June, though I haven’t heard anything from my letting agency or the girl whose room I’m taking over as yet and feel like I want to wait until a bit closer to the time to make decisions). The actual move isn’t supposed to be until 2nd May, but I’m trying to prepare as much as I can in advance.

          I’m eating lunch in my room already (along with pretty much all my other meals – literally the only times I’ve left my room this weekend were to use the bathroom, shower, make food and go for a run yesterday) and using headphones for everything. I also don’t face the TV in our work setup and it is on mute most of the time. It’s just more that it’s started to creep into other times (for example it was on at 8pm the other night and then 9am yesterday morning), plus we’ve got quite thin walls and my room is right next to the living room, so I can usually still hear it even with headphones in. I’m also aware this is a coping strategy for her, so I feel a bit guilty that my needs are ‘trumping’ hers somehow.

      3. Anono-me*

        Do you need to go for walks together? Can you go for a walk by yourself at at different times? Even if the discussion topic issue is resolved, it might be nice to give each other a some personal time.

        1. Marion Ravenwood*

          We don’t *have* to, but she doesn’t like going out by herself and her fiancé can’t always go with her, plus it kind of benefits me as otherwise I am a bit rubbish about going out full stop (because I see no point in going out if it’s not for anything in particular). But I think I might start to try going out more by myself for now.

      4. Dust Bunny*

        I’m working from home and my mom basically has MSNBC on all. day. long. While it’s not misinformation I feel like it’s becoming her FOX News in terms of feeding her fear about the pandemic. She’s over 70 and has a number of really serious conditions that, yes, would make COVID-19 almost assuredly fatal, so her anxiety is not unwarranted. But we basically have not left the house in two weeks and plan to stay put until . . . whenever, we’re all washing everything all the time, there just isn’t much more we can do.

        I’m fortunate that I can work in my room with several walls and a closed door between me and the television, but I finally had to ask her to change to the channel to something vapid for at least part of the day because I just cannot even any more. I *know* what’s going on, but I can process it a lot better reading it than hearing it against my will (and often in Trump’s voice).

        1. Marion Ravenwood*

          Yep, this is exactly it – it’s BBC News so it’s a reputable source, and I know it’s a coping strategy for her so I don’t want to come across like I’m taking that away. And I am also a reader – I would rather just check the tweets from reputable sources on Twitter a couple of times a day and be done, but the rolling news things (either TV or liveblogs) just stresses me out as it feels so out of my control.

          I might have to just switch to working in my room full time, under the guise of needing to concentrate, as I can make my chest of drawers into a temporary desk (with a dining chair). I know it’s not good WFH practice but I really feel like it’s the easiest way at this point.

        2. theletter*

          I’m a bit of an MSNBC binger myself – I think what really happens is that after about half an hour I’m just enjoying the background noise. At a certain point they start to repeat themselves and I try to switch to a TV show I can just have on without paying too much attention to it.

          I try to start the day with NPR if possible – they actually repeat themselves, so I know when it’s time to shut it off and switch to new age music.

          1. Dust Bunny*

            Mom used to like New Age music. I should remind her of that.

            I actually saw the other day that she had a bunch of Hallmark Channel movies recorded on the DVR. Words cannot describe how much I loathe those things but if they get her to take a break from the news I’m suddenly all for them.

      5. The Rat-Catcher*

        This was something my husband (36m) and I (29f) had to discuss early on. He likes to check for updates several times per day in addition to what pops up on social media. Being informed is a coping mechanism for him. I, however, only really want to hear updates that affect us or my area – we’re already all working or schooling from home and only going out to the grocery store or gas station. So for me, hearing the latest numbers out of Italy, where I am not, is just stressful and unproductive. I would go with “Is there any way we could have the news off while working? It’s really distracting for me!” and be elsewhere during breaks.

    3. OyHiOh*

      Colorado went into state wide shelter in place Thursday morning. I . . . . . did not handle it well.

      Wednesday, we were under the previous set of orders: No groups of 10 or more, maintain social distance, please use outdoor spaces but maintain distance from other families, etc. So the dragons and I went to a park near home. Neptune met us there with local Greek take out, and he and I had a lovely little picnic and conversation sitting on the retaining wall by the playground (dragons don’t like Greek; they brought sandwiches). Dragons were careful to observe social distance when they ran over to say hi. The weather was perfect – sunny, about 70 degrees, a few clouds, just enough breeze that the sun didn’t feel opressive. We said we were going to eat, then walk on the bike path but instead, we simply talked for two hours. The first time we’d been able to do that in several weeks. When we said goodbye, it was with the hope and implication that we’d be able to have similar outings in the near future. And then I got home and just within the previous half hour, while we were having our lovely springtime conversation, the shelter in place order had been announced. Naturally, the SIP closes playgrounds and other places children gather.

      The thing is, I knew it was coming. We have hospitalized cases in the state but it’s not “bad” yet and our state government has shown every indication of trying to enact measures before the situation on the ground gets out of hand. So I knew that the shelter in place order was probably going to happen this week or early next week but when it came out, it really really hurt. Spent the rest of Wednesday and all of yesterday crying at the drop of a hat, with my body in full blown anxiety mode for something like thirty-six hours straight. Spent a lot of time yesterday wailing about wanting my mom – however the logistics of an interstate trip and lack of internet at my parent’s house for dragons to do school from another state defied my ability to function and eventually I got over myself. Last night, though, I came across an article on NPR identifying the ways in which the sense of grief and its symptoms are applicable to the current world crisis. That helped quite a lot. Woke up this morning with most of my can-do attitude back in place.

      School district is still being ridiculous. They are refusing to do a survey of needs related to transitioning to digital classrooms on Monday, which is just going to be a disaster. The most the district social media has done is alert families to free/low cost internet, as if that’s somehow the only barrier to accessing the Google Classrooms platform. We’ve not been asked about devices, printers, or anything else that might hinder students from doing the work. My plan (3 dragons, access to 1 device) is to have each do no more than an hour of work in their digital classrooms and take advantage of PBS running really excellent educational programming for as long as necessary. I’m going to have all three keep a journal in which they’ll write down what shows they watched, answer the /W/ questions, and record a response to it (a thought, a feeling . . . 5th grader will get far more detailed prompts than the 2nd grader). Have them keep a reading log there too. It still won’t be “enough” but it takes a lot of labor I’m completely untrained for (ESS and reading specialist) off my shoulders and still shows they did something

      1. Zooey*

        It will be enough. No kid is going to get the ‘normal’ level of education. If you can keep everyone safe and them stimulated enough to not have you all feeling bananas that’s a massive win! Your plan sounds ace, good luck.

        1. OyHiOh*

          We live in unstable, non permanent housing (aka a motel) so driving each other bananas is pretty much a given at some point!

          I’m “more worried” than typical simply because two of mine are on IEP’s for dyslexia and our district has a very high number of kids on IEP’s and kids in ESL programs and there’s basically no support for IEP/ESL at this point. They’re the kids that are going to have the most trouble when this is over. My hope is that, by taking advantage of the middle school and high school level programs on PBS, I can help them develop their higher order thinking skills, even if they lose ground on basics.

          1. Former Employee*

            A bit late to this, but I just wanted to let you know that my Governor, Gavin Newsom, had severe dyslexia as a child and was in special classes. Given that he is in his 50’s, it must have been pretty bad for anyone to have noticed back when. He still managed to get a college degree, start a business, become mayor of San Francisco, then Lt Governor and now Governor of the Great State of California.

      2. J.B.*

        With kids at home I think the best thing is some sense of routine. So if you have some connectivity a regular time for the older kid to Skype with friends, regular lunch and recess. There’s a website somewhere with free educational stuff I’ll see if I can find it.

        This is tough. If we survive we’re doing good.

      3. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

        TL/DR: Gestational Diabetes

        So I know considering the pandemic and the rampant unemployment and everything, that this is really really small potatoes. But I’m 28 weeks pregnant and just failed my glucose tolerance test. I have gestational diabetes.

        So I have to setup a (virtual) visit with the diabetes clinic, start checking my blood sugar 5x per day, and cut out sugar from my diet.

        I don’t even have that much of a sweet tooth normally and consider myself a pretty healthy eater but starting in the second trimester all I want to eat is pasta and cupcakes and ice cream. Now the world is ending (feels like some days) and I can’t even eat freaking ice cream…

        Sorry just feeling a bit sorry for myself.

        Also anyone have any thoughts about controlling blood sugar that they wish they knew in retrospect?

        1. Intermittent Introvert*

          I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. There are both wacky and solid resources online. Lots. Be selective. It helped me to read more. Every body is unique, but I’ve been surprised how much exercise helps keep my blood sugar numbers in check. I try to do my bigger exercise in the morning. 30 minutes of something. And then a second 10 or 15 minute in the afternoon. And I try to just move more. Dance, walk, do arm circles, stretches, yoga, etc. It helps reduce my stress level also which is good for diabetes. Focus on what you are adding into your life. Happy movement, tasty and healthy food. Don’t let the glucose numbers stress you out.

          1. Dust Bunny*

            I have numerous friends and relatives who are type 2 diabetics and virtually all of them have found exercise invaluable in keeping their blood sugar down.

        2. Lives in a Shoe*

          This isn’t small potatoes to YOU. It’s 100% ok to be worried, stressed and need a place/way to ease your mind about something that isn’t the virus. Wishing you the best and sending some internet support.

          1. My coworker made me sign a cast on her crotch*

            I missed that part. Yeah this isn’t small potatoes at all. It’s normal to be fearful of a new diagnosis, pregnant or not. There are so many more resources available for help now than they were when I was diagnosed.

        3. Lives in a Shoe*

          This isn’t small potatoes to YOU. It’s 100% ok to be worried, stressed and need a place/way to ease your mind about something that isn’t the virus. Wishing you the best and sending some internet support.

        4. My coworker made me sign a cast on her crotch*

          Hi. I’ve had T2 all my life. Don’t be scared and I dont’ blame you for wanting to feel sorry for yourself right now, I think we all have a little bit of that going on! Are you on medication?

          Are you looking for practical advice & meal subs or the emotional aspect of it?

          For the emotional part of it —

          Good thing is that gestational diabetes is temporary (although it can lead to diabetes later on if habits remain uncontrolled/unchanged). It’s only a few weeks give or take so take it little by littleif that helps. From waht I’ve heard, if you maintain a good diet now, delivery and recovery is a lot easier, but I don’t have firsthand experience of that. (yet).

          Best thing I can say is finding balance. The first few weeks will be rough, especially if you are taking medication, but eventually you’ll find that the cravings go away and 1 carb heavy meal or treat occasionally will not harm you or the baby.

          For food subs —

          Rebel & halo top ice creams are a really good alternative, they don’t spike me as much and taste good. But you still have to watch your portions. I still have a spoonful of regular hagen dasz on occasion, but I usually go without. Cool whip or whipped cream from a can is a good alternative as well.
          (for me it is 99% mental, mind over matter — but everyone is different).

          I’ve been on insulin for 10 years so using that isn’t a big deal to me, but I know it is for many people – in a lot of my pregnancy/diabetes groups they talk about ways to keep #s low so as to avoid medication.

          Are you on Facebook? There are a few pregnancy/diabetes groups as well as Keto in pregnancy groups that aim to treat this with diet and avoid going on medication.

          I also purcahsed a book from Amazon titled Food for gestaitoinal diabetes by Lily Nichols. It wasn’t anything new that I haven’t heard before but it does have a lot of useful information, especially for first timers, as well as meal plans.

        5. Chylleh*

          This is an extremely stressful time to be diagnosed with diabetes, even temporarily, and I’m so sorry it happened to you. I have Type 1, so I’m sure it’s not the same experience, but I have found that high levels of stress immensely messes with my blood sugar.

          I’ve had to increase my basal insulin more than I have in awhile to account for it. I’ve found exercise and light escapism (Animal Crossing) have helped a lot to relieve anxiety and my blood sugars have remained stable.

          This is of course easier said than done these days, so it’s a one day at a time thing. Wishing you the best.

          1. Kiwi with laser beams*

            Can I just say how much I appreciate the people who have been saying this throughout the crisis? New Zealand went into lockdown last week, which happened to also be the final week of a horrendous three-month busy period in my job (remote work for a company located in a country that’s handling it differently). The sleep deprivation caused by work exacerbated my anxiety about the pandemic, to the point where I was talking myself down from anxiety attacks every couple of hours. And I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about it because so much of it was unrelated to the pandemic. I really appreciate the commenters who reassure people like you’ve been doing.

            1. My coworker made me sign a cast on her crotch*

              @Kiwi – this site has always made me feel that my concerns were valid and real issues, even the small potatoes.

              I was in other communities prior to this where me even being suicidal was just seen as being an attention whore. And sadly, I fed in to that so when someone complained about something or other, I was dismissive.

              So comments like above really contributed to changing my mindset and helping me be better IMO.

        6. Amy*

          I had gestational diabetes too. I was diagnosed at my 8 week appointment which was a real punch in the gut, figuratively speaking. I didn’t take it well – it felt horribly unfair. I really sympathize with you, especially with this timing during the pandemic when fresh food is harder to come by, exercise is more challenging, and stress is high. You may be able to control it with diet and exercise alone. I did that by eating low glycemic index foods (here’s a good resource: http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthy-eating/glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load-for-100-foods) and exercising after meals. Stay in close contact with the endocrinologist they will refer you to. They may end up putting you on insulin, which is more work but will free you up to eat a wider variety of foods.

          A few things to know:
          – It may be harder to you to gain weight if you go the diet & exercise route. I only gained 12 pounds during my pregnancy because of this which was nervewracking, but the baby did fine.
          – They will likely want to induce you around 39 weeks if you haven’t already gone into labor since your sugars become harder to control in late pregnancy, which is hard on the baby.
          – The good news is, you’re only about 10 weeks away from being done! And it will go away as soon as you deliver the placenta. I had the pancakes I had been dreaming of for months in recovery from L&D. :)

          Hang in there! It will all be worth it!

      4. Generic Name*

        That is so rough. I’m in CO too, but am blessed to have a school district that came up with a seamless plan for remote learning seemingly in a matter of days. The middle and high school kids all have chrome books, and they’ve managed somehow to issue chrome books to elementary students.

        I’m not sure if this is the article mentioned above, since it’s Harvard business review, but reading it helped me to put a name to what I’m feeling. I’ve definitely been crying a lot and feeling general anxiety: https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief

        1. Parenthetically*

          Yes. I’m glad that article is being widely shared; it is excellent and helped me work through a lot of my emotions around all this.

      5. Bibliovore*

        For the dragons on Facebook #OperationReadAloud. Authors and illustrators reading aloud their Whole books and provide activities. For you, download Writing Boxes: the Reading/Writing connection. Author Von Drasek UMN publishing. It’s a free down load. All of the activities are Lo tech.

        1. OyHiOh*

          What fantastic resources! Second grade dragon will probably make great use of those

          Dyslexic dragons finally have the codes they need to access the school’s Epic Books for Kids account, which includes audio read along to texts. Crucial for making the connections between how words sound, and how they look.

          Very slowly, we’re making progress but I predict the first two weeks are going to be rough. I suspect our district is doing minimum effort because they really really fervently hope that the April 11 end to Shelter in Place will negate need for making this a long term workable plan.

          1. Bibliovore*

            The guy who founded EPIC is an old friend of mine. Random House audio is also allowing some free access

      6. Laurel*

        I’m a CO elementary teacher and share your frustration, and I think your plan sounds great. You sound a lot like other parents and teachers I know, you’re thinking it through and doing your best. It’s going to be enough.

        Special education requirements are still in effect—we know it won’t be the same, but your kids should still be getting their service time. Push on the district if they say otherwise!

        I know you weren’t asking for advice, so I hope this is helpful but I’m really sorry if it’s just annoying:

        If you want other non-screen learning activities, consider science or STEM challenges? Things like making ramps out of pieces of cardboard and then adding layers of challenge (can you make the ball/car roll back up a ramp? Can you go around a corner? Can you get it into the box? Can you make a ramp system that makes noise?) are really good for higher-order thinking and are a lot of fun. If you search for STEM or engineering challenges you can find some that don’t require too many materials. Paper airplane experiments are fun if you have the space, I like to challenge kids to build a structure on a tray/piece of cardboard that can stand up to an “earthquake,” you can use household materials to build a raft to carry a certain amount of weight in the sink, that kind of thing. If they need more challenge, have them make and revise blueprints as they go.

        If your kiddos are more into imaginative play than building, challenge them to create something like a bakery or fire station out of a box and whatever other materials you have available (but I know that can take up a lot of space that you may not have!).

        Also, it sounds like you have a plan for writing in journals (great idea). I also like to suggest having kids write letters to family members and friends and publishing their own books (fold paper in half and staple), especially graphic novels. A high ratio of illustrations to writing is fine!

        1. OyHiOh*

          We live in “unstable, non permanent housing” (aka motel room) so although there are some things we can do (art supplies! ALL THE ART SUPPLIES!!!) we’re quite a bit more limited than most.

      7. Salymander*

        My daughter’s teachers and middle school have been mostly great, but the algebra 1 teacher is not having them do anything except a bit of review for stuff they learned in grades 3-4. I guess review is good? But Daughter is really annoyed with it, so she is also doing lessons on Khan Academy site. It is really good so far, at least to give her practice with the algebra 1 stuff so she doesn’t forget what she already learned.

        Daughter’s school is letting the kids that need it to borrow Chromebooks to keep at home during the shelter in place. I hope your school district will be able to do something similar. I know many don’t have those resources.

        1. OyHiOh*

          From what I understand, all of our middle school and high school students have Chromebooks issued to them, that they can take back and forth from school. So this is an elementary school issue specifically.

          Some of our elementary schools – because of the combination of higher neighborhood property tax and savy principals – have a Chromebook assigned to every student. Other schools – lower neighborhood property tax and/or less savy principals – do not have 1:1 Chromebook coverage. This second group of elementary schools (remember, this is all in one city wide district) operate with coverage that varies from a few desk tops in each classroom to a technology cart per grade level.

          It’s “a secret” that some of our elementary schools have 1:1 Chromebook coverage.

          We’ve been told that distributing classroom Chromebooks would represent a liability to the district. Which is true . . . . except that the technology use agreement I signed at the beginning of the year (for my kid, at an elementary that has 1:1 Chromebooks) explicitly covers taking Chromebooks home. So my far less charitable read is that at the director level of district admin and within the school board, 1) they simply do not know how many Chromebooks exist in the elementary schools and 2) it would be highly embarressing to them to allow a situation that demonstrates the unequal distribution of resources within our district.

    4. Crazy Broke Asian*

      Budgeting during pandemic: have you made any adjustments in your budget? What expenses go down, what go up?

      Depending on how long I’ll stay WFH, I might spend almost zero on transport. The awful thing is that it’s still unclear how long we’ll be WFH. The city where I work implemented a semi lockdown a week ago, but the central government is still dragging its feet. I wish we’d get clarification soon so that I can adjust my budget accordingly.

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        I’m also spending less on transport. I didn’t renew my monthly travel card when it expired this week; I figure that if/when I can go anywhere, I’ll just stick £10 or so on it and use PAYG.

        In terms of what I’m spending more on, it’s Kindle books, TV (as I bought Disney+ but splitting the cost with my boyfriend), ‘treat’ foods, and alcohol (although still less on the latter than if I was going out normally).

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            In my area that’s an option if you already had a library card, but you can’t get a library card if the libraries are closed.

            1. Miso*

              You sure about that?
              In Germany, a lot of libraries right now let you make a card via email or phone even when it’s not usually an option, and most of the time it’s even for free until they open again/this thing is over!

            2. Thankful for AAM*

              Same for my area, you have to come in person with proof of residence in our city limits (its a taxes thing).

              Some libraries are offering a temporary online access card.

            3. Clisby*

              You could check gutenberg.org. A lot of it is older stuff, but you never know what you might turn up.

            4. Nerdy Library Clerk*

              I have no idea if the library districts offering temporary digital cards during this are paying close attention to addresses, but you could always see if it would go through. I know that’s kind of cheating, but these are exceptional circumstances. Maybe check the nearest city’s library district webpage? The worst that would happen is it doesn’t work.

            5. Mimosa Jones*

              Another option would be to share a card with someone else. I haven’t set this up yet, but both my mom and my in-laws have offered the electronic subscriptions (Overdrive) that come with their cards.

        1. Audiophile*

          Yes, same here. I had already renewed my parking permit, which is quarterly, and may wind up being a total waste if this extends like everyone seems to be suggesting. I didn’t renew my monthly train pass, so I’m saving a bit there.

          When I shifted to working from home a few weeks ago, I was ordering out a ton. Partly due to convenience and partly due to desire to help local restaurants. Then I was able to buy groceries and start cooking meals to have leftovers for lunch and dinner. I’ll need to go grocery shopping today or tomorrow for more meat and veggies.

        2. Germank106*

          You can also check out Books and Movies on the Internet Archive a/k/a Wayback Machine. It’s completely free and, while you might not be able to get the newest Bestsellers, it’s always good for something new.

      2. MistOrMister*

        I’m still working, albeit remotely now, so I haven’t really had any changes in expenses. I spent a bazillion dollars on food when this first started, stocking the pantry. But my last grocery run was more in line with what I’d normally spend. I feel like I’m spending more on food in the grocery store, but I would be grabbing breakfast or lunch at work a couple of times a week, so I assume I’m breaking even or maybe saving a little. Other than that I’m not seing any changes in my costs so far.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          I have found I am not spending as much, to the point I have been able to put a decent chunk of salary into my savings. We get luncheon vouchers, but the supermarkets are refusing to take then at the moment, and public transport is covered. Apart from chemists, supermarkets and newsagents, everything else is closed.

          So my weekly outgoings now comprise several trips to a couple of local supermarkets, and a weekly ready meal delivery to alternate with the other meals I cook at home. I have found that I am getting through far more fresh milk though, due to making regular cups of tea throughout the day!

      3. Lemonwhirl*

        My husband has a small business that’s seasonal and this thing has completely cratered the start of his new season. We’re in survival mode. Anything that’s not essential is not getting paid. The money we’re not spending is getting socked into savings because we have no idea how long this thing is going to go on for and it’s likely he will lose an entire year of sales and business.
        I have a job that I can do from home. I get paid monthly near the end of the month, and I put 1/3 of my pay check directly into our savings. If we need to “borrow” from that, we can, but ideally, we just want to save everything right now.
        We’ve switched grocery stores to one that is further away than our usual but does click-and-collect, which are usual one does not. The upside of this change is that the new grocery store is a fair bit cheaper. I always knew I was paying more for convenience, now I have actual numbers.

          1. Chocolate Teapot*

            You order or reserve something from a company’s website, then go to the store in person to collect it. It has been popular as you don’t need to waste a journey if there is a specific item not in stock.

          2. Lemonwhirl*

            Exactly what chocolate teapot says. Also, we live too far away from any grocery stores to get delivered groceries. Click-and-collect is a way that we can minimise our time outside the house.

            1. ...*

              Most people call that grocery pickup or ordering groceries online i think thats what the confusion was.

                1. alienor*

                  That’s a huge improvement on the industry acronym for it in the US, which is BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store)!

      4. Asenath*

        I think I’ve been saving money. I renewed my bus pass, since I need to do that monthly, and chose a 10 ride option which is a lot cheaper than the monthly one, and which isn’t time-limited so the rides will still be available if (as seems likely) I don’t use them soon. I generally have some food and other supplies tucked away, and that, combined with the fact that I now rarely go to a store, means I do less impulse shopping.

      5. Jdc*

        Our food budget has gone up for sure. Partially because the kid has breakfast and lunch laid for at school (all students regardless of income level do in our state in public school) and also because we’ve had to buy a bit more to avoid grocery runs. We have one delivery service here at our store but it is currently running about a week out and is an extra $15 plus tip. We haven’t hoarded anything just bought more than our normal weeks worth so we can stay inside.

        Our fuel is down but we don’t have a high fuel budget for our cars anyway so that’s not very noticeable.

        Luckily husband keeps working with no issues. I was just looking for a job since child support has stopped (whether or not I need a job should not be based on someone else refusing to pay their child support but I can’t magically force her to write a check). So now that’s nearly impossible so the lack of child support squeeze remains rather than being solved.

            1. Natalie*

              I believe that will only apply to someone who has an existing court order that seizes their tax refunds. The stimulus payments are technically an advance payment on a tax credit that will be available during the 2021 filing season. (Other federal garnishments [student loans, tax debt] won’t be collected.)

      6. NYWeasel*

        Less on transport, more on entertainment (buying movies on PPV and board games adds up really fast) since we are all home together more than usual. Had a big family vacation canceled, but now I have $2500 in various airline credits that I will need to use by the end of the year, which is annoying bc I have no reason to travel then. Also trying to support local businesses, so eating out more. I stocked up early on some expensive things (1-3 month supplies for 5 people for vitamins and cold medicines adds up super fast) and we’re also trying to keep 2-3 big cuts of meat on hand at all times so we can make dinners that will last for a few days. All in all, I’d say I pre-spent around $1000 on things we will likely use over the next 6-12 months, but it felt like a big hit spending it all at once.

      7. Anono-me*

        Reduced the Car insurance. $60.00 Savings

        Dropped the liability portion of the car insurance on one of the cars. Kept the insurance of the car itself active, (so if it gets smooshed by a falling piano, it is covered). Also, kept one car insured as normal, incase of trips to the grocery etc.

        I will be starting and running both vehicles to keep the batteries charged.

      8. StellaBella*

        Saving on transport as my annual bus pass expired 1 of March and we are on lockdown, but used the 400$ to instead buy groceries for 5 weeks… But I am not buying anything at all, since I am not going out as all the shops are closed!

      9. Pusheen*

        Surprisingly I’ve bought nothing except for some regular groceries. I’m esp have to be tighter now that I have no income.

        For food, I don’t have as much desire anymore to get something from outside so I eat at home.

        Have saved $$ on transport, filled up the gas tank 2 weeks ago and still a lot left

        I think my biggest expense aside from food was retail therapy and I haven’t had that desire.

      10. Ranon*

        We’re in good shape financially so we’ve ramped up our giving – our local domestic violence/ children’s shelter estimates they’ll need an additional 1.5 million dollars to deal with Covid-19, our local food pantry is working hard to keep our community fed, and we anticipate our favorite environmental charities won’t be seeing as much come in as so many folks see their budgets impacted by this thing so we’re trying to help fill in as we can.

        Otherwise we’re mostly homebodies so the other spending hasn’t changed much, turns out weekly meal planning is good practice for grocery shopping in a socially distant world, we’re trying to get our trips planned for every two weeks instead of weekly. A little less on eating out/ takeout for a bit, we’re still waiting on other folks getting some more practice at staying 6 feet away, right now they’re stressing us out so we’re erring on the side of blocks away until everyone gets better at it.

        1. OtterB*

          Us too on ramping up the giving. I hadn’t thought about DV but we’ve made contributions to the food pantry and other local charities, some local virus-specific efforts (having lunch delivered to the staff at the nearby hospital, supporting restaurant workers who have lost their jobs).

          Transportation costs are down, especially parking at my office since I’m not going there, and I’m not getting breakfast/lunch out. Grocery costs are correspondingly a bit higher. We’re eating out less, though I’m trying to still get carryout or delivery from a few of our local places to support them.

          A little bit more book buying, but that tended to be high anyway, and between the combination of actually working from home and cooking more, I don’t have all that much extra time on my hands.

        2. Dog Fosterer*

          I know animal rescues are suffering as it’s hard to adopt out the animals (shelters can’t, and foster-based are slowed) and more importantly their fundraisers are often in pet stores and other places that aren’t allowing it. Sadly people still need to give up their animals at this time, probably even more so because some who lose their job won’t be able to afford their pet. I’m not suggesting you donate to different charities, just commenting that this has repercussions for so many.

          I am thinking about buying gift certificates for local restaurants, and sending them to hospitals. I’m just not sure if it’s a good idea?

          1. nonegiven*

            I had cat food in a cart online and it suddenly reloaded and said they were out. I’m going to have to buy the overpriced cheap stuff at the grocery store and have multi-colored pukes all over my house.

      11. LQ*

        I’m spending less on food. I’m not going out as much, I’m not buying for friends because I can’t go out with friends. I cut out alcohol in times of stress so less there. My building is doing a really stupid thing with packages so I’m eschewing ordering anything delivered until they stop being asses about it.

        I’m working more but salaried so no ot. But overall spending less.

      12. Oxford Comma*

        Way less on gas, groceries, probably clothes, if this keeps up fewer copays
        More on food delivery, probably streaming.

      13. Overeducated*

        I’ve had a 25% income reduction due to taking a couple hours a day of unpaid leave for childcare while day care is closed, but day care prorating tuition for 2 weeks more than makes up for it. Spending more on groceries, but less often; less on gas; less on kids’ activities but more on stuff to do at home. So i guess we come out even so far. I feel very lucky to be in that position.

      14. Policy wonk*

        No expenses for haircuts, dry cleaning, cleaning service. Significantly less on gas and tolls. So I sent about half the savings to an organization that feeds the poor. (Hanging on to the other half in case one of us is laid off.)

        1. Windchime*

          I’m saving money on gas, parking, and dining out all related to commuting to the office. I have actually been enjoying having choices for breakfast instead of just taking a piece of toast in the car. I have been making sandwiches for lunch, except one day a week I go to the drive-through of the local mom-and-pop hamburger stand; I want contribute to their ability to stay open if I can. I imagine that my utility bill will be higher since I’m using the heat more during the day, but I’m spending so much less on gas and parking that it will even out.

          Due to someone else’s suggestion above, I will make a donation to my local food bank with some of the savings.

      15. Epsilon Delta*

        Way over budget: consumer goods (lots of online shopping and shipping charges for stuff to entertain us at home)
        Slightly over budget: groceries (we normally buy in bulk and pack lunches from home so actually were pretty well set. Except for toilet paper –of course–), investments in our Roth IRAs (VTI and VXUS. We max these out every year but I funded it earlier than the usual schedule when the stock market started tanking)
        Under budget: entertainment (going out to parks, plays, etc), gasoline, pet grooming (cancelled due to lockdown), mortgage (we refinanced before all this started going down and the first payment isn’t due till May!), daycare

        Overall we’re looking at saving an extra $1200 this month. My husband may or may not be out of work. He works in construction, which is considered essential in our state, but his employer is having a hard time figuring out who to send to job sites, they don’t have the OSHA-required PPE due to shortages, and they are refusing to pay overtime (completely illegal and my husband is refusing to work overtime). We’ll be ok if he gets laid off because we can live off my salary if we cut down on frivolous spending a little.

      16. Lady Jay*

        I think I’m saving money? I’m less likely to go blow money on buying a fun snack from the grocery store (since I’m limiting trips to the grocery store), food costs are likely down overall for the same reason, and fuel costs are certainly down. That said, I’m trying very hard to hang onto whatever I’ve got – I wasn’t rich before this, and the current state of the economy makes me very, very nervous.

      17. Sesquedoodle*

        I normally hate the, “stop buying lattes to pay off your mortgage,” genre of financial advice, but I am actually spending less money now that all the cafes are shut.

        1. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

          Ugh I hate these claims, especially since the people making them don’t know what trade-offs you’re making when you choose to buy coffee or drinks. I don’t have a lot of the expenses other people do due to being single with no kids. So yeah I’m going to order a glass of wine with my dinner.

      18. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

        My eating out budget has gone down tremendously. Now I only cook at home. Before lockdown, it was common for me to go out for drinks and to restaurants on the weekends, but I obviously can’t do that anymore. Also, since I’m home all the time, I have more time and energy to cook, so my usual excuses for being lazy and opting for takeout are no longer there.

        Of course, that means I’m spending more on groceries, but I’m still saving money overall.

      19. Parenthetically*

        Yeah, we’re spending less almost across the board except on electricity? No more preschool fees (*sobbing*), cooking from scratch every meal of eVERY DAY, gas is cheaper for when my husband does go somewhere (he’s WFH on office days but drives our car to do field work, mostly by himself). Our only “extra” expense was that I broke down and got Disney+ because I now have to keep a toddler entertained for SO MANY more hours every week.

      20. Panthera uncia*

        I’m doing a weird dance of trying to avoid the grocery store, trying to use up the food I have, and trying to maintain healthy eating/weight loss that was medically necessary (severe reflux that caused tissue damage). My list of reflux-safe foods is somewhat limited, and leaving my stomach empty too long also causes an acid surge, so balancing all these factors has been quite a tightrope.

        As I mentioned yesterday, I was eating subsidized meals at work during the week (for example, a lunch of a large fresh veg salad with a broiled salmon steak was about $3.50). Now I’m making my own breakfasts and lunches, and I’m curious to see whether the month’s credit card statement will show a gain or a loss compared to work food.

      21. Princesa Zelda*

        The nature of my spending has changed dramatically. I usually buy a $2 cup of coffee and maybe a snack in the morning before work, for human interaction where I don’t have to be Just So Happy! and obviously that’s out the window. I usually buy small amounts of groceries twice a week, which has been changed to one biggish trip every 7-9 days. (I forgot to get eggs last time I left, and it’s at least 5 more days until I’m going again /sigh) I splurged on pizza a few days ago, since $20 of pizza will feed me for 4 days, but other than that I haven’t had any takeout; usually I eat out about once/week, after a day so draining I can’t even LOOK at my kitchen. I’m also spending a lot less on entertainment/outings — no festivals, no farmers market, no zoo, means nowhere for me to buy an ice cream and wander around.

      22. Square Root of Minus One*

        I’m on day 13 of lockdown. Mostly saving, but my budget has been so whacked in December by me buying my place, the corona influence is barely a blip on my radar.

        Plus side : no transport (my bus card wasn’t charged this month) – no eating out at work.

        Minus side : Grocery delivery. I have to buy in heaps so it doesn’t add up like crazy, which looks like the hoarding that plagues us all but I just can’t afford 10% of my food budget going in delivery fees. Also, I can’t set up my balcony into an herb and vegetable garden yet, so I’m losing money there.

        I’ll still come out ahead for Corona alone, but the rest is making it more difficult.

    5. singlelady*

      I live in an area that’s actively social distancing – and where the majority of the population is working from home -which is great! We should be! However, I live alone and am now working from home. I see lots of colleagues and friends on video/phone chat throughout the day, but I’m beginning to feel like I’m in a time warp. I’m getting jealous of my friends and colleagues that have live-in partners and small/large nuclear families that they can’t social distance from. I feel very isolated and am craving in person connection and physical touch. I know others are in this boat too – what are you doing to stay healthy and maintain good mental health?

      Also to those of you who are part of families and have single folks in your life that live alone – reach out and see how they are doing.Us singles tend to put on a brave front and pretend like we are fine especially when everyone else is getting annoyed by their partners/families. I’m an introvert and usually 120% okay being alone, but this is strange times and I’m feeling very lonely. It also has exacerbated the fears I already have of being a post-20s single – like EEK, what if this goes on for more months? My hope for a future relationship and family has just become much much much more difficult to achieve. If you’ve got someone in your life like me, let them know you are thinking about them. Yes, our lives are definitely easier in SO many ways right now, but also it’s emotionally challenging to be alone and alone and alone.

      1. Outside Earthling*

        I am the opposite. I have never felt so happy and contented to be single and live alone. I can do exactly as I please – in my own home, that is, obviously not in the world at large. I read, I do jigsaw puzzles, I listen to music, I speak with family and friends. Last night I danced along to an old David Bowie concert film. I am in my element. : )

        1. London Calling*

          Yes, me too. I can still go out and exercise and I really resented the suggestion from work of daily catchups which thankfully haven’t materialised. Quite happy not to see some of my colleagues for weeks.

        2. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

          Same here. I do eventually want to get married, but honestly, since I’m stuck at home, it’s probably better to be alone. I don’t think there is anyone on this earth (besides maybe a cat) that I would like enough to spend 100% of my time around. That being said, I am keeping in touch with my friends and family a lot, so that helps me from being lonely.

          1. Windchime*

            I’m pretty much loving just being alone with my cat. I have one coworker in particular that I’m accustomed to doing a lot of collaboration with, and I miss just being able to turn my chair and talk to him. I think he feels the same since he telephoned me yesterday about a work issue.

            I have an adult son that I usually see every couple of weeks, but he hasn’t been stopping by. He works at a grocery store and is exposed to all kinds of stuff, so we are practicing social distance. And I haven’t seen my parents in months, but they are in their 80’s and I just don’t want to risk visiting them on the possibility that I could expose them. Not worth it.

          2. Filosofickle*

            This is how I know I’m with a person who’s right for me. My whole life until 3 years ago I’d have agreed with you – much better to be alone than with ANYONE around the clock. I always needed lots of space. But with him I don’t. We’re living together through this, and it still feels good. Yay!

            1. allathian*

              Me too! That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the odd hour here and there completely alone, we’re not joined at the hip. Of course, having a four-bedroom house helps, as we can work in different rooms.

        3. Me--Blargh!*

          I really miss having my own space. Being in someone else’s is the worst. I wish I could have found a job and moved before the pandemic, but I feel like now that may never happen and it’s making me super anxious. I do NOT want to be stuck here forever. I don’t want to be here at all but there was no other choice. I feel so stifled; I can’t do anything, I have no real privacy, and it is incredibly frustrating.

          I thought maybe I shouldn’t have sold my house, but the only job I could have gotten would have been food service, and I would have lost it anyway when OldCity went on lockdown. At least this way, I’m not costing my mum as much and she’s not by herself in the midst of this (my sibling’s family lives nearby, but they can’t come over). Oh, and she claimed me on her taxes as a dependent, which will be a help to her, but that means I don’t get a stimulus check. *giant eyeroll*

          Maybe this situation will lead to the path that will get me to the things I need. Somehow. Fast, I hope.

          1. Windchime*

            Selling your house was the right thing to do. You were in dire need of a change and things weren’t happening for you in the old place. This is just a delay; it will be OK. And it might be a good thing that you are there with your mom in case one of you needs to care for the other during this.

            Hang in there.

            1. Me--Blargh!*

              I’ve been helping her when I can and keeping my part of the house clean. But I need to get away. Far, far away. I really need to leave the state entirely. Every time I try to do something to change things, it just gets worse. I feel like Wile E. Coyote.

          2. My Brain Is Exploding*

            Hope she checked to make sure she could claim you. (To claim another adult as a dependent you have to have provided more than half – I think – of their support for the tax year.) It is good you can be there for her. It won’t be forever!! Hang in there.

            1. Alex*

              This–did you live with your mom the whole year 2019? If not, I don’t think she can claim you, unless you are under 24, which maybe you are but the fact that you owned a house makes that seem less likely.

              I’m not a tax professional, so please check up on this, but I think maybe she actually can’t.

              1. Me--Blargh!*

                I did not live with her until late autumn, but she was fully supporting me. She has a professional to do her taxes.

      2. Blue wall*

        Oh man I was feeling this aloneness so much. This week I decided to stay with a sibling and their family, and we will all isolate together. It’s made a huge difference already. Do you have this option?

      3. LQ*

        I feel you on this. Though I have to go into work and am working lots. I don’t get any connection other than that and that’s all high tension high stress. I’m an introvert too and it’s been hard to explain why I’m feeling so lonely because I am so introverted.

        Part of it is that most of my usual avenues for recharging my batteries have been stolen. So I can’t be doing the alone and recharge things I normally would do in a really ordinary and boring way. I think it’s increasing the lonely feelings. I’m also kind of too tired to respond, I’ve had a few friends and family reach out but I look at their texts and messages and it just feels like another task and another thing I have to do and am too tired to do so then I feel bad for feeling lonely when I can’t be bothered to respond to someone reaching out and spiral.

        1. Tau*

          Honestly, I think people tend to go too far with the introvert/extrovert thing on this front. Like, OK, you have lower social needs than is typical, but that doesn’t mean you must be OK with all your usual contacts going to zero. Humans are social animals! Complete social isolation is widely considered a form of torture! And right now is a scary uncertain time and I suspect for a lot of people that results in a low-level impulse to band together – the monkey brain wants to fight off the threat in a group. So I think it’s perfectly understandable that even though you’re OK alone usually you’re not dealing with it well now.

          (for the record, I also sympathise on the “I am feeling socially isolated but also too exhausted to respond to people” thing, which is a recurring feature of the hilarious bundle of contradictions that is my brain. My main tip is that it is definitely a good idea to try to push yourself to arrange a call or something with one of them even if it seems extremely difficult, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. This is a very hard time, be kind to yourself!)

          1. LQ*

            I think you’re very right, the social animal and you can’t hug people, you can’t sit next to a friend, you can’t be in spaces with others even if you aren’t interacting. I feel very much like my monkey brain is ready to protect and defend my tribe and screw everyone else. (My tribe is my state and I work in state government so I don’t know how much I can fight that right now.) I have this weird urge to read about how poorly other states are doing. I don’t normally revel in others misfortune, but tribalism has reared it’s ugly brain state and this is how it’s being expressed for me.

          2. Kiwi with laser beams*

            Yeah, even as an introvert, there’s a bunch of stuff that I can’t do and people I can’t see because of the lockdown, although I do have an easier situation than many.

            The other reason the introvert jokes have been bugging me is because being an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t be affected by the big-picture stuff that’s going on. Being an introvert won’t protect me from getting sick if I got infected pre-lockdown, etc. Being an introvert won’t protect my job if the economic effects hit my company. Being an introvert doesn’t make me feel less sad that people in my favourite airline have already lost their jobs. Being an introvert won’t protect me from being unable to access treatment for other health problems if other people are reckless about the lockdown and overload the healthcare system. I’m not saying people have to be pessimistic, but I really can’t view this as a staycation.

      4. Venus*

        There is some flexibility, depending upon how isolated you have been.

        You can get together with a friend who is healthy, by sitting outside some distance from each other and chatting in person.

        If you and someone else have been completely isolated for 14 days (12 days is probably okay, as it’s the 98% point), with no grocery trips and not seeing other people, then there’s no reason not to give each other a hug! If both of you are young and healthy, and have been mostly isolated for 14 days (went to the grocery store but practiced social distancing and were careful), then you’re probably fine giving each other a hug.

        It’s not about only staying at home for months, rather it’s about being reasonable. The problem is that some people aren’t isolating or distancing themselves, and are spreading the virus quickly, which is why we keep being told to stay home. But if you have stayed home for 14 days then… you are 99% likely to not have the virus! (there are cases of people being infected and having no symptoms, which is why we need to be careful and social distance ourselves as much as possible, but we also won’t have to not touch anyone else for months).

      5. Djuna*

        My country went to strict shelter in place from midnight last night, and it hit me kind of hard too.
        My best friend and I had designated one another as safe contacts, isolating during the week and hanging out one day at weekends for a supermarket trip (she drives, I don’t) and a coffee and catch-up. Now, that’s not allowed anymore. I felt silly texting her earlier saying the government had banned us hanging out (how rude!), and relieved when she got back to me saying it hit her hard too.

        I don’t want to minimize what you’re feeling in any way, because I know this is all so hard and so weird, but it doesn’t mean your future is irrevocably altered. It’s normal to feel lonely, it sucks, but it is normal. It doesn’t mean you will be lonely forever. I also really wouldn’t worry about being post-20’s single. That’s pretty much the new normal, and it’s not even that “new” (unless my friends are all outliers, and I kind of doubt that, but we are in Europe so YMMV).
        Be kind to yourself, there’s no expiration date on your heart.

      6. Anon attorney*

        I feel you. I’m actually ok being on my own at the moment and as a widow I have acquired very good ‘grit your teeth and get through the shit days’ skills, which I would rather not have done but since it happened regardless of what I wanted I may as well use the knowledge. But after four years, this was gonna be the year I tried to get back into circulation and opened up to finding someone new – so I understand that feeling of a window of time closing.

        Also, people whining about their spouses and kids is getting old, I realise it’s not necessarily easy for them either but I would just like someone at work or in my friend group to remember and acknowledge that I am 100% on my own with this. I feel invisible sometimes.

        Hang on in there. Better times will come.

      7. Bluesboy*

        I don’t doubt that it is tough and lonely for you right now, and I really sympathise, but I’d like to push back on the idea that this will make your long term goals more difficult to achieve.

        I strongly suspect that throughout this period a lot of people will be feeling the same way as you, and will find themselves in three months time or so determined to do their best to meet people and get back in the game!

        I wonder if it’s also a good time to try online dating, without the pressure of ‘when should we meet up?’ It creates a chance to really get to know someone online before feeling you have to meet.

        Anyway, take care and hopefully it will all pass sooner than expected

      8. cheeseburger*

        I really feel for you. I am in the opposite situation, with my husband and 3 kids (1.5, 3.5, 6) home all day, and DH and I have to work. It’s complete chaos. I sleep 5-6 hours a night and consider it a win if I have the same number of kids at the end of the day as I do when I wake up.

    6. Princess Deviant*

      Austistic here.
      I hadn’t realised until this pandemic that I need my food and household products bought from the same shop at the same time and from the same brands. That’s a big part of my routine. I sort of took it for granted that that’s what I could do?

      Not being able to do so now has absolutely freaked me out, more so than the general disruption to my routine that everyone is finding stressful (I think).
      I hate it. It’s making me ill.

      1. MistOrMister*

        I’m not on the spectrum, but I also didn’t realize how the stores would be hit so badly and how much it would impact me and create anxieties. I think very few of us have envisioned something like this where things we consider basics aren’t even available. (Although I have been heartened to see this week that the stores are slowly becoming more stocked. And at least the fresh fruitd and vegetables are back).
        I really feel for you. As little fun as this has been for me, I’ve changed my shopping day and I still have the act of grocery shopping, which I find soothing. I can’t imagine how rough it must be to need the routine of going at a set time and wanting set things, because god help us, so much is missing from the shelves right now! I hope it gets better for you soon. Both stores I went to this week were low on a lot of things, but still had much more than the two weeks before, so that is promising. Also, we can only keep up the panic buying for so long! Either people will go bankrupt buying everything or they’ll run out of storage space. We keep being told the problem is not with supply, just demand has gotten overwhelming with the panickers. So hopefully you can be back to your shopping routine soon. Good luck!! And I wish I could offer advice, but I feel like suggestions that would help me will seem patronizing (because, sure I can go to 3 stores and get offbrands and be happy, but if you need the routine, then me suggesting that seems tone deaf to your needs). I am sorry you are going through this and how it’s impacting you.

      2. KoiFeeder*

        I definitely didn’t realize how much chocolate ice cream was a part of my routine, much less a load-bearing part of my routine, until everyone bought all of it. That’s probably been the thing I’ve had the worst time adjusting to. Sure, I can self-isolate, I can completely lose my external routines and have to start from scratch, but losing my chocolate has made eating practically impossible because I keep hitting meltdown mode every time I open the freezer and don’t see it.

        1. Anono-me*

          That just sounds so hard for you.

          I have what may be a rather naive and clueless idea, please let me know if you have the bandwidth to deal with well-intentioned but possibly unviable ideas?

            1. Anono-me*

              PD. I had read your comment that you were missing an unspecified ‘load food item’. I didn’t realize it was chocolate ice cream for you as well.

              I tend to be a very very lazy cook.
              And I also tend to kind of MacGyver food to make it work for the situation at hand. ( I also tend to be lazy about going to the grocery store.)

              Here’s what I do, if I only have vanilla ice cream and I want something different. (I hope it is useful to you and anyone.)

              I let the vanilla ice cream soften a bit and mix in whatever I have at hand. Then either I eat the soft ice cream or I throw the new flavored ice cream back in the freezer to harden up again.
              Obviously for chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup would work the best.

              Other mix in choices are fudge syrup, Nestle Quik powders berries, bananas, nut butters, nuts, and/or candy.

              1. allathian*

                I’ve done the same, only with unsweetened cocoa powder, like you’d use for baking. Works great! Tastes chocolatey but not overly sweet, which is a risk with chocolate syrup.

              2. Princess Deviant*

                It isn’t chocolate ice cream for me, but I like these hacks.
                I make chocolate cake when I’m stressed, and cocoa powder does the trick when I don’t have chocolate in (I usually do not have chocolate in!) Thank you, it’s very thoughtful of you.

                1. Anono-me*

                  I want to be helpful but I also don’t want to be that person who gives useless ideas because they don’t understand the situation.

                  I hope everyone who wants it, can find the real thing soon.

        2. Not A Manager*

          There are recipes online for no-churn chocolate ice cream. They all seem to use sweetened condensed milk as a base, and then add melted chocolate, cocoa powder, or both. Then fold in whipped cream. Just looking at them, I like the technique where you stir a bit of the chocolate mixture into the cream before folding the cream into the base (as opposed to the ones where you just fold the plain whipped cream into the base).

          Anyway, if you can find those ingredients, it might be fun to try making your own?

    7. Miso*

      I feel almost bad about how little I’m actually affected…
      My work (public library) is closed, but we still go to work, and we actually have a bunch to do, and I don’t have to worry about losing my job or anything. I actually can take two weeks of vacation instead of one around Easter, which is nice!
      I don’t leave the house much anyway and mainly play games or watch Netflix at home. In theory I can even still meet the one friend who lives near me.
      Basically the only things that bother me is that my friend who lives abroad isn’t coming to visit as planned and that I can’t go to IKEA to try some chairs…

      Oh, and I guess no dates for now, but it’s not like that was going so great before anyway…

      1. MistOrMister*

        For myself this has been great. I am happy at home, hanging out with my cats. I’m talking to my friends and family the same as before, if not more. I’m able to see one friend more often because her schedule is nuts, but since I’m working at home it’s easier for us to get together – in a socially responsible way – talking from a distance or going on a walk and keeping the sidewalk between us, etc.

        But yesterday was my first experience being really sad about this. I went to a local restaurant to pick up dinner, in an attempt to help businesses near me. I walked in and they had the tables set up so you can’t actually get into the main parts of the restaurant. But what got me was the waitresses that have been working there as long as I’ve gone there (5 or 6 years)….not one of them was there. And the parking lot was empty from all the stores nearby that were closed. I’ve heard the numbers and speculation about lost jobs but that was what really drove home to me that an awful lot of people are living in limbo right now and are suffering because of this. Not just the sick people and their friends and family. But the waitresses and people who work at goodwill and any number of others are in or going to be in really bad shape. It is really disheartening. And the fact that it’s going to get worse for a while yet is very concerning.

    8. Bilateralrope*

      I’ve ended up working security at a homeless shelter during the lockdown. They are taking all the reasonable precautions so I feel safe.

      The amusing thing I noticed is that the shelter has a single board game. Its title is “Pandemic”.

      1. Mme Defarge*

        Pandemic is a great game – you play cooperatively to beat the world from being overwhelmed by viral pandemic disease!

        1. Orbit*

          My 15 year old plays a computer version of this game. She named that last virus Coronavirus and then proceeded to vanquish it. I think she found it cathartic. Lol

        2. Green great dragon*

          I’ve just ordered Pandemic to help keep my Green Small Dragons entertained. Was slightly expecting it to be sold out in the UK :/

      2. LizB*

        For the past year my SO and I have been playing Pandemic: Legacy with some friends of ours. It’s a version of that same game where you play twelve “months” worth of games and the actions you take have consequences on the shape of the game moving forward – you add stickers to the board, tear up cards, new problems are revealed as you go, etc. It’s been really fun, most of the time I would highly recommend it!

        We figured out the technology to do a virtual board game night with those friends last night. We played something else.

    9. Dad Troubles*

      My dad (and stepmom) live about 45 min away from me. I’m the closest kid to them as my brother is on the opposite coast and my sister is in another country. My dad’s suggestion to any issue is ‘come stay with us, we’ll take care of you’. Broke my leg and was homebound for a month? Came over and stay. Upset because of the death of a friend when I need to get ready for the funeral? Come over and stay. Frustrated with work even though I need to go in the next day and it makes so sense to drive 45 minutes away from work on a weekday? Come over and stay.

      I know it comes from a place of love and wanting to see at least one of his kids but it’s frustrating, especially with what’s going on right now. As soon as new of the virus really started amping up, he was on the phone with me, telling me to come to his house. I put him off because I was sick (just a cold, not corona) but he’s still nagging me to come over. We’re not at ‘shelter in place’ levels just yet but I certainly don’t want to be stuck in complete isolation with him and my stepmom. Also they’re both over 60 and I don’t want to accidentally spread it to them. They’re otherwise practicing good social distancing as far as I know, but I’m almost avoiding calling my dad to even check on him because it will eventually become another come and stay with us debate.

      1. Not A Manager*

        Can you try to respond to the emotion, and not the suggestion? He loves you and wants you to be safe. “Come home and stay with us!” – “Thanks for the offer, Dad. I love you too.” The more you can address his real feelings and avoid the logistics discussion, the better. If he pushes, maybe try things like, “That won’t work for either of us right now, but it’s great to know that I always have a place to go,” etc. Don’t emphasize the “not coming home” part, emphasize the “I know you love me” part.

        1. Parenthetically*

          Love this language. It’s an offer of love; receive accordingly and act how you want.

    10. Batgirl*

      What items in the house have you found to be a godsend in lockdown/isolation?
      For me it’s my kindle, the WiiFit (for when the internet went down and my exercise vids with them), flour for making extra bread and essential oils for burning when I ran out of menthol sweets. Yeah, I went through the bread and throat sweets my brother brought me like Pacman!

      1. Ranon*

        My hands, for opening our blinds! I’ve gotten better about opening them every day and it’s soooo much better.

      2. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

        Not an item but I’m grateful that, if anything, we are dealing with a pandemic at an age with Internet and a bunch of digital tools for virtual meetings, chats, etc. Because of this, I don’t have trouble passing the time – I play games on my phone, watch Netflix and YouTube, FaceTime my friends, chill on this website. Even my workout classes are now being given online, so I don’t even have to sacrifice that.

        Of course, I do like my share of in-person socializing, and look forward to when we can do that again, but for now it’s not too boring.

      3. AngelicGamer, the Visually Impaired Peep*

        My Kindle is a big one but also Youtube! I finally restarted my yoga routine with Yoga with Adriene – I started the March playlist yesterday. I feel mentally better today even if my legs are all “what did you do?!”.

      4. Elizabeth West*

        I would be lost without internet. But even if something happened to it (NO NO NO NO NO NO NO), my laptop. I do everything on it. Ev.Er.Y.Thing.

      5. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        Speaking as one symptomatic, you might consider preparing:

        * acetaminophen (paracetamol)
        * a few adult continence pads
        * baby wipes or festival wipes

        Change your bedclothes while you feel well, and have additional pillowcases ready for when you don’t (they’re not crucial, but soothing).

        1. Not A Manager*

          I’m sorry you’re not feeling well. I hadn’t heard about the continence pads. Is this for stomach upset, or for some other reason?

          1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            Stress incontinence.

            Cough becomes very strong. Bathroom visits are totally exhausting but it is v important to keep hydrated. A Tena Lady pad (or non-UK equivalent) means one less thing to worry about if your bladder isn’t totally empty.

            Sorry for TMI.

            Don’t hoard supplies, obviously, as many people require them 365/365. But they have been useful in more than one household around here.

      6. Anonymous ball of anxiety*

        My treadmill! I’m trying to get outside to walk and run, but sometimes I can’t quite overcome the anxiety.

      7. Parenthetically*

        I had so much yeast and flour in my house! And Mr. Parenthetically and my folks got me a new computer for my birthday. My son and I start the day with a Bluey or two in bed these days. It’s great.

        1. Tau*

          Treausre your yeast! It’s apparently now on the panic buy list over here, it was in the paper and the shops had almost none. We bake a lot, so this is not a welcome development at all.

      8. Natalie*

        Really happy I bought a digital piano in the fall. It was a big purchase for me and would be hard to justify now, but I am really enjoying playing at the moment.

      9. Stephanie*

        The second bathroom in the finished basement that the contractor finished work on in the nick of time. They finished on March 16. Both kids are home from college, and we downsized in September (because both kids are in college…) from a 2300 square foot house with 2 1/2 bathrooms to a 1500 square foot house with 1 bathroom (until 12 days ago). It has been a life saver. I cannot imagine all four of us sharing the one tiny bathroom on the second floor without constant bickering.
        My Kindle, Zoom for conversations with friends and family, Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime, my laptop and my phone. Flour, sugar, butter, and yeast for baking. All of the TV’s (the kids brought their TV’s with them when they came home)–we can all watch what we want, and we can get away from each other for a while.
        My dogs’ harnesses, which make it possible to walk them without them choking themselves or backing out of their collars (2 greyhounds and a grey/whippet mix).
        Wii Rockband, which we will all play together tonight after dinner.

    11. Pusheen*

      Anyone want to share the lighthearted stories Or any positive stories coming out of this?

      1. Finding Nemo*

        There’s a podcast I follow called Kind World that’s has started spotlight stories of kindness during this crazy Coronavirus time.

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

        People in my neighborhood started clapping and gifting food and water to the garbage men.

      3. Miso*

        My work schedule is actually better than before! I’ve got two day weekends, whoo!

        Also (I mentioned this above, but can’t be said enough), a lot of libraries in Germany let you make a card for free and via email or the phone right now so people can use eBooks. I think that’s very neat.

        1. Kardamumma*

          My public library in Canada does that too. And so many digital resources are available – from movies to books to classes. The library has been a godsend!

      4. Overeducated*

        People in my neighborhood are doing those scavenger hunts where you put pictures in your window for kids to find on walks. One is for rainbows, one neighbor without kids asked on Facebook if some kid could make her one, so my kid painted one, and I slid it under her door when we walked by yesterday. I noticed that she had baskets of bottled water and snacks set out with a “thank you, please help yourself” sign for delivery people and thought that was really sweet.

        In another little kindness, people have figured out that Asian supermarkets are the best stocked, and are putting out “need anything? Let me know in the next 20 minutes!” calls when they go. These are just little things but they are thoughtful.

          1. Reba*

            Nesting issues ahoy.

            ANYWAY I meant to write that we went out to a big Korean grocery in a nearby suburb as our weekly outing last week and honestly I had a blast. :D I don’t know when I’ve had so much fun. Just grocery shopping!

            Partly just being out of the house, but also just seeing a well stocked store, that was also being very cautious and safeguarding employees to an extent.

        1. New Job So Much Better*

          Our neighborhood is putting teddy bears in front windows, so kids can go walk and Bear-Hunt. I have a bunch of stuffed animals in my bay window, with an ET hidden among them, and some white lights to brighten things up.

      5. c-*

        Venice’s channels are clean again for the first time in decades. The fish have come back in some! And pollution levels are way down in many parts of the world. One of my neighbours plays saxophone and I can hear her practicing, and yesterday two of my neighbours took their toddlers out to their respective balconies and the kids had a very cute, socially-responsible, play date.

      6. Who Plays Backgammon?*

        Being stuck in my little tiny apartment with internet for company, I’m surfing for ideas to perk up the place when the stores and the budget open back up. Keeps me from stewing over the news reports and worrying about each little cough (allergies).

        Won’t take a major redo, very few pieces will fill the place. Japanese? Midcentury?

      7. Trixie*

        I find the perspective check from Chelsea on The Financial Diet/Youtube channel very helpful. Also, so many online resources are offering from meditation, yoga, etc. classes. And, Ryan.Heffington offers a “sweatiest” club/dance break on Instagram, just to encourage WFW, families, kids, to get up and move.

        Also, I’m loving the “bowl cut” photos that are circulating. My pixie cute was already long (for me) when my area closed salons. Depending on things go, will I inadvertently start to grow it out?! I could also experiment with non-permanent hair coloring, from the safety of home.

        My favorite FB page is “Aldi Nerds” and includes both shoppers and staff. Shoppers bringing in breakfast/gift cards for the employees, or paying it forward for other shoppers. Such a good example to follow.

      8. Parenthetically*

        I live in Kentucky. Our governor is WONDERFUL. The memes about him (“andy beshear memes for social distancing teens” on FB) have been so much fun.

        1. My coworker made me sign a cast on her crotch*

          Ha in one of my groups he’s called Gov BAE. He is pretty nice to look at.

      9. Djuna*

        There’s another website I visit daily, where they’ve started up a slush fund for readers who have lost their jobs or are having other financial problems due to the pandemic. They raised $20k in less than 24 hours and are now up to (checks open tab) almost $44k. Every day, the editor posts to let us know about the people we’ve helped and it makes me so happy. It is a reminder at a time when many of us sorely need it that people are (generally!) good and kind and want to help others.

      10. Stephanie*

        I’m seeing a lot more people out walking and biking in my suburban neighborhood than previously.
        We’ve been walking our three dogs almost daily, which wasn’t happening before, either.

      11. Ranon*

        Our city is apparently rocking it when it comes to fostering animals, 82% of the animals at our biggest shelter are currently in foster homes. I hope everyone who’s fostering is enjoying their furry buddies!

    12. Anon and Livid*

      I have a family member who is over 65 yo, who took a trip to NYC to take care of her cousin in the hospital for routine surgery. Said family member went across NYC, went to restaurants, whole 9 yards (wearing a face mask TG), and returned to our state area where she is a cancer pharmacist. Her boss asked her to self-isolate/self-quarantine for 2 weeks as per policy that anyone coming out of NYC must self-isolate 2 weeks.

      Family member refused to self-isolate. And returned to work this past Monday. Cancer: immuno-compromised.

      This was relayed to me via another family member, who says said family member claims to have no symptoms, so no worries.

      I was LIVID. Her boss failed the patients, FM’s failed everyone, and she could’ve taken down an entire ward of patients in the pharmaceutical clinic. I volunteered there decades ago and remember a young mother crying and telling me she was scared she wouldn’t live to see her kindergartener graduate high school.

      I knew my mother was stubborn and impossible, but I never thought she’d be this reckless and heartless.

      1. Anon and Livid*

        And, I anonymously reported her to the local state health department out of concern for her patients. OMFG I cannot believe I had to do this.

        1. Ann O.*

          Thank you for reporting her. I’m not sure how she could be so unaware of the lengthy incubation period for COVID-19 and how common asymptomatic transmission is. But I have a relative with cancer and what your family member did is a literal nightmare. I am so sorry you had to report her, but it was the responsible, compassionate thing.

      2. Reba*

        Wow. Stubborn loved ones, yes.

        My sibs and I spent yesterday morning in a coordinated attack on my dad to get him to stay home. One of us sent memes, I attempted to shame and scold, the other played the grandchild card. Results to be seen.

      3. Joie De Vivre*

        My husband has practiced social distancing for the last 2 weeks. Last weekend he was able to run about 10 miles with no problem. He is a runner.

        Yesterday he got very sick & the Dr he saw is trying to get a COVID test for him.

        My husband went from fine to horrible pain in less than 12 hours.

        I’m grateful that he seems to have the intestinal reaction rather than issues with breathing.

        I’m glad you reported your mom. You did the right thing.

    13. Loose Seal*

      I am angry. I have the symptoms of COVID-19 but cannot possibly get tested. I talked to my doctor about it and she said that the only way I could maybe get a test is if I’ve been out of the country, been near a confirmed patient, or am a healthcare worker (or possibly a celebrity, pro athlete, or politician), none of which are true for me. Even then, she said it would be a struggle since she had enormous difficulty trying to arrange for a test for a nurse in their office the previous day. She said to stay home, treat the symptoms with cold medicine and my asthma meds/inhaler/nebulizer and if I get to the point where I have a consistent fever over 101F, so much difficulty breathing that I can’t speak, or pneumonia-like symptoms, I could then go to the hospital. But even then, she said they likely won’t test me to verify COVID-19.

      I’ve never been one to fully believe what politicians say, regardless of their party. But I’m especially angry at this. They said anyone could have a test. Other countries seem to be able to test widely. Are they purposefully not testing so that our numbers stay low and the President can bask in the glow of handling this “beautifully?”

      I’m lying in bed with a 100.5F fever. Nothing tastes right. Nothing smells right. My trachea hurts badly but I’m not really coughing (maybe because of the asthma meds). I can’t sleep much. My husband is stuck in the house with me and he can’t really isolate far enough away from me to be helpful, since we just have a regular-sized house and not a mansion. My state, even though it’s in the top 10 in cases, is only testing 0.1% of the people. The only bright spot today is that I’m having a video therapy session in which I will probably say exactly what I’ve typed here.

      I’ve never wanted a revolution — maybe a coup — more badly than this right now.

      1. nep*

        Wow. So sorry. I can’t fathom what it must feel like to have these symptoms and be told to stay home until you have a dangerously high fever or basically can’t breathe. Absolutely unacceptable. And yet here we are.
        Stress makes everything worse, and here you are having to stress about all this on top of your illness. I hope you’ll find some relief and very soon. Peace

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

        My mother’s tennant works at a law firm as a receptionist, and one of the lawyers returned from a trip to Brazil and went straight to work, no quarantine whatsoever. A week later, mom’s tennant started having symptoms, she freaked out, called the city emergency number… And no one answered. Her mother asked for help in the neighborhood Facebook group, everyone entered panic mode, and my mother was called by a dozen neighbors demanding her to do something. She called the national hotline, waited for several hours and… nothing. The suspected patient had to drag herself to the nearest hospital by bus (cause she has no car, and no one would drive her there) and the hospital refused to test her because she didn’t tick all the symptom boxes. Is she sick and spreading it to the neighborhood? We don’t know. She’s being irresponsible by going out, the neighbours are (logically) running away from her, she’s sending texts full of drama and complaints and my mother asked a lawyer whether she’ll be liable if she’s a spreader.

      3. TR*

        You may not want the expense, but it should be possible for your doctor to send the test to a commercial lab like Quest. They should not have the same restrictions.

        1. Aly_b*

          Some of the commercial labs are apparently less reliable. Not clear if their covid tests are fine and it’s some of their other allergy tests and stuff that are iffy, and I’m not a doctor, but would be worth looking into before investing.

        2. Loose Seal*

          I asked my doctor about that and she said private testing runs around $5000. Apparently, they looked at that when they were trying to get the nurse tested.

      4. Curious, not judging*

        I’m so sorry you’re sick and feeling frustrated. It sounds awful. I absolutely share your frustration and anger at world leaders who are dropping the ball on this public health crisis, and at Trump’s lies and misdirection.

        I’m asking this question in the spirit of curiosity, not to try to imply you should feel differently, so I hope you don’t mind too much: why do you want to be tested? From a public health perspective, of course it’s important to test everyone possible to get an idea of where to deploy our efforts, but since there is no treatment beyond supportive care for COVID-19, what do you hope would be different about your care or your clinical course if you had confirmation that that’s what you have?

        1. Loose Seal*

          There isn’t any reason to be tested other than I want to make sure this is what I have so that after 25-ish days I know that I can go out and not worry about getting it or infecting others (which may become important if my parents or in-laws get it and someone needs to go look after them). And I’m just generally pissed because I was “promised” this test, everyone else (in other countries) seems to be getting it, and, as a lover of data, I think it’s important that somewhere some database records me as having it. (And it pisses me off that athletes, celebrities, etc. can get tested AND get their results back really quickly. I guess this pandemic has made the blinders finally fall all the way off my eyes and I see the difference in the haves and have-nots. And it sucks.)

          So, yes, knowing for certain would not change how it would be treated but it’s still eating me up that I can’t know.

          1. Curious, not judging*

            I sympathize 100%! I work in healthcare and am frustrated pretty much 24/7 at how inadequate testing in my province has been, so I definitely agree that we need to detect as many cases as possible. I don’t know if it makes you feel better or worse to know that inadequate testing is a huge problem in many, many countries outside the US (including mine!). A lot of leaders were caught flat-footed and some are recovering more quickly than others.

            The messaging here has been not to expect tests unless you need a negative test to go back to performing your essential duties (e.g. as a healthcare worker) or you’re ill enough to need hospitalization. We’re testing to support efficient and effective delivery of healthcare, not to track the spread and guide policy, which is very frustrating. So I hear you for sure. One of the hardest things about this, for me, is that there is no “knowing for sure.” Will I get it? If I do, will I develop enough immunity to not get it again? Will I pass it to my family unknowingly? It’s very hard to deal with so many unknowns.

          2. fposte*

            FWIW, there isn’t enough information about immunity right now to know if you’d be able to go out without risk in 25ish days anyway. That’s a big reason why the work on cheap antibody tests is important. (But I’m with you on the data thing. My state’s site on case numbers was out of sync for several days and it frustrated the daylights out of me.)

          3. Old and Don’t Care*

            I’m sorry you‘re going through this. One thing about other countries is that they are all ramping up, and while the U.S. is lagging and needs to do better, the difference is that the “best“ countries are testing ~ 2% of population and the US is well below 1%. So the numbers are important to epidemiologists and such, on an individual level there’s not much difference.

            Everyone is learning more everyday and we can only hope that in three weeks things will be better in some way.

          4. Tea and Sympathy*

            Maybe do some research into whether or not you can get it again. I read that a small but significant number were getting it again. But that was in the early days, so it might have changed by now.

      5. Lady Jay*

        I’m so sorry, I hope you feel better soon.

        I’m in a grad program right now, and while I don’t know what the future holds for me, nothing has made me want to emigrate out of the country more than this. I feel so abandoned by my leadership, at all levels.

      6. Koala dreams*

        From another country, no, we also don’t test widely. The healthcare system don’t have the resources.

        It sucks that you can’t get medical treatment. Ideally everyone with difficulties breathing or other serious symptoms would get help.

        Take care!

      7. Silly Janet*

        That sounds really stressful and uncomfortable. I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. The whole “recently been out of the country” part of the criteria is such BS at this point. Obviously it is spreading rampantly throughout communities! They are probably still saying that due to the limited tests.

        1. Loose Seal*

          Yeah, they asked me if I’ve been out of the country in the last *six months*. I didn’t want to be snide to the nurse but even I know the virus wouldn’t lay dormant for five months, three weeks and suddenly pop out now.

          Even with our limited testing, we have 35 people in the county confirmed so that probably means hundreds, if not a thousand unconfirmed. The only time I left self-quarantine in 12 days was to go to the pharmacy to refill my asthma meds. They don’t have a drive-thru so I had to wait inside for about 10 minutes. Most people social distanced themselves well in there but after I paid and turned around to leave, the guy standing behind me was RIGHT behind me, closer than comfortable even in normal times, like he was smelling my hair (ew!). Is it important to find out that my pharmacy is a hotspot? I’d think so but perhaps we are beyond caring about where one picks the virus up.

          1. Anonnn*

            I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I have asthma too and am scared. Youfe probably considered this but there any way your pharmacy could deliver your meds? I think mine does and only realized that recently. All the best

          2. Djuna*

            I’m so sorry you’re going through this, it must be scary and frustrating.
            I live in a country where they are testing people, but, and this may help a little with your frustration, they went from testing if returned from a hotspot, to testing anyone who might be symptomatic, to only testing people who had 2 or more confirmed symptoms.

            A colleague of mine has been waiting 6 days for a test. Others who have been tested report results taking a week or more to get to them. Guidance here is whether you’re tested or not, if you have trouble breathing, call the emergency services. As of today, our hospitals are not yet overwhelmed, but that is likely to change too. Even in places where it seems from the outside that we may have our act together, we really don’t.

      8. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

        Wishing you the best and hope you feel better soon. You are one of many people I’m hearing with symptoms and not getting tested. I’m assuming you’re in the US. Yes, our government f***ed up terribly. I mean, I was never crazy about our economic and healthcare system, and I think the flaws are glaring under this crisis.

        1. Loose Seal*

          Yes, in the U.S. I’ve had to just stop listening to the “official” press conferences and read what Dr. Fauci has to say later. Otherwise, the stress may kill me well before any virus could get a chance to.

          1. Windchime*

            Our local public radio station has stopped broadcasting the President’s updates because they are so full of misinformation that they cannot correct them quickly enough.

      9. Elizabeth West*

        (only partially facetious) I will soon resume training for the revolution, i.e. getting more exercise. I shall kick ass on your behalf. *WHAP* *BASH* *KAPOW*

        I hope you feel better soon. Sending healing vibes.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      10. Auntie Social*

        I feel like this is why the French stormed the Bastille— they’d just had *enough*.

      11. Belgian*

        I’m not in the US. I had symptoms the past week (though thankfully pretty mild), called my doctor and he said to self-quarantine and watch my symptoms. If they got worse, I had to call back. I couldn’t get tested either. There are not nearly enough tests to test everyone with symptoms, so they’re only testing the most severe cases (people who end up in Intensive Care).
        There is talk about testing more widely to see who has built up immunity in the next couple of weeks to see who can go back to work.

      12. Dr. Cox*

        What? They’re not testing because they’re saving the limited number of tests for serious cases, while also making more as fast as they can be churned out. Thinking the President, or any politico of either party, has the power to secretly limit testing without anyone finding out and splashing it on the news is a pants-on-head level conspiracy theory, in line with “the Chinese invented the virus to cripple American manufacturing.”

        1. ...*

          They didn’t proactively start making tests when the outbreak started happening, it is not that they secretly limited the ones they had they just didnt prioritize dealing with this.

          1. Dr. Cox*

            No one expected this level of pandemic in Dec/Jan. They didn’t make a bunch of SARS tests way back when either. This caught everyone, including the health care industry, off guard.

            Last I checked, there is no nationalized healthcare manufacturer; I’m still not clear on what everyone expected the govt. to do in any case. As a matter of fact, we buy a good chunk of our health care supplies from China, which worked out not great this time; Chinese manufacturing shut down right before this thing got here to us.

            1. Ann O.*

              That’s not quite true. It didn’t catch the SARS countries off guard. They’ve generally been able to contain the novel-coronavirus. That suggests this was more about capacity to believe the data’s potential ramifications than about the data to suggest pandemic existing.

              I am unclear why South Korea had the capability to do widespread testing even though their outbreak started earlier than ours, but we don’t. Shouldn’t we have been able to learn from what China and South Korea did to contain their epidemics? We are duplicating very little of the successful policies of South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

            2. Sam I Am*

              I expected the government to listen to the scientists that are experts in this field, which they have done only with great reluctance.
              All these things that we’re doing now to flatten the curve? They could’ve been started a week or two earlier. Even if tests were ramped up only a week earlier that’s a whole week of manufacturing. We Americans, as a whole, didn’t care when it was in China; we cared once it hit Italy.

      13. MissGirl*

        I was able to get tested yesterday in my state. I just called the corona virus line through my health system and they scheduled it for me. I don’t know how your state is set up.

      14. KR*

        I’m sorry, that is so hard. I understand that there needs to be testing guidelines but it’s absolutely ridiculous they are confining tests to those who have been out of the country recently or have come in contact with a confirmed patient. How can we know we came in contact with a confirmed patient (or someone who has come in contact with one) if they aren’t testing people?! We know it’s spread communally, otherwise we wouldn’t be socially distancing and hand washing. At this point they need to revise the guidelines of who gets a test because it’s obvious it’s spreading to people who haven’t been out of the country recently.

      15. ThursdaysGeek*

        My niece in law ended up taking an ambulance to the hospital because her asthma and covid symptoms together finally took her down. Her mom’s doctor is convinced her mom has covid, so she was exposed.

        By the time she got to the hospital, her oxygen levels were just above the level where they would give her the test, so she doesn’t KNOW either.

        What this means to me is that for every positive they are counting in my area, there are probably many others that are not counted.

        Also, please get better soon – we like you here.

    14. CoffeeforLife*

      Is there a list of bad responders*?

      ●24 Hour Fitness/ Planet Fitness

      Still collecting membership fees and letting people know they’ll just extend their membership. WTF.

      I workout at OTF and they froze all of our accounts two weeks ago – awesome corporate response!

      *I wanted to call it the Wall of Shame…

      1. My coworker made me sign a cast on her crotch*

        New York sports club/Town sports International! I was going to post it here this weekend. NYSC is still collecting fees and have yet to respond to any messages. The CEO sent out a half assed “we’ll deal with it when things are fixed” message. I peeked at their Facebook page, and man everyone is livid at the lack of response. I usually get charged $65 on the 1st of the month but for some reason I got a charge of $50 yesterday – I called my CC Company and they said there’s nothing they can do until the transaction posts. It’s ridiculous how the company is handling this.

      2. Lore*

        My Planet Fitness proactively apologized for March’s bills being issued just before the shutdown, are suspending fees going forward, and promised a month of credit when they reopen to make up for March. I told them I’d be fine to pay them still if it meant the staff got paid and they turned me down.

        1. My coworker made me sign a cast on her crotch*

          Someone on my social media that I know IRL posted the notice she got from PF on 3/16 (date of NY lockdowns) that they’re going to adjust the fees/credits etc. Last time I was with them my membershpi was the base $10/month. I never liked PF much but once all this is sorted out I could see myself going back to them and not dealing with NYSC’s bullsh*t.

        2. Old and Don’t Care*

          Ditto, except that I was informed by e-mail and haven’t spoken with anyone there.

      3. BRR*

        My gym also went radio silent. No word on membership fees, nobody is getting email responses, and I even tried to send a fb message. I’m going to look at my agreement to see what it says if the gym is closed and might look into what options are available through the state to file a complaint. Other suggestions are welcome. I think their position was “it was the governor who closed us” but frankly I don’t care.

        Oh and they had a confirmed case workout there at some point and no word went out about that.

      4. Alex*

        I posted just below about my gym. I think it is a little different because it isn’t a big chain like Planet Fitness, and would probably fail in a couple of months if they didn’t collect money for no services…but still feeling a bit irritated. But they’re still collecting fees as usual and also sending numerous emails asking for more money.

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

          The rowing club I’ve been going too since I was a baby is constantly under financial struggles. All the rowing clubs in my area are small institutions and this could be the end for many of them, even for the most prestigious ones. Thankfully the swimming pool season was already over, so we didn’t have to pay those extras until December.

      5. Disco Janet*

        My dad is a Walgreens manager. Want to hear their plan when an employee tests positive? They fumigate the store…then send all the employees back to work. KNOWING they have been in close contact with the contagious coworker. No exceptions for employees who are older or at higher risk. Even when they have two stores spaced a mile and a half apart and could easily close one.

        1. Disco Janet*

          (And also, lets remember not to take our anger about this stuff out on the store-level employees. These orders are coming from much higher up and aren’t optional.)

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Ugh. I quit going there after they backed up the pharmacist who refused a prescription to a woman having a miscarriage because religion. Cut up my store card and tweeted a picture of the pieces.

          I’m gonna save so much money avoiding shitty companies after this, I swear.

          1. Windchime*

            Yeah I don’t go to Walgreen’s unless I have no choice at all. We have a local family chain of pharmacies here and that’s where I go.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              I have to go to Walmart currently, which is bad for other reasons; I can get my prescription there for $4. The only other alternative is CVS (ugh).

      6. AngelicGamer, the Visually Impaired Peep*

        I’ve got friends who work at Panera. Due to the company’s response to them and the fact that I keep on getting emails to order and free delivery, I am never ever going to one again unless I’m visiting those friends who work there.

        Also, Hobby Lobby won’t pay sick leave for their employees who get sick from COVID-19.

        1. Disco Janet*

          Yep. The founder’s wife received a message from
          god that they should stay open, but apparently he said nothing about sick pay or health insurance, neither which they offer to hourly employees. Obviously they’re problematic in other ways too.

      7. LJay*

        Six Flags

        They’ve been pushing “memberships” vs “season passes” heavily in the last few years. So you pay a low fee every month (around $10 generally, more or less depending on options you have) rather than $120 once.

        All of their parks are closed due to quarantines, obviously.

        The response has been, basically, that people pay the full year even though most parks are not open year round anyway. So even though the parks being closed for at least an extra month is losing out on expected value, they’re not going to do anything.

        If you brought the pass during the last 12 months you’re still stuck paying monthly for the pass and cannot cancel without paying the regular cancellation fee.

        You can pause your membership (for up to 90 days I think). But that just delays the payments, doesn’t stop them from accruing. So after the 90 days the membership costs from the previous 3 months are due immediately.

        They should not be charging fees for these months that the parks are not open. I could understand keeping the 12 month membership requirement, but for March/April and however long they are not open they should basically put the memberships on hold and tack the additional months onto the end.

        It also looks like – though I don’t have confirmation on it – that they are making it more difficult to cancel by requiring that you get a confirmation code from your local park, which is a step you didn’t have to do previously to cancel.

      8. Tau*

        My gym has also been extending fees, but they organised a free subscription to an online fitness video service and promised a choice of make-up options (free time at the end of your subscription, gym usage for a friend or family member, or something else) once this is over. Honestly, I’m not too fussed about still paying – they are still trying, and I don’t want them to go out of business for something that’s absolutely not their fault.

      9. That Girl from Quinn's House*

        This is a super-minor pet peeve of mine, but my apartment complex closed all of the shared amenities (the gym, the pool, etc.) and won’t be handling maintenance work orders until this is over (serious ones only, like leaks and floods.) Which I 100% agree with, as I stopped using them a week before property management closed them. But of course, do we see a reduction in rent? No.

        They also said they will not be disinfecting the mailroom (that hundreds of apartments plus every delivery person for hundreds of apartments) use and I’m irritated.

    15. Anono-me*

      I have found that focusing on other people helps me keep my stress levels lower.

      I intend to spend Sunday morning making homemade face masks. I hope others will too. I am also going to do a major clean out. The shelves at our church free store are bare. Food, warm clothes, books, tarps, personal and home cleaning products, card games, kids toys, and pet food are all needed.

      There is still a big need for ‘better than nothing face masks’, even though many of the medical professionals at hospitals, clinics etc need real PPE and don’t want the homemade face masks.

      Many veterinary professionals gave up their N95 masks and other high quality PPE equipment to the hospital employees. Veterinary services are reduced, but not stopped. The clinic staff still has to interact, sometimes closely, and there can be airborne crop that while not life threatening to humans is still gross.

      Many people without housing are overcrowding the available shelters that already were without enough resources. (Couch surfing has disappeared. Teens and young adults, especially ones who are LGBTQ__ are having difficulty staying inside homes 24/7 where there is hostility and additional stress.)

      Many people without housing are avoiding the overcrowded shelters, due to C19 and other safety concerns. Warm clothes, tarps and duct tape are especially welcome.

      Many people working at the grocery store and delivery/take out don’t have the time and and/or resources (sewing machine and fabric stashes) to make their own masks.

      1. WellRed*

        Maybe it’s a positive sign that when I read homemade masks, I was thinking you meant beauty products.

      2. Nervous Nellie*

        Hi Anono-me!

        I am sewing masks this weekend too! While our local emergency rooms are not yet accepting the good-enough-homemade versions, several local retirement/assisted living facilities are eager for them. And yes, as you say – veterinarians need them too. I love your other comments – maybe I can bring a few to give to the supermarket staff!

        I am going to use the pattern from A Crafty Fox blog site by Amanda the quilter. She goes into a great summary of the germ-blocking value of some layered fabrics, but really at this point, we must all use what we have. I am out of work, so I will raid my stash for heavy quilt back fabric for the outside and will layer the inside with J-Cloths which I bought in Canada. They are a heavy non-woven reusable, washable hand cloth that Canadians use instead of paper towels. They last forever. Her great tip is also to use pipe cleaners for the metal nose pinch piece.

        Sewing always cheers me up. I hope it reduces your stress, Anono-me. Will think good cheery sewing thoughts for you!

        1. Tough times*

          Maybe check with the organization where you plan to donate the masks to see if they have a preferred pattern? There’s a lot of debate over which patterns are most preferred, and each organization may have a different one. Homemade PPE, even when used only as a last resort like the CDC recommends, is not risk-free, since masks can be a source of transmission themselves. If an organization has decided to assume that risk, they have probably done some research about what approach is the least risky and may have a pattern they want you to use.

          The blog you mentioned cites a single study that’s over 100 years old and that uses a bacterium (larger than a coronavirus) as the microorganism being tested. More recent research (Davies et al 2013, DOI: 10.1017/dmp.2013.43; MacIntyre et al 2015, DOI 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006577) doesn’t show anywhere near the levels of protection this blogger cites. It might be a great pattern! But I don’t think there’s as much evidence to support that idea as the blogger is suggesting.

          1. Nervous Nellie*

            Very good points -thanks! And yeah, I don’t think any of us are truly convinced that homemades are complete germ-blockers, and my sense is that the author chose the article she did as an optimistic gesture at best. And yes – the mask can be a transmitter itself. The CDC site reminds us to be careful not to touch the outside of a used mask when removing it to dispose of it or to clean it.

            We will all do the best we can, I am sure, and hope for the best as well.

      3. Nita*

        How does the thing with masks work? I mean, how do you get them to people who need them? I assume people don’t randomly show up at hospital front desks with boxes of masks. Is someone organizing this? I’m in NYC and want to pitch in.

        1. Nervous Nellie*

          Hiya Nita!
          You could call The New York Sewing Center (great website) to ask them how to participate. I bet they will have some good ideas.

          Last week I donated some lightweight masks that I found in my earthquake kit. I looked online to see who needed them (a nearby retirement home), boxed them up, and then followed the instructions to prepay and print a shipping label at FedEx dot com. I arranged a one-time pickup and left the box outside my door. The driver even did a little dance for me that I could see through my peephole.

          So that’s an option. Hope that helps!

          1. Nervous Nellie*

            Nita, I just looked – if you scroll through the Sewing Center’s mask pattern, you will see a list of NY hospitals, etc and contact names at each one.

            1. Nervous Nellie*

              Oh, it was such a hoot! I shouted a thank you through my door and he looked up, grinned and started boogeying. When all this is over, he’s getting a fist bump!

        2. Anono-me*

          I am going to share directly with people that I know are needful. (I am not fast at sewing. )

      4. Llellayena*

        I just picked up interfacing and am switching from making the Deaconess style masks to the shaped ones that are now being requested around here. Trying to figure out ways to conserve elastic since everywhere that’s still open seems to be out of the sizes that work.

        1. Llellayena*

          If anyone who is making or using masks can weigh in on this: how do you think a short loop of elastic (maybe 3/4 in) connecting to a cloth behind the ear loop will work as compared to the full length being elastic?

      5. Parenthetically*

        Nursing homes, police/fire personnel, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, social workers, homeless shelters, etc. are all accepting homemade PPE around here! The more homemade PPE folks like that can get, the more pro stuff is freed up to give to hospitals.

      6. My Brain Is Exploding*

        In some areas homemade face masks (specific size and construction) are worn over the N95 masks, to allow the N95s to be worn multiple times.

        1. Nervous Nellie*

          And super brave mail carriers. Mine gave me the Vulcan greeting and a smile today from a safe distance. Love that guy!

        2. Amity*

          Don’t forget the home improvement store associates, hardware store associates, and construction workers!

      1. Anono-me*

        Thank you to everyone Nep mentioned above.

        Thank you to everyone at the electronic stores

        Thank you to everyone in the medical medical supply/PPE pipeline (stores and manufacturers etc.).

        Thank you to everyone working in sanitation.

    16. Ms Mash*

      I don’t understand how people trust eating takeout, fastfood or home delivery. Too many unknowns with regards to food handling and safety; asymptomatic infected workers can spread the virus onto food and packaging.

      I would love to go out and support my local eateries, but I’m very risk adverse because I’ve worked in biodefense companies for many years (several that have been in the news) and know the sneaky ways viruses can trasmit.

      1. Agnodike*

        Do your favourite places sell gift certificates? You could pre-buy a few meals now, to be enjoyed when/if the world returns to normal, and support your community restaurants that way!

      2. nep*

        In ‘normal’ times, I stopped eating in or from restaurants aaaaages ago. Can’t stand the thought of it. (Granted there’s no 100 percent food safety anywhere, but restaurants are completely out for me, new coronavirus or not.)

      3. KoiFeeder*

        Oh, I absolutely don’t trust it, but what can I do? Some days I’m simply not functional enough to cook, and all of the “just eat it out of the can” foods got panic-bought up.

        I mean, I could just eat shredded cheese out of the bag with a spoon, but that’s… kind of depressing.

        1. Anono-me*

          Take a soft tortilla, put shredded cheese on half of it, (add deli meat, imitation crab*, pepers, mushrooms and/or onion if so inclined). Fold tortilla over. Microwave for 20-90 seconds depending on the microwave and amount of fillings added.
          Congratulations, you have now “cooked”.

          *Please be aware that imitation crab has a strong scent when microwaved.

            1. nonegiven*

              Someone on Facebook posted a picture of handmade tortillas so if you have flour, google for a recipe.

      4. fposte*

        Never say never, but so far cooked food isn’t considered to be a method of transmission. It’s a pretty heat-sensitive virus when it comes to food-cooking levels. Remove packaging, decant contents into home container without touching, wash hands. It’s not much different than grocery goods in that respect, and it’s probably been better handled than those.

        I think uncertain food is a common area of anxiety for humans (and other mammals, for that matter) so I absolutely understand making the choice not to order restaurant food right now. But I think that’s more a personal take than an epidemiological necessity.

        1. Nicole76*

          But what about stuff like burgers? I had a craving, and there was a deal at a nearby restaurant, but then I thought about the buns that aren’t cooked, and got too worried.

        2. Ms Mash*

          I only would do this with pizza since it is not touched after cooking.
          Otherwise, roll the dice that the food handler is not sick or actively coughing on your to go order.

        3. ThatGirl*

          The virus is inhaled, if there happened to be particles on food you ate your digestive system would just destroy it. Everyone is allowed their own risk tolerance of course, but I agree that it’s not unlike grocery store items. Just toss the containers and wash your hands.

      5. Natalie*

        This isn’t a food borne illness, and despite what someone wearing scrubs might say on YouTube, there’s no particular reason to be afraid of packaging and surfaces. This disease is spread by close personal contact.

      6. All Hail Queen Sally*

        Just yesterday, I saw a commercial on TV from a pizza place (can’t remember if it was local or a national chain) that announced “once your pizza comes out of the 400 degree oven, it is not touched by human hands” as it showed a pizza on a wooden paddle being placed in a box and the box closed and sealed with a sticker. So perhaps I could eat a pizza. Otherwise, nope.

      7. Amy*

        I was feeling like this too, but after reading articles from major news outlets and the CDC on the appropriate precautions I’ve softened my stance a bit – with safeguards. We are getting all groceries and food dropped off outside our door. For groceries we are sanitizing all of the packaging before putting it away, and throwing out the bags. For take-out we dump the food out of its container directly onto a plate, then put it in the oven at 250 for 20 minutes, which should be enough to kill the virus based on what we’ve read (actually, we read that 150 for 15 minutes is sufficient). We’re not doing any salads or other food that can’t be heated in this way. Some local restaurants are offering frozen meals, which is even better. And, of course, the containers are trashed and hands washed immediately. And sanitizing any doorknobs we touched when bringing in the food.

        We’re not ordering out a ton because every instance is a “risk event” but with these precautions I’m feeling ok about it. And it’s awesome to be able to support our local eateries, all of which are now take-out or delivery only.

    17. Misty*

      I miss people in person. All the phone calls and skype calls aren’t making a dent in the loneliness for me anymore. Yesterday I skyped my friend for two hours, exchanged emails with a handful of people, talked to my aunt on the phone for an hour, talked to my therapist on the phone for an hour, and talked to my best friend on the phone for a half hour. And I just really miss seeing people in person. (Obviously I will not go see anyone in person until this is over and I know it’s a little thing to complain about considering how much is going on but I’m just extremely lonely.)

      1. Junior Dev*

        Me too, Misty. It’s not a small thing. It’s less urgent and life-threatening than most of the other impacts of this pandemic, but compared to how things were normally a month ago, the loneliness is huge. I can’t stop thinking about how I want to hug my friends who are currently staying entirely at home because members of their household are immune compromised. I know what they are going through now is worse and they have very good reasons why they need to do that. But it still hurts to miss them like this.

    18. Loopy*

      Our state’s unemployment system is buggy and so many people aren’t able to file. My spouse has been trying day and night, the phone lines kick you off, the system can’t verify SS#s and wont let you complete the application, and every time I hear of the extra 600 dollars and time extensions I get frustrated because we can’t get to the aid at all. He’s been trying the system AND phone for DAYS and his coworkers report the same thing.

      I just need to vent. I saw the post from the unemployment worker this week and I’m not mad at them at all, I’m just having a hard time watching this go on and on and it’s really making quarantine harder. A lot harder. Every day I pray just to get the application through (he’s setting alarms to try at off times, and is willing to get up at 1 AM and 3 AM to try).

      Admittedly it’s also a little hard to watch people enjoying hobbies and seeming really happy when I just can’t bring myself to do the (indoor) things I love. I absolutely don’t begrudge anyone who is able to make this healthy and happy time and use hobbies and coping mechanisms. It’s just so hard when I can’t seem to get in that mindset.

      1. Junior Dev*

        If the application won’t work at all this might be worth calling your senators’ or representative’s office over. If the computer system is broken or won’t accept some aspect of your application for validation reasons (even if those reasons are bad) then that’s how the software works and no amount of resubmission will fix it. Senators’ offices usually have people whose job it is to help constituents fix random bureaucratic stuff, and it might be the case that he won’t be able to file until an actual human steps in to help.

        1. Loopy*

          That’s a good suggestion but there is already am entire page up on the website acknowledging the issues and stating they are working to fix it, so they are being very open and aware about the problem. I’m just frustrated because it’s been five whole days.

    19. Cartographical*

      How are y’all couples (& thruples & more) doing with WFH/locked down & being with your spouse 24/7? Any survival tips? We’re doing the math on renovating the garage to make a second office & I’m considering literally camping in the back yard on nice days. (All while being intensely grateful that we’re well so far as we’re older men.)

      I’ve been WFH for a while now and I’m used to my own time. My spouse’s employer is keeping all non-critical employees out of the office for three or more months — with some projections being that his department could largely WFH until retirement — so we have a ways to go. It’s harder for both of us to WFH than I thought it would be — like a sleepover that doesn’t end; eventually you just want to get back to normal.

      We like each other a lot and we’ve made it 30 years so far but this is going to be a test.

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        We’re coping so far, but I really hope my spouse goes ahead and takes that long walk this afternoon, because I’m missing having some time really alone. (Not just sitting here in the study while he reads on the couch.)

        At the same time, I am missing my girlfriend, who doesn’t live with us. She’s getting over (probably) flu, or maybe a mild COVID-19, so of course I’m not seeing her now. But when she’s well again, I probably still won’t get to see her, because neither of us has a car, and taking two buses to see someone has gone from “yeah, it’ll take a while” to “the governor and MBTA are saying please don’t.” We’ve thought for ages that the ideal situation would be to live a short walk from each other, maybe even apartments in the same building, and this has really underscored that.

        1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

          P.S. If she was down the street, we could treat this as if we were a household of three adults, and take the same precautions about grocery shopping, touching things, etc. that we’re doing now as two separate households. The problem is the bus trip (it’s a bit over 3 miles on foot, each way).

        2. Cartographical*

          Ugh, I feel this so hard. This is one of the bumpy things about multi-partner relationships and about this slow-roll response to the virus. I found it was really hard to prepare for things like this, being apart. Not quite the same, but we didn’t have time to move the kids back up with us. They were planning to move back to our town from the Big City after their vacation, now cancelled, but we didn’t have enough time between “this is bad” and “everything is closed down” to get them a place to live (and we’re not set up to take them, if they could stand living with us in the first place).

          I hope your GF recovers quickly so you can move on to making some longer-term plans, since this is going to be a Thing for some time by the look of it.

      2. Loopy*

        This has been weird for us! My husband works a lot by choice and has a wonky schedule (it varies AND it’s almost never 9-5, whereas I’m M-F 8-4). It’s always been that way and our normal is having a lot of time apart. It hasn’t been bad being together this much but I am surprised that it’s not like I’m dancing around in glee over all the time together either! What we had really truly worked for us- and it’s been an interesting confirmation. Though I am glad we’re doing well in the opposite situation too.

        We also shockingly have no felt inclined to do a single project around the house, feel a bit guilty about that.

        1. Cartographical*

          If I didn’t have projects already underway, I wouldn’t be that inspired, but this caught us in the middle of redoing All The Things. *sob* I’ve got to go start planting because one of the things that isn’t going to happen is having a professional come put in our vegetable garden (for financial reasons). Anything in the house is going to have to be DIY but at least we’ll get the deck done. I think it’s 100% reasonable not to be jumping into projects right now when we don’t have any idea what’s going to happen.

          My spouse was WFH one day a week, previously, and let me tell you — one day was working for me for the most part. But, on the upside, a lot of things I couldn’t do while alone in the house, given my health issues, I can do now. So everyone else in my social circle is talking about having nothing to do while the other day I covered 42 floors of stairs while working on the house for about eight hours. Phew. It’s kind of nice to know someone is around to call 911 if my body decides to try to knock me off in a fit of pique. :D

          1. Loopy*

            Thanks, that does make me feel a little better about the fact we are mostly consuming massive amounts of Netflix :O I mean, We haven’t even cooked a really nice (nice effort-wise, not expensive) meal or anything >.<

      3. My coworker made me sign a cast on her crotch*

        I think it’s been good for us so far. My husband and I have separate rooms to hang out in throughout the day and aside from occasional 5 minutes of seeing each other, we aren’t in each other’s face and getting snippy.

        He was WFH for 8-9 years now, and I was just made to WFH last week, so he wasn’t used to seeing me around the house during the day so it was a slight adjustment for both of us.

        His lifestyle hasn’t changed as much, except he’s the one doing the groceries now, whereas I was always doing them before. I am the more outgoing type and thankfully he understands that the physical isolation is taking a physical and mental toll on me.

        1. Cartographical*

          My spouse is pure extrovert AND has no inner voice — literally, he can’t hear himself in his own head so he has to say things out loud to work through them. Knowing it’s necessary does make it easier but I am an introvert with super-sharp hearing and the struggle is real when he’s composing emails. Keeping myself busy is making it easier and I might actually get most of my projects done this year.

          I hope you find a way of socializing in the meantime. While I need 8+ hours alone daily, outside of sleeping, I know it’s really hard on my spouse. He’s experimenting with online board games and video streaming to try to get his face-time fix from other people. My face is going to be in the garage or the basement, though. :D

      4. Panthera uncia*

        It was already hard living with someone with severe ADHD, but this has really tested our limits. He needs constant noise and mayhem, I need peace and quiet. He needs to get out of the house and roam and be a social butterfly, but he can’t have the social interaction he desperately needs and it’s all falling on me, the Queen of Hermits.

        Weirdest bad timing ever: normally I can drown out his constant babbling with ear plugs (not that I’m ignoring a conversation, just that he constantly flaps his gums at every moment, keeping up a stream-of-consciousness monologue whether someone’s around or not) so I can read or sleep. And now I can’t, because I just got my tragus pierced a few weeks ago, and I can’t insert an earplug on that side. I thought about taking it out, but I don’t have the right tools, and I’m afraid to make it angry and cause an infection when medical care is so stretched to its limits now.

        1. Cartographical*

          I don’t know if it’s at all helpful but noise-cancelling headphones (for him) can sometimes create a “stimulus zone” if he hooks in to live streaming of video games — as an observer or participant — because it’s loud, lots of voices going, tons happening on the screen, and so on. There’s all kinds of RPGs and board games happening online as well. With headphones/mic/camera he can be up and hopping around and playing and socializing all at once.

          Failing that, you could wear them. I nearly cried in the store when I put on first pair of Bose active noise-cancelling headphones, the relief from the sound was so great.

          As for the tragus — I have actually been there! If you take a sharp blade and a foam earplug, you can split it halfway through lengthwise, sterilize it with some alcohol if the piercing hasn’t healed enough to rotate the jewelry, squeeze it out, and then you can usually open it up enough to get it past the CBR (I’m assuming that’s what they used and it IS a ****er to get out of there). The foam should reshape around the CBR and give you some relief. I used to use foam plugs under headphones for some peace and quiet.

          If it’s been a couple weeks, you should be on the home stretch when it comes to healing enough to change out. When you think it’s healed enough to change to a stud (I used the one from my first lip piercing bc it was long enough to give a little extra room), a pair of needlenose jewellery pliers are all you need to open the ring by sliding the tips inside and opening the pliers just a little. Your partner will come in handy for that part but I did it on my own over a sink with the plug in so that the ball popped out and rolled into the basin. If you don’t have fine pliers, it’s trickier but there’s a few suggestions online for getting the bead out.

          You have 100% of my sympathy, my husband and our kid are both “internal voice on the outside” people and I have misophonia as well as synaesthesia that translates sounds into physical sensations like being zapped or punched. Godspeed.

          1. Panthera uncia*

            Thank you for the tips!

            Can I pick your brain a bit more about the tragus? Mine isn’t a CBR, it’s a curved barbell. I’m not actually sure if it’s internally threaded or press-fit. I think it’s also too long, now that the swelling is down; it’s constantly moving back and forth. Despite following aftercare tips, I can’t seem to get rid of my irritation bump. I’m hoping if I can order a flat-back labret and get it shipped to me, changing to that would help. Thoughts?

            1. Cartographical*

              Yes, the flat-backed labret SHOULD help. Apologies in advance if some of this advice is familiar, it’s just all part of the package. :D

              The irritation bump can be caused by the curved bar and the uneven pressure it creates (btw, I have needed to use pliers to loosen the end of a barbell before but only once). Positioned correctly, a flat-backed labret piece will actually work well with earplugs, as the foam will hold the jewelry still. Get a piece that is the same gauge as your present barbell and, if you think you could get a larger one in there, you could consider getting one size up as well to try but, if in doubt, stick with your current gauge. My experience (and my kid’s) has been that narrower jewelry puts more pressure in one place while the largest comfortable gauge will distribute pressure more evenly across the tissue. The less pressure and irritation you have, the less of a bump you’ll have and it should get absorbed back into your body within a month. .

              If you can, I would also get some Polysporin ointment or an equivalent — the kind that has antibiotic and pain relief in one. I use Polysporin Triple Heal-Fast. You can use it if the new skin has grown in and it sounds like it has (I have used it before this stage, when I’ve had some inflammation and discharge — usually you don’t want to trap anything under a layer of moisturizer and you don’t want to soften the scab too early but infection is worse). It’s good for when you’re putting in a new piece of jewelry, as a lubricant, and you can apply it during the day before turning the jewelry, which is good to do a couple times a day. This should reduce irritation, accelerate healing, and relieve discomfort.

              Warm salt water compresses (not much salt is needed, it should be about the same salinity as tears and barely warmer than your skin, as salt and heat can both impede new tissue growth) improve blood flow to the area, which speeds healing, kills bacteria, and softens any dried material on the jewelry. Apply it with cotton balls, some tissue or paper towel, or even the corner of a clean cloth. Never dip a used applicator back in the water, toss it and get a fresh one or use a different corner of the cloth.

              That crust that can cling to jewelry can put minute (or even larger) tears in the new skin so you want to keep it to a minimum and never move the jewelry if it has that crust or gets stuck in any way — you will want to use, at the least, some warm water to loosen it first.

              Hopefully all that will reduce pressure and any lingering infection and prevent reinfection. The tragus is definitely a pain because it’s mostly cartilage there that doesn’t have the same blood supply as soft tissue so it is harder for it to heal itself and it’s more prone to irritation as the cartilage doesn’t yield to pressure. I had a bump for a while with my tragus but once it cleared up, it never returned. I hope you get the same results!

      5. Amy*

        My husband and I are actually doing really well. We’re normally incredibly busy with long commutes so we don’t get to see each other much. It’s nice to have more time together since we’re both working from home and work is slower than usual. We’re also caring for his mom, who is sheltering in place with us, and our three-year-old, who is out of daycare for the forseeable future, so it’s all hands on deck. Needing to mobilize to get shit done is something we do pretty well when we need to. And luckily our house has enough separate areas that we’re not in each other’s space all the time.

        However, it is making it glaringly obvious how much more of the housework I do, which is making me a bit resentful. It makes me ragey every time I see a plate thrown into the sink instead of two additional seconds being taken to rinse it and put it in the dishwasher. So that’s not great.

        1. Cartographical*

          Oooh, that’s hard. I hope your husband can see it as well & make some changes. It sounds like habit as much as anything else. I do not think I would survive any of our parents living with us, though. I kind of wish our kid was three instead of twenty-six so she’d be at home. Three is right in my favourite age range for kids, too. I love that stage. I hope you get to enjoy it while things are on fire in the rest of the world.

        1. Cartographical*

          This is a total mood right here. I laughed out loud when I read this because I feel you. On the up side, fishing means free protein if he catches anything? :D

      6. Generic Name*

        I almost feel bad to admit this, but fiancé and I are doing great. I’m sure it really helps that he’s still going to work at his essential job, or maybe it’s because we’ve only lived together for about a year now, but we’re still enjoying our time together. It also helps that we have several house projects going on right now, so he’s not bored on the days he’s not working. Even in non-corona times, we usually are in the same room of the house by choice.

        1. Cartographical*

          I am definitely adding quarantine to my list of “situations you need to be able to weather to make for a long marriage”, right next to road trips. It’s been thirty years and yet we still have to stick to the rule that only one of us can pack the car, the other one has to carry things and keep his mouth shut. :D

          I expect some of the ease may be him going to his job on schedule but the rest is really, in my experience, on whether your stress-modes conflict or not. We are not often in the same room after all these years but 90% of that is because we have two XBoxes and we’re both avid gamers. Having projects to keep us busy is super important — I deal with stress by Doing Things and he’s prone to zoning out with a game but has adapted to put the controller down to help out as long as I give him explicit instructions. He doesn’t have to think and things get done, so it works out.

          I hope your partner stays well while working — I’m grateful to everyone who is going to their essential jobs to keep things going.

    20. Alex*

      So, for coronavirus reasons, my gym is closed. This is a specialty gym with a fairly high monthly membership price ($150). They don’t offer anything but a monthly membership–no single classes, etc. If you go to that gym, you have to be a member and pay monthly. If you want to cancel your membership, you have to give 30 days notice. So cancelling for April needed to happen March 1.

      They charge on the first of the month. About ten days into March, they closed. They did not offer any refunds. Ok, I get it–I believe in people getting paid during this time. I will also be charged April 1, even though it is looking unlikely that they will be able to be open any days in April. Fine, OK. If they didn’t charge, they would have no income and their business would probably fail.

      What is really irritating me though is that they keep emailing me, thanking me for paying for nothing, but also begging for more money. They claim that they are in dire straights now with no business and that I should buy T shirts and hats and sign up for their (extra fee) online classes. They bemoan not being able to do the improvements that they planned because their business is hurting so much, but that we’ll make it through together because we’re faaaaammmily. They made it clear they plan to charge everyone for April.

      I’m failing to see why their business is in such dire straights when they are collecting the full membership fees. Sure, they aren’t acquiring new members, but this is the kind of place where everyone knows each other, not a place where new people are joining every day. Their online classes were not set up for coronavirus purposes–this was something that they already had going, so they didn’t have to spend money outside of their own business plan to set that up. This just really rubs me the wrong way–not only taking my money with no intention of providing services, but asking me for more? Am I being a jerk or is this unreasonable? Their thank-you emails are making me want to cancel my membership!

      1. Misty*

        They should be giving members the online classes for free if you can’t use the gym yet you are still paying and they offer online classes. Just my opinion though.

        1. Alex*

          Yeah, if I were interested in the online classes (they are not the kind of stuff I like to do) I would be annoyed at having to pay more. But the classes aren’t in the kind of stuff that I use the gym for.

          I guess I’m just more annoyed that they feel it is appropriate to both take my money for no services AND complain to me about their business woes and expect me to help more. $150 of free money wasn’t enough for them (and it will probably end up more like $300 because I don’t think we’re going to be in a place to open any time soon).

      2. Nessun*

        My gym offered those of us who could the option to keep paying and be credited 150% when they reopen, so we benefit later and they have less cash flow issues. But they did also have an option to suspend payment for those not working. Best of all’ they’ve offered an option to not take the “extra” credit, but to donate it to be used for their staff who are in financial difficulties. I love my trainer and this is her only income, so I’m glad it’s an option but also that it IS an option not a requirement. This is how they keep my business.

    21. anxiety proxy*

      My mother tends to skew towards anxiety but she also tends to displace it on me so now she’s texting and calling saying things like “the news where you live is terrible, are you ok?” I am in an area that is seeing a terrible spike in cases and deaths, but I am doing what I can, isolating (day 15 for me), washing my hands, etc. But like most people I know, I too have anxiety about the situation, and her anxiety is feeding into my anxiety, and that is not good. Or I have to be super calm and then feel resentful that she can’t focus on me for a minute, that I can’t tell her how I really feel, it’s all about making her feel better. They have cases where she is (and I’m sure that number will grow because they are being lax), so she expresses that she’s perfectly fine but I am in terrible danger, which is not my read at all. Any suggestions on keeping things separate?

      1. Koala dreams*

        Tell here that all the talk about the virus makes you anxious, and ask her to talk about other things, like hobbies or TV series. Or try to steer conversation towards other topics, and cut them short if she insists on only talking about the crisis.

        You can keep in touch by sending photos or pictures, or sending postcards. Sometimes a picture means more than a conversation, especially if said conversation is getting stuck in a loop.

      2. Anono-me*

        Can you ask her for help in staying positive and not thinking about covid 19 all the time? She wants to take care of her child(aka you a grown adult ). So it might be easier to redirect that effort than to block it.

        It might help her stay off of Covid 19 worries, if you can give her topics to talk about. Can you read books together then do a phone book club of two? Someone had something about watching streaming TV together but apart. (I think it was E. West.) Can she tell you stories about her childhood/parents/grandparents?

    22. Empath*

      My mental health is taking a big hit lately and I’m not sure what to do. I WFH, live alone, no parents or family in the province, no spouse/kids/pets. Just me. I’m an introvert and I don’t mind spending most of every day alone, but something is really wearing me down. I hear from coworkers and family on Skype every few days, and I’m limiting all news/social media content. Yesterday was really bad, I got furious with a (rather callous) acquaintance amd had to shut off my IM systems so I didn’t scream. The day before I had a crying jag over what’s going to happen to the astronauts at the ISS (and I don’t even know where that came from). I can’t think about the environment and how it’s healing, because I worry we’ll go right back. My prayers every night are a litany of people who should be blessed and people who are suffering until I lose the plot… I don’t know how much more of this I can take. All the things I’d do to help myself seem to be missing- except food, which is problematic.

      I guess I’m not looking for anything. This rollercoaster isn’t going to go away, and all the well wishes in the world seem.flat right now. Hopefully this too shall pass.

      1. Misty*

        I’m sorry you’re feeling bad. I am having a similar experience regarding the current situation. I am hoping it will also pass soon. Everyday is very long to me which is making everything feel bad.

      2. UtOh!*

        Have you been able to get out of your home for a bit, to get some sun or even just some fresh air? Where I am the weather has started to turn and we can finally see some flowers. I too am very much an introvert, but need the fresh air and nature to keep me balanced. Getting out of your head for a while is also very soothing, so try to take a walk every day.

        1. Empath*

          I’m hoping to get outside, but Mother Nature is being giant B!tch right now (on many levels). Hopefully the weather clears and I can get out. This past week it’s been so cold that it’s impossible to take for more than 15-20 minutes of aimless walking, as there’s nowhere open to duck into for warming up.

    23. fposte*

      It’s weird for me to see how differently friends are reacting. These are people who I see eye to eye with on most things, but one just got a ban on a local FB group for being unable to let go of her hyperalarmism, and others are dipping into the nonessential business and traveling. I’m not sure how that’s going to play out long-term if it keeps going.

      1. My coworker made me sign a cast on her crotch*

        I guess I’m ignorant about it but I didn’t know people are still able to travel for leisure and have non-essential businesses still open. I’m in NY and here schools are closed, businesses are ordered to have ppl WFH and only food places are open for delivery/takeout (as well as medical and food). I think NJ also has a curfew in place but I’m not sure, so I was under the impression most states have followed.

        Times like this you see how people can act…. my friends are all compliant with lockdown, but some of them are too “oh think positive! I’m loving this!” but I know it’s their way of coping so I dont’ snipe at them.

        1. Lady Jay*

          So much of travel for leisure / have nonessential businesses open depends on where you are in the country. I’m in a state that is NOT taking this very seriously at all, and while many nonessential businesses are closed, parks are still open, there’s no curfew, and all our various state officials will do is jump on social media and gently encourage people to stay at home – no actual laws. Our local government is doing a little better, but it’s still insufficient.

        2. fposte*

          It varies from place to place. In my state people aren’t *supposed* to be doing it, hence my irritation, but you absolutely can do nonessential business at a place that’s open for essential business–the home improvement store doesn’t police whether you’re there to cover up a broken window or wander through balsawood for crafting.

          1. tangerineRose*

            Some places that seem nonessential are advertising a take-out business – order on the internet, go to best buy and pick something up outside the store. I’m not sure exactly how they make sure the right person gets the stuff they ordered without being kind of near each other though.

          2. Renata Ricotta*

            I have a friend who works at a grocery store and says he sees the same customers come in every single day for small bits of things rather than getting enough for a full week or two and then hunkering down. Likewise nobody is policing whether you’re getting essential food, or just there because romano would be better than parmesan in whatever you’re cooking tonight.

            Just because grocery stores are essential does not mean that every little trip one might take to the grocery store in normal times is an essential one. Which I keep reminding myself because I’ve got plenty of food but no wine. :( I’ll live.

      2. Ms Mash*

        I wouldn’t be in contact with my friends if I knew they are out rubbing elbows at the local hardwear store.
        They would need to be in isolation for three weeks before they could come by my house to say hello.

      3. ONFM*

        One of my neighbors had a full meltdown on social media, ranting about government conspiracies and communism. I reached out to her out of concern, and she seemed calmer and apologetic. Then two days later she started posting antisemitic versions of the earlier stuff. I don’t see how that relationship survives this. We’d like to think bad times can bring out the best in people…but I’m not sure that’s true.

    24. Lady Jay*

      Okay, so Station Eleven – I’ve actually been wanting to. re-read it, because while the illness itself is devastating (the plane which remains on the runway is such a haunting image and has stuck with me for years), the book is full of hope in a way that so few apocalyptic works are.

      The book insists that “survival is insufficient,” and its best parts are the characters forging relationships with each other, friendships that carry them through the hard times; and building art – Shakespeare plays and museums and more, which gesture to the possibility of recovery. Right now, stuck in our own pandemic, I’m finding it really hard to have home, to imagine a time beyond this and to imagine that time as anything but a wasteland – and Station Eleven does that imagining for us.

      (Yep. Clearly need to go back and re-read that. Maybe after I re-read Canticle for Leibowitz.)

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I have had Station Eleven for ages but haven’t read it yet. I did read Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers. While that one is really good, he writes with a more thriller/horror-ish bent (this the same person who wrote a book about killer engineered ants!), so it might not be to everyone’s taste.

        I’m really struggling to write marketing copy for mine right now. I don’t want to be insensitive when people’s loved ones are dying by flogging a book about life after death, but I still need to sell copies, aaaauugh.

    25. Lady Jay*

      Who else finds that their emotions are all over the place?

      At times, I feel very, very angry by the utter failure of our various governmental officials. Called my state governor up to urge a stay-at-home order (we don’t have one yet, we’re really not doing well as a state) and *ahem* found myself swearing as I left my message, I was so mad by his failure. And I’ve been shouting at people on Facebook. But other times, the sun is out, I’m home and safe, and I’m distracted by something good – virtual movie night with friends or a call from family. And I’m okay.

      I tend to believe that anger can be a powerful force for action, but I’ve been thinking lately about the importance of. figuring out a way to manage emotions, especially in interacting with people – because the trauma of the virus seems to have exacerbated everything.

      1. Misty*

        Yeah my emotions are pretty up and down too. Not so much with anger for me, more sadness. Like I cry everyday now about nothing. :/

      2. Empath*

        100% all over the place – just one big rollercoaster of angry, upset, sad, anxious and lonely, with a little joy and crazy thrown in there for fun. It’s whipping me around so much I just want to sleep and shut it all down. Probably best I can’t sleep in daylight, I’d just be going back to bed all day.

      3. Lcsa99*

        I thought I was doing fine but having mozzarella sticks cancelled off my order yesterday cause they were out had me in tears, so obviously its hitting me harder than I thought. I am usually fine being a homebody. At work I usually sit in an area that’s pretty cut off so other than delivery people I don’t interact much with my colleagues on an average day so having my husband to interact with while we work from home is nice but … this just all feels so big and I think I am feeling very small and insignificant. I am trying not to worry about our parents but they are all high risk. My mother is immunosuppressed, my father has a heart condition, his wife had a heart transplant a few years ago, my in-laws are in their 70s and she has severe asthma and he is susceptible to pneumonia … and all we can do is stay away from everyone. I am always the fixer in the family and I can’t do anything to fix this. I feel so useless.

        1. Sam I Am*

          I cried about a bookcase.
          I understood in the moment that it wasn’t about the bookcase, but I let myself cry it out. I talked to myself about it not being about the bookcase, and that it was OK to be upset. I spent a good deal of time in my youth working with kids, and I was able to feel myself soothing my inner toddler.
          I think it helped.

      4. LGC*

        Hi, me from a week or so ago!

        I totally get you being up and down, because I was at equal turns terrified and despondent and angry (my boss needed me to come in for “coverage” – basically, I could do my job from home, except they needed someone to babysit our employees). I was also the shouty type (and I was obnoxious about it) – to some degree, I still am.

        You’re right in that anger is a powerful force for action…but it’s not an all-purpose tool. It’s a hammer, not a Swiss Army Knife. Sometimes, anger can be really useful – you can use my state as an example of what happens when stay-at-home orders don’t come in place fast enough. Writing your governor was really great, and I hope you can avoid the fate that New York and New Jersey are suffering right now. (For multiple reasons – not least of which is the way that the NYC metropolitan area is often discussed – I don’t hold out too much hope. But what’s happening here can – and is – happening all over the country. We’re not that exceptional.)

        There’s also the amount of control people have – we’re all in this together, whether we like it or not. Americans are generally selfish and have difficulty thinking about others – and I include myself in this. But also, I think a lot of us are terrified, confronting our mortality or our family’s mortality (or if you’re me, both!), and trying to figure out what the heck to do. So…extend yourself a bit of grace, but also try to extend others that bit of grace. (It’s hard, I know. I flagged a friend’s repost about how ibuprofen makes COVID-19 worse today because I couldn’t deal with it.)

      5. Marion Ravenwood*

        Completely. Like I literally went from feeling really good and ‘I can get through this, it’s fine’ to crying and wondering how I’m going to survive the next two months in the space of this afternoon (even though I know it’s not really about the thing that made me cry). I know from previous experience that I have a tendency to go *very* extreme in times of crisis and that I really struggle without social interaction, so I’m trying to combat it that way, but it just feels like such a rollercoaster right now. Still, nothing to do but ride it out, I guess.

    26. Opie-san*

      I have a couple questions related to the coronavirus:
      Can someone be ineligible to work from home because they have a baby? Our jobs typically would not be work from home but our boss is letting some people work from home-she is excluding one woman who has a baby.

      Also, if you are a salaried employee whose pay is being cut due to coronavirus, but you are still expected to work, can you file for any u employment?

      1. Jaid*

        The lady with a baby should be the first to work from home. Obviously she has child care if she’s working at the office, why would that change if she worked from home?

        1. Ranon*

          Childcare places have closed in a lot of areas, it’s quite likely she doesn’t have childcare. Most employers are acknowledging that by allowing their employees to work from home and just basically dealing with the fact that people with children in their house will do the best they can.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Before this pandemic. Most companies that allowed work-from-home did create policies requiring anyone with children under 13 to have child care in place so that someone was not caring for the child at the same time as working. With schools closing and daycares closing many businesses are relaxing that or enacting flicks time to make up for it. Some are not handling it that well.
        Go back to an earlier day in this week, Alison had a column about partial unemployment, with links to individual State web pages.

    27. Epsilon Delta*

      How are you all handling take-out food orders, especially if your state is sheltering in place? I’m having a hard time figuring out how to weigh the different aspects. For reference, I am 100% WFH with a healthy stock of groceries so there’s no need for me to be visiting restaurants. The calculus would obviously change if I was working outside the home and didn’t have time to cook.

      On the one hand, I want to support local businesses who remain open for takeout. However, most of my favorite local restaurants are fully closed now, or are a bit of a drive (30 minutes) which feels questionable during the shelter in place order. That leaves mainly big chains. Even though they’re big chains, they still employ humans who are (probably?) making more working than they would on unemployment.

      On the other hand, each time we go out and interact with people, even at a social distance with all the hygiene precautions, we’re risking acquiring the virus or spreading it to others.

      I’ve been leaning towards cooking everything at home, but I am really dying for a coffee from my favorite (chain) coffee shop, or just a meal that didn’t come from our fridge. But every time I think about going out it seems like such a terrible idea because it’s just not necessary, and we’d probably be going to a chain restaurant because all the local ones are closed or suck. How are you all making this decision?

      1. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

        Honestly, I’ve stopped ordering out but donating to my favorite local business through gofundme and buying gift cards. My city also has a living document of bartenders/waiters you can venmo tips to – maybe yours has one as well. I don’t think it’s fair to put the burden on everyday people to keep local businesses alive while also keeping ourselves alive, though I know our government is incompetent at helping these people. I do what I can via donations but I’m also not risking my health.

      2. New Job So Much Better*

        We’re not taking the chance on ordering take-out, just not worth it. But I am sick of putting together something for dinner. And I really miss my local Italian place’s Surf and Turf salad. Sigh.

      3. Ranon*

        We are waiting a little longer for everyone to get better at this whole virus thing, and then we’re thinking we’ll stick with foods that we’d be comfortable eating in countries with different food safety standards than ours- i.e. only hot, cooked foods, no raw veggies, and probably re-heating to safe temperatures before eating. Our household is low risk and has easy access to small local restaurants offering takeout.

      4. fposte*

        I’m just getting delivery–a few of my local favorites have added it on. I might extend that to curbside at some point, but I really don’t want to go inside right now.

      5. LizB*

        Our order (MN) specifies that driving for pleasure is still allowed, so I don’t think the 30-min drive would be a problem here. If you go from your house to your car without touching anything or encountering anyone in between, it’s basically just a smaller place to isolate, right?

      6. Lemon Hurl*

        I believe there’s no way to guarantee that you would not get any pathogens or viruses from takeout, fastfood or delivery places. Due to the nature of this Corona virus, most people have no idea where they caught it from.
        Asymptomatic workers are handling the food and the packaging and spreading the virus while doing so. Everyone needs a pay check.

      7. Old and Don’t Care*

        Honestly I don’t worry about it. I don’t do a lot of takeout anyway, because I cook and like to make things the way I want them. However, I stopped into a Middle Eastern restaurant the other day because they do Baba Ghanoush better than I could. I tried to order online but when I got there they said the order hadn’t gone through. So I stood there five minutes at a safe distance while they put it together. It didn’t freak me out anymore than the grocery store would and I’d do it again tomorrow (but probably won’t.)

        My view is that we are entrusting our (state and local in this case) governments with an extraordinary amount of power over our lives. If we are supposed to trust them, and they are allowing or even encouraging us to get takeout food, I’m going to do it if I choose to.

        1. Miranda Priestly's Assistant*

          I wouldn’t so much say “trust” as “tolerate”. If you’re in the U.S., the government is screwing up pretty badly, and I’m not trusting their claims. Their encouraging people to takeout because business is more important to them than people’s health.

          Donate and buy gift cards, but don’t sacrifice health.

          1. Natalie*

            There are 50 different state governments involved, many of them diametrically opposed to our federal government, and none of them have raised any kind of alarm over takeout. Nor have any international public health authorities.

      8. BuildMeUp*

        I think it’s good to support local businesses, and if you’re ordering from a larger chain, you can still support the employees there by tipping well.

        Do any of them offer delivery? Restaurants in my area are doing “contactless delivery,” where they leave the food outside your door so you don’t have direct contact with the delivery person.

        As far as safety goes, recommendations I’ve seen are to order hot food, put it onto clean plates without making contact between the packaging/wrappers and the plate, and then microwave the food until it’s hot. And of course wipe down the outside of any drinks, or pour them into a clean cup if possible.

        1. Ms Mash*

          But identifying the contagion and its sources of food, container contacts are impossible.

          And if you get it, you most likely don’t know where you got it from.

          Roll the bones. Roll dem bones…

      9. Roja*

        We’re actively trying to keep our eating out habits unchanged–well, the method has changed, obviously. But if anything, we’re spending more than normal. We live in a walkable area with a lot of small, independent restaurants that we very much want to survive this crisis. So we’ve done delivery and takeout at least once a week, targeting the restaurants we most want to survive or that we think need the most help.

        I basically never leave the house except at great need, but my husband works retail (sells exotic pet food that can’t be found elsewhere, so it’s essential). And naturally, he works in the zip code that’s the hotspot of our city, which is the hotspot of our state. So honestly, on the scale of risks, takeout just doesn’t even enter the equation.

      10. Overeducated*

        We are doing once weekly takeout food. Frankly a large part of that calculus is we are trying to both work full time while caring for two little kids whose day care is closed, so our weekdays are long and we don’t have much time; another is that I have a gift certificate for a delivery service so it’s free to me for now and I am able to tip very well. If there were a known significant risk of transmission from takeout these things would not matter, but so far public health advice says it’s low risk if you wash your hands a lot and minimize handling packaging, and we trust that so far.

      11. Marion Ravenwood*

        I didn’t get takeaways much before this (at least not at home – when I’m at my boyfriend’s it’s different though), so for me not much has changed in that regard, but I do miss being able to get coffee. I feel so bad for all the local small businesses I walked past and said ‘I must go there some day’, because what if some day never comes now?

        In the meantime, are any of your favourite places doing vouchers or similar for when things go back to normal? That way you could still support them now and have something to look forward to later.

    28. Windchime*

      My first thought when all this virus stuff happened was “Station Eleven”! I love that book and have read it several times, but for anyone considering it….maybe wait a few months. I didn’t know she had a new book and I will probably give it a try; after reading Station Eleven, I read a bunch of her other books and they were all really good and didn’t have the same type of theme as Station Eleven.

    29. The Other Dawn*

      Now that I’m getting around better, we headed to Walmart this morning. We needed some cat food and a couple other things. I’d been to the grocery store earlier in the week and all the paper and cleaning products were totally wiped out, just like I expected. CVS had none, either. Anyway, even though I have toilet paper, I decided I’d grab a package since it’s clear things are not going to get better anytime soon and I don’t want to get to the point where I actually need it and can’t find any at all. Luckily they had some Charmin brand TP so I grabbed one 12-pack–they had nothing smaller. (I hate Charmin. Way too thick and clogs the pipes. Apparently many other people must feel that way, too, since it was the only brand left on the shelf. But beggars can’t be choosers, so I’ll take what I can get.) I was also able to get mini hand sanitizers (1 ounce each) online from Bath and Body Works late last week. I happened to log in early enough and got two five-packs for 16.00 total plus shipping, which I plan to split with my sister. Not cheap, but it’s something.

      Other things that are still out of stock: pasta, ramen/cup of noodles, cleaning products, tissues, and paper towels. Milk was pretty low, too.

      It really pisses me off that people are hoarding all this stuff and making it so others can’t get it. Had I not stocked up on certain things because of surgery, I’d be SOL right now because of the hoarders. (I’ve seen Facebook friends proudly post pictures of their hoards!) My sister said I need to get there when the store opens. I agree, but given that I can’t drive yet and my husband is back to work, it’s not possible to get there that early. I also don’t have anyone close by that could go for me.

      1. tangerineRose*

        Yeah, the hoarders are making me mad, too. When I went to get groceries about a week ago, the toilet paper shelves were completely empty, and there was no sanitizer.

        I keep trying to tel myself that maybe some of this is just a bunch of people who each want to pick up a couple of packages of TP, and all of that together is causing the problem.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I think it’s a mix of people buying a few packs so they don’t run out, which is fine, and hoarders who want All The Stuff.

          Also, Walmart has the social distancing marks on the floor at the registers. The woman in front of me was practically on top of the guy in front of her, who was bagging and paying. She was clearly annoyed he wasn’t moving fast enough and had her cart almost touching him as he was paying. WTF, lady?! Don’t you realize you’re supposed to be distancing yourself–and your very young kid that’s running around touching everything?!

        2. Epsilon Delta*

          Personally I’m choosing to believe that intentional hoarding is rare. It definitely has happened, but it wasn’t everybody and I’m seeing a lot of places crack down on it now. It’s more a result of everyone being told to have 2 weeks supply on hand, which naturally throws a wrench in the supply/demand equation. That by itself creates shortages, and it’s not totally irrational to buy something you don’t need yet but will soon if you know you’re facing a shortage, which exacerbates the problem. That’s what I’m choosing to believe.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            I would choose to believe it, too, but a Facebook friend (distant relative by marriage) posted a pic of his stockpile last week and was very proud of it. (Think 10 or 12 24/36-packs of TP and there’s two people in the house.) People called him out as greedy and he doubled down. This same person posted the picture again when I posted about the shelves being empty. Needless to say, my niece, sister, and a friend absolutely crucified him. He has not responded.

            1. The Other Dawn*

              He finally responded and said that, too, can have all he has if I just go to the store and get it, and that stores are very well-stocked. Sure, maybe in your area or at another time when there’s not a pandemic going on. But in my area and many others, shelves are completely bare, which is what I told him. I also told him the point is that it was insensitive to post a picture of his stockpile at a time when many people can’t get what they need, either because they’re out of work or the shelves are bare (or both), which includes food items. He literally said “don’t care” and started posting memes and videos showing toilet paper being weighed, packaged, and sold like drugs and joked that he’s “making a killing.” Anyway, he’s now unfriended.

              And I do know that many people are buying stuff because times are so uncertain. I don’t have a problem with that at all as long as they’re not filling their cart with 15 packages of toilet paper or whatever and leaving nothing for other people. (Thankfully our stores are finally putting limits on specific items, and asking people to limit other purchases in general.) It’s the people like this now-former Facebook friend I have a problem with.

              1. nonegiven*

                If he is really making a killing, turn him in to his state’s attorney general’s office.

                1. The Other Dawn*

                  No, he said that as a way to antagonize other people commenting on my post. He posted memes and videos that are circulating on Facebook. I don’t believe he’s actually selling it.

              2. Epsilon Delta*

                What a jerk. Some people lack an empathy muscle. I’m sorry you had to deal with that. :(

          2. KR*

            This. People are buying things they might not need yet because they don’t know if it will be available due to the shortages when they do need it.

            1. Bookmom*

              I went to Costco and bought 2 weeks worth of groceries yesterday… I have teenagers and my college kid home now so that’s just a lot of food. The clerk was obviously annoyed at the amount in my cart. But I feel like it’s more responsible to do one monster size shopping trip than run out regularly. I was feeling anxious going out as it was and it just deflated me to get the stink eye from the cashier. I keep telling myself everyone’s tired and cranky, that it’s okay.

              1. Sam I Am*

                Fewer trip means more stuff. And fewer trips out is the goal.
                Sorry about the stink-eye, I’d just assume it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the situation. Doesn’t really matter if it’s true or not, it just keeps me from carrying it around in my head.

              2. Kage*

                So true! My husband looks like one of the crazy milk hoarders each week when he does our shopping run. With 5 people stuck in the house, including a toddler still regularly getting bottles, we are easily crushing 6 gallons a week. I’m sure he gets a lot of looks every time he checks out.

          3. JKP*

            I also believe this is a failure of “just in time” delivery. The supply chain has been setup to deliver just exactly what is needed just before it runs out based on past buying patterns in order to avoid keeping any extra inventory in the stores or warehouses. So if demand suddenly spikes, you have immediate shortages because there isn’t any extra buffer along the supply chain.

      2. Panthera uncia*

        I bought a pack of crazy-fluffy TP also (only thing left) and I’m just not flushing it. It’s weird to me since it’s not the norm, but I know it IS the norm in a lot of places (I think EMEA is one). I’m trying to be matter-of-fact about it, and am emptying the bathroom trash daily.

    30. Reba*

      I’m one of those who regularly takes one of the drugs that was Tweeted About. I also read that hospitals are buying it up just in case it turns out to be indicated. I have no idea if that’s true but it would explain the lack of wholesale stock.

      At the beginning of this week I was able to get 25 tablets when I usually get like 86. I laughed when I saw on the sticker that I am eligible for 1.78 more refills on this script.

      Very peeved. Left a VM with my doctor to ask if I should think about rationing it. (Richest country in the world, etc.)

      1. Epsilon Delta*

        I had a similar experience trying to refill an inhaler. Normally I refill it every 3-4 months so it was not on my radar until everything went on lockdown and I realized there was about 2 weeks left on it. All the branches of my pharmacy (Walgreens) were out, but they found it at a competing pharmacy and sent me there. Very grateful for the extra effort.

    31. nep*

      How do you all feel about going to the grocery store? I wear gloves. I stay a couple of meters away from people to the extent possible. (Had a mask just from the hardware store, but it’s been in storage forever and the elastic is shot.) I don’t love it, but it’s necessary.
      I used to shop for Shipt, but that much exposure simply is not worth it to me.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        Immunosuppressed, so I’ve been trying to get delivery, but that’s been a bit of a crapshoot.

        1. nep*

          I’d like to be out there doing those shops for people (and making that money), but too risky. Live with a high-risk person, and I don’t have health insurance.
          All the best

          1. KoiFeeder*

            I can’t find anyone outside of the Official Services (peapod, etc.) that I can pay to do this. You’d think there’d be people ready to make extra cash, but I guess not.

            1. nep*

              When Shipt has the means (and there’s enough equipment) to give us protective materials, I’ll get back out there. In otherwords, not.
              I feel for you. I hope you’ll find a solution that gets you what you need. Peace.

            2. pancakes*

              Can’t hurt to run a search for your town or city name + “mutual aid.” There are a lot of groups that have sprung up.

      2. Parenthetically*

        We’ve been at this long enough in my state that things have settled down a little with crowds and hoarding (plus our AG is being very public about cracking down on price gouging, so resellers don’t have as much motive). Our local Trader Joe’s is doing an EXCELLENT job enforcing social distancing — only allowing a certain number of people at a time, with marks on the sidewalk to keep people at appropriate distances. It’s a huge relief for me. My over-60 parents are going a little stir crazy and it’s the one place I feel okay about them going to shop. They also wear gloves.

      3. Nicki Name*

        We’re going once a week, near closing time, and the store is pretty empty of people then. I’ve been joking that this is the new household date night. :-/

      4. ThatGirl*

        I’m going once a week because I want to leave the delivery and pickup services for people who really need it. So far it’s been calm and fairly empty when I’ve gone, with lots of visible cleaning. Just weird to see all of the soup gone.

    32. KoiFeeder*

      Had to go on the bus to go shopping since the food delivery service cancelled my order last minute. It was actually really nice because no one dared to touch me or my cane. I’m kinda sad that I’m immunosuppressed now because it was the best ride I’ve had in a very long time.

      TBH the only real bad experience was that someone told me that I wouldn’t get COVID because… I need a cane. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

      1. Misty*

        Wait someone told you that you can’t get it because you need a cane? I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of logic they were trying to work with there. That’s… an interesting take on the virus that I had not heard yet.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          No logic involved there, I think- they actually had a worse name for it than the in chief has been using, which probably explains everything.

          1. KoiFeeder*

            Hm, no emojis on AAM. I guess that’s what I get for trying to sneak past the profanity filters.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          Thank you! I hoped the reference would make the mind-boggling logic a little easier to see.

    33. CastIrony*

      I have a weekend for the first time in forever, but only because one of my jobs announced there will be no work for me for a while. Thank goodness I got a second job! :)

    34. tangerineRose*

      I’m worried about some of my favorite small businesses, like https://www.powells.com/ (amazing bookstore) which sounds like it’s barely keeping afloat because people are buying online to support them.

      1. Nicki Name*

        According to today’s news, it’s actually doing much better than that! It’s called back 100 workers that it laid off earlier this month due to the volume of online orders.

    35. Future homeowner*

      With all that’s going on in the world, I’ve been trying to find any small positives in my life right now to focus on or else I’ll go crazy by thinking about the negatives. The biggest thing right now: I’ve managed to save a lot of money.

      I live in a state with a shelter in place order until mid April and my company started having us work from home two weeks ago. So I haven’t had to put gas in my car, I haven’t been going out or buying coffee at Starbucks or shopping for anything other than basic necessities. I don’t even want to order things online because I’m worried about germs on packages and I don’t have any travel plans for the near future. My credit card bill this month was tiny.

      My New Years resolution was to improve my spending habits and be able to buy a house in the fall and increase my emergency fund. I want to be able to make a good down payment. This month has put me a lot closer to my goal than I thought.

    36. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

      Anybody have questions about homeschooling? Former homeschooled kid here. I know there are more of us on here, and probably some homeschool parents as well.

      My advice:
      1. The genius of homeschooling is it’s flexibility. Schedules are great, but they don’t have to look like a school’s schedule, because you are not a school. If it if fits your family to let the kids sleep in late, play in the backyard all day, and then do school after dinner, do so! And if the normal school style schedule fits your family, do that instead. If it works, IT WORKS; if it doesn’t work, try something else.

      2. A full day of school at home is much shorter than a full day of school at school. There are unavoidable inefficiencies in having a whole classroom of kids to manage. Everything takes longer with more people. Expect to spend several hours less per day than they spend at school to give your kids the same amount of education.

      3. A tired puppy is a good puppy. This applies to kids too. When my brother was having trouble sitting still, my mom would send him outside to run around the house 3 times. Then he would be able to focus. This wasn’t a punishment and it helped a ton.

      Any questions I or someone else might be able to answer?

    37. LGC*

      Just really scared. My county is one of the hotspots. One of the hospitals that’s really getting hammered is right in my town.

      The county parks just got closed down, including our main walking path (which runs from my town down for a few miles – I go there all the time). I actually went through there yesterday – it was a beautiful spring day, and it was pretty crowded. (I went through the back of the park head, so I think I was pretty safe.) Hilariously, while the parking lots were closed off, that didn’t stop people – they just parked on the side streets. Sigh.

      I think I’ve…mostly done a good job of social distancing in the past week? I had to go to work the week before (yes, I know, weekend thread), but I’ve mostly had the luxury of staying at home this week. I might have to go in to fix a few things next week, but I’ll try to limit it to once a week or once every two weeks. I’m actually worried that I’m an infection risk because of where I live – we have about 40 cases in my (small) town, I think.

      Meanwhile, it feels like one of my friends is having a breakdown and I’m not sure what to say. She’s a nurse at the other hospital in my county that’s really under assault right now (and in the epicenter of my county’s outbreak – the town is slightly larger than mine, so 35,000-ish people, but has something like 200+ cases). She’s been pretty aggressive on the socials, including my own Facebook – where she criticized me for saying that I was lower risk. (I’m 35, an avid runner, don’t have any preexisting conditions to the best of my knowledge…and I noted afterwards that I was well aware that people my age were getting extremely sick from this.) I have a couple of friends and family that are healthcare workers, and in general I’m not sure exactly what to say or do, or what I can say or do. (Other than staying at home.)

      (I messaged one of my friends a couple of days ago – he’s a pharmacist, his wife is also a nurse. He wordvomited his anxieties on me, and then apologized. I told him he has nothing to apologize for.)

      1. Sam I Am*

        I send daily texts OR emails to my friends working in medicine and essential industries, I share something positive of my day (or a funny meme or whatever) and let them know we’re well here, and close out by telling them I know they’re busy and don’t expect a response, that I just want them to “feel the love.”
        It’s been positive for me, that across the distance I can let them know they’re in my thoughts. Their feedback is that every once in a while they write back, they’ve thanked me for sending positive updates and they vent a little about the situation. I even included an opt out in the messages this week “Would you like to keep receiving e-mails and texts from Sam I Am at the current rate? Then do nothing at all! Please write back “Pause” if you want to eliminate these from your inbox.”
        By now they’ve all responded that they love getting no-response-required positive messages, and I told them if it gets overwhelming to let me know so I can dial it back/ stop.
        Sounds like you’re being a good listener, and that’s huge. Good luck!

    38. Not A Manager*

      I am very happy to have a robust sourdough starter. For bakers, if you can get a mature starter from a friend, it’s worth doing so you don’t have to worry about yeast. If you want to start one, it will take some time and a lot of flour to get it mature enough to leaven bread without any additional yeast, but it’s fairly easy to do.

      1. Not A Manager*

        I used this recipe for mine: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough-starter-recipe

        This is a good way to grow your starter. The recipe implies that once you get to Day Seven, you’re ready to go. This might be true for recipes that call for some starter and some commercial yeast, but the starter will not be robust enough to leaven bread on its own until it’s at least a month old. Stay the course, keep feeding it twice a day, try a new loaf occasionally, and by about 4-6 weeks it will be able to leaven a loaf with no added yeast at all.

        Tips: Once you get the colony started, use 50% whole wheat flour and 50% bread flour to feed it. I find that it grows better and is more robust for leavening. When it’s fully-established (I would wait for at least a month), you can refrigerate it until needed (cover tightly with plastic wrap, or use a plastic container with a top). Pull it out to feed twice a week at first, and then once a week once you’re sure it’s robust enough.

        To feed refrigerated starter, remove from fridge and let stand at room temp for about 12 hours, or until risen and bubbly. Feed starter, and let sit for another 12 hours before using for baking. When you mix up your dough, feed the remaining starter and put it in the fridge for another week.

        Also once your starter is robust enough, feed some of it and pop it in the freezer. That’s a backup in case the stuff in your fridge dies. When you need it, let it sit at room temp for 12-14 hours, and then feed it twice a day until it seems healthy.

        If you are baking a loaf with no added yeast, be sure your recipe calls for at least some whole wheat flour. My template recipe is 400 grams bread flour and 50 grams whole wheat flour. The bread tastes like a white loaf, but the whole wheat flour gives it more rise and structure than the bread flour alone.

        I have limited success with the rustic artisanal free form loaves, unless they are about 35% whole wheat. Otherwise they spread out too much and are more like focaccia. Even though a lot of recipes these days are for the free-form loaves, it’s fine to bake your bread in a loaf pan just like yeasted bread. It’s easier for sandwiches that way, too.

    39. Louleau*

      Removed because this is the non-work thread. (I’m sorry! If I don’t enforce that, it’ll overtake the thread.)

    40. Elenna*

      To any health-care workers: is there anything useful that the general public can do right now? I mean, besides the obvious social distancing, hand-washing, etc.

    41. Not A Manager*

      I am suddenly not feeling so good. I’ve taken my laptop and some tea into bed. If it weren’t for coronavirus this would be completely trivial – I don’t feel THAT bad. But I’m a bit concerned.

      1. Not A Manager*

        Thank you both. I’m feeling much better today and hope that yesterday was just anxiety.

    42. Rebecca*

      My county is one of the few in PA without reported cases, but that’s going to change. I’ve heard of people saying they know people who are sick but can’t get tested. Travel wasn’t restricted so we have people coming in from heavily affected areas, but finally it looks like people are starting to take this seriously. We still have empty shelves here, but we have a population of 37K+ people and only a few grocery options, unless you drive 35-45 minutes to other counties one way. Thankfully stores now have restrictions on how much you can buy of any one item. I just tried to schedule a grocery pickup at Walmart and no slots are available tomorrow, so I’m going to get up early in the AM to see if I can get a slot on Monday. If it’s during my work day (I’m working from home), I’m going to tell my manager I need to use some vacation time to get it done since I’m non-exempt and tied to a punch in system.

      I admit I’m scared to get this. I’m even more terrified that I might be one of those people who carry it and can spread it, but not get it themselves. I wear gloves all the time now. I don’t touch anything if I go to the store unless I’m purchasing that item, and I use self checkout. I probably look odd with mechanic’s gloves on, but tough. My last Aunt is dying, and I can’t go see her, not because I could give her the virus, it’s because I could potentially give it to my cousins and their spouses who are with her at the house. I was able to talk to her on the phone at least.

      I have to say I’m so grateful to live in a rural area, I can go outside and take a walk, no worries about running into anyone, I have cats, TV, radio, books, etc. Been listening to a lot of podcasts.

      Here’s a really positive thing! I have been checking on my neighbors, from a distance of course, and when I asked the new neighbors across the street if they were OK, if they needed anything, etc., they said all was good, and asked how I was. I said, I’m almost out of hand sanitizer, and can’t get any anywhere, but other than that, everything is fine. The next day, I was walking, and he called out to me – gave me 2 2 oz bottles, his wife is an employee in our local hospital system, and she has a lot because they hand it out regularly at her job. She’s working from home now, and they had more than they need, so he shared with me. I had to pass this along, he didn’t have to do that, and he was so very kind. There are still good things happening. Mr. Rogers always said, look for the helpers, so that’s what we need to do.

    43. ONFM*

      My husband and I are both first responders, so we cannot control who we come in contact with. For that reason, we made the decision to stop letting his parents (over 60 and high risk in other ways) be our childcare, to be really serious about social distancing, etc. It’s been tough bc all our neighbors are treating this like spring break – literally playing cornhole and grilling together in the cul de sac right now. He went for a bike ride, I grabbed something from my car – and he was outside hanging with all of them. No 6ft distance, nothing. In the middle of this group of like 10 adults and 8 kids. I asked him what he was doing (inside, didn’t cause a scene or anything); his response was “I have to go to work anyway, what does it matter?” I was so furious I could barely speak. We explicitly talked about the very high probability that we will get this, and how important it is not to spread it. I’m just stunned. Any tips on how to keep a very extroverted, clearly peer-pressured person isolated?

      1. Anonymous ball of anxiety*

        Oh gosh, that’s upsetting. I’m sure he’s doing the best he can but just made a bad snap judgment in the moment. Maybe his perception of the risk to others is a little skewed because of the risk inherent in his work? I wish I had more ideas, but could you help him find more appropriately distanced opportunities to socialize, like group video chats or online gaming? The peer pressure thing is tough . . . . Personally, I’ve struggled with sticking to decisions that go against what I’m seeing people around me do, especially in the grey areas where there hasn’t been clear and consistent guidance.

        Thanks to you and your husband for doing hard jobs that are even harder right now. I hope you both stay safe and well.

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

      My mom went to stretch her legs this week and found a bunch of pot leftovers in a corner. She… didn’t take it well. Apparently she wants to find out the culprit and report to the police for drug trafficking (!?).

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        She found some joint remnants on a corner and wants to go all CSI on people? This is not the time. I hope she can find a different direction for her energy.

    45. Free Meerkats*

      Had to block a nephew on social media. I could almost stomach his “Covid is of Satan!” rants, but today he posted pictures of his church, full of people “Praying Satan’s covid out of the country.”

      Morons.

    46. Anon woman with breast cancer*

      Hi all… so I found via my surgeon out that in my country (and city, not in the USA) that hospitals here are also quarantining, too. The main hospital is taking a wing and it is in isolation, for all the coronavirus patients. The other tiny hospital in my city is taking all the cancer, trauma, childbirth stuff – and literally every other surgery that is not urgent is cancelled. This is to help confine the virus. My cancer surgery is set for the first week of April and I am thrilled that I do not have to worry about the virus as much during the 2 days I will be in hospital. I am also realising how strong I am and have been in this process. Being laid off at the end of my contract, on top of all the cancer, has given me more resolve that I am brave and strong. I will walk alone to the surgery, and two days later I will walk home alone too. I do not want to expose my friends… so yeah. One more hurdle. Then more isolation to. heal and I HOPE to have a damn fine glass of wine – abstained since October. (that is strong!) So… Kia kaha, stay strong all. Sending out good vibes to everyone – here it is spring and the trees are coming back to life, flowers are blooming, it is lovely. So much to look forward to after this virus situation is managed.

    47. Batgirl*

      Isn’t it funny how a throwaway comment, without any malice in it, can rankle for days afterward?
      Someone being interviewed on the news the other day said romantic partners who don’t live together shouldn’t mind being separated by coronavirus because ‘It’s just like going on holiday without them for three weeks’.
      My fiance and I will remain separated for as long as it takes. We understand our house hunt, and everybody’s, has to be on hold. But is it too difficult to admit this is a hardship on us without dismissal? People have different styles of relationshipping and ours is very much in-person. We deliberately don’t travel for work, we would never voluntarily choose a long distance relationship, we don’t take separate holidays; even if we did I would like to know just how many people can afford trips of this length anyway.
      It’s so weird how much this has annoyed me.

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        No, absolutely not. I’ve had periods of two weeks apart from my boyfriend before (when he had to go to the US for work and then France for a family holiday) and I missed him loads then, and given how much time I spend at his place – normally 2-3 nights a week and a day if not both at the weekend – it’s been a real struggle to suddenly go from that to not being able to see each other in person indefinitely (we have video chats most days but it’s not the same). I know it’s for the best and that we’ll be able to be together again when all this is over, but there’s also a part of me that’s kicking myself for not just taking a bag of clothes and my laptop to his place last weekend and going into lockdown there.

    48. Anono-me*

      There have been some really sweet stories in the news about people visiting loved ones in the nursing home face to face, but with a closed window in between and the loved one inside and the visitor outside.

      I’ve checked the federal CDC and the Minnesota and North Carolina health department websites. (The locations where the stories are from.) I cannot find any information on how safe this is. It sounds good to me. But the risks are so great that I would like to find some sort of medical support before trying this myself. Does anyone know where there is some good information on the safety of this?

      Thank you.

    49. Chaordic One*

      I’m feeling minorly annoyed about the social distancing thing. My hair has become a mess and I’m feeling a bit unkempt, but I’m too afraid to go get a trim. I’m thinking I’ll attempt to do a minor trim job myself and clip off the unruly hair that it is sticking up oddly and let the rest of it go and grow out for the next month or so, or maybe longer. I know, very first-world, privileged problem.

      1. Valancy Snaith*

        If it helps, you’re not alone! In my province all barbershops, hair stylists, salons, spas, etc. have been closed for almost two weeks now. There are going to be an awful lot of shaggy mops running around in another couple of weeks unless we all get brave and start cutting our own hair…which might be worse!

        1. Chaordic One*

          When I’m on my way to work (essential worker here) and on the rare shopping trip to the grocery, I seem to be seeing lots of men with shaved heads. More than usual. I think they’re doing it themselves.

    50. Hazy Days*

      I probably have it, although I’ve not been tested. I have a direct chain to someone who has tested positive. I certainly have some form of flu. I feel floppy, boneless and headachy, but I’m absolutely fine so long as I stay lying down. I’m a fit, healthy woman in my mid-40s, so not a high-risk group.

      For anyone preparing their store cupboards – actually I want large amounts of comfort food. I do not want the healthy chicken soup and satsumas I laid in. I want crumpets, Simnel cake and potato farls slathered in butter. I want pots of tea, waffles and chocolate. However, another bowl of chicken soup it is!

          1. Hazy Days*

            It’s an Irish potato bread that you eat hot – I Cunningly put a couple of packs in the freezer when stocking up for the potential need to self-isolate.

    51. Tris Prior*

      Here in Chicago the mayor shut down the lakefront and that hit me REALLY hard. The lake is my happy place, I live within walking distance of it, it is good for my mental health to be around water. I was waiting for it to juuuuuuuuust get a little bit warmer before I went. Now, I can’t. Indefinitely.

      All because people would not stop gathering in large close groups there and would not stay 6 feet apart. Have you SEEN our lakefront? It is enormous! It is not that hard to step 6 feet away from someone! But no, people were right on top of each other, hanging out together, playing contact sports together, acting as though there wasn’t a pandemic going on.

      I’m so angry. Not at the mayor. She did the right thing given that no one was following the rules. I’m angry at all the people who could not freaking follow simple instructions. And now it’s ruined for all of us. I feel like I’m a kid in school again and the whole class is getting punished for something that only a couple kids did.

    52. Grumpy-pants the Sanctimonious*

      What in the heck was NY thinking? The Bay Area issued shelter-in-place orders when the state of CA had ~700 confirmed cases, the statewide order came at under 1,500 cases. NY had over 16,000 cases before they issued the stay at home order!!! I know there have been daily (?) briefings, but I haven’t been listening because (a) I live on the opposite side of the country and (b) I have lost all respect for a governor who was too lily-livered to act when it might have made a difference.

  2. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going?
    I’ve mostly been working on my paper because the deadline is getting closer and AAAAAAAAAAH!

    1. MistOrMister*

      I STILL have not managed to find time to get back to my story. Stupid thing. But I’ve started a sporadic journal following how I’m doing these days. That’s been interesting! God help anyone who reads it though, I am sure it’s the same stuff over and over! But, does a journal have yo make for good reading?….probably not, right?

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Taking the diaries of Puritan settlers as a reference point…No, they don’t have to make for good reading. Important historical resources, though (am I the only one who sometimes wonders what people will think of the first iPhone in 200 years?)

        1. MistOrMister*

          Will there even still be any iphones in 200 years? I would think they’ll all have evaporated into the ether within 50!!! I remember when the first one came out. I couldn’t justify spending $600 on a phone, even though people said it was the last phone you’d ever need. So glad I was too cheap, because boy that was baloney, wasn’t it??

          If I’m writing for history, then I guess I need to do a better job with daily writing! So far it’s every couple of days. But now I see I have a greater responsibility. I hope I can bear the strain of being a historical treasure. Ha!!

          1. A.N. O'Nyme*

            It’s more of a “what will future archaeologist think when they find one somewhere?” train of thought, really. Similar to how late 19th century sewing manuals always tell you to “finish off in the usual manner” and we have no clue what “the usual manner” was at the time, or how we have no idea what the Pictish symbol stones are supposed to be (I recently read an interesting book that suggests they were astronomical/astrological calendars).

            1. Fikly*

              I have an amazing cookbook from the early 1900s that I keep for the reading experience, because it’s unusable for exactly this reason. For example, one recipe calls for a penny’s worth of rose water. How much is that???

    2. Lena Clare*

      I have decided this week to revisit my first novel (I had lost the only electronic copy I had :/ so didn’t work on it for a long while) and edit it.
      One of my beta readers has an earlier copy and is going to email me it back, yay!

      I’ve been struggling with the disruption to my routine in general, but I’ve decided I’m also going to make a study timetable up as my assignment for uni is due soon.
      I’ve set up a space in my back bedroom for working from home, am going to use that.

      So, progress, I think!

    3. Cartographical*

      In theory, this is literally my job… and I haven’t written a thing. My spouse is still working (from home) and I’m shockingly busy preparing for things to be difficult for at least 18 months.

      It’s also really hard not to fall into “well, everything is on fire so who’s going to be buying fiction?” type thinking. I was struggling before this and now I feel like that dog in the burning house.

      1. tangerineRose*

        I know what you mean, but I think that a lot of people may be looking for fiction to take their minds off of other things.

    4. New Job So Much Better*

      Funny you asked! Picked up a novella I started in January today and got a few thousand words written.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I’ve been dicking around and not really doing much of anything, but apropos of a long-ago discussion here regarding readers who won’t buy into a series unless the writer finishes it, I posted on my blog that I fully commit to finishing the Tunerville trilogy. The first book can actually stand alone, but now that I have two others planned (and one finished), I see no reason not to do it.

      Plus, since I’m doing it under my own imprint, I don’t have to worry about sales for one book impacting whether the next one comes out. I can just do it.

      1. Lives in a Shoe*

        Thanks for mentioning the name of your book EW. I’ve been wracking my brain and all I could come up with was…a mental image of TV static and a remote control (shrug). I dunno that’s just how my brain works.

    6. KristinaL*

      I’ve written (and plan to self-publish) some children’s books, but I found out from the FAQ that the books should be a minimum of 24 pages. My average page length is about 15. Frustrating. The books took a long time to illustrate (mostly acrylic painting). I’ve been coming up with some ideas on what to add to the books. My other thought is to include some pictures of what the paintings looked like at different stages of the painting. Maybe I’ll do both.

    7. Panthera uncia*

      It’s not. My brain is just exhausted. I have more time than ever to pursue creativity, but my mind is like a trapped wild animal and nothing will soothe it.

    8. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

      I’ve been too distracted to write but my writing group is having an on-line meetup next week which will help kickstart me again.

    9. Finny*

      Wanting to write, but pen/pencil and paper is too difficult with the arthritis right now, and I don’t have a computer or tablet, just a phone, which doesn’t work well for writing. Can’t afford one right now, either. Annoying. Oh, well. Hoarding ideas for later.

      1. Anono-me*

        Could you put a call out to see if anyone in your circle has an old time tape recorder or Dictaphone? (And yes I am that old, that I have one of my own.)

        1. Finny*

          The only one who might is the father-in-law, and if he does, he’d not know where it’s at, since he keeps asking us if we’ve got a bunch of his stuff, which we don’t.

          Good idea, thougj–I shall have to keep that in mind.

    10. Mavis*

      Is this group only fiction?
      After being transfixed by current events, I finally broke out of the loop and Finished and submitted my first journal article today.

      Not sure how long it will take to hear back. The peer reviews may be busy with said current events.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Nope! Writing is writing, whether it is fiction, journalism, or a quality work advice blog!

    11. WoodswomanWrites*

      For the first time in way too long, I at last updated my blog. It’s a mix of photography and writing. The writing part to me is essential. Although it’s not extensive like longer works–I am truly in awe of people who can write entire books–crafting it is fulfilling. This particular post is pretty short but it feels so great to engage in creativity again. I have quite a backlog of ideas and photos, and I’m excited to at last unlock that part of myself. (My blog is the same name as my handle if anyone is interested.)

    12. Hazy Days*

      Really good news! I had my first poem accepted for publication, and by a very reputable journal. I’m chuffed to bits!

      My writing group transferred online pretty successfully using zoom.

      I’m going to get my next ‘literary salon’ online this week, in a small group to practice what works, and then expand a little the week or two after.

      Wishing others all the best.

    13. Princesa Zelda*

      Can’t write at the moment due to my computer being broken, but my research is coming along swimmingly. I’m glad I stocked up on notebooks back in September— taking notes longhand is filling them up!

    14. Claire*

      I’m struggling to work on the current WIP. My editor is not well. Anxiety about COVID-19 isn’t helping. And the Internet Archive has decided that pirating is just fine, because Pandemic! It doesn’t help that so many jerks on Twitter are saying authors should work for free. *stabbity*

    15. TimeLadyClara*

      I’ve recently found a new way to get myself to write more, notebooks! I’ve been writing on google docs for a while and I have been finding myself spending less time actually writing, but put a blank notebook in front of me and give me a fun colored pen and the words just flow right out of me. A bonus is that when I do transcribe what I’ve written into my google doc, I’m editing at the same time. I’ve gotten so much work done on my WIP that way!

  3. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Gaming thread! What’s everyone been playing this week? How are Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal holding up?
    I finished Steins;Gate and got Lukako’s ending, which feels… unsatisfactory? And first I was surprised by how lazy it seemed but the more I think on it the more I think that might actually be on purpose.

    1. LDN Layabout*

      Animal Crossing is currently keeping me saner than I would be if I were phone in hand 24/7, scrolling through social media.

      I’m so glad/lucky I managed to get a Switch, they sold out twice as I was looking and then threw caution/budget to the wind to order one. Now no one I know (US and UK) can find one that isn’t a Lite.

      As someone who has traditionally been a PC gamer (although I did have a DS and a Wii previously), it’s been really nice to limit my gaming right now to very soft, casual, HAPPY games. I love Nintendo.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        I don’t have a Switch and honestly Animal Crossing is a series I’ve always preferred to watch others play rather than play myself (SO MANY LIVESTREAMS NOW THOUGH YAY!), but I’ve noticed that aside from Steins;Gate (which is the subject of my paper) I’ve been playing a lot of Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns. Probably should check if there’s more peeps playing online now – I can’t be the only person who doesn’t have a Switch yet (the plan was to get one this summer so…Fingers crossed?)

    2. Retail not Retail*

      Still pokemon go over here! We haven’t shifted to summer just yet so I can still walk the dog after work.

      In normal times, my job is great for it. Lots of stops, lots of walking. Now? Well I always walk at lunch, no crowds. I got gifts for days!

      0604 1226 1872

    3. Deschain*

      I’m playing Dauntless, which is a free game. It’s so much fun. I highly recommend it!

      1. Lonely Aussie*

        I wish there was a blend of building Sims 4 style with the way rooms work and open world and colour swatches of Sims 3. Such a shame they did away with them in 4 but I love being able to move rooms around like in 4.

    4. Nessun*

      Friend bought me Animal Crossing for my birthday and it’s been my go-to lately. Never played one before (I’m mostly into GW2 and some console RPGs), but it’s been very calming to just…fish and hunt bugs. Only made it off the island yesterday. LOL

      1. Weyrwoman*

        But that’s what’s great about it! There’s no time pressure, so you can just play at whatever your pace and style is :)

        1. Nessun*

          Oh I agree…I could ignore every quest and just fish until my pockets need emptied, over and over. I still might. ^^

        1. Nessun*

          I’m collecting titles :)

          “Romantic” has to be the silliest one so far. But I needed the break from those awful mursaat tokens…that JP is not friendly.

    5. Ada*

      I started an older game last week during my vacation to help get my mind off work. I picked Atelier Escha and Logy (after having previously played and enjoyed Atelier Aisha). I may have chosen poorly, given my goals. I didn’t know the full premise going in. It’s Work, the Video Game. The entire plot is you managing assignments as a government employee (in a fantasy setting, but still). Start a term, get your assignments, try to finish on time and under budget, submit an end-of-term report, get your assignments for the next term, rinse and repeat. Still fun, but the irony is not lost on me.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        YES. I just finished the full play-through a couple days ago and started a second go-round this morning, So far, my killer combo is kernel-pults and snow peas. EVERYTHING dies (again) before it gets to me.

    6. wingmaster*

      I finally tried Minecraft this week, thanks to some heavy persuasion from my long-distance boyfriend. It was free in my Xbox Game Pass.

    7. Caterpie*

      Slogging through Outer Worlds at the moment, it had a lot of promise but I’m ready to be done now. Thinking of going back to My Time at Portia or Dark Souls 3 soon, I’m all over the place lol

    8. Weyrwoman*

      ACNH is fantastic, and so amazingly what I’ve needed with what’s been going on. It has more ‘quests’ and it really feels like you’re earning your accomplishments. Just uh, watch out for Tarantula Island >.>
      Currently my island is renovating its Resident Services Building, which I’m really excited for because that means that I get access to more bridges and ramps when it finishes tomorrow. I haven’t been time-travelling, but thanks to friends I’ve gotten all the fruit planted on my island. Now I just need the right DIY recipes so that I can decorate everything the way I want to!

      And later today I’ll be streaming My Very First Time Playing Dark Souls (I’m currently in Anor Londo, I think.). It’s been a lot of fun, and challenging.

      1. Nessun*

        I’m on the same time scale exactly! Waiting on Residence Services and looting trees from fruit a friend gave me :)

        I may have to use some miles to travel later – the islands are cute to loot, and the strip mining is useful.

    9. Cruciatus*

      I was thinking about how to play games with people as we’re separated. My friend group is more into quicker playing things like Catch Phrase or Cards Against Humanity, the Mork & Mindy Card game (seriously, it’s fun! Nanu nanu!), though we’re not against longer play board games, we just tend to like more variety in an evening. Does anyone have ideas for games we could all play online, either at the same time or something that requires taking turns and gives you something to look forward to throughout the day as you pick up your phone. Preferably things where 2+ people could play to just make us feel a bit more connected, it possible.

      1. curly sue*

        You can actually play Cards Against Humanity online! What’s even better, you can make custom cards to add to your deck, to include things like group in-jokes or current events. There’s no chat function anymore, sadly, but my friends and I chat through Whatsapp while we play.

        https://pyx-1.pretendyoure.xyz/zy/game.jsp

      2. Purt’s Peas*

        Jackbox games would probably be perfect for your friend group. One person streams/screenshares the game from their computer, and everyone else plays from their phones. There’s a good variety of short games—trivia games, “be funny” games, fool-your-friends games…

      3. Forensic13*

        There’s a game called “Mysterium” that my board game group just found out can be played online. One person is a ghost trying to give visions to the other players to solve their murder. You play in rounds and try to guess culprit, room in which the murder occurred, and either the circumstance/weapon depending on the version you play. The ghost gives the other players clues in the form of weird pre-made picture cards, and you have to guess based on the things in the picture. It’s quite fun, and works surprisingly well online!

        1. Dr.KMnO4*

          I have the IRL version of Mysterium and everyone I’ve played it with loves it! I can see how it would work well online too. Definitely seconding this recommendation.

        2. Marion Ravenwood*

          Ooh, I love Mysterium! Might have to suggest this to my boyfriend – we’d normally have regular board game nights with his flatmates but lockdown has put paid to that for the time being, so this could be a good alternative. Thanks for the tip!

    10. Djuna*

      Finally bought Disco Elysium and I’m enjoying it.
      I also played Sayonara Wild Hearts, and it was lovely.

      1. Purt’s Peas*

        I loved Disco Elysium. It’s such a strange game—it’s so funny, but there are so many genuinely difficult choices that I still think about.

    11. Nicki Name*

      I got as far as Chapter 6 in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, then restarted the game because I finally felt like I knew approximately what I was doing. Still sticking with Golden Deer for now.

    12. Finny*

      Husband-person is playing the new Animal Crossing now that we finally tracked down a copy. He seems to be enjoying it.

      Me, I’m stuck in the original Shantae (while waiting impatiently for Seven Sirens and hoping I can get the physical version from Limited Run Hames). I’m in the bit right before the boss, but can’t seem to get through, as I can’t control the harpy very well at all, and I keep dying as the spider, too.

      Still love the Shantae games, though. Half-Genie Hero is the only one I’ve yet to play.

    13. Kyrielle*

      Animal Crossing is so, so blissfully calm. I always expect to be bored, but it’s so nice to have that. We have some Mario games too, but I’m just…not interested in anything more exciting than AC or a hidden-object game or the like, right now.

      Roleplaying-wise we are playing Spectaculars, which does a lot of the thinking for all of us as far as storyline and characters, while still giving us a lot of control. But much easier than “just create from scratch, have fun!”

      1. Lavender Menace*

        Yeah, I have found myself unmotivated to play anything involved or even super exciting right now. AC came out at exactly the right time.

    14. Lavender Menace*

      I’m playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I love it! I started playing Animal Crossing in the New Leaf era and the aimlessness of the game bored me after a while. New Horizons has just enough milestones to reach through the NookMiles program to keep me a little more hooked. Not to mention that it is super soothing to play at this particular point in time! I can play it in 20 minute intervals if I want to.

      Eventually I will go back to playing Persona 5. Also on my backlog is Fire Emblem: Three Houses. It’s intriguing.

    15. Emily*

      I can’t play Animal Crossing (no Switch), but I’ve gotten back into Stardew Valley! I have a goat now, which is very exciting.

      I also restarted the original Half-Life last week; the jury’s still out on whether I’ll replay the entire game or lose steam. I’m a mediocre gamer at best, and pretty fickle in my attentions, so it could take a while.

    16. Chylleh*

      Animal Crossing is so wholesome. You really grow attached to some of your villagers. I was running across the island and heard someone “singing” and tracked it down to my villager Katt. It was a warm, sunny day and she was standing under a tree just singing a cut little song in the animal babble style.

      A little later I ran to the plaza and noticed Katt and Rodeo, the bull, singing the same song together. Rodeo babbled in a normal time by I noticed Katt made meow skins while singing notes. It was adorable and a fun attention to detail.

    17. Quoth the Raven*

      I’m about to start a second playthrough for Red Dead Redemption 2, which is my favourite game ever. I definitely need it, as heartbreaking at the game can be (and also, since my mum is staying home and has always been curious about it, I figured I might as well play it through with her).

      I played the demo for Resident Evil 3 yesterday, too. I’m very curious about it, but I think I’ll probably wait a bit before I play it because I definitely do not need any more tension right now.

      1. Gatomon*

        I’m on my first playthrough (still) but rededicating myself to it instead of obsessing over the news. They really did a fantastic job with this game. Just relocated to the camp outside Rhoades.

        1. Quoth the Raven*

          I hope you enjoy it! It’s seriously the only game I’ve ever played that I can honestly say changed my life.

    18. Dr. KMnO4*

      Playing both AC:NH and Doom Eternal, with a hefty side dose of Destiny 2.

      AC:NH – I love the Nook Miles program and the crafting. I love the pace of the game, the customization of items, and the tool ring. The in-house storage is amazing, and it’s nice to have more inventory slots. I don’t love that there’s no indicator on item durability. I’m okay with my items breaking, but I’d like to have a better idea of when it’s going to happen. I also wish that it had a way to tell exactly where your tool will hit, like Stardew Valley does. Overall it’s a very therapeutic game when I’m feeling stressed and I quite enjoy it.

      Doom Eternal – Very, very good game. The shooting feels amazing, the flamethrower is so cool, the super shotgun that pulls you to demons is a ton of fun, the dash move is great, and the demon weak points are very helpful. The difficulty is adjustable mid-level which is nice. I don’t like the platforming, though. I’m not very good at platforming in general and it feels out of place in a Doom game. Also, this game is DIFFICULT. Not Dark Souls level difficult, but you certainly won’t be a stranger to death even on the lower difficulty levels. I love how the game encourages you to use every mechanic to survive and mobility is prioritized. It is not a cover-based shooter and I’m happy about that. (There’s nothing inherently wrong with cover-based shooters, I just don’t like them very much.)

      Destiny 2 – My husband and his friend introduced me to this game around Halloween and I really got into it around mid-November. Now I play it much more than they do. Last night I played a game mode I’d never tried before with a friend of a friend helping me out and things went pretty well. He’s much more active in the game so now I have a new group of people to play with. I like the shooting in D2 quite a lot, it’s not quite as good imo as Doom, but it’s fun nonetheless. There are a lot of different weapons and ways to play, which I like. The base game is F2P, so if anybody wants to try it out on PC I’d be happy to join you and help out. Just reply to this post and we can figure out how to meet up in game.

    19. Chinook*

      I am working through the Yakuza series and am currently on Yakuza 5 (all Playstation). It is like Grand Theft Auto in its play style onky with a btter plot and the women have personalities and depth. One of the main characters in Yakuza 5 is a 16 year old girl and you do dance battles and have to make friends. It is lots of fun without the ick factor.

      DH and I are also using Nintendo’s Ring Fit and it gives a great workout. DH workouts as a hobby and it makes him sweat yet me, with lower fitness level, still gets a manageable workout (it i single player). DH has upped his character past 100 and gone past level 10 (he got it for Christmas) and is yet to be disappointed. Our 3 year old nephew and his postpartum mom also have one and have found that it works fo both. If you are stuck inside, it is a great workout that gamefys the workout enough to make you want to play just 5 minutes more.

    20. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I am debating WoW Classic. I started playing in Vanilla, straight from release, and loved up through Wrath of the Lich King, but pretty much everything since then has totally left me cold. But I guess now they’re making noises about adding a Burning Crusade option to Classic, and that makes me very nostalgic.

  4. Junior Dev*

    I have sciatica again. It’s messing me up. Last time I had it it lasted 8 months and was very limiting and sunk me into a depression. My mental health has not been good these last couple days, I feel impatient and fragile. And I miss seeing my friends in person—all my favorite people are immune compromised or live with people who are so they can’t even do things like walks or bike rides together.

    I don’t know when any of this will get better. I’m trying to distract myself with video games (Animal Crossing, Breath of the Wild), books (reading Bruja Born right now, it’s delightful), and phone calls and online gaming sessions with friends. But taking care of myself, including physical therapy and scheduling all this online social stuff, is starting to wear on me and I’m exhausted.

    I am so tired and I wish I could rest but everything is exhausting. And I’m already taking meds and doing therapy twice a week. I think I’m just gonna be pretty depressed til various things get better. I hate this.

    1. Garland not Andrews*

      Have you tried a capsaicin cream (it is a roll on). It helped with my mother’s sciatica. It is available over the counter in the US.

        1. Duvie*

          Late to the discussion here, but… There’re a number of different brands. Walgreen’s has a good roll-on house brand; look for it with the arthritis medications. This stuff is amazingly effective (it got me through a 7 day cruise with a hairline fracture of the glenohumeral joint) but be aware that you’ve got to commit to it before you put it on, because it doesn’t wash off. A hot shower just reactivates it and takes you back to the first moment you applied it.

    2. Dancing Otter*

      I have occasional sciatica, and something I have found – may not be relevant to your case – is that lying on my stomach aggravates it. (I am female and well-endowed, shall we say.) The exaggerated curve of the spine at the waist level is what does it, I think. Not Entirely the cause, but it definitely makes the pain worse and prolongs the episode.
      Unfortunately, I love to prop myself up on my elbows to read or browse on my tablet. All the extra free time indoors right now, I need to remember not to do that, or I will be joining you in your discomfort.
      On the other hand, lying quite flat and relaxed with a purring cat on the small of my back is absolutely the best pain relief ever! If only my feline colleague would take requests….

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This.

        I have several problems especially with my lower back. The doc told me to sleep on my back or side. It took me a good year to quit sleeping on my stomach entirely, as sleeping on my stomach gives me the best sleep.

        To remind myself not to sleep on my stomach, I put a pillow in front of me when laying on my side. It was enough to catch myself trying to stomach sleep.

        The doc explained that it causes the spine to curve too much, as DO is saying and then other problems start.

    3. Natalie*

      May not be possible at the moment but if you’ve never had a surgical consult that could be worthwhile. My husband’s persistent sciatica turned out to be caused by a pars defect in his spine. He had a spinal fusion a couple of years ago and is completely fine now.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I agree with this. I now know that the occasional sciatica I’ve had over the years (sometimes mild, sometimes really bad) was due to a bulging disc. I had lumbar fusion this month and it’s gone, along with all the other back pain I was having for many years. That said, the sciatica came back after the first surgery and the second one, too, but it was the inflammation from all the work they did in there. They put me on a steroid pack, then gabapentin, and it’s now gone! :)

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      If it has flared up since you have been home, check out your shoes. A former coworker and I both have found that soft-sole shoes wear out sole first– our legs, hips & feet hurt before the shoes LOOK worn out. It’s consistent enough that I’m starting to look for hard-so OK e shoes. If I have to go to menswear I will.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        And the reason I said if it’s since our stay-at-home process started, is because my house flippers started doing the same thing to me on the 3rd Day wearing them. Weekends fine two weeks at home not so fine.

      2. WoodswomanWrites*

        I second the comment about checking your shoes. I had a problem that flared up and realized I’d been wearing the same shoes every day for a couple years. They looked okay on the outside but their internal structure was worn out. Once I got new shoes, the problem went away. I’ve had sciatica and I know how uncomfortable it can be.

        I’ve had sciatica and I know it’s painful. Does walking help? If so, noving in the outdoors can really help mental health. I’m so sorry to hear you’re struggling and wish you well!

      3. Remote Technical Writer*

        Replying to say that Vionic slippers have a hard sole and arch support. I wear them every day at home and have not had knee/hip/back trouble like before I started wearing them (and doing PT).

    5. Jane of all Trades*

      I’m so sorry! I know exactly what you mean – for various reasons I have not been able to see my friends at all, and although we have all been in touch through video calls and the like I have felt lonely and stressed. And the present situation is so mentally exhausting.
      I don’t really have any solutions – the things I have been trying to do to feel better include walls, working on the house and in the yard, especially when it’s sunny, and making sure my space is a comfortable as possible (blankets, regular tidying, scented candles). Obviously they don’t fix the underlying issues, but it helps.
      Hugs if you want them, and hang in there, you are not alone in feeling what you are feeling!

    6. Jane*

      My mom got hers taken care of with myofascial release by someone certified with John F. Barnes. I would check around you and see if anyone is offering that. I personally like the Airrosti clinics, and have worked with someone who incorporates myofascial release with physical therapy. Best of luck to you OP.

  5. apartmentlife*

    This is a …. weird one. But wondering if anyone has suggestions for how to easily/cost effectively soundproof a rental apartment bathroom (needs to be renter friendly)? I’m in a 1940’s character suite. It’s cute, with wood floors, and lots of character. However, the washroom hasn’t been updated since the late 80’s/90’s …. and there’s no fan or window. There’s this ceiling vent thing that lets air in/out but it doesn’t make any noise.

    It’s generally fine since I live alone so can shower etc. with the door open so there’s no mold or worries there. However … when friends or my gentleman caller stays over …. I’m hoping to find a way to create a sound barrier. Usually you just turn the fan on to buffer the noise, but without that it just seems like everyone is waiting to hear the inevitable toot(s) and plop(s)… the sound just echoes throughout my fairly small 1-bed. (and then also there’s the smell, which seems easier to manage -matches, candles, air freshener, poo-pouri etc). But does anyone have ideas to mask the sounds? Sometimes I’ll awkwardly put music on …. but it only covers so much, seems really awkward sometimes, and the couch and bedroom areas are SO CLOSE to the bathroom door. HELP. I’m a nervous pooper on a good day.

      1. Ismis*

        My first thought was to get a shower radio and leave it on all the time, but it would eat batteries, so I googled and came across a motion activated sound player… If anyone questions it, you could always say that you like to sing in the shower :)

    1. MistOrMister*

      Maybe some wall hangings? If carpets muffle sound on floors surely tapestries must do the same for walls, right? Although where one finds bathroom tapestries is beyond me.

      1. Chaordic One*

        Perhaps having a fabric shower curtain would have the same or a similar effect. (The kind that would also have a separate lining.)

        1. Mid*

          That was my suggestion—cloth shower curtain and as many rugs as you can fit. Maybe extra plush towels too?

      2. c-*

        Maybe strategically placed towels and a couple bathrobes hanging from the inner face of the door would help? A Japanese-style folding screen might also be practical, to provide visual cover and muffle sound while letting the room breathe.

    2. misspiggy*

      You can get sound insulating strips to go round doors. I’d do that first, it was helpful for us. The idea is to fill in air gaps around the door. So you (or your chosen tradesperson) have to get a good idea of those gaps to specify, measure and fit the stuff so that it blocks air when the door is closed, but lets you still shut the door properly.

      1. 00ff00Claire*

        Not sure if they still make these, but I had a white nose machine once that was battery operated. I feel your pain, though. We also have a fanless bathroom, for the upstairs in our 80 year old home.

    3. AcademiaNut*

      In Japan they have speakers that play the sound of running water in public washrooms, so no one can hear what you’re doing. Maybe something like that – my husband has mentioned key chains that do the same thing.

      My solution would involve a Raspberry Pi 0, some batteries, a motion detector and a speaker, but there should be something similar pre-assembled.

    4. Sumrie*

      How long does it take you to go? If you’re pretty quick, I’d say leave the faucet running. That’s what I usually do in small apartment situations.

      1. Deanna Troi*

        I’d be pretty unhappy if a friend of mine did this is my bathroom – I would feel like they were acting entitled to think it was okay to waste a limited resource just because they felt slightly awkward. It bothers me when people leave the water running while they’re brushing my teeth.

          1. valentine*

            I’d be pretty unhappy if a friend of mine did this is my bathroom
            It’s apartmentlife’s bathroom, and I’m thinking they want their guests to do the thing, too.

            But accepting that everybody poops and we just don’t comment is going to serve you best, long-term. Your gentleman hasn’t said anything, right?

    5. Inspector Gadget*

      Turn on a white noise app on your phone while you’re in there. And/or plug in a white noise machine in the hallway. I like the fabric shower curtain idea. You could also take measures to soundproof the other rooms with wall hangings and insulating strips around the doors.

    6. HQB*

      Is there an outlet near the bathroom? Plug in a fan or white noise machine, leave it as close to the bathroom door as you can. When you go into the bathroom, pause and turn on the device. When you come out, turn it off.

      1. Not A Girl Boss*

        Yeah, agreed. Doesn’t have to be IN the bathroom.
        We have an air purifier which provides a good amount of white noise.

    7. Duvie*

      You don’t want the white noise/indoor fountain/music in with you, you want it out where your guest is. Develop an interest in bombastic classical music (Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries is perfect), then play it for them while you escape to the loo.

    8. Violet*

      This is better suited to times when toilet paper is plentiful. Putting a layer on top of the water will greatly reduce sounds and splashing. It only takes one layer in the target zone; a couple of squares ought to do it.

    9. Lavender Menace*

      What about a white noise machine in the bathroom? That’s probably a cheaper and easier solution. My husband and I bought one for sleeping off Amazon that plays like 20+ different sounds, including rain, traditional white noise, running water, and about 5 different fan sounds. You could use one that actually sounds like a fan.

      1. Lavender Menace*

        Missed that you don’t have an outlet, but you could put it nearby the bathroom OR you could use an app on your phone with a rechargeable Bluetooth speaker.

    10. Part Time Poet*

      Google sound-proofing wall panels. They come in different shapes and sizes and some can a painted. You can attach them to the ceiling and walls and can probably be cut to fit. But as others have mentioned, going to bathroom is a natural body function.

    11. Chinook*

      Something like Poopouri can help with smell. You spray before you go and the film on the water traps smell when anything falls below the barrier.

      As for the sound, soundproofing around the door and fabric on the outer wall will help muffle.

  6. Buzzbattlecat*

    Is anyone else still playing Best Fiends? I have stopped a few times but always go back. My pattern-loving brain finds it very soothing! (Apart from the music, I play silently).
    The internal consistency and predictable building is a great mental escape for me.
    Have to say a belated thanks Allison!

    1. Not anymore*

      I had to remove it from my devices. I loved playing it, but I played it way too much. I think about it from time to time, especially when I hear a commercial for it, but I still can’t trust myself.

    2. bassclefchick*

      I just started this week. But, I put it on my tablet, not my phone. Hopefully that will curb me from playing too much. And it just sucks the battery life on my Kindle, so I get forced to stop. Love it, though!

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I am! It’s on both my phone and my Kindle, but I mostly play on the phone. I refuse to pay for anything in-game, so I watch a lot of ads to earn diamonds and mites, lol.

      It frustrated me when I started getting higher up, so I quit for a while. But then I discovered if I grind through a level enough times, it will reward me by giving me a more favorable board so I can win and thus keep playing (and I guess they hope I’ll buy something). I also start to see how to best win the level. So instead of getting frustrated, I’m just enjoying it.

      I keep the sound on but low. I like the little noises the game makes. I also like the “Well done!” when I win a level. :)

      1. Buzzbattlecat*

        I’m in Tasmania, so I went to sleep as you all woke up:)
        Yeah I stop when I get too addicted haha but I’m up in the 600 levels and there’s a sunk cost now!
        Elizabeth West yes I refuse to pay also, I’ve had the same experience with the very hard levels. If I leave the game for an hour or so and come back, it usually lets me through.

    1. Marthooh*

      Well, actually… all cats have been scientifically proven to be the same size as every other cat. The apparent difference here is simply a result of the Müller-Lyer illusion, with tucked-in or spraddled-out legs taking the place of in-or-out arrowheads.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        My friend who teaches at a nursing school has three cats. A grey tabby, a Cornish Rex, and a Maine Coon. The Maine Coon is much, much bigger than the other two. The Cornish Rex is smaller than the other two. Only the tabby is *normal* cat-sized.

        They’re also very photogenic. She posted pictures on Facebook the other day of each cat wearing a small felt nurse’s hat she made, with the caption “Purramedics, reporting for duty!” :D

            1. The Other Dawn*

              Thank you for sharing this! We love Maine Coons. My husband wants one very badly, but I don’t know of a Maine Coon rescue close by.

              1. SheLooksFamiliar*

                So glad you all liked the pics! I follow his Facebook page too, he posts beautiful videos and photos that don’t always make it to Instagram.

                Never met a cat I didn’t like, wish I weren’t so terribly allergic to them.

    2. KristinaL*

      I love that these kitties, who met as adults, are now comfy enough to relax next to each other.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        They’re all getting along so well! Hank and Shadow both play with Wallace and Eve and snuggle with Sophie. Olive is still been more reserved with them, but she’s coming around.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Humphrey — our previous foster kitty — did a trial run with potential adopters who wanted to see if he’d get along with their other cat. It wasn’t as successful as they’d hoped, so he’s in another foster home now. (Toward the end our time fostering him, he seemed like he was getting stressed out by our youngest cats, so we wanted him to go to a calmer foster where he wouldn’t have bouncy young cats in his face all the time.)

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Is Hank part Maine Coon? I can’t remember if you mentioned it or not. With that size, he has to be at least part Maine Coon.

    3. willow for now*

      He doesn’t look larger just because he’s closer to the camera? He is a big boy! And the little one is adorable, sucking his heat like that.

  7. Wormentude*

    Can you ask for it to be turned off while you are working so it isn’t a distraction? Or at least turned to mute since most rolling news shows have the ticker tape on the bottom she can read. Then you could always take lunch to your room to avoid it then.

    From what I was reading yesterday, it looks like moving won’t be able to happen in 2 weeks (although it depends on all parties agreeing to delay the date) so it’s even more important to get some solutions at this point.

    Failing all else, I guess headphones may be the answer.

  8. MistOrMister*

    What kind of alarm clock routine’s do people’s pets have?

    My female cat does not care when wet food gets put out. Just so long as she gets her meals. We always have dry down, so that is fine for her.

    But, my male!! He knows breakfast is at 5 so every morning he’s walking on me, batting my face, butting the covers, etc. If he comes in early I will tell him how much time is left until breakfast. Usually that stops him for a while. But some days I have to threaten to throw him out the window he’s so insistent (this doesn’t stop him, but it makes me feel better). Then, at lunch time. More face batting, finger nibbles, hovering like Snoopy in vulture mode. And THEN at 4pm for dinner…same thing again! I can set my clock by his glares and hair pulling!

    1. Wander*

      Most of my cats don’t care, though a few can be found standing politely in my bedroom if I snooze my alarm too much. One though has turned into a monster over the years. I know she used to be time oriented, because her falling asleep on my shoes was the only consistently good part of the spring-ahead daylight savings time for me. Somehow this turned into the expectation that she gets fed every time I sleep. Nap time? Time to yell. Lay down for 20 minutes with a headache? Food! Food! Food! Spouse got up first and already fed her? Irrelevant; now I’m up and she expects more. We have food down all the time, but she wants to see it poured, I guess. She’s a social eater.

      She doesn’t do anything more than meow loudly though at least, and most days she waits until at least one foot has appeared over the side of the bed.

    2. Retail not Retail*

      My sister’s cat would walk on my hair and if I groaned and pulled the blanket or pillow over my face, she’d head south. I’m a woman so I’ll leave the rest to your imagination, but suffice to say she hits the chest, I get up.

      My mom’s dog is more about walks than breakfast and dinner. If she gets an afternoon/evening walk, dinner is 5:30-6. If she doesn’t and we forget, she doesn’t start crying until almost 7! Her life is walks. I come home and change out of work clothes, she’s up my butt. We once said, “Use your words” when she was dancing and she did. Walk! Now!

      Oh no it’s so windy that’s why she came and snuggled with me just now (upstairs is safer?), but baby I have work.

    3. StellaBella*

      At 6 a.m. if I am not up to give her food my cat scratches the cloth chair cover I have in my bedroom.
      I have tried moving the chair, moving a scratching post by that area, etc. Does not matter. Sigh.

    4. Retail not Retail*

      Again, these aren’t “pets” they’re “wild animals,” BUT one sea lion in particular starts barking about 30 minutes before the show schedule, it’s hilarious. We can tell time by the animal noises – it’s not 11 yet, she’s still barking. I discovered the bears adjust to their public feeding time real fast and they chill in the water below where the keepers toss the fish. That’s not happening right now and I went walking by to see them. Said aw, you’re in the water. He got out and lumbered over to me before sitting up on his haunches. Fish? Fish? You got the fish?

      1. tangerineRose*

        It sounds like the sea lion likes the show and is excited about it? Maybe because of the treats?

        Does your zoo have any lemurs?

    5. mreasy*

      I have a 6 am (630 if I’m lucky) extreme wake up campaign by my very large male cat, that involves jumping on me, pawing at and licking my face, etc. And dinnertime is 6 pm, but now that we’re home all day, he starts his campaign around 4 – which has resulted in some fun guest appearances in my work video meetings.

    6. 00ff00Claire*

      Our small dog sleeps in her own bed in our room. She used to wake up and start whining in the mornings, and we thought that meant she wants to get up for the day. Then one day, for some reason we let her in the bed with us after she started whining. She promptly burrowed under the covers and went back to sleep :) So now we’ve settled into that routine. When she hears the first alarm (of several, we do the whole snooze thing), she wakes up and waits to be put on the bed. Then she goes back to sleep curled up by one of us. Eventually, she gets the bed to herself as we shower, get ready, etc. She’s lazy; she doesn’t care about being up – she just wants some snuggles and then the bed to herself!

    7. GoryDetails*

      My three are pretty well-behaved; if I don’t get up quite as early as usual, they’ll just perch on the bed (or on me) until I do. But I don’t get the round of face-patting and yowling that some of my previous cats would use. (My late, lamented Raffles would sit in the bedroom doorway and give out a single loud mew, clearly a summons to prepare breakfast as he was usually very quiet. Then when I raised my head he’d turn and whisk himself down the hallway, fluffy tail high… I miss him.)

    8. Pucci*

      Mine aren’t pushy about getting their morning wet food, probably because they also get their medicine then too. However, now that I’m home all day, they start boring holes in me with their eyes at 4:00 wanting their evening wet food. They sit there and stare, without blinking. It’s creepy.

    9. Loopy*

      My dog will let me sleep until maybe 7:15 on a weekend even IF he’s let out late late late at night. It’s not about having to go out, it’s about daylight. When it’s light out he just says okay up, time for walk and breakfast. If I really want the extra sleep I have to give him a short 5-10 minute walk+breakfast and crawl back into bed.

    10. Thankful for AAM*

      My fur baby (dog) is happy to sleep in, to a point. If he wants his breakfast, he will “dance” on the fake wood floors so that his nails make noise. If that does not work, he will go into full cat mode; he sits inches from my face and stares, then makes gentle pokes with a paw on my cheek.

    11. MissDisplaced*

      My female cat is like yours. She’s in the bed, trying to wake up mommy around 6:30 every morning, bumping, stepping on my stomach (she’s figured out I will get up to pee if she does that) and otherwise acting like my furry alarm clock!
      My chonky boi cat doesn’t care when the food bowls go down.

    12. Jonah*

      I have a 14 year old chow, and as she’s gotten older, she can’t hold it as long. So we go out at 10-10:30 right before bed, and then she wakes me up like clockwork at 6:15 to go out. She doesn’t worry as much about when food goes down, but if I forget to refill her water bowl at night before bed, she is sure to let me know by running full speed back and forth between me and her bowl.

    13. Lora*

      My younger dog (4 years old) finally got tired of me yelling and squirting him with the spray bottle when he barks in my face at 5AM…so now he very quietly sticks his tongue up my nose instead.

      He’s not dumb, he’s just stubborn. Breed characteristic.

    14. Jaid*

      She knows when it’s time for me to get up and when I’m supposed to sleep. She uses me as a climbing rock in the morning and then meows at me at night.

      These days have been a little troublesome for her…LOL

    15. Weyrwoman*

      my cat Tari will come running when my morning alarm clock goes off and jump on my chest for her morning pets. If I’m actually waking up with the first alarm, this means she gets to curl up on me and have some morning cuddles.
      She also thinks dinner time is anytime after 4pm, despite the fact that I have only ever fed her when I get home from work, which is always after 5:30p. Now that we’re all stuck at home though, it’s been closer to 5p.
      I’ve also taken on a foster kitty named Bandit. He’s slowly adjusting to the schedule, and the early phases of Galaxy’s guide for introducing cats are going well. I’m hoping that by mid-April I’ll be able to have both cats out together.

    16. Deanna Troi*

      When I moved out from my parents’ house and got my first apartment, my mother gave me the best advice in the world: NEVER feed a cat in the morning, especially canned food, because they will wake you up for it. I leave plenty of dry food out overnight, but I only give canned food in the evening. I know it’s too late for you, MistOrMister, but perhaps someone else will see this and save themselves if they get cats in the future.

      1. MistOrMister*

        I wouldn’t want my cats to have to go all day waiting for food. My mom did the evening only feeding for their last dog for years, and I hated seeing it!! Also, it helps having the cat alarm. I don’t set an alarm clock, my boy always waked me up so I have time to exercise….or get back in bed for a wee bit more shut eye. The only real downside is daylight savings in the fall. I tried explaining it, but it took at least 2 weeks for him to stop smacking me around at 4am.

        1. Jackalope*

          Well, you don’t leave them hungry all day. You just make sure they have enough dry food that they can eat that all day and then give them wet food before bed so they aren’t waking you up. Which if you like the wake-up call it’s fine to have them do that but it’s something that can be gotten around if you don’t.

    17. Seeking Second Childhood*

      All these comments have me thinking that when we get pets, we are going to feed them as we leave the house. Not when we first get up. That way we can still get an extra 50 minutes of sleep!

    18. Minta*

      I blame myself. Somehow I trained my very-food-driven cat that I will give him his heart pill and fill his feeder for the day at 5am.

      Every darn morning, he sits on the nightstand and gently taps me on the shoulder with his paw (like I did when I was a kid and had a nightmare, which is hilarious).

      If I ignore him, he taps me on the shoulder a with a little more pressure. If I ignore him further, he taps progressively harder and eventually introduces a little bit of claw.

      By that time, I’m annoyed, awake, and aware that I have to pee anyway, so I begrudgingly get up and further reinforce his bad behavior. It messes up my mornings so badly. I really need to fix it.

      1. Lavender Menace*

        The mental image of your cat calmly tapping you on the shoulder, then becoming increasingly insistent as time passes, is cracking me up right now.

        1. Minta*

          It’s the cutest darn thing, and it amazes me he figured out how (and cares enough to) start out gently and work his way up. I mean…

    19. old curmudgeon*

      We’re usually up by 5:30 or so on weekdays, and all three cats find that sufficiently prompt that they don’t nag us Monday through Friday.

      However, if we try to sleep past about 6:00 on Saturday and Sunday, or on a holiday, well. Then all bets are off.

      Finn, our old guy, will perch on the pillow next to my face or next to my spouse’s face, rumbling thunderously with the “anticipatory purr” that cats use to tell you how happy and excited they are that you are going to feed them. If that hint doesn’t work, he’ll start licking our hands. Then he’ll move on to licking our faces. Between the whiskers tickling and the sandpaper tongue scratching, that’s usually pretty effective.

      Smudgely, one of the youngsters, has a different approach. We have hardwood floors that create a satisfying crash when something lands on the floor. And my dresser is across the room from the bed (i.e. out of arm’s reach). So Smudgely will hop up on the dresser and walk along the edge, casually knocking off my hairbrush, box of bobby pins, hand cream, whatever he finds, and after each crash, he looks over at the bed as if to say “did that work? Nope, their eyes are still closed, on to the next one.” It generally doesn’t take long for that to get us out of bed.

      Peanut, the other youngster and the smallest of the three, has his own strategy. To paraphrase Shakespeare, though he be little, he is yet fierce, and he likes to demonstrate that by pouncing on the other two cats for an impromptu wrestling match – preferably when said cats are cuddled up on the bed with us. A noisy squabble on my pillow between Peanut and Smudgely, or between Peanut and Finn, is pretty much guaranteed to wake both of us up to separate them and to exile Peanut to the basement. And since the basement door is in the kitchen, well, once we’re up, might as well start coffee and get the catfood out.

      So we don’t sleep in much on the weekends.

    20. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      My dog is not an alarm clock. He will sleep in as long as I do and usually about 30 minutes longer.

      Meals are based around activities – he knows breakfast comes after going out the first time in the morning and that dinner happens right after we eat our meal. As in right after – no lingering at the table allowed.

      (He has many other “issues” but luckily sleep is not one of them.)

      1. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

        He is also very likely to go right back to sleep after breakfast for a while. And he is not old – he’s always been like this.

    21. Panthera uncia*

      Pets are NOT allowed in our bedroom. Frankly, it’s a safety issue, and I recommend everyone else do the same. My husband almost lost an eye to one of our cats back in the early aughts, when she unexpectedly jumped on his face while we were sleeping. (We think she was chasing a bug.) She tore open his eyelid.

      So, our cats beat on the bedroom door and howl to their heart’s content in the morning. They get worse during the time change since they judge by daylight, but they get fed at the same time no matter how much they scream.

    22. Count Boochie Flagrante*

      Lady Scamper has learned what it sounds like when I turn my alarm off instead of snoozing it, and she races to the bathroom door so I’ll pet her before I go in to shower. She requires attention before my day is permitted to start in any fashion.

    23. Reliquary*

      We actually use alarms!

      Our cat was overweight from free-feeding and treats (he’s very food-motivated), and our vet advised us to transition him to wet food, fed on a schedule.

      We decided to go with meals three times a day, because that works for us. A two-meal schedule isn’t optimal for our cat, because he will scarf down an entire can of cat food very quickly and promptly barf it right back up. But the three-meal schedule works really well.

      When the alarms ring (at 7:30 am, 3:30 pm, and 11:30 pm), he races at top speed into the kitchen, and hops on a kitchen stool to watch his servants put the wet food into his bowl. When it’s in the bowl, he dashes to his feeding mat and meows until it is placed right in front of him. He’s hilarious!

      1. Reliquary*

        And he also lost 4 pounds — which means he’s only slightly chonky now. He gets treats again!

    24. Lavender Menace*

      Mercifully, I actually wake up before my dog most days. I wake up pretty early (around 5:30-6) and she usually stays still until I stir.

      Weekends, though? If I try to sleep in, she’ll start by waking up and just laying in the bed with me. Then she’ll get up and start pacing, and then maybe a bit of whining. If I’m *really* sleeping in late, she’ll jump up and try to lick my face or paw at me.

      The kicker is that my husband is the one who walks her and feeds her in the morning. She just focuses 70% of her energy on me.

    25. That Girl from Quinn's House*

      My cat starts lobbying for breakfast at the same time every day, when my husband gets up. She likes to wake us up by scratching the mattress and knocking his tissue box off his nightstand and pulling all the tissues out.

      If that doesn’t wake you up, she will escalate to climbing in bed with you and meowing in your face and scratching the pillow next to your head, and the headboard behind you.

      She also requires company while eating, so if you give her food and sneak back into bed to go back to sleep, she will NOT have it, and will resume nagging at you until you get up and dote upon her while she eats.

    26. Sleepless*

      I’ve had a long hard work week (essential service, and wow has it been busy). I didn’t sleep well last night. The 80 pound pit bull decided I needed to be up at my normal workday time of 5:50. Kind of hard to ignore when she jumps WHAM onto the bed. I guess it’s better than her peeing on the hallway carpet when she decides I’m not getting up, which is the other thing that happens sometimes.

  9. Jdc*

    My dog makes sure I know it’s time to wake up by 6am no later. She calms down a bit I’m the winter, probably because she’s all snuggled and warm in bed and doesn’t want to get up, but I’m sure it’ll be happening again soon. My internal clock is a normal 5 or 6 am depending on the season too, which sometimes drives me nuts. I will wake up at 5 am on a Saturday even if I only had a couple hours or sleep and we wide awake. Grrrr. Let me sleep sometimes body. I sometimes take a nap when that happens but I’m an awful napper. I wake up cranky as heck and it takes maybe an hour for me to come out of it. I truly wish I could just be one of those people who can take a nap and wake refreshed. I try to set an alarm to limit the time, and usually only sleep another 45 mins regardless but once I set the alarm I can’t fall asleep either.

  10. Break Up In Quarantine*

    My friend Kari has been with her boyfriend Mike for at least two years now, maybe longer. They’re living in a rented apartment together (not sure under whose name). Lately Kari has been unhappy and has been thinking of moving on (she wants marriage and kids, he doesn’t; she likes to go out and do things; he prefers to stay home, smoke weed, and play video games; different religions are causing tension). I’ve always supported her in whatever makes her happy, whether with him or not.

    Last night, she called and told me she was ready to leave and move on. Any other time, I would have said come over, crash on my couch to get some space from him while you figure things out, that kind of thing. But with the quarantine happening, she’s kinda stuck. Our state isn’t at shelter in place right now but Kari does not feel comfortable looking for a place of her own right now. We’re all practicing the social distancing so she can’t stay with friends and family right now.

    She’s not in any physical danger from Michael, otherwise I would have said forget the isolation and get over here; she’s just unhappy. I think being stuck together drove home some things she was already in the fence about. The only thing I could say was try to ride things out for a few more weeks and then start the break up process as things start getting back to normal. She agreed with my thoughts but still sounded frustrated, understandably. Any thoughts or advice I could give her?

    1. Agnodike*

      There’s no guarantee this will be only “a few more weeks.” Getting stuck in an apartment without someone you want to break up with sounds appalling. Could she look into something like a furnished apartment or short-stay rental with the aim of moving to a permanent place in the summer or fall?

    2. Llellayena*

      The idea behind social distancing/shelter in place is to limit how many people you come into contact with. If you can stand to be stuck in the house with her for several weeks while she’s getting over a relationship, whether she shelters with you or him seems a bit irrelevant to me. The actual moving out process might be the worst of it since you can’t get a bunch of friends together to help. Not saying it’s the best solution, but it’s something to consider.

      1. tiasp*

        This, unless there’s some reason that you couldn’t/wouldn’t have her with you. We’re social distancing, but I’m still living with my spouse and children.

        1. tiasp*

          I did read that as your daughter, not your friend. I see that’s not the same as bringing home your child.

      2. Dan*

        It’s not just the number of physical people one person comes into contact with. OP says they’re not in lock down, so her friend can presumably go out and be in contact with others and bring those “germs” back to OP’s crib, which certainly doesn’t foster the goals of social distancing.

      3. Not A Girl Boss*

        Yeah, I agree. Personally (I’m in a low risk group) I’d be willing to “risk” one person who has been distancing (and will continue distancing after) relocating to my home. I get that everyone has to make their own choices, but that sounds very low risk to me.

    3. Misty*

      I don’t know if she wants to do this or even has the resources to do this but in my area airbnb is super cheap right now and a lot of them are individual places (so you wouldn’t be sharing a bathroom, room, or even house with anyone else).

    4. Dancing Otter*

      No reason not to start online apartment hunting right away. Yes, eventually you have to physically visit a place before deciding, but there’s a lot of searching and winnowing out before you reach that stage, isn’t there?
      And spring cleaning is an excellent excuse to do some de-cluttering, which is always the first step before actually packing to move. Or is that just me?

      1. Third or Nothing!*

        Oh man every time I move I take several carloads of stuff to the local resale shop to donate.

    5. Dan*

      My question is what does “does not feel comfortable looking for a place of her own right now” really mean. Kari is responsible for her own happiness, and if she no longer wants to live with her boyfriend, it’s not other peoples’ responsibility to satisfy her desires.

      Side note/rant: NOTHING about COVID-19 is comfortable, full stop. (I live in a 1 bedroom apartment and have to WFH at the moment. NO WAY IN HELL am I adding to this mix unless someone close to me is going to be homeless.)

    6. Actual Vampire*

      In my area, there are a lot of students who have gone home to their parents’ houses and are trying to sublet their apartments (normal apartments, not school-owned) for the rest of the semester. That might be a resource for Kari to look into if there is a university nearby. She can look on Craigslist or search “[university name]+Housing/Sublets/Roommates” on Facebook.

  11. I edit everything*

    My mother and her two cats moved in with my family this week, and we moved my father to a nursing home near my house. They used to live a 6-hour drive away. It’s comforting to have them closer, but a big change to our household. No sparks yet–I expect them after another week or so. We have a good relationship, but my mom and Edits Nothing have very similar personality types, and they grate up against each other sometimes. And I think probably Dad will be joining us in our little house soon, since he’s not quite sick enough to stay at the nursing home.

    We have to figure out how to get to their house for more of their stuff to bring back, in this time of pandemic, find home health care for Dad, if he does come home, and dig our nails in until the shelter-in-place order is lifted so they can move into the assisted living place they’ve chosen. And hope that the moment he gets out of the nursing home, he doesn’t end up back in the hospital two days later, which has happened the last two times.

    I’m a little stressed, and though corona is making everything harder, I think it’s actually the least of my stressors right now. No question. Just dumping