Good morning everyone, welcome to October and the start of Q4 (aka the Holiday Season). 7 months ago, I started sharing my thoughts regarding working from home in a series of Work from Home Diary posts. It’s been more than 3 months since my last diary post (Work from Home Diary: Eating in Restaurants & Sunburns at the Beach (SoCal Update)), but I thought it would be fun to share what working from home is like, 7 months later.
First off, Laura and I are very fortunate that our families have stayed healthy and safe throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic and that we are both still employed (*knock on wood*). Even before I first became aware of COVID-19, I worked from home 2-3 days a week. Since March 1, I transitioned to working from home 5 days a week. The transition process was pretty easy since my home office was already set up. As long as a I have an internet connection and power to charge my laptop, I can work literally anywhere in the world. Thunder and lightning storms, power outages, and smoke from multiple nearby fires has made me feel a little uneasy the last few months. Every time I think to myself, “Oh 2020, how can things get worse?” something undoubtedly new pops up to remind me that life is truly unpredictable.
Laura is an elementary school teacher and she prefers to go into her classroom every morning to teach distance learning (something about being in a classroom vs. sitting at our dining room table makes her days feel more normal). We do not currently have any children, but I can only imagine how difficult it would be to work from home with children who are also doing distance learning. Thinking about young children and technology, there are kindergarteners who are using Zoom and Google Classroom every day for distance learning. Image how familiar they will be with technology by the time they graduate from high school and college.
Since I have been spending more time at home than ever before, I have really enjoyed seeing the plants and trees grow and change during the seasons in our front and backyard. Watching our lemon tree, tomato vines, plumeria cuttings, and other plants/bushes grow over the months has been really relaxing and rewarding. Before the Coronavirus Pandemic, I looked at watering the plants as a chore that I would do a few days a week. Now I look at it as an enjoyable time to connect with nature and forget about the problems in the world, if only for a few minutes.
Another benefit of spending more time at home is that we prepare and eat most of our meals at home. Over the last few months, I probably BBQ 2-3 times every week. I have gotten really good at roasting corn on the cob, sliced pineapple, homemade hamburgers, sausages, marinated meats from Trader Joe’s, and grilling bell peppers and onions. I used to set timers on my phone for when to check on the grill and flip the food. Now, I have an internal body clock that tells me when to check on the BBQ. The quality of my BBQing has definitely improved. Over the last 7 months, our grocery budget has increased since we eat most of our meals at home which has caused our restaurant budget to dropped tremendously. It’s crazy to think that I can buy groceries for a week for the same price as a decent dinner out. It took until a pandemic for me to realize the cost savings.
Lastly, since this is a travel blog, I thought I would mention my travel over the last 7 months. The last time I stepped on and off a plane was back on February 23. Since then, I have only done road trips around California. Twice down to Orange County to visit my family for Father’s Day and Fourth of July, twice down to Carmel / Monterey for short weekend getaways, and once out to Lake Tahoe with Laura’s family. I’m lucky that California has so many options and things to see and do. I don’t mind the long drives since I get to catch up on my favorite podcasts (much to my wife’s detriment). I have a few more road trips planned later this year but no flights on the calendar, as of now. I feel nervous even thinking about booking trips next year since it has been so painful getting my hopes up booking awesome trips and then later having to cancel those same trips.
I’m not sure what surprises are in store for us throughout the remainder of 2020, but I’ll do my best to adapt and embrace the challenges as they come. What have you learned about yourself or enjoyed the most by spending more time at home during the Coronavirus Pandemic? Please share your thoughts and stories in the comments section. Have a great day everyone!