Two weeks ago Sunday March 15, at 10:11 PM I received the final text of a long weekend – beginning immediately, I was to “stay in place” and work from home. COVID-19 just got real.
It was a chaotic week.
Monday March 16 was supposed to be the first day of Mom & Dad’s mission. Sadly, due to the shut-down of Temple Square and all of the changes to Latter-day Saint church service right now due to COVID-19 they were unable to begin their mission. Currently, the new mission start date is June 15. They are sad to be stuck at home waiting, but excited they are still called to serve!
Meanwhile, I was thrilled to be staying home! Ironically, I’ve actually requested (begged) to do a partial telecommute for years, but was continually denied. It’s a bit sad it took a Pandemic!
The New Not-Normal
Despite being free of a long early commute, my first day of home-work started at 6:30 am because once a month our dentist offers two 7:00 am appointments. They’re like gold. Jeff and I had this locked in for the past 8 months, and I really didn’t want to cancel. Two weeks ago “stay in place” was still a new thing, and there were not any major restrictions yet. It still felt a little odd doing something as “boring normal” as getting your teeth cleaned. Now there were all of these questions: Would it be better to delay our dental health, or hurry and do it now before the situation gets worse? How long will this pandemic last in our community and state? Was it safe for us and our dental team?
We decided to go. Our hygienists were grateful. They said all of their clients were starting to cancel, and things were getting quieter. Half of me worried if I should have cancelled, too? The other half felt grateful I was helping them stay in business a little longer. I love my dentist and his team. They don’t have a “teleworking” option. They needed us. And who knows how long it would be before I could see them again? I walked out by 7:30 am with sparkling teeth, feeling like I always do – that I shouldn’t eat anything for days just to preserve that minty freshness!
A few days later, our state guidelines changed, and the dental office closed.
Our next dental appointment is scheduled for November. I wonder if everything will be back to “normal” by then? Will Covid19 be a distant memory? I hope so.
On Wednesday March 18, I woke early feeling the house rocking and rolling underneath me, and the blinds were swaying … EARTHQUAKE!!! It’s rare in Utah to feel these – and especially in light of everything else going on, it felt rather apocalyptic! This was a 5.7 magnitude. All the aftershocks didn’t help! Many people pretty much lost their minds, rushed all the stores to buy up the remainder of the toilet paper & bottled water that might be left from the Covid-19 stockpiling, plus apparently feeling they needed a ten year supply of rice, beans, instant noodles, Tylenol, and (true story) condoms. 😀
A Rough Start
Due to HIPPA laws and other governmental safeguards I am only allowed to use my office laptop for office work. I was issued a Macbook a month ago. To be honest, I’ve never relied on it until now. I’m also a Microsoft/PC gal. Using a Mac is how I imagine trying to drive on the “wrong side” of the road would feel! In hindsight, I really wished I’d taken some Mac lessons, or at least figured out the basics of this little devil before two weeks ago. It would have saved me and our overworked IT guys some grief. That first day I was under some strict deadlines and not being familiar with how to use my computer quickly heightened my anxiety level.
The shortcuts I’m familiar with don’t work. I couldn’t figure out how to keep both the mailbox AND the calendar windows open at the same time in my Outlook on Mac (still appears to be impossible). The tiny screen reminded me that I’m old and require granny glasses.
As you can see, I own a large screen… but it took me a week to find a proper cord to connect The MacDevil! All of the Apple stores were already shut down, Amazon was already unreliable with stock and delivery dates. However, thanks to finding a BestBuy still doing curbside pickup, plus having the correct cord in stock, I finally got my screen hooked up! Then, I spent 2 hours remotely with our wonderful IT guy getting me connected from home to my office computer (which involved me driving all the way to the office just to turn that computer on)… and then, Success!!
Thus, my first week working from home = unpleasant. My second week = not unpleasant. My third week and beyond = [hopefully] comfortable.
I know there are a lot of people very ill, miserable, even dying right now – not to mention thousands of individuals and families struggling financially. So, I realize it is insensitive of me to whine about having computer problems! I sincerely apologize. I really am eternally thankful for the blessing to work from home. There’s been a lot of “tender mercies” about telecommuting! (Not the least, being allowed and able to do it)
Top Five things I love so far about working from home:
#1. Time with family.
Last week Jeff began telecommuting, and yesterday Daughter Bee followed suit. We have a Full House! The 3 of us have each carved out our own “physical distancing” niche and it’s working out nicely. All of us have windows and natural light to enjoy, which some of us (*AHEM*) have NOT had for years until now. We enjoy each other’s company when we are not working. So far, we’ve re-watched all of the Mandalorian on the Disney+ Channel. We have been playing cards and board games and going on walks together – things we haven’t had time or energy to do in the “before times”.
I’ve learned we can get a lot more done at home without all of the commuting, distractions and interruptions. Holding office team meetings via Zoom is so much easier and efficient than trying to coordinate getting everyone into the same room. I think we may (and hope we will) continue doing this long after Covid-19!
#3. Fresh Air
The weather here in northern Utah is turning into a lovely Spring. Despite a couple days of snowy-rain we’ve had daily sunshine and warmer temperatures. That means, like a vast number of our neighbors, we’ve enjoyed going outside!!
Being in fresh air and sunshine every day really does wonders for physical, mental and emotional health! Our stress has gone down.
#4. Conserving Resources
We’ve learned we can buy and use a lot less. We use less paper products. We have minimized shopping. I order some meals via a weekly delivery service, and we supplement with staples from my pantry. I’ve found that working all day at home we actually eat less food, and we aren’t being tempted every day with all the “break-room treats” at the office. Between eating healthier and walking every day we might even lose a few extra pounds.
#5. More Spirituality
We have been holding brief worship services as a small family unit on Sunday afternoon, and have a bit more time for scripture study together. The past two Sundays our Stake authorized priesthood holders to hold the sacrament (communion) for families. That was very special. We also joined a special world-wide fast this past Sabbath for the Covid19 virus to dissipate and those who are suffering in any way to have healing and burdens lifted. We have enjoyed more “quiet time”, and pondering.
We have an extra amount of love and peace in our home right now. There are some extra private challenges and “disquiet” to our souls as a family, but, our pace has slowed down in several ways (getting rid of 2 hr commutes certainly helps!). I think our hearts have been given the opportunity to listen more to the things that matter most.
We are looking forward to General Conference this coming weekend! It will be historic and very different to not be on Temple Square participating in person, but I know it will be just as inspiring and life changing. Perhaps even more than usual. All are invited to watch, whether members of our faith or not! Tune in, and feel God’s love and a message just for you
Watch online streaming here.
More options for watching General Conference from anywhere here.
May each of you find the little Joy’s and blessings from this unprecedented time in your individual life circumstances.
May you stay safe, and be well! – Holly ❤