Life off the “Urban Homestead”in Texas and Air Travel in a Time of Coronavirus



You know my old soapbox about staying home and staying safe? I still feel that, deeply. But considering I just flew to and from Florida for work means there should be a big ol’ hypocrisy asterisk  on the side of said soapbox.

In my defense this was a required onsite for me to test out my product on a massive construction project north of Tampa.

Don’t talk about my work much, but I really enjoy getting out on sites like this.

I’ve been working on this project for a year and a half to try to get it sold and installed. Literal blood sweat and tears, all mine, are in on this thing. It would be the second largest project in my company’s history if I can close it. But please know it isn’t actually the money that influenced my decision. Nor my bosses- who would never have pressured me to go. There is just something about the striving and project pursuit that I thrive on. And so I made the choice to be there- as the onsite couldn’t be delayed or rescheduled.

My husband and I talked about this in depth, and we were previously going to drive to be safer. But then Alabama and Mississippi kinda blew up on Coronavirus cases. The girls would have had to go stay with my mother-in-law. As the day got closer I just started getting really uneasy about the whole thing. The kids in one house, us driving and staying and eating all through the South, and then another set of people in and out of our house to care for animals? We talked about it again and decided that limiting the risk to one person made more sense than the spread out risk to everyone. I was out and back in 28 hours and brought my own bleach wipes and hand sanitizer and wore a mask the whole time in airports and on planes. I sprung for business class to not have anyone in the middle seat. Also, I WAS sick back in March… so if I can ever find an antibody test it may actually show I already had this damn thing.

The San Antonio airport had about half the people as normal- and I’d say less than half of those were in masks. The ones that weren’t were often glaring at those that were in masks. The mask-less were concentrated at certain gates- the gate to Dallas I’d estimate over 90% were without masks. The gate to Charlotte was almost as bad. Mask wearing has really become a political statement- it might as well be the new pussy hat, you know? It’s so ridiculous. Honestly, once the word got out that masks were to protect other people of COURSE that subset of folks said “hell no” to them! It’s masks, healthcare, welfare, and other social services- if the benefit is to helping their fellow man and not themselves they want nothing to do with it. Those people, as I’ve said before, can fuck right off.

The airports, the planes, the rental car, and the hotel were very clean and there was hand sanitizer everywhere. I bleach wiped every seat and surface I touched. I was fine, honestly. It was WEIRD to be out again though. Like this is part of my normal life, the work travel with all the airports, rental cars, and hotels. But this time it was almost overwhelming, not from a stress level, mind you, but from a sensory one. After being at home for so long it was just a lot to visually process- not quite to the point of sensory overload, but still way, way more than I’m used to right now.

On the flight home I was handed a mandatory quarantine form, we deplaned on the international side of the airport, and were met by the air national guard to take our forms and confirm our self quarantine locations. People lost their ever loving MINDS at this! One of the first ladies off the plane was filming the poor soldiers (had to be 20 years old and just following orders) taking our forms as everyone else departed the plane. (If anyone sees this clip on a Qanon site I’m the one in the black, red and gold floral mask and the workboots. Also with a glare for the camera, though 3/4 of my resting/active bitch face was obscured by the mask.)

Look lady doing the filming, your freedom doesn’t include the right to cough on people or make others sick, get a fucking grip!

Anyway, I also have a couple of issues with this mandatory quarantine, though it isn’t about any perceived infringing on my freedom or anything. First one- NO ONE had ever heard of this rule? No notices or pop ups came up when I booked the flights? Texas is being TERRIBLE about making public what the rules are here. Yes they are posted on the government website, but I actually had to go looking for it- I’d never heard about this travel rule before, even with all the news reading I’m doing. Second, it’s so goddamn arbitrary! I was required to self-isolate with the national guard advising they’d be doing random inspections and I’d face a $1,000 fine if I was not at my declared quarantine location when they showed up. This was ONLY because I’d flown through Atlanta on my way back though. If I’d waited and taken the United flight the next day that flew through Houston I wouldn’t have had to quarantine as my destination of Tampa wasn’t on the list that required this self-quarantine.

Here we are in Texas, a hotbed of cases with no testing, we’re reopening restaurants, bars, hair salons, the rivers for tubing… and because I set foot in Atlanta this really severe rule applies? Like honestly- I don’t mind that part, I’m a rule follower and am okay with that, it’s just so weird to have that rule while the rest of the state is on the way to being totally opened back up!

And then 2 days after I was back Greg Abbot (our governor) cancelled all travel related self quarantine rules and so there’s that.

Damn this state and it’s idiocy on these rules, man. Does this LOOK like now’s the time to reopen?

Screen Shot 2020-05-24 at 11.45.16 AM
That there looks like an upward trend to me
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And this is just limited by the testing… the real numbers are vastly different

Anyway, I’m back now at my home on the “homestead” and planning on staying close to it for most of the foreseeable future. (at least for the next few months)

I’ve always grown my own herbs and some veggies, but it does seem like that’s gone to 11 this year. Below is a fairly full representation of our current urban homestead:

Almost 2 month old chickens
Okra coming in nicely
One of the 3 butternut squash plants, bronze fennel in the background
The tomatoes are following Melania’s advice to “Be Best”
The blackberries are never ever making it inside as the children just eat them right of the vine as soon as they are ripe… this is perfectly fine
The pumpkin patch coming up from the composted cinderella pumpkin in the back of the triangle bed. Grow my pretty- we all might need to turn your fruit into a magical carriage to get the hell outta here come November!
The damn mint. Gonna have plenty of mojitos with our eggs and squash I guess?
I realize a picture of the sweet basil with just about nothing for reference against doesn’t really give a concept of size. So, you know how big a grain of sand is though, right? This is bigger.
The chile pequin plant already putting out tiny peppers
The calamondin is putting out a good crop… come on quarantine calamondin bundt cake!

Not pictured are the Meyer’s lemon plant (weirdly defoliated last month but putting out all new leaves now), the key lime tree, the Castroville basil plant, the parsley, and green fennel plants. Oh yeah, also the thyme. And the zucchini. I think that’s it. Oh right, the wheat! How could I forget the wheat?! Also the rosemary and culinary sage.

There are still flowers too- don’t think there aren’t. We have plenty of white cosmos and pink zinnias coming in. All the perennials are starting to flower… I’ll show you those next time. But, as makes sense I think, the veggies and herbs and chickens give just that much of a boost of reassurance to have right now, and we can all use whatever boosts we can get.

The 4 year old asked me the other day if there had always been coronavirus. A question that broke my heart a little. Three months to a 40 year old is only 1/160th of my life… but to her it’s 1/16th of her life… and she’s starting to lose the memories of the “before time.” I told her that no, there wasn’t always coronavirus. And then I hugged her a little extra long. And then we went back to our lives here and now in the present- and trying to make the best outta it.

The advice of: “wherever you are, be there” seems to be very apt these days.

3 thoughts on “Life off the “Urban Homestead”in Texas and Air Travel in a Time of Coronavirus

  1. Home looks like the best place to be. I think you made the right decision about the travel arrangements. On the quarantine being arbitrary, I couldn’t agree with you more. That’s the case here too. In one of the seniors’ residences, the seniors are required to self-quarantine if they’ve been away at all, yet employees come and go freely to work in the kitchens and housekeeping. Go figure.

    1. The rules are just so spotty and varied and add up to all being ineffective because of it! But, we do what we can when we can I guess…

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