Coronavirus impacts us all

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Remember not long ago when we first started hearing about coronavirus and joked about sales of Corona beer plummeting?

It’s not so funny now, is it?

The disease is pandemic worldwide and all of our lives have changed. When Austin canceled SXSW, all of us in the Houston area thought they were overreacting. Then we canceled the rest of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Sports leagues began canceling and postponing seasons. Schools shut down. The government began limiting public gatherings, churches moved online, bars closed, and restaurants went to carry-out and drive-thru only.

People now stand in long lines just to get into grocery stores. And for some totally bizarre reason people in the United States are still hoarding toilet paper. My daughter works as a teacher in Taiwan and she said people there are making fun of us for doing that. At my house we were well supplied with 2-ply long before this crisis hit. Only now we’re getting to the point we need to buy more and it’s difficult to find. Seriously, you hoarders need to stop – now!

It has been very interesting at home this past week. Both of my boys living at home have had their schools closed. My wife and I have been told by our respective employers to work from home as much as possible. As a journalist, I didn’t think that would be possible for me. I needed to be out in the community covering this crisis. I wasn’t. That’s because I was potentially exposed to the virus.

It turns out that one of the players on the XFL’s Seattle Dragons team tested positive. He would have likely been contagious during the game I photographed in Houston on March 7. He reported it to the league on March 10 and I found out about it on March 17. After consulting with my boss, I felt it was in everyone’s best interest to self-quarantine at home through the end of the two-week period, which ended Saturday. That’s why you haven’t seen me around the community and why our sports editor Cole McNanna has been doing our Facebook videos alone. (He was in the press box at the game and not in contact with players.)

The biggest impact the coronavirus has had on my family affected my oldest son, Wesley. He lives in Florida and was to be married on March 29. My in-laws, his grandparents, had a cruise scheduled two weeks before the wedding. The plan was they would go and be back in time for the big event. They got to Florida only to have the cruise canceled. Since they are in several high-risk categories for the virus, they decided they would drive back to Texas and most likely miss the wedding.

That’s when Wesley and his bride-to-be Dena decided to move the wedding up to March 17 so they could at least be there for it. That morning my in-laws got the idea to have Sandy, my wife and Wesley’s mother, fly out for the wedding and then she could help them drive home. So, as she was boarding a plane for Orlando, I was discovering my exposure and going into exile.

I’m happy to say that Sandy made it on time and the wedding went off nicely. My other children and I watched via Facebook Live. It’s safe to say that St. Patrick’s Day 2020 will be forever memorable in our lives as one of the most bizarre, weird, and joyful days ever.

I’m happy to say that everyone got home safely and healthy and that the newlywed couple is enjoying their new life together. At this time they are planning to re-do their vows and have a full-blown wedding ceremony at a later date. We’re all looking forward to that.

In the meantime, there is a lot of work to be done. I have a ton of stories to write and many other things that require my attention. With my wife at home, the honey-do list is growing and apparently becoming more urgent. And speaking of urgent, one of our higher priorities is finding toilet paper. If anyone has a good lead on some, please let me know.

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