How quickly things can change. About a month and a half ago, COVID-19 was a slight concern on the horizon as I attended RadCon in the Tri-Cites. Yes, cases were happening in Seattle and people were starting to think about handwashing and not touching their faces. But really, it was business as usual. I took my usual precautions against norovirus and con crud, washed my hands faithfully, and was careful about my exposures. Right after RadCon we went to Portland for a quick trip. Within a day of our return I was down sick with something. Chills. Headache. Body aches. Fever. Cough and mucus, thankfully all upper respiratory. But my fever was high enough that I didn’t want to do anything other than sleep and read. I certainly couldn’t think, and lost five days of writing.
The bug–whatever it was–resolved quickly enough. I had a fever for two days, and then it went away. Coughing and mucus remained, but I didn’t think much about it because as someone with asthma and hay fever, plus a tendency toward bronchitis, I normally have lingering sinus and coughing going on after an infection because everything including my lungs is usually irritated. I know what it feels like when a post-infection irritation becomes infected, and what measures work best for me to banish it. Nothing about this bug ever crossed any of my parameters of this is going to be a problem, go to the doctor. But I also have the tools I need to fight a bug on hand–allergy sprays, cortisteroid inhaler, rescue inhaler, etc. My normal habit when I get sick is to attack it aggressively and keep the dang thing from getting too settled into my sinuses, because I’m allergic to upper respiratory bacteria as well, and there’s nothing like an endless cycle of infection, allergy, infection, allergy to drag me down hard.
All the same, it’s taken 2-3 weeks to recover from this bug. We’d assumed it was the flu, because the onset and the symptoms appeared to be more like flu. Plus husband came down with a milder case the next day. And yet, like anyone else who has had a bug this winter, we wonder. Probably will not know one way or the other, alas.
So we were already somewhat in isolation when COVID-19 hit hard in the region. Not that our lifestyle is particularly outgoing these days. We go hiking or on sightseeing drives to spot wildlife, most of which is without a lot of contact if any with other people. Maybe 3-4 times a month we go out to eat, except for when we go to Portland once a month. Supermarket trips are often 3-4 times a week as we walk to the store for exercise. I have a couple of meetings a month, sewing days once a week, and occasional excursions to local events. I make regular trips to the library and bookstore, as well as the quilt shop and Wild Carrot Herbals. And then there’s the horse, but everything at the world of the horse is outside. Her tack, treats, and grain are at our house. I groom and tack outside. I ride outside.
Of these activities, seeing the horse and going for careful hikes and drives are left. Grocery trips are now down to once a week, and with the car to account for the larger shopping.
I’ve been focusing on writing during this time of contagion. The Ruby Project has metamorphed into a trilogy with the titles The Ruby Project: Origins, The Ruby Project: Ascendant, and The Ruby Project: Realization. I’ve finished book one, and am letting it sit while I think about books two and three. I have decided that my days of loosely planning a series are done. This time I’m going to script out books two and three. More than that, I am thinking that I may do a rapid release of the books in the fall. Ruby is a fast-paced agripunk thriller that would benefit from this treatment. It’s a big book, and in other times, I’d be running with it as a submission project. In this era…well, we’ll see. It won’t hurt anything to have the books written and ready to go as a package. More than that, I’m pretty excited about what I’ve blocked out so far. The closest I’ve come to doing something like this was writing three Netwalk books in the course of six months. But I was nowhere near as experienced a writer as I am now, nor have I blocked myself into an impossible corner like I did with the Netwalk books. Plus, well, it will keep me distracted. Itching to get back into that world is an EXCELLENT sign right now. Ruby, Gabe, Brandon, Markey, and Justine are whispering to me. And ooh is it fun.
But before I start blocking Ascendant and Realization, I have some other writing to do. I’m part of the NIWA (Northwest Independent Writers Association) Spring Blog Tour. I join five other writers in writing short blogs about the business and process of writing, to be shared amongst our blogs. The tour starts next week, with everyone posting their first blog on their own website, and then five weeks of guest blogs. I have two of my six blogs written. The good news is that those are two of the three hardest subjects, and the next blog is the last of the tough blogs.
A local quilt shop handed out mask-making kits and I made some. Now I’m waiting to hear about scrub caps, because I want to keep my contribution local for now. But I have a donation baby quilt to work on, and some other projects in mind.
So at the moment we are still recovering from a bug, hunkering down, and finding things to do. While I’d like to go get my spring porch flowers, I’m also being cautious and telling myself that there will be time later. Perhaps now is not the time to spend the money or risk the exposure.
A quiet time in the era of contagion.