Life in the Time of Corona, Vol. 2

Life is so weird these days, isn’t it? I’m writing this blog post today to talk about two coronavirus-related things: the nasal swab test itself, and the blood draw test for antibodies. I recommend you to get both of these tests if at all possible!

First, I want to talk about how I got tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Erie County, NY’s Department of Health is really doing a great job with their antibody testing. They’ve had multiple locations over the past few weeks where you can get a free antibody test done. I decided to sign up for one. Why? Well…. why not? Although I knew it was unlikely I had the antibodies – I hadn’t knowingly been exposed to anyone with COVID, nor did I feel like I’d had it at any point – I figured it was a smart, responsible thing to do. Only about five percent of county residents are estimated to have the antibodies, so I knew there was a slim chance, but it’s good to help the county’s testing numbers at the very least.

The process was incredibly easy. I booked an appointment online for a Tuesday evening test at a local fire hall, so I could go right after work one day and get it done. When I arrived, everything was very well labeled and sanitized regularly for social distancing & health practices. (Of course, this being run by the county health department, I’d expect nothing less.) It was about 10 minutes from the time I walked in the door to when I walked out, including waiting in line for a short while to register. A simple blood draw (which did leave me with a nice bruise for several days, admittedly) and less than a week later, I had my results: negative for COVID-19 antibodies.

The next day, I decided to go get a COVID-19 test done. I had the day off from work and found a drive-through site in my neighborhood, no appointment required. Again, it took only about 10 minutes – the longest part was getting all the paperwork filled out. I didn’t ever have to step out of my car, and the process was pretty smooth. The test itself wasn’t bad at all – I want to make that clear. My eyes watered for a second after the nasal swab, but that was it. At this point, I’m still waiting for my results, but since I haven’t had any symptoms, I’m expecting it to be negative.

So why did I get a COVID-19 test? I had a day of stomach issues a few days prior to getting the test. In all honesty, it was likely because something in my freezer had gone bad while the power was out on a 90-degree day. I had also been pretty exhausted, but that, too can be attributed elsewhere: I’ve been filling in at a more physically-demanding job than my usual desk job, and my hours have been different, so my whole schedule is a bit out of wack. While all of this could be explained, my anxiety got into my head and worried that I might have it – and there wasn’t going to be any peace in my mind until I at least went for a test.

I went to a local urgent care facility first, but they had a whopping two hour wait to get a test! No thanks. The drive-up test was super easy and pretty much painless, and I encourage everyone to get tested if there’s even the slightest bit of your mind that says you should. Although what I was feeling was likely nothing, you can have the virus and be asymptomatic, or only have very minimal symptoms. Some places will only test you if you have symptoms or have been exposed to the virus, but others will test you regardless, so if you’re going to search for a test, be aware of this. But honestly — I’m glad I did it. It’s worth the minimal amount of time I spent to have some peace of mind, help the county’s numbers and help science.

Isn’t it better, in all things, to know than to be left wondering?

Life in the Time of Corona, Vol. 1

What a year this week has been. It’s certainly felt like a year, hasn’t it? These are strange times we’re living in, friends. Every day feels surreal.

This week started out mostly normal. I went to work on Monday like usual, but even then, everything felt so….. tentative, like no one knew exactly what was going to happen next. The last few days at work were filled with proofreading press releases and mass emails and the like. School closures came and some things started to shut down, but like I said, I went to work on Monday like any other day. When I left at 4:30 pm, I could feel how tentative things were, and made sure I brought home anything from my desk that I thought I might need.

And then everything turned sideways.

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Our Texas Travels: Dallas, TX

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From Coupland, we continued our Texas travels and really started to get around the state a bit more. On Monday morning, we headed to Dallas. On our way, we stopped at a Buc-ee’s in Temple! What a place. It feels wrong calling it a “gas station,” as it is… so much more than that. Wow.

We did make it to Dallas, where our first stop was a scheduled tour of the American Airlines Center, home of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. As a hockey fan, but also just as a tourist, this was a wonderful tour – and only $5!! It was a great way to see the arena, and get to see areas we wouldn’t normally see if there for a game/concert.

Unfortunately, this was the point in our trip where things got a little topsy-turvy. My husband came down with some sort of stomach bug, and we tried our best not to let it put a damper on things too much. Unfortunately, I got it a few days later, but in both cases, it lasted under a day and thank goodness for that. There’s few things worse than being sick on vacation.

At any rate, after our tour of the AAC, we stopped at the Dallas Grilled Cheese Co., where I ate a grilled cheese sandwich with macaroni & cheese on it. It was delicious! And a super neat place to boot. From there, it was to our AirBnB, the Oak Cliff Tiny House. This was my first time ever booking an AirBnB, and it was fantastic. Such an adorable place, great location and great hosts.

That was pretty much it for our Monday. Ryan tried his best to sleep off the bug; I popped over to CVS and got some health things (thank you, Pedialyte) and ordered Chipotle via DoorDash for dinner. After some sleep, and with Ryan feeling much better, we headed towards Houston the following morning.

Before we left Dallas, we made a quick stop by Dealey Plaza to see the spots where JFK was shot. We didn’t go into the museum, but maybe next time. It was honestly surreal to stand in that space and think about what a pivotal moment in history occurred there. Eerie.

In order to split up the drive to Houston, we elected to spend Tuesday night in Buffalo, TX. Also, being from Buffalo, NY…. how could we not? Before that, however, we headed up to Frisco for a RoughRiders baseball game. We had originally planned to go on Monday evening, but decided Tuesday’s morning game worked out better, especially since Ryan was feeling better! It was fun, hot, rained a little and the best part of all, my husband got to meet one of his public address/music friends!

After a few more stops, we hit the road again and once we made it to Buffalo, it was a low-key day and evening, with dinner with family at The Pharm restaurant. I also picked up some Blue Bell ice cream. (Honestly? I’ll always be partial to Perry’s.)

Wednesday morning, after our night in Buffalo, we began the trek to Houston. Unfortunately, this is where the stomach bug hit me, so our plans were a bit derailed. We did eventually make it to Rosenberg – where my husband used to live, and our hotel for the night. I stayed cooped up in the hotel to recuperate, and Ryan visited some family in the area. Again, a low-key night but it was what we needed at that point!

Once I felt better on Thursday morning, we hit the road to Houston. Stay tuned for more 🙂

My First Instacart Experience

I just want to start off by saying: this is not a sponsored post. None of my posts are.

Okay, now that’s out of the way. When I first heard about Instacart’s recent arrival in the Buffalo area, I was intrigued, but didn’t necessarily think it was a service I’d ever use.

This week, I decided to give it a try. My husband and I both have a busy week, filled with our day jobs, plus a ton of ‘extracurricular’ stuff (side job stuff, basically). The evenings I’m free, I look forward to going home and being able to relax. I don’t terribly mind grocery shopping, but after working an eight-hour day, the last thing I want to do is go spend an hour strolling the aisles of Tops or Wegmans, then another 15ish minutes carting the stuff home and upstairs. And then you’ve still got to put everything away!

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11-Day Power Play Makes a Difference

In the course of a National Hockey League, a player will typically skate for anywhere from five to 25 minutes, with the occasional exception. Those minutes will be spread out over the 60-minute-long game, broken up into periods with a pair of 17-minute intermissions between.

Those players are professionals; they get paid to play, and train year-long to keep their bodies in top shape. When the final buzzer sounds after 60 minutes, they enjoy a meal, then go home to spend time with their families, rest, and relax.

The 11-Day Power Play was a hockey game… but it was nothing like that. This world-record breaking feat saw a group of 40 guys train for months to spend 11 straight days at the rink. Their shifts were roughly four and a half hours long, with only brief, strict 10-minute breaks for the Zamboni to resurface the ice or shovels to clean the ice every hour.

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