The weirdness of COVID-19 life

It is weird to see this Board so quiet during what should be the football season. Very weird.

It has been weird to realize that this week I have gone outside my house only once each day, to walk our dogs.

It is weird that I have close friends, family and colleagues, and people I work with in church, all of whom I used to be with at least weekly, but whom I have not seen at all since March.

It is not weird, but telling, that my firm offered a 1 hour Zoom presentation on taking care of our mental health during the pandemic, open to all employees, and we had the highest attendance to any such training presentation ever.

The encouraging news about vaccines is a very important light at the end of this tunnel.

Yeah, the 'rona life is weird.

I can’t speak for others, but I can state my mental health has been all over the place due to the 'rona. Mrs. CCU has had even bigger swings. I’ve tried to help her as best I can, little things like get flowers from the store for no reason, or make her favorite foods, get her out on her bike. But so much that we planned was blown up by covid. Things we’d normally do, like officiate bike races, went out the window.

So, here’s to hoping that 2021 is a better year, all the way around. Back to something resembling normalcy!!!

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In addition to sporting events, our main social activities are going to dinner and the theatre with different friends. We have season tickets to 3 different production companies with 3 different couples, and we have missed that. We were able to make up some of the get togethers by eating outdoors, but with the weather changing, that is not going to happen. On the other side of the equation, we have done more hiking, biking and walking. We even started playing pickle ball, which is a fun activity for couples. I guess the thing I miss most is travel. We had to cancel a couple of trips that I had been looking forward to.

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I really miss the travel, too. Ute road games, colleagues inviting me to their countries - Nepal, India, Costa Rica.

This year has unquestionably been difficult, in multiple ways.

On the other hand, things are still relative: the sun just went down in Pt. Barrow Alaska for the last time this year - it will rise above the horizon in late January. And this was the view of Stansbury Island this morning:

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It seems really weird when I watch a movie and it takes the first 10 seconds to adapt to people NOT wearing masks and NOT social distancing

Pandemic nightmare - early this morning, I awoke from a brief nightmare in which I was stuck in a very large Starbuck’s, unable to find the exit, without a mask and with no on else wearing masks. My son’s girlfriend, commented that she has this sort of weird dream all the time.

Weird but wonderful - my son (age 26) and his girlfriend, who live in Portland, decided to come stay with us. They are both working at home and do not need to go into the office at all, and as their apartment is quite small, and our house rather large and mostly empty, it seemed like a good option for a few weeks. Once they got here, we have and they have enjoyed everyone’s company so much, they are planning to stay for the duration of the pandemic. It helps that their employer, Adidas, encourages people to do this.

It’s has been really nice to have the company and to get to know his girlfriend so well.

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These are indeed weird times - with this family time together we’ve taken to reading some about our immediate ancestors (our parents, grandparents, great grandparents…) with our kids and it has been actually really uplifting… because of their hardships. What we’ve actually found is that they endured things often much harder than what we are, and came out okay on the other end in some way or another - leading happy, loving lives. We feel like it is important for our kids to get they aren’t alone, they can do this and things will be okay. A couple of stories:

  1. My great grandpa, in his 30s in California is totally healthy, things are going fine. He gets the Spanish Flu and 3 days later he is dead, leaving behind his widow and small children. His business partner bilks his wife out of the business and they are left destitute. But, they worked hard, did lots of fun minor things (reading about swimming, playing baseball, marbles, etc) and eventually came out on top.

  2. Another grandmother’s parents during the Depression couldn’t afford to keep her so they sent her off to live with her aunt and uncle at a very young age. After living with them for a couple of years they were her family… until her mom and dad could take her again. Aunt and uncle drop her off and she runs after the car, grabbing onto the bumper and getting dragged behind… they stop and release her hands and move on. Ooof! Hard to imagine that. She went on to get married, raise a family and have a good life, although she died pretty young (in her late 50s). When she died a bunch of people the family didn’t even know showed up to her funeral - they had stories of her bringing meals to them that nobody knew about, or seeing homeless girls on the street and inviting them into her shop to wash their hair, give them some clean clothes and ribbons in their hair, etc.

  3. My father-in-law had his dad die when he was just 14 years old, their house burns down a short time later and his mom ends up having a mental breakdown and having to go to a mental hospital to recover. He was left alone to manage the family farm and take care of his 3 younger siblings. I’ve never met a more well-adjusted happier person in my life - I wish I could be my father-in-law when I grow up.

So we talk about these hard times, and then pivot to talking about the good times. We’ve gone on more local adventures in Utah that have taken us to do things we’d probably never do. We’ve tried to figure out ways to help people like my grandma did - my wife has my kids dropping off treats and meals all over the neighborhood. I think it has been meaningful to them.

We’re going to make it through this, despite the hardships we are enduring. Not only that, but we might even be better for it - if history is an indicator. This isn’t to say that there wasn’t enduring pain as a result, but happiness is there for people who work for it. I hope people struggling can feel some hope, and people struggling with mental challenges can get help. There are lots of people all around you who care.

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By far the most challenging part for my wife and I is not seeing family members. We miss seeing our grandchildren on a regular basis and I very much miss attending football games with my father and looks like attending hoops games with my father and mother are unlikely in the upcoming season.

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Costco usually sells outdoor heaters this time of year. They look like lampposts and you put propane in the base. They work amazingly well. Like you can sit outside with snow everywhere and be comfortable, well.

That may be an option to continue the outdoor activities, especially if it’s just eating. 2-4 of those around your eating area will do an amazing job.

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Good luck finding them. We bought one in early October. They’ve been basically sold out since

Yep. I think they are all going to Calfiornia, where outdoor seating at restaurants is becoming very popular with Newsolini’s restrictions. My coworker said propane is also getting scarce.

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That’s been the one part of this that I have loved. I’ve spent 3-4 days every week on the road for the past 8 years, but haven’t been on an airplane or seen the inside of a hotel since February. Being at home and seeing my kids every days has been absolutely fantastic. I don’t miss travel one bit, and it’s going to be really hard when we have to start doing that again.

I’m a hermit by nature, so the isolation hasn’t been all that difficult for me. Definitely tougher for Mrs. SkinyUte and the kids.

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I’ve also felt the distance from family and friends, particularly as of late finding out my 70-something parents tested positive (one went to the hospital for a week but is going home today), as well as my 40-something smoker brother (we’ll see with him). They got it from the community who apparently couldn’t care less for them. I haven’t seen them in person for months.

To fill in the silence and loneliness we got two puppies in the spring, and for sure things haven’t been quiet since. I feel they’re pretty spoiled having us around virtually all the time. The lack of proper socialization may bite us in the butt too, but we also walk them daily and talk to our neighbors, some for the first time in a decade plus. That’s certainly something different – the local community is warmer. These walks help us appreciate nature as well.

Working from home is perfect. :slight_smile:

A “weirdness” possibly unique to me on this board – I have a profound hearing loss that I manage with hearing aids and lip reading. Guess how well the lip reading part is going these days. My work doesn’t do video conferencing so I am unable to participate as strongly as I used to. In public I simply don’t understand people behind their masks. Some are kind (or stupid) enough to pull their masks down to talk to me but I feel bad when they do.

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I haven’t enjoyed my last few work trips. But I still enjoyed them and look them it as an adventure. Now I dread the day I am sent out again. I really want to be no where near high traffic places like airports.