About this blog

From telecommuting to the new public home school model, a growing number of us are homebound for the foreseeable future as we take unprecedented steps to slow and hopefully stop the spread of the new coronavirus that is sweeping the world. This blog is our attempt to catalog some of the daily changes we are experiencing together. If you want to share your story with us, email us at newsroom@indexjournal.com.

Our long national nightmare is over

SECURE, UNDISCLOSED LOCATION — Have you seen the paper? It's back!

Toilet paper, that is.

Yes, the in-store supply is still fickle, but you are far more likely to find bathroom tissue at Walmart or your nearest grocery than you were mid-March. And now there is enough that you can now order a limited selection of the white stuff online from some retailers.

We did so at Walmart.com last week and got our shipment today with two full packs of the elusive Angel Soft. And not those dinky four-roll packs, either. We ordered the ones with 18 mega rolls, each with 425+ sheets. The Georgia-Pacific subsidiary boasts these rolls are "Our THICKEST Ever!"

I am now living in luxury.

Not a look-at-my-mummy-costume level of ritz, mind you, but I am more than comfortable and no longer need to fear that a fast-food taco or my own cooking will unravel my slim supply.

Yes, our long national nightmare is over. Just in time for businesses, which have remained flush with toilet paper, to reopen.

When will the teleconferencing be over?

Boy, do I miss the good old days.

I know I haven’t been here very long but in my short time here I have gotten to experience a bit of normalcy before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

What am I talking about? Government meetings.

When I first started covering these meetings for the Index-Journal, I was getting immersed in being right in the action — or lack thereof — of the public meeting.

Seeing each member face to face and getting to read the reactions of the room give context to what is happening.

Since most public meetings have been postponed indefinitely or moved to teleconference, much of this is lost in technology.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a huge fan of technological advances and I think some of the options for moving these meetings to the virtual world are pretty cool.

Not to mention it opens up access to more people to get involved in what their government is doing.

But, if you can’t attend one of these meetings, I’ll be there to let you know what happened.

Another thing that is lost in these virtual meetings is discussion. Often times, it is really informative when councilmembers or attendees get to ask questions and discuss topics.

Most of the time during these virtual meetings, discussions are limited with troubles over muting/unmuting as well as poor audio quality at times. A number of these problems could be fixed with the right equipment but the quick descent of COVID-19 had many entities scrambling to get the basic necessities accomplished.

I have a feeling we will be getting back in the same room pretty soon. I hope.

I don't know. The check is in the mail?

CLINTON — No, we don't know the location of your economic impact check.

Sure, we can tell you some broad things about what is happening with your check and have done some coverage of hiccups, but if you don't know where your check is, chances are we don't either.

This seems like a silly thing to say, but the Index-Journal newsroom has received at least eight phone calls in the past few weeks from people wondering where their checks are. It might be more since we aren't there to answer our phones but do check our voicemail.

If you want to know where your money is, check your bank account first. If money hasn't magically materialized there, the IRS has a place where you can find out: irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.

If it can't find your information, shout at the website, or at least the typist's version of shouting. Key in your information IN ALL CAPS. If it has the wrong bank account information, the FAQ page will tell you what to do. If the IRS needs more information, it will tell you on the payment status page.

All of that is very easy, at least if you have a computer. Most of the people calling us either lack computer access or are older and not adept at navigating the World Wide Web. And for right now, they can't go to the library to get help.

So while we can't help these callers — I'm not about to have our newsroom staff take Social Security numbers and birth dates over the phone to plug into the site — you can check on your parents or grandparents to make sure they get their money.

And please, don't take advantage. If you do, there might be serious consequences. According to South Carolina law, "A person who knowingly and willfully exploits a vulnerable adult is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both, and may be required by the court to make restitution."

Earlier posts

When I was much much younger, it was the Freshman 15 to watch out for. Now I could call it the threat of the quarantine 15. Pounds, that is. Those few extra pounds that creep up if many of us get out of our daily movement or diet routine. The change in daily routine has been upon us for over a month. Time indoors with the pantry or refrigerator calling. For those of us who are high energy, it’s likely eating something crunchy, sweet or salty that calls our taste buds. Read more

That's the ole Southern style. Southern states have been Rebels ever since — well, ever since the Civil War. Or, if you prefer, the War of Northern Aggression. Whatever moniker you want to give the South, the fact is our states are steeped in a history of standing up to the Feds, thumbing their noses and saying "Hell, no!" Read more

Working from home can be a comfortable arrangement. Many would say that working from home provides all the comforts of home. That is if you have comfortable arrangement set up. Read more

August marks year 21 living in Greenwood and working at the I-J, and in all that time not once did I receive a summons for jury duty. Until a few weeks ago, that is. Read more

A friend mentioned while her husband is going to the basement to work out and get buff, she’s increased her wine intake. She wonders if her liver will survive COVID-19. Read more

CLINTON — I was just sitting at my computer, doing totally legitimate work stuff and not a BuzzFeed quiz on which Disney Princess I most resemble, when an email captured my attention: Read more

The garden has been worked and planted for the past three weeks. Thank goodness for the modern plow to get the rows laid out. I have cultivated each row, breaking up red clay, hitting the frequent fieldstone with my garden tools. Read more

Ever notice that right before a big holiday weekend the price of gasoline seems to jump by 10 or more cents a gallon? Yeah, most of us have. But supposedly it's got nothing to do with a gotcha opportunity. Read more

Working from home can have many advantages. The commute is tolerable. You are closer to meals. You can even decide how quiet or how noisy you want it. Read more

ABBEVILLE – We had cheese quesadillas and hot dogs boiled in water for dinner the other night. No buns. Read more

Did you catch that? No dateline. Those are used in stories to tell readers where those stories are filed from. Not one here. Not anymore. Read more

We've been doing this social distancing thing for almost four weeks. We should stay six feet or more away from each other to keep the spread of the coronavirus at bay and stay home unless there is absolutely a need to go out to get food or medicine. How hard is that? Read more

For 20-plus years at the Index-Journal, apparently something the late pennywise former controller Richard Jackson started, employees and guests have had to dry their hands with leftover newsprint. Read more

SIMPSONVILLE — We take for granted some of the things we do every day. In the times we find ourselves, we look to innovation to help get us through these challenges. Some industries were innovating their approach far ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

LAURENS — It looked like Walmart had prepared for an onslaught of looters or zombies, perhaps in an effort to keep the toilet paper safe. Employees had barricaded the entrance with turned over carts wrapped in yellow caution tape. Read more

For the nearly five years I spent at the Index-Journal, it was a conversation Matt Hensley and I had often. Read more

For the love of peace, this is NOT a “coronacation.” And, forgive the words I may utter, or the swiftness my hand will slap you six-ways-to Sunday should you proclaim it so. Read more

It’s awful quiet around the Index-Journal office these days. Read more

CLINTON — We look like something akin to a shabby, celebrity-less "Hollywood Squares" or a Brady Bunch knock-off as each newswriter and editor takes turns being among the four people on screen. Read more

Like a lot of folks, I tweak my daily song selection to honor a beloved talent when their life comes to an end. Read more

It's hard to find humor in much of anything these days, but do so if you can. Laughter, as we old-timers learned thanks to columnists such as Lewis Grizzard and Erma Bombeck, is indeed the best medicine. Don't laugh at anyone else's plight in these trying times, naturally, but it's good to find a laugh or smile moment as we move through these trying times. Read more

SIMPSONVILLE — Staying at home, whether because of working remotely or just to stay away from others during this contagious time, can provide a welcome opportunity to get in the kitchen and cook something delicious. Read more

ABBEVILLE – This reminds me of those handicaps older neighborhood kids use when playing with younger kids to make the competition even. Read more

This work-from-home plan is on its third day for me. I didn't even make it through the weekend before I had to escape. I opted to jump from the print and digital world and into the world of broadcast, with a visit to Dave Fezler at Sunny 103.5 this morning. Read more

SIMPSONVILLE — Working from home isn’t as easy as you would think. Challenges abound as our social distancing disconnects us from the human interaction that we see daily. Read more

Admittedly, I was among those on the front line urging that we abandon ship. We have no children on board, but plenty of women. Still, I wasn't being chivalrous in suggesting we get the heck out of the Index-Journal offices soon with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

CLINTON — I thought I could make it work, I really did. But it only took a day for me to cave. Read more

About this blog

From telecommuting to the new public home school model, a growing number of us are homebound for the foreseeable future as we take unprecedented steps to slow and hopefully stop the spread of the new coronavirus that is sweeping the world. This blog is our attempt to catalog some of the daily changes we are experiencing together. If you want to share your story with us, email us at newsroom@indexjournal.com.



Self Regional Medical Center’s vaccine mandate is on hold pending a federal court decision, after a judge issued a ruling to stop a national vaccine mandate for health care workers.

The holidays are here and winter break is a few weeks away. Local schools are seeing COVID-positive students and staff members in the single digits, or none at all, right now.

While families across the state sit down to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, the state health officials are keeping a close eye on COVID-19 case numbers.

Thanksgiving break is officially here for area students.

Thanksgiving break is less than a week away. As the holidays approach, COVID-19 cases in area schools continue to be low compared to previous months.

A Lakelands school district is reporting zero COVID-19 cases once again.