Thursday, March 19, 2020

Operation Yoga Pants - The Pandemic Update

Greetings, (a)musers who still read the blog. I've been meaning to update, but for the last week have been working at home and I have a tendency to forget anything but work exists when I work from home (WFH). So here I am, up earlier than usual and enjoying coffee while listening to the news.

As you're well aware, unless for some really strange reason you are not, the world has been derailed in a big way by novel coronavirus "COVID-19." And, depending on the lengths your own state is going through, a lot of "non-essential personnel" are working from home.

My state is no different, and my office enacted the decree before the state did. They had set up a three level telework policy early in March:

  1. Managers must Support staff who felt the need to work from home (prior to March 12).
  2. All non-essential staff are Encouraged to work from home (beginning March 12).
  3. All non-essential staff are Required to work from home (starting yesterday, March 18).

We are not sure how long we will be doing this, the Required status. But we're prepared to do it for as long as we have to as a company. Things seem to be going well. I'm worried about temp and contract employees, and the Interns and them keeping their jobs. And I am hoping that we do right by them.

I've been referring to this as Operation Yoga Pants, because it just sounds more fun than Everyone's Going to Get Sick and Die Pants. I've been updating my twitter with the things I get done or observations I see daily, today is Day 8.

I'm a big fan of working from home. Pros are that I get a lot done. I'm efficient, not as easily distracted. I can get tech support writing done without distractions. Cons are that I'm on my ass and not walking nearly as much, and I work from rolling out of bed until I go to bed. There may be some working-less work time from say 5pm to 7pm, but I always pick things back up before bed for a little while and I need to not do that.

There are other things I need to be doing so I need to do those.

I've been working on getting our back porch tidied up so I can sit out there instead of the couch. I've been moving around from dining room to bedroom to back to the couch to front porch just to keep my brain entertained with new vistas.

The dog is very happy I am here. And I am happy to be with her. My old lady sits on the couch and watches me work, or sleeps at my feet and prevents me from being able to gracefully get off the couch.

Both of my children work in warehouses, Geoff works in a spice processing plant and Jess works in a parts distribution warehouse. Both of their jobs are still open, although at Jess' site they are moving people around to cover a 24 hour clock in shifts to distance the employees a little bit (which is genius, as orders still need to be fulfilled). Jess will be working 5am-noon for the foreseeable future.

Doug works in a hospital, and is "essential" but he isn't sure why. He doesn't see patients, and can do his work from home. But it was the same at the last two hospitals he worked for so this is no different.

I just kind of feel like I have most likely already been exposed to the virus, probably through Doug, who most definitely has been exposed. Neither of us have it, yet. And hopefully we won't. We'll see.

The other news is that our Guster concerts at the end of the month were canceled, something that I was so very looking forward to for months.

One of the concerts was in my hometown in NY, and my sister, her best friend, Jess, and a friend from Maryland here were all going together. Hotel rooms, pool. I even bought a bathing suit so I could enjoy. Devil may care if I'm fat and stupid looking! Huzzah girls weekend!

But that's been dashed. I got my train ticket (for myself and for Jess) refunded easily and took the Vouchers instead of the cash, because I'll use that for sure sometime in the future.

We are patiently waiting to see if the May 8 & 9 Boston Pops shows are canceled. I'll be horribly disappointed, but, I know they will be rescheduled so I'll look forward to that. It is sad when you hold on to something that you really want to do and have the universe turned over on top of your plans. The good thing is everyone's been really accommodating thus far with refunds and reschedules. We have plans for the August On The Ocean fest, I've booked us an Air BnB for several days (Thursday through Tuesday) on a river north of downtown Portland, and if nothing else, if for some reason the shows and weekend festivities are canceled, I'm still going. Come hell or high water, I'm going to sit in a house, read a book, paint my toenails, relax, for my own well being.

As much as I don't want the summer to come and be over, I also can't wait for that.

Geoff and I made a quick trip to Massachusetts a couple weekends ago. We went up to an Eagle Ceremony for one of the boys in his old troop. I was happy to be invited and got to see some great friends.

The ceremony was not as fun as what they were like when we were in the troop. It is interesting to see how things have changed for them. Geoff was a little disappointed that a couple of the old "standards" were not incorporated, such as "ushering the Eagle to the front of the room in whatever dignified fashion" which usually resulted in some sort of ridiculousness (Geoff was picked up and carried feet first).

At the end of things, Geoff went and got the Eagle and carried him away on his back, which made both the Eagle and Geoff very happy even if it confused everyone else. Here they are together, and it is lovely that the Eagle remembered such fondness of Geoff enough to actually invite him to the ceremony, and that Geoff wanted to go even from such a distance.

Driving up, we left at 9am, stopped for dinner in Connecticut, and got there by 5pm. So it was an easy, clean trip with no traffic or issues. But man is that a long day of driving and being in the car. We stopped often (I like to try and get my steps in) and Geoff likes to get snack. He's a good traveling companion.

We also got to see my parents, which was nice. My dad seemed really tired and a little bit out of it. He's going to be 80 in May so I'm kind of wary of him being able to make it through all this. But he's a tough old fart. And mom refers to herself as "Nurse Ratchet" so she'll keep him going as long as she has the energy too.

We also got to see Jess and one of our friends, and good friend of Geoff's, Thane.

We met for dinner and had a great time and Geoff had been wanting to go to a little brewery in Amesbury, where Jess actually goes regularly. One of her co-workers lives around the corner with his partner, so they joined us too. Didn't get a picture of that side of the table but loved this one of the boys. They've been friends since elementary school, and still have such a good time together. It was a fantastic and fun night. We had a couple laugh riots, and I could tell Geoff was just so overjoyed to be spending time with Thane in person. What a gift to have this connection. And it is so weird to know that Thane is 25 now. He was like 7 when we met... our babies are all grown!

And before we left on Sunday morning we had breakfast with Jess and their roommate Liz. Wished to have had more time with them as well.

Geoff and I both get a little sad when we have to come back. I wanted at least one more day there but he had class and work on Monday so we came home. He doesn't have a lot of vacation time (his boss let him take a sick day because he was impressed with Geoff going to the Eagle ceremony and being in contact with his Troop still).

Like I said, I'm looking forward to heading north hopefully in May, if not... August.

Well, the aforementioned telework time is here. Gotta get to it.