Life During COVID-19

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San Diego, March 2020

It’s been a really strange couple of months living through COVID. The days turn the weeks and the weeks all seem similar. Same routine. Get up 4:30, fix a cup of coffee, a bowl of Cheerios, then set the Apple Watch for an outdoor walk. On the weekend there are a few podcasts to catch up on from the week. I’ve been enjoying Robert Rose The Weekly Wrap, a content marketing-focused pod. Robert actually makes The Wrap in a video format, incorporating clips from movies, and there’s usually an interesting guest. The only part that feels a bit forced is when he recites lyrics from a song at the end. It feels a bit corny, but generally a very cool production. On Sunday there’s Mitch Joel “Six Pixels of Separation”, and this can be a bit unpredictable, sometimes there’s a very interesting guest and a good interview, other times it’s a topic or guest I can’t get into.  The New York Times “The Daily” has been releasing short stories called The Sunday Read, and these have been wonderful to listen to. I listened to one narrated by Julia Wheland a month or two ago about a restaurant in New York that was forced to close down. I love listening to Julia tell a story, her voice is gorgeous. 

After I get some exercise I catch up on work, yesterday I was working on a presentation that I will be delivered on Tuesday. It’s about value propositions. It’s a bit of an experiment because I will be presenting on one computer that has been hooked up to send everything over to another computer (Work Laptop) connected to Microsoft Teams. I will also be making a recording of the session because I’m incorporating music and video and using a green screen. Hopefully, there will not be any issues related to echo to mess things up.  Why can’t I simply log into Teams from the Mac laptop?  Well, it’s a long story but something about working for a security-focused company and not being allowed to log on using your personal laptop.  It’s actually a test to see if this approach works because I’d like to start hosting some training sessions using this approach if it works. 

During the pandemic, weekdays have taken on a very familiar routine. Like on the weekends I am usually up early and out for a walk. I limit my movements to my housing track. I was going down to the beach and walking along the pier for a long time, but after the pier closed I got nervous about being around too many people. All you need is one person to sneeze without a mask, in fact, this did happen.  I pulled my teeshirt up over my face while he laughed walking past me. Now I walk around the block a few times. It is exactly three miles and I carry a mask in my pocket. If I see someone coming in my direction, I avoid them, if I can’t avoid them I hook the mask around my ears. I thought we would be all done with this by now, but it’s dragging on, and the reason we are here is obvious. I can only hope for a vaccine that becomes widely available, that most people take, so we can turn the corner on this nightmare. I start work around 7 am, take lunch around noon, head out for a 1 mile walk around the block, then make a cup of tea before heading back to my desk for the afternoon. 

I’m thankful to be able to keep working. but things have not been going well. There’s a chaotic nature to what we are doing that has me feeling off balance and spread very thin. I try to keep my head in the game and keep producing results hoping that we will see light at the end of the tunnel.  Working for a credit bureau, I’m exposed to a lot of data on the health of small business, and coupled with the daily headlines of people getting laid off and businesses going bankrupt, it keeps me in a fairly negative headspace.  At the onset of the pandemic, our CEO held an all employee Webex and said “We will have a recession, it will be deep but relatively short.”  He spoke of our employees in China, and said they had started returning to work after lockdown restrictions had been eased. At the time, this gave me a lot of hope, I thought it would be over in a few short months, but that was back in mid-March, four months ago, and COVID-19 is more widespread than it ever was, mostly because the economy opened back up too soon, and the leadership of our country could not get on the same page with health experts and institute a national plan for flattening the curve. As of this morning, we have over 4.7 million cases with over 157,000 people dead. It’s hard to imagine that something so horrible could happen. I thought 9/11 was the worst thing that could ever happen in the United States, I was wrong. 

Stephani and I keep a calendar on our dining table, we each have our own 1-page print out of the current month. At dinner each night we jot down where we went that day in case we ever become infected and need to be able to help inform others we have been in contact with. My days are mostly empty boxes, the occasional trip to Trader Joes, or over to my Dad’s apartment to swap out his pill tray. I’ve heard Google and Apple are working on ways to track this through mobile phones and those breakthroughs can’t come soon enough. 

To escape, I have been watching “Maine Cabin Masters,” a show about a family business that renovates cabins in beautiful Maine. The scenery is a perfect contrast to what is going on right now. I have imagined life as a photographer and podcaster, living in Maine with Stephani, far away from COVID, fully wired to high-speed internet so we can watch all of our shows, and stay in contact with the outside world. The only thing that worries me about it is wild bears, and they seem quite harmless considering what we are dealing with now. The thought that I could pass someone at the grocery store who has it, who touched the same box of eggs I touched, and that if I get it I could be a goner. I just want it to be over. 

This year before COVID I lost a significant amount of weight, shedding 50 pounds. I was very proud of this accomplishment. But not getting on a scale each week and publishing the number of pounds lost means I have not been as dedicated to keeping the weight off.  Cookies with tea in the afternoon have been my weakness, and while I have been sticking to salads, and walking at least 6 miles each day, I managed to put 10 pounds back on.  So this week I am going to start doing intermittent fasting while avoiding snacks to see if I can knock those 10 pounds off in short order.  I want to feel confident that I am in control of my weight and my health. I looked at a picture from early March. I was in a blue suit going to a charity dinner and I looked fantastic, and I remember feeling so great at that weight. So, I am mentally getting back to it.  Being mentally committed to a goal is half the battle unless you can visualize success there is little point in trying. 

Well, that’s my update for now. Please take care of each other, be safe, wear a mask.