PacNW Updates

Wow, what a difference a few weeks makes.

I live about twenty minutes outside Seattle; the first case, P0, was about 10-15 minutes away, depending on traffic, and the LifeCare nursing facility is about five minutes away from Mr. Man’s work.

He’s been working from home since last Thursday; I am happy to see more of him, sad about the circumstances. I just got a copy of my birth certificate before all this broke, was going to look for a new job, since my contracting is over and the family commitment I was helping with is almost done (well, part one is done, and part two is smaller but more complicated and drawn out). Instead I am battling a sinus infection (three plus weeks), and did most of the household shopping in preparation for possible long-term bivouacking at home. I think we’re pretty well set for several weeks at least, and we’re limiting trips. One nice thing? We’re down a few pounds and have gone for several walks this past week, and started to reorganize the garage, which sorely needed it.

It’s a little hard to think about gardening – one of the things we actually spend a lot of cycles on this time of year – but we got into it a bit last weekend. A fellow gardener had an extra (older) light growing setup and we have lettuce, spinach, arugula and some herbs growing; it’s nice to see that and it has finally gotten us in to thinking forward about the garden more.

I think some of the measures taken to stem the tide of the virus are a bit draconian, some are warranted. For example, there’s been a bit of a brouhaha in the state about something King County did. They were eyeing a hotel in Kent to house homeless people who were infected by tuberculosis, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases and in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic they bought it. The problem is they NEVER told the Kent city government they were looking at it, and the motel, an Econolodge, is in a main part of town. The city was upset, and the mayor has found it almost impossible to get information from the County. There are limited facilities at the motel, but the County apparently started detaining people there already – and hasn’t been informing Kent in a timely manner. At the end of last week, the second person quarantined there – who had yet to get their coronavirus results back – left the motel, shoplifted from a store across the street and got on a bus! The ONE guard at the Econolodge could not detain this person, and merely filmed them; it was the store owner who notified the mayor’s office! There are huge swaths of people outraged at this, and to be honest, rightly so. The mayor is upset; she had been asking King County about security, was it possible for someone infected to leave and possibly endanger the community, what services were being offered there… and she received almost nothing from the County. I think that’s unconscionable.

All restaurant dining rooms are closed in my state, even in eastern Washington, where there are few cases. Not only are Federal taxes due in April, but county property taxes are, and I believe excise or another state tax is due next month too. I know several people who own restaurants and they are scrambling to try to give people part time hours, manage smaller menus (less spoilage), and other things and I feel very bad for them and worry about their future. I think this coronavirus could be VERY serious, but I am concerned about the extent of some of these measures and how it will affect people’s livelihood and the fabric of our communities. Will only chains survive now?

On the book-writing front, I am using a trial of a tool called ‘Publisher Rocket’. It helps you search for keywords and gives you an idea how often it is searched for, (on Amazon and sometimes Google), how many other titles are categorized under that heading, and a few other tools. It is amazing how many keywords are popular and misspelled! I’m working through my books (in between editing/writing), to update their keywords using this tool. I have no idea how people found me way back when (at one point, my first book hit top 25 in a Free Romance subcategory!), but they have dropped down over the past year, and categories and keywords have shifted and changed.

Please be safe everyone! Remember – WASH your hands. WIPE down carts and surfaces. KEEP your distance. Eventually this storm, too, will pass.

Love, Holly

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