COVID Chronicles: Acclimatizing to a Pandemic

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COVID Chronicles: Acclimatizing to a Pandemic

COVID Chronicles is a series from Auxiliary Services Marketing attempting to document experiences in the UCCS community during the CODIV-19 pandemic. Our first entry is from Holly Murdock, director of Auxiliary Services Marketing. If you’re interested in sharing your own experiences, email with any submissions.

I’m sitting here in borrowed oversized red plaid flannel pajama pants in the would-be extra guest (when guests were allowed) bedroom. My project desk is now a “real” desk, and my screens are propped up with the thickest books I could find on our shelves. I read an article recently reminding me that this is not “working from home”—this is “working from home in the midst of a worldwide pandemic”. THANK YOU for the reminder. A decade ago, I worked from home for 3 years, and THIS. IS. NOT. THAT.

I don’t think there is anything to prepare you for the world going on its head.

My spouse is immunocompromised, so while I’ve discovered that I’m pretty cavalier about my own health, I am in constant terror for him. Suddenly a quick trip to the store leaves me feeling like a heartless hussy playing Russian roulette with a germ gun.

We’ve hunkered down, like two middle-aged bears anxious to hibernate. We were lucky enough to have accidently pre-stocked up on toilet paper from Costco. Flour, cereal, canned goods, dog food—we’re all OK. But when I needed ingredients to make a birthday dinner, I was disappointed: plenty of fresh produce at the store, but there were 2—THAT’S TWO, PEOPLE—cake mixes on the shelves.

Nevertheless, SOMEHOW, I have acclimated to shopping in partially empty stores where meat and toilet paper are rationed out. I found the last quart of Tillamook ice cream in Safeway and snatched that sucker up—didn’t even care about the flavor. I obey the blue-taped lines sketched out on floors at check-out stands and breathe exclusively through my nose in public. I cringe at TV commercials with crowds of people, and after posting a picture from February’s family reunion on Facebook last week, I was duly chided for being in a group of over ten people.

I love to bake, but low on yeast, I decided to give sourdough a go. I posted a plea on my neighborhood social media, and a kind stranger indicated she’d share. I felt obligated to thank her, and since I don’t carry cash (have you SEEN the lines at the bank ATMs?), I opted for the next best thing: when I took the grocery bag hitched over her front door handle, I left another in its place—a fresh roll of Kirkland’s best toilet paper.


But that’s all the weirdness. There are good things in my little world too: the dogs couldn’t be happier—they get a lot more treats. I’m around all the time, and the spouse is pretty thrilled about that too. I haven’t disturbed the “work clothing” section of my closet in weeks, and I got back 2 hours each day with the reduction of my commute to 12 feet. I sleep longer, exercise more, spend less, never feel introvert-guilt for choosing to stay in, and have started weekly zoom calls with my parents and siblings. I’m not certain there can ever be a “bright side” to a worldwide pandemic—especially when you consider the shockwaves of economic disruption, unemployment, fear, loss and illness. But I won’t lie…I’m not exactly hating my enforced quieter life.

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