Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Celebrating Quarantine-O-Ween

They say if you can't beat them, join them.  Last week, while mindlessly scrolling on Facebook, I saw a post from one of my friends about celebrating Quarantine-O-Ween on March 31st.  Since everything seems so gloomy for everyone right now, I thought this was another fun way to find some happiness.  Thus, I've decided to celebrate!

At first, I had grand visions of making Mickey Halloween cookies, dressing up in a full costume and going all out.  However, I'm not really feeling all that great today.  Since the most important thing right now is to take care of myself (mentally, physically and emotionally) I've decided to scale everything back and to just have fun with it.

Photo Source
Obviously, I'm not going anywhere except my living room, but I decided that it might be fun to dress up.  I have so many Disney Halloween shirts from all of the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Parties that we've been to, but I decided to go with the one I bought last year while I was at Walt Disney World in September.  I actually wore it when I went to MNSSHP too!  I really love the cute all-over Disney Halloween print!

I ended up making an entire Halloween themed outfit.  Harveys is doing a contest for a flatlay this week and this was the perfect opportunity to come up with something fun and creative for it.  I paired my shirt with black leggings, purple shoes, my Mickey pumpkin hat, Mickey candy corn earrings, numerous Happily Ever Hatter hair clips and finished the look with my Harveys Seatbelt Mickey Pumpkin bag!  I love how it turned out and I might have to resurrect this outfit for Halloween in a few months!

Quarantine-O-Ween isn't complete without a few treats.  I decided against the Mickey Halloween cookies when I actually read the directions on the box.  They were a lot more work than I wanted to do.  Plus, I'm not sure if I have flour and powdered sugar... and given the current state of things, I wasn't leaving the house to get some.  Instead, I opted for another sweet treat that I had on hand... and I-Scream for Ice Cream!!!

I've been having so much fun that I decided to carry my Halloween Quarantine-O-Ween celebration over to my Instagram post for Happily Ever Hatter.  I took a group photo of all the Halloween hair clips that we currently have in our collection.  We'll be making more between now and Halloween, but I thought I'd share what have so far!

I also changed the Christmas lights on our porch back to Halloween colors.  Eliot and I have special LED lights that you can program on your phone through an app and bluetooth.  We change the colors based on the season, holiday or special event (like the Super Bowl).  They were on the twinkling Easter setting, but I thought it would be appropriate to have twinkling orange, green and purple for one night!

Of course, it's not Quarantine-O-Ween without a good Halloween movie.  There are a bunch to choose from, but I decided to go with Hocus Pocus.  This movie is a personal favorite and it always gets me in the Halloween mood!  I always enjoy seeing Salem, MA as I went there a few times with my friends during my time in Boston at college.  I really enjoyed curling up on the couch, relaxing and mindlessly watching it.  It was the perfect way to wrap up my Quarantine-O-Ween celebrations!

I'm really glad that I took the day off from "adulting" and just had some fun.  I hope you enjoyed reading about my Quarantine-O-Ween celebration!  Find the fun friends!  °o°

Monday, March 30, 2020

Frozen 2 Limited Edition Dolls

Before I dive into this post, I have a confession.  The past two weeks, I've been holding my breath.  I wanted to post this recap the following week, but at the same time this was right when things were starting to get really serious.  As the days went on, I was terrified that we'd done something stupid and put ourselves at risk.  Thankfully, none of us have gotten sick (so far) and I feel like it's finally time for me to post this recap.

Just over two weeks ago, Eliot and I embarked on another journey down to the Disney Store in Burlington, MA.  As I mentioned before, we had decided to go down and meet up with my brother Jeremy to purchase the Frozen 2 Limited Edition dolls in person rather than try to get lucky purchasing them online.  With all of the news regarding the coronavirus changing by the minute, it was not a decision any of us took lightly.  We all knew what we could be potentially exposing ourselves to, but getting both of the dolls was really important to me.  Plus, the guys were both on board and wanted to go.  

On March 14th, the Disney Store was releasing Limited Edition "Queen Anna" and "Elsa The Snow Queen" dolls both online and in stores.  Worldwide, there were 8,500 Elsa dolls and 8,000 Anna dolls available.  We'd seen both of the dolls on display in the Burlington store when we went down for the Leap Year Tigger key and the Cinderella key.  They were beautiful with absolutely stunning outfits and details.  (I took pictures of some of the details so you can see- they're so pretty!)  Plus, not only were there the dolls, but if you purchased both of them you also got a free Disney Store Olaf key.  A lot of people are Disney Store key collectors and wanted the Olaf key, but I'm also a doll collector so this was a win-win merchandise release for me.

I don't think I've ever talked about it on here, but dolls have always held a special place in my heart.  My Dad's Mom, my Grammie, collected dolls and gave us a few through the years.  I have a few dolls from Grammie, but I also started to collect pop culture dolls when I was in high school.  I have an impressive collection of both Harry Potter and Twilight Tonner dolls that are worth a lot of money.  They mean a lot and are and priceless to me.  I've tried to collect some of the Disney Store limited edition dolls, but it's always so hard to get them.  We've never gone to the store to try before.  The few times I've tried online, they're sold out before I can even get them into my cart.  So this time, I was prepared to change that by going to the store in person.

Late that Friday night, Eliot and I packed up and took off for Massachusetts.  We'd decided to drive down the night before and to stay in a hotel across the street from the mall.  It was closer, and we realized that we'd get more sleep that way.  (We ended up getting just under 5 hours of sleep rather than only 1-2 hours if we stayed at home.)

Early on Saturday morning (at 5:00 am), our phone alarms went off and we bounced out of bed.  Eliot and I got dressed and packed everything up.  Thankfully, we had brought minimal stuff with us so it was quick.  We were in the elevator at 5:20, out of the hotel at 5:25 and in the mall parking lot at 5:30 where Jeremy was parked waiting for us.  I parked next to him and we talked for a few minutes.

The mall was supposed to open at 6:00 am, but more cars started to pull in.  We saw three women get out of their cars and rush towards the doors.  When the main doors didn't open, they headed to another one.  The three of us decided to gather our stuff and head over to the doors so we'd be ready.  Unfortunately, none of us saw where the women went and they disappeared to.  We assumed that they were also going to the Disney Store because no one walks that quickly into work or to go into the mall to walk.

We parked ourselves outside the main doors with our bags full of things to do and out camp chairs.  It was cold and we stood out like a sore thumb.  Thankfully, a nice older lady came over and asked what we were doing.  After explaining about the dolls and how we'd stayed in a hotel, she walked us over to the "back" mall entrance near security.  Before we knew it, we were inside the still technically closed mall, up the escalator and joining the already formed line outside the Disney Store.

We weren't sure what we were going to be up against with fears of the Coronavirus spreading, but it seemed like we weren't the only ones concerned with getting the dolls.  The three women we'd seen outside were there, along with another group of two women with children.  And the most welcome sight, the mall security guard who was talking to the others in line.  (I was so relieved that he wasn't upset with any of us being there early!)  Eliot, Jeremy and I set up our folding camp chairs and prepared to begin our four hour wait to store opening.  Thankfully, it flew right by...

I noticed that the woman directly ahead of us in line looked familiar.  I'd seen her at a few other key releases and told Eliot that I thought she was one of our mouse ear customers who I also follow on Instagram.  Long story short, after we saw her and her daughter last release, I was positive it was her.  I asked if she was who I thought and she said yes!  Eliot and I then introduced ourselves and said we ran Happily Ever Hatter.  (It really is a small world.)  I spent the next few hours talking to her and the other women ahead of us in line and making friends.  We talked about Disney closing, the Disney Store keys, collecting the dolls, Disney small shops and so much more.  

Time kept flying by.  At 8 am, Eliot and Jeremy left for a few minutes to go downstairs to get us Dunkin Donuts for breakfast.  When the Disney Store cast members arrived around 9:00 am, we talked to one of them (I think she was the store manager) before she opened the store up to go prepare with her staff.  She showed us a photo on her phone of a store in CA that had people lining up at 2:00 am for the dolls and we joked around with her about how dedicated we all were before she went inside.

Eliot and Jeremy packed the chairs up around 9:40 am and before I knew it, it was time to get our numbers.  The cast members gave us the rules and rundown of how it was going to work.  Due to the virus, they had changed their procedures and they were only taking 10 of us inside the store at a time.  They then handed out numbers for both the Anna and Elsa doll separately.  If you wanted both, they stapled the papers together to signify that we'd also get the Olaf key.  We ended up with doll numbers 4, 5, and 6.

Eliot, Jeremy and I were in the first group allowed inside, while waiting in line, I spotted the Jaq and Gus Cinderella mice plushes that I'd spotted the week prior.  I was having a few regrets about not purchasing them, so they somehow ended up in my hands before I was next in line to purchase my dolls.

Eliot and I went to the register together so I could look both sets of dolls over.  He was getting a set in case his mother wanted some.  (She's in California where you would have had to wait in line overnight outside to get them.)  I checked over all of the dolls and was satisfied.  We also purchased my Cinderella mice and a really nice Steamboat Willie tote bag that was a deal with a purchase.

After purchasing the dolls, another cast member was right outside the checkout area to offer us hand wipes.  We all cleaned our hands off.  Then, we grabbed everything and headed out to our cars to drop the dolls off.

Eliot, Jeremy and I went back inside to check out a few more things.  Jeremy headed towards Newbury Comics while Eliot and I went to the Lego Store.  We'd been waffling back and forth about getting the Lego Cinderella Castle set.  Ultimately, I left the choice up to Eliot and he decided we better get it.  It's been out since 2016 so we've been afraid that it would be retiring.  We've been talking about getting it with some of our tax refund money for years.  Luckily, we also got a few freebies because we purchased it when we did.  We also got a little Lego 40th Anniversary Train and a picture frame kit!

Jeremy met back up with us when we were checking out.  He actually had to put our castle in his car because we didn't have room with all of the dolls in my backseat.  (I'm not too worried about it... he'll bring it the next time we see him!)  We air hugged Jeremy goodbye.  He was afraid to give me a hug because I was going to see our parents and Nana the next day.  (Apparently, the girl behind him in line at the Disney Store was coughing her head off the entire time and he was afraid she was sick.)  

Eliot and I drove back over to our hotel to check-out.  We'd asked for a late check-out at noon in case we wanted a quick power nap after getting the dolls.  I was fully awake so we decided to just check-out and get on the road.  After leaving the hotel, Eliot realized he still had Jeremy's Nintendo Switch in his backpack so we called and told him to turn around.  We ended up meeting up at the mall long enough to drop it off.

After that, Eliot and I made our way back up to Maine.  We stopped at the McDonalds in Danvers (across the street from where I got my Alfred Angelo Disney Ariel wedding gown) and got fries and soda as a snack.  Then, we stopped at Michael's in Biddeford to grab a few things in case they closed due to the virus.  Ironically, Eliot's sister Elissa was coming into the store with a friend while we were checking out.  We talked with the girls for a few minutes before hopping back in our car and heading home.  We arrived at our house about 30 minutes later- totally exhausted but happy with our successful Disney Store Frozen doll mission!  

Eliot and I have had fun going down to the Disney Store over the past few weekends to get the dolls and the keys.  It's been really nice to see Jeremy so much.  But, we're glad that we won't have to drive all the way down to Massachusetts again anytime soon- especially with everything going on right now!  I'm relieved that we're all ok and that I can look back at this trip with fond memories.  Now, I just have to find a place in my office to display my new Frozen 2 Anna and Elsa dolls!  °o°

Friday, March 27, 2020

Fun Find: Magical Quarantine Memes (Part 1)

Well, here's a post that I never thought I'd be writing.  The vast majority of us are sitting at home, stuck inside due to the spreading coronavirus.  I think at this point, we could all use a bit of a pick-me-up.  Thankfully, I've been trying to find the humor in all of this and the internet has not disappointed me.  Quarantine memes and jokes have been all over my newsfeed and I've been saving my favorites on both my phone and laptop.  Of course, there have been some really good Disney posts.  I thought this is the perfect way to bring you a few laughs during these scary and uncertain times.  Thus, I present my latest Fun Find Friday: Magical Quarantine Memes (Part 1).

Yes, this is only Part 1.  While, I was getting ready to post this I finally compiled all of the ones that I've collected in the past two weeks.  As of right now, I have 65 Disney themed quarantine memes.  Confession: I had NO idea I had that many... but it doesn't surprise me considering I've saved about 300 posts.  Thus, I've decided to split them up into posts each Friday.  It will give us all something to look forward to, and they will continue to make me laugh over these next few weeks.  So let's do this!

This Fastpass might actually be necessary.  Schedule the rest around this one!

The moment when I knew we were all really in trouble.

How I feel while grocery shopping.

This is both hilarious and very depressing at the same time.

When Buzz Lightyear offered his space suit to Woody.

The feeling when Friday the 13th rolls around right in the middle of all this.

Sebastian is really on to something...

This is very depressing to me... and heaven to those of you who really hate this ride.

The truth about quarantine feelings.

Eliot and I might actually have to do this if we don't find supplies soon.

It's true, Rapunzel is an expert at this whole isolation thing.

I concur with Olaf.

Explaining "Social Distancing" to a child.

This made me laugh out loud a few times.  Mickey does deserve a vacation.

Finally... I've saved one of my favorites for last.  This has made me laugh out loud every time it's shown up on my newsfeed.  (And don't forget to sing it for the full effect!)

I really hope you enjoyed these magical quarantine memes as much as I did.  They certainly made me laugh and put a smile on my face!  I'll post Part 2 of my Magical Quarantine Memes series next Friday!  Stay strong friends!  °o°

Please Note: I did not make any of these memes and I don't claim ownership of the photos or the jokes.  Most of them I've seen uncredited on Facebook from other people who have shared them.  I just wanted to put them all in one spot so we might try to find some humor in a dark time when we could use a smile.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Entering Quarantine

Well, it's official... as of yesterday afternoon, Maine's Governor Janet Mills issued a shelter in place order and as of 12:01 this morning we've joined the other states in an "official" quarantine.  I've been feeling a lot of feelings... but mostly I'm feeling relief that it's finally official.  (It feels like Eliot's parents in CA have been at home forever...)  I'm hopeful that this means people will stay home unless they absolutely have to leave their house.  And a bit selfishly, I'm also hopeful that this will allow the store shelves to be replenished.  (Anyone else in need of TP?)  But most of all, I'm hopeful that this will help stop the spread of the virus and our healthcare system from being overrun.

On the down side, Eliot still has to go to work.  His company is considered "essential" as they make small electrical components for pace makers.  He, as an engineer, could do at least 90% of his work from his computer at home, but his company wants them all there.  I'm terrified that he's going to get sick.  I'm so scared of him bringing it home to me.  I'm also very upset that this means I really won't be able to go home to see my parents or Nana at all for who knows how long.  Every single time Eliot walks through the front door, he's bringing home God only knows what.  It's upsetting, annoying, hurtful, confusing, depressing and most of all incredibly frustrating.

But, at the same time, I'm so thankful that he's still able to work.  We're blessed that he is still bringing money home.  Small businesses are really struggling and we're no exception to that.  Obviously, no one is traveling so my travel agent job isn't bringing in any money right now.  Another depressing side effect is that no one needs mouse ears for non-existent Disney trips.  Happily Ever Hatter has had a few sales, but we're definitely behind where I'd like to be and we're not bringing in what we need to.

On the plus side, Eliot's been able to work on some new designs for his own Etsy shop Snowblade Creations.  He's had the business card holders for a while now, but he's been working on a few new designs for other things people can use at home.  We figure that if everyone is going to be spending more time at home, they could use a little bit of Disney magic to brighten their day!  We've spent the past few days printing samples of these new products.  We're hoping to get them completed and listed online in the next week or so!  I'll be sure to post about it on here so you can see them!

Obviously, I've been on a bit of a rollercoaster emotion wise.  I think we're all going through a lot of emotions.  I don't consider myself to be a control freak, but I definitely like to be more in control than I am right now.  It's a lot and I'm learning that I just need to ride the waves of my emotions as they come.  I need to acknowledge them and own them and allow myself to feel them.  As I said before, we're all in this together.  We're all feeling a lot of feelings.  And we'll all get through this.  Somehow.

As for my everyday life, my everyday lifestyle hasn't actually changed much at all.  I work from home and don't leave the house that often anyways.  The biggest difference for me is that I'm a little more paranoid about leaving the house.  The only time I have left the house (since the weekend before last) was to get groceries.  Eliot and I went shopping last Tuesday morning, and again Sunday afternoon to get a few more things.

In fact, I really don't have a reason to leave the house at all at this point... especially as my sewing class hasn't been happening since we had the first one.  We were going to be postponed for two weeks, but we got an email from my instructor last night that the soonest we'd start is when school is "supposed" to go back in session on April 27th.  I highly doubt the kids will go back to school though.  If they aren't in school, we aren't having class.  On top of that, we were only supposed to have one more class after the week of the 27th to begin with.  I'm pretty bummed because the 8 week spring session of my sewing class probably won't happen at all at this point, but I'm hoping I can get myself set up to work on a few projects at home.  (Hello beautiful tote bags and valences!!!)  Plus, this will make the fall session of class that much sweeter!

As of right now, Maine's shelter in place is supposed to go through April 8th.  I'm sure we'll know more once we see how the curve looks with everyone staying home.  I know the top health officials are saying this could last months.  I'm going into it expecting "social-distancing" to last at least through April and May.

I'm not making any big plans for the next few weeks.  However, I am going into this with a lot of ideas to keep me busy.  I certainly won't be bored!  Even if we don't have many orders to work on, Eliot and I have at least 40 sets of sample ears that we're in various stages of working on.  Those will keep me very busy.  Plus, creating new designs is very relaxing and rewarding for me.  It will help keep me calm and focused.

In addition, Eliot and I still have a ton of small projects, cleaning and organizing that we're working on in our house.  Eliot's parents just bought a ton of plastic storage containers for us and his sister Elissa who had to move off of the University of New England campus last week.  We ended up with all of the extra containers so we've got a lot of stuff to work with.  Plus, we still have a lot of painting that we started and never finished the touch ups.  I'm hoping to get working on all of those as soon as I can.  I'd love to have a few projects get finished.  I guess this is the silver lining of being stuck at home... that I'll have more time to work on the house!

I've also been working on a list of ideas of things to do while under quarantine.  I'll be sharing those here over the next few days so you'll have some fun ideas of how to spend your time!  I've seen way too many people online complaining about being bored so I'm here to help.  I've always got some creative idea up my sleeve!

So... now we've officially entered quarantine.  It's going to be a lot of highs and lows but I'm keeping my faith that we'll get through this stronger than before.  Keep your chin up friends.  This won't be forever.  We can do this and we got this.  °o°

Friday, March 20, 2020

Getting My Learning On Through Online Classes

Well, something good has come out of navigating the uncharted waters that we're all going through.  Last night, I finally did something that I've been talking about doing for a few years now- I signed up for some online classes that I've been interested in.

I've talked about taking other in person adult education classes over the past few years while living here in Maine.  Some of my favorite classes so far have been sewing, resin ink, resin geodes and acrylic paint pouring.  When I lived in Massachusetts, I took many classes including cake decorating, jewelry making, chocolate making, silk-scarf painting, spa night, soap making, doing makeup and working with polymer clay.  There aren't as many options available here in Maine.  I get excited every time the new class schedules come out.  (I've been known to stalk the adult ed websites.)  Sometimes, there are fun new class options and other times I'm left feeling a little disappointed.

That's the beauty of online classes.  Websites like uDemy and Skillshare offer you a way to take an online class, at home, on your own schedule.  I've been considering it for a while now; I just never jumped in.  Last night, I went onto uDemy and signed up for a few classes that I've wanted to take for years.  (You read that correctly... years.)

Back in 2014, I wrote my first Blog and Disney Goals post.  That's when I first shared my desire to take a class on storyboarding.  While I didn't sign up for the class that I'd originally planned to, I found Learn to Storyboard for Film or Animation and I signed up for that class instead.  I've always been fascinated with that part of making a film so what better way to explore that more than with a class on it!

The other class that I've wanted to take forever was a Theme Park Design class.  This one requires a little bit of a backstory...

As you know, I've always dreamed of becoming an Imagineer.  When I got to choose a senior design project for my interior design degree, I wanted to design a theme park or at least a resort, but my professor told me that was too big and too ambitious.  Instead, I opted to design a small cruise ship.  I could still design hotel rooms, a restaurant, bar, etc. without the project becoming overwhelming.  (Hindsight is 20/20 and I'm thankful that I was talked out of the bigger design.)  I enjoyed the cruise ship project, but I've always had the dream to design something bigger lingering at the back of my mind.

Then, when I graduated from college, it was August of 2008 and the economy was plummeting at an alarming speed.  (Sound familiar?)  I spent months trying to get a good job that I actually enjoyed.  During my many days of job hunting, I started to do research about online classes to take to diversify.  I was terrified that I'd never get an interior design job.  (Who wanted to hire an interior designer when the economy was crap?)  I found classes for wedding planning, landscape architecture and more.  One day, I stumbled across Steve Alcorn's Theme Park Design book and his website.  It was then that I discovered he taught theme park design classes online.

The problem was that the class I found was like $300-$400.  A broke, right-out-of-college kid couldn't afford it, so I put a pin in it for the time being.  This class sat on my Christmas Wish List for many years before I totally set the idea aside.  Recently, I've had a growing desire to explore that path again.  Will I become a Theme Park Designer or Imagineer?  No, but I love theme parks and design and it will be a fun way to learn more.  Eliot and I still talk about things we'd love to design for Disney and I have this wonderful little corner of the internet that's a perfect spot to share some of our ideas.

Thus, I find myself enrolled in both Theme Park Design and Learn to Storyboard.  And the best news of all was that both of these classes were on sale for a St. Patrick's Day promotion!  They were on sale for $12.99 each.  I'm getting hours of education in two classes for less than $26.  That's a deal if I ever saw one!!!

I'm hoping to make myself a schedule so I can set aside time to do each of these classes during a specific time each week.  I love how my Tuesdays are dedicated to my sewing class and that I can look forward to it each week.  I'm hoping scheduling them will keep me on track and it will also give me breaks throughout the week!

If you're bored and trying to find something to do during these next few weeks while stuck "socially distancing" at home, consider checking out uDemy and Skillshare to take a class and pass the time!  There are tons of different classes to choose from depending on what interests you... and you don't even have to get off your couch! °o°

*** Please Note: If you click on the links above and purchase a class, I might get a small commission or credit that I can use for a future class.  I'm honestly not sure how it works, but these are links they gave me to share with my friends! ***

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Into the Unknown

Hi friends.  I hope this post finds you safe and most importantly- healthy.  This past week has been one heck of a year, huh?  I've needed a few days to process and get my own thoughts and feelings in order.  I'm still reeling a bit from all of this, but each day I'm becoming more and more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Text Edit by Me- Original Photo Source
It's been a week since all hell broke loose.  A week since professional sports were all postponed indefinitely.  A week since Disney announced closures of Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  A week since Disney Cruise Line suspended all sailings.  A week since colleges and universities closed and sent students home after spring break.

Since then, there's been a lot more of that.  Disney Resorts, Downtown Disney, Disney Springs and Disney Stores are all now closed.  Adventures by Disney has suspended their trips through April.  Most schools across the country are closed and some kids might not go back to school at all this year.  Businesses all over the country are temporarily closing.  Some counties and cities are forcing people (including both of Eliot's parents) to quarantine at home and not leave the house for 3 weeks.  While other businesses seem to want to push through this until they're forced to close.

Edit by Me- Original Photo Source
Let face it, this is pretty terrifying.  Officials are saying that this could last months, even until July or August.  I'm trying to stay optimistic through it all.  I don't really leave the house that often anyways.  My day-to-day hasn't changed that much over the past week... except that everything has changed.  I'm afraid to leave the house to get groceries and supplies.  I'm afraid every time Eliot goes to work.  I'm afraid the craft stores will close and I won't have what I need for our business.  Let's not get started with how terrified I am of making enough money to pay our bills during all of this.

The truth is that we're all Elsa journeying into the unknown.

Text Edit by Me- Original Photo Source
It's not a journey we chose to take, but it's a path we're all walking down regardless.  I have faith that we'll get through this if we stick together.  The fact that so many people are sitting at home putting their lives on pause is inspiring.  We're all standing together to fight against this virus.  This is unprecedented... and will surely shape our future.

We all need to continue to do our part.  Listen to the health professionals.  Please continue to stay home and protect yourself, your family and our fellow humans.  It's a small world after all.  Let's all pull together and do the next right thing.  °o°

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Corona Closures, Cancellations and Confusion

As I'm sure you're all aware, the Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) has taken over our news.  Over the past few weeks, it's gotten more and more prevalent.  I haven't really wanted to post much to add to it, but I've had a rough day today.  Since this is my little corner of the internet, and because it's therapeutic to me, here I am.

Over the past few weeks, I've been watching all of the fear, hysteria and confusion from afar.  I did think the media was going a bit overboard in the beginning.  I've been amused by silly memes about stores running out of toilet paper (seriously?), how to properly wash your hands (doesn't everyone know how to do that?!?!) and about how we should be hoarding craft supplies, beer and wine in case we get put on quarantine.

I have to admit that up until the past 24 hours, I wasn't really that alarmed about the Coronavirus.  Eliot and I are both young and fairly healthy.  I work at home and am already "socially distanced" simply by being self-employed.  But the past 24 hours have changed everything.  I went from not really all that concerned to somewhat freaking out and spiraling a bit this afternoon.  So what changed?  

For starters, news of closures and cancellations has come repeatedly: 

- Last night, the NBA put their season put on hold while we were watching our San Jose Sharks hockey game on the national broadcast.  That means, Eliot and I were subjected to listening all about that and how the NHL would likely follow suit.  San Jose was already set to be playing hockey in front of an empty arena, but since the NHL usually follows the NBA, it was a matter of time before they weren't playing period.

- Maine was one of the few states without a confirmed case of COVID-19.  Today, our governor held a press conference where she announced we had our first presumptive case of the virus.  She and our CDC recommended that we not have gatherings of over 250 people.  (Since then, Maine has confirmed at least one if not 2 cases.)

- Shortly before 2 pm, the NHL officially suspended their season.  This was expected.

- Around 5 pm, news of Disneyland closing from March 14th to the end of the month was announced.  Shortly after, Universal Hollywood announced it was closing too.

- I also read news that Walt Disney World has a few firefighters at their Reedy Creek Fire Department who are on quarantine after going to a conference in Tampa where someone else was later found to be positive for COVID-19.  (Note: This should not affect anyone at WDW since the firemen are already quarantined at home.)

- Around 7 pm, I found out that Mulan was being delaying on it's release in theaters.  It was supposed to be out on March 27th, and there's no news of the new release date.

- Right before 8:30 pm, I read that Walt Disney World announced plans to close along with Disneyland Paris.  They have also suspended all Disney Cruise Line itineraries set to depart beginning Saturday the 14th through the end of March.

- There have also been countless other announcements of cancellations.  The MLB is delaying spring training and the start of their season.  The Maine Mariners hockey season has been put on hiatus.  The NCAA March Madness tournament is not happening and many other college playoffs are also cancelled.  Universities are sending students home after spring break and finishing their school year online.  I've also seen articles and posts about numerous conferences, theater shows and other things being cancelled.  Broadway is going dark.  There seems to be no end in sight.

People are legitimately scared.  This morning, before we even got out of bed, I told Eliot that I wanted him to talk to his boss and HR department at work.  He's had a few bad cases of pneumonia and the Coronavirus affects your breathing.  A year ago, he passed out at work, was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with pneumonia.

We hadn't been worried, but I'm starting to.  The disease spread like wildfire in Italy.  If reports that the virus can live in the air for a few hours are true, we aren't truly safe going anywhere.  Eliot and I aren't going stay hidden away and stop living our lives, but it's time to be a little more serious about it than we have been.

I've had a lot of emotions today- from fear, to confusion, to anger, to frustration.  It seems like there are more questions than answers.  Will this effect our business?  Will I get a paycheck?  Will I be able to pay our bills?  Can Eliot work from home?  Will Elissa be returning to Maine after spring break in South Carolina?  Will she have to be quarantined at school?  What else will be closing or get cancelled?  

I know that a lot of other people are feeling the fear and uncertainty too.  There are still plenty of people who think this is all ridiculous, and I get it.  I really do.  Up until the past 24 hours or so, I thought the media was blowing this all out of proportion.  (I still think their early reports were a bit fear mongering.)  But, it's been proven that by taking measures of social distancing, we can slow the spread of a highly contagious disease.

Is all of this completely insane and unprecedented?  Oh yeah.  Are people upset that things they were looking forward to have been cancelled or closed?  Yes.  Athletes can't, or might not get to, compete in tournaments or events they've worked their whole lives for.  People are having to cancel their once-in-a-lifetime vacations.  Couples getting married aren't sure if they'll even be able to have their weddings.  Students might not get to walk in their high school or college graduations.  Many businesses are taking a really hard hit.  This is affecting a lot of people in different ways.

My travel agent friends have spent all week cancelling vacations that they've spent hours planning and they now won't get paid for.  (Thankfully, I don't have any clients traveling at the moment.)  Eliot's and my Happily Ever Hatter business has been lack luster as of late, and it's hard to tell if it's simply because this is our slow season, or if it's because of the uncertainty surrounding traveling at the moment.  Plus, now that Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line have all announced closures, the trip cancellations are only going to get worse...  

In this time of uncertainly, we need to take a beat before we sound off in the comment sections on social media.  You don't know what someone else is feeling and how this is affecting them.  Now is a time for compassion.  Speaking of social media, don't believe everything that you read online.  Know the facts.  Do your own research.  Be prepared, but not paranoid.  For goodness sake, please leave some toilet paper for those of us who really need some.  Listen to your health professionals.  Wash your hands.  Wash them again.  And above all, have courage and be kind.  °o°