1.109 shopping fail, novel, conference call

Friday, 3/20/2020

Today’s big adventure was to drive to Safeway in Menlo Park to pick up my online order (for laundry detergent, peanut butter, and lo-cal sodas). Following a cheerful, clear email from Safeway, I looked for a “Drive up & Go” parking space. There were none; no such signage.

I went into the store (noting big posters advertising “drive up & go” service) and found the customer service desk. The person there said she was sorry but due to demand “all the on-line stuff has been canceled.” Thanks, Safeway, for letting me know.

My next thought was to go ahead and buy the stuff, but looking around the huge store, I saw many, many people, not observing any kind of “distancing”. So I decided to go instead to a store I trust, Piazza’s. There, I found people who were taking some pains to keep apart. The queue for checkout was nicely spaced! I couldn’t get the Tide detergent I wanted but got another brand. No bread, no paper products of any kind. No Skippy PB but I got a jar of another brand.

As I had planned and prepared, I wore latex gloves while shopping. Still gloved, I took each item out and wiped it down with a bleach solution I had prepared. And wiped the door handle and steering wheel and discarded the gloves.

Back home, there was a new cheerful email from Safeway with details about my pick up order, how they had substituted some things and some things were out of supply, and the total was $36.10, and my pickup time was now. Just as if there was no problem! So I called their customer service line, where I sat on hold for 55 minutes before it told me there was a problem, please try later, and hung up on me.

Safeway — boo, hiss.

Next was more work on an agent for the novel. I found another directory of agents and added a couple of names to my spreadsheet. Two of these said they want a “synopsis” as a different item than a “query letter”. Hmmm. Not sure about the difference so I need to research that. But I set out to do a chapter-by-chapter synopsis, and in the course of that, noticed that some chapters were longer than others, so did some breaking and joining.

That killed time until 4pm when I dialed in to Rhonda’s conference call. Here are the notes I took as she (the CH CEO) talked and took questions.

Since 2/28 we’ve been dealing with a vast quantity of guidance from Santa Clara county and many other agencies including our licensing agencies. As a result we have in 20 days, changed the way we do just about everything. Staff reorganized in management teams. Two from each department are splitting the schedule so one manager for each team is on site 24/7 (facilities, housekeeping, communications, business etc)

We’ve acquired a supply of “personal protective equipment” PPE supplies (masks, googles, gloves, gowns) and we have set up isolation rooms. We have set up a room with rollaway beds for staff napping if staff needs to sleep over. We are planning to deal with COVID if it gets past our barriers.

Staffing: we have staff shortages, staff who are self-quarantining with various symptoms, and staff with child-care problems. We ask you to not visit staff in person; our offices are closed and we can handle most things by email or phone.

Facilities: have been very busy with things like the new washing facility. Some projects on hold.

Fitness: there will be a schedule later today for virtual fitness classes and a method of checking out fitness equipment.

Hand washing. Tired of hearing about it? It is so important that we do a weekly training with staff again and again. Leave the water running; scrub for 20 seconds including your fingernails. Get one paper towel, use it to turn off the water, discard it. Get another paper towel and dry. If you get a tissue out of your pocket to wipe your nose, wash your hands again.

Meals. The new process: it takes one full-time and one part-time person to tally the menus each day. Just turn in one menu per day, by 2pm. Don’t bring back your paper bags, recycling is nice but returning a bag to the dining room is an infection control issue. The bags can be composted with your meal trash.

Housekeeping: staff is concentrating on public areas, e.g. disinfecting wherever any stranger enters the wellness wing.

Finally: plan on change. The one thing we are sure of, there will be more changes. Facing shortages in paper products like paper bags. All facilities like ours are serving food in disposable products and there are shortages. Some types of food are going short, like fresh fruit, which comes from California where nobody is working. We expect more staff shortages. We expect we can adjust to these things.

In the Q&A: Kim Krebs is now our question czar, direct questions to her by phone or email.

What will change if we get a case? Rhonda: decision will be made by SCC health. At a guess, we will start delivering your food to your apartment. You may be able to leave the building but not visit any common rooms.

Deliveries: when UPS and Fedex arrive, they leave boxes outside. We then spray them with a disinfectant spray before bringing them into the building.

Debate about whether it would be good or not, to have volunteers who make runs during the early hours, to grocery stores, on behalf of multiple residents. Fewer people going out to stores but exposes volunteers to multiple exposures.

Food delivery from a store or restaurant? In a box we’d spray the box. We’ve not been spraying bags of food for fear of spoiling the food. Later: SCC health has issued guidance to restaurants, doordash, uber, on how to handle food delivery, so it should not need disinfecting.

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