Weekend Plans: There’s No Place Like Home


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34 Responses

  1. jason says:

    I was supposed to go to a conference over spring break. It was canceled. I think it was a good decision: a national conference with people from all over the country traveling to one city via major airports is a good way to spread disease.
    My institution just decided to go online for the remainder of the semester, so I’ll be making some adjustments. I’m not too concerned about this because much of their work is submitted electronically already. I’m still shocked by the decision.
    Saturday, I’ll spend a chunk of the day playing Star Wars Legion.Report

  2. fillyjonk says:

    Literally all I am doing is trying to get to the grocery and buy a few more fresh foods before that even likely becomes impossible.

    In the past 2 weeks I’ve gone from “It’ll be fine, I’ll go visit my mom in Illinois over spring break” to “gee, maybe getting on a train to go see an 83 year old woman isn’t so advisable” to “Maybe I don’t do that shopping trip in the next biggest city over, just in case” to “holy crap, I may be spending spring break week prepping to teach the rest of the semester online” to “I hope I can get a few more canned goods before even that’s impossible.”

    Life comes at you fast.

    I am also struck by the fact that today is the day in the Ecology class that I do the lecture on exponential population growth. I hope I do not cry in front of the class. Yes, I am that scared by the situation, even though I live in a fairly isolated and rural area.

    On top of all that? Today would have been my dad’s 85th birthday. I still miss him even if, maybe, I’m glad he’s not here in the middle of all this.

    After class lets out today, after my meeting, I am coming back home and just holing up. Going to download some podcasts to listen to while I sew. I hope I don’t go too nuts with isolation but I know in the past being stuck alone for too long makes me pretty squirrelly.Report

    • I hope I do not cry in front of the class. Yes, I am that scared by the situation, even though I live in a fairly isolated and rural area.

      I have the same feeling (except that I don’t teach) often. It comes and goes. Sometimes I’m almost glib, and sometimes I’m fearful. I’d like to say that I’m mostly concerned about the more vulnerable people, but I’m also concerned for my own safety and for the general disorder that seems to be spreading. I realize I’m relatively lucky because I am (knock on wood) relatively healthy, if no longer “young.”Report

      • the fact that today would have been my dad’s 85th adds another layer of teariness to my already teetering state. (My students know I lost him recently and every time I’ve had to stop and breathe for a moment, or stopped and gone “oh wow, wait. that made me think of my dad” they’ve been understanding).

        I also saw the lines out of the Los Angeles Costco and am freaked out – I planned to go and do a bit of last minute shopping (more of the ultrapasteruized milk that lasts a long time in the fridge, some onions, maybe a few more “comfort foods”) and I hope it’s not like that here but I fear it will be. I could go early tomorrow morning but I’m also afraid I won’t be able to get any of the things I want. I don’t know how freaked out people are here. The nearest case is in Gainesville, which is maybe 70 miles from us.

        I’m bracing to just rely on powdered milk for a few weeks. I do have that. Or could mail order it if I run short.Report

    • fillyjonk in reply to fillyjonk says:

      Just ordered a large quantity of the dark-chocolate chocolate chips (Ghirardelli 60% cacao) that I use to make my morning oatmeal palatable (and to provide enough fat calories that I’m not starving before noon) from Big River, because I’m afraid I might not get out to the local Mart of Wal to get them, or they might be out. (I was spooked by that video of the LA Costco lines).

      I’m not going to lie: I feel much easier in my heart right now. I have LOTS of oatmeal, and as long as I have milk – or have powdered milk I can mix with water – I will at least have a somewhat normal breakfast through the however-many months of this.

      I know, I know: even Italy is keeping the groceries open, but we tend to be at the end of the supply chain here and we see shortages fast in any emergency. I just hope I can continue to get fresh milk; if I can do that I will be mostly OK, emotionally speaking. I have plenty of tea but I need milk to put in it.Report

      • George Turner in reply to fillyjonk says:

        Horizon organic low-fat milk, shelf stable, 12-pack of 8-ounce cartons. It’s about a dollar a carton ($12 for the pack) and what I grabbed was good thru May – sitting on the shelf. I imagine it would keep even longer in a refrigerator. I went shopping after the mad rush had hit and I don’t think anybody even went down that aisle. It was still fully stocked!

        Walmart also carries it, but check because they might only have vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate. I think the product is aimed at children’s lunch boxes or something. Anyway, the 8-ounce serving size is handy because you’re never committing to a whole quart or gallon when you just need a little bit each day.Report

    • North in reply to fillyjonk says:

      I’m sure it’ll be ok. I’m pretty blase myself though husbando is running around getting extra tissues and canned soup (which is fine, you really can’t have too much tissue or canned soup).
      He and I are healthy forty year olds so the bug likely won’t do much to us and my elderly mother lives in Nova Scotia where, so far, there’s no hint of it. Even the plague doesn’t want to go to eastern Canada.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to fillyjonk says:

      I have never seen the grocery like it was this morning (although we don’t live in an area where there are natural disasters with longish lead times, like hurricanes). I walked by several areas that were stripped bare: toilet paper, diapers, coffee, Hamburger Helper and ground beef. Everything on my list was in reasonable supply. All of the checkout stations were staffed and the lines there weren’t too bad, but the self-check line had 50 or more people waiting. I’m not sure what bad thing people thought would happen if they let a clerk touch their groceries.Report

      • fillyjonk in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Toilet paper was the only thing I saw that seemed in short supply, and even then the cheaper (and septic-tank-friendly!) brands were still there. Flour was a bit more depleted than normal. But everything else was well stocked, and the people in the store were polite and non-pushy and I barely even had to wait to check out (this was at 11:15 am here). I was quite pleased.

        And now i have onions, so I can make soup. And I have bacon so later I can make beans from some of my stored dry beans.Report

      • Maribou in reply to Michael Cain says:

        “I’m not sure what bad thing people thought would happen if they let a clerk touch their groceries.”
        especially as compared to touching self-checkout screens that 80 billion other people had just touched….Report

  3. Knock on wood it should be a peaceful weekend. We’re mostly stocked on everything we need, but I’m still on the lookout for fresher foods.

    I’m getting worried about the two student workers who report to me. It’s unclear what I’m allowed to let them do from home (or if our mutual employer will allow it), but I’d hate to have them choose between coming in to work next week and put themselves at risk or forgoing money/income they probably really need. So this weekend, I might try to make plans for things they can do. (Unfortunately, my/their specific job is very on-site focused, and it’s hard for them to work from home.)

    We had a trip planned to visit my spouse’s mother in a couple weeks, but we’re canceling it. One reason is that the flight wouldn’t be advisable (for the obvious reasons). The other is that the assisted living facility her mother is in, is in lockdown mode and we wouldn’t be allowed to see her. (Last I checked, her state has a lot fewer covid19 cases than Sangamon, so maybe they’re doing something right.)

    I just hope everybody stays safe and well.Report

    • Maribou in reply to gabriel conroy says:

      re: student employees – my employer has stepped up in that department and we’re still kinda confused … but if you are looking for policy language or anything around advocating for them to be financially okay regardless, email me off list, and i’ll send you some stuff. sometimes “but look college *X* is doing this do you really want to do less than college X?” can help a little?

      no worries if not, but if so, lmk.Report

  4. Marchmaine says:

    Grinding Stumps.

    I’ve discovered over the years that stumps are the asymmetrical warfare soldiers of team cellulose. They lurk in cleared land and either wear down or break your equipment… or your resolve. Sure, once you’ve identified and memorized their location you can avoid hitting them with your machines… but then that’s when they plot against you. Slowly gathering other cellulose fighters like tall grass and then their better armored friends, the honeysuckle bushes. Sure, the honeysuckle looks nice, but now the berth you gave the stump is expanded by the shrub… which then invites more shrubs and worse, a sumac/tree-of-heaven. And pretty soon you have a clump of invasive (and useless) cellulose… animals wont eat it, and its useless to build with or even burn.

    So I promised myself that the next large project that closed, I’d bite the bullet and buy the Stump Grinder for my Tractor. It did, so I did, and now I do.Report

    • Maribou in reply to Marchmaine says:

      Ugh. Stumps. So evil.

      It’s been a long time since I had to attack any, but 30 years is apparently not enough to dull the hatred.

      I’m so happy for you that you got a stump grinder.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Maribou says:

        Took out 5 stumps that had been a thorn in my side… the implement is a little wonky. I have to crane my neck backwards and down under my arms to see the blade… and then drive back/forth over the stump … but its a well-built PTO driven tool … so it does the job with vim and vigor. But not something you would really want to do all day, every day. Good for about 2-3 hrs then need to do something else. That is, perfect for a small hold, but not for professional work.Report

  5. North says:

    The cats probably are pretty pleased you’re still around (and especially pleased Maribou is around).Report

  6. Slade the Leveller says:

    We were supposed to go on a cruise down the Rhine in a couple weeks, but Viking went and cancelled it. So, now I’m on the hunt for a domestic destination. My dear wife pointed out that a lot of stuff might be closed. Maybe we can head up to the Maritimes, eh, North?

    As for the hoarding stuff, not worried about it, hence not doing it.Report

  7. fillyjonk says:

    Welp, my campus called it at 10:30 am: we are closing for an extra week for spring break (students are off, faculty are to report in – if healthy – during that week to work on “pivoting to online”) and then after that, at least two weeks (I strongly suspect it will be more, perhaps the rest of the semester) of all online teaching.

    this is not good for lab classes. My co teacher and I in the intro class have a way to partly compensate for that figured out, in Ecology I just told them – I knew in class – that we’d just count the labs they’d done, it will be the same for soils.

    Testing may be an issue but during the prep week I am going to get help for that.

    I got out to Pruett’s (small local grocery) at noon, it was very calm, I got everything I needed (including onions and bacon, for eventually doing a big pot of beans) for several weeks of hanging out here with minimal human contact.

    Being able to go in to my office will help keep me sane; next week is spring break so I will just hunker down here and sew or knit and read and watch movies and keep myself safe.

    It will suck mightily for a couple of months but hopefully at the end of this, the suck will gradually go away, and we will be able to move about freely again.

    I am very grateful for my enormous “stash” of yarn and quilting fabric and also books right now, even if Amazon is a thing and both Loopy Ewe and Simply Sock Yarn do mailorder.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to fillyjonk says:

      What kind of things does “pivoting to online” entail? Professional curiosity; 25 years ago I was doing a lot of research into multi-party multi-media real-time communication using internet technology. The most fun parts were adding to the basic control protocol to make it work in different settings. For example, a classroom setting and a brainstorming session needed very different things. Most useful thing I learned was that a “shared smart piece of paper” capability was enormously valuable. Most surprising was how quickly people relegated little video windows to body-language signaling channels. None of it made any difference because doing it efficiently required IP multicast, and multicast is not available on the commercial internet.Report

      • fillyjonk in reply to Michael Cain says:

        We use BlackBoard. Some people teach entirely online, putting all content up there, doing discussion boards, doing online testing, sometimes even doing things like Zoom meetings. I have my PowerPoints that I use in class up there (all of them, now) and I am looking to record audio lectures to go along with the PowerPoints. I will also open up discussion boards – I told the students it would be “virtual office hours” for questions or discussing during class time.

        Testing I still have to learn how to do but I have an appointment during our “prep” week to get that sorted.

        Labs are the big issue but at least in the intro level Gen Ed class we do, the guy who teaches the other section actually figured out a good way to do much of the lab stuff (thank goodness most of the remaining labs were genetic things that can be done with pencil and paper; we just did the big fermentation lab this week). I told my upper division students they’d be graded based on the labs they’d done.

        I’m assuming most of this will be done via bulletin board, most of our students don’t have fast connections (rural) so I am guessing Zoom capability will be laggy and limited.

        It won’t be perfect but it’s better than nothing, and better than putting 4500 people or so at risk by congregating them in the same space.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to fillyjonk says:

          I admit that I’m an old curmudgeon these days, but I still think the people building online education software have done a miserable job of choosing which media to use, and how.Report

          • fillyjonk in reply to Michael Cain says:

            Well, yeah, BlackBoard does kinda suck, but it’s better than having to e-mail stuff out individually to each student in the class. And I’m not sure the television-based system of the 1970s is any better.Report

            • Michael Cain in reply to fillyjonk says:

              Granted, Blackboard and I started with very different problems. I wanted to come as close as I could to recreating a classroom experience. The instructor would be live (although it turned out recording and playback were trivial additions). Slides could be pointed at* and marked up. Freehand writing and drawing should be possible. Everyone should hear the questions students ask. Plus I wanted to generalize it so that it could handle working meetings for business folks (with an emphasis on the technical people), or a lecture to a thousand people.

              * The experimental system was up and available to anyone in the company with at least a 1.5 Mbps corporate link. One day a colleague who had used it came by my office and said, “I was just in a meeting where we should have used your system instead of paper. We wasted 20 minutes arguing because one side of the table thought we were talking about paragraph 3, and the other side thought we were on paragraph 5. Your shared paper with the live pointer would have avoided the whole mess.”Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Michael Cain says:

                It shocks me how little effort companies put into teaching people how to effectively operate over a remote connection. Something as simple as “say what slide you’re on”…Report

              • Yep. At the opposite end, when I worked for the state legislature’s joint budget committee, we all practiced working page references into our on-mic presentation constantly. Stuff like “In the next table, on page 23…”Report

  8. PD Shaw says:

    Its strange how we’ve moved from having every weekend full for the next few months, to everything disappearing. The Birthday get together this weekend cancelled in abundance of caution for the grandparents. Daughter was supposed to go back to college from spring break, which incrementally changed until she was told to come get her stuff out of the dorm, we’re closing this sucker down. My son’s traveling soccer season is in delay, but the writing is on the wall; they may not resume. Illinois schools are closing Tuesday and I suspect he won’t have that final band concert, or any more stage crew work for show choir.

    Meanwhile, my wife can’t leave the 40-county service area of the healthcare system she indirectly works for without calling before she leaves and when she returns, so they can decide whether she needs to stay home for two weeks. I have no idea what we’re going to do.Report

  9. Maribou says:

    Immunocompromised. (Not freshly, it’s a due to a long-term med for one of my dumb medical conditions that is otherwise crippling, and to date incurable.) I’m very good at avoiding catching things we understand well; we don’t understand coronavirus well yet. Have been soft-instructed by my doctor to do what I can to self-isolate for my own safety, while understanding that people have to make choices, it’s not quite as bad as if I was on chemo drugs or something, etc etc etc.

    So, uh, feeling lucky I get to work from home for the foreseeable, like maybe even the rest of the month (my employer is encouraging that, also lucky). Still taking SOME vacation time most days because I wanted a break dammit, and hoping (but not feeling likely) that my trip to Seattle in a few weeks won’t suffer the same fate the Disney trip did. Given that all the travel people are saying “please don’t call us if it’s more than 72 hours until you travel”, it’s not like there’s anything I have to proactively do about that yet, so my cockeyed optimism won’t actually mess anything up.

    I… kind of like working from home? But there’s a whole lot of dread and worry and especially empathy for my student workers whose lives are a giant mess right now, and for my many many friends in Seattle where things are a lot messier than they are here, that I’ve just … sidelined. Because it’s not useful.

    Keeping an ear open for ways I can help my local peeps without actually, y’know, leaving the house unless we escalate to there being true emergencies (in which case the more rested I am the less immunocompromised I will be).

    Fun times with the furnace today, too! Two different workmen in the house, the furnace works great now, the utility meter for the furnace ALSO works, and the house is much warmer than when I woke up shivering this snowy morning.Report

  10. DensityDuck says:

    I’m happy enough to work from home, but apparently everybody else is too, and the VPN is jammed. Which also shouldn’t bother me, but I need a continuous connection for the license server for the CAD program because the company that makes it charges four thousand dollars per user, per year, for a program that they don’t sell anymore because it’s too old 😐Report

    • Just inertia, or did someone run numbers and decide that the costs of converting and verifying all the old stuff, plus whatever licenses and training for new software would run, is more than the cost of just running the old software?

      I worked at a place that put off upgrading Windows on their desktops for years after MS made major changes to the UI just to avoid the cost of retraining 50,000 employees.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Michael Cain says:

        They’re concerned about people grabbing licenses, forgetting to return them, grabbing another license, and then running out of licenses because everyone has like five of them. Which is a valid concern, but…maybe right now there could be an exception, y’know?Report