Pandemic Journal ~ My Memories Part 1

My friend Judy at My Front Porch wrote a post about her story during this Pandemic to document this time in history and it inspired me to do the same.

The first note in my journal is a prayer request on Wednesday March 11th during our weekly Prayer meeting at church. Item #9 ~ Corona virus. It wasn’t at the top of the list…yet.

On February 27th I flew to Southern California for our sister’s Leap Year birthday and there was no one on the flights with masks on. I had my disinfecting wipes with me because even prior to the COVID-19 scare I always wipe off the fold down tray and arm rests. The gal next to me asked to use one of my wipes and I gladly obliged.

While in Southern California there still were no restrictions in place so we enjoyed eating out and my sister’s birthday party with about 30 or so guests. The first out of the ordinary thing we saw were hoards of people at Costco over stocking. On my flight home on March 3rd the conversation stemmed around people not being able to find toilet paper. More people around me asked to use a wipe.

Now we are back to the week of March 8th. We went to church without suspecting it would be our last time in the congregation for many weeks. On Thursday March 12th we heard that President Trump halted all travel to and from Europe excluding the UK as of Friday the 13th of March. We were heading to Spokane Valley on this day to use reservations at the Hampton Inn that friends could not cancel. Little did we know when we said we’d use the 2 rooms that were paid for already that we would be there with just a handful of other people.

Our kids were out of toilet paper and we got to the Costco on Sprague in Spokane a little before they opened. We noticed right away that the parking lot was full already and it was 30 minutes before opening. Yikes. There was a line up and we got in line with less than 6 feet between us. When the doors opened everyone made a beeline to the paper goods section. Costco figured out some ways to alleviate bottle necks in the paper section and they stacked the TP in the frozen aisle with an attendant that handed each member their package. Our kids wanted baby wipes, which was another premium item and we were able to put two boxes in our cart. Two boxes of diapers added to the cart and we were home free. We made it into a line and out the door before the lines were reported to be to the middle of the store. Yikes.

Costco was so strapped that they couldn’t cash our Executive earnings check so they had to write us a check that we could cash at our bank. On the way to the hotel we stopped at a branch of our bank and cashed the check. The folks at the hotel were very welcoming and we were able to check in early. I had brought my own jug of Clorox disinfecting wipes and I set about to disinfect both of our adjoining rooms to our satisfaction.

After lunch at a Mexican Restaurant close to the hotel, we spent the rest of the afternoon doing some shopping at the Cabella’s in Idaho (Spokane Valley is just a few miles from the Washington/Idaho border) and then TJMaxx, Nordstrom Rack, Barnes and Noble and last a stop at Krispy Kreme for a little snack to take back to the hotel.

On Friday the thirteenth we started hearing about more closures due to the Virus threat. The hoarding of disinfectant, hand sanitizer, TP and other paper products was at a fever pitch. We shopped at Fred Meyer, Hobby Lobby, Total Wine, and Party City. We were still hoping Addy’s Daniel the Tiger 3rd birthday party would happen.

For my early birthday meal out we chose The Clover in Spokane near Gonzaga University. What a gem of a restaurant it is and we hope to return when things get back to semi-normal.

The Dungeness Crab and Artichoke Dip was so delicious! Because it was my birthday they added this dessert for free. Yum! The biscotti was made in their own bakery.

While at the restaurant we heard that all schools in Washington State would be closed through April.

Saturday the fourteenth of March (my 69th birthday) our kids made the journey from Colville to Spokane Valley to join us at the hotel. We got had some lunch and then got them settled into their room.

We had the hotel pool all to ourselves and it was a fun time with Jaymison and Addy. We all got cleaned up and headed to a couple shops (still no restrictions) and then out to dinner for my birthday. This was a snow blowing freezing day.

On this day we heard about the Disneyland closure, all hotels around Disneyland closed. All public gatherings over 250 people prohibited. No flights to and from Europe.

Sunday was a leisurely morning before we checked out to go home. We stopped at Costco on our way home for gasoline and to pick up a few more things. (Gluttons for Punishment) We stopped at Super 1 once we were in Colville to get what we’d need for our Corned Beef and Cabbage meal on Tuesday the 17th of March, St. Patrick’s day. Hints of what was to come…no carrots or potatoes.

Now we were hearing no meetings over 50 people, no sports, no restaurants except take out, and then no meetings over 10 people.

Everyone was scrambling to put plans in place on how to proceed with church services. Non-essential services were shut down. Interesting what the powers that be deem essential. Non essential included hair salons, many retail shops, golf courses, bowling alleys, gyms, elective surgeries, dental services except for emergencies, optometrist, etc. My eye surgery 6 month follow-up was cancelled.

The kids came over for St. Patrick’s Day meal and we talked about Addy’s birthday having to be cancelled. Our kids from the Coast would not be coming over for the weekend. This is the point where the Pandemic really hit home.

The Pandemic Part 2 coming in the future.

Spring Forward

Our little grands brought their folks over for dinner last Friday and I tried to capture some photos of the two. Evening is not the best time for photos. At the time of these photos Addy was 2 weeks shy of turning 3 years old. Jaymison was about 5-1/2 weeks shy of turning 1. Jaymison has no idea about what his birthday means but Addy is counting the days till Auntie Lolo, Uncle Joshie, Auntie Katie and Uncle Andrew arrive from the Coast to celebrate her birthday.

We are helping the economy of Spokane Valley for a few days staying in a very uncrowded hotel and eating at empty restaurants and shopping in stores we don’t have in Colville. We are being cautious and the hotel has initiated extra care, too.

We had the Pandemic Costco shopping experience on Thursday morning in Spokane Valley. Costco opens at 10:00 am. We arrived at 9:30 and the parking lot was filling up fast. Crowds of folks were outside the doors with their carts waiting for the doors to open. They opened 15 minutes early and the great majority of people rushed to the section of the store where the toilet paper is usually stocked. Because of what has been happening in all the Costco stores they were inventive and stacked all the toilet paper in the freezer food case aisles and the employees were pulling the packages off the piles and handing them to people. I got one, just one, package of the Kirkland brand of TP for our kids (they were out, not hoarding) Then I headed to diapers and baby wipes. Dear had the cart and walked leisurely to where I was to load the diapers and wipes and he had gotten a package of our brand of TP. We decided to throw in a case of bottled water, too. A bottle of Vitamin C tablets for good measure and we were in line ready to leave this crazy scene. We made it out in time to avoid the checkout lines that extended back to the middle of the store. Sheesh. It was busier than Christmas or Black Friday.

So we all are wondering what the deal is with the run on toilet paper? Do you know?

Praying that the virus will be able to be contained soon and that the deaths will decrease soon, too. It’s a trying time for many with so many hardships to bear. One thing that is sure is that we are all in this together and wherever we can help or encourage and shine God’s light is good.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (ESV)