It is 6:40 AM on Thursday April 30th, 2020. There is a dense fog outside which is so thick it is almost like a light rain. Since there hasn’t been rain for a few weeks and none in the forecast the moisture is welcome.
The shelter-in-place order was just extended until the end of May. This must be the last month because otherwise I think there would be social unrest. As for my personal feelings, I do understand that this is a nasty bug but we must get on with our lives. The dialogue was that the cure cannot be worse than the actual bug and that is what it is becoming. There are 3.8 million unemployment claims in the USA. Those who are vulnerable should be the ones to shelter, it should not be a blanket order for everyone as livelihoods, families and individuals are being destroyed by stopping our means to make a living.
I wonder what is going on in homes across the world. For us, this is relatively painless as we have a wonderful home, a strong family, a home gym to get exercise and are smart when it comes to distance learning or other activities to improve our lives. However, for many, school and work provides structure for many people. More homes in the USA are in complete shambles and it is much more than we care to admit. It must be a nightmare for so many to be stuck at home in a toxic environment day after day. Even in my son’s own online video conference there are a few who regularly fail to show up. If the parents cannot even get school for their kids in order I wonder how messy every other aspect of their lives are.
I never realized how much of a role school plays in peoples lives. I had only considered it a learning environment. But what I’ve learned is that it is also a free food source, a safe environment and a refuge which provides more security and comfort than their own homes do.
For the adults work also provides structure and helps keep them from damaging activities which they would otherwise fall into without a routine they must adhere to. With our daily routines we each have our own worlds and have until recently spent the majority of our time away from the world of our families. Now, that formula has been abruptly ended and many are discovering just how much or how little they like being with their own families. Some had joked about a “quarantine baby boom” after this is over but I think the reality is that yes, there could be a baby uptick but also quickly followed by “quarantine divorce.”
For my own situation we have always been close. I work from home and my wife is a stay at home mother. In the house we all spend the majority of our time in the family room. None of us really do things individually, all activities include the entire family to some extent. So this quarantine really is nothing difficult. Yes, there is slightly more tension from time to time but nothing significant. For other families though I wonder what they must be going through. We even saw a police car at the neighbors the other day. It is a house where we can sometimes hear the mother yelling from across the street. I don’t imagine living in that house is very pleasant.
I’ve gotten a lot accomplished in this quarantine. I’ve cleaned and straightened the garage. Fixed a leak that was noticeable in the gym ceiling. Crated a gaming room as well as a library/reading nook. Hung drapes in my shed/office so make a background suitable for video conferencing. Bought a green screen and installed barely noticeable hooks in the ceiling to hang it from. Reorganized online accounts (Microsoft) so things sync and work together better. Updated computer systems. Improved our “smart home” with LED lights. I’ve also done a lot of other miscellaneous things that generally make our lives more organized and there are many other things I could do in terms of organization that one normally doesn’t have time for (computer bookmarks, YouTube playlists for example).
What I really haven’t had time for is to just sit down and enjoy everything. I’d like to get more reading done, use my VR a bit more, become a better gamer by using the PC instead of the Switch to play Fortnite and establish myself in Animal Crossing.
Again, things in the home are fine but there are things in regards to COVID that remain to be seen. The biggest existential threat is if business will pick up again or not after this is over. I should be fine until September but the travel world could look very different post-COVID. I still remain optimistic but if business travel does not pick up then that would be a big issue. We also take a yearly trip to Japan but we’re 90% sure we will have to cancel this year. The reason is we wouldn’t want to pass anything on to our family there and all of the activities we usually do involve meeting people and going places. We do not want to pass anything on to anyone and most of our activities involve meeting people.
However, not going to Japan creates other opportunities and we could take a trip somewhere else where the COVID threat has largely passed. I need something to look forward to so it is just a matter of picking somewhere exciting and getting the wife’s approval. The wife has a tendency to lean towards no for new ideas, different ways of doing things or grand visions. She is of the “we don’t need that, we can’t do that” sort of mindset whereas I am the opposite. This is one of the areas that cause a bit of friction I was speaking about earlier. However, as I deal with people everyday I’ve learned how to approach her best with these sort of things. The first is to just plant the seed, mention it casually without making any determination to get her thinking about it. Then, gently and subtly approach the subject again at later times to see if she has warmed up to the idea at all. Usually she’ll talk with her friends and research the internet. One thing that is certain is that she’ll always take the opinions of her friends more highly over my own. She is cautious. I think Japanese by nature are conservative people not liking to do anything out of tradition, routine or schedule.
Let’s take sports for example, and this also is the same for many parents I know. If there is class three days a week then you must go three days a week. There is much resistance to skipping even one class because you need a break. You know what the common thread is with all of these parents? They do not actually do the activity. They only watch so they don’t know how difficult and strenuous the activity is. All they know is that there is class and you must go. They do not realize or understand that breaks are sometimes needed. The one thing they are successful with in this approach is completely draining all enjoyment or desire to actually do the activity. It becomes something you have to do and not something you want to do. This is also a source of friction but again, not really too severe.
Well, the time is now 7:15 and the day will soon be starting. Today there are a number of video conferences and I must also prepare some updated presentations. I am actually busier now than I was pre-COVID as far as work is concerned. Before, I could go on autopilot. I had all my presentations finished, I had a systematic approach to scheduling meetings and internal work was minimal. Now, information is changing daily, I must continually update presentations, the internal work greatly increased and my entire customer base is changing so I’ll need to get my meeting pipeline rebuilt. This is just fine with me however as I’m very lucky to work for a wonderful company that actually looks after its employees. I would work for them for free (for a time) if they asked and that is something I wouldn’t do for every other company I’ve ever worked for.
Additional Projects for today:
Buy my son some new games to try and wean him a bit off of Fortnite
Encourage him to write in his new blog/journal