Matter Does Not Disappear!

A week before Easter, when the future of traveling was one big unknown, I wanted to do something special for Boris, and I, with his consent, mailed him a parcel. There were several small bike accessories that he ordered on Amazon planning to pick them up when he would come in March (which didn’t happen). And a couple of other small things, which I added. Overall, it was a small parcel, and I marked it as a gift and put some small value on it.

The mail was slow back then. I checked the package status every day. It took mother than three weeks for it to be cleared with customs and depart from ORD. That happened on May 5, and after that, I haven’t seen any changes in its status.

I tried to file a “missing mail,” but since the package already left the US, and didn’t arrive in Finland, none of the postal services would start the investigation. I sadly pronounced the package lost.
On Wednesday, after I already departed, Boris got a notice from Finnish customs. It turned out that sometime between departure from ORD and arriving in HEL, the house number and the apartment number of the package address where switched. For some reason, some taxes were due on that shipment, but Boris didn’t know since the notice was sent to the wrong address. After the address confusion was resolved and the notice was delivered to Boris, it was too later – the shipment was sent back!
… After all, I was glad to find out that matter does not disappear!

Settling Down in the Office

In the office, all our workstations were rearranged to make sure we were six feet away from each other. I was told that I am by the window facing the City Hall, which made me delighted. However, when I came in, I saw that although I was indeed by the window, the City Hall was behind me 🙂 and I was facing west. I do nor even know why, but that made me extremely uncomfortable, even though there was nobody else in the office. 

Next time my director was in the office, he moved me – I am not by the window anymore, but I am facing East. For a reason not known to me, I feel much better that way. I finally placed all my keepsakes where they should be. I have this set of memorable things that travel with me from one workplace to another and never live in my home. 

They came from different people, at different times and under different circumstances, but now, they all mean something for me. 

The bear – to be strong and resilient, the blue hippo – to laugh and to relax, the old plaster cobra – the keeper of my love, Buddha – to stay calm no matter what. And friends and chocolate – there is nothing I can add to what it says:)

Also, on Thursday, I finally found my office coffee mug! I could not find it and kept thinking that I took it home, then I could not find it at home, and looked everywhere in the office… It turned out it was in the washing machine! And then I remembered that it was me who started the washing machine “last time,” when we were leaving the office before what we thought then was just a two-week thing. And when our HR was making the office ready for reopening, she didn’t check the washing machine! And there were still glasses in, and it was still showing “running.” 

Now everything is finally in the right places! Where it should be 🙂

How Is It Being In the Office

So far, went I come to the office, I am either alone, or there is one more person there. People are asking me “how is the office,” and I am saying I like being back. It’s not like I less productive at home, but when I am coming to the office, it helps me to separate work and non-work, so that it won’t be one endless workday.

Also, when I am in the city, I can meet Igor for lunch, and I can walk the streets of Chicago, which I missed a lot during these months!

There is no food in the kitchen
And the nespresso machine stopped working, so I bought another percolator for work
Continue reading “How Is It Being In the Office”

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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.

Here

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.