When I wrote last week’s Frugal Five, I was at the end of my first week working from home (with the kiddo home as well). Even just one week ago, the Coronavirus didn’t quite seem like it could possibly get so bad. It felt like I was perhaps overreacting when I didn’t send the kiddo to preschool, and then when I kept him home from the days with his grandmothers (and great grandmother).
Just a week later, it doesn’t feel so much like overreacting. The NBA suspended its season. Celebrities are announcing their positive COVID-19 tests. Our schools are closed for at least the next six weeks. Disneyland is closed. Gatherings of over 250+ are prohibited (and similar or stronger mandates are happening in other states and countries). The WHO has labeled it as a pandemic. Just a week ago, people weren’t too concerned about preparedness. Now, I’m getting a number asking me what they should buy.
But really, it still all feels totally surreal. The weather is absolutely beautiful – the sun is shining again – and I’m sitting outside in my sunglasses while I write this. It doesn’t seem possible that all over the globe this virus is ravaging nations and changing the way we live, at least for now. No matter how things play out over the next few weeks and months, I expect the way we do life as a planet will change.
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Friday’s Frugal Five
1. I made the decision this week as I’m mostly over my mild cold at this point that I will be working from home for the duration, however long that may be. I have to ability to, and so I feel that it is my duty to stay home and stay away from places where I could catch/pass on COVID-19. So that means keeping the kiddo out of preschool and me out of the office.
Working from home does mean no driving (and no driving in general), so my environmental footprint is definitely lower than normal. While there is so much bad with what’s going on right now, I do at least take a tiny bit of heart that emissions are down at least. And maybe, hopefully, after things settle down, that will stick.
2. While I feel pretty helpless on a larger scale when it comes to what this virus will do to my community and the rest of the world, there are a few things I can do. I talked about this last week, but I am spending money locally as much as possible.
Our local businesses are struggling, and some are already closing – either temporarily or permanently. We have a solid emergency fund and my job can be done from home (and we are NOT selling investments during this downturn), so we are in a good position financially. Not everyone is, and I am doing what I can to help my community in that way.
I stumbled upon a Seattle Restaurant Support group on Facebook, but there wasn’t one for the Eastside, so I set up a group. Within the first few hours, there were a few hundred people in the group and talking about how to spend money locally – and which restaurants were set up to support from afar (by ordering delivery or buying gift cards for future use).
If you’re local, please join these groups and support where you can. If you aren’t local, perhaps this is your nudge to set something up in your community. We will get through this pandemic at some point, and I’d love for a few more local businesses to get through it as well thanks to our support.
3. We’ve been on a lot of walks these days and a good amount of time outside and in the woods. Just like last week, I am reminded of how lucky we are to have access to so much nature without having to go anywhere. And, like last week, I haven’t been driving anywhere.
At the end of each day, I’ve been taking the two dogs and going out for a walk just with them. In that half hour or hour (or longer), life feels normal, for at least a short while. I turn off the news, listen to an audiobook, and just enjoy being outside.
4. My mom hasn’t been able to see the kiddo because of this whole situation, and they’ve really missed each other. While she can’t see him physically, we have been FaceTiming some, though it clearly isn’t the same.
Since she can’t see him, she’s been sending gifts to play with, which has been so appreciated. These manual throwing airplanes have been the biggest hit, and we’ve been taking them down to a field at the park to play with in the sunshine. My mother in law did manage to come over one day, but we kept a “social distance” of six feet apart the whole time. Hard, but it was still so good to see her and walk to the park and play with the planes together. It’s going to be a long bit until we get back to a semblance of normalcy, but these things help.
5. Our neighbors have kept their children home even before the governor mandated that the schools close for a minimum of six weeks, so our kiddo has been able to play with them during the week, which has been huge. As long as we aren’t interacting with the world at large, it feels good to at least have one family we can see for now (and none of us are in a high risk category).
We’ve also been able to be outside and talking to a number of our other (older) neighbors while maintaining that distance between us. While it initially felt pretty odd to have that space while talking, we talk from our yards often enough that it wasn’t so strange. And as a super extrovert, it is so, so nice to be able to talk to people in person.
This week has been lots of walking again. I think I will try and run next week, but keep it really short. My foot isn’t 100% better yet, but it’s getting there. Otherwise, I’ve done some yoga, but at a minimum, I’ve gone for a walk outside and hit my 12,000 steps every day.
Have you prepared for COVID-19? Do you have at least a two week supply of food and supplies in case you need to be home for that long?