So here's the story... The shop next door has changed hands. My neighbor is moving. He has a bunch of really big, really heavy cast iron woodworking tools. I know he's going to ask me to help, I just don't know when, so I sit quietly and bide my time. Eventually, that call comes. Given that we're in the depths of this whole pandemic, I suspect he asked for my help out of desperation. I know these tools are heavy. I hate to think he's doing it by himself, but I also don't want to catch the Rona.

Let me tell you about this neighbor. He's slow to warm up to a person, but has a heart of gold when it finally opens up. I've spent years cultivating a neighborly relationship with this guy, so when asked, of course I'm going to help. I know walking over there, he works in the medical field, but he doesn't treat patients. He's already told me about their Covid-19 policies, he wears a mask and gloves, and I'm just about the same. Honestly, I can't tell you how much I get made fun of for my constant sanitizing. I wash my cash and coins at this point. We both have been social distancing. I've been doing it my entire adult life, but this work in moving equipment puts us in somewhat close proximity. No big deal, a few hours and we're done. I become Bob's nephew.

Skip to Tuesday morning, I get a call from this neighbor. He preempts it with "I have bad news." Now, we both have a third friend that isn't doing so good, so I instantly think our friend has died. Then comes the phrase "I am confirmed coronavirus positive."

Well, s**t.

As much as that sucks to hear after sharing a close experience moving his stuff, I'm super relieved our third friend hasn't kicked the bucket. Don't get me wrong, he's old, we all know it's coming, but that doesn't make it any easier. So what do I do?

More backstory...

Before the US hit coronavirus prevention with a howitzer, my family made plans to spend Spring Break skiing up in Colorado. In the days leading up to it, I wanted to cancel, but everyone else wanted to go. This was when it was still "Just a cold."

We had flown out on a Saturday morning, driven across Denver, through the foothills, and into the middle of the Rockies to the small ski town of Winter Park. It's real touristy. To save time at the ski rental counter and maximize our time on the mountain, we arranged to get our boots and skis the night we arrived. We literally pulled into the driveway seven minutes before the ski-pros arrived with our stuff. An hour after they left, we get the call... the governor of Colorado has closed all public ski slopes as the state started an outbreak of Covid-19 the day we traveled there. Armed with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer, we spent the next four days having a ton of fun. Even rented some snowmobiles for a few hours of fun at 12,500 feet. All said, roads and travel started being shut down in the days before eventually heading home. We felt lucky to get out of that hot bed.

So with a few more days of vacation to spend, I decided I'd hang out with my nephews in the family hometown for the remainder of my days. It seemed like a good, safe idea to avoid the rona. Boy was I wrong. My family lives in Kay county. Aside from OKC and Tulsa, Kay county had an early outbreak of this virus. Numbers skyrocketed per capita in those couple of days. While I really enjoy spending time with the fam, I was happy to be on the road home to Lawton where I don't think there was any cases, yet.

In the two weeks after vacation, I was pretty vigilant and aware of myself. Avoiding others at the studios, constant sanitizing, I even offered to quarantine for their safety but they agreed, knowing how neurotic I am about cleanliness, they were cool with me staying in my comfortable studio. I somehow managed to avoid coronavirus amidst two major outbreaks in two states, two airports, and three grocery stores. As that first two weeks passed, I felt incredibly lucky.

By now, we're about a week into April. Non-essential businesses were now closed, Chad's and Karen's were still OK with being at home, and nobody could find toilet paper.

As the days passed, I kind of feel guilty that my life wasn't hindered hardly at all. I still did my daily routine... wake up, go to work, go home, repeat... Sure, food was hard to find those first two weeks, but eventually it returned to store shelves. Naturally, I had cleaning supplies and sanitizer stockpiled in the cupboard. If anything, the social distancing and stay at home order had improved my life as I no longer had to lie my way out of social gatherings.

If you're still with me, there are 627 and one half tiles in my house. I counted.

Back to the good part... Now, here I sit in my home. Day one of what is to be a long two weeks of mandatory quarantine, but I'm OK with it. I'd rather face this alone rather than risk the health of those I work with. I may talk a heavy grudge with people from work, but we're really just a weird extended family. Sure, I'm still seen as the perpetual "kid" around the office, and some really don't appreciate when I speak to them as a grown up, but eh... We fight, we make up, remember we're all adults and start having fun again. I'm not sure what these two weeks will entail, but I'm pretty sure I'll share every bit of it with you.

First thing that comes to mind is, I should be able to wear flip flops on casual Fridays. It sure makes the work seem easier when you're comfortable. That being said, I won't push my luck asking for permission to go sans pantalones. While it's not my studio cave of comfort, I've worked in worse offices before. Come on day fifteen...

Kelso's New Office

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