Do Differently

Here in the US, businesses are starting to open back up after weeks of pandemic lockdown. We’re about to enter a new phase in this journey together.

Today marks 60 days that my family and I have lived and worked and been schooled from home, the five of us. It’s been a cozy little cocoon these many weeks. The weather is finally starting to improve in Ohio with warmer temps, no snow, less rain. This particular way we’ve been living life is coming to an end.

We all know how easy it can be to lament the many things we’ve lost over these 60 days: people chief among them, followed by jobs and life savings, milestones like proms and graduations and weddings and spring sports, and then maybe even followed by civility among our fellow Americans.

Let’s not focus on that. Let’s focus on what we’ve gained, what we vow to do differently. I don’t want to go back to the way things were.


I’ll go first. In no particular order and by no stretch all-inclusive, here’s what I have gained and want to keep in my day-to-day life:

  1. Routine family dinner, and all this extra time with the kids
  2. Frequent meditation
  3. Book reading
  4. More blogging
  5. Working from home (aka, the three-minute commute) with a puppy in my lap now and then
  6. Comfy clothes
  7. Reconnecting with far-flung friends using any manner of video technology
  8. Netflix (yes!) for on-demand comedy
  9. Savings that arose from not buying gas, lunch, clothes, etc.
  10. The ability to focus on and truly enjoy the moments that make up the here and now
  11. The realization that some things are truly outside of our control
  12. The gift of my tribe – my tight circle of family, friends, and coworkers who I love
  13. Simplicity of routine and in possessions
  14. The sound of birds singing
  15. Extra time for more hiking
  16. A mostly empty evening and weekend calendar to use as the mood strikes me
  17. Immense gratitude for my health and for all front line care givers, essential workers, and creative types who found ways to inject joy into these crazy days.

How about you? I’d love to hear at least one thing you discovered or reclaimed since the pandemic and you resolve to continue, to do different than you did before the world changed.


Image by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels

Ohio COVID-19 Journal Day 12

Took a little break from writing over the weekend. I needed it. Working from home for a full week now has taught me that it’s really easy to blur the lines between work and home. At the end of the work day, I may log off of my work email, but I remain at the same desk, same chair, same position, and same PC I’ve already used for nine hours to launch WordPress and crank out a few thoughts. It’s a little monotonous.

Just telling the truth. But believe me, I’m not complaining. No sir.

It’s true I don’t get enough movement throughout the day. When I’m in the office, I get a cup of tea or two and take a few “bio-breaks” and it gives me a chance to walk around a bit, stretch the legs, recharge the brain for a few seconds, and exchange a few friendly hellos or more with my coworkers. It’s not quite the same walking a few feet to the kitchen here at home. Even taking the dog out for a quick jaunt is not enough.

It’s also a bit lonely. I find I don’t mind the kids’ interruptions nearly as much. Either they’ve figured out that I’m working and they’re leaving me alone or they keep it brief when they do stop in the home office.

Then again, I’ve got two of them going on Khan Academy to keep their math skills fresh and a third has ACT tutoring booked starting next week.

The youngest, age 9, has been making me scrambled eggs each morning. Today I caught him Facetiming his friend and walking him through the process of how to select the right pan, how to scramble the yolks, and how to cook them to just the right consistency. It was so cute to hear the conversation in the kitchen from my home office:

“You see, if you’re out at a breakfast café and you order scrambled eggs, they should be done in about five minutes. Now just look at these eggs, they look amazing. So how’s it going for you?”

This week, I found I am more apt to use video conference to chat with my coworkers. They joke about not wanting to be seen because their hair is askew or they’re going without makeup. I don’t care about that so much. It’s nice to connect.

Tomorrow and the next day will be a bit unusual in that I have two virtual happy hours, one with some friends from high school, and the other with my coworkers. At the end of the day, we’ll grab a beverage of our choice and video chat. I’m looking forward to it.


Praise God, we are all still healthy at Louie Lodge. I am counting the days. Two more and we just might be in the clear, but then again, a couple of us have ventured out – rarely – to grocery shop, visit the doctor for a wellness check before it was cancelled, fill up the gas tank, etc. We will never really know because one of us will always head outside, among other people, for food.

Even after all the states in the union give the “all clear” to return to “normal activities” (as if anything will feel normal again), we will all be washing our hands and sanitizing like crazy until they come up with a vaccine, assuming they can and it doesn’t splinter and morph into several strains. It will be a long time before we truly return to “normal”.

This virus – this enemy – is inching closer to home. I had reason to call a coworker in New Orleans today and started the conversation by asking if he and his family were ok. He confirmed that he and his immediate family were fine, but his mother already lost two cousins to the virus.

Louisiana isn’t on “lock-down” like we are in Ohio. He wishes they were. Maybe his relatives would be alive today. This coworker was the first person I met to be personally impacted by the virus. It was a sad milestone, and just the first of many. I told him I’d include him and his family in my prayers but really I’m praying for everyone in the world dealing with this.

Now excuse me while I go make a few more video calls to tell people I love them.


Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Ohio COVID-19 Journal Day 8

Feeling a little more somber today. Heard from another friend of mine, a doctor. She read yesterday’s blog post but stopped when she got to the part about the joys of working from home. She admitted it was because she felt a little jealous.

This news gave me pause. I felt sheepish, ashamed, because let’s face it: she doesn’t have that luxury. No one in the medical industry has that luxury today or in the foreseeable future. This particular friend of mine has gone through two separate instances of chemo from ovarian cancer, and yet here she is on the front lines of the pandemic, selflessly serving others.

She shared how she sees many older patients in her practice, some of whom look forward to their doctor appointment because it’s the only social interaction they get all day, or even most days.

If you’re struggling with these new restrictions, think of the elderly people in your life. Think of the doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, other hospital, hospice, and elder care workers.  Think of the daycare workers who are working with kids while juggling the risks and restrictions placed on them, every day let alone today. There are all kinds of people to think about, to thank.

We need to support one another, however we can.


In another one of those incredible, perspective-inducing memes:

Your grandparents were called to war. You’re being asked to sit on your couch. You can do this.


Ohio Governor Mike DeWine asked people to hang the American flag as a sign of solidarity, presumably because many of us might not have an Ohio flag, cool as it is with its pennant shape. The previous owners of our home had a flag pole in the yard but it was broken and became rusty so we pitched it several years ago. I will have to make an effort to hang our US flag somewhere on our house this weekend.

In today’s press conference Lt. Governor John Husted reminded us that tough times reveal our character. He spoke of a grocery store fight that broke out between two customers over toilet paper. Toilet paper. As much as I’ve joked about it, it’s not worth fighting with a fellow citizen.

Contrast that story with the one about a state employee, a technical guy who worked tirelessly to launch the state’s coronavirus unemployment benefits web page even while a close family member was dying. He chose a selfless act of service for his fellow citizens in a time of crisis over personal tragedy.


I sit in my house today wondering if my throat feels funny, like my glands are starting to swell. Maybe my imagination is running wild. It worries me. I realize I’ve been in a happy little bubble, but I really need to brace myself in case it bursts in the coming days.

This last week, my coworkers have all reliably shown up for work on conference calls like I confidently assumed they would, but it hit me: we will start hearing stories about people who are falling ill. People we know. The rumor mill is running with the name of an infected high school student in our community of roughly 27,000 people. Will it get more real when we hear that news first-hand from someone?

Is it more real now that the first Ohioan has passed from this virus? The numbers in Ohio and the US are really starting to jump. I’m not surprised at the numbers as we’ve been warned they would, and warned that we are just beginning this upward slope.

What if yesterday was Week One of Eight? What if it is Week One of much longer?


We are hearing reports that China and South Korea are slowly beginning to return to normal, but their societies are quite different than ours. I’m not an economist but I know America increasingly runs a small business and gig economy. How resilient are those to a pandemic? A few of my learned business friends are quite concerned about the long-term economic devastation about to hit America if this drags on longer-term.

One of those people is my best friend from college, Greg. I dreamt about him the night before, so I took it as a sign to Facetime him last night. We caught up for the first time after several months and I didn’t care that my face was sans make-up. He is hunkered down in his Manhattan apartment with his new fiancé and their two cats.

They pretty much can’t leave, and they haven’t for two weeks now. It’s impossible to step outside in New York and be six feet apart from people. He shared how the EMTs came the day before to take away his neighbor who couldn’t breathe.

He’s thinking through the logistics of packing up their lives and cats and traveling to Ohio to live with his elderly mom in the country for a few months until New Yorkers get the all clear. He figures he’ll be there to help his mom should she have a medical emergency, fix things around her house, and step out for fresh air by walking in the woods. He has the financial luxury to take a couple of months off from his work.

We talked daily in college, mostly to get through honors accounting homework and deal with our tough, formidable professor together, but just as often our talks turned to life and the future. Greg always called me “dear” and could finish my sentences for me, but despite all that, we always agreed to politely disagree about money.

Greg thinks we’re headed to a great depression of monumental proportions. I know exactly what kind of dominos need to fall for that to happen, and part of me knows he’s right about that, but for now I’m still hanging onto hope. If China and South Korea can emerge from this, maybe we can too. There will be casualties of the real and metaphoric kind, but I won’t mourn that yet. That time will come but not now.


Speaking of being hunkered down, I see many references to people reflecting on the dignity of Anne Frank, hiding in a 450 square foot space with her four other family members for two entire years, trying to avoid being heard and captured.

Perspective. We can do hard things.


Ryun and I need to do a better job of explaining that to our kids. Believe it or not, we finally sat down for family dinner last night and it wasn’t quite the Norman Rockwell moment we would have liked. Our kids had nearly a full week of free-for-all without curfews or much in the way of chores so the mere thought of gathering at the same time daily for – egads – a meal together was a crimp on their freedom.

I wanted to use the backside of my hand on each of them. I didn’t. I whipped out the old, “in my day we didn’t have the luxuries you did…” diatribe but it rang hollow. Eye rolls in every direction.

It was time to appeal to a higher good within them.

In between bites of spaghetti, they learned that for the rest of their lives, they will be asked, “What did you do during the pandemic?” and we explained we wanted them to be proud of their answer. Ryun and I suggested enrichment activities that – get this – each of them enjoys.

I may as well have told them the internet was dead. Or asked them to amputate an arm and return their electronic devices to owner. Not a proud parent moment. We have some work to do at Louie Lodge.

In closing, I leave you with this today, author unknown but full of grace.


Photo by Luis Melendez on Unsplash

Ohio COVID-19 Journal Day 7

Not as much today….


The World Health Organization says the incubation period for COVID-19 is 1-14 days with symptoms appearing most commonly after five days. Today marks seven days at home for us and we are healthy. Still healthy!

Granted, my husband Ryun has been out a few times for one small church obligation, a well visit, and maybe two grocery shopping trips, sometimes with my oldest son. I know this resets their clock as it does ours, but still, seven days at home symptom free is something to cheer. We can do this.

Ryun talks to his 82-year-old mom every day but that’s really nothing new. They’ve been doing that for as long as I’ve known him, going on 20 years now. Maydel thinks this whole coronavirus thing is overblown. An avid Fox fan, her perspective is no big surprise. I don’t want a cavalier attitude to be her demise given how she’s the only grandparent my kids will ever know but I’m coming to terms with what might happen.

Granted, she’s in decent health and looks absolutely incredible for her age. My mother-in-law is relatively fit and mentally sharp with a couple of health incidents here and there but not really any chronic illness other than diabetes. She still lives in her ranch home and shovels her own Utah snow. She chased an intruder who entered through the dog door out of her house not that long ago, so she’s quite the trooper. She loves to socialize, eat out, and exercise at Curves but now she’s cut all of that out and it will take its toll. Still, so far so good.


One of my coworkers shared that we are among only 29% of Americans who are fortunate enough to work at home. Wow. We’ve been holding video conference calls for work and it’s been fun to see everyone in their tshirts, no make-up, and ponytails with kids coming in and out of the frame and dogs barking.

I love the LIFE in all of that. I also love that we work for a company that encourages us to know and care about each other’s lives outside of work, so it wasn’t a surprise to me at all to hear or see one coworker with her college-age daughter at home, another colleague with her twins under one year, and some others who have three or four kids at home.


One of my coworkers – who shall remain nameless – lamented the pace by which they are blowing through their toilet paper stash, so we spent a little time brainstorming new strategies. Maybe each person is allocated a roll whereby they Sharpie their initials on the edge. No more rolls are stocked in the bathroom. If you gotta go, you check in with mom first with your allocated roll and that might be incentive for you to be thrifty, shall we say.

I told my coworker that all sorts of ingenious life hacks might come of our situation. We may be forced to create a makeshift bidet with a turkey baster and otherwise use washcloths. Of course, you’d need to Sharpie the ball on the baster to clearly label its new purpose. Talk about crossing the Rubicon….

I know. I’ve ruined turkey basters for you. I apologize to all the kitchen wizards out there.


Now that a full week has gone by, I am finally itching to get outside to do something other than take the pupster out for potty patrol. But in the meantime, I’m playing classical and spa music in the home office when I don’t otherwise have conference calls and it’s kinda nice.

However, I check CNN.com throughout the day and sometimes watch videos to catch up on the news. If I hear Johnny Carson say, “sis-boom-bah” one more time before a video plays…grrr.

Is it just me or do you watch TV shows where people are congregating, shaking hands and hugging and you want to shout at the TV, “Don’t do it!!!”? I mean, Progressive came out with the “perfect high five” commercial and I want smear sanitizer on the TV. Maybe they pulled that one off the air. Smart move.


Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Ohio COVID-19 Journal Day 5


What I’ve learned so far:

1. I touch my face constantly. Actually, that’s a lie. I have incredible self-awareness about my habit of face-touching.

2. People in this house drink a ridiculous amount of milk. We had three gallons two days ago. Now we’re down to our last half gallon. Under normal circumstances I would cheer that my kids drink milk. But now? I really don’t want anyone to step outside for it. They can eat dry cereal. We’ll send a single forager when we truly run out of necessary food and the way this kitchen and pantry are stocked, that could take a few days. Or weeks.

3. 15 people have signed up for online drum lessons which is not anywhere near my husband’s normal 40-student private teaching workload but it’s better than nothing and it’s way more than I thought! Today is the first day he’s giving it a go. Maybe he can open up his services across America for that matter.

4. My youngest cried because his favorite Nintendo game was somehow deleted off his Switch in attempts to upgrade it or apply a patch. Like Christmas day, every kid in America is likely downloading software from Nintendo and it’s crashing their servers. It’s the end of his world, you know.

5. My butt still really hurts from sitting on the newly assembled bar stool in my makeshift office after 1.5 days so I moved all my home computer equipment out of my real home office into the kitchen so my work equipment could move in. My home office doesn’t have a lot of desk space but at least the faux leather Ikea chair is comfy. I can’t imagine eight weeks with a bruised tailbone. I suspect that will be the least of my worries. It’s a lot louder on the main floor with the kids.

6. It’s St. Patrick’s Day. No parties and parades this year other than the line of cars at Cleveland Clinic waiting for COVID-19 testing. Ohio polls are closed per order of Dr. Acton in defiance of a judge’s order to remain open. I think the judge is wrong. I hate the idea of delaying our primary election, but these are not normal circumstances. I wore green today though – does that count? Then again, I’m on day three of the same outfit that wasn’t green on day one. LOL

7. My kids are just winging it now. I haven’t outlined “enrichment” activities for them, but I will be doing so over the next few days. I’m going to see if the ACT tutor we hired for our oldest can coach him over the phone since her schedule may have opened up. His certainly has. He’s pretty ticked that he doesn’t have the final quarter of the year to improve his GPA. Dude: we’ve been telling you about the significance of your GPA since 8th grade. You pick THIS QUARTER to pay attention?

8. Today we learned of the first person on the corporate campus of my employer who is presumed to test positive for COVID-19. By virtue of the fact that I was not emailed directly about this individual, they did not work on my floor, but I get around. We have a few thousand people on campus, and they hail from all over northeast Ohio, some driving up to 45-60 minutes to get to work. Today’s news was inevitable. HR will notify us if we’ve come into contact with someone who tests positive or is presumed to be.

9. I have no plans to wear makeup during the next eight weeks. I am fixing my hair because it’s short and I don’t need a reminder that I look like Keith Richards every time I look in the mirror. LOL  Despite wearing the same clothes for the last three days, I am sporting fresh undies. The best is no bra. NO BRA for the next several weeks. Girls, can I get a hallelujah on that one?

10. No, I haven’t started that walking or yoga or tai chi routine. My husband started tai chi on Friday (“Hug the moon,” he coached me). I think that’s kinda cool.

11. Other than the normal kid fights, we’re doing ok. As we laid in bed last night, my husband admitted he is a little bit scared. I’m cool headed about it. I haven’t cried. I cry over everything but this? No tears. Not yet. I’m surprised I can fall asleep ok. Then again: no symptoms. I do feel like I should make quite a few phone calls though.

12. My youngest reminded me of his entrepreneurial and humanitarian tendencies, “Um, Evan S. and I at school heard that you can make, like, $500 million if you come up with the cure for the coronavirus so we’re going to use science and do it. If we split that 50/50,” long pause inserted for effect, “we both get $250 million so I’ll be able to pay for my own college.” My response? “Dude, if you discover the cure for the coronavirus, people will come to YOU for college.” LOL

13. Seriously, if you’re holed up in your house for an indefinite period, what are you going to do with this once-in-a-lifetime precious time of yours? Will you better yourself, connect with distant loved ones, tackle that home project you always said you would, or help the elderly and lonely in your own community? What do YOU plan to do? Even if you plan to rest – and that’s valid in its own right – what do you plan to do? I’d love to hear from you.


Photo by luizclas from Pexels

Facing Coronavirus in Ohio

As of today, March 14, 2020, it’s everywhere: coronavirus or COVID-19. I figured I would attempt to post frequently to chronicle what life is like in Ohio dealing with this but with a caveat.

My professional work involves helping my company deal with enterprise risk, and believe me, COVID-19 qualifies as one as it does for so many other companies. As a result, I’m part of a larger team that is handling what our response is as a company to this event.

However I am not an official spokesperson for our company, so you won’t hear me divulge details about what we are doing as a company. Maybe one day I’ll write a book or short story about what that has been like but for now, let me just tell you about life in Medina, Ohio.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. That same day, the governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, held a press conference about the situation in Ohio and he’s held one each day since with Dr. Amy Acton, the Director of the Ohio Department of Health, by his side also delivering remarks in a clear, calm style. One of Gov. DeWine’s directives involved the closing of public schools for a minimum of three weeks and the ban of mass gatherings of 100 people or more.

Several Americans seemed to think the news about the virus was overblown. These sentiments certainly seemed to fall naturally along the massive political divide in our country, but not exclusively. Plenty of Ohioans thought school closings and mass bans were totally uncalled for.

I sensed something different. Maybe it’s because of the nature of my work, or my natural inclination to take things more seriously than most people. I already knew the reasons why the infection numbers in the US were so low in March is because we didn’t have enough test kits in the US to confirm presence of the virus.

For the governor to ban mass gatherings of so few people meant they already had reason to believe it was far more prevalent in our state than they were officially able to say. After all, Ohio was one of the last six states to begin testing for the virus. As of today, 26 Ohioans are confirmed with the virus, with over 10 times that many under testing.

Immediately people wondered how to handle daycare for their children, especially the young school-age kids. Several large companies in Northeast Ohio are prepared enough to send their white collar/ knowledge workers home to work for the same period of time, but there are plenty of jobs that simply do not allow for that luxury. Ohioans were simply plunged into emergency mode in short order. Grocery stores sold out of toilet paper, Clorox wipes, and hand sanitizer immediately.


So all three of my kids are now home for three weeks, one of which was our already scheduled “spring break”. It doesn’t sound like the school districts will be mandating any form of education during that period of time, unlike blizzards where some packets are sent as homework.

Our kids were initially quite happy about that. It initially felt like an extended Christmas vacation to them. My daughter gleefully announced that she and her friends had already planned a bunch of sleepovers until I burst her bubble, explaining that we are being asked to engage in social distancing and our family is taking that very seriously. I mean, she had a fever earlier this week, and my youngest had glassy eyes, sniffles, and a dry cough that developed literally overnight. Sure, it could be seasonal allergies, but who really knows.

Ohio, or maybe even the US altogether, is trying to avoid being in Italy’s situation today, a week from now. Our daughter is pretty angry with us for cramping her social style. Maybe her friends don’t seem to understand the situation. Maybe their parents haven’t chatted with them, gotten through to them, or believe themselves the gravitas of what’s being asked of us all. I’m chalking her reaction up to preteen attitude for the time being but it doesn’t make it easier to deal with.

I am working from home for that same period of time. And let’s be clear: I’m an introvert. In a very weird way, this is an introvert’s dream! I don’t have to physically interact with large groups of people for a while. Cool with me. I need a serious recharge as it is. I was really looking forward to spring break for that very reason but perhaps this season will give us a chance to change a lot of things about how we live our lives.


Our official spring break vacation and planned family trip is cancelled. We had planned to take my oldest on some college visits to see what universities he might be interested in attending when he graduates public school, but it seems as though most colleges have cancelled extracurricular events and released their students for an extended period of time, so we’re not traveling to these colleges, not in the near term. You could see the look of disappointment on my son’s face but it was mixed with a solemn, growing awareness of just how serious the whole situation is for life to come to a grinding halt.

The way Governor DeWine put it, which was so incredibly wise, is “Is it necessary? And is it necessary now?”

So we’ll stay put. With very few exceptions, most of us are not leaving the house for three weeks. My husband will head out to get groceries. My oldest has joined him to do it but maybe that isn’t the best idea. It’s a good life lesson to see empty shelves in the stores and execute Plan B, but I’m worried about the exposure each is getting by being out and about.

And this is where it gets interesting: my husband is president of our church. Churches are exempt from the ban inasmuch as they are encouraged to hold services online, and many of them are. However, we’re Orthodox Christian, unchanged (i.e., “old school”) in our administration of communion that we share a chalice and a spoon with everyone in church.

Our priest reminds us that the church over millennia has made it through pandemics before. We’re told to have faith that receiving communion is life-giving, it cannot harm us in anyway as it truly is the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our church is overwhelmingly populated by people over 60 with all the underlying medical conditions that make them high risk individuals to a novel coronavirus. Like many churches, we struggle to pay the bills inasmuch as we are one of the better off Orthodox parishes, so a drop off in attendance is likely to result in massive deficits.

Money isn’t the biggest concern, nor is it the only one. Our bishop is visiting from Detroit this Sunday compelling many of us to attend to greet him. We were supposed to also welcome a second bishop from Kenya as our church raised money for an orphanage there, and he flew to the US to thank us tomorrow. However, he had to return to Kenya while the US and its rapid changes in travel policy this week allowed for him to do so.

Our priest will never tell people to stay away; he simply cannot. My husband also, as president, cannot tell people to stay away either. All he and the board of trustees can do is communicate with parishioners that they’re doing everything they can to sanitize the facility properly. Nevertheless, some parishioners are very nearly hysterical over the health implications that could devastate our long-time parishioners, our family and friends by gathering for liturgy during this holy season of Lent.

It’s a very tough situation to be in. I will readily admit that my faith is weak. I believe what the scientists are telling me. And all Ohioans, all Americans actually, have a very real opportunity to take all necessary measures to “flatten the pandemic curve” as we are guided to do so we don’t overwhelm our healthcare system. In this regard, Ohio’s governmental response is sound even if it is possibly too late to really help.


God bless the doctors, nurses, laboratory/testing team, other medical staff, EMT, police, firefighters, government officials, and anybody else I am missing who are on the front lines dealing with this issue. These people are not getting all the rest they need and they are at risk of becoming ill themselves. They need our prayers.


In other news, my husband teaches percussion on contract at a few of our local school districts and teaches private students in our home music studio. At first we thought we’d continue lessons as the studio is physically large enough to keep adequate distance between the people present, as it’s usually two or three persons at a time at most. We sent a message out to the parents and students saying as much.

But literally in the span of a few minutes of him, as studio owner, having sent that message, I felt incredibly uneasy about promoting an environment where we were not adhering to the social distancing concept. Even though we are sanitizing the studio and planned to do so throughout these days, I couldn’t bear the thought that we might be a source of the virus or a transmitter of some kind.

Within 90 minutes of telling our students and their parents that we would remain open, we notified them that we would go on physical hiatus for three weeks, to match the governor’s orders. We explained that my husband would be available to teach online, but I doubt anyone will take us up on it.

Between the studio closing and the schools closing, we just lost 1/3 of our monthly income. Now mind you, we are among the very fortunate that this situation simply means we adjust some of our financial habits, hopefully temporarily. I literally logged into our bank online and changed some of the bill paying and investing for the next few months. We’ll get by. But we had to explain to the kids that we’re taking a financial hit and our normal habits will need to change.

It makes me think of all the people impacted by this: the restaurants, hairdressers, small business people, therapists, librarians, etc., who are out of work or likely to experience a significant drop in business. I hope we can weather the storm but so many Americans live paycheck to paycheck. I don’t know how this will work without massive social, educational, financial, and business disruption not to mention the health kind. We will need to look out for one another. I contacted some of my neighbors, a few who are elderly and may not have family close by to help them, to offer our assistance should they need a grocery run or a pharmacy pickup.


I hope to God that this crisis makes America wake up and realize we have got to fix the way healthcare works in this country. There are easier and far less expensive ways of providing outstanding health care than the crazy system we’ve allowed to grow here unchecked, like tangled weeds in a garden.


The pantry and freezer are stocked, the finances are adjusted. The laundry is caught up, deep house cleaning is next, and then I am setting up my office away from the office in a separate room of the house to ramp up for the next three weeks and be as productive and helpful as possible. Work priorities will have to be shifted as this is not business as usual.

I even called the first of my two sisters to coach her to be serious about that “if you’re over 60, don’t leave the house” thing. I don’t think even she quite got it until I called her. And she, of all people, is a retired former hospital laboratory worker in charge of safety practices at her hospital. And the virus is present in her county. It didn’t click with her until I called, and maybe it still really hasn’t.

My oldest, a teenager, has already informed me that COVID-19 is already being called “The Boomer Remover”. That made for a groan-worthy laugh but it hits hard since so many of my extended family are boomers. And then there is the Coronavirus Barometer Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. If he dies, we’re all gonna die, because that dude could likely survive a nuclear holocaust along with the cockroaches.

Really bad jokes aside, our kids have had a talking to and have been challenged to do something to enrich their minds and hearts during this unprecedented time. We told them we want them to be able one day to tell their grandkids, with pride, what they did with their precious, unprecedented gift of time.

In the meantime, this experiment with the five of us at home full time for three weeks and probably more, is on. Stay tuned.