Day: March 13, 2020

Corona Chronicles

And then life got even crazier…

I suppose this is the second in what will be an on-going series sharing my thoughts and observations on the most insane era of my lifetime.

I’ll work a little out of order to get caught up.

First, my girls are all out of school. Cathedral was scheduled to be off today for the St. Patrick’s Day parade.[1] The parade was cancelled so it’s just a day off for high schoolers. They were told at the end of the day yesterday that school was closing and all activities would be cancelled until at least April 14. They will begin an eLearning schedule on Monday and will be expected to be online to “meet” with their classes during normal school hours. M was sad that she won’t get a chance to play tennis, but was sadder for all the seniors who are missing out on their final seasons of spring sports. She said there were a lot of tears from seniors and their coaches as campus shut down.

A few hours later all Marion County public schools were ordered closed beginning today. The archdioceses quickly followed and St. P’s has suspended classes until April 6 at the earliest. I took C and L into school this morning to get all their books, check out C’s iPad, and grad a few assignments from their teachers. They also begin eLearning Monday.

As with everything else that has happened over the past three days, this was not a surprise. But for it to actually happen is absolutely surreal. As we walked through school today parents were all giving each other looks like “Can you believe this is happening?”

Thursdays are a meeting day for S, and she spent literally all of yesterday on the phone, bouncing from one conference call to the next as her health system raced to get policies and contingencies in place. It was a very stressful day for her.

She had been adamant as late as Wednesday that we were still going on spring break. But as the country shuts down that seems less realistic. Her employer is encouraging physicians to cancel plans so they don’t get exposed and put into quarantine in another state/country and not be able to see patients. They can get exposed/quarantined just as easily here but I guess they would prefer it happen closer to home. One of the girls cried when we told them spring break was in jeopardy.

With the girls home and S and I agreeing we should do our best to avoid eating out for awhile, I decided to rush out to the grocery store first thing this morning to make sure we could get through the weekend. I was not the only person with this idea. At 8:30 AM it was the busiest I’ve ever seen my grocery store outside the holiday rushes. The lady who rang me up said the place was a madhouse when they opened at 6:00. The store reflected that: there was almost no lunch meat or cheese, the fresh fruits and vegetables were well picked over. It was strange, though. For every section that was wiped out, there would be another section that had plenty to choose from. We normally drink 1% milk, and it was completely gone. The whole milk was getting scarce. But the skim section was completely full. Good luck finding a frozen pizza.

I saw a lot of people doing what I was doing, securing food for a few days and maybe throwing a little extra in. I grabbed a few extras on proteins that were on sale to freeze. But there were some folks who were panic shopping. One couple had two carts jammed full of food. And I did see one man with a cart that was full of toilet paper, which I found both humorous and sad.

It took me about 15 minutes to get through the line to pay. People were being polite and calm. It could have been a far worse experience.

There’s no evidence that the food supply chain is in any danger. You can never know for sure what is going to happen, but I’m confident while grocery trips may be a little more stressful for awhile, none of us should worry about losing access to food.

Onto sports.

Again, we knew it was coming, but when the NCAA tournament got scrapped I got a little emotional. Some of that was personal and stupid: I felt cheated that this KU team doesn’t get to see what their tournament fortunes held. This was going to be the third, maybe fourth time in my life that KU went into the tournament as the betting favorite.[2] Those teams all came up short. Would this team have been different? I feel worst for Udoka Azubuike, who stayed healthy all season and now doesn’t get to go out on his terms. I’m sad we will likely not see Devon Dotson play for KU again.

But there was also plenty of macro-level sadness. The NCAA tournament, for as often as it floors me, is my favorite event in all of sports. There is nothing like watching basketball all day with that hint of spring in the air. There is nothing like your favorite team making a run over three weeks. And now it’s all gone.

I hoped the NCAA could find a way to simply postpone the tournament and play it later, but I understand why that was an unrealistic hope. Forget all the logistics of gaining access to arenas, blocks of hotel rooms, etc. We don’t know when it will be safe to have large groups traveling across the country again. Even if we knew they could play the tournament in three weeks, how do teams get back in game shape without playing any games?

It’s for the best, even if I hate it. I had this fear that if they continued with empty arenas, important players would start getting sick and that would ruin the tournament, likely forcing a cancellation after games had begun. Or what if they made it to the Final Four and suddenly half of one team was symptomatic and locked down?

Every other sport shutting down is just an extra kick in the nads. I guess we’ll all be streaming a lot of TV for awhile. I made a run to the library today to grab an extra stack of books. Just as I was parking I got an email from the library saying all events it hosted were cancelled. It would not surprise me if most libraries either close or begin limiting their hours soon, thus my trip.

And so begins the strangest chapter in world history of our lives. I think we’ve jumped past 9/11. The entire world is shutting down. All the evidence is that this will pass in weeks, maybe months, and the massive majority of us will emerge unscathed. If it keeps our hospitals open, our healthcare workers functioning, and reduces infections and deaths, it will all be worth it.


  1. I know, right?  ↩
    1. 2010, and maybe 1986. The 2016 team was the #1 overall seed but that was in a year when there was a big group of good teams at the top. They were just the top team that had lost the least recently to nab the #1 seed.

Friday Vid

“Don’t Dream It’s Over” – Crowded House
This song has been going through my mind the last 36 hours or so. Granted, it’s always in my head since it is my favorite song ever. But I keep thinking of how it was used in the 1994 adaptation of The Stand. I don’t think we’re getting anywhere near what Captain Trips did to Stephen King’s mythical, late 70s US, but there is certainly madness about. More about the madness later. Enjoy this, from Crowded House’s farewell concert in 1996.

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