One Year Later…

As many people are marking the occasion, today is the one year anniversary of starting the work from home experience during the COVID pandemic. Well, one year and a day, but who is counting.

The past 366 days have been interesting – both good and bad. Before the lockdown, my wife and I were on our honeymoon in Hawaii and then Los Angeles. When we left, COVID wasn’t something we were thinking about, but as we island hopped from Oahu to Maui and then to Los Angeles, we heard about the first case of COVID in Hawaii. No one checked us, no questions were asked, it was (in hindsight) a surreal experience.

When we were in LA, our plans were not impacted – we still went to Disneyland, we went to a LA Kings game versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, it was the last leg of our honeymoon and we were enjoying every moment. It wasn’t until we got to the airport to fly home to Toronto that we heard LA and California received their first cases of COVID. We were not sure we would be able to make it back to Toronto on time and we began looking up car rentals and flights to Vancouver, if needed, and sending our employers messages that we would be delayed.

It turns out we had nothing to worry about. We got back to Toronto and we walked out of Pearson like we robbed the place – no one asked any questions, no one checked us or asked us to quarantine. This was an unbelievable experience.

I returned to my job at OPPI, worked one whole day, and then we were sent home to work from home. Luckily, in a feat of foresight, OPPI months ago adopted a work from home policy two days a week – Mondays and Fridays. That experience allowed for an easing into the “new normal.” I know it has not been easy for others, especially with kids, pets, parents and all those responsibilities associated with it. My wife and I were lucky – we had a whole house to ourselves – she worked upstairs in our office and I camped out at our kitchen table like I had done so many times before.

The bad is a lack of exercise, limited walking opportunities and other ways to stay fit. I definitely gained weight – much of that was aided by St. Viateur as I made a large purchase and received the delivery of their classic Montreal-styled bagels so we could have some comfort food at home while we were stuck inside. It was worth it at the time and we’re just getting to the last bagels one year later.

Not being able to see family in-person was a drag too. It has been tough to go long periods without seeing my parents, sister, and my in-laws. Thankfully, there’s FaceTime and the phone, and other ways to stay in touch. In the summer, physically-distanced visits are always possible, which gives me hope again for the upcoming summer months to be able to do that again.

The good has been wonderful. I’ve spent so much time at home with my wife that I really enjoy working from home – whether she feels that way too is another story. The transition was easy for me to make. We found out before Christmas that we are expecting, so that’s wonderful news and brings so much hope for the future for us. We’re not the only ones which, anecdotally, gives me hope for a mini baby boom in 2021/2022.

As much as this has been a frustrating year, there is a ton of hope on the horizon. Vaccines are now available. We have a baby and growing family to look forward to. Our parents and families have made it through the toughest days (mostly) unscathed. The future does look brighter and will be brighter once we are all vaccinated and can being to live our lives socially again. The parties to celebrate and put this nastiness behind us will be epic, and I cannot wait to celebrate a return of the “Roaring’ Twenties’…without the Great Depression and World War to follow.

I hope all of you have made it through this period in decent condition. I hope all of you have hope on your horizon as well. The end of 2021 and early 2022 will be the start of something good!

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