Louie always had a thing for cars yet claimed he wasn’t a car person. We’d be driving around town and he’d spit fire facts about the GTR that was backfiring or the Camaro with twin turbo, which meant the guy had an ego problem. Yet he wasn’t a car person. After all he refused to trade in his beat-up Chevy, he called Red, for one of the new models with gadgets and gizmos as he’d say. Red often broke down and needed a lot more TLC then Louie could handle, but he didn’t care. Red was the last gift he received from his father, maybe that’s why he didn’t want to trade it in.
At least once a month Louie would spend an entire weekend covered in grease while Red was torn apart across the driveway in a desperate attempt to fix that rattling sound, the muffler falling off or the dreadful heat the air conditioner put out. I’d help Louie by handing him tools or holding the flashlight when the sun went down and he refused to give up and have a mechanic look at Red. Louie’s father always worked on Red so it seemed only fair that Louie do the same.
Louie and I first met five years ago just after his father had passed away. Louie ran straight into me while baking up to look at the different ice cream flavors. I ended up falling into the toilet paper pyramid which caused an avalanche on aisle 17. I’m not sure who was more embarrassed him or me but that was just the beginning. A few weeks later a man bought my coffee, so I paid for the person behind me, low and behold it was Louie.
We ended up chatting away as we walked around the town square, he apologized at least ten times about the avalanche. He explained how he was out of it that day but truth be told, I didn’t mind. Louie was a well-kept shaggy man who inherited the hardware store which has been in his family for three generations. He hadn’t worked in the store since he went to college. After he graduated his father wanted him to come back to work at the store but Louie had just started his career as a young hot shot attorney.
Here’s a draft of a short story. Not sure where it will go if it goes anywhere. The title is also a working title.
The last 24 hours have been something out of a movie. When I stay at home (which I do 90% of the time), its just me. Occasionally I’ll see the neighbors walk their dogs or run around, however they aren’t wearing masks or gloves when doing so.
Yesterday I had to get some milk and eggs as I had ran out. Store shelves are still kinda empty at least for toilet paper and paper towels. Stickers on the floor advising people to keep a safe distance of 6ft at the checkout lanes.
What was more eerie to me was seeing people in face masks and gloves. I’ve seen news articles in the past (pre-covid-19) of cities, in China for example, where people often wear face masks regularly. For this to have gotten here and expand to everyone in public should be wearing protective face masks and gloves was a wake up call.
When I was in the store, I felt a bit out of place — as if I missed the memo. I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t wearing a mask or protective gear, but I still felt like a rebel. Ever since I got back from the store I’ve asked myself should I be wearing a mask?
My mom says I should because I live in a high impact area but she also thinks I should go back home until things calm down. There are only 3 confirmed cases back home meanwhile there are over 1,000 confirmed cases with my area code being the highest hit.
I’m thinking that I just take things one day at a time. I’m sure I can create a makeshift face mask to conceal my face and lowering my chances of getting the virus. I think my biggest fear is infecting my family because I do see them on the weekends.
Since I’ve started working from home there are some perks to the job. The obvious ones are: relaxed attire, making your own lunches, no pesky co-workers/boss lurking around, you’re at home but I think one of the better perks to come out of this is the commute. That’s right, I said commute.
I still awake at the same prior to working from home; however, I no longer have to drive to work which saves me up to 2 hours of time. At first, I was watching a T.V. show on Hulu or Netflix but then that was mundane for those 2 hours. Now, I’m reading my books. I’m finding myself wanting to read more often than watch a movie or T.V. show. Which reinforces my goal for 2020: read more books.
I’ve also joined a book club which has been quite fun as I am able to discuss and connect with people without physically being in the same room, because you know house arrest. (Oh which has been extended for my area until the end of April).
There’s no place quite like this. Endless woods untouched by humans. Dirt roads are perfect after a rain storm for muddin. The main roads here don’t belong to cars, they are for tractors hauling cattle and hay down yonder.
Every Sunday, church bells call to these small town folk, reminding them that this is God’s country. Family get together’s beside a bonfire watching fire flies light the night. Summer days spent out on the river jumpin’ off boats or cliffs. Fishin, huntin and cruising the back roads are all things that they’ve done a million times.
When Friday Night Lights are on you know where the whole town is. Cheering on their boys as they face long time rival teams. Post game win or lose the town gathers round a local restaurant to fill their sweet cravings.
Some family roots are deeper than a 100-year-old oak tree. Generations worth of farming and huntin’ on these lands. Some members venture out and grow new roots else where but somehow they are always drawn back to their southern roots.
Once you live in a small town and have some ties to the community you’ll never escape the home-town feel when you go back. ‘Round here we look after one another as if you’re one of our kin folk. In times of tragedy/trouble the whole town mourns with one another or pulls together and searches for hope.
This is more than southern hospitality — a community — a family.
With all that has happened in the last month I’d say, we’ve all been faced with a major curve. No, I’m not talking about the COVID-19 slow the curve, I’m referring to the learning curve. We may have lived in a tech savy world but I think now more than ever are we utilizing all of our technology resources to the max and gaining new skills daily.
Before the virus I was managing a call center with a staff of 20 on top of assisting my Director and other team members in the department with their fundraising needs. I was adjusting, monitoring our goals, preparing activities and ensuring that my team was able to obtain their goal by June.
A month ago I had to make the tough call and close my call center until further notice. However, I did give the option to my staff if they wished to work remotely.
Now, I find myself with a staff of 10 and scrambling to figure out exactly how I can provide remote work for them. With every new task, I feel as if I will never see the light at the end of this dark and narrow tunnel. I find myself struggling with being a good leader for my staff because I don’t have answers nor am I able to be there to support them as I feel I should. I must remind myself that we are all in the same boat looking to our leaders for guidance.
I think its amusing that as an adult when I’m stuck, lost or down right confused I look for another adult who appears to have their ducks in a row for advice. I’m 100% certain they too were just like me which reassures me that I’m doing the best that I can with the tools that I have.
Advice: During these crisis moments, no matter how much you second guess yourself just remember you are not alone. I can guarantee you that someone else in this not-so-big world is going or has gone through what you are. We all will get through this.
Here I am, day 16 and I believe cabin fever is setting in and there is no sign of when this house arrest will be over. My local officials extended the stay-at-home policy for another two weeks as they try to flatten the curve.
Meanwhile, those that do work from home (like myself), I’m sure care going stir crazy. An influx of emails, assisting coworkers on their needs meanwhile trying to find that balance of work life. Staring at the same walls its getting boring.
I’ve tried to see family when I can but I miss being in my actual work office vs. my make shift office, although I do enjoy my morning coffee and work outside on my back porch — quite peaceful to start my days.
Now below is my advice for combating Cabin Fever:
– Go for a run. Exercise is always good. Getting fresh air is even better. Just be sure to keep your distance. I went for a run this morning — it was great!
–Read a book. Nothing like diving into an alternate reality to escape the somber news we face each day. I’ve signed up for Kindle unlimited so I have a large selection of new reads.
–Relax, take a bath. If you have a bathtub now is the time to use it! Just soak in the tub for a while trust me you’ll feel rejuvenated. Be sure to use Epson salt as it will help with your muscle aches.
–Cook a new recipe.This will definitely give you a change in your routine of week night meals. Plus, if you have kids you can get them involved too!
–Explore the world via Google maps/Earth. We might not physically be able/want to get out of the house right now due to COVID-19; however, we can explore the world using Google map/earth. It isn’t quite the same but hey at least its something!
Before this virus disrupted our daily norms, we were planning. Planning birthday parties, wedding’s, baby shower’s, work events, concerts, summer vacations — you get the picture. We were planning our lives. Quickly filing our calendars with important dates to remember, without hesitation, without concerns of sickness.
Now many of those plans have been canceled, postponed or moved to a virtual event. Let’s be honest here, a virtual event is not the same as in person. We all are doing what we can, with the tools we have, to slow the spread of the virus.
*ding ding* I’m alerted of an annual event that I helped plan for months was scheduled to happen today. A bit of a somber moment over came my thoughts. For anyone who coordinates a major event let alone a week of events, knows how challenging that could be. All the back and forth of communication, advertising, budgeting, approvals, messaging, — a massive hassle for anyone to tackle. All those stressful hours wasted.
Usually an all hands on deck for a week of long hours yet instant gratification of a successful week of events — gone. Instead, I sit with my cat under house arrest, working while keeping a safe distance away from people pondering when the virus will pass.