Quarantine Chronicles – I Was Wrong

As the title hints, this is part of a series. This is the second entry around the time of the 2020 COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The talk about the COVID-19 virus crept up slowly, background noise against a political spotlight that plagues the country right now. I recall listening to a political podcast where the hosts talked about a recording/broadcast from Italy, warning the world of how terribly unprepared they were. How their healthcare system was collapsing and they were overwhelmed with the sick. The hosts of the podcast commented on how the warning sounded so dire, like something out of a disaster film. Then we heard about the city of Wuhan, where the virus originated, had forced lockdown. No one in or out of town. Residents forced to shelter. A few articles started to come up, showing images from Italy, businesses closed, public places abandoned, and the few people out were in front of government buildings at a distance; six feet apart, forming a line to some government building.

“That’s so strange,” I thought. “Stand six feet apart like that? Who would do that here? I don’t see that happening.”

The closures came quickly, though not soon enough. It was sort of like evacuating the building because of a fire, but there are already fires on various floors. We should’ve evacuated at the first sign of smoke.

The plague became politicized, which is just a staggering thing to imagine in what we would consider the modern era. (future generations take note). As countries closed their borders, closed their businesses, public places, and asked people to quarantine/isolate in their homes, our country was still debating the merits of the virus.

Admittedly, it did feel like a bit of an overreaction at first, though I hoped that it was better safe than sorry. The economic impact and disruption to daily life was certainly a concern. While essential businesses/services remained open (food production, groceries, public services, and the like), it was still hard to fathom the impact.

From one day to another my routine was disrupted. While I was fortunate enough to still have a job that fell into the “essential business” category, everything else was closed. Bars and gyms closed. Restaurants could remain open if their logistics allowed for curbside pickup or delivery. Those that manage it, worked remotely via online. Governments extended these “stay at home” orders by weeks, and then another week. Before I knew it, three months had passed.

There’s been a lot of learning, we as a society, have had to learn from this event. Information about the virus’s symptoms and method of infection changed many times over. Frustration grew within the populous, frustrated with unknowns but also frustrated that previously known variables had changed. It’s the byproduct of learning about something new while trying to be transparent and disseminate information as quickly as possible. You’re doomed if you do, doomed if you don’t.

There’s nothing much else to add that you can’t find on the web. All I know is that I missed my friends and not being able to go to the gym was… depressing. I set up some basic equipment in the garage; bands, a weighted ball, and a mat. Most of my workout is body weight. It’s not the same. As governments have lifted restrictions, allowing outdoor activity and some businesses to open (with health guidelines that include social distancing and face masks), I’ve started running with a friend. It’s another great alternative from being stuck in a garage doing stuff.

NYC was hard hit, and for a while it appeared they were the “new Italy” and ground zero of the virus. While a few flare-ups of the virus dotted the country, my mother in SoCal seemed unaffected. Hospital capacity was at its lowest to the point that her hours were got cut.

And then states started to re-open. Some in phases, all with slightly different prerequisites to meet to consider “safe”; infection rates, hospital capacity, rate of spread, and so on.

The political climate created an atmosphere of distrust in the media. The severity of the virus was overblown or underestimated, depending on the source. Logic and science did not prevail and many folks eager to return to their daily lives and routine threw caution to the wind. Parties, social gatherings, ignoring social distancing guidelines and even the lack of face coverings have started to catch up. Infection rates are going back up and the projections look to be worse than when we first went into quarantine.

This was supposed to be a great year. The first quarantine was supposed to be short and effective. Science and common sense were supposed to prevail.

When our own lockdown hit, I thought it would last a month. Maybe two. I was wrong. As the year ends, we’ve been in various ‘stages/phases’ of lockdown; limited public gatherings, limited retail capacity, limited business open.

The vaccine is on the horizon but it feels as though it’s only the halfway point.

Work has kept me busy. The Long Game turned out to be a much shorter game. As knowledge of my know-how about systems spread, I was quickly snatched up and back into the IT fold. I’ve been crazy busy since, on top of being a dog owner and having started school at the start of this year. Did I mention there was also a plague?

When capitalism joined the Covid-19 fight.
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Quarantine Chronicles – Roaring 20’s

As the title hints, this is part of a series. This is the first entry around the time of the 2020 COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

When 2020 started, I had all the positive outlook and motivation of someone who sets new year’s resolutions with no intention of keeping them. Kinda. I had done a fair amount of things in 2019, and I still had a lot of things planned for this year.

School started off with a bang. I got my first two classes for this six-month term done. I have two more classes left this term, and barely two weeks to finish my third class. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a struggle. It’s hard to get back into the swing of things, to find that motivation, dig down deep to keep that vision of better days at a high paying job–at least, that’s what I tell myself.

The problem is staying focused and finding the time while having a puppy. River. She’s my dalmatian that I absolutely love to pieces and obsessed with. She requires a lot of attention; of course… she’s a puppy. I got her at 10 weeks and although I took a week off work to bond and settle on routine, I sorely underestimated how much time she’d require.

The potty training was a month-long event. Lots of accidents, cleaning, and patience. Eventually, I got her trained on a bell system where she rings a bell near the door when she needs to be let out. It’s a system I both love and hate. I love that she uses it and accidents are a thing of the past. I hate it because the damn dog is clever enough to exploit it whenever she just wants to be let out. Right now the backyard is not entirely free to roam. I found out that there are two areas near the back wall that are easement/right of way for utility crew for our complex, so I can’t wall it off. I’m looking at an invisible fence system.

Daily walks. Basic training. Lots of toys, treats, vet visits (mostly cuz I’m afraid of every little thing she has), and lots more patience. Doggy daycare has been a god-send for this hyper pup. The first time I picked her up she fell asleep in my car before I left the parking lot, she was so exhausted.

Constant cleaning up after her, sweeping, vacuuming, or picking up after her toys. The many times of having to take things from her mouth. Telling her to drop things she isn’t supposed to have in her mouth is her own prompt to chew faster. Picking up after she leaves the poorly-named and referenced “gifts” in the back yard. It’s like taking care of a child.

She follows me wherever I go; upstairs, downstairs. Sometimes I make it a game to run up and downstairs to see if she follows. She does. Going to the bathroom is always a case of abandonment for her; scratching at the door whining that she wants in. It took a while to settle into a routine, crate training and figuring out what works for both. It’s been a compromise for sure. It’s taken me over two hours to write this simply because River wants out, is getting restless and circling, or she’s gotten into something. (I see the crate in her future)

I love her. She’s cute. She’s funny. She’s got that cute face. She can’t take her daily naps unless she’s touching me in some way or has her head in my lap.

River The Dalmatian

She’s recovering from her spay. Dropping her off at the vet was hard, but I had no idea how much harder it would be to pick her up and witness her still under the effects of anesthesia. My heart kinda broke; shivering, drooling, barely able to stand up on her own. Despite all the assurances that it was normal, it was hard to see. I cradled her in blankets and a towel for the drool. She didn’t eat or drink at all the first day. I had to carry her out for potty breaks, my only prompt was her whining. By the next day, she was looking better and ate toward the end of the day. It’s been five days now and my biggest concern is her energy level despite the recent surgery; she should be taking it easy.

Then, came the new job.

It’s been a struggle. I’m not going to lie. It’s something different. I’ve never held an official supervisory position. The work I oversee, however, is old hat. I did it 15 years ago, helped oversee, manage, and develop the systems that are used. Now, I’m dealing with people.

I try to stay focused, motivated, and positive by reminding myself of what I’ve come to call, The Long Game.
That’s what I call my career move. You see, this promotion transferred me from my solo IT role to supervisory one over a position I had years ago. The move is strategic;

  1. The supervisor position looks good on a resume.
  2. I’ve never really done it and perhaps it’ll be a learning experience, and
  3. 3) the position is part of a sale to become another company, a company whose IT infrastructure is cloud-based. That’s what my degree is going to be in.

The hope is I get another job opportunity to transfer back into IT but for this new company. This likely won’t happen for a few months. As a “backup” I’ve already had two offers (verbal pie in the sky) to come back to my old IT organization. However, there’s a probationary six-month wait to rehire.
Such is my long game.

It’s a gamble, no doubt.
I recently walked over to my old IT department, all their desks are empty. They’ve moved out of the building, because of the pending sale/spin-off, but also because of the COVID-19 situation; everyone has been moved to a ‘work from home’ status.
It’s kinda shocking, unsettling, highlighting the risks of this long game in an uncertain future. The pandemic has changed everything…

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