It feels like we’re living in a surreal time, we are. While I don’t want to add fuel to the fire, I also very strongly feel like I should be documenting this for when I’m old and my youngest family members are curious about what times were like. And to not lose sight, depending on how this whole thing goes.
There’s been an outbreak, a worldwide Pandemic of a virus called COVID-19. It acts and looks much like the flu, but seems to be even easier to pick up on. Most people pose no threat of not being able to recover, but the threat is there. And people are panicking.
Our governor was the 3rd in the country to put a shutdown on all schools for 3 weeks. I’m thankful that our kids are with us for 2/3 of the weeks and that they are in good spirits. My prince and I realized late Friday night, our house was not stocked with food well enough for there to be people locked inside for 4 weeks (because SD comes and goes every other week and doesn’t have the ability to freely come and go). So after hearing that grocery store shelves were empty, hearing stories that there was no toilet paper, milk or eggs, I decided to brave the stores and try to properly stock our shelves for the next week or so- enough for the kids to be able to fend for themselves during the day. We keep stock of particular items and weren’t worried about meat, flour, rice, or other basic essentials. But they’d get bored of bread real soon. Anyway, I went to our local supermarket, which is 20 minutes from our house. We live deep in the country and don’t have any form of grocery stores in town. The next closest store is a Wal Mart and I’d much rather give my money to a local guy than to the big box, when I can. Their prices are a little higher, but this wasn’t going to be a huge trip. And I thought- if I have to face the stores, I’d rather do it in a smaller, less populated area and not encounter the giant lines and masses of people. I’m thankful for this option and choice!
I walked in and the first thing I noticed were the cleaning products, right up front. 3/$5. I grabbed a few, since they’re all natural based and I’m allergic to most cleaning products. Found some sugary cereal for the kids, since we only have Oat Bran at home and they won’t eat it, and then moved into produce. I expected it to be wiped. Now is the time to bulk up on Vitamin C and natural foods, right? But they were full. Tons of carrots. Tons of apples, tons of oranges, even. The only items missing were onions, which I got the last bag of, potatoes, which we have canned at home, and bananas, which is normal for a Saturday in our town. I started to doubt the hype. That maybe it was just the big-cities that were running out. Then I turned the corner. No boxed ramen noodles, no mac & cheese, low stock on cereal, low on milk, low on many frozen items, Sales on bleach!, signs above every cleaning product limiting each customer to 2, no paper towel, and the store started filling up. I couldn’t find hand sanitizer, the one I keep in my car (even when there isn’t a pandemic) was running out. No biggie, I’ll find some. I grabbed our weekly veggies- green beans, asparagus, leafy lettuce, carrots, celery and some fruits- grapefruit, apples, oranges, and went on my way.
It started to feel eerie.
Yesterday, I was bound and determined to find my kids their precious Ramen Noodles, even though i know they’re terrible for them. And I wanted bananas, one kid doesn’t like apples, one doesn’t really like oranges, they both like bananas. So does my Prince. So I went to a smaller store that I thought might be hit a little less hard than the big supermarkets. Boy, was I wrong. I pulled in and taped to their windows were bright green signs saying “No Sanitizer, paper towels, toilet paper, clorox.” I left.
Next store, didn’t have the sign but the status was the same. So I finally marched into the grocery store. When I walked in, a woman about 65 years old stopped me and said, “It’s a madhouse in there.” almost as a warning. I grinned and moved along.
It seemed fine at first, but when I turned my first corner, I saw people running. Pushing full carts. I saw every aisle with more than 3 people in it (it’s lunch hour. it’s usually bare.) There were piles of stock sitting in the aisles that the employees couldn’t keep up with. I watched the employee filling the eggs drop an entire palette of eggs and I felt customers’ hearts sink. That’s a months’ worth of food. I turned and looked away, I couldn’t handle that. He didn’t even seem to care.
People starting seeming closer, with every aisle I went in. I ran up and grabbed bananas. I scavenged for sanitizer and never found a drop. And then I finally went down the ramen aisle. My kids only like one kind and they didn’t have any. not one packet. So i went for a random brand in a bowl that cost double what an entire BOX of ramen costs. But that would feed them lunch for the rest of the week. It’s worth it. And in the long run, it’s still only $4 or $5.
We’re on a tight budget this week, because my student loans come out. over $550 of payments come out in 3 days and there is not a great way to spread our money out to make those payments, so we always have one week/month that our budget is tight. This month, it happened to be when the Pandemic hit the USA.
I got in line, I double checked with the cashier that they were sold out of sanitizer. She laughed at me, her face turned red. Like she couldn’t handle telling one more person no. I checked out and sanitized my hands in my car. The only thing i wanted for the rest of the day was to shower. I could feel all of the germs.
Anxiety started hitting me a little bit. Too many people. Big crowds. A weird feeling of loss, since I couldn’t get the very few items I was after.
After dinner, my family watches a tv show together and I kept panicking about the shower. I didn’t take one right when i got home, like I planned– because the kids wanted to hang out with me, but that’s another blog post. I felt dirty. I felt like a carrier. I got worked up enough that i started to sweat. My head started getting hot. and as soon as the show ended, I took my temperature, i actually came in UNDER temp and promptly stopped worrying. My husband changed our water filter and I scalded my skin with boiling hot water. I don’t ever want to go to the store again.
I woke up to learn that more local government agencies are closing. More restrictions. Yesterday, they shut down bars, restaurants, gyms, libraries, and more. Today, city hall and some other small jurisdictions. A friend was without power- which frightened me.
I’m trying not to bug out. I’m thankful we live in the sticks. Thankful for our safety net. Thankful for our preparedness in some areas. Thankful for positive kids and a husband with his head on straight.
I’m curious how COVID-19 is impacting you and your surroundings. We have just over 50 cases in our state and it feels so extreme. But I am A HUGE believer in social distancing. We aren’t allowing anyone in our homes and we won’t be making any visits any time soon. It’s tough, but it’s worth it to keep our families healthy.