A Quick Note Before I Fall Asleep | WisCommunity

A Quick Note Before I Fall Asleep

March 17, 2020 - 10:36pm
It's Always Something

I know for a lot of us the days seem incredibly long at the moment. We're all a little worried, we're all a little stressed, and the landscape of life has become unfamiliar. As of today we have no restaurants and bars (other than carry-out). Many of the touchstones of our lives are closed or closing. Personally it's hard for me to accept that the libraries and schools are closed for the duration.

For the Duration. I somehow keep using that term. It reminds me of World War II. I'm not trying to compare the current situation with the horror of a war, but one similarity is that we're all being asked to make personal sacrifices for the common good. For some of us the sacrifices will be bigger than for others. Keeping your distance, staying home a lot (at least for people who have that option), and not being able to go out for a meal or a drink are annoying, but I can live with it. There will be a lot of financial strain too. For some people and businesses, it will be devastating. I cannot imagine having kids who are suddenly home during the day while the parents are working, and having to figure out where they are going to go.  Healthcare workers and emergency responders are in for a rough time, and it is pretty apparent it's only going to get worse for a while. A lot of people are going to be out of jobs, or making less money. I made the mistake of looking at my retirement money today. A lot of it has disappeared.

There are things in the works to make that easier, but a lot of people just don't have the reserves to get through a  period of no pay, or less pay, or suddenly having to pay for day care that may be as expensive as their salary. Until (and if) we get some answers there, we're going to have to work at looking out for each other and being kind. And I'm going to continue to work at figuring out better ways to get news and resources out to you to help you cope.

I have some ideas. Some of it will just be trying to give you information to help you keep going. Some of it will be trying to match needs and resources in the community. I'm going to try to build some tools for that. As I'm sure you're all aware, this is a pretty shoestring operation at best. Recently the site has received a bunch of new generous donations, and trust me I am really appreciative of them. But we need to have more staff and some more financial resources.

I am at the moment in the process of applying for an emergency journalism grant associated with COVID-19 reporting. I meant to finish it today, but things kept coming up. News releases, videos that needed to be watched, phone calls. At the moment I'm just too darn tired to finish it and will do so tomorrow. Keeping up with all of this and trying to put it into a form that is more useful is like drinking out of a firehose. I enjoy the first few hours every day, but then --- well, let's just say it goes downhill. 

And of course in the middle of it all today  I managed to horrifically break the website when doing a security update. It turns out it was not entirely my fault. The way I am using this Drupal distribution tickled a "feature" in the new security update that didn't quite work as expected, and it took a few go-rounds with the software developer to get it squared away. At least now it's documented and nobody else will have to go through this again. Add to that the that took some of my link posts over there and decided they were spam and unpublished them, and it's been quite a day. And I know tomorrow will be similar. 

So - we'll keep soldiering on, all of us. Be good to your neighbors and friends. Pet the pets, apparently they're safe. Wash your hands. Try to relax and enjoy some of the changes in life. I've been re-discovering Netflix late at night (unfortunately without the Chill part). There's a new video camera showing up tomorrow so there's some chance of my hiring an intern to videotape some of these meetings, at least once we all start having meetings in the physical world again. I'm going to be trying to build a little tool on the site that will make it easier for people to find things and services they need. And when things eventually settle down I plan to invite a bunch of you out for a beer and to ask you where you were, what happened, and where you think we're all going. But for now, take it easy and love your neighbors and family.

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Steve Hanson
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