Visiting the Gym

On Sunday, I went to my local gym for the third time since its reopening last Friday. The first time, I went there to check it out on the first day. Then I want twice, checking the early morning situation on both weekdays and weekends. And I decided that for the time being, I will use it only as a last resort. If it will be pouring rain and I won’t be able to bike or walk. At least until fall. 

Here is why. It’s a 24X7 facility, so the situation depends solely on how the individual members behave, but the management still has ways to encourage the desired behavior. On Tuesday, there were only three people except me in the gym, but theses three people were socializing (and they were not one household). Yes, by the governor’s order, masks are not required in the gyms, but people should think for themselves, especially when they choose to socialize. 

There is no explicit marking on the floor regarding the 6 feet distance; the blue dots are in random places. Out of six disinfecting wipes disposers, five were empty. One bottle of hand sanitizer was empty. Yes, I know it was a long weekend, but in the situation of a pandemic, this should not happen. 

I wore a mask (a good one, which allows me to breathe while exercising.) Another member stated to set up his weights and a bench very close to me. But after looking at my mask, he asked: do you mind that I am so close to you? I said – no, it’s OK, I am in the mask. And then I added: I knew right away it will be challenging to keep the distance, so I decided I will wear a mask when coming here, although it is not required. He nodded, and then he said: you know what, I think I will move further. 

I remember that the last week before the gym closed in March, they had plenty of sanitizer and disinfection wipes, and they had signed everywhere they people should clean the equipment after each use. And even though we know now that the virus does not spread significantly through the surfaces, it’s still a b=public indoor place, with no staff on-site for extended periods, so I believe they should provide their members with more cleaning supplies. 

I can’t believe it’s still Friday!

‘I can’t believe it’s still Friday!” – that’s what I said to myself about an hour ago. A Friday of Independence Day weekend, which would be perfect, if happened in the time of peace.
Even though there are none of the usual Independence Day activities, I still planned a lot. This week, I finally felt that I am very close to a usual self, active, getting things done, making plans, and completing the projects.

We had a shortened workday yesterday, and I was able to complete some of my shopping and other errands. I stopped myself from trying to do even more, knowing that I would be entirely exhausted by the end of the day if I tried. After all, I am not thirty-five anymore. That was a wise decision – I had enough energy today not only to finish shopping but also to finalize my order for the new stairs in the Home Depot. It might sound not like a big deal, but that’s what I had to do:

1) to come there without the laminate samples I took home several weeks ago to choose the best match
2) run back home with another, more promising sample to check 3) stop at ALDI on the way home, because it was indeed on the way.
4) pay with my Home Depot credit card.
5) lose my card somewhere in the store
6) rush home, call the credit card to report a loss.
7) at some point to receive a text message from my neighbor, that she needs some help with her computer
8) come to her house and fix the problem (which fortunately ended up having nothing to do with a computer)
I also did a lot of cooking and baking, and fixing some floral arrangements on the deck, which were damaged during recent storms, and installed a new printer at mom’s house.
Today, this bubble in my eye is finally gone, and I started to wear contacts again. That also helps me to feel more like a human πŸ™‚

While discussing with Boris this whole situation of masks and not masks, we were trying to figure out why it all worked in Finland, although the face-covering was never mandatory there. Boris said that he thinks it’s mostly because of air conditioning. In Finland, most private houses do not have it and all office workers are still working from home and are supposed to continue in the same manner until September.

The airconditioning idea looks very logical. It would explain the Southern states’ spikes. It’s not really the fact that they were opening too rapidly, but rather “how many people trickled into the newly opened bars with airconditioning.”
I guess I will wear a mask in the office, even if I will be the only one who will return back πŸ™‚

Analyzing Quarantine Shopping

I threw away a couple of items from my fridge, which I bought in mid-March, just before the lockdown. I was trying very hard not to get into apocalyptic shopping, considering I’ve been through the winter of 91-92. 

I was not afraid that there would be nothing to eat. However, I was a little bit afraid that some specialty stuff might disappear from the shelves because the stores will be trying to satisfy a demand for basic products, which for several days looked like it is going to happen. 

Undoubltfully I bought something extra during that time. Most of the products were consumed in the course of the next two-three months. Some non-perishable is still sitting in my pantry and will be eventually consumed. Some are the items I occasionally buy, for “just in case” situations, like canned chicken soup to be there on a day when I would get sick. By the way, did anybody notice that when we are in isolation, we are not getting sick whatsoever, even with a common cold?! I think it proves that when we are getting sick in the time of normality, it’s not because somebody was dressed not according to the weather, but because somebody got a virus. 

Back to the aftermath of the pre-lockdown shopping. Another category of that extra stuff was due to brand substitution. I get most of my household supplies from Amazon Subscribe and Save. And in late March, lots of these items were back-ordered. Although I could easily wait for a couple of weeks, I had that thought of “oh, and if they will never restock?!” I ended up purchasing brands that I didn’t really like, but they were available, and then my regular brands would reappear and would be delivered. I am just finished with the dishwasher pods of the wrong brand, and it’s the end of June! And I am still not through with the wrong-brand napkins! 

And I didn’t escape a curse of buying extra hand soap! I do not use much of regularly, and most often, purchase perfumed ones from Yves Rocher. But when everybody is buying … Guilty of one refill jar and a pack of four regular-size/regular-flavor. And I hope that that’s it, and my shopping will remain normal πŸ™‚

Any Time Fitness reopening

A part of Phase 4 in Illinois is the reopening of indoor gyms. There are some restrictions, of course, and even more so in the city. So I was wondering how ATF will reopen. Turned out, they – just reopened. And I am not sure what to make out of it. No extra flyers or anything. There was almost nobody there; I saw just two people working out. And it’s not like the time was wrong, especially since everybody is working from home.

I am not sure how I feel about not wearing a mask indoor, even when there is nobody around.
Tomorrow, I will see how things are in the city!

Illinois Entering Phase 4

Tomorrow, Illinois is entering Phase 4 of its recovery plan. I am not sure whether the video I am posting here, will stay long enough, but I am going to give it a try.


It’s a long video, but I wanted to post the whole thing because there are lots of important things in it. The most important message is very simple: although we’ve made lots of progress, the virus is still there, and there is still no vaccine. I really hope that people will behave responsibly.

Public health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike had strong words for people who refuse to wear a face covering in public. She said it is “a game of Russian roulette.” She even pronounced Russkaya ruletks in Russian!

I am hopeful. I am glad the State of Illinois has such good leadership. I hope that people will behave responsibly. This morning on WBEZ, I heard a discussion about students returning to colleges in the fall. Hopes are that there will be positive peer pressure because you can’t really police students on campus. And that’s my hope as well. During the current health crisis, the younger generation appeared to be more responsible than the older one, on average, of course. We shall see. I will be posting about our reopening, and about the health situation in the state.

Quarantine Activities, and What is Not.

During the past three months, people often talked about new activities they engaged with during the quarantine. Many shared their new hobbies; people were posting about classes they were taking online, about learning new languages, cooking the restaurant-quality dishes at home, baking their bread, taking virtual tours, you name it. 

Other people were posting that they did not understand why some people take classed, learn new languages, baking their bread, etc. 

As for me, no doubt, I explored some new activities during that period of isolation. And now, when more and more of my usual activities return, I was wondering which of the new ones will stick. 

It looks like not that many. From the beginning, I didn’t like many of the virtual activities other people enjoyed. I whole-heartedly hate all the virtual travels and virtual museum tours. Maybe, it’s because when I was a child, only televised travel was available. Or, perhaps, because I know how far from experiencing the art in real life, all those virtual tours are. I even tried to click a link for the museum activities a couple of times and confirmed that I hated them indeed. 

Also, I never took online classes except for required work-related training, and I didn’t feel like the quarantine is a reason to change that. 

Another “no” was, surprisingly, virtual group classes. The office fitness center was offering an enormous number of different fitness classes, as early as at 6 AM, as late as 9 PM, weekdays, and weekends. 

At first, I was quite enthusiastic about them and quickly signed up for some. But after just two classes, I realized that that’s a waste of time for me. I am very good at exercising on my own, and if I need instructions, I prefer them on a one-on-one basis, except for some yoga classes, which produce a lot of spiritual energy. 

First, it seemed to be a shame to have such a variety of classes online for no extra cost, and not to use them. But why should I do these classes, if I didn’t enjoy them before? I resolved to stop “making” myself participate in online classes instead of doing what I was always doing. Now I have one personal training session a week with my old instructor and one individual yoga session with my old yoga teacher. And I am doing everything else by myself, at times which work for me. 

During quarantine, I did more online movie watching than before, a lot of them – with Igor. However, it looks like when my normal-usual activities are picking up, that online movie watching is going away. It becomes less important, and all of a sudden I do not have time for it πŸ™‚

Like many others, I started to bake more. Not cooking, I always cooked all or most of my meals; I tried new things, like quiche, but it can also be considered baking :). As for baking, I tried a lot of new recipes. I think that very few of them will stay with me. With some, I tried them just to prove that “I can do it,” that it’s not rocket science, and I am happy I did. But many will become “one -time recipes.” 

We are not over with quarantine. We are not done with a pandemic. But I am thrilled with volunteering opportunities that are now available, and waiting for more to open. 

Illinois is Moving to Phase 3

Last Friday, Illinois started to reopen. To be more specific, the whole state entered Phase 3 of the reopening plan. The state is doing surprisingly well, keeping all the numbers under control.
I called my eye doctor (not opened yet), my hair salon (got an appointment for Saturday), and my nails spa (got an appointment for Wednesday). It’s not like those are the most important things in my life, but those are small parts that started to fill the places they belong to.

It is also about human connections. I know both the hairstylist and the spa owner for quite a while, and they know me, and our conversations are usually beyond a barbershop small-talk.

In the hair salon, they reorganized the space so that each stylist has plenty of space on both sides. Everybody wears masks, and they clean thoroughly after each client. Also, they are not using blowdries anymore.

In the nail spa, everybody was ecstatic to see mom and me. I chatted at length with the owner. She told me that she applied for a small business grant, but is still waiting for approval. They are pretty busy after reopening. However, she is upset that some people do not keep appointments, and she can’t take anybody without an appointment these days.

I wish her to get through these rough times. She is doing all the right things to grow her business, offering exceptional services, working very hard, and always smiling.

I didn’t do the outdoor dining yet although I saw lots of places setting the tents outside.

Igor was able to come to Palatine for a couple of hours and visited with my mom. I suggested they would sit at the shelter on the platform, which is outdoor, but comfortable enough. I also instructed mom to wear a mask, which she did, and Igor did as well. I stopped by to give Igor a whole shopping bag of different fruits from Eurofesh. In view or the subsequent events, it was a great idea :).

The most important thing for me, however, is the fact that we are resuming clinic escorting. We have new procedures, and last week, all the experienced escorts were invited to zoom training sessions. The first day of escorting will be on Friday. I was worrying that the Loop will remain closed, but it reopened today. Metra is still running a weird schedule and will continue for the rest of the week. That means, I will be an hour late for the shift, but our team leader said it’s okay. I can’t even describe how excited I am to be back, even with our reduced powers. For the record, antis never stopped 😦