Sunday, Day 4
Just as my daughter started to recover from the flu, my husband got slammed with work. He’s a software architect at a large networking company. They make team-connecting software called WebEx. Well, after several governors announced school closures because of the coronavirus outbreak, parents across the U.S. needed a way to work from home. WebEx software became enormously useful and so did my overworked engineer husband.
In an effort of good will, the company made WebEx free for everyone. That led to an avalanche of new users and the system buckling under the traffic. Needless to say, the software engineers need to ensure the system stays operable for everyone. And so, my husband’s been working from the moment he wakes up until the moment he goes to bed.
A Job In Demand During an Epidemic
My husband considers us lucky. He works for a company that provides a service now more precious than ever: teleconferencing. Tech companies, educators, large corporations, banks, etc. all can keep business going if they switch to working from home. But that strains those modern tech solutions. While Zoom and other video conferencing software has collapsed under the pressure, WebEx has remained operational and available, thanks to people like my husband and his colleagues.
In the past, when my husband’s worked from home and we’ve needed the kids to stay quiet in their rooms, we’ve always simply said, “Daddy’s in a meeting.” They can hear his colleagues’ voices banging through his phone’s speaker in our office and know it’s a time to leave him be. Not ask questions, not show him school projects, not practice instruments or even have loud conversations. Just read or do homework, any quiet activity. Well, starting last Thursday, Daddy was in a meeting from about seven in the morning until eleven o’clock at night.
It was strange to hear the meetings go on and on. They usually end at the top of the hour. And then there are silent intervals. But we heard the voices all day. Once in a while he’d emerge, grab a handful of nuts and an ice tea and disappear. At mealtimes, he dropped out of the meeting and ate quickly with us. In the evenings, he and I managed to watch an episode of Peaky Blinders as he scrolled through his messages every few minutes. On Friday, he went back to his desk for a ten o’clock meeting to roll out an expansion of a database. Thankfully that went smoothly. This last weekend, some relief came as system traffic was of course lighter on Saturday and Sunday.
A Strange Blessing
Let me be clear, I’m not complaining. While service workers are being laid off, he’s busier than ever, which means he’s still employed. That’s a good thing for me and our children. But I do worry about others who aren’t so unfortunate. Like my sister who’s an early interventions specialist, mostly for autistic kids, who doesn’t get paid unless she works. She’s been ill. Like the bartender at the brewery we have lunch at. Super sweet guy. I don’t want him to lose his job. Like the lady who owns the cute second-hand shop I often visit in my neighborhood. Or even our big beloved bookstore. They, as well thousands of others, are all in financial pain right now.
The Future Is Tense and Unknown
As I look to the future, I have the luxury of feeling our family will probably be fine. My husband still has a job; we have money saved. Our kids are teenagers now, which is much easier than having little kids right now. I feel for those young families cooped up together. Even more for those with special needs children. It’s an intense test of stress and patience for parents.
I do worry about my mom, my husband’s mom, and all of the wonderful older people in my life. I hate that a senseless flu would abruptly end an otherwise extended time on earth. And I can’t help feel enraged when I think about the politics of it. How this administration ignored the signs: refused WHO tests, told the CDC to order scientists not to test for the virus, and all other mistakes. We could have been clamping down on this sooner and saving lives. But for now, I’ll take the cacophony of colleagues’ voices in our house as a good sign and search for a reputable organization to donate to. If you have ideas, let me know.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about how I keep my special needs daughter engaged but independent during this sequestered time. Then it will be onto whether I should spend the money to take my ancient cat to the vet, yet again. And how I’m focusing on my next novel, or not, plus an update on my daughter’s illness.
If you’d like more information on the Covid-19 illness, visit the Centers for Disease Control corona virus page here.
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