Saturday, March 28, 2020

Quarantine, Week 2: Developing a Bit of A Rhythm

Week 2 of the quarantine did not yet see a descent into madness as predicted in my last week's post.  At least not that I can identify.  However, I do feel like Bruce Banner these days:
It is just so maddening to see not just Trump but Republican governors act as if this thing does not require self-isolation and all the rest.  The idea of opening up for Easter--churches have been found to be one of the key spots where the disease as spread--is just appalling.  So, yeah, I am mad all the time.

It is very clear that we are going to be experiencing a series of peaks in the next month as city after city is overwhelmed.  Just as Italy was the future of the United States, New York (see this and other posts by a chief of doctors in NYC)  is the future of ... most American cities.  I have family in NYC, including in the medical community, so I am worried about them.  I am less worried about my spectacular niece who yoga-ed and instagrammed her way through her COVID experience.  Indeed, I am relieved and proud.  That she almost visited my mother when she was in the early stages... oh my... relieved. 

Part of my rhythm is to shop once a week.  While we have enough in the house to last us a few weeks, I like to top off every week so that we continue to have a 2-3 week supply in case one of us or both of us have to completely self-isolate.  I also wanted to run to campus before they lock the buildings on Monday to get a couple of books and some other materials, as Carleton is going to be shut down for a while. 

As a result, I could compare the social distancing at the supermarket last week and this week.  It was better, although I was also at a less busy place.  Most shelves were stocked with the notable exceptions of paper products and flour.  We have no problems in the paper department due to my wife's insistence on always buying paper towels and toilet paper during our Costco runs.  Flour is not yet an issue, but it diminishes my enthusiasm for making breads.  I need to save the flour for my pizza.  One has got to have priorities. 

I am more acceptant of the reality that I am not going to get tons of work done.  No, I have no small kids running around to distract me (one of the items that was wrong in the Steve pic).  Just that the news and the despair (yeah, that word is cropping up a lot more) makes it hard to focus on reading and writing.  I did manage to make progress on one project, flipping the draft to my co-authors.  We shall see if they consider my work to be progress or regress.

The week started with my first online seminar for my MA class and my last.  I am lucky in that I designed the class, as I do with most of my MA classes, to end with student presentations.  So, we discussed the literature on Canadian civil-military relations, although the timing could have been better since the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Deputy Minister issued statements on Friday that would have been great fodder for the class.  Anyhow, it went reasonably well, but I am not looking forward to this becoming the normal way to teach if some folks' predictions about what the 2020-21 academic year might look like.

My new playstation came in and quickly reminded me that I suck at video games.  I feel bad for Spider-man who has been smashed into a wall many times, and I feel bad for the Star Wars character that will eventually discover his Jedi powers--if I can get him to cross a cavern via swinging rope....  We have passed the time watching both regular tv programs--9-9!--and movies and funky series on Amazon and Netflix.  I still have three and a half seasons of Clone Wars to watch before I can start the new season--and I tend to watch 1.5 eps per treadmill session.  The lack of ultimate is perhaps the biggest change to my life, since I do tend to work at home many days.  I miss the games and the people and laying out for plastic.

The hard part is finding stuff to talk about with Mrs. Spew over dinner--we could talk about how Trump and the GOP are going to get many Americans needlessly killed, but that gets old quickly.  If anybody has suggestions for conversation topics for childless couples (our kid is doing well in LA), let me know.

And, as always, think of the doctors, nurses, and other staff who are facing a crisis of a lifetime... which they will carry for the rest of their lives if they survive.

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