How are you today?

As we are nearing fall in the northern hemisphere, the pandemic is still going on and is likely to keep going for a good while. We probably kind of knew that it wouldn’t be over quickly from the start. But thinking it and living it are two different things.

Despite living in a place that has been affected only very little (so far), I find myself in the curious position of having very little to do and yet feeling stressed out. We’ve had glimpses into each of our situations in various threads recently and I’d like to ask you all straight up: How are you doing? How have you been affected? How are you dealing?

We’ve talked about this in the mod thread before I am posting this. We’re trying to make sure this is a thread that lets us talk and commiserate and help each other. @RossM has kindly offered to act as an anonymizer for those who would like to share something they need to get off their chest but don’t want their name attached to (this is a public forum). To get your words posted that way send a PM to Ross and he’ll hand it over to the forum software.

Any pandemic is inherently political as we need politics to deal with it and I know the line between the political and the personal is thin as we are likely all affected by measures that politicians have taken all across the world. Still, the mod team is in agreement that this thread is not the place for a debate but rather an offer to say things that may just need an outlet.

Obviously, nobody has to write anything or read anything written here. If this thread is too much and you still want to talk, drop a PM to @RogerBW, @pillbox or @yashima


Hi, Ross here. For reference this is what anonymised posts looks like. Any messaging to me in relation to the thread can be kept by me or deleted immediately after it has been anonymised based on people’s own wishes.


Ground down, hate Autumn at best of times.


The pandemic isn’t actually affecting me much directly. Kansas, where I now live, has a relatively low death rate, about 1/16 that of New York, last I checked. Many kinds of businesses and government offices are open; we’ve obtained several kinds of medical services for ourselves and our cat, had our hair cut, had art framed, and eaten a number of meals out. Businesses usually require masks, but they aren’t legally mandated outside. I am concerned about a local friend one of whose co-workers has been diagnosed with Covid, but apparently his business was cautious about minimizing inter-employee contact, so I hope he’s safe.

My work has been relatively little affected as well. I had been working as a freelancer since 2002, and I’ve received my work entirely online for a decade or so. The biggest change for a while was that authors were reviewing and returning their edited papers amazingly fast; maybe they were stuck at home with nothing more interesting to do than check my editing! Work has slacked off a little of late, but I don’t know if this is a trend or a fluctuation. My books for Steve Jackson Games have been selling significantly better for the past few months; maybe a lot of people are sitting at home and happy to read a new GURPS book. I’ve just turned in the final draft of GURPS Furries, and now I’m starting on the next book.

C and I haven’t seen much of anyone, except for one picnic with our local friends (we have another one planned in a few days, if he’s still in good health). We’ve had a fair number of videocalls, though, with @agemegos, with my sister, and with friends in Poway (a city near San Diego).

We’re being cautious about exposure—at 70, I’m at risk for serious health issues from Covid—and we once walked out of a restaurant when I spotted that one of their kitchen workers wasn’t masked. I’m not ready to go to a theater, or fly, or take the bus. But really, my stress level over Covid is fairly low. I don’t know of anyone who has it at first hand, and not many at second hand. The biggest stress was early on, when we had the movers coming to our place in Riverside, and weren’t sure if it would be legal for us to move out, or to stay in motels; and then when our motel in Colorado Springs called us to say they couldn’t take out of state guests (they backed down when C told them we were faced with homelessness if we couldn’t get to Kansas, but we rerouted through Oklahoma anyone); and then when our new apartment didn’t want to let us move in (a lawyer friend of my sister’s wrote them a letter, and they backed down, too). That whole process was really stressful, and I was very grateful both for C’s fortitude and for the help and support of my sister and our friends. But now that we’re in Kansas the worst seems to be over.

But the concern is appreciated, and I wish you all as little stress as we’re having.


Thanks for asking. It’s something I’m sure we’ve all been asked a lot recently and it’s something I normally brush off with an “I’m OK”, but I’ve just sat here for the last little while having a think about how I’m actually doing which is not something I’ve done much of in the last five months.

I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me to work (probably more productively) at home, but it hasn’t been without bad days. I’m taking next week off with no real plans, just to be away from work for a little while. Even though work is still there on the other side of my living room.

My workmates who have families have been concerned about me living alone during this, which is nice of them. But honestly, I’m just glad I’m not still in the house share I was a year ago :rofl:

I’m fortunate to have kept some regularity in my routine, whether that be exercise, shopping or (now online) Gloomhaven sessions with friends. Routine has been important for my mental health. I don’t miss those early days of super-market shelves being empty.

I’m fortunate to have been able to visit my parents earlier than most thanks to “social bubbles”, though we all felt a bit like we were doing something wrong.

I’m fortunate that no-one close to me has contracted the disease and we were lucky that my grandmother’s care home was the only one in the city without a case. Unfortunately we lost her a month or so ago. That’s been tough.

For a time I was stressed out about the behaviour of others, whether that be neighbours failing to follow rules or the attitude of the “general public”. There’s not a lot I can do about that though and five months in I worry about it less, but it does still get to me.

I can live with not being able to listen to live music but while dates have been rescheduled, it still seems like we’re a million miles away from cramming hundreds of people into a venue. I cross my fingers that bands and venues survive this period and I’m doing as much as I can to support them in the meantime.

So, I still think the answer is, “I’m OK”, but it is probably better translated as “I’m managing” or “I’m balancing”.

(This might be all over the place, but at some point I have to just hit “Reply” :slight_smile: )


I think more than any other thread we all expect everyone to be all over the place.


Mainly I feel lucky. No one close to us has had Covid badly, although I know a few people who have had had it.

Our kids are old enough to understand what is going on, but young enough to not really worry. My wife was furloughed but her pay was topped up. Being in work is still weird - working in scrubs, mask, visor, gloves and apron is not something I ever thought I would do, but I feel pretty safe. I just hate how much stuff I have to throw away.

Not looking forward to schools going back. Partly because of school, but also because our boys will see their friends in school and be close to them and will want to see them outside of school as well.

I don’t understand why any of my patients come to see me unless they have a problem with their eyes. I don’t understand why everyone isn’t wearing a mask whenever they are anywhere near someone from outside of their household.

I’m glad we’re in Wales and not England. I’m very glad we hadn’t booked to go to Orlando again this summer!

I go up and down about Covid. At lot of time I think we are all destined to get it with suspected poor even medium term immunity. But then the death rate seems to be lower, even with what I think is our appalling testing regime.

Don’t even want to talk Brexit yet. Although stockpiling is happening again.


I am taking the liberty of answering my own question :wink:

We’ve been lucky so far. I still don’t know anyone first hand who has had Covid. A couple second hand and a few friends have had close brushes. We’ve been extremely careful in who we meet, avoiding even family for the first two months. There are friends and family that I worry about—without going into details, some are at higher risk than others and some have other personal or health troubles that are coming to the surface now.

We’ve been at home since about mid-February due to reasons. We saw a few friends in late February but since then we’ve had occasional outdoor meetings, quite a few online meetings, video calls and one in-person game night which we spent mostly talking. Luckily, most of our friends are technologically adept and so we were able to move some things online but while that helps, it’s not the same. My father who lives close-by comes around for a coffee once a week and that’s it for our social life at the moment.

The lockdown at the start was eerie. We could leave our home and go outside—not like France and parts of Italy where you had to have a reason to go out and had to fill out some papers to show why you were out and about. Other than that, everything was closed. The only thing open was pharmacies, grocery stores & hardware stores. They even closed playgrounds. There is a small play area right outside my kitchen window and someone put red-white construction tape around everything and then the wind would make the tape flap and it made weird noises all night.

And the stockpiling. Toilet paper, toothpaste, flour, yeast, dried pasta and canned beans. Except for those, within two weeks all the shelves were filled again and we never lacked for anything personally. But I have been stressing over this since March and I am keeping all of the basics at a certain level so we don’t ever run out. I hope this isn’t making a comeback in autumn(!).

My partner works from home as his job is mostly meetings anyway. His company has decided to keep everyone—those who can anyway—at home until at least the middle of 2021. He is saving at least an hour of commute every day and it shows :blush: I am a freelance software developer and I wasn’t in a project when this started and I have no intention of looking for one now. So, I am home and doing the things that need doing, a lot of which take more time than they normally would.

We haven’t dined out since February except for three visits to beer gardens in the summer. I like cooking exactly as long as I am not forced to do it. Ordering in is not something you can do here except for fast food style dishes and I’d rather cook…

I haven’t been to the gym and I am debating canceling both our memberships now. Instead of gym, I’ve been doing yoga via youTube instructor which is helping me in a lot of different ways.

I’ve been downtown a few times to support local business (the FLGS, the travel bookstore, the chocolate shop and the outdoor shop) and every time I go I am surprised at how many people are out and about in the city and how normal and busy it all seems—and yet almost everyone is visibly carrying a mask (you have to wear them inside shops & public transport here, outside you can go without).

Other than that… no vacations, no SPIEL, no metal festival, no medieval markets, no concerts, no parties, no movies, no boardgame nights. One good thing is that I hear that the metal festival we had tickets for got a lot of support from the fans (like us) and the organizers are not worried about the future :blush:

We do well on the couch and with each other. And with gaming and reading as a hobby there is always some pursuit to fill the hours. We’ve known for many years that meeting friends and traveling is what fills our batteries and renews our resilience. But the first has been rare and the second non-existent this year (and it seems like I am buying boardgames to fill that void -.- I’ve counted 25 new games since start of the pandemic and that doesn’t include anything to do with KS)

So, while nothing is obviously stressful and some things are even good, the situation is taking its toll.


Back in March, my partner and I would turn to each other and ask, “We’re not crazy, right?” because everything we were doing felt wrong. I literally didn’t leave the house except to walk to the end of the driveway to get the mail or bring in the groceries that we had delivered to our front steps for 4 weeks straight during one stretch of time in April and May – here’s the thing though: I’m an introvert and I’ve never been more comfortable doing the things that come naturally.

So, yes, the things we were doing were extreme at that time (this was before “social distancing” and masks were being recommended or required); we would stay at home and order our groceries delivered (and tipping generously to those workers who, for whatever reason, were being tasked to drop our groceries on our front step); we avoided friends and family entirely for two full weeks. At one point my partner had to go to the pharmacy, so we made the most of that exposure and ran all the errands that had been piling up all at once so that we could self-quarantine for 14 days, just in time to visit my in-laws for my partner’s birthday. After two rounds of errand-then-14-day-quarantine, we managed to find sufficient services for every need and up until sometime in June, we never left the house except to visit my in-laws; this shared-bubble determined almost exclusively based on ensuring my daughters had family that we could go visit.

I finished out the last couple of weeks of my old job remotely (and they are still all working remotely, even after they went through a merger and got re-orged et al). There was no “going away” celebration that was normal fare for our corporate culture – we said farewell to another colleague back in February and spent most of one Friday afternoon at a bar drinking “on the clock” as a send off to him – as someone who struggles to find and make friends, it was a sobering ordeal leaving my position behind without the show of camaraderie and those half-empty promises of staying in touch with each other.

I started my new job in the beginning of April. I had arranged and lined up the new job back in February as a 100% remote position on a 100% remote-work team – you can imagine: the team has not been fazed by the pandemic; in fact, as we are a server/hosting provider with remote-access, business continuity and disaster-recovery product offerings, we’ve never been busier and have onboarded 4 new employees on my team since I joined (bringing the team up to double what it was last year at this time, I’m told).

My maternal grandmother had been in an Assisted Living facility for around 2 years with failing mental health; that particular facility was the first in my area to suffer a COVID-related death and, shortly after, my grandmother also contracted and then succumbed to COVID-19. No one was allowed to visit her. There were no services held :sob:

As some of you may know, my partner and I recently purchased and then moved into a new house. The biggest regret that we both have is leaving behind the best neighbors you could ever ask for. Shortly after we moved into our old house, a friend of ours said to my partner, “I know that street. I think my friends live right on the corner”. So, by way of being friends-of-a-friend, we introduced ourselves and discovered the friendliest of people with many overlapping hobbies and pastimes. Both of them are boardgamers (and both with more experience than either myself or my partner); I haven’t written about playing boardgames with other people in quite some time (I don’t even think “at all” since switching to this site from the old forums), but my neighbor (referred to as B) was my most consistent gaming partner over the last 5 years – and he was just 2 doors down the street; a more convenient situation I cannot imagine. Their son is still young, but older than our daughters – it may be a few years more before we can strike up a regular boardgame night, since one or both of us will have to be farther than 5 minutes away if we’re needed to return home on short notice (which happened more than once!)

The process of moving and getting our old house ready for sale has been eye-opening. For the most part, everyone I see and interact with is taking the pandemic very seriously and doing their part – masks, distancing and just making sure to not introduce unnecessary risk on their part.

The movers we hired? 7 people, 0 masks. My partner and I were wearing masks the entire time the moving crew were there; in their defense, the foreman of the crew asked if we wanted them to wear masks - we told them to do how they please but that we would wear masks; I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t even take a hybrid approach of wearing masks while working in the house and not necessarily while outside or in the truck. I will say, however, that I did a small minority of the work they did and my mask was soaked with sweat before the day was half way over, both days.

We’ve had painters and handymen (handypersons? Is there a better term for this? It’s less general contractor and

more of a

more an

) in and out of the house getting it ready for sale.

None of them have worn masks, so we’ve made a point to not be there while they are working; and to wear masks when we meet them as necessary. It seems as though (and possibly ripe for tangents) masks and social-distancing are further delineations between white- and blue-collar classes; this has caused me to consider the causality of the situation without drawing any real conclusions.

We’ve seen dozens of children around the age of our own around our new neighborhood. That’s what we paid for! We could have bought a cheaper house that was just as good in a more rural area, but we wanted to ensure we had neighbor kids for our kids to play with. *sigh* Our older daughter wants so much to play with other kids and we seriously fear that she just won’t know how; she’s at the prime age for playdates and learning how to interact with kids her own at right now but we just can’t risk exposure (like all (???) the other families on the block seem to be doing (!?!?!?!?!?!?))

“Are we crazy?” we ask ourselves, my partner and I.

And I still don’t know the answer. All I can do is say, “We’ll take precautions because we are able to.” Some people don’t have the luxury… and, well, we won’t speak of the 3rd group.


It seems to me that most white collar jobs are jobs where you have a negligible chance of dying from doing the jobs (unless we count cumulative stress from working 70-hour weeks, or being an emergency room doctor, I suppose). But many blue collar jobs carry a noticeable risk of death: police officers, firefighters, lumberjacks, fishermen, linemen, truck drivers, and many factory workers have occupational death rates. That likely changes how they assess risk taking in general.

Then of course there are the grocery store workers who show up every day to deal with the public, even though their ordinary routine work isn’t all that risky.


Another consideration: blue-collar jobs are more likely to involve hard physical labour, which will be much less comfortable in a mask than any normal part of e.g. my job.


We’re alright, most of my concerns are for the kids’ development, as already detailed in the parenting thread.

I actually felt a lot more stressed working from home than I do now I’m forced to come into the office, even after we learned someone on the 13th floor tested positive. Going to work every day, with everyone masked on the subway, normalises the situation and makes it easier to process. I still anticipate a massive outbreak in Osaka, but maybe the masks will keep things under control - seems to be working for the most part so far. The greatest risk is an outbreak in daycare. If that happens, we’ll all get it. There’s just no way to mitigate that risk though - we can’t work without daycare, so we just have to hope that it doesn’t come to that.

No travel, no daytrips, no friends over… it does make for a boring routine, and one we would like to break up.


I filed for divorce back in January 2020 and it went final 12 February. It wasn’t something I wanted to do but it was and continues to be revealed as something I needed to do.

Because of physical living arrangements my daughter has been with me almost every weekday from 3/17 on to now. I’ve run a remote kindergarten and am now running a remote first grade for her while working. Kindergarten was all videos and thrown together. Through the summer we built our own logic, math, science, and handwriting curriculum with some tips from improv theatre. Progression stickers and ice cream were prime motivators. First grade is streaming the classroom into our house. I was lucky and had already ordered her a desk back in late April.

Oddly it’s been remarkably simple to adapt. I was already deep in personal isolation by 3/17 so that didn’t really change. I’d already been spending most of my time when home with my daughter so that didn’t really change. My diet had already gotten pared down so it just got even more steady.

I feel particularly lucky that the weather has been as good as it has. I’ve had basically daily meals on the screened porch with my daughter and have had more time to spend with her on what she wants to focus on.

My daughter has adapted very well. I thank her for being patient with me every night at bedtime.

Work has required a lot of innovation and patience from me and everyone who deals with me but has been able to be handled.

The cat seems entirely adapted to having servants on hand all day now. I expect she will be devastated when something changes.

Now within all that is a bat invasion, replacing the furnace, replacing an AC valve, and plumbing repairs on a bathtub. I certainly haven’t been bored and I’m pretty sure I will never get my house organized again. Clutter of books, toys, homework, and artwork are basically eternal at this point.

I swing from high stress mania to low stress mania on the regular. It’s an odd existence but I have been adequately prepared for it and have caught a number of lucky breaks.


The days seem to be blurring into each other here as well.

We tried to figure out a way to get out of the house more during our last “vacation” in August by visiting a local museum (and going hiking). The museum was nice but it felt very busy due to the distancing measures in place. We plan on visiting the zoo for our upcoming September vacation. Outside, I am hoping may work out better than the museum.

I have repeatedly debated this with family members and my answer is: you have the right to be as careful as you want to and can be.

It was a really big thing™ for both families when sometime in May the son of our friends came over for a whole afternoon of crafting a foamcore insert for his Gloomhaven game. Because there is no distancing possible when you sit together at a table for hours and hours. It took both his parents and us a while to decide how to best do this and if we could risk it knowing full well we were all extremely careful who we met.

I know. Sometimes, I feel like I need to make up for all the parties I heard going on around the neighborhood as soon as the weather got warm enough.

During lockdown there was a whole group of teenagers hanging out in a tight group just where we could see them outside our windows (we live in a block of apartments). I kept telling myself that they probably had a reason to not want to be at home and felt terrible for them while at the same time hating the example they set for others.


I’m doing OK.

As an institute we were first out the blocks to reopen on the university campus in June. But that’s because we never really truly shut. We were supporting COVID19 work remotely and our industrial partner also stayed open to test the efficacy of their cleaning products against the virus too. This, in addition, to weekly maintenance of instrumentation meant we had a small number of people on site at all times and willing test bed for testing out distancing measures.

The eldest starts back at school tomorrow with the youngest starting school in a week. The schools response to the shutdown was poor. Work consisted of uploaded sheets from something which my wife and I could have done ourselves. We received a total of two phone calls. When other primary schools in the area have had doorstep visits, zoom assemblies and classes.

My main cause of concern is the rush to reopen. In addition to schools, swimming classes are starting again and also my church is reopening. All of this happening at once feels like any increase in infection rates will be impossible to pick where any infection is coming from.

It’s a similar story across the whole of society I feel. My observation is also that distancing is pretty much over in a significant number of people’s heads with large crowds gathering so long as it’s outside. This makes me want to hide away even more.


The response of schools has been very inconsistent here as well I gather from talking to friends. And also the response of the kids varies a lot as well. One little guy really needs the competition with his classmates while others actually do better learning on their own. And all the kids I know personally are privileged as in their parents have been home with them and are able to help them.

Most teachers here are old and at risk and lack the technical skills necessary to do remote classes. Also the country is lagging in digital infrastructure for schools and they are now trying to force it in place quickly you can imagine how well that is going. Schools are reopening all over the country some requiring students to wear masks, some distancing measures others not…


While the gyms were closed I started a body-weight work out at home, but I also decided to take up yoga as well with my company going as far to pay for my online lessons and equipment. I think I underestimate how much of a help it’s been.

Things mostly got back to normal within a few weeks here as well. Other than lentils. I wasn’t able to buy dried lentils for 12 weeks. In the end it became a bit of a standing joke. My parents were kind enough to post me a kilo to keep me going :smiley:


It was flour here. Couldn’t get any for love nor money.


That was weird, apparently it was due to the UK flour mills being set up to supply large bakeries but the end consumer.

All sorts of confusion there, and not much investigation.

I was already working from home before all this started, so it’s really only affected my leisure: the last convention I went to was Airecon in March, and I felt a bit iffy about that. (Meanwhile the bloke who keeps the B&B I stayed in was entirely blasé – “oh, we don’t have it here”. Hope he’s all right.) I’ve been playing on yucata and BGA but the socialising is an important part of boardgaming to me and there’s a lot less of that going on. (Ditto roleplaying.)

I’ve discovered that I am apparently a nice person. My immediate reaction to the isolation was to start running PBF games (the first two Flamme Rouge tours), and I’ve set up a Jitsi server so that people who trust me can know that there’s at least one videoconference service that doesn’t want to sell their data. I realise I have it a lot easier than many, and I’m trying to help them.