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Weekly Roundup: post-op whining and pandemics and planning and pretty rocks

Y'all, it's been a weird month. I'm officially a month out from surgery, and doing well overall, but it's a lot of two steps forward and one step backwards: I keep being surprised by it, because for the most part I feel fine, and then I try to do something that normally wouldn’t be exhausting and the fatigue hits like a ton of bricks. 

And then, of course, there's the whole global pandemic thing. I'm trying very hard not to freak out while simultaneously following my roommates around the house with sanitizing wipes and also nervously checking and re-checking my supplies of critical items like soap and frozen vegetables and anti-depressants and cat food and earwires and headpins. 

(Prepping, wirebender edition: order 250 pairs of sterling earwires.)

Confirmed cases are still low in NH so for the moment it's business as usual at WS, but since it seems inevitable that I'll be exposed at some point, I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do about shipping if/when COVID-19 hits my household. My friend and colleague Christina of Sihaya Designs posted this today, and I'm borrowing it with permission because it's way more coherent than anything I could manage: 

I've heard some discussion going around about whether or not COVID-19/the novel coronavirus can be transmitted via packages.

Right now, it looks like the chances of transmission via mail are fairly low. From what I am reading, the virus can live on cardboard boxes for 24 hours, and on various common surfaces, like plastic, for about 3 days.

Practically speaking, this means that if you bring your packages home, quarantine them, wash your hands, then open them a day or two later, you should be in the clear. There are also ways to decontaminate packages if you need to open them sooner.

Keep in mind that transit times mean that the virus has had longer time to die inside the box, and that your main concern would seem to be be the outside. Not to mention, temperature fluctuations common during the shipping process are also not good for the virus. But of course, if it is practicable for you to sanitize the inside contents, do that if it would give you peace of mind.

Overall, a few practical measures and a little bit of patience are all you need to protect yourself against contamination from packages, where the risk is already fairly low.

I'm quarantining incoming packages for 24 hours (which is REALLY hard because a package of really amazing beads just arrived in the mail and I WANT THEM, PRECIOUSSSS) and I will be washing my hands before I work on anything and before packing any orders. Obviously, use your judgement on opening packages; I think Christina's advice is both sensible and well-researched, but if you're concerned, gentle washing with warm water and a mild soap should be fine for most of the things I make, unless opals or pearls are involved. If I get sick or I know that I've been exposed, I'll suspend shipping for an appropriate length of time and post an announcement on the blog. 

(And as usual, PLEASE DO NOT LICK THE SHINIES.)

This brings me to my next announcement: I was already planning to start offering wireworking lessons and tutorials this year, and given that it looks like a lot of people are going to be spending a lot of time at home in the near future, I'm going to bump up the timeline on that a bit. Taking up a new hobby is a really good way to fend off boredom when you're housebound - I learned to knit during a particularly nasty cold and flu season over a decade ago, and that's saved my sanity any number of times over the years.

I specifically want to focus on one-on-one teaching (because wireworking of the style I do is all about learning techniques and theory and adding your own creative spin to it) so that’s what I’ll be rolling out first. I'm still figuring out logistics and scheduling and pricing, but at least initially I'll offer video lessons on a sliding scale, since that will both make it more accessible to a wider range of people as well as giving me a chance to figure out what the heck I'm doing.

At some point in the next few days I'll try to post a basic equipment and supplies list (with links to where you can order wire and tools, if you don't already have them) and set up a scheduling system of some sort so you can reserve a block of time with me. 

(Also? If you really want to do a lesson or two and it's just not in your budget, talk to me anyway - I will need some sample video clips and such for marketing in the future, and especially if you're able to be flexible on timing, we can probably work something out. Or I can take a poll about what people most want to learn to do and livestream a couple of basic lessons...)

Okay. That's enough doomsday for today. I've got aquamarine (and its friends) to play with over here, because Pretty Rocks Club should ship this weekend, so I'm going to put down the internet and pick up the pliers (after washing my hands AGAIN) and resolutely ignore the tempting package that I know contains star diopside amongst other things, and try to get on with my life as best I can. Take care of yourselves and be kind to one another, okay?