Lately it seems like the only thing on any of our minds is COVID-19, the pandemic that has been rapidly spreading around the world. The first case of it identified in the United States happened to be in the same county I live in, and the majority of deaths in Washington state were in a facility not too far from the office where I work.
The company Bill and I work for announced that it would require any employees who could do so to work from home for the rest of the month starting on March 5th. At the time, I was simply proud to work for a place that cared so much about its employees that it would take such an extreme precaution. Now, although I’m still very proud of my company, I understand that the precaution of keeping us home wasn’t extreme at all, and was a foreshadowing of things to come. Today the work from home policy was extended through the month of April, and I don’t know that I even believe we’ll be going back to the office in May.
All of the schools in Washington are closed for six weeks. Restaurants and bars are now closed too, with the exception of those that are able to convert to takeout-only. It makes me feel a little better to see the state taking things so seriously, but it also makes my heart hurt for people whose jobs can’t be done remotely and who are now suffering financially because of this crisis. It makes me very thankful for my own job and that I’m able to do my work here at home without worrying about how I’m going to pay my bills. Not everyone is so fortunate and I think at this point I have absolutely nothing to complain about.
Bill and I have been getting into the new routine of working at home full-time. Although social gatherings are strongly discouraged, going outside is still okay and we’ve had some nice sunny weather here in Edmonds in the last couple of weeks. We’ve been taking advantage of it and getting outside to take long walks every evening. Our gym is closed indefinitely, so instead we’re taking advantage of streaming workouts that we can do in our living room and making sure we work out before we log on to work for the day. We’re trying to stick to our normal weekday meal routine, although I will admit that this is where I’ve struggled a bit because it’s just so easy to grab a snack when I’m home all day!
A couple of weeks ago people were hoarding bottled water and toilet paper; now they’re hoarding food. I usually love our weekly trip to the grocery store but now it makes me frustrated and anxious. I can’t plan any meals beforehand because I have to see what the store actually has before I can decide what to make. I’m hoping that the initial rush to stock up will be over soon and things will be more readily available, but at this point I just don’t know what’s going to happen.
Last week was our third wedding anniversary, and we still wanted to celebrate while also following the strong recommendations to practice social distancing. We ultimately decided to take a drive over to the Olympic Peninsula and visit Ruby Beach, the place where we got engaged in 2015. It was a cold, clear day, and we were able to enjoy a road trip together. I think it turned out to be one of the nicest days we’ve spent together in awhile, and we’re hoping to take another day drive somewhere else next weekend. It helps to get out of the house while safely staying quarantined in our car.
Things seem to change daily so it’s hard to predict what will happen next, but we’re trying to make the best of things. Until all of this quiets down, I’ll be hanging out at home, enjoying my stash of pizza rolls, diligently washing my hands, and avoiding looking at the balance of my 401(k).