Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

It occurred to me it’s been a while since I posted here, so on the off chance anyone’s keeping up, I thought I’d add a post to say I’m still among the living, as is the rest of the family, thankfully.

This past Monday marked one full month since my last day at the office, which is officially the longest period I’ve been away, including my honeymoon and family leave for each of the kids. After the first week or so, the days started to blend together, so it’s hard to keep track of the day of the week or the calendar date. Or to care, really. I was corresponding with a friend out West and mentioned the state of the weather, adding “not that it matters.”

Since starting the “work at home” plan, I’ve been through my birthday as well as Jason’s, and Easter. I fully expect to spend Mother’s Day and maybe Father’s Day in isolation, as well. The boys’ Scoutmaster is posting updates and reminders about Summer Camp scheduled for July, but if it actually happens I’ll be shocked. It’s pretty weird after being a slave to the calendar and clock for so long to find myself five weeks into a mushy limbo where time means nothing and there’s no point in trying to plan anything.

I’m determined not to let this time go to waste, though, so I’m catching up on my reading and taking guitar lessons on Fender Play. We’ve also done some home improvement projects that were on the back burner for a long time. I need to churn out some art projects, as well. But it’s not like I have nothing to do: if anything, I’m spending more time on my day job now than when I had an office to go to.

I thought I’d try to focus on more pleasant things here, so now just for fun I’ll share some photos taken on our BSA troop’s last camping trip (for the foreseeable future) in February. We went to D.C. and after decades of visits, I finally got around to going up in the Washington Monument for the first time. Here’s a view looking East to the Capitol dome.

Another looking North to the White (orange?) House:

Then West to the Lincoln Memorial:

…and South to the Jefferson Memorial, and Virginia.

It was a neat experience seeing the city from that height, and strange to think that the entire experience may be off-limits for the foreseeable future: walking past throngs on the Mall, taking a ride up in a crowded elevator, jostling shoulder to shoulder with 20 or so people to stare out of windows from a confined space. Heck, just driving somewhere outside of my neighborhood.

If there’s an upside to this self-isolation mess, it’s been spending time with Laura and the kids. Luckily for us, we all like each other. My “commute” now involves going upstairs to the guest room, all my lunches are spent the kitchen table with the family and if I don’t want to take a shower until mid-morning, no one complains. Well, almost no one.

I’ve no doubt we’ll get through this all somehow, though what life will be like on the other side of it, no one can say. As of right now, I’m expecting to be housebound until mid-June at least. By then it might even be a pleasure to see that empty calendar start filling up again. If it happens.

Self-Isolation, One Week In

Well, I did make it past Wednesday and the big work project: everyone’s up and running with Zoom at VCU, so I can start breathing again. I’ve actually been impressed with how pleasant everyone’s been in such stressful conditions, in a weird way, this seems to be bringing out the best in people.

I’m impressed with the governor of Ohio for taking an aggressive stance on the virus and shutting things down fairly early in the game. Apparently he had a task force in the wings since January with a clear plan on what steps to take, when. And he even appointed an actual physician to head it up, imagine that. It’s been impressive to see people take decisive action on the state, local and even personal level, especially given the total vacuum of leadership in Washington, which follows the “Four Stage Strategy” from “Yes Minister.”

Our own governor’s attitude seems to be “we don’t have that many cases here, so we’re still good.” Never mind that they’re only allowing tests for a select few. But hey, if you don’t test, you can’t test positive, right?

On Thursday, Laura, Grace and I took a walk around the neighborhood just to be out of the house. It was weird seeing so many driveways full of cars on a weekday afternoon. A few folks were out doing yard work or sprucing up their houses; we waved from a safe distance.

Today, I took Laura to Costco in my first car trip in over a week. Milk, meats and other items were being rationed, toilet paper and some cleaning supplies just plain gone, folks in masks and gloves. A weird experience.

So far I’m doing pretty well with the new normal, but it probably helps that “social distancing” has been a way of life for me pretty much as long as I’ve been around.

Life During Plague Times

I’m writing this on Day Three of my self-isolation in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Laura and the kids and I are hunkered down for at least the next couple of weeks.

It’s a Monday and my first official day of telework, though I’ve really been at it since Saturday. In fact, I didn’t have much of a weekend at all. VCU made the decision to extend Spring Break another week and switch to exclusively online instruction starting 3/24, which puts me in the hot seat as the university’s Zoom account administrator. We’d already set the wheels in motion to move to an enterprise plan — thank God — extending licenses to all faculty, staff and students, but it was all supposed to kick in this Wednesday. Missed it by *that* much. So I’m doing what I can to keep people happy until then. And there’s a lot of people at VCU.

Keeping so busy might be a blessing, though, because the new reality is only sinking in at random moments. And it’s weird. I don’t remember feeling this strange since 9/11 when all of life turned upside down, knowing the towers were gone, hearing no planes in the air, not being able to find an American flag in any store anywhere. Luckily we’re well stocked on toilet paper and soap and food, so I’m not having to fight off crowds in the stores. Or go anywhere else for that matter.

We’ve built a pretty insular society as it is, all of us in our little tech-driven bubbles watching and listening to whatever we’re into and ignoring everyone else, “Socializing” virtually through facebook and what not. But it’s different when you HAVE to do it, instead of choosing to.

Anyway, I’ll try to look at it as a gift: more time to spend with the kids, time to read or work on projects, maybe time for Scott to teach me guitar.

But not til after Wednesday, if I live that long.


I was finally coming to grips with the fact that I’m living in the 21st (!) century and now here we are in the previously inconceivable year of 2020.  I mean seriously, doesn’t “2020” sound like a subtitle at the beginning of a sci-fi movie? Arguably, we are several years into a post-apocalyptic dystopia at this point, so it’s not like it totally came out of nowhere, but still, that number is nuts.


Or maybe it’s just an age thing.  I wonder how my grandparents felt when the calendar rolled over to 1970, or 1980, considering they’d been around for the Great Depression and World War II?  My Dad’s dad was born two years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight in Kittyhawk, and lived to see men land on the Moon.  Surely towards the end of their lives, they thought the numbers were getting just as far-fetched as I find 2020.

The weird thing is, I remember being in the car on New Year’s Eve, 1969, on the way home from visiting relatives, and the announcer on the radio was wondering what surprises we had in store for us in 1970.  That means that at this point, I’ve lived in parts of SIX decades.  That’s pretty much the textbook definition of “sobering.”

Anyway, I drew a doodle on the fridge to kick the year off:



I seem to have a lot of trouble coming up with stuff to post here, while at the same time I’m always doodling something or other, so this year I hope to share my drawings, good and bad, warts and all, just so there’s some content for a change.