Coronavirus: Living History in 2020
Updated: May 12
The virus that causes COVID-19 is infecting people and spreading easily from person-to-person. Cases have been detected in most countries worldwide and community spread is being detected in a growing number of countries. On March 11, the COVID-19 outbreak was characterized as a pandemic by the WHO.
*This post is fluid and I will continue to add to the post as events occur.
Today, Saturday, March 21, 2020, in Kansas City, Missouri, the mayor announced that a ‘Stay at Home order’ would go into effect on Tuesday. Life as we know it has changed hour by hour in the past couple of weeks and journaling our experiences as a family will be a great primary source for my kids and their kids someday.
Mayor Lucas says that we need to impose these measures in order to “flatten the curve.”....just one of several new terms we have been hearing quite often these past few weeks.
I am using this space as a journal of events as they unfold. Sometimes we forget the details, we forget the people, the positives, the good things, the things our families shared, the things that became a ‘new normal. I want to be my family's historian.
Backtracking to our last week of normal:
March 10-13: Hailey, Jay, and I went on a vacation to St. Pete Beach, Florida. We knew that things were starting to ramp up, and as we sat on the beach, we began to be aware of a new term; “social distancing”, meaning you are to stay 6 feet apart from others. The idea is to slow the spread of the virus to allow the health care system to catch up and not get overloaded. We were able to do that very successfully on our trip especially with the beach, the sun, the fresh air. We overheard a few conversations on the beach about the current state of the country, and I remember finding it interesting that others were all starting to take note of what would soon become a very serious situation.
Hour by hour more events were closing; sports events and concerts were getting canceled. Every morning, and then again in the evening, we found ourselves glued to the TV and to social media to hear updates. One of us would hear something and share it with the other and it went on like this for days. During our last dinner out, Hailey learned that some universities were going to begin distance learning. The world was changing in ways we had never seen and we were witnessing it first hand. I was dreading going back to KC. It felt good and healthy to be outside so much.
We felt a little uncomfortable with the close quarters on the plane, but since we took up a row it wasn't too bad. We noticed the airport and airplanes were cleaner than they were typically. Hello?..... Shouldn’t they have always been that clean? The flight attendants commented that they would be coming through the aisles to collect any wipes we had used, which was something they had never done before. I remember hearing, just before leaving on our trip, that wiping down our area on the plane was a good idea. I hadn’t been able to find any wipes in the stores before I left; my first indication that there was a problem with supply.
While heading home from Tampa, I asked one of the TSA agents as we were going through security if the airport was less crowded. He said yes, and that most of the people were sports teams traveling home from their tournaments as they were being canceled. It was stunning to see team after team heading home; their season had come to an end.
Reflecting on that first week when things started to really change by the hour, I realize just how fluid the situation was, and still is, as I write today.
March 13-23 Concerts were being canceled, sporting events were played without fans, then literally the next day they began to cancel ALL events with large groups. No NCAA basketball tournament, no NBA, baseball postponed...everything was affected except football. (Sure am glad our CHIEFS got that Superbowl win when they did!) We went from events having to be less than 500 to less than 250 to less than 100 to less than 50 to currently less than 10 in a group.
Then the virus was labeled a pandemic. I kept telling the kids, “We have never seen anything like this since we’ve been alive.” It was hard for all of us to comprehend what was happening because day to day life seemed the same. We didn't know anyone, nor had we even heard of anyone that was sick. But the events in Italy were very telling and extremely sad. We knew it would head our way in time.
We had been instructed on best practices for handwashing, sanitizing things such as our phones, keys, credit cards, and even our groceries when we return home from the store. I canceled my trip to St. Louis, since there are three people I love that are in high- risk categories. At the time it seemed like maybe I was overreacting but I didn't care. I didn't want to think for one minute that I might contribute to them getting sick.
This virus attacks the elderly and immunocompromised more than others. The main symptoms are severe pneumonia, many requiring hospitalization with ventilators to help them breathe. If everyone gets sick at one time the whole thing might be over quicker, but there would also be a higher mortality rate. If we can slow it down, we will reduce the pressure on Emergency Rooms and equipment. Right now, the fact that people are making homemade masks to donate to health care workers because of PPE (personal protective equipment) shortages is crazy to me. Seems like something that would happen in a 3rd world country or a sci-fi movie. Private companies are attempting to make masks and ventilators. Our local distillery, J. Reiger, is now making and selling its own sanitizer and the lines are hours long!
March 23: Tomorrow we go on official "stay at home" restrictions. We are all starting to get into a routine of sorts. For me, it's all backward. I used to get up and work a little, go workout, and then have a protein shake and get ready for my day. Now I have found that I need to get up and dressed first, teeth brushed with my full skincare routine and a little makeup just to make me feel productive. Then I try to get outside and jog and walk several times throughout the day and do yoga. Wednesday it looks like I will be able to go for a bike ride outside and I cannot wait!
Students begin online learning today. So far all of the posts on social media have been positive and humorous about parents working at home with their "co-workers".
Today we started to see quieter streets, but I am curious about what it will be like tomorrow.
March 24: 255 cases in MO and 5 deaths as of today.
Today my friend, Dr. Stephanie Davis shared this article about the importance of slowing down the virus: https://acoep.org/main/news/5553/?fbclid=IwAR10H2hiUKLn6V2GdLk4uRt7Vf7pk1vwNvy4QDfOfX4hnZmqgsDWNpCID7A
She is an ER doctor at St. Lukes and has been posting valuable information that we can trust. Last week we brought donuts to the ER at St. Lukes Plaza. as a thank you for all of their hard work.
It seems there is still confusion and some anger over exactly was this new "stay at home" order means. I didn't see many people on my walks today and I hope I see more tomorrow since it should be warmer outside.
Having Cam and Hailey here has been more fun than I imagined. After graduation, Cam was planning on moving and working in St. Louis, so to have him here feels like a gift. There has been laughing, hanging out, walks, and great conversation. I have gotten to help Hailey (the one that makes fun of me when I don't "get" technology or social media) with ZOOM and Facebook so I'm pretty much winning at the mom game right now. It has also been great to have her here to collaborate with on our business. She even got her first promotion this week!
March 25: Today feels like the first glimpse of what might be a long haul. Thankfully, I have a long bike ride planned today. I am calling it "Laura's social distance ride". I am going to ride a route that goes by my friends' houses and stop to wave and say hello from a distance.
And on that note, I am going to share the one thing that has me a little anxious and left me doing a lot of “self-talk.” There is the phrase, “Stay Home.” Instagram has stickers with the phrase, there is a #stayhome and some even use #staythef(*&home. I believe it was designed as a quick way to remind people of the importance of ‘flattening the curve’ by slowing the spread. The less you are out and about, the slower it will spread. We are not trying to eliminate this disease but slow it so that hospitals are not overloaded.
The problem is that some are taking it to an extreme and “self-isolating”. I don’t believe this is healthy emotionally or physically. And the sad part is that they are shaming others on social media. I shared on Instagram that I was enjoying the sunshine and talking to my neighbors (at a safe distance.) I had someone comment, 'please face time your neighbors' I don’t know if she missed the part that I was being responsible or not. It seemed overly dramatic and made me anxious.
Last night as I was reading about a fun family activity called “Bear Hunt” where houses put stuffed bears in their windows for families to walk by and try to find, there was one person that was unhinged about the entire thing commenting that this is not responsible and we should all be home. The rest of the comments supported the fact that #stayhome doesn't mean LITERALLY do not leave your house. The fact is, there are people out there that think we are trying to eliminate the spread which is nearly impossible. (We will find a vaccine or get "herd immunity" to conquer this thing.) Another Facebook friend shamed a girl that posted she had Covid-19 and reposted the post saying “This is why we stay the eff home.” Gang, unless we are told to isolate at home, I will continue to follow the guidelines. And I need to spend less time on social media for sure.
March 26; Yesterday my social distance ride was amazing! It was so great to talk in person with my friends and everyone was genuinely happy to see me! I have to say that I was really craving some good cardio and muscle fatigue. I got home and Jay had a firepit going and we all sat around and grilled hamburgers and for a few hours, things seemed normal.
Today I went on another bike ride. After I got home and showered, my friend Chris came over to take a family photo of us on our front porch. She is wanting to use her photography skills to take front porch photos and give them to people for free if they would donate to a local small business. This is such a great idea because many families are all home right now. We didn’t get dressed up or anything. We want this to remind us of this time.
March 27: 100k cases and 1500 deaths
GM is now being ordered to make ventilators. The car company!
Look at our fun PORCH PROJECT photo! I decided to pay my stylist for the haircut I won't have as my "payment" for my photo. Pretty cool idea!
3/28 It is SUNNY today and warm! And super windy but that’s okay. Hailey and Evan and are on a hike at Hodge Park, Jay, Hailey, and I went for a walk to get coffee at Hammerhand. (They serve coffee from their front door:)
Today I cleaned and used a Clorox wipe on all of the door handles, light switches, and anything that our hands come in contact with. Also doing some spring cleaning. I don’t know that Clorox will help, but I suppose it can’t hurt. I do have a bottle in the car and I wipe down everything after I come into contact with people.
Last night I woke up with an upset stomach. For whatever reason, I am sure related to all that is in the news about Covid, I got a little panicky about the idea that I might get sick. What would the rest of the family do? Could I handle being alone for so long? People getting sick are sick for at least 2 weeks. And who might I have infected? I feel like we are getting close to more people around here getting sick. It is a strange feeling. And I cannot believe how deep I feel like I am sleeping. Jay noticed the same thing. We have this general tired feeling. We both slept for 11 hours, two days in a row!!
I just had 2 group messenger calls with my groups of girlfriends! Tonight we are ordering mexican from Jose Peppers. It feels like a good day.
3/30 MARCH 2020 longest month ever. It started with Hailey gaining a new business partner after a meeting at a quaint coffee shop in Lawrence. We went on a wonderful trip to Florida and spent days on the beach under an umbrella on a lounge chair. And then BAM!!!! I am ready for a new month but concerned it will not be better than the second half of March.
4/2/20 This is a great post to keep. It's all legit. See image below:
The day the anxiety settled in....but only for a few hours.I have control over it for sure, but for a few hours, I let it take hold. Too many Facebook posts with people shouting in ALL CAPS, and !!!!...shaming people, acting "holier than thou", and frankly, it was frustrating, scary and it knocked the wind out of my sails. They are scared, anxious, and frustrated that many people (mostly teens) are not following rules and they are lashing out in fear. I get it. It just doesn't feel helpful. And it’s only a very small portion of what I am seeing. I need to laser focus on what I CAN control.
I texted a friend who validated my feelings and I moved on. I took a few walks, worked out virtually on ZOOM with my girlfriends, made dinner for the family, and drove to the ER to drop off some fruit and hand lotion from R+F that my favorite doctor loves. I looked for joy everywhere I could find it. I heard birds singing in my friend’s yard while working out on zoom, I heart laughter from Hailey talking to her boyfriend, I had a great talk while Cam was on the porch swing. I hugged Jay and spent some time with Cota. I am trying to be intentionally present in each moment I am here on this earth.
Speaking of control….what CAN I control?
The energy I give
Exercising and healthy eating
Encouraging my students and others
Hugging my family often
My skincare routine
Following the CDC rules...sanitizing often, washing my hands A LOT! Not touching my face, keeping 6 feet from people (that one is hard at the grocery store and I TRY to turn around and keep away!)
Staying away from said grocery store as much as possible. Turns out that is the one place I don’t care to be! But if I go, I take my wipes and am as careful as I can be.
Cleaning my house and sanitizing often
Completing projects that are long overdue
Learning new things
Being my best self
What I consume on social media
The content I share on social media
What I CANNOT control:
My nails that are a mess
My eyebrows that will soon be a monobrow
My hair that needs a haircut
What others post on social media
Reckless humans that are being immature or in denial
Teens driving around on joy rides bragging about being with friends
Friends having gatherings
People’s personal opinions about what we should and should not be doing
How long this will last
The fact that we will ALL be changed by this in positive and negative ways
When the internet is slow
Others opinion of me
*** Ladies and Gentleman, April 3rd brought to you by…..hair, not in a top knot! It is a BIG DAY! (Photo proof!)
4/3 It’s Friday….I think...I mean who really knows? Everyone is here..…..everyone is home...as they should be. But it’s so funny to be on Zoom or FaceTime and see the husband walk by, the kids yelling from the other room or hear people on other meetings. The other day Cam walked in the room and burped REALLY loud, twice while I was on zoom for R+F. It was so funny because right now everyone just KNOWS. I came downstairs today yelling something and he was on a class zoom., Thankfully he was muted:)
4/4 Saturday: Sleeping late is not my norm, but today I just kept sleeping. It took a long time to get out of a funk, but a nice long walk in the brisk air was helpful. The internet is loaded with people commenting and shaming and yelling about people wearing or not wearing masks. I refuse to get involved. I ordered groceries online to avoid the whole thing. The stores are crowded, I truly believe, because we are a] ”hometown” and so many college kids are home right now. I went from feeding 2 to feeding 4...our kids eat a LOT! I can’t keep up!
Our walks as a family are priceless to me. I can’t get over this gift of TIME that I have been given with my adult children. I love watching them study and learn about college classes. I’m a little disappointed in some of the professors and what they are requiring. I hope that changes as they realize that we are all sharing one internet and one house...everyone is struggling for space and quiet.
The roads are eerily quiet now, as they should be. The grocery stores and LOWE’S of all places, seem to be the only lots that are full. Still lots of people out on walks which is so wonderful to see.
4/6 I feel as if people are growing weary and impatient with others which is to be expected. I walk through my day sometimes pausing in awe of what we are living through. On the one hand, it’s just not hard and makes me realize how lucky we are. On the other hand, it IS that hard, often because of how others are dealing with this.
Right now, the whole “Shaming” people is still alive and well….sadly. Everyone has their opinion, I am sure based on their perspective and how they are viewing this pandemic and the stay home order.
We are still doing okay in Clay County. 80 confirmed cases and 1 death. The biggest news is out of New York City. The article is frightening!
Right now people are tired, lethargic and just trying to get along. Most are trying to be normal, but the fact is, this is traumatic and I think we will see that after this is all over. I hope that lives are changed for the better and that people see that less can sometimes be more.
Today I walked into the dining room to see both of my kids studying. What a sweet memory for me. I didn’t even snap a picture because both of them being here is becoming more normal...and yet it’s not. I just love every part of having them here except the amount of FOOD we have to buy and cooking and dishes being done. I have decided to only do online grocery shopping but spent 3 times the amount that I normally do. And we are about out of toilet paper now! Hoping they will have it in my order!
I love my tutoring via FaceTime. So funny when the cat runs across the screen, or I learn about their family or try to really help them during this time. Some are stressed and have a hard time expressing why.
4/9 Thursday Today the Governor closed schools for the rest of the school year.
So many things make this new normal just so beyond weird. But I continue to try to do things daily to physically move my body, get outside if weather permits, talk to people and eat well. Today:
*took a 30-minute walk to get coffee with Hailey
*did my morning skincare routine including a little makeup
*drove to Blue Springs to see the Sims. I talked with them outside for a while. They gave me toilet paper for my birthday which is SUnday.TP...who would have EVER thought that TP would be a commodity!
*Took a 1.5-hour hike through a brand new area I had never been in Blue Springs. I felt like I was on a hike in Colorado and could not believe that I had never hiked around here. Yet another new thing that I have done since all of this started a few weeks ago.
*Came back to a FaceTime call with Hailey and a college friend of hers that is interested in the R+F business.
*Did some FaceTime tutoring which I always enjoy! I really hope to provide a service for busy families that are struggling to find time to physically meet at the library and their child just needs a daily check-in! Talk about inventing something new out of adversity!
*Made a really crappy dinner after cooking and doing more dishes that any human should be required to do after age 50!
*Settling in on the couch with tired legs and a body full of fresh air and vitamin-D.
*The realization that although my businesses have taken hits, I still have my R+F business that continues to run as usual. Travel will happen again next summer, and so will a full load of tutoring. I feel thankful. I am also glad that Hailey is a R+F consultant so that she will always have the security of an income.
4/12 It’s my 52nd birthday and thanks to Covid-19 and some amazing friends, I got a birthday parade! WOW! I walked outside to honking horns, signs, kids out of sunroofs, balloons and the sweetest Easter basket of gifts. This pandemic thing has brought of the creativity and kindness and love. I’ve seen many birthday parades, people in cities around the world gathering in cars or on their balconies to clap and bang pots and pans to thank health care workers, neighbors reaching out and being so kind, families taking walks together, dogs getting more exercise than ever and wondering when their humans will EVER leave home again! Zoom calls on the regular with all of its chaos brings people closer together.
Sadly, there are quite a few negatives, the many deaths and sick people due to this virus, the exhausted and scared medical professionals, the social distance shaming, rudeness to valuable workers, having to wear masks to the grocery store, political bashing out of the norm and more. But the thing is, if we allow ourselves to focus on that then that is how we will feel. But if we try to focus on the positives that we see it really can change our daily narrative. I see the flowers in spring, appreciate the fantastic weather, my unexpected time with my family, many walks together, time to think about people, and how we can help others.
4/13 Took my first trip back to the grocery store since I went a couple of weeks ago and got a little freaked. I had my mask, my sanitizer and I did it! I tried to focus and take my time, but those masks are not fun to wear, not to mention all of the things I knew I was touching and trying not to! I usually spend oh maybe $80 a week for Jay and I. I spent $350!!! I really tried to get everything and even found some fun things too. I found all of the things to make s' mores, some fun vodka, and club soda, and some ice cream that I do NOT like, but I know the rest of the family will:) I am trying to stay consistent with exercise and walking a lot more than I used to. I miss the GYM! I miss spin class, and the people I see. I don’t really miss getting my nails done believe it or not! And I found a thing to try to do my eyebrows and little facial hairs:) “Necessity is the mother of invention” is alive and well.
I got to do a talk on the Collectively United Facebook group page of over 2500 women and I LOVED It so much! It was fun preparing and just thinking about travel! I am loving answering everyone’s questions too. I am going to miss my Europe trip this summer that’s for sure.
I am working on decorating a little bit and am hiring a friend of a friend to help. I know what I like, but often have a hard time putting it all together. I also prefer not to spend a ton of money unless it’s for something really special like my dining table or the chandelier I want in the dining room. I am hoping to get our historic home ready to show someday for a homes tour. That is the goal. Our new sectional will be here in 2 months. I wonder what life will be like then?
I am also thankful for the sun, for my tutoring students and that we are all still healthy and getting along!
4/16 The days are going by much faster lately. I am pouring myself into tutoring online, which has a crazy schedule of 15-minute sessions all over the place. And my R+F business has so much to offer right now with so many realizing it's a good investment either in their skin or their business. I’m working as much as I can. I absolutely LOVE it! I love that I can get up and do whatever I want, take a walk, eat, go to the bathroom, whenever I want.
Hailey and I had the most amazing call with a corporate leader that I admire SO very much. I was so nervous. I tried so hard to prepare, and make sure I had all my ducks in a row. BUT, as typical for me, I failed forward. I screwed up twice....nothing huge, but enough to annoy me. But what I learned was so incredibly VALUABLE that it was worth it to be a little frustrated and embarrassed. I am so lucky to work for such an incredible business that is focused on helping others and caring for others first.
So it’s busy but it is a good busy. Like so many, we are struggling to keep our income matching our budget....which is all wonky right now with quadruple grocery sales and spending a lot less in gas and eating out.
I often wonder how this time will allow me to grow as a person. I have learned many new skills, especially around technology. I can tell that someday this time will benefit me as a person, but I wonder if others will be able to see that?
4/25 I'm not surprised that it has been so long since my last post. You see, things have finally developed into a kinda mediocre, not horrible, but not great, normal. Let me be clear. I am so grateful that my entire family is here with me. This has been the biggest blessing I never asked for. I love our family walks, I love having the kids be fun to hang with, the family dinners and firepits. My tutoring business has taken off in such an unexpected way. I absolutely love the new online format and hope to continue it. I am so lucky to live on such a pretty street with nice neighbors. I have friends that I can chat with on various formats. I mean, what am I really missing? THE GROCERY STORE! For the love....I feel like I'm in a sci-fi movie or The Hunger Games. Nobody looks at each other or says hello. Everyone is kind of in a daze. I get in and get out and it just stinks. I miss just hanging out with people. I am concerned about Cam getting a "real" job and hate that he has to pay for an apartment he can't even live in. I am sad that Hailey is missing her friends and Lawrence. I sure hope they don't delay the next semester, but I have a feeling they will.
What is the WORST thing right now besides the obvious that this disease has no vaccine and people are dying? The worst is the way people are behaving on social media. Why do I look? Just because I don't agree with someone does not mean I should hide from their opinion...even if I want to. I need to know so I can develop my opinions. I cannot hide from it or pretend it doesn't exist.
Trump supporter? Read at your own risk:
Since this is MY journal, MY document, and MY thoughts I can say that I believe our President is an embarrassment many ways. He is an embarrassment as an American, as a human, as a mom, a woman. And just like those that support him (hard to believe they even exist), my mind will NOT be changed. I remember when there was this idea he might run for President. I laughed.
I thought it had to be.a joke. I said he was like Hitler.
In a nutshell, he is a narcissist and a bully and I would never let a small child hear the words spoken from his mouth unless they were old enough for me to have a conversation about how it is NOT okay. There is nothing that he can stand for or cause that is worth his blatant abusive, negligent, and ignorant behavior. I do not care what you believe he will do for this country, the way he chooses to go about it does not justify it. The end does NOT justify the means. I am saddened by my friends that support him and truly would rather not even know who they are. And maybe they think the same of me. It is never okay for any human to behave as he is and it sure isn't okay that he is our President. There is no agenda worth this man being a leader. I would love to hear someone explain how their idea of how he is running this country excuses his behavior. He is the worst kind of a bully and anyone that tells their children that he is a good President might as well hand their child a license to act as he does. He does this in press conferences and rallies so we can't even hide from it. Gah.. I can't even.
So now you have a glimpse into how this has impacted my headspace. The worst of it is the social shaming, the opinions told to others about how they should or should not have to stay home. It's awful. It's the worst part. And it is sad. My heart hurts for the next month as our businesses and operations open up. There will be judgment and a LOT of uneducated opinions. People are not listening to our local doctors that know this situation here in KC best and I want to scream!
But instead, the kids and I will join Jay at our firepit tonight and try to chill for a while.
4/29 As businesses will begin the gradual process of reopening around May 5th, and life as we know it will be different for a while, I reflect on how for me, things have changed since this all first started for us in mid-March. It is so very much like the grieving process. And although it's not exactly the same, here is how I am seeing things:
Fear: Nobody wants to leave the house at all. Roads are empty. Businesses are closing.
Questioning/Uncertainty: Can I go out? Is it okay to go to the store? How do I protect myself? Can I talk to a friend at a safe distance? What is a safe distance?
Anger/Lashing out: Darnit, I want to go to the gym! I miss volunteering at KCPP. Why do these teachers and kids have to do virtual learning? It will never work. Everyone is at home. All the time. Why are so many people angry and “shaming” online?. So much political anger. Why don’t people see my point of view? How can they not know? NO graduation?
Denial: Nope. I will be fine. Can't be that bad. Most people are fine if they get Covid, or they are a-symptomatic. But….what if…. PIVOT is a word...adjusting to the new normal. Making things work for the best. I took my tutoring online and love it. Knowing I have a virtual business in R+F that I can offer to others if they too want a Plan B. Graduation online will be fine. It could be so much worse.
Acceptance: This is how it will be for a while. I need to learn to live with this and honor my emotions and make the best of it.
My perception of the past 6 weeks and the similarities to grief are exceptional. We lost our world as we know it and there is no endpoint in the foreseeable future. We will never truly go back to the way things “were.” The truth is we are all forever changed by this whether in a small or big way. When I look back, I hope that I can say that I came out a better, smarter, healthier, and more thoughtful me.
5/2 Last entry before sharing. I am sad that things won't be changing any time soon. I am sad that people are still insistent on shaming, on offering their uneducated and ignorant/unknowing opinions. Sad to see the signs all over restaurants and stores about how they are operating. I am sad that my kids are missing college and YET....I am still so very grateful fr the most amazing spring weather we've had in years, and friends and family that are healthy. Praying that in a few weeks, things will be going as well as can be expected after opening up.
Positive and encouraging: My ongoing list
3 girls on blankets studying 6 feet apart in front of the middle school
People are generally kinder to each other and talk more openly
Intentional communication through zoom calls or FaceTime
Families are walking together and eating together
People really want to help others
Dogs out walking...lost of lost/found dogs too!
Grateful ER docs when I bring food and R+F hand cream
FAMILY dinners, walks, and my kids all home.
Seeing all of the family crafts, families playing together
All of the church services and choirs online!
Grocery store workers