Pandemic!

Last week Tuesday, I had a very tough decision to make—either go to my email conference in Greenville, South Carolina which I had been looking forward to for weeks, or stay home. At that time, nothing major was being canceled due to coronavirus other than some companies banning employee travel. My company was among them, banning all “non-essential” travel. Considering this conference is a one-time thing, was fully paid for and non-refundable, and I thought would be extremely beneficial to myself professionally and the company, I determined it was essential and decided to travel. And yes, this conference for some reason was pretty much the only one anywhere to go on as scheduled! I think it was small enough of an event that they figured it wouldn’t matter.

I had to leave home around 4am that day, and by the time I got to the Atlanta airport for my layover, shit was already hitting the fan. As I sat at the Longhorn Steakhouse bar in the world’s busiest airport, I started to hear rumblings about the NBA canceling the season. And by the time I got to Greenville, checked into my hotel, and wandered around town looking for somewhere fun to eat, the news was fully confirmed, with more sports suspending games or seasons. The rapid speed of major news hitting was dizzying, and suddenly I was wondering if I should have stayed home. At that time, I also didn’t know much about coronavirus or how dangerous it would be to me, so as more news that came out, I started to get a little panicky. A friend was suggesting that airlines would be fully shut down by the time my flight home was scheduled to leave Friday. I began looking into how much it would cost to rent a car one-way!

In the end the conference was very worthwhile and Greenville was a fun city to visit (and South Carolina was the 38th state to be checked off my list). I did have to have a couple extra beers here and there to quell some lingering anxiety. The flights back were extremely empty, but went on as scheduled and I was delivered safely back to Austin late Friday night with nary a sign of coronavirus.

We had one full day at home on Saturday before we departed for our pre-coronavirus-planned spring break getaway in Hill Country, about an hour outside of Austin. Together with our friends the Megos, we rented an Airbnb house well into the countryside, isolated from society—perfect for social distancing! On a large 10-acre property backed up against sprawling hills, we had (and still are having) a nice getaway that just so happens to be in perfect accordance with the current CDC suggestions.

The grand finale of this whole 10-day free-for-all was supposed to have been our once-every-three-year fantasy baseball league destination draft at Twins spring training in Fort Myers, Florida this weekend. But when baseball got canceled, we decided it was pointless to do the trip and canceled. We are all hoping we eventually get refunded for our flights.

But it’s just as well that I’m not doing more traveling. Since the start of the major hourly coronavirus lifestyle changes being implemented, I have been home for like a grand total of 24 hours. The rest of the time I’ve been feverishly trying to stay on top of things from the road or vacation.

As I write this, John’s school has been canceled until at least April 6, and probably for good. Edie’s daycare is still technically going to operate when spring break is over, but with some major restrictions. And even then I bet it changes by the time Monday rolls around. So we are looking into two possibilities… either hire a nanny to watch the kids while we work from home, which should be easy considering how many high school and college kids are just sitting around. Or pack up and head to Carpenter for the time being, where we’d check all the boxes of being socially distanced, having some help to watch kids, etc. We shall see.

Crazy times all around!

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