How are you and yours coping with the coronavirus situation?

Good thought @franconi, appreciated as indeed @MMTalker says, much to appreciate here on TidBITS.

Our son Liam made it back to Ireland from New York, and is self-isolating in an apartment in Dublin prior to coming home here down the country. We stocked and cleaned the place and set him up with broadband and an Irish SIM. He can continue working remotely even though he’s on this side of the Atlantic where at least the healthcare situation is somewhat predictable.

We are all sheltering in place, Ireland is on lockdown. Both Liam and I are high risk, for different reasons, and my other son, Jack, is home too, left his university on the other side of the country after it closed and is trying, somehow, to complete his PhD. despite all our distractions.

Our youngest, Mae, at 15 is dealing with remote classes and the probable cancellation of her state exams which, as a straight A student, is particularly tough given three years steady work towards them.

My wife and I are finding it interesting having the whole brood back. Going rather well even though our house resembles a small business centre with all the separate home offices. The two lads are on NY time, Liam with the demands of remote work and Jack being a night owl anyway. Can recommend living in shifts if your house is full these days.


Tommy, I’m so glad Liam made it safely back to Ireland and will soon be home with his family.

I literally live in the epicenter of the epicenter. My niece is an pediatric ICU interventionist MD and at a major NYC hospital, and the numbers of Coronavirus patients is so bad that about 10 days ago they began cramming adults up to age 30 in her unit. This week it went up to age 50. On top of the issues with crowding, the big % of the equipment they have is pediatric sized. So are the dosages of the supplies of medications, and many of the professionals haven’t cared for adults in years and have to constantly look up recommendations. She’s been staying at the hospital 24/7 for 6 days at a time, one day at home. Her fiancé is also a pediatrician in a private practice and is now doing volunteer ER duty 6 days a week. My BFF is a retired nurse that has returned to duty as a volunteer.

It’s literally hell on wheels here. Many hospitals, including the four nearest to where I live, have big freezer trucks parked outside being used as morgues.


I’ve broken these initial two posts off into a new thread because we are a community, and what communities do in times like this is support one another. One of the ways we can accomplish that is to listen to what others are experiencing—in a time when most people are seeing very few others, we can at least communicate here.

Two requests, though:

  • Please keep posts here focused on what you and your immediate circle are experiencing, not on general news or opinions surrounding the situation. That’s an infinite rabbit hole.

  • Use the heart button in the toolbar under every post — or the emoji responses — liberally to show your support rather than posting very short notes of encouragement. Those reading via email will have to visit the site to do that, I’m afraid, but we don’t want everyone to be inundated with well-meaning but content-free messages.


Thank you!


Since January 2019, Tonya has been working as a Digital Content Editor at Cornell for the Yang-Tan Institute on Disability in the Workplace, part of Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. So we had only just over a year of adjusting to her not working at home, as we’ve done on TidBITS and Take Control for the previous 25 years. As a result, her having to switch to working from home has been a “yeah, whatever” moment. We bought our house in 2001 with the idea that we’d always need two full offices, and although her gear at home is a little older than what she had at work, it’s still a 27-inch iMac with a 27-inch Thunderbolt Display. (Which is what I use as well, because it rocks, though I’m starting to think about replacing my 2014 model with whatever comes next if it’s enough of an upgrade to be worth it.)

Our son Tristan is 21 and a junior at Cornell, majoring in CS and focusing on machine learning. He’s in an apartment off campus now, and when we had the conversation about what he wanted to do, he made it clear that he’d prefer to stay in the apartment with his roommate, and with two other friends in apartments in the same building. We had to suppress the “circle the wagons” parental reflex, but rationally we knew that having him home for a long period of time would be annoying for all of us. Cornell first canceled three weeks of classes and are now moving to virtual instruction since spring break just ended. Over the past few weeks, he was happy as a clam because he got to stay home all day and work on ML research with a grad student with whom he’s hoping to write a paper. When our family was posting photos of a recent spate of snow in the family Slack, he said the view out his window was a terminal. :slight_smile:

For me, basically nothing has changed in my everyday work habits, and TidBITS continues like always since it has always been a decentralized organization. I was super happy when Apple released the new MacBook Air and iPad Pro, and again with all the OS updates, since those sort of events help me focus on work rather than getting sucked into reading news or researching coronavirus issues.

We’re finding the process of getting grocery orders delivered to be a little tricky to navigate, since the InstaCart people aren’t always that accurate in their orders, and the system overall is having issues. Delivery options are always at least 5 days out, so we start an order as soon as we can get a date and then just add to it over time. My parents live nearby, but too far away from the grocery stores for delivery, so we’re getting stuff for them too when need be. But we have a 20 cubic foot chest freezer full of local beef and pork and fruit, so along with some big stock-up shopping sessions three or four weeks ago, the groceries are mostly things that are nice to have, like milk and fresh vegetables, but not necessities.

In many ways, we’re communicating with family and friends more, since our regular Wednesday night run and pizza nights have just moved to a Zoom call, and we’ve had lots of phone calls and a few virtual dinners with far-flung relatives and friends. I’ll be curious if some of this virtual socializing continues after it’s possible to see people in person again.

Luckily, because we live in the country, it’s never an issue to go outside to exercise, though I’d like it to get a bit warmer for biking, since plantar fasciopathy is preventing me from running right now. There are a rather shocking number of people out on trails that are normally largely empty, and closer in to Ithaca, some of the walking and biking trails are almost dangerously crowded.


Very little has changed for me. I’ve been working at home for 20 years, so no change there. I still go out bicycling virtually every day, and because of our weird winter (little snow) I’ve been riding in the mountains for weeks as well as on the road. Traffic here in Centre County, PA, is about the same as it ever was. My wife runs a massive online intro astronomy course at Penn State, so little has changed for her, either, except she doesn’t go into the office. The only changes have been little ones: the pet store I frequent no longer allows you in the door (you tell them what you want and they bring it to you in the parking lot.) I make my usual weekly run to Wegmans, but then have to make an additional run to Weis to get what Wegmans didn’t have (weird stuff, the most frequent being the grape popsicles my adult daughter likes). Centre County has 44 confirmed cases as of today. Gov. Wolf asked us to wear masks, but I haven’t, since there’s no way to get them and the state isn’t providing them. I carry a balaclava (which I use in the winter for skiing) now just in case, but haven’t worn it and don’t plan on it.


As a lecturer it’s been a challenge, the courses I teach are workshop-led modules on creative practice from photography to filmmaking to design, within a week and half way through a final semester we had to refactor everything from teaching through to assessment and guide the students through that new understanding as we developed it on the spot. I am fortunate in that I own a good deal of my equipment and have a great set of Macs at home and sorta-decent broadband, but I know staff who found themselves at home up in the mountains, effectively off-grid who normally live near campus during semesters.

Students too, our College has a near 70% student body who are the first members of their family to get a degree, when you have that much social change built into your DNA, you see the inequity across the student body, the access to broadband or good equipment, the incredible reliance on the phone the further down the economic scale you go. That’s apart from the familial situation. So grading and assessment are my focal points right now, how, how, how. Very hard.

My wife’s first word’s one morning was ‘How many Zooms do I have today?’ quickly followed by ‘Can I get away with not washing my hair, I haven’t the time?’. Zoom and Teams are the constant drone, headphones on most of the day, we have Post-its on our door when we are recording or in conference. It’s intense being on video all the time, I’ve taken to going audio-only for whole chunks.

I’ve also got a USB mic and a Logitech cam on order, the iMac’s camera doesn’t cut it, and I’m seriously considering a re-do of my office, it looks like crap on camera. Someone called it the new suit and tie, the dressing of the office.

Interesting to hear everyone’s experiences here. Thoughts with our frontline workers always.


I’m having a pretty good time. My wife, who is a school teacher, is at home, and we were already homeschooling, so she’s taken that over, at least for now. We always buy in bulk, and we thought ahead to stock up on essentials before this all got bad, so we can hold out for a while.

Sadly, the only store that delivers around here is Tractor Supply (though that’s pretty cool). No Instacart for us. But thankfully, we have family-based suppliers of milk and meat (and probably vegetables and eggs if needed), so we don’t have to go into crowded stores.

I’ve been working remotely as the Managing Editor of TidBITS for nearly seven (!) years now, and that’s more or less going on as normal. Since I have a bit of a reputation as a “prepper,” I’ve been in demand on that front recently, contributing to USA TODAY and regularly to The Prepared.

I’ve also taken advantage of the extra help around the house to work on my neglected farm. I have a fresh batch of baby chicks, I’m isolating and culling my old hens, and I’ve planted a bunch of survival crops like kale, beans, and potatoes. When I’m not working on an assignment at my desk, weather permitting I’m out in the field breaking ground to put more crops in.

The biggest frustration is the supply chain. There are a lot of things we’d like to buy, but just can’t. Also, our dishwasher broke, I have no idea how to fix it, and I’m not calling in a repairman right now. And of course not spending time with family is frustrating, but we’re doing FaceTime with one set of parents every day.


I had luck with YouTube on dishwasher repairs. The guide advised us to cover the kitchen floor with towels and then take out the dishwasher and turn it upside down. It will empty some funky water out and let it sit for about five minutes and then turn it back right side up. Worked a treat.

The first thing dishwashers do is check if they can empty, If they can’t, thankfully, they don’t fill up. And the outlet can get gunked up, flipping it over clears it. I’ve had the dishwasher for over ten years and have done this twice.

I also repaired our dryer this week, popped in a part I ordered, again a YouTube video.


Things are getting worse here just outside of Raleigh, NC. Many people are doing the stay at home but some crazies are out and around risking those who have to be out. My wife and I both have some serious health issues from 911 so we are really locked up but we have a fantastic neighbor who is also a PA. He has run for things we need. Our son, daughter and their spouses and the 4 grandkids are nearby and keep close watch on us. My wife is helping to co-lead a food program that is currently serving over 10,000 meals a week and growing! It is a coalition of churches and government resources which provided meals over the summer but now is really clicking away. I get the joy of downloading the bills and putting them into a spreadsheet even as the requirements and reporting info shifts lol.

Our AC went on us so we are getting that replaced (I say as the temp is going to be in the mid 80s the next few days), but all is well and we are so grateful to all those who are doing needed things during this time: medical people, law enforcement, repair people, teachers learning new ways to share knowledge with people, trash collectors and the saints at the pharmacies and grocery stores working at such risk to keep us alive and safe!

I have found all of your posts really interesting. Be safe you all and God bless.


Were you in NY for 9/11? Just curious, I’ve always thought that could affect more than those at ground zero. Glad you have someone to run errands for you! I’ve heard that the senior hours at our local grocery stores are the busiest times to go.

I’m an introvert so am having no issues with the isolation. I am getting frustrated though, at the people who’ve managed to find deserted walkways and parks around me. I never see kids bike riding in the summer and now they are all over the place. Our normally isolated areas are so busy now that the state is starting to close them.



I might have to see if I can pull that off. I fixed my lawnmower the same way.


Hi Diane,

I’m actually embarrassed I mentioned that, but it is rather front and center for me because of health issues, much more for those who worked down there - I imagine this has to be absolute horror to so many of them. We do have health consequences though. Yes, we were in NYC. We were part of the Salvation Army response at Ground Zero. In fact, my wife was the one who located a site established by residents right in Ground Zero, just outside a broken window in the finance building. We were set up on a girder across the street inside the grounds. The Salvation Army established multiple resource sites all around that area and were there from the very beginning to the very end when it was closed. The suffering of NYC right now just makes our hearts ache because it is almost like they are going through it all over again - remarkable people!

I too am an introvert (45 years in the pastoral ministry and an introvert? OH YES - many of us are actually) so the quiet is nice, though the meals program is really filling the days for us. It is irritating how some people just ignore the stay at home order and the distance rule. Where we live an elementary school teacher came down with it and days later, after it had been announced, moms took their kids to play in the playground by the school (even though warned to stay away) and gathered in groups to chat and stroll! So all those kids were climbing all over the equipment, sharing everything they might have. And they posted it all on the neighborhood website - were surprised some folk took exception. That gets me boiling - the inconsideration of their ability to catch it and share it. But the wonderful thing is how people are stepping up to help out. I’ve seen a lot of folk posting their willingness to do shopping, make masks, handle phone calls for company, etc. to help everyone in need out. That was what we saw during 911 and what we too quickly lost: caring even for the stranger and sharing courage during a national crisis.

Thank you for your comment. It is nice to see another introvert leading the way through the silence (oh, how nice it is lol)


The Rev. Dr. G. Douglas Eddy


Mostly I’m okay, but I miss talking to my kids. My oldest son passed away just over a month ago and he was the one who called me at least once a week, and I so miss his voice and laugh and so much more. The other two are busy working longer hours from home and raising my wonderful grandkids, but this grandma would love a 5 minute phone call.

I take myself out for a drive every other day, just to see the sights. I grocery shop via curbside pick up approx every 10 days. I’d love to go to my favorite view spot, but it’s part of a national forest, so it’s closed. Now that the sun is out, I put my hat and sunscreen on and sit on my front porch.

I keep entertained baking (learned how to successfully bake no-knead bread thanks to artisianbreadwithstev at youtube), cleaning (ugh), reading loads of books, playing computer games (haha), and sometimes I watch a movie in the evening. I don’t watch tv, but do listen to the radio in the morning.

All in all, it’s an okay adventure, but I’ll be glad when it’s over and I can go to church again.

@dougeddy , thanks for your service and all you’ve done.



The Salvation Army volunteers are truly among the most heroic and dedicated in NYC in the wake of 9/11. I will always remember how on that horrible day the Salvation Army was the very first volunteer group at Ground Zero, and how they stayed the course with so many services way beyond the time the area was rebuilt. You, your wife and fellow volunteers put your lives and health on the line to provide help and comfort to anyone who needed it. My personal thanks to you and your wife, and your fellow Soldiers as well.


Are you sure about that? Here in Pennsylvania the facilities (campsites, latrines, picnic tables, etc.) at all state parks and forests are closed but the roads and trails are open provided you follow social distancing. If the overlook is gated it’s probably closed, but it’s worth a try if you really miss it. I’ve been to many of my favorite spots in the local state forest in the last few weeks (mostly on a mountain bike, but I take the dog up in the car occasionally). The nearest national forest is in northern Pennsylvania, so I have no idea if the rules are different.

I’m very sorry for your loss. It must be especially difficult under the current circumstances.


@MMTalker - Thank you for your comments on the Salvation Army - the key there was Major Molly Shotsberger at the NYC SA. She was absolutely amazing and an incredible leader. We arrived from Syracuse, a collection of SA workers and officers from Western and Central NY the Friday after and came to the NY office. It was an incredible site: fully loaded semitrailers were lined up along the sidewalk. They were unloading all kinds of needed resources like clothing, water, food, etc. It was massive. We walked in and everything was sorted in readily accessible loads to be shipped down to the site. They had already set up relief stations all around. The organization was incredible and they were a God-send. I can say that because I was a clergy guy in my own church but had been involved with the Army’s efforts in several communities and my wife was head of Family Services in Syracuse. Every penny they raised went directly to the people being assisted - every penny! They are doing there work again in this crisis. And we appreciate your thanks but if you ever saw the 1st responders and iron workers doing there thing, they are the ones who inspired awe at their courage and selflessness! Thank you, sir.


@andkim1974 I am so sorry Kimberly to learn of your son’s death. This must make all this so much harder for you. As a grandfather myself, I miss the connection with them as they are busy doing home study and losing themselves to the wonder of the computer/phone lol. If you would like, e-mail me and my wife and I would love to communicate with you. My wife is really into baking and I’m the one stuck with cleaning groan. God be with you. - Doug Eddy at Stay safe and healthy!


@MMTalker Oh and I meant to say a word of gratitude to you niece - what a remarkably skilled person she must be and how hard she is working for so many. Same for your BFF and her volunteer work. These are the people that will get us through this. Prayers and gratitude!


@schinder, I’m sure. Gate is closed. I’m in a tourist area on the Oregon coast, and everything that would draw a tourist is closed by emergency order of the county and cities (unanimous agreement) and parking lots are all blocked or locked. It’s almost impossible to get to the beach, let alone find a spot to pull over and just look at the ocean. :slightly_frowning_face: Thanks for the thoughts on my son. He was in emergency services and would have been in the midst of this.

@dougeddy, thank you very much for the words and kind offer. God bless you.

This weekend I’m heading to the nursery 30 miles south where I can phone in an order and they’ll bring it to the car. How cool is that? I know businesses are doing this to survive, but it’s really great. Some of them have said they will continue once this stay home is listed. Are others finding businesses, that normally wouldn’t, doing curb side service?

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Sorry to hear of the loss of your son, Kimberly. He sounds like a good man.

We have our local farmers market shut down in our current situation. But two of the providers are dropping boxes of vegetables and baked goods in a car park at set times on Saturday. All pre-booked and paid for. Our local supermarket is seeing some of the local produce/eggs arrive in and be swooped upon pretty quickly!

All our stores which remain open (only essential, supermarkets and butchers, the odd convenience store, all others shut) are providing sanitizer, gloves. I bring my own and wear a mask. There’s a mix of people with masks, no masks, bandanas, and mostly people wait patiently while others peruse shelves closely. People are lining up outside, only set numbers admitted.

Our pharmacy is open solely by appointment, even then they have cut a circle in their main window and inserted an inverted cat flap which because it’s upside down, the flap can function as a shelf. Always makes me laugh when I see it.

Both our pharmacy and our local small supermarket deliver to those in need, mainly elderly or disabled. We are a small village in the country, and it’s at times like this I value it most. Out walking, everyone minds their distance and is good humored.

Movement is restricted in Ireland currently. You are supposed to stay within 2km (just over 1 mile) of your home for any exercise or activity outside the home. If Ireland had a national popular sport it would be walking. The whole country walks it seems. So every nerd immediately worked out the circumference being 4pi, just over 12km which stopped some of us complaining.

Only essential travel (workers in essential roles, unavoidable obligations) is permitted. The police are doing checkpoints, failure to comply will result in fines/jail. So I can drive to a supermarket for a food shop but I cannot go touring or visit any sights. My wife went to collect our boy from Dublin today and had two checkpoints on the way home, no issue with our quest but she made sure to have paperwork proving his travel with her. This weekend, Easter Weekend, apart from the celebrations, is also a bank holiday here and families traditionally have short breaks and the weekend away.