We started a rotating work-from-home schedule on Thursday, splitting our entire department into two groups and each of our teams into two as well. The idea is that if someone gets sick, they will not be able to infect everyone and it's all about slowing things down and flattening the curve right now. We have a standing 11 am video chat for our little team, which helps, since even when I get back to the office, I won't see everyone and even my boss is on the opposite schedule.
Sweden is a rather social-distancy type of place as it is, so the current crisis doesn't seem to be causing as much freakout as some might have thought. We did have some panic buying a week or so ago, when the toilet paper and paper towel shelves at even our local supermarket were completely empty but they're filled again now. The things have have been low are pasta, canned goods and flour, but even those haven't been completely gone. The only thing that seems to be really hard to get right now is Tylenol-type painkillers. I was at the pharmacy a couple of days ago to get refills on my allergy meds and saw the pain medication shelves were completely empty still, after more than 2 weeks, apart from ibuprofen painkillers, which are supposed to be avoided if you get sick with the Corona virus. I asked the pharmacist about it and she said they'd already had to ration people to 1-2 boxes, since people were buying 10-15 at a time. They were supposed to get a new shipment in yesterday but I didn't go back to see.
I'm working from home through Wednesday next week, then switch and will be in the office from Thursday to the following Wednesday, unless our company decides to send everyone home for good at some point. I have a little command center set up on the dining room table with a big 32-inch monitor and my laptop. The only issue has been the slow connection, which seems to be the VPN to the company and not our actual Internet at home. Yesterday afternoon, it was so slow that I could barely work. Opening files took 10 minutes. Generating a PDF of the large annual report I'm working on took over an hour. VERY frustrating, and resulted in my working later than usual, since I spent so much time waiting for things during the afternoon hours, and even a little time today. Thank goodness we're relatively slow right now, or we'd really be struggling.
I've talked to my family and everyone is okay so far. My mom is on her way back to Michigan from Connecticut, where she was helping my sister with the last preparations before their move to North Carolina this coming week. My mom couldn't drive through Canada to get home, which shaves a couple of hours off the trip, as they'd already closed the borders to all but essential traffic and she didn't think they'd take "getting home to her 103-year-old-at-risk mother" would be considered "essential traffic." Martin's job is down to bare-bones, as restaurants in Michigan have been closed for dine-in guests. His boss is only allowing one server to work each shift since more aren't needed for takeout business. He apparently raised their minimum wages by $1.50 to compensate, since they rarely get tips on any takeout orders (and what they do get has to be split with the chefs, of course). Martin said it was better than a bad regular day but nowhere near a good one. At least he's still working. Karin is still working part-time at Axis, but 100% from home, though she might go on my schedule so she doesn't go completely insane. Her recently-new other hallf-time job as a boule guide at the Boule Bar in Malmö has also dried up completely as all events and gatherings are pretty much cancelled. She's moving back home from Lund next weekend from the apartment she's been living in since January. Apparently the guy who owns the place isn't able to come home so he's rented it out to someone else after Karin's 4-month sub-lease is up.
Honestly, I don't know what I'll do if any of them get sick, but part of me thinks it's pretty inevitable. Being so far away from so many of my family is really hard NORMALLY. Right now, I just want to gather them all close (which defeats the whole purpose of social distancing...). My cousin's son, out in Colorado, was the second confirmed Corona case in Boulder. He's recovering and was still in quarantine as of last week. His mom said he told her it was like being hit by a freight train. And he's a healthy 20-something. My cousin, who lives in the Detroit suburbs, had already reached out to Martin to see if he needed anything and let me know she was available if anything should come up. It's definitely comforting to have family nearby my overseas kid. Especially since he's without healthcare in the worst country to be in for that.
I've had to limit my news intake as it's too depressing. The Swedish newscasts are pretty much all-Corona all the time, and of course it's all over social media. I try to only check the virus statistics website once a day. My brother, who has already been home a couple of weeks with two active young kids and no work, has called more times since this started than he has in months, so I guess that's a plus. :D
Everything we had scheduled through the end of this month is pretty much canceled. The artist talk at the museum of sketches next week, all my choir practices (though the choir leader wants to try having practice via Skype/Zoom), a friend's 50th birthday bash, and all the AWC events. Anders and I have tickets to see a show in Malmö on April 9 but it's up in the air. And I have a hair appointment in 2 weeks which I'm REALLY hoping doesn't get canceled. UGH.
We had a gorgeous sunny day on Thursday, warm enough in the sunshine that I was able to take a 15-minute sun break on the deck in the afternoon. Yesterday was back to gray and rain and a thundering downpour of hail at 1 pm (which all promptly melted), but today was beautiful: sunny again, though still cold. I vacuumed and cleaned up the porch furniture and wiped things down so that we can sit out there as soon as it's really warm enough. We need the sunshine, that's for sure.
I hope anyone still reading this is doing okay and staying safe and healthy. Feels a little apocalyptic out there, around the world, but hey, at least it's all good for the climate crisis, right?