Sheltering in Place – A Diary of Virusapocalypse: Day One


We have all been living in uncertain times these past few weeks as a worldwide pan epidemic unfolds. I would be lying to say I was a bit nonplussed when the novel coronavirus COVID-19 news starting capturing headlines. Surely its just anther flu bug, I got a flu shot, I will be okay.

Apathy turned to denial to uncertainly to a genuine fear that this isn’t just the flu and there is much more at stake than that. When this deadly novel virus reared its ugly head and exploded to life in Kirkland Washington just a little over 76 miles from where we spend our summers, I watched it unfold with horror.

Fast forward four weeks and the grim reality is this is really happening. A week ago Wally and I decided to stay put here in the Coachella Valley at our winter digs at the Outdoor Resort Palm Springs and limit our outings to hopefully help flatten the curve of the his deadly, growing virus.

So last night, when the Governor of California ordered the entire state to shelter in place to flatten the curve of the coronavirus we were prepared to do just that. Scared, yes a bit… not so much for myself or Wally but other people who are near and dear to us, all the folks who may have health issues, scared for all the selfless medical professionals who are putting their lives at risk treating all the victims, and really worried that our polarized US leadership isn’t up to the battle.

Writing eases my fears, getting thoughts or in this case maybe ramblings out of my head feels good right now so I decided to start a COVID-19 sheltering in place (SIP) diary. Virusapocalypse …maybe, maybe not, I am hopeful it will not be but hey, I am only a writer not a fortune teller.

So here is how day one of our sheltering in place went…

  • Spent the morning flying over the Coachella Valley, the Salton Sea and the San Andreas Fault with the our good friends John and Kristen Damazio in their plane Valentina. We had planned this outing long before the SIP order came down and we were actually playing cards together when we heard the Governor’s order. Debated not going but honestly we came in contact with no one, other than each other and we have already spent copious amounts of time together.
  • Went through the drive through at Burger King for some lunch…I know, not our usual healthy eating habits but what the hell these are unusual times!
  • Helped some friends (older and immune compromised) get packed so they can head back to MN tomorrow. It’s amazing the sense of community we have here at ORPS and what a small group of us got done in just a few hours. Lots of air hugs …Safe travels Diana and Dick!!!
  • Played pickleball (6 ft social distancing of course). Our hard working Board of Directors here at ORPS had given the go-ahead for pickleball, tennis and golf to remain available to the owners. YAY… so easy to social distance, get some exercise and safely be around friends. We were all careful to disinfect our balls (pickleballs people) and paddles after play. Thinking our hygiene habits are going to change for the better from all of this!
  • Relaxed on the patio with Wally And Bentley…fresh grapefruit juice and gin drinkies.
  • Chatted with my Mom on the phone, had to explain to her again why I can’t drive over and take her to lunch at The Cracker Barrel. Its kinda funny, annoying and sad as I see her cognitively decline. Over the last few weeks, I have hired more help for her and feel relieved knowing someone is checking in on her twice a day.
  • Foraged in the freezer, frig and panty to come up with ingredients for a seafood paella. Found some spot shrimp we caught in the San Juans last year, a nice piece of mahi-mahi, frozen homemade chicken broth, fresh asparagus, peppers, onion and garlic – yeah baby!!!
  • Wrote this blog post and edited pictures.
  • Frig is full…so far, so good for day one. Hope all of you are healthy and sane…I love hearing from everyone so please don’t forget leave a comment occasionally!!!

The Road House Isn’t Rolling…

I have taken a bit of a winter siesta from blogging. Honestly, I have started several posts but haven’t been inspired to finish them. Not sure why as our winter in Palm Springs has been great, filled with loads of activities like concerts, comedy nights, hiking, pickleball and numerous guests. 

We have made loads of travel plans for the spring and summer…Canada, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado. Life is good…

Winter polo in Indio Ca

Yes, we do have some silly fun here at the Outdoor Resort!!

And now the reality check…no one expected the craziness that has ensued on a global level. Here at our winter digs in Palm Springs it is becoming very, very quiet. Most of our Canadian friends left early as they may have time or insurance restrictions. Some of our American friends have also headed for home but many are staying put here in the sunny desert. 

The Road House crew is also staying put. We had plans to head to Portland Oregon then on to Ancortes Washington in mid April. Our plan WAS to provision the boat for a month and cruise north to Princess Louisa Inlet. 

Again, reality check…the Seattle area is besieged with Coronavirus and in Ancortes most non-essential businesses are shutdown, the downtown area is a ghost town and oh yeah, it’s COLD there. Given everything that is going on, it was an easy decision to stay put and hopefully help flatten the curve.

Thankfully, we can spend lots of time outside.

While Palm Springs proper has shut down except for essential services we feel comfortable here in our RV Resort aka the “compound”. All of our scheduled events and activities were cancelled last week but the golf courses, pickleball center, pools and spas are open so again…life is good!

Playing pickleball and social distancing!!!

Until we are asked to shelter in place, we still plan to go hiking, biking, play pickleball and see friends outside in very small groups. We are definitely limiting our exposure outside of the resort but have ventured out for essentials. Trying to utilize online ordering but so far all I have received is 4 bottles of wine…LOL! Costco and Ralph’s are scheduled to deliver tomorrow. It’s going to be a bit like opening birthday presents!

Hiking at Whitewater with my buddy Sharon in February.

Hiking with friends to see the Bob Hope house way up the hill!!!

There has definitely been panic shopping going on here too and some households in the Coachella Valley have way to much TP.

Reality check people…  what really frustrates me about this is the ripple down effect. My mother is basically a shut in and relies on me to do her online ordering for all of her basic necessities. Guess what, not happening right now. All of the stores I online order from have made basic necessities like TP only available on a walk in basis. Not happening for my mother…way to go people…could you wipe twice…once for her???

Ok, venting over, but seriously…these are interesting times and humans can be incredible selfish. Thankfully, I have seen the other extreme happening, friends and neighbors coming together to help each other. We have several older folks who live here in our resort full time who have limited mobility or are self isolating. This community is helping them with grocery shopping, dropping off books or magazines, etc. Personally, I have had offers from friends all over the US to help my mother, mail their own supplies to her or go check on her.  Thank you friends and neighbors, your simple acts of kindness are keeping my faith in humanity from a complete flush down the toilet…sans the TP!!!

So for now, we are healthy and mostly sane. Hoping you all are too.

Right on Sheryl Crow!!