Quarantine Diary 1

April 13, 2020

I've been kicking around a few ideas for posts recently, but it seemed a little bit silly to be writing about CSS or video games when the world is in the midst of a pandemic.

For several weeks now, (what is time anymore?) we've all been under stay-at-home orders, maintaining social distancing and generally trying not to lose our collective shit as COVID-19 has spread throughout the world. At the time I'm writing this, John Hopkins University reports a total of 1.87M confirmed cases and 116k deaths throughout the world. Just in my small Chicago suburb, there have been nearly 100 cases and two deaths. And these numbers are probably well below the actual totals because of a lack of testing.

The author in his new outdoor attire
Me, on a rare expedition for supplies

So many people have already been affected by the virus, directly or indirectly through its effects on the economy, that I feel like an asshole for talking about how it has effected me, given that I'm in a pretty fortunate situation. I think it's important that people share what they're going through so that they know they're not alone and, hopefully, we can all get through this together.

Having already been dealing with depression and anxiety after the loss of my daughter, it's been dialed up a few notches in the last few months. It feels like I'm in the NICU all over again. Things seem dire and the feeling of not knowing how things are going to play out, and the feeling of dread about the worst case scenario is overwhelming. Only now instead of just my daughter, I'm worried about my entire family, my friends, my colleagues, and the world in general.

It's not a great time to be working for a company whose business model depends on people leaving their house. Working on a design system right now seems frivolous as my wife, a special education director, deals with trying to figure out how to service special needs students remotely and a host of other issues.

Meanwhile, we're caring for a 14-month-old and a 16-year-old while trying to work from home. Because my time is split I feel like I'm not doing an adequate job at work or taking care of my kids. The 14-month-old is oblivious to the whole situation but he's at a stage where he's just mobile enough and curious enough to require constant supervision. Meanwhile the 16-year-old is missing out on his social life and his baseball season, which I'm sure is incredibly frustrating for him.

Trying to Cope

Here are some things my family and I have been doing and enjoying while trying to survive self-isolation.

Daily Walks My wife and I try to take the dogs and the baby for a walk each day. Our neighbors have been very good about distancing and it's been nice exchanging hellos with them.

Supporting Local Businesses Our town has a lot of great, independently-owned shops and restaurants and, despite being sufficiently stocked on food, we have made an effort to support those businesses with carry out orders.

Therapy If you have health insurance, it's a great time to connect with a therapist on a weekly basis. Our collective anxiety is at peak levels and our therapists could probably use the business.

Video Games My wife is not a gamer, but I've been enjoying Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the Switch. It's a very wholesome and calming game where you build and decorate a house on an island and finance it through aggressive buying and selling of virtual turnips.

I've also been playing a lot of Nioh 2 on PS4. It's a Soulslike game set in 16th century Japan and it's extremely challenging. I'll probably have a full write-up of it once I finish it.

Television My wife and I have been watching a lot of television. When Ryan is awake it's a lot of Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. After he's asleep, we watched all of S3 of Ozark on Netflix. It's a great show but it doesn't do much for our anxiety, as every character is constantly making extremely poor decisions.

We've also been catching up on the latest seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Westworld and are excited to start S4 of Insecure, all on HBO.

I've been enjoying new episodes of Terrace House on Netflix. Terrace House is kind of like MTV's The Real World, except the housemates can leave at any time. It creates a constantly evolving dynamic that's highly entertaining. There's also a panel of studio hosts that comment on what's going on in the house. It's great watching people living blissfully unaware of the events that will soon unfold around the world.

Podcasts My friend Dave and his wife have been doing nightly Coronavirus chats on Periscope and publishing one weekly on Dave's podcast, Culturally Relevant.

YouTube Videos There's so much negativity in the world that when something fun and wholesome comes around it really stands out. I've really been enjoying John Krasinski's Some Good News, an overly positive round up of good things that are happening right now with a ton of special guests.

Radiohead has been posting live concerts on their channel, including this 2000 show in Dublin.

This video on Microservices, spoofing the over-engineering that happens at large companies, hit a little too close to home.

I loved this episode of Learn with Jason featuring Dan Mall as they talked about creating a design system.

The latest Hot Ones features Justin Timberlake.

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems is a great daily activity for kids and adults alike.

Finally, here's Tears for Fears' Curt Smith and his daughter playing an acoustic version of Mad World.

I hope you and your family are doing well and hanging in there. Please feel free to reach out to me if you need someone to talk to (or if your Nook's Cranny is buying turnips for over 400 bells)!

I'm Mike Aparicio, Principal Design Systems Engineer at Turquoise Health. I'm interested in helping companies large and small improve collaboration between design and engineering through the use of design systems. I specialize in creating custom CSS frameworks that empower engineering teams to get from concept to production quickly, while writing little to no CSS themselves. I write about web design and development, video games, pop culture, and other things I find interesting. I live in the Chicago area with my wife, three sons, and two dogs.

You can find me on most places on the Internet as @peruvianidol.

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