Quarantine Diaries – Week 1

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a week since San Antonio went into quarantine protocols. I talked a little bit about what happened in the first few days in last weekend’s Sunday Coffee, but with the world rolling so quickly, I wanted to start tracking things more closely for personal future reference. If your mental health is at a point where you cannot bear to hear more about quarantine stuff, skip to the bottom of this post for a list of positives and highlights and Nice Things. We all need some of that right now!

–Friday, March 13th
San Antonio confirmed its first case of COVID-19, travel-based rather than community-spread. Mayor Nirenberg called emergency meetings and began proactive quarantine protocols. From these meetings and protocols, a ton of stuff changed over the course of Friday:

  • public schools extended spring break another week, and scheduled events such as UIL or SAT tests were delayed
  • many community events from the next few months, like Siclovia, were canceled
  • Fiesta (a major SA holiday/event that takes place in April) was moved to November
  • Jason was told to work from home until further notice
  • the public libraries closed their doors for the next week and suspended due dates and fines

(1st day of quarantine in SA! These shelves were filled the day before.)

These don’t include ALL the changes in the city, just the ones that affected us personally. Additionally on Friday, Jason decided to do our weekly grocery shopping a day earlier than normal. We knew people would be out in panic-runs at the stores. Laurence and I had just been at the store the day before to pick up a few mid-week things we needed, and of course we knew the toilet paper would be gone (we didn’t need any, thankfully!). But between Thursday and Friday when Jason went, nearly the entire store had been cleaned out. It’s weird to see the produce section entirely empty except for a few stray turmeric roots and super-expensive varieties of apples. Why are people stocking up on highly perishable foods? Anyway, he got what he could, improvising when necessary. Rice is the big one we’re low on. We’ll just have to make do. Weird grocery store story, though:

Jason was waiting in line to check out when the woman behind him suddenly hopped over the carts to the woman in front (who was currently paying for her groceries). The cart-hopping woman grabbed the wrists of a person who had grabbed some bags out of the paying-woman’s cart. Quick thinking and moving, lady! No one else had even noticed. This is totally unlike normal behavior here. I mean, I get that things are looking pretty scary in the world, but seriously, calm down! Stealing paid-for groceries out of another person’s cart is NOT COOL.

–Saturday, March 14th and Sunday, March 15th
I’m putting these dates together because I can’t remember exactly what came on which day. Over the weekend, several more cases of travel-related infections were reported in SA, but no community-spread yet. I started getting notices from various businesses that I frequent, first telling me that they were reducing hours, and later closing physical stores altogether to move to all-online business. Thankfully, most of them are able to keep paying employees in the meantime, but it’s so odd to see doors closed to Fleet Feet, Lane Bryant, Alamo Drafthouse, Animal Defense League, the SA Zoo, and so many others. HEB (our grocery chain) moved to 12-hour days so that overnight stockers could try to get ahead of the panic-buying, and they implemented limits on specific items.

On a more personal note, I had to convince my mom not to come to Laurence’s birthday party Sunday. She and my stepfather got sick with what they believe is influenza several weeks ago, well before COVID-19 officially hit Texas. On Sunday, she was still coughing like crazy and very tired. She agreed to stay home, but unfortunately she planned to go to work the next day. This is the worst – she works at a preschool in Hondo that’s run by her sister. This preschool is half-school half-daycare, and my aunt decided to keep it open in spite of everything. She and my uncle encouraged my mom to come back in to work, telling her that if the fever had broken (which it had quite early in the illness), she was no longer contagious. This, of course, isn’t true, but sadly this part of my family gets their news from Faux News and they believe a lot of misconceptions that are going to contribute to the problem. Additionally, my mom was meant to spend the night with my grandparents, who are absolutely solidly in the most vulnerable population. Of course, they’re not taking this seriously, either, refusing to let anyone shop for them and going out to stores themselves. Sigh.

Lastly, our murder mystery online dinner party was canceled/postponed, because apparently our Wisconsin relatives were actually planning to get together physically, and decided that was a bad idea right now.

–Monday, March 16th
More cases reported. More businesses closed down. I had to pick up a prescription, so Jason and I braved HEB and managed to get some eggs and iced coffee and tuna, but no rice. My hiking group canceled the big event they had planned for the 28th, and put caps of 10-15 people on their smaller hikes. I canceled my upcoming chiropractor appointment – that can wait until this blows over! We found out that an employee at Jason’s work had contracted COVID but was being treated in another state and likely had no contact with Jason or his immediate coworkers. In the evening, we found out that Jason’s brother and his wife had gone into voluntary quarantine because she’d had contact with her chiropractor who had contact with another patient who later got the virus. It’s unlikely they’ll be affected by such a slight contact, but just in case, they went into quarantine.

–Tuesday, March 17th
Several major things happened on this day. 1) San Antonio’s number of cases jumped from 4 on Monday to 11 by the end of Tuesday. 2) The boys received notice that the schools would stay closed until April 3rd at minimum, and all lessons would start online next week. Events like prom, summa awards, etc would be either delayed or canceled. Depending on how things go, graduation might be as well.  3) Morrigan called because KU closed to all students for the rest of the semester and needed to be picked up and off campus by Friday. (On that note: There have been several cases of community-spread in Lawrence, Kansas, and Morrigan worked in the dining halls, exposed to thousands of students. While he has no symptoms, he could be in the incubation period. So could many other students. It seems dangerous to send them all to their homes across the country rather than sheltering in place. Won’t that potentially spread this disease more??)

(Even stuck at home, they “dressed” in green…)

–Wednesday, March 18th
Jason left for Kansas very early in the morning and made it there safely. I canceled my upcoming massage even though I could really use it right now. By evening, San Antonio had shut down restaurants (except drive-through), bars, malls, bowling alleys, gyms, theatres, and all “non-essential” businesses. Local positive-virus-count jumped to 25. My aunt finally decided to close the daycare/preschool and Wednesday was their last day until further notice. My anxiety ramped up so badly that I couldn’t sleep, especially with Jason being away.

–Thursday, March 19th
By evening, local case count was up to 29, of which at least six are community spread. Jason and Morrigan arrived safely from Kansas. (Gavroche immediately claimed one of their suitcases. <– ) Texas finally got its act together and banned non-essential businesses state-wide and not just in the major population centers. My mom told me that my grandparents finally began to take this seriously and have agreed to shelter at home and let others run their chores for them. Whew!

So that’s about how our first week went. We’re all back together again and settling in for the long haul. How are things in your neck of the woods? Ready for some more positive things?

Positives and Highlights and Nice Things
I’d go mental – I’m sure we’d ALL go mental – if we didn’t have nice things to focus on at the same time. So to think about the positive, here are some of the more wonderful things from the first week of quarantine in no particular order.

  • Some of the stores that sent me store credit for my birthday changed their rules so that this credit could be used on online orders.
  • I’ve been able to get out to local parks or in the neighborhood for walks/runs to keep my fitness up while still staying away from people.
  • Laurence has been keeping me up to date with football news all week. He’s also been using his time off to rip up our rotten back deck so that we can change that area into something nice.
  • Backyard friends –>
  • I’ve been binge-listening to the Real Life Ghost Stories podcast and that’s keeping me highly entertained.
  • Jason doesn’t have to worry about his job. He can work from home without a problem, so that’s one less worry for our family.
  • The boys are really good at technology, and we have enough old junk laptops for them to use that this online school thing should be fairly easy to handle. (Or at least as easy as the software/internet/teachers can make it.)
  • I realized just how fortunate we were to sell our old house before all this virus stuff happened, because the market is going to be nuts and we could NOT afford months and months of double mortgage payments!
  • Harry Potter Wizards Unite has updated the game to make playing from home FAR easier.
  • Ash has started purring loudly every time I give him treats. He hasn’t really done a lot of purring since our year in Boston, so it’s strange and wonderful to hear after so much time!
  • As someone who has been at home full time since October 2005, the only adjustments that I’m making right now are the same ones I make every winter/spring/summer break. I have some solid routines to fall back on and I’m not worried about getting cabin fever. I did all that years ago. (Also, kinda stoked that people might understand a little better that stay-at-home-moms aren’t “not working,” because that’s ridiculous!)

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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