There is No Normal #COVID19

There is No Normal #COVID19

You hear, read and see this constantly: It’s our new normal; It’s the new normal. What the heck is that? What do our days and nights look like? Will “Groundhog Day” ever end?

Since we navigated the sale and closing of your Cherry Hill, New Jersey home in the middle of this #COVID19 crisis and permanently moved to the home in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire we bought in 2016, it’s very difficult to be happy in our #HappyPlace. I’m having good days and bad, just like most of us. I stocked the pantry and refrigerator; arranged an online fruits and vegetables delivery every other week, and continued to unpack boxes and reorganize the house – given that we are planning a major renovation later this year. (Who knows if THAT will happen.)

We are blessed to have a spectacular view of #LakeWinnipesaukee and we can find

places to walk or drive where there are no people around. We’re gloving up and plan to wear face masks for protection – and to protect others, given that we’re self-isolating at least two weeks. A few people have volunteered to pick up any groceries we might need – and I may take them up on that later this week when we run our of milk and bananas.

Speaking of bananas, why is my mother and mother-in-law seemingly living in a world of denial? My mom seems to have finally embraced the fact that she must stay away from other people. But is she really doing that? When she tells me she’s wearing gloves, she actually means her regular gloves; the ones she wears to drive. When she says she’s ‘staying in,’ that means except to go out probably once a day to the store to get “one or two things” she says she “needs.”

Closing on our Cherry Hill, NJ house officially took place March 27. Until that moment, mom kept saying on the phone, “Let me know if you want us to come over.” By “us,” she meant her, my brother and sister-in-law. Oy. It was all my brother and I could do to just gloss over those statements from mom. Until March 27, she kept saying she was praying the whole thing would just ‘go away.’

Now, about 10-days later, she’s inside her senior citizen apartment building. BUT – she keeps going down to the library (a common room) where I’m sure she’s touching things, such as the remote control, sitting in a chair – touching it. and who knows what else. She claims to not be touching anything. Oh, she’s wearing those ‘gloves.’ But we have no clue whether she’ll get through this OK. I’m sure many people have parents, relatives and friends who are acting in a similar way.

My mother-in-law is allowing her cleaning person to come into her place in Florida. She’s also mentioned to my husband, by phone, that she’s visited a few neighbors. Hopefully, she means from six-feet away; but who knows.  She’s also going to the farmer’s market in her community to get fresh fruits and vegetables. She visits that market in normal times, so I can only guess that she may not be taking appropriate precautions with anything she purchases or know how the vendors are handling their merchandise.

Our son continues his full-time job at a retailer considered an essential business. No one is allowed in the store. All purchases are made by phone, credit card and taken to the curb for customer pick-up. I’m worries about him every single day. He’s a smart guy and completely award of this crisis. His anxiety level is likely high; never mind any possible depression or isolation concerns.

What this all comes down to is: we can only control our house; our car; our purchases -our behavior. When crisis happens, I like to plan things I can look forward to: the renovation, for example. We still need to get one more estimate and we hope that contractor can come by later in April – but who knows? Meantime, I peruse Pinterest, Wayfair, HGTV posts dreaming about what our place will look like – some day.  I add to that what the house will look like a year from now. More immediate plans include trying to plan the spring gardening, planting herbs; maybe some tomatoes; will I start my summer flowers from seeds?

I’ve mentioned to Doug about planning a future road trip or vacation. Who knows when we can do that. Will our families be able to visit this summer? We have no clue. I’m trying to be optimistic, positive, upbeat – it’s not easy. Now, I have to go wash my hands. Be well.

Pros Adjust to the #COVID-19 World

Pros Adjust to the #COVID-19 World

#COVID-19 has changed our professional landscape – perhaps forever. Businesses that balked at allowing telecommuting are embracing staff taking initiating and connecting, producing and meeting whatever deadlines are in place. Restaurants – those that can survive this chaos – are enlisting waitstaff to connect with customers online and by phone to take and produce pick-up or delivery orders. Teachers from kindergarten through higher education are instructing students, responding to messages, and finding new avenues to explore with their classes.

It is difficult to not be somewhat emotional during this chaos. I am continuing to teach my Rutgers business communications course that was already an online class. Only one of 30 students has dropped in the past week; a few others are trying to catch up as they deal with effects of #COVID-19 in their lives. I struggle with whether I should make changes in the course or try to maintain some normalcy. Finding the compromise seems to have worked so far.

Deadlines are softened; extension requests considered more closely; slight adjustments to the team project; all of these tweaks are allowing students the ability to breathe a little easier in order to complete successfully complete the course. So that’s one small victory.

My client, as always, is incredibly supportive. The growing real estate development Eden & Main Townhomes - November 7, 2019company, Kokes Properties, LLC has me crafting some content in part focusing on sales success during this difficult period. It’s a balance to encourage potential new home buyers to consider this new townhome construction while navigating this crisis that changes daily. Michael J. Kokes and his expert team are proceeding with this nearly-complete project and are fortunate to be economically sound during this period.

Will we revert to our ‘old’ ways and operations when the danger has passed? Some businesses will – others will not. Time will tell. Our Realtor mentioned that the way they do business may never be the same.

Now, for the personal. We have sold our home of more than 27 years and are moving  LivingRoom boxespermanently to New Hampshire where we bought a home in 2016. We have developed a community of friends in the small town. Our life transitioned there as we found more happiness and quality of life there.

Times are bittersweet for all of us; professionally and personally. When we talk about professional soft skills, listening and empathy are among them. Listen well, understand questions and comments given this unusual time and thoughtfully make decisions and choices that can benefit your organization, team, business – and you. Be well.

It’s Been a While…Life has Changed #COVID-19

Gosh, has life changed. Yes, I fell off the blogging wagon in the past months; discovered listening to podcasts, concentrated on teaching online, focused on a couple of new clients and planned our major, permanent move – to New Hampshire.

It’s a late winter and start to spring like no other in our lifetime. As of this writing in Ext-front1-20200219March 2020, our new normal includes hashtags #COVID-19 #socialisolating #quarantine #coronavirus and many more related to the #COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world, infecting tens of thousands and claiming thousands of lives.

Not since September 11th have we felt this surreal sense of daily living. Everything has changed while we try to create some semblance of normalcy.  Once again, we are seeing and hearing stories of selfless humanity: neighbors helping neighbors with errands – dropping off food and supplies. Yesterday, I literally rang a neighbor’s doorbell and almost ran away.

#Socialdistancing is another hashtag trending. Humans naturally want to connect. The dichotomy of living in a small, New Hampshire town and in the Philadelphia region is startling. Dealing with #socialdistancing in Cherry Hill has been at times annoying, hilarious and a little scary. I went to Home Depot to pick up moving boxes. A woman in her late 60s or early 70s started chatting with me about the current state of affairs. She kept moving in toward me. You know how you feel when someone ‘invades’ your personal space? That space has expanded and she was well short of the six-feet recommendation. So, I backed up and wrapped up the pleasantries with her fairly quickly. As for #Wolfeboro, I left there to come back to Cherry Hill before New Hampshire was hit by the virus; now, our friends there are also isolating and schools, businesses, houses of worship are closed or severely restricted to the public.

#Washyourhands is something we should always do. Now, I am washing my hands so much, I need to double-up on the hand cream. Last night, while drying one of the only wine glasses I have not packed here in Cherry Hill, the glass shattered; I gashed a finger – bad enough that Doug drove me to an urgent care site in the neighborhood. Every staff member was masked (except behind their work station area – which I thought was odd); the x-ray technician was not masked, nor the x-ray receptionist. I was out of there in an hour.

MtWillard-Us-Aug2019We’ve been urged to get fresh air when we can. I’ve taken some walks and have noticed more people than usual walking, running, biking. (It still boggles my mind that kids do not wear helmets when biking). The receptionist who had to walk me back to the urgent care treatment room had just come inside from what she called a break to get some fresh air. She reeked of cigarette smoke. She lamented how the inside air gets so stuffy that she needs to step outside. Did she really think I did not smell the remnants of her true reason for a break outside? The scenario was mildly funny.

While we continue to pack here, the process of getting to the closing table with our buyers has been somewhat hampered by #COVID-19. Township offices are closed and staff down to a minimum with most working remotely. Since I have community connections after all these years here, I was able to reach a few people to move things along. We’ll see shortly the whether March 27th closing takes place – or how long it might be delayed.

Meantime, we adjust, cope, forgive, laugh, hope, pray, exercise, plan and proceed with our new normal. May you and your family be well.