Today marks sixth months of the work-from-home order at my company.
I started tapping out these "what's going on" posts to see how we and everyone else progressed. We've fallen way off. Not because of the virus, but because the blogging, as with the rest of it, started seeming "normal" and just fit into the "same stuff, new day" kind of notes.
Since starting this, we've gone through all kinds of investigation and blame into where this came from and what it really is. All of the unknown, like what is a "coronavirus," jumped out and made it worse, then better.
Our communities and companies acted quickly to allow people to isolate. That seemed fine in March, but by April, that started not seeming so fine, and by the good weather in May, I think a lot of people were over it. With nice weather, of course, people wanted to get outside. For many, this was the beginning of masks, too. Masks seem to have been a horrible infringement of people's innate right to be seen, or something.
At the end of May, of course, we had the police murder of George Floyd. Sadly, one of many, but this hit close to home, and tore our city apart. I recall that it set off a spin of a lot of such city-damaging protests around the country. These may have been happening in places before, and my awareness was just low. It did start to get a lot of Presidential attention, though.
And the Presidential attention wasn't all good. It didn't spark the kind of discourse anyone really wanted. It wedged extra hate and animosity into our language and actions as a country. Between this unrest, and the growing campaigns, the political messaging just turned horrible.
The virus got a little bit of a back seat, but it never went away. There are no cures. There are no miracle treatments. There haven't been and subsiding trends. Spurts, fits, starts, slows, and ebbs, but not actually stopping. It seems that the high sunlight of summer does keep the virus at bay, but not everyone saw that as a protection. Or rather, maybe they saw it as more protection than it really is. Social distancing took a bath across the country and around some of the world, as people took to the streets and restaurants and beaches.
We also went to restaurants. One or two places nearby that bordered on take-out with picnic tables. We've been to a drive-in a few times, and have eaten in the Jeep. We've been to another drive-in that has actual picnic tables. One of our favorite weekend breakfast places sacrificed half of their parking lot to have outdoor seating, and we've been there a couple times.
We've added parks to our normal cycles, too. We go to different parks, to keep it fresh. We'll drive past one park if too many people are there first; like two families, or more than 6 other people. We'll also leave if more people show up. We'll walk or bike around the streets in our neighborhood, sometimes to a park, others just different directions.
We still shop in person rarely. Much delivery, much drive-up and contactless pick-up. The kids have been with me once through the hardware store in a pinch. They've gone into gas stations when we had our camping road trip. They're pretty much isolated to the house, neighborhood, and parks.
We did go visit one grandma for her birthday. She's been shut-in and doing the same isolation delivery and pick-up. She doesn't dine out often, so she didn't even have that. Just neighbors from across the lawn. We sat at opposite sides of her deck, and left plenty of room between when we did mill around. Masks the whole time. Not a great birthday.
The virus rages on across the country and around the world. The US is leading in deaths, by any measure. Brazil and India are catching up. There are a handful of very small, isolated countries who have not had any reported incidents. Either it's truly because they have none, probably due to their isolation, or they haven't identified the very few they might have had. Beyond them, no country has seemed to stopped the infections once they start. New Zealand had for a while, then they got more. Even China, who I'm with the skeptics in believing is under-reporting, seemed to quell the virus, but they're back in the counts. Small, but there.
Hurricanes and other storms have raged. Fires race across the western US. Hay fever is upon us as well. Even regular nature is hitting hard.
School started. Or is starting soon. Our kids are facing two different approaches. They're both doing OK now. It's hard for a pre-schooler to virtually school, though. I get that parenting includes involvement, but it now also includes half-time teacher during the day. An hour here or there with the teacher or class, and then some "independent" study. This at the least means compelling activity, and more likely parent-as-teacher presence and assistance.
If things go well, in two weeks, the younger goes back to in-person at the school for half-days in the afternoons. That'll ease the parent-as-teacher, and give some quiet hours at home, but it adds its own concerns. Unfortunately, despite our early schedules and hopes, the older school day is heavy in the morning. The older may also return to part-time school, a couple half-days a week. As things continue, assuming they stay well in hand, those days will get more and longer.
Progress is being made on possible vaccines. Lots of shortcuts and overlapping trials, though. I'm patient, and would like to ride out the first waves. In the movies, this is how zombie outbreaks start, of course. I don't expect that to really happen, but I want to make sure the cure isn't worse than the disease.
We're just about returned to where we started six months ago. In March, work was winding down from the winter holiday season, and in September, we're ramping up. In the spring we were weaning the kids out of school into summer, and now we're weaning them back in.
And I don't think we're close to done. Six months is half a year, of course, but I don't think it's half way through this stuff. Unless the first rounds of vaccines are successful. it'll be an isolated, cabin-fever winter, and a difficult school year. School colds and other illnesses will mean new and different evaluations. Spring will probably accelerate to separating again. My office hasn't released an official timeline for returning, but "through the winter" has been uttered by many leaders.
It took two years for the 1918 pandemic to stop. It's been a lot faster and even not very interrupting for the recent SARS and MERS pandemics. This one is somewhere in the middle, so far. We're hoping it stays that way.
Everyone is healthy.