We have split into two cells at work to keep the numbers down in the office. This allows us to alternate weeks of self-isolation. I work in the Department of Defense, so there is plenty to be done to support Civil Authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is also the job of protecting the homeland. Even though I am home, I am on a two-hour recall, and I am going to try to accomplish all the administrative tasks and work items that can be done on the “unclassified” system. Classified work can only be done in the windowless building I usually inhabit during the workweek.
I have to come up with something productive to do with my time this week. Typically that would involve topping off the Cherokee and heading for the Georgia Low Country, where my heart is. Jeanne is a doctor in Savannah. She is smart, caring, and very good at her job. I am not the least bit shy about telling the universe that she powers the stars in my sky. Am I worried about her exposure to the virus? Only when I am breathing. I know she is careful and dedicated to her job. I know she does not shy away from a challenge. All traits I love about her.
The trip south will have to wait. I don’t want to inadvertently bring the bug to Savannah or bring it back from Savannah to Hampton Roads. This will have to be a Chesapeake week.
As I sit at my desk, I am coming up with a list of things to do over the next eight days. In no particular order, this is what I have come up with so far:
- Check on my neighbors to make sure we all have the basics for now. Yes, I can spare a couple of rolls of toilet paper, if someone on Musket Court needs it.
- Check on my family. Matt and Scott live in Norfolk neighborhoods, Alex is with me in Chesapeake. My parents are in Massachusetts, siblings from Baltimore to Boston, and points in between. I am worried about everyone, but they are a pretty smart group (even Bob has his moments). I will add Jeanne in Savannah and Carrie in North Charleston to that list. I consider you part of my family as well.
- Figure out how to get the SONOS speakers to stop defaulting to Scott’s Spotify list. He moved into his apartment in Norfolk last summer, you would think I would be able to sort this by now.
MOBY- (freaking) DICK! Herman Melville is kicking my ass. A couple of years ago, I started a list of classics that I need to read (or listen to on Audible). I slugged through Wuthering Heights fairly quickly earlier this winter. For whatever reason, Moby-Dick has become my White Whale. It ends this week! (I am about 2/3rds of the way through it.)
- Donating blood is up there on the list of things to do. With everyone self-isolating, the need is going up while donations are going down. If someone needs some A+, I am your guy. Getting an appointment to donate is proving difficult. My plan is to call the Red Cross and the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth tomorrow to see if I can give a pint.
- Paint Scott’s old room. That will be a quick trip to Home Depot. I know there is no such thing as a quick trip to Home Depot, humor me.
- Paint the foyer. Yes, another trip to Home Depot. Lather, rinse, repeat!
- Clean out the storage spaces in the finished room over the garage (FROG). Some boxes were moved from Rhode Island to Japan in 1994, then from Japan to Virginia in 1997. They are still unopened from the day they were packed in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Time to sort and discard those items that have no purpose. (40% complete, I started last Wednesday!)
- Writing performance appraisal notes for 2019-2020. As all federal employees know, the end of March marks the end of the annual appraisal period. This has been a big year with my promotion to GS-14. I need to get this done this week. (Famous last words)
- Work on the Family Tree and get some ideas for stories to put up on this blog.
- Figure out how to pick something to watch on Amazon Prime, Netflix, or Disney+ without getting overwhelmed by the number of titles available. If you have a strategy, please share it. I know the sports channels on FIOS are having a rough time when they are airing Putt-Putt golf tournaments and Spikeball matches. I had no idea that Spikeball was a thing until about two hours ago. I have watched the first two seasons of The Repair Shop on Netflix. I highly recommend it!
- The Yard! (Cue the dramatic music). I need to clean out the flower beds, fight the dandelions, contain the carpenter bees, introduce grass to the lawn where an imposing collection of weeds have taken over. Or I can make a call and go back to Netflix anxiety. You see how this is going.
- Grow a beard. Today is day two of not shaving. Alex thinks I can go five days before I lose my mind. Challenge accepted! The significant benefit is that I don’t have to think about it.
- Geocaching provides an opportunity to get outside while maintaining an appropriate social distance.
- Provide a little economic stimulus if I can. I am not talking Amazon, I am trying to spend my money so that people in Chesapeake or other Hampton Roads areas can safely work during this national crisis. I don’t have a lot of money, but I have funds put away to re-point the brick steps to the house and make improvements to the property that don’t require people to work in close quarters.
- Clean and re-ink my fountain pens. This is not a lot of fun, but I have really enjoyed using fountain pens since Matt and Scott got me hooked. My ink connection is a company in Richmond called Goulet Pen Company, so I can justify spending a little money with a “local” business. I am keeping it in the Commonwealth!
- Write. I have been away from all this for too long, and it really is my way to deal with all the insanity in my world. It may also help me cope with the new normal to come on the other side of this COVID-19 nightmare. The desk is cleared, dusted, and I have some time.
We all have to just knuckle down and do the work of being isolated for a few weeks. Social isolation is severe for social butterflies. We introverts should check on our more outgoing friends who are not used to hours of alone time. We all have to think about the people that are the most susceptible to the virus and do everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Everyone has to chip in.
Tell me what you are doing to pass the time. Excuse me, I have pens to clean and a “fish story” to finish.