A little bit about a lot of things:

• The COVID-19 world we’re living in has more than its share of challenges.....including that of occasionally working from home due to a potential exposure to the virus.

I have twice experienced that situation in recent weeks, when I opted to stay home after becoming aware of a possible exposure. The exposure risk was really more secondary in nature, with a degree of separation between us and the confirmed cases, but out of an abundance of caution I chose to play it safe until those who had a direct potential exposure were cleared.

And they were, thankfully.

I’m sure that there were those who thought I was over-reacting, and they may be right. But I would prefer to have the situation be a false alarm with no harm done as opposed to “sure wish I would have stayed home.”

Particularly after hearing time and again how readily the virus can be transmitted.

But I have realized a few things.

One is, I don’t like having to work from home. The ability to do so is a blessing and I don’t mind doing so at times.....but don’t care for having to.

At the office, you’re at work. That’s the environment, and being in work mode comes naturally.

Working from home requires an extra measure of discipline. Being distracted is all too easy.

But what really was striking during those couple of instances were the limitations of essentially laying low for a few days.

Granted, I still felt comfortable taking a spin around town as I did one afternoon. But I also knew that I was taking appropriate precautions, would be in the great outdoors and would not be in close proximity to others.

Basically, though, it was just a matter of waiting things out at home.

And I realized that you don’t know how much you take for granted the ability to just pop into the office for a few minutes, or run into the store to pick up one or two items, or hit the hardware store for the items you need to finish a project until you need to refrain from doing so. You don’t give those kind of things a second thought.....until you have to.

I do know this. I don’t envy for one moment those who have to go through a full-length quarantine or isolation. I feel for those who, for whatever reason, have essentially isolated themselves during this pandemic. And I can’t imagine what kids who have been cooped up and out of school for, well, 10 months now, are going through. That it will be a year before we know it is hard to fathom, isn’t it?

I have also become an advocate for keeping stock of what you might need in the way of food and supplies with the idea in mind that you might want to have at least a few things to draw on.

Don’t need to go way overboard and hoard a year’s worth of toilet paper or have three cases of chicken noodle soup in the pantry, but in today’s world being prepared for the unexpected seems more prudent than ever.

I’m done, now, whining about my brief periods of inconvenience. Compared to what so many others have suffered and endured, those few days were inconsequential.

But they certainly offered a brief glimpse, and new appreciation, of what is endured by those living in full-fledged isolation.

• We don’t have kids at home any longer, but we do have pets.

Sometimes, it’s kind of like the same thing.

Getting a good night’s sleep can be a bit of a challenge when a dog and a cat don’t always have a lot of respect for the clock.

Zoey, our dog, often confuses bedtime with play time. Her energy level goes up about 10-fold as she bounds back and forth, demanding (and getting) our full attention until she finally winds down and curls up to sleep.

But, she also tends to get one of us up in the middle of the night to go outside.....which leads to a musical doors situation with Molly, our cat. The cat often likes being outside, but is ready to come in by the time Zoey needs to go out to do her duty. Of course, sometimes the cat goes right back out, sometimes she wants to go into the garage and sometimes she just wants to go into the spare room to sleep on the day bed.

But Molly will often lead us back and forth, taking us to one door before changing her mind and going elsewhere. That’s fine, I guess, but my patience can be in short supply at 3 a.m.

If she doesn’t go to the garage, Molly will often come in to wake us up at first light to let her out to her food.....even if it is just a couple of hours after we were up with animals.

She’s persistent, too, as cats are. They like getting their way, and having things done on their terms.

It doesn’t help matters that Zoey becomes insanely jealous any time Molly gets attention.

They both are pretty good at getting what they want, when they want it.

I used to be under the impression that we humans ruled the roost, so to speak.

I’m pretty sure that is not really the case.

• Extending our congratulations to NPD Sgt. Chad Earle on his recent retirement and our appreciation for his nearly 18 years of service to the local department.

Earle was one of the senior officers on the force, and was among those who made Newman their career home.

His contributions to the department were many.

You’ll still see Earle around occasionally as he will be staying on as a reserve officer.

Best wishes, Chad, and thank you again for your service!

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.