We’re all living through a period in history that most of us have never experienced before. With that comes a variety of opinions, stories, and changes to day-to-day life; here are a few of my personal highlights.
Around the first of March, we started cleaning and sanitizing around the office more than usual. I was in court on March 12th and right after is when I remember things started really ramping up around Colorado. We had a doctor come to our office and give some additional insight from what he had been hearing around the medical community. “We’re seeing suggestions of no more than ten people at gatherings,” he said, “but I think it should really be no more than five. I think we’ll see that reflected soon enough.”
And that social distancing has continued to happen, as we know. Just prior to that doctor visit, we had made the decision to work remotely and come in only once a week as a firm to touch base, but with his insight we changed that to working always from home, with the exception of coming in individually for tasks and mail items that could only be done through the office. We have spaced them out so the office is getting regular visits, but with small human contact.
For the most part, things have worked great. Our firm was built on the principle of flexibility and efficiency – it’s in our DNA. When we originally started, we worked at home and met weekly in Brianne’s dining room, since we didn’t have an office. We met with clients out in the community, and were resourceful when it came to traditional office needs. From a functional standpoint, we have always had the ability to do this and it’s now paying dividends. I don’t even think clients have noticed the shift.
From an emotional standpoint, that has been more challenging. I can only speak from personal experience, but I really miss seeing everyone. I miss the routine of waking up and getting the kids ready for school, driving into work with my audiobook in the background, and sitting at my desk and immediately being in my element. I’m the king of #dadjokes and love sprinkling them throughout the office, leading to groans, courtesy chuckles, and occasional genuine grins. Now I’m left with an overabundance of bad jokes that I have to tell my kids… they must really think this is the apocalypse.
We’ve done a couple work comp department video conferences and one firm-wide video conference, and it felt great. My seven-year-old had done one the week prior with his classmates and you could see how much of an emotional boon it was for him, and for me I don’t think it was any different. Humans really are social by nature, and the impact of being away from ones you care about becomes evident when you get to see them again.
In preparation for our firm-wide video conference, I had grabbed a wizard beard from an old costume I had, drawn up a tally-marked paper with “Dayz” for my backdrop, and even brought along my new “co-worker” Wendell, a tennis ball with a red hand face. It was ridiculous of course, but felt like a return to normalcy. As the conference went on and we got down to business, I could still feel the group warmth in the conference. We will eventually get back in the office on a daily basis, but in the meantime these moments really help while we remain safe and do our part to “flatten the curve.”
I’ve talked about my love of board and card games before, and part of that love extends to painting the models that come with them. I’m in some painting groups on Facebook and there are a lot of jokes going around that “finally we’ll be able to address this backlog of painting!” But as the meme suggests, that’s not really happening for me right now.
Another thing I wanted to do is return to my magic performing days and shake the rust off. In case you’re curious, here’s one of my old private videos I posted to myself practicing some routines.
I’m hoping my kids show an interest in the performing arts someday, and it feels like now is as good a time as any to start doing some home classes in magic. I used to teach individual lessons during college so the framework is there.
Finally, the biggest area of personal struggle is exercise. Softball was about to start, and I had returned to a solid routine of going to the gym on a fairly regular basis in the morning, which is of course out the window momentarily. But don’t worry, I substituted lifting weights with lifting Twinkies into my mouth! Oh right… that’s not how that works.
I’m getting my bike tuned up and ready for spring though, so hopefully I can get health on track as the weather continues to get warm. I even brought out my old cycling shorts and shirts… from when I was 20 pounds lighter… so, yeah. It’ll be like sausage spewing out of a casing, and for that mental image I offer my condolences.
And here we are with the other major element of life I’m trying to balance. It’s funny when you cut certain things out of your daily routine like drive times and store visits how quickly other things fill right in. Schedules are just so very tight, like a sausage trying to fit…
Sorry, I got distracted by a callback. What I’m trying to say is, working from home while your spouse is also working from home and you are now home-schooling two kids… that’s a lotta “home!”
I had mistakenly assumed that since I’m solid at helping my 7-year-old with his homework that home-schooling would merely be an extension of that. What I failed to realize is now we are also responsible for teaching him new material, which often involves videos, examples, and step-by-step instructions. It’s much more time consuming.
This also just so happened to coincide with my first experience of “daddy’s math” is not the same as common core “new math.” We were clicking through some online quiz he had about multiplying large numbers and the question asked, “Show us where the student went wrong.” This hypothetical kid’s work was a mirror image of how I’d do it, so I knew I was in trouble.
We’re figuring it out and rebalancing our life, but it’s not easy. Kids need more frequent and longer breaks. They need to run around outside and explore the world. In some ways I’m grateful because it has reminded me to stop and smell the roses. Although stressful, I’m grateful I’ve also had more time to spend with our kids.
My wife and I have known each other since 2003 and have been married for 10 years, but this quarantine has provided new and interesting ways for us to grow as a couple. She’s taken on such a fantastic leadership role and is doing an amazing job helping our family survive and thrive through this unique period of time. She’s picked up gardening again and seems to always be available to watch the kids when I have an urgent work issue.
And ultimately, that’s what I’ve tried to focus on throughout the Coronavirus pandemic – the good it has brought out in humanity and the very real reminders of what is truly important. Throughout the extreme hardship we’re all going through, I hope we have the fortitude to grow, learn, and become better people at home, work, and globally.