Holy cow. I don’t even have a cute title for this one. And there is definitely nothing “favorite” to write about this Friday. I’m still calling this quarantine, because even though Georgia is largely opened back up, my house is remains pretty much on lockdown with everyone here still at home every day. We’re going out only for essential business — you know, $1,000 grocery runs every 10 days and liquor runs, as needed (which is often) and are incredibly thankful for our neighborhood quaranteam who’s been keeping us sane . . .
But even so, eleven weeks ago when I wrote my first (okay, only other) post about being quarantined, the world was a much different place. 2020 just keeps delivering madness on a global front, but my world, specifically has taken several hairpin turns that have left me a little breathless.
I had settled into the home office I’d used for nearly four years prior to getting a new job I absolutely loved in November. Spy had set up shop at the breakfast table and Miss Girl bounced between multiple locations for her daily school Zooms before heading out to play. I thought we’d be home for a few weeks, then everything would go back to normal. I was enjoying the novelty, the family time and the new adventures to hashtag.
Then, in week five, the email came. Due to COVID-19, the agency I worked for was shutting down. Effective that day. The next day’s paycheck would be the last (minus the 20% salary cut previously set to take effect that day). Here’s some info about filing for unemployment, COBRA and your 401k . . . good luck!
It’s not like I haven’t been laid off from an agency job before. In fact, this was the third time, but it definitely ranks as the most spectacular. As everyone scrambled to put together what had happened and share any gossip they knew, stories emerged about deep financial troubles, former employees looting the office and a new agency rising from the ashes. It all seemed so unreal.
That was Tuesday. Wednesday, I filed for unemployment with a gajillion other Americans, updated my resume and started reaching out to my network. Watching the grim economic news as I did so, I knew it would be a long haul.
Thursday, I drove the eerily empty streets to Buckhead to collect the few belongings I’d accumulated in a short five months, including the two badass Breakfast Club canvasses that brightened one the walls in my corner office. As I was packing up, John Bender’s words rang true: Screws fall out all the time. The world’s an imperfect place. You get used to disappointments and learn to move on.
Friday, I wiped clean the hard drive in the beautiful, brand new MacBook Pro they’d given me because nobody was getting that shit back and looked forward to making a fresh start.
The Phone call
It was a brand new week with a host of possibilities ahead. I spent about 30 hours on LinkedIn on Monday, alone, and things were off to a good start. Then, on Tuesday morning, the phone rang. It was the City of Alexandria (Virginia) police calling to tell me they had just broken down my mom’s door and she was on her way to the hospital. She’d fallen down the stairs and broken her hip. I mean . . .
So in the midst of COVID-19, when we’re all trying our hardest not to do anything that will land us in the hospital, here we were. We also had been very close to getting Mom to move down here, but then because of the virus, she was afraid to fly down for a visit to look at apartments. The whole point was to avoid a situation like this where she had some kind of issue and no one around to help out, but again, here we were.
The following weekend, I got in the car for what is normally a 12-hour drive. I was terrified to use a public bathroom or eat food I hadn’t prepared myself, so it was definitely a different kind of trip. The good news was that with everyone still on lockdown, there was zero traffic and the trip only took me nine hours over the course of two days.
Fast forward six weeks and Mom is healing well and getting settled into an apartment in the building in Atlanta that we were looking at before the virus struck. Next week, we’ll head back to Virginia to start the process of clearing out her house and getting it ready to sell. I’m going to have to leave her there by herself for a few weeks, which I’m not thrilled about, but we don’t really have another option since my family needs me here. And I do have to say that I can’t imagine how I would have done any of this while working. Between the trips and running her around to doctors’ appointments and getting groceries and other errands, it’s all been pretty time consuming. Spy always makes fun of me for saying it, but I guess everything happens for a reason.
So, here we are at the end of week 12. It hasn’t all been bad. We’ve also had the exterior of the house painted gorgeous new colors, glamped with our quaranteam, marched for justice and spent countless hours making summertime memories that would never be possible with the busy schedules of our former lives.
But as the drama has subsided and the days have started melding into each other, I’ve fallen into a too-comfortable routine of having no routine. After sending out about a million resumes in those first couple weeks, there aren’t many new jobs popping up every day to follow up on. Each week I swear this will be the week I clean out those closets, write more blog posts or at least finally put away all that laundry. And each week, none of that happens and I can’t even really say what I’ve done for five days.
Spy’s office seems to have no intention of reopening anytime soon. And I have an incredibly hard time believing school will re-open in August. Starting next week, Miss Girl will have four weeks of summer camps (everything else was cancelled), three of them in person. I’m nervous about it, but I think it will be good for her — at least better than sleeping until noon and watching The Simpsons all day.
Fingers crossed that the rest of the summer remains this lazy and uneventful — of course, with the exception of the job situation. And just maybe everything will be okay.