It started out just like any other month…
Of course I had heard about the coronavirus and how it had greatly impacted China and appeared to be spreading, but like most things in the news, it didn’t affect me. Spring break was coming up and Damien and I were planning to drive over to see my parents. But leading up to the trip, things slowly started to change. Reports of people hording supplies, mainly toilet paper of all things! At this point it was still something in the news and probably only really affected larger cities. The CDC and the news reported on common sense safety measures like washing your hands for 20-30 seconds and not touching your face. Hasn’t that always been the case? Day-by-day things progressed. Okay, now the store shelves here are starting to look a little bit emptier…And then like a tidal wave, businesses started to reduce hours or close. The term “social distancing” was everywhere. Keep 3-6 feet away from others. How worried should I be?
The week of spring break, starting 16 March, all ND schools were closed and the base was on mission essential status. This was unprecedented! It was a weird week. I was receiving messages daily from Damien’s teacher and my supervisor as everyone was trying to transverse the unknown. How long will Damien be out of school? How long will my workcenter be minimally manned? Will we not be able to get the supplies/food we need?
We are now two weeks into this and we have a few more answers. Schools will probably be closed for the remainder of the school year. Amazingly, they’re still providing school breakfasts and lunches through a drive thru style setup. And while Damien has been provided with daily activities/tasks to complete on school days (practice multiplication/division tables, practice state capitals, do jumping jacks, etc.), official school lessons will begin this week electronically. It’s nice that Damien was already issued a chromebook at the beginning of the school year so he already knows how to use it and all of the digital classroom tools.
The base continues to officially be on a mission essential status while leaving the decisions to the squadron commanders for implementation. This has meant that my squadron has been minimally manned at about 50%, but otherwise performing normal shifts. This week though we are further reducing the amount of time in the office which is a relief.
Getting food/supplies has been acceptable. Hording is still a thing, although a lot of places are now either posting signs nicely asking customers to not take what they don’t need and other stores are strictly adhering to limitations like one loaf of bread per purchase. In fact, Scott reported last week at Wal-Mart that the Police were actually in the store to help enforce limitations because customers were getting belligerent. Rice, pasta, ramen, dry beans, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper seem to be completely out and things like soaps, napkins, paper towels, tissues, milk, bread, meats (fresh and canned) are in low supply where we shop. Otherwise we really haven’t had any issues with getting anything we wanted or needed. In fact we were actually able to buy more toilet paper just yesterday which was a HUGE relief since I hadn’t seen any in a while.
Since we’ve been stuck home…
I felt like I needed to write out what’s going on right now just to document it. Maybe years from now it’ll be interesting to see what was happening. Overall, we’re all doing fine. I’d say “inconvenienced” would be the best word to describe our current state. Putting it into perspective though, our income isn’t affected, Scott will be able to do the homeschooling since he works from home, and everyone is healthy.
I wonder what’s going to happen in the future. When will things return to normal? Will there be a “new” normal? When will I get to see my family again? Hopefully this summer! Oh, I almost forgot! Damien had a write an essay for school about his favorite older American (55+) and he unsurprisingly picked my Dad. It was soooo sweet and his teacher said she could tell it meant a lot to Damien because he put a lot of effort into it, knowing that he doesn’t usually enjoy writing.