Joining the WFH Club

Shit got real today.

Or, at the very least, it felt like the bubble we’ve been living in burst. Consider this: South Dakota is the fourth-least populated state in the country, but the 16th largest. We joke that we’re behind the curve when it comes to a lot of things (we still had a video rental store up until last year); we’re often the last to be affected by things, and the fallout is usually less extreme. This leaves us well-positioned during, oh, I don’t know…worldwide pandemics, just to choose a random example. But suddenly, our mayor is calling for a 60-day shutdown of businesses such as restaurants, coffee shops, bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries (all the good “-ies” in other words!), cafes, swimming pools, health clubs, theaters, arcades, bowling alleys…the list goes on and on, despite the lack of a single confirmed case in Pennington County. I get it: better to be proactive and help flatten the curve, but it stings.

The ordinance isn’t even official yet, but already, so many places have shuttered. I feel very strongly about shopping local and supporting small businesses during this crisis, but it’s impossible to do that when they’re closing down. Friday, we ordered pizza from one of our favorite downtown restaurants. By Saturday, they had closed. Today, I walked down to Black Hills Vinyl to buy a gift card to help them out, but they too are now closed indefinitely. It’s all awfully depressing.

And I am now working from home for the foreseeable future. I’d already been given the okay to work from home three days a week, but by mid-morning, my supervisor told me I could take my stuff home when I left for lunch and not come back. Normally those are the last words you hope to hear from your employer, but in this case, they actually do want me to come back when this all blows over. Whew! So I packed up the essentials: my laptop, monitor, Post-It® notes, Daily Dad Joke calendar (told you I wouldn’t leave that behind!) and brought them home.

Fortunately, I sort-of anticipated this might happen over the weekend and prepared for it. Instead of rocking and rolling to Foreigner in Deadwood as we’d planned on Saturday, we organized the garage and hauled a filing cabinet up to the spare bedroom. On Sunday, I ventured out to Office Depot to buy a nice office chair. Funny story there: the first chair I wanted was out of stock, so I had to settle for another (naturally, more expensive) one. Apparently, with so many people suddenly being forced to work from home, there has been a massive run on office chairs and monitors and even basic copy paper, according to the cashier. The rest of my day was spent purging 25 years’ worth of paperwork that had accumulated in the filing cabinet. Like, I had instruction manuals for products that I tossed long ago. A Garmin GPS, an old digital camera, even a freakin’ CD player. Oh, good news, though: found a coupon from Audrey for “a free living room vacuuming” scribbled in crayon. Can’t wait to collect on that from my adult daughter the next time she visits.

It was all worth it, though: now I’ve got an official home office, where it looks like I’ll be camped for quite a while.

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Not a bad setup, if I do say so myself.

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Can’t beat the view from my home office!

I’m trying to look at the bright side, though. There are positives to working remotely (and obviously, I’m a bit of a pro at it already). I can get up an hour later and go for an outdoor walk on my lunch instead of hitting the treadmill while half-awake. I can wear sweats. I can take petting-the-cat breaks. And this new chair is pretty damn comfortable, I have to admit. It had better be, for what I paid.

How are you all coping?



Categories: work

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32 replies

  1. I’m “retired,” but I worked at home a lot over my career as a tech writer/editor. I came to prefer it. In Oregon, we’re making do. Many places are doing take out. One local eatery in Gearhart is doing deliveries. Liquor stores are open, but with restriction on how many people can be in the store. We were totally overrun by Valley people last weekend. In response, Clatsop County closed all overnight lodging and all campgrounds. This morning, we got news of the first documented case of Covid-19 in the county. The next couple weeks will be interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I enjoy working from home, too. It’s just the indefinite nature of all this that has me stressed out. It’s one thing to do it for a few days or a week, quite another when you don’t know how long your “quarantine” is going to last.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, that’s true. I embraced it from the very beginning. Uncertainty in anything is stressful, especially when it’s regarding your livelihood. Hang in there. This shall pass. It’s cliche, of course, but we are all in this together.

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  2. I’d do all sorts of inconceivable things to have such a nook for myself. Really nicely done. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark, the same happened here in Philly. Last night our mayor called for not just a shutdown of all business with the exception of places like Trader Joe’s and Target, but also an ordinance to get people off the streets unless it’s for shopping for food, going to a doctors office or hospital, etc. And no “groups” of people at all. Even my apartment building has gotten so strict with not allowing anyone in the building except for the tenants. We can’t even go into the leasing office unless we have an appointment AND wear a face mask. And what’s ironic is that Philly isn’t even on the list of having any virus cases. Yet, that is.

    It’s so strange to see all the streets almost completely empty. Actually, I kinda like it though because it’s keeping a lot of the Philly riff raff off the streets.

    Great to hear you can still work from home because a lot of people can’t do that. Love your office setup. VERY nice!

    I’m actually coping very well. I’m getting a lot done as far as writing blog posts for my personal shopper blog, editing photos, organizing my apartment, watching lots of great movies and old TV shows, getting back to doing my yoga and meditation practice.

    It is what it is and there is nothing I can do about it, so I might as well use this time to focus on positive things and things I CAN do.

    Like I said, I take the FIVE health precautions seriously, however I am not scared or paranoid at all.

    Cheers to you, my friend!

    Like

    • Yoga, meditation, organizing…these all seem like good, productive, soothing tasks, Ron. Perfect for your mental health.

      So, tell me: any old (or even newer) movies you’d recommend we watch? We liked your suggestion re: “The Goodbye Girl” so I’m all ears.

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  4. Welcome to my world. Trade you my high-energy spawn for your adult daughter?

    I can’t get anything done.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a good thing to hear you can come back! And, in the mean time, you do get a pretty nice view with some nice new perks (the kitty one’s especially great, I’d say).

    The business thing is really depressing, though. I’m going to be calling some of my favorite local places to see if they’re at least doing take-out. If so, I’ll support them while possible. There’s some real unique stuff where I live, and I’m hoping some can come back after this 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My husband has been working from home now for the first time in his life. He’s taken to it smoothly because like you he’s happy to take walks instead of commuting and he’s happy to wear sweats instead of business clothes. Your office space looks great. Bloom where you’re planted.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We’ve been ordered to stay at home except for grocery trip and medical emergencies. Only ‘essential’ businesses are to remain open, but that’s been a HUGE controversy. Did you know that GameStop is essential? Neither did I. 🤔🙄

    I’ll admit, I’ve cried a few tears. It’s scary and sad. I’m going to do a grocery run today to try to stock up for two weeks. I’m actually going to wear gloves and a mask. We now know 2 people who have Covid-19, so shit did indeed get real. Thankfully, have not had contact with either in last 2 weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They just issued a similar order in Washington state, so I feel for all my family and friends out there. I emailed my mom last night and she said, “We’re already staying home—everything’s closed anyway.” I think I’m freaking out about it more than they are, and I’m 1,200 miles away.

      Good luck to you. I think stocking up for two weeks is a smart move.

      Like

  8. Gad you’re taking it well, and that the chair seems to be worth the investment. And, most importantly, that you remembered the desk calendar. Restaurants are still allowing take out orders and delivery here. I’m surprised that hasn’t shut down, but it’s probably only a matter of time. It would be nice if your mayor at least allowed that. And, wow, 60 days?! He really is going all out with the proactiveness. Love that you still had a video store until last year. Good stuff.

    Like

    • I don’t know how else to take it…I always try to find the silver lining in things. This has been hard, though—don’t get me wrong.

      Takeout and delivery will still be allowed under the ordinance, but some restaurants have taken an extra step and decided to close, which is unfortunate. Maybe they just can’t afford to pay their staff.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I think your office looks nice 🙂 My husband’s is spread all over the dining table, as this is not our norm and we live in a bungalow with two teens.
    Stay well.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nice touch with the dual monitors! I wish I had that. My coworker also enjoys pets and sleeping on my feet. I love working from home and get way more done because cube mates are too chatty. I’d stay here if they’d let me. Stay healthy, your mayor is smart. Remember, not all cases are reported.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. We don’t have too many cases on Vancouver Island yet, although we have been almost completely shut down the past 2 weeks with most people hunkering down. Greatly appreciate the essential workers. British Columbia is trying hard to be pro-active. Our family made a group decision to self isolate completely also about 2 weeks ago. Our goal is for everyone to stay physically and mentally healthy. Lots of Facetime and Video Chat. I didn’t even think of office chairs as being a hot commodity. At least you have a free living room vacuum to look forward to in the future. Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Good luck! I’m doing a lot of writing. What I am not doing enough of is just relaxing with my kids and watching movies. Going to stay offline all day tomorrow. Well, for the rest of Sunday. It’s already tomorrow. Grateful to my sweet hubby who put up with fear freakout today. I had been good about not worrying until someone sent me a video from a doctor about how to wash cereal boxes to not get the virus. Fuck this! Breathe….

    Liked by 2 people

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