My Pandemic Year: March 2020

March 10, 2020 – Thus starts my Decameron

Covid has arrived in Seattle. The epicenter is a nursing home in Kirkland but cases are now confirmed within a few blocks of our office downtown. We have spent the last 2 weeks preparing for staff to work from home, and I have spent the same amount of time stocking up on food and supplies. I spent the weekend testing a company issued laptop and VPN to make sure I could actually work from home. I still cannot answer the phone remotely but I’ll try to remedy that this week.

Today feels a little like the zombie apocalypse. It’s my last day downtown before I move my office home and become a telecommuter. Stress today includes having to close Mom’s bank account before I was ready, so now final disbursements are coming out of my account instead of hers. Taxes will be interesting in 2021.

And once again, s*** happens and hat production grinds to a halt. I’m having serious thoughts of bagging this business altogether.

March 11, 2020 – The pandemic is official

  • At 9:35 AM, the World Health Organization (WHO) declares coronavirus as an official pandemic.
  • At 11 AM, Governor Inslee bans public gatherings of more than 250 people.
  • Airports remain open but cruises are being cancelled.
  • Schools are starting to close (optionally rather than mandated).
  • Restaurants, grocery stores and theaters are still open.
  • City buses are being disinfected (fogged) twice a day.
  • My personal lockdown begins.

March 13, 2020

  • Schools across the state are ordered to close as of March 17.
  • Libraries and most community centers close.
  • Canlis – one of Seattle’s 5 star restaurants – closes but sets up a burger and bagel drive through in its parking lot in a bid to keep their staff employed.
  • Trump declares a national emergency for COVID19 which he described as a hoax two weeks ago.
  • Stock market dropped 2500 points Thursday but rebounded 2000 points today. Trump takes credit for the rebound but not for the drop.
  • White House continues its play of a thousand errors as governors and mayors take over the decision-making process.
  • Hope springs eternal that Trump has lost his re-election bid as cases and death toll rise.
  • I decide not to record a lot of detail here as the news shifts about every two hours, and historical archives and news sources will no doubt fill the gap.

Four days into working from home (WFH), I take half the day off today to manage my stress level. I move my office to my sewing room, where I can sit at a table and look out a window. It might be less stressful than standing in my kitchen, which is my least favorite room. I also resolve to take more breaks next week.

I threw caution to the wind last night, and went out to dinner with Marie. Indian food at the Masala on Northgate Way. It was a good break for both of us. (In retrospect, it will also be my last visit to a dine-in restaurant for the foreseeable future.)

March 14, 2020

  • As of last night there were 388 cases and 35 deaths in King County. Cases are now expected to double every 5-7 days.
  • National numbers are 1629 cases and 41 deaths across 46 states and D.C.
  • Death rate world-wide is 3.75% as of today, though more comprehensive testing would lower that statistical rate.
  • There is now a concern about the lack of testing, and confirmed cases overwhelming our hospital system.
  • Trump finally gets tested today, after days of refusing. His test would come back negative, which I’m sure is a relief to everyone he shook hands with this week.
  • Hatmaking resumes.

March 15, 2020

Washington State now has 769 confirmed cases, double from what we had 4 days ago, which exceeds the scientific predictions that numbers would double every 5-7 days. Gun sales soar. COVID19 takes out our elders, guns are the 2nd largest cause of death among children in the US. Looks like millennials will rule after this is all over.

March 16, 2020

We are now following the trajectory for Italy – but in the absence of adequate testing, we have not much info to go on. Governors are now taking the lead, shutting down all but essential businesses as of today. They are pissed off and are not fooling around.

  • Grocers, pharmacies and medical providers remain open
  • Restaurants are restricted to drive-through with pick-up at a socially distanced 6 feet.
  • Theaters, coffee shops, barbers, fitness centers are closed.

March 17, 2020

St. Patrick’s Day in the Time of Isolation. I do nothing to mark this holiday. I’m losing interest in hatmaking again. I doubt there will be customers this year anyway.

March 18, 2020

Today starts the second week of The Great Isolation. Things are better. I have established a new routine, starting work at 7:30 and immersing myself in projects that keep me off the news.

  • Europe COVID-19 cases are now in double digits.
  • US cases are 7,786 which is about a thousand more than yesterday. An hour later, cases went up to 9,345.
  • US deaths were 145 but went up by 5 an hour later. Washington State still leads at 68 deaths, twice as many as yesterday.
  • Economy is tanking at a rapid click. Mnuchin is now voicing the possibility of 20% unemployment by fall.
  • My boss checks in on me and offers to bring me whatever I need, which is super nice and unexpected. I’m stocked up for about 30 days so the only things I may run out of are fresh vegetables and vodka.

March 19, 2020

The president of the United States is a whiney b*****. He blames China. He blames the media. He can’t keep his stories straight. I had to turn off the radio during the Q&A of today’s press conference because his rhetoric became intolerable.

March 24, 2020 – Face masks begin

I posted to Facebook yesterday that I was thinking about making face masks, if only I knew where to send them. Up pops a recent customer within minutes… Charlene, who had recently received her purple phoenix hat, is the director of a non-profit in Stanwood-Camano. She asked for 450 masks for a hospital and 2 nursing homes in the Anacortes area. I expect to be working on those for the next month or two.

My galleries are now closed, hat sales are now zero.

March 26, 2020

POTUS is still blaming, arguing with governors and telling them they don’t really need all the things they’re asking for. He wants all the churches to be filled on Easter.

Today we have more confirmed cases than any other country, including China. Death rates are starting to climb. Governors have been locking down their states all week. PPE supplies for hospitals are trickling in and not coming close to meeting needs. Hillary Clinton was right. Trump is determined to kill half the population.

It looks like I won’t be going back to the office before April 8 at the earliest. Working from home is overrated and I don’t know how families are managing it. My routine now includes mask making every night, it’s a mindless task that keeps me from deep diving into the news cycle on the web.

As of today I’ve made nearly 200 masks for friends, coworkers, the Navajo Nation, NW Hospital, Skagit Valley farm workers, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and my local UPS store, who donated shipping boxes when I refused to accept payment. I don’t profit off of pandemics…

Published by augustphoenixhats

I'm a self taught hat & mask maker, working in rescued textiles and found objects. My hat designs are inspired by my travels and historical studies, my masks from the textiles they are born from.

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