Packed

I’m in the office today. Not my office but another of my company’s buildings that is 35 miles further from home. The first 10-15 miles of the commute was brutal. After that it was just a matter of trying to go fast enough to make up for some of the lost time. I got to the parking lot with a couple of minutes to spare.

Speaking of the parking lot, I have never seen it this full. Even pre-pandemic, I never saw this place packed the way it is. There is a conference here today. We are not going to it, but we are involved in a couple of things that are sort of related to it. I’m the guy hiding in a conference room, sitting as far away from everyone else, and only removing my mask to consume sustenance.

I really want to go home now.

At the Office

I’m at the office, sitting at my desk. Tomorrow I’ll be at the office, but not my building. I’ll spend the day in a conference room.

I have seen two other people on my floor (the third floor, if you’re curious). One is sitting at a desk about 100 yards away. The other is a custodian cleaning a conference room. That’s it. I kept hearing noises and eventually determined that it was a tree branch tapping a window. Kinda creepy, actually. I’m listening to a Walking Dead podcast on headphones to drown it out.

Okay, back to work for me.

2.5 Years

I haven’t written one of these in a while. Today is September 13, 2022. Exactly 2.5 years ago we worked in the office. It was a Friday. The following Monday was the first day the whole company worked from home. That makes today the 2.5 year anniversary of the symbolic end of the pre-pandemic era.

2.5 years. Two and a half trips around the sun. Given that we were expecting it to last a couple of weeks, I would say that our expectations were off by a smidgen. We still have not had a case of Covid-19 in the house. We are still also mostly locked down. Coincidence? I have to go in to the office tomorrow afternoon, and all day on Thursday. Thursday is going to include an event with a pretty huge number of people. I am going to mask up and try to stay away from people. Hopefully that will be enough.

Working from home was something that I was pretty unsure of pre-pandemic. I heard of companies that had their staff 100% remote and I thought that was something that wouldn’t work for me. I had a day or two at home at various times in the past, but full time at home? That wasn’t for me.

Now? Now it’s indispensable. Now it’s a requirement. I have to spend a day and a half in the office this week? Outrageous (not really, I’m just being dramatic)! Working without wearing a t-shirt and sneakers? Blasphemy!

Full time(ish) remote hasn’t been without it’s difficulties though. One of the arms on Jen’s super swanky office chair broke today and now we may have to get another one. I gave her my super swanky office chair (which used to be hers anyway) and I am in a less than super swanky chair that is still perfectly fine. The point is, a new chair is an expense that we wouldn’t have to worry about if we were working in our respective company’s offices. That and, you know, electricity and ISP bills and stuff.

Still… working from home is pretty freakin’ sweet and I want to do it for the rest of my career. One upside of the lockdown, I guess.

Now if we could just get rid of the damn virus. We’ll be getting the Omicron specific vaccine as soon as we can.

Am I Ready for a Concert?

Covid-19… our house might be the most locked down house in America at this point, even though we’re not really that locked down anymore. We’re still trying to do the right thing.

I just found out that Jeff Beck is playing in Boston in October. Tickets aren’t on sale yet, and they are probably too expensive for me with two kids in college, but… oh boy. He’s 78 years old and he’s the only person left on my “you need to see him before he/you die(s)” list.

When I first made that list, probably back in 1988 or so, I had already seen Rush so they weren’t included. The list was Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Steve Howe, and Steve Hackett. I saw Clapton in 1990 and again in 2004. I saw Page in 1988. I saw Howe in 1989 and again in 1991. I saw Hackett in 2019. Jeff Beck is the only one left.

The clock is ticking. There won’t be many more opportunities. Like I said, the guy is 78. I would really like to go, but even if I did have money to burn I don’t know if I would. I don’t know if I am ready to go to a concert, or an indoor sporting event, or anything like that yet. We’re going to Disney World in January, but that feels like a long way off. It feels like a full universe away. A concert in a 1500-2000 seat venue? Less than two months from now? I don’t know if I can wrap my tiny brain around that. I want to, but… friggin’ pandemic.

Movies

We’re doing it. We’re going to the movies. Thor Love and Thunder. We’re going to mask up and go into a movie theater for the first time since the pandemic started. Sweet Christmas does this feel weird.

Am I nervous? Yes. Both Covid-Nervous and nervous that the movie won’t live up to the hype, but the real focus of this mini-discussion is the Covid-Nervous. I know it will be okay but it’s still stressful.

I did a simulated 5k walk this morning. I actually just finished. I figured if I did that then my legs would be so beat I wouldn’t be able to get up and run away if the theater fills up too much. I am kidding, of course.

Okay. Breakfast then flick. That’s the plan. Yikes!

Public

We dipped our toes into a non-locked down world. We went to a store. Not just any store but the biggest, roomiest, most social distance friendly store there is. We also went when we knew it would be as close to dead as it gets.

Still…

We went to IKEA.

Dig our crazy daring-do.

Two Years

Two years ago today I finished up my work day and put my work-issued desktop computer (it was a little tiny guy) into my backpack and drove home to begin the new experience known as the Covid-19 Lock Down.

Friday March 13, 2020. A day that (for me at least) will live in infamy.

Things are getting back to normal. Much too quickly for my taste, but they are. I’m taking Harry back to school today. Two years ago it would have been the other way around. We had people in the house this week. Two years ago that would have been unheard of. We went into two stores over the last week. Two years ago we were trying to find ways to stop needing to go into stores.

The Covid-19 numbers are still way too high for my taste but they seem to be coming down, or at least leveling off. The word on the street is there is a new strain of Omicron coming. Hopefully not.

I don’t want to have to keep doing this for another year, but when am I going to feel comfortable going back to pre-lock down lifestyle? I don’t know… maybe never. How bad does that suck?

Happy suck-aversary.

Back to the Office Again

I’m in the office today. I’m not terribly happy about it but I’ll live. The commute was better than most days pre-Covid, but given that I’ve only made this drive a few times over the last two years it was infuriating. I drove about 200 yards before I hit traffic. It was just a school bus, but it was still traffic. The highways were slow and annoying. Again, not quite pre-pandemic, but definitely bad enough to imply that the pandemic is over… even though it’s not.

There is no one sitting at any desk near me. I think the closest person is probably 30 yards away. Much more than six feet. I am plenty Covid/Omicron safe at my desk, but I will still need to go to the bathroom and the kitchen and such. I feel good about my elevator skills. I expertly avoided having anyone in the car with me as I went up to the third floor. My people avoidance skills are still very sharp in that respect.

My desk is still here. It’s nice and clean and all. My keyboard is shit compared to the one I use at home. My monitor is double shit compared to the one I use at home too. Oh well. It’s just going to average out to one day each week. I can survive that. Sure, I would prefer not to be here, after nearly two years of only working at home.

Funny, remember back in March of 2020 when all of my posts were how working at home was abnormal and how I had to get used to everything being different? Deja-Vu, right?