Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

What are Some of the Pandemic Positives in Your Life?

We’re four months into the pandemic in most parts of the world and we all have stories of how it has negatively affected our lives – lost jobs and income, countless canceled events big and small, kids home from school, missing friends and family, getting sick, and even losing people in our lives. But what about the silver linings? What are some of the discoveries you’ve made during this time – things you’ve learned or enjoyed, new experiences, something positive that you would not have benefited from if not for this unprecedented global event? I’ll start:

I learned how to cut Drew’s hair well and now he never has to go to a barber again. With the money saved, we’ll be able to afford an extra weekend getaway every year (once we’re actually able to get away again…).

I’ve changed my shopping/spending habits (I’m spending less in general because we’re on a tighter budget, but I’m also shifting from Amazon to more local and small businesses.)

I’ve gotten pretty good at DIY pedicures.

I’m cooking more frequently (and Drew is able to help with a lot more now), and trying at least one (usually plant-based) new recipe every week.

Related to the BLM movement, I’m educating myself on the history of race relations in our country and learning so much about events that I, unfortunately, never learned in school.

As an (outgoing) introvert, I have loved the relief from the pressure of social obligations.

Our home has never been more organized! We created a pantry in some unused space, I cleaned out the kids’ closets last week, and we are inching closer to getting all our framed art on the walls (two and half years after moving in…).

Maybe best of all, this is the longest stretch of time in nearly a decade that I haven’t had to suffer through a child’s birthday party.

Your turn!

98 comments… add one
  • avatar

    SM July 14, 2020, 8:18 am

    I started dating someone new in February right before the stay in order place started in Florida. The pandemic has taught me how to communicate much better than I have ever been able to do. I have known this guy for years as he is close friends with my cousin, so he was no stranger and we seem to fit together well. But I’ve learned to effectively communicate my needs and wants as not seeing each other as often as I would like in the early stages of a new relationship was hard.

    I’ve also started spending less (even though I’m “essential”) and am supporting more local restaurants/businesses than using the chain/corporate stores that I always have.

    I’ve also been reading more books. I also find myself scrolling much less aimlessly through my phone and trying to be more proactive with DIY projects and getting outside safely (bike trails, walking, pool, etc).

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  • avatar

    fyodor July 14, 2020, 8:21 am

    1. It has been nice spending more time with my daughter. I feel like we’re much closer than we used to be.

    2. Even as I worry about the effects of the isolation on my beloved spawn, it’s been interesting seeing her become much more self sufficient. She’s become like a little office worker, managing her google calendar, setting up zooms, reviewing different technology platforms, complaining about the wifi*, etc.

    3. Because it’s no harder than seeing people who are local, I’ve had a lot more contact with people who are remote. I do a bi-weekly brunch with my old San Francisco friends and a biweekly cocktail hour with my college friends. I see my dad every morning for religious services (which would themselves be PiTA to attend if I had to go to shul on the way to work every day).

    4. I’ve come to be more appreciative of my wife. I think that when you’re in a crisis a lot of the day to day BS fades away and you become appreciative of someone with whom you can weather a storm.
    *my wifi is superb.

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    • avatar

      Fyodor July 14, 2020, 1:45 pm

      I forgot to include that I get to listen to the Hound of Fyodor snore loudly in my office.

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    • avatar

      Dianosaur July 15, 2020, 9:14 pm

      #3 really resonated with me. There are people I lost touch with because of distance, but when everyone has to be online anyway, distance no longer feels like such a barrier.

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  • avatar

    Kate July 14, 2020, 8:29 am

    There’s little or no traffic when we need to drive somewhere.

    Can work from anywhere so it is no hassle at all to be on Cape Cod for 3 weeks right now.

    That’s probably it.

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    • avatar

      Kate July 14, 2020, 8:45 am

      I mean, I can do my self-care & grooming at home (not my haircut or color though), and I can cook at home, and I can make drinks at home, and yeah, that saves money and it’s kind of nice for me, but other people need that money.

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  • avatar

    ktfran July 14, 2020, 8:41 am

    1. I joined a local CSA that gets delivered weekly. You guys, it’s like Christmas every Friday when I open that box. I enjoy finding recipes that fit with the week’s vegetables.

    2. I finally set up a work space in our home. I miss going into the office, but even when this is over, I’ll still work a few days a week from home to have a better work/life balance. For instance, instead of pilates at 6:00 a.m. pre-Covid, I take an hour out of my day for a session with my instructor. Oh, and I need to be home for my Friday CSA deliveries.

    3. Every Wednesday, I enjoy my 30-minute 6:00 p.m. happy hour with friend’s. I suppose I see them more now than I did pre-covid despite most of us living in the same city.

    4. I started making cocktails, which I never bothered with before because I didn’t think I could do as good a job as a bartender. I CAN!

    5. We developed a new Saturday ritual, which is the local pasty shop across the street. Prior, I’d stop and pick up a coffee and pastry on Sunday’s after grocery shopping. Now, I get a way better almond croissant from a delicious chef. I no longer feel the need to travel to France to eat all the pastries.

    6. I just realized most of happiness revolves around food and drink. I’m not surprised, really. I hadn’t even mentioned our herb garden yet!!

    7. And finally, I know I picked the right person to spend my life with.

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    • avatar

      LisforLeslie July 14, 2020, 8:45 am

      That last one… I’m a bit nauseated from the sweetness.

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    • avatar

      ktfran July 14, 2020, 9:32 am

      Me too. That’s unusual for me. And of course, I don’t let him know that!

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie July 14, 2020, 8:53 am

    1. My mom finally taught me canasta, she’s usually too busy. Now I’m decent enough to sub when someone flakes.

    2. I’m walking more , haven’t lost weight but my stamina is up

    3. My skin does better in Florida – so that’s been nice.

    4. Because I got stuck in Florida, I haven’t been alone and neither has my mom. My mom is very social and being totally alone in her house would have been very hard on her. It’s still hard, but at least she has someone to whom she can point at the news and say “Did you see this nonsense today!?”

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  • avatar

    Miel July 14, 2020, 10:01 am

    1. Being able to sleep a little later in the morning, not having to run after the bus on the way out, not spending an hour commuting each way every weekday.

    2. My office desk was 3 x 2 feet, in a room with no windows and no daylight. Way bigger desk here, directly looking out the window and seeing the lake from here.

    3. I’ve started knitting! Never been a big craft person but I needed to do something that didn’t involve reading the news and rolling my eyes at other people’s stupidity. I’m finding a lot of pleasure into trying exotic knitting stitch patterns.

    4. Did a full online course on the science of happiness and well-being from Yale University and started meditating daily because of it. Almost three months of daily 10 minutes meditation now.

    5. My husband and I started this workout routine “no noise, no impact” from YouTube when the stay-at-home orders started and we’re are still doing it 3 times a week. I think I actually prefer it to going to the gym, which we used to do. It feels more like we’re spending time together, instead of just “being around each other” in an otherwise public gym. And that workout is kicking our butt every time to be honest.

    6. This has been an unexpected, but not unwelcomed sort of honeymoon for my newly minted husband and me. After spending seven years in a LDR, the pendulum has fully swung the other way and we’ve now been attached by the hip 24/7 in our one-bedroom apartment. We do grocery together at off hours, we drive to get take-out together on the weekend, we workout together in our living room, we work from home at our respective desks 6 feet apart. It is… not the honeymoon I expected… but it is easy and peaceful, and we’re enjoying our time together.

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    • avatar

      hfantods July 14, 2020, 11:13 am

      What is the YouTube channel for the workouts? Sounds like something me and boyfriend could do!

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      • avatar

        Miel July 14, 2020, 1:08 pm

        Her name (and channel name) is Natacha Océane, and we are doing her “20 min full body home workout // no equipment no noise” from three months ago. I do not recommend, we want to die every time 😉

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  • avatar

    anonymousse July 14, 2020, 10:17 am

    I have also mastered husband hair cutting. I’m quite pleased with this one latent talent I have discovered.

    I’ve collected too many houseplants and also made a pretty successful patio garden this spring/summer.

    I have been swimming at our neighborhood pool each day. They have safety measures, but I’ve never seen many people there. It’s been a lifesaver for me. I also have my first ever tan thanks to the swimming. I am usually the pale, sunburn-only type.

    I have been able to sleep a lot more and read a lot more.

    I have almost completely stopped drinking. Once in awhile I have a beer or white claw but I’ve basically been sober since before quarantine.

    I deleted Facebook. It’s been a blessing.

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    • avatar

      Kate July 14, 2020, 10:55 am

      Yeah, I deleted FB almost 4 years ago and never went back. It’s seriously such a piece of shit.

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    veritek33 July 14, 2020, 10:34 am

    1. My job is “essential” so other than a bit of work from home at the beginning I’ve been at the office each day. It’s nice to have a steady job and the company really has done a lot to make us feel safer and appreciated while working.
    2. Got married the first week of shutdown and am so grateful I found a partner that I can hunker down with. I think we’ve had one quarantine related fight back in May, otherwise it’s been stupid easy to be with him almost 24/7. Though I did need a break last night and took the dogs for a long walk without him.
    3. The house has gotten new flooring in one room, new house numbers, new paint in the master bedroom, and will be getting a new roof later this month. So lot’s of projects have been caught up on.
    4. More time at home means more time with the dogs. They love it, the cat hates it.
    5. We started a garden and I got my first tomato yesterday! (we started it kinda late.)
    6. We haven’t been saving a ton of money but the stimulus did help boost our savings by quite a bit!

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  • avatar

    Helen July 14, 2020, 10:38 am

    We planted some vegetables out back that my kids are really enjoying. The 5yo is eating veggies & learning that food doesn’t come from the grocery store

    2.5yo is basically potty training herself since we don’t have to leave the house or wear pants

    My kids are at an age where digital learning isn’t a big stresser for me. Oldest graduated HS & I can handle teaching 1st grade material. 5th grade? Forget about it.

    Ive always known my husband was awesome, but the last 4 months have really shown how much. I’m so lucky to have him and to feel this loved. We make a great team and I can’t imagine doing this without him

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  • avatar

    lovelygirl July 14, 2020, 11:07 am

    1. I started working out at home and sometimes get my husband to be more active too. I stream my workouts from Team Body Project during the day and hubby and I go for bike rides in the evening when it’s not so hot.
    2. I have been able to influence some friends into wearing masks when at the store. I find this a huge win that I have been able to change their minds about the selfishness of not wearing a mask.
    3. Working from home is a nice change of pace. I’m lucky to have a boss who is flexible. We can work from home or the office or a mix of both based on our personal comfort levels. There have been about 10
    positive cases at work so I’m glad to be home.
    4. The local fish dock now sells to the public and not just to restaurants and markets. $10-$15/lb for amazing super fresh fish caught within the last 24 hours is only a 30 minute ride away! (We went again yesterday which is why I remember something so insignificant right now. Wahoo steaks and tuna ceviche last night was amazing!)

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  • avatar

    hfantods July 14, 2020, 11:19 am

    1. My skin has been the clearest since high school. I don’t want to wear foundation any more.

    2. Weekly video calls with my family

    3. I didn’t quarantine with my bf but we spend all weekend together. Before we would do errands and have some time apart but there aren’t as many errands to do (at least during early pandemic when things were closed). It’s been so nice just spending time together.

    4. Not feeling obligated to do social things.

    5. Having a quiet summer at home and doing things we often would be too busy to do (eg a picnic or a day at the beach) because there are, like, only eight summer weekends in Canada

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  • avatar

    Buzzlebee July 14, 2020, 11:56 am

    1. A few local businesses that would ordinarily be selling at the farmer’s market are now doing home deliveries. This is particularly great because the market doesn’t allow dogs in and since we’re always walking the dog Sunday mornings I’m discovering businesses I didn’t even know about before.

    2. Getting to practice all my communication skills I’ve developed over the 18 years I’ve been with my husband. We are totally opposite personalities so almost everything takes communication but I’m really happy to feel like all the effort we’ve put in over the years to see things from the other’s point of view and how to express our needs has really paid off.

    3. A ton of those pesky house projects are finally getting done. We moved into our house 5 years ago but since life takes over all those little things like patching and painting the dent in the wall from moving are finally getting done.

    4. This one feels selfish, but the CARES act put federal student loans into furlough yet the months still count for public service loan forgiveness. I finally qualify this month, so that’s four months of student loan payments I was able to save. We’re lucky that both my husband and I can work from home so we haven’t lost any income. I’ve tried to pay it forward by making donations to local non profits helping people right now.

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  • avatar

    KatieM July 14, 2020, 12:21 pm

    I think I was the loudest one kicking and screaming leaving my office to go work from home. Now 4 months later I love it.
    I feel like I have gained so much more time in my day. I had at least an hour commute each way to get my son to daycare and then myself to the office. We use that time now for family stuff. I have an uncle around the corner that lets me have free reign on his pool and Because we are there almost daily my 3 year old swims better than most kids twice his age. (Side note: if anyone has any tips on daily chlorine hair help ya girl out)
    My house is clean, my laundry is done, my patience are high and this feels like an endless summer and I love it. I work for a state agency and it’s unlikely we will be going back to the office before New Years and quite honestly I could not be happier.
    No vacations this year, no long Beach days, no real plans honestly and I have found the joy in the mundane.

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    • avatar

      anonymousse July 14, 2020, 12:51 pm

      Definitely curious about chlorine hair care.
      Right now, I wet my hair before I go (supposedly your hair will absorb less chlorine if it’s already wet.) Then I shower immediately after the pool with a clarifying shampoo, right now I have Paul Mitchell shampoo 3. Then I use a deep conditioning mask nearly every shower. I have one from Love, beauty and planet that I really like, Nexxus Keraphix and Paul Mitchell masks are good, too and I have a couple packets of different Shea moisture ones that I haven’t tried yet. I know I sound like a crazy product hoarder, and yes, guilty.

      My hair is fine, wavy and unprocessed but damage prone and it’s mostly doing okay right now. I would love any recommendations for a mask that comes in a regular size that’s really good. I really like the Love, Beauty, Planet one but as far as I can tell it only comes in packet form.

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      • avatar

        Kate July 14, 2020, 1:00 pm

        I would never get my hair wet with chlorine (it’s highlighted blonde), but what you described above sounds right, and also put conditioner in it BEFORE the pool, so it’s soaked with a good product already and the chlorine can’t get in.

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      • avatar

        Kate July 14, 2020, 1:01 pm

        Mask: Sebastian Penetrait, Wella Elements, or Oribe Gold Lust are great.

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    • avatar

      Copa July 14, 2020, 1:14 pm

      I grew up a competitive swimmer and lived in the pool during the summer. They sell chlorine-removing shampoos and conditioners. I’m sure multiple brands are out there, but I used UltraSwim until I quit. As I got older, some girls on the swim team would use a leave-in treatment formulated for chlorine before hopping in the pool. (Not sure if the ingredients are any different from your average leave-in conditioner, but it’s definitely a product you can research.)

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      • avatar

        KatieM July 15, 2020, 8:47 am

        Would you wash your hair every time you get out of the pool? I shower daily but if I were to wash my hair daily it would be horrible in under a week.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse July 15, 2020, 9:07 am

        I do, because I’d rather wash it than have chlorine in it. I use a deep conditioning mask every time.

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      • avatar

        Kate July 15, 2020, 9:15 am

        Yeah, I think you need to get the chlorine out of your hair each time. One way to avoid doing that would be to not get your hair wet in the pool every day. Like just float and swim with your hair up and dry on top of your head if possible, or ideally under a hat.

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      • avatar

        Copa July 15, 2020, 9:30 am

        I used to, yeah. My hair has never suffered from daily washes… if I swam as an adult (I don’t) or had access to a pool I’d definitely go regularly and not hesitate to wash every time. You can also consider a swim cap. They’re not attractive, but they can keep your hair dry if keeping your hair up and head above water isn’t an option.

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  • avatar

    Bittergaymark July 14, 2020, 12:29 pm

    I had a great spring in the desert. As the photos on the Park_Place_Oasis instagram illustrate. And watching all the cacti that I planted out here all last year was truly lovely to see.

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    • avatar

      MaterialsGirl July 14, 2020, 2:05 pm

      I loved all the spring in the desert photos 🙂

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  • avatar

    MaterialsGirl July 14, 2020, 1:21 pm

    1. Reiterated what some have said about being thankful for who I am quarantining with. I cannot imagine if I were still with my ex, it would be hell. Best decisions ever.

    2. We’re both essential, but I’ve been able to do two days from home while watching the child. Really struggled with it in the beginning, but we’re in a good routine now where I do actually get work done and spend time with her. She’s a funny little person. I think i will want to do a WFH day more regularly (with childcare though.. theres just some more flexibility)

    3. With that, I’m able to get more regular runs in during the morning. It’s been great for my overall mood as well as health during this pregnancy. I feel less anxious and hope my blood pressure has returned to normal.

    4. I don’t feel like we are really saving money, probably even? I pay more for a babysitter three days a week than I did for daycare (we lyft her in and out which is causing the increase). We were also eating more takeout and buying more food in general, but we didn’t take some trips and aren’t having fancy dinners out.

    5. We have a really good system down for groceries. We make a dinner list on fridays, then the grocery list on saturday adn Radio Star picks everything up Sunday morning before the masses of people. We’ve always cooked a lot, but now we eat fish on sundays (or more), smoothies one night, cereal one night, something meat, something veggie, take out and a go out or grill out night.

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    • avatar

      MaterialsGirl July 14, 2020, 4:23 pm

      and RadioStar has been cutting his own hair since he was a teenager, so that was nothing new.

      The MaterialsToddler is easily entertained at an outdoor space with a hill. Especially if there are some other kids around? they just run up and down and up and down it. She’s getting so much outside time that I don’t feel bad about the 30 minutes of Thomas the Train or Sesame Street (or stupid PinkFong channel). If daycare ever starts up again, they’re doing all art projects outside and more outside time. I really believe there’s never enough time outdoors. I hope the schools have more recess and outdoor work time

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  • avatar

    Copa July 14, 2020, 1:35 pm

    I feel like everyone is more upbeat than I am, ha. Four months in and I’m still struggling to find a new routine that works, and the pretty recent realization that I’m probably not going back to the office until 2021 hit hard. I’ve been up and down this whole time, but currently in a down that has been longer-lasting and harder to shake. ANYWAY, the positives, I guess, are:

    1. More time with my dog, both at home and on walks. I’m glad he has company during the day now.

    2. I was able to visit my parents for a full week, something I haven’t been able to do in years, thanks to remote work. I might go again before summer ends, assuming the circumstances feel ok.

    3. I’m saving more money than before. (But also trying to donate and still support local businesses, so, not thaaat much more.)

    4. I’ve gotten back into running, which has been fun, but the recent heat waves are killing me.

    5. The amount of time spent with my boyfriend is up drastically, and he’s easy to be around. The nights where we’ve sat in his backyard talking over homemade cocktails have been some of my favorite times with him. We feel like it’s been a good test run for moving in together, but still deciding what our best option is for the foreseeable future now that there’s so much uncertainty.

    6. I generally enjoy cooking, and while there have been days I’ve dramatically felt like I’d rather starve than cook another meal, I’ve had fun in the kitchen and appreciate spare time to try my hand at new recipes. While I was visiting home I learned how my (Mexican) mom makes some of the foods I grew up eating but never really took an interesting in learning how to cook myself. I’ve dabbled in baking projects, like homemade donuts and Pop-Tarts.

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  • avatar

    ron July 14, 2020, 2:14 pm

    It may sound super negative to say that I can’t think of a single way in which life in a world of Covid has made my life better. Not really negative though, we have really enjoyed this summer, but there are many other things we could have and would have done under normal conditions. Not things that are really necessary to spend a happy summer, but still missed. Not at all downbeat. Like BGM in the desert, I’ve spent the summer surrounded by the flowers we grow. Since retirement, my wife and I are used to spending a ton of time together, so quarantining together has been very enjoyable.

    Ah, I seriously did just expand my thinking. The Covid crisis and economic woes have given me hope that Trump will lose and our nation will recover and move on as a more egalitarian and less hate-filled society. That’s the only plus I’ve seen, but it is a huge one.

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    • avatar

      Bittergaymark July 14, 2020, 6:05 pm

      What kind of flowers?

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        ron July 15, 2020, 4:28 pm

        Daylilies. A lot of different colors, shapes, sizes, patterns. We grow them from seed, making our own pollen crosses. With a range of bloom seasons, we have bloom throughout almost all of June, July, August.

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      anonymousse July 14, 2020, 7:34 pm

      I’ve been having a rough time, too. The things I listed above are the only things I could think of. It’s been a hard road and I had really hoped we’d be in a better position as a society by now. It’s terrifying to think it’s going to get worse.

      Enjoy the flowers, Ron.

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      • avatar

        Dear Wendy July 15, 2020, 6:30 am

        I’ve been having a really hard time, too. This is the worst my mental health has ever been and I feel like I’m living in pretty constant anxiety. This is most exasperated by having young kids. It’s been hard not having a break in 125 days, but much worse than that is the anxiety about how long this continues and how to effectively and safely educate them this coming year. The lack of leadership is the biggest problem – not being able to trust any of our leaders to make smart decisions quickly enough (and I include the democrat NY leaders in that although Cuomo is more trustworthy than, say, Trump, but he was way too slow in closing NY schools and so now I don’t trust him about re-opening them safely). But there *have* been some positives and I am really trying to appreciate and enjoy those a little more.

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        MaterialsGirl July 15, 2020, 7:55 am

        Definitely. It goes week by week. The beginning was especially difficult.

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    NatalieB July 14, 2020, 3:11 pm

    Great Post!
    1: I live in the DC area, and was commuting 1 – 1.5 hours each way to the office. The extra 2-3 hours I now have in a day has improved my life dramatically.
    2: I can spend more time doing things I enjoy, like gardening, riding my mule, sewing, walking my dog. My stress is down.
    2: I’ve lost 15 lbs so far since we are not eating out at this time and have been cooking healthier at home.
    3: I’m able to get a full 8 hrs of sleep since I don’t have the morning rush. My skin has never looked better, and no bags under my eyes!
    4: I often would forget to take my morning medication (for diabetes) due to the AM rush to get to the office. Since I am home, I am not forgetting it, and my blood sugar is much better.
    5: I’m keeping up with laundry and dishes better, since I can swap those around while I’m on conference calls.
    6: As an introvert, it’s been nice to not have the pressure to constantly socialize every weekend.
    7: Since no one can see me, I’ve been having fun with overtone and colored my hair pink (bucket list item that I did not think I could do until I retired due to strict corporate expectations).

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    Dear Wendy July 14, 2020, 3:30 pm

    I’m loving these!!

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      MaterialsGirl July 14, 2020, 4:24 pm

      Were you able to reschedule your housecleaner??

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        Dear Wendy July 14, 2020, 4:46 pm

        I’m hoping she can come on Friday. I’m getting my first haircut in 125 days tomorrow, and I went to the beach today with Jackson and our family friends for the first time this year, so those are positives!

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        MaterialsGirl July 14, 2020, 4:51 pm

        I mean, I take any small win at this point. I hope the haircut is satisfying and the cleaning happens Friday!

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        Dear Wendy July 14, 2020, 5:06 pm

        Thank you! 🤞

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    Mommyshlee July 14, 2020, 3:50 pm

    My husband is an essential worker so unfortunately he’s been working more hours. That has been really tough. I miss him and so do the kids. There are some good things im very thankful for.

    1. All the time with my kids especially my son. Hes 14 and having him home more has made us closer. Instead of every night being homework…dinner and then bed.
    2. Ive been able to get my 20 month old daughter into a better night time routine. I actually get some sleep now and its a miracle. Shes always had a tough time with sleep but we are having major improvements.
    3. I decided to make my healthy a priority. Ive started exercising and walking everyday. Ive lost 77 pounds since January 3rd 2020. No surgery, no diet pills no weird fad diets. Just working really hard. I want to set a good example for my kids.
    4. We have been able to save and pay off debts as we are going out less. Not just going to eat or walking around a store buying things we don’t need.

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    TheLadyE July 14, 2020, 4:46 pm

    1. I LOVE working from home. Love, love, love it. I love not having to commute, getting to spend all day with my dogs, getting to do things like laundry and dishes and errands during the day/on breaks instead of having to stuff them all into a weekend. We’re not going back into the office until at least 2021 and I honestly hope our team never does.

    2. I am getting a ton more rest, probably because I’m working from home. At my last office job in February-March, I was falling asleep on the way home from work and was just constantly exhausted. Now I actually feel rested for perhaps the first time in my adult life.

    3. I miss working out at the gym, but my sister and I have been doing yoga together 3x a week and we always talk a little afterwards and it’s brought us a lot closer.

    4. I get to spend time with my puppies while they’re growing up and there’s no replacement for that.

    5. I do order DoorDash a lot, but I don’t buy drinks out (obviously) so I’m saving a ton of money on that, plus I spend almost nothing on gas.

    Not being able to physically touch my boyfriend and not being able to perform standup comedy has been hard, but otherwise honestly I have very few complaints. It’s making me realize how burned out I was and oh hey, maybe someone with severely diminished lung capacity was never meant to survive the daily grind of commuting, performing all day at work as an introvert, fitting in exercise and relationships and friendships and hobbies and oh yeah, housework and cooking and laundry. It’s too much. It’s like the edge has been taken off with getting to be at home.

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      bondgirl July 15, 2020, 7:47 am

      I’m in a similar boat, though my husband and I are both working from home and I really enjoy having him home. Like you, I also never want to go back to my office and I actually dread the day that actually happens…. We adopted a dog just before we were ordered to work from home and it’s wonderful getting all this extra time to bond with him. I take him for a walk everyday for my lunch break and then again after I log off for the day…..it’s so lovely. Only issue is literally everyone else is also out walking all the time, and there’s a TON of dogs in my community…gets a bit crowded on sidewalks. I’d been doing gym classes on zoom but my particular gym was able to reopen….classes are strictly held outside with a minimal amount of equipment that gets heavily sanitized. Admittedly, it is starting to get a little old every weekend when my husband asks me what we’re doing and while things are slowly starting to reopen, our options are still very limited. As a result, we’ve finally started on home improvement projects we’ve put off since the day we moved in….but so is everyone else, so if you want to hire a guy….good luck getting on their schedule!

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    golfer.gal July 14, 2020, 5:37 pm

    I took a new job the week before total quarantine and it is, hands down, the best job I’ve ever had. I like what I do, I’m making more money than I ever have, my leadership is great, and they’ve been extremely proactive about our health and safety. It is likely we will not go back to the office until 2021. I know so many people have lost jobs, are losing businesses, and I’ve been donating, patronizing our favorite places, and buying local. I feel guilty being so happy in my career when I know so many are struggling, but it’s been a huge bright spot in an otherwise terrible time.

    My dogs and I walk 2 miles every day. My smallest was nicknamed The Dragon by my team due to her cacophonous snoring and farting despite being 20 lbs, and her insistence that she spend all day in a large, donut shaped bed at my feet.

    I appreciate the slower rhythm of my days. Later mornings, sunny walks, more time to cook and bake, snuggle breaks. I worry every day about my senior parents, and I wish we could fast track a vaccine, but I am grateful for a few things.

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    Allison July 15, 2020, 12:04 am

    Seriously, the pandemic has saved my sanity the last few months. So many good things:
    – I LOVE LOVE LOVE working from home. No commute. No annoying and distracting coworkers. Not having to use gross public bathrooms!
    – As others have mentioned, skin has never been better. Barely wear any makeup and have finally, for the first time in my entire life, become comfortable with looking at myself without eye makeup (used to be an eyeliner and mascara every day person).
    – Have been drinking way less alcohol
    – working out more
    – sleeping more and better than ever before
    – love the extra time to work in the garden, grocery shop (with mask on!) during the day, do meal planning, cooking, it’s all so wonderful
    Of course, I hope that we cure this soon (I work for a hospital – want to save lives!) but I don’t ever want to return to the normal work routine. Ever.

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    Phoebe July 15, 2020, 8:39 am

    You know, it’s so odd to have an opportunity to list the positives…I have actually felt guilty lately because I know so many are struggling, and I feel as if if I say anything positive I’m not “aware.”

    Spending time with the family was very hard at first, as I had two college seniors who were mourning the loss of their friends and all of the traditions that come with the end of senior year. They both loved college and didn’t want to leave anyway, so this was just an extra kick in the face. Their grad school plans were all messed up, their friends are now scattered all over the world, etc, etc. But things are actually pretty okay here now!

    1. We have a new family activity, the movie bracket. As a family, we’ve been watching movies and rating different qualities — acting, plot, effects, etc, and then scoring them. Each member of the family picks a bunch of movies to go on the bracket, so we get quite the variety. We’ve gone through 3 brackets since March and we’ve all seen new movies. We’re having an absolute blast.

    2. My 10-year-old son, who wasn’t interested in learning to ride a bike when he was younger, just learned this spring and couldn’t be happier. One day he asked my daughters to teach him, and they did. We live close to a school, so he can ride his bike on the running track and around the school, and it’s been great. I’m also secretly relieved he has finally learned.

    3. Now have weekly video calls with my parents and sister’s family, whereas before we drove to see my parents every weekend. This is much, much easier. I feel a bit guilty not actually being there but they’re doing fine and we stay in touch.

    4. To keep my son socialized (and to find him something to do), I signed him up for some online classes, and accidentally discovered that he likes programming. He is gobbling up all of the Python and html classes I can sign him up for. Even if it stays a hobby it’s a good one! He’s the youngest in his classes and one of the best. Might not have discovered this if he’d been in camp, as I wouldn’t have been looking for online classes!

    5. Husband is much happier to be working from home, so he’s in a better mood, and has started running to get in shape. He’s up to about 20 miles a week and I’m super happy for him.

    6. Husband getting in shape means he isn’t snoring anymore! Yay!!!!!

    7. We have been spending a lot of time over dinner, as a family, discussing topics like equal rights. My daughters learned a lot at college and usually lead the discussions. It’s been fascinating. I grew up in a very liberal family, but things have changed incredibly even since I was a kid. My 10-year-old son is very interested and has already learned a lot in school (THANK YOU MASSACHUSETTS) and I’m just so proud of how my kids have turned out!

    So yes, lots to be grateful for, aside from the obvious “we have our health.” My big worry right now is for my son, who is starting 6th grade in the fall, and we don’t know what that’s going to look like at all. Like so many people, I’m torn between wanting him to get socialization and wanting to keep him in a bubble. I am cautiously optimistic that MA will do the right thing, whatever that turns out to be, as they have so far been on top of it. But it’s a constant worry.

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    Emily Morris July 15, 2020, 1:27 pm

    Actually there are a lot. I’ve been saying I wanted to work from home and be with my dogs all the time, and this is not what I meant but I am not complaining about that aspect of things. I have read so many books. I have done more art. I already was fairly choosy in terms of social plans but social distancing has made it totally clear on who I want to spend IN PERSON time with. I also really missed my coffee shop and daily latte, so I got pretty good at making those. 🙂

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    Vathena July 15, 2020, 3:25 pm

    Gosh, you guys are making me jealous with your rosy outlooks. About the only thing good I can say is, I’m getting more sleep. Oh, and there’s less traffic.
    Working from home sucks because my 7-year-old is constantly in my face asking to play and screaming, “All you guys care about is WORK!” She’s doing that right now actually. She will only grudgingly and with intense 1:1 time with a parent do anything resembling schoolwork. And we don’t usually HAVE those hours to spend, because we are also attempting to work full-time. She won’t put on pants to leave the house (she doesn’t have pants on now) so she doesn’t get enough movement during the day to fall asleep before 11pm at night. Of course she has a super high energy level and NEEDS that movement. At least I don’t have to feel so bummed about having a tiny stone patio for a yard, because my kid wouldn’t go out even if we had a real yard. I also get very little movement during the day because of this – between my own work, my husband’s, and my kid’s unwillingness to go out, I basically sit in the same chair all fucking day. My back hurts. I think I’ve walked about 150 steps today, all of it in my house. It’s hard to get out and go for a walk because my husband is being called into random unplanned meetings all day every day (like right now, he’s on what was supposed to be a “quick call” that started an hour and a half ago), so I can’t just ditch him with the kid. I do go in to my workplace 1.5 days/week, one full day plus one evening from 5-9pm, so I am already ditching him to do that. I can’t do a yoga video because there’s toys all over the floor and I know I’d be interrupted by shrieking and whining to play. I try to clean but it’s futile, it’s a disaster again within 30 minutes, and if I try to move anything I get more shrieking and whining. We’ve been paying our cleaners to not clean our house since March. My boss, who was pretty chill in the before times, has become a micro-manager wanting instant responses to everything, and sends texts and emails in the evenings and weekends as well (this previously NEVER happened). My husband’s boss is worse, even calling him at 11pm a few times. The peace I do get comes at the expense of my child’s brain cells as she watches My Little Pony marathons on the iPad. There’s not much of I’d call “quality family time”. My husband and I spend the evenings drinking wine and watching the country burn on CNN while waiting for our kid to finally go the fuck to sleep. Last year, I read over 30 books. Since March, one book. I desperately want and need to put in the work towards anti-racism, and I have almost zero uninterrupted time to concentrate on anything. We can’t see any family because they all live thousands of miles away. My mom is retired and lives alone with her dog and seems to think that 6pm EDT is a great time to try to have a real conversation with me over facetime. We have used our small exposure risk tolerance on taking our child to the dentist and having our A/C replaced. I am desperate to send our kid to the 2 weeks of camp we hesitantly signed up for
    …sorry to be the downer on the bright side thread, lol. I am just feeling sorry for myself and jealous of all of you who have found time for exercise, cooking, family time, reading, and not-destroying your livers.

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      Vathena July 15, 2020, 3:28 pm

      …gosh, that was a wall of text too. Sorry!!! Ugh I need some Zoloft or something.

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      Dear Wendy July 15, 2020, 3:38 pm

      You are not alone! It’s like we’re experiencing different realities: those doing this with kids who are under 10 and everyone else.

      (I’ve read three books since March, and gave also been paying Our house cleaner not to come for the past four months.).

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        Phoebe July 15, 2020, 6:46 pm

        This. I really, really feel for parents of small kids! As challenging as it was to share a small space with 2 very grumpy 22-year-olds, at least they didn’t need my attention 24/7 — it only SEEMED that way. And they grudgingly understood when I said I needed quiet to work.

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      Kate July 15, 2020, 4:38 pm

      Yeah, I feel you. I don’t have a kid, but I’m working all the goddamn time, and the level of responsiveness and availability they need keeps going up.

      I always slept 7 hours and had good skincare and all that shit so I’m not reaping any added benefits, it’s just getting harder to juggle everything and have separation between home and work.

      My friend at work messaged me on Teams today that her 9 y/o is exhibiting some really disturbing behavior and she doesn’t know wtf to do. She couldn’t talk about it because he was home from “camp” (one other kid and a college student) today.

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        Kate July 15, 2020, 4:39 pm

        Also, my parents are retired and no longer understand “working.”

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      Vathena July 15, 2020, 5:04 pm

      I was fine in the beginning, really up until June, and then it started to become clear that what we are doing is for nothing because 40% of the country is intent on fucking the rest of us over. Also that was around the time when I realized that basically everyone I know has someone for their kid to play with, and friends started going on socially-distant vacations in rental cabins and shit right around the time that my work was insane because people were starting to come back to work in the labs. Now my role is extra critical because if I don’t do it, no one else can do their work. I tried to take my daughter’s 7th birthday off, but my boss still emailed and texted me about random shit all day even though he knew it was her birthday. My 40th is later this month and we were supposed to be in Banff. …and this all feels like really stupid privileged whining. I can’t have my house cleaners or go to Banff! Wah! But the constant stream of horrific news (Brionna Taylor’s murderers are still fucking free! RBG in the hospital! Florida!) combined with never getting a fucking break or having anything to look forward to, is getting to me.

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        Vathena July 15, 2020, 5:10 pm

        *BREONNA. Ffs.

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        Kate July 15, 2020, 6:48 pm

        Yeah, it was my husband’s 50th yesterday. He had resigned himself to not doing anything and was just like, fuck, this sucks.

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        anonymousse July 15, 2020, 10:30 pm

        It’s been a total shitshow. This list of positives took me some time to come up with and it was a challenge, honestly. I thought it was a nice brain exercise to try and think of the good things because it’s been an absolute disaster. I’m writing this to say, I’m sorry things are shitty for you, too.

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        TheLadyE July 15, 2020, 11:56 pm

        @Kate, how ironic, it was my sister’s 30th and she lives in Boston too! Apparently she and her boyfriend and her roommate got ice cream sandwiches and they’re going out to eat (outside) on the weekend. I sent her a nice gift card to ULTA because I’m the big sister who buys the makeup. Her boyfriend got her sheets from Brooklinen. All in all, not too shabby I guess. She’s been encouraged because things seem to be stabilizing there…not like it is here, in NC. Argh.

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        Fyodor July 16, 2020, 6:59 am

        Yeah-I didn’t mean to imply that things are not terrible. I was just trying to concentrate on the upsides. I’m sorry that things have been so shitty for you.

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        ron July 16, 2020, 8:50 am

        Yeah, a pandemic, 135,000 deaths, a collapsed economy, needing to quarantine, no way that can be a positive for anybody. And watching our politics, society, and nation sink lower with each passing week. It’s depressing… I guess that’s why, apart from the increased hope of Trump limited to one term, I wasn’t able to think of a single personal positive. I still can’t, even reading everyone else’s examples. And we all know there are people who have it a hell of a lot worse than we do.

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    Fyodor July 15, 2020, 5:43 pm

    Justice Ginsburg is out of the hospital.

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      Fyodor July 15, 2020, 5:44 pm

      This was a reply to @Vathena.

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        Vathena July 15, 2020, 6:04 pm

        Oh WHEW. Well that’s something!

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    MaterialsGirl July 16, 2020, 9:39 am

    Does anyone else catch themselves “self policing” their internal dialogue? For example, I’ll watch movies and cringe/be weirded out at physical closeness of the characters. Or: thinking about a trip or something I used to do and stopping myself. Not letting myself daydream or think about those things?
    Kinda of like a “oh, we can’t” interruption to everything

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      Fyodor July 16, 2020, 9:47 am

      I definitely get anxious when I see people not socially distancing in TV and commercials.

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        SpaceySteph July 30, 2020, 1:51 pm

        ALL THE TIME. I physically winced yesterday when a character took a pen to sign for a package and handed it back.

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      Miel July 16, 2020, 9:57 am

      Yes, I catch myself thinking that actors in some random tv shows from ten years ago shouldn’t stand so close to each other.

      Yesterday was the submission deadline for a huge 15,000 person conference I usually go to every year in February. I didn’t submit anything. All my mind was thinking was “I don’t understand the concept of a conference. What is conference? Why is conference? How is conference?”

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        MaterialsGirl July 16, 2020, 10:14 am

        I found myself starting to dream back when I traveled all over the world for work.. sigh.

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      Vathena July 16, 2020, 11:45 am

      I have tons of anxiety dreams about being out in public/in crowds now. Like standing close and talking to a stranger without a mask on, or getting into a cab, or having a beer at a bar with a friend, and in the dream I’m like…something’s wrong here…and then it dawns on me, this is a dangerous thing to do!! We’re all gonna die now!! And then I wake up.

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        Fyodor July 17, 2020, 7:20 am

        Yeah-I have anxiety dreams about this. I’m not sure how I’m going to keep it together for another year of this.

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    Bittergaymark July 16, 2020, 1:45 pm

    The lucidity with which I now see the futility of my life has been strangely freeing. The fantasy of some happy ending EVER happening has finally been ruthlessly forever dispatched,

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    Hazel July 16, 2020, 2:26 pm

    My dreams are now very lucid, and particular, this is disturbing as I have often had dreams where what I dreamt came to pass, however I’ve also had dreams where I’ve decapitated aliens with a magic chainsaw so I am not that worried. Just a little bit unnerved.

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    Kate July 16, 2020, 7:41 pm

    So I’m on cape cod, and there’s this lady in the condo complex who has a super cute and sweet 10-week old puppy (Bernese Mountain Dog), and I’m really concerned because she doesn’t know what she’s doing at all, and she lets the dog run around the parking lot off leash. There was a close call with the mail truck the other day, and then this morning she was walking her on like a 2-foot leash like a little string, and she dropped it and let the puppy go, and she was just like trotting around. There’s a main road just outside the parking lot. I just… what the fuck, lady? My uncle’s dog got killed by a car in this town last year. I’ve had 3 puppies as an adult and you don’t let them wander around off leash like that. I cannot deal if anything happens.

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      TheLadyE July 16, 2020, 10:25 pm

      Wtf. Dog owners like that drive me absolutely crazy and honestly should not be dog owners. Not only is this a dog, who doesn’t understand the danger of cars, this is a PUPPY who doesn’t have any training at all. Also…wtf at getting a freaking Bernese Mountain Dog if you don’t want to train it? Those dogs get huge.

      I really hope she wises up and the dog stays safe.

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      Copa July 17, 2020, 10:10 am

      Maybe this makes me a Karen, but I’d say something. One time, at our lakeshore trail, there was a small fenced area I’d never noticed before and a guy inside with his dog told me it was a new dog park that didn’t have signage yet. So I went in. And his dog started playing too rough with mine, so he took his belt off and started WHIPPING HIS DOG. And I flipped the fuck out on him. (It was not a new dog park. I was naive to believe that, dude was crazy. To this day still wish I’d done something to report him.)

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        Kate July 17, 2020, 10:19 am

        OMFG!!!! How horrible.

        The condo association did send an email out today about dogs being off leash, and about the weight limit, which is 10lbs! That puppy might weigh 10lbs now, but she’s going to be huge. Idk if this lady lives here or is a guest, but that’s not gonna fly. I want her to give the puppy to someone who can take good care of her. She can’t have had her more than a week or two.

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        Kate July 17, 2020, 10:19 am

        I will say something next time I see her, about the car situation.

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        ktfran July 17, 2020, 10:46 am

        OMFG is right. That made me sick to my stomach.

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    SpaceySteph July 30, 2020, 1:47 pm

    Late, but…
    I cut my own hair and I don’t think I’m ever going to a salon again. I already don’t go often because I don’t prioritize making time for that so its not a huge cost savings, but now I can get regular haircuts without going to a salon so I can keep my hair the length i want!
    I like working from home and having an opportunity to do a load of laundry or rise some bread or run an errand between meetings. And not having to shower and dress and pack lunch has added an hour to my mornings. I hope the increased WFH tolerance sticks around.

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      Dear Wendy July 30, 2020, 3:17 pm

      We’ve missed you – hi!

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        SpaceySteph August 2, 2020, 10:33 am

        Thanks! Hi!
        I had a baby boy in March, on the same day my husband’s and my workplace went telework-only for covid. Juggling 2 kids and a full time job hasn’t left me much time to surf the net, but I miss you guys too!

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        Dear Wendy August 3, 2020, 6:20 am

        Congrats on your baby boy! You definitely have your hands full now. ☺️

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        Fyodor August 3, 2020, 10:27 am

        Mazel-tov! Congratulations on the successful incubation of your offspring. I hope you and the fam are well.

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    SubbyP July 30, 2020, 9:56 pm

    I struggle with a crapton of chronic health problems, and not having anything else to do has freed a lot of time to go to appointments (mostly over the phone), make plans, and try new meds.

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    Keeks August 2, 2020, 8:08 am

    Working form home like most of you all has been a blessing. I’m able to do any and everything around the house that I never had time to do before. Decorated my patio with quite a few target pieces, patio lights, plants etc (made 24 trips to Home Depot within a month)
    I spend most of my time outside enjoying what I’VE created. Next DIY is to put up some curtains around the patio. I have a peeping Tom.

    Between the pandemic and BLM movement –
    I realized what a selfish, insensitive, disrespectful, verbally abusive, undercover racist of a boyfriend I had for 4 yrs. Honestly I always knew this – but our different views and levels of responsibility, accountability, and even the simplest of understanding has made me finally give him the STOP sign.
    Knowing that I knew this and stuck with it for soooooo long is a clear indication I too need help. Looking forward re-visiting a therapist.

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    Mrs. Danvers August 2, 2020, 7:46 pm

    I’ve learned to really live with myself, and not see myself through other people’s eyes. Once again, it’s experiences with other people – which I’m totally missing! – that make up our lives, not material things. I’ve learned how to prepare for emergencies a bit better. I continue to learn not to take today for granted. Although I’m a great cook, I’ve always been afraid to work with yeast but I finally made my first from scratch pizza dough (with sourdough starter that my egg farmer gave me); I’m ready to tackle the yeast dough!

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    Bittergaymark August 2, 2020, 8:22 pm

    I enjoyed my time in the desert.

    And now have run home to the lake in Minnesota for a month or so.

    Funny, I have remarkable clarity now about how my life is simply NEVER going to work. It really simply isn’t…. so why fucking even bother?

    That’s strangely freeing.

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    Sea Witch August 3, 2020, 2:34 pm

    It seems to me that people are friendlier now, at least where I live, When I go out for a walk, people smile and greet each me, even from 2 meters away because one of us has jumped off the sidewalk onto the road. I never really experienced that before.

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      SubbyP August 3, 2020, 2:40 pm

      Oh, same! I mean, people have always been a bit friendly where I live, but now we all seem to be really conscious of each other’s presence in a good, responsible way.

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      Kate August 3, 2020, 3:02 pm

      How do you know they’re smiling?

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        Sea Witch August 3, 2020, 3:17 pm

        We’re outdoors, so we’re not wearing masks. You only need a mask in enclosed spaces and really crowded parks. I can walk about a mile without seeing another person in my suburb.

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        Kate August 3, 2020, 3:19 pm

        Ah, we wear them all the time here.

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