Long post- Reader Beware!
I want to back up real quick to October 2019 which leads into my 2020 flash back. JD and I decided to make the investment of buying a new camper. We both love camping however, tent camping a lot of work so we made the switch. Keith Stone was awesome (that was the camper’s name- we had a Keystone Passport).
The beginning of 2020 wasn’t off to a bad start. Work is always busy first quarter so that wasn’t a huge surprise. March hit and world was glued to their TV because a new development of Coronavirus was sweeping through country like wild fire. I was paying close attention for obvious reason though also because JD and I were to fly to Las Vegas at the end of the month to meet 2 other couples for an annual trip (annual for them, sporadically for us). We were all holding out hope!
On March 11th my executive team made the decision to split the employee’s up into two groups in hopes of limiting exposure by creating rotating shifts of 2 weeks in the office and 2 weeks out. On March 13th, they pulled the plug and decided to close the office completely. Now from my job’s perspective, I can work remote and from anywhere. My group, for the most part, is completely paperless. Other areas of the business were not. Our accounting department (heavily paper driven) advanced 10 years in about 10 minutes. Scrambling to scan everything into a system that wasn’t equipped to handle the load. IT struggling to keep up with computer, printer, monitor and network space demands. Needless to say it was a fucking shit show! As everyone settled into their new work/life environment, we watched and waited.
This month wasn’t looking any better. For the second time in less than a month, JD and I had to cancel another trip. This time it was camping however all of the national parks were closed due to COVID-19. New regulations were coming out from the government every day which actually felt like every second. They enacted the FFCRA (Family First Coronavirus Response Act) and also created the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) for business. Why am I mentioning this you ask? Well both of these landed on my plate. The FFCRA provided pay protection for individuals who fell into a category due to COVID. This meant a stupid complicated calculation and a time consuming process had to be created. I won’t bore you with the details and this process that will come to haunt me later in the year. The PPP was a hole other beast. This program was to provide businesses who were affected by COVID with extra money to cover operating costs such as rent, utilities, payroll and benefit costs, etc.
This month was a fucking blur! I had found a little kitty on a walk one day back in April. JD, always wanting some kitties, I took her over to his house. We named her Rona for obvious reasons- CoRONAvirus. She attacked JD one night. I found it to be historical. I tried to copy the video but it wouldn’t work so all you get is a picture of what his face looked like.
As I go through the rest of my year, I do realize that so many people have it way worse than I do and though we were going through a global pandemic, my year wasn’t completely horrible. I had a lot of ups to the many downs. Work was by far the most stressful thing in my life which at least I had a job to stress out about. For this fact, I am very thankful.
Workwise I felt like I was drowning. I think at this point I have had a couple emotional and mental breakdowns. My only saving grace (other than anxiety medication and alcohol) was our camper. We found out that RV parks were considered essential businesses therefore were open! This excited both of us to we planned our first camping trip of the year. Meanwhile, JD didn’t learn his lesson and told me he wanted another cat to keep Rona company. Done! I love animals and would have them all. I found a kitty and brought him home. His name is Halloran. He was too small to stay alone with Rona so he went camping with us. He sure did enjoy his trip.
At work, I was working with my boss (VP, HR) on an organizational restructure project. This started back in May however, the execution was planned for July. This actually affected the entire organization. We laid off about 10% of our workforce. It was an interesting process to go through. I have never been on the side of prepping for the execution of a RIF (reduction in force). It is truly amazing how many considerations an employer has to take into account when it comes to determining who is being let go and who isn’t. Just so you are aware, none of the employees let go were let go due to performance. It was strictly a business decision on how we needed to focus resources.
Personally, we went camping at Lake Murphysboro State Park. This is one of our favorite places. It is close to town, right on the water with amazing hiking trails. We spent a long weekend there at the end of June. We always knew Penny loved the water however, we found out she will sit on top of a kayak and paddle board.
Our big restructure at work happened at the beginning of the month. It was super stressful having to have those hard conversations with such great people that I had the opportunity to work with over the past 3 years. They were confused, shocked, and some very upset. I have been in their shoes and being laid off is the worst feeling ever especially when it is completely out of your control.
After that event, I was so ready for my 10 day trip to MI with JD and my brother, sister-in-law and my 6 nephews. It was the first that all of my nephews were actually able to make it. It made my heart happy!
We did manage to go camping to the RV park we went to back in May when we found out they were essential. Pheasant Run RV park in St James is worth the trip. The owner is absolutely amazing!
I did run into some health issues over the past couple months. I’m a very healthy person and only ever go to the doctor for my annual physical and to get blood work which usually happens at the same time. The past few years, I’ve had some bowl issues.
I never took any notice of it until there was a toilet paper shortage. Of all things to make you think about your health! I went to my doctor and advised that Crones runs in my family and I was having issues. He ordered a colonoscopy. Have you ever had a colonoscopy? Oh how a pleasure it is….
I’ve never had one before. I was told the actual procedure wasn’t bad, it’s the prep work that sucks. I was told to make sure I was at home during the prep portion. No one told me to take the fucking day off. You aren’t allowed to eat anything past midnight the night before; luckily you can drink fluids. In the morning around 10ish, you start off by drinking a bottle of magnesium citrate.
About 30 minutes later, you are supposed to take a laxative.
All was going good until about 11:30am when it hit me. I couldn’t move from the toilet and I still had a full day of work ahead of me which included meetings. What the fuck was I supposed to do? I improvised a desk for the next 6 hours of my day.
Getting “comfy” on my new thrown and in the middle of a meeting that I was presenting, it hit me. The thick saliva, the knot in my through and the cramps in my stomach. I was about to throw up. I message my boss, also on the meeting, to let her know. I put myself on mute and puked like I had never puked before. I threw up ALL the fluids I had consumed. FUCK- did I just screw up this process and now I’m going to have to do this all over again?
I call the doctor and let them know what happened. They said that I should be fine and just continue with the cleans. There was one more thing that I had to drink a gallon of but I didn’t get a picture of it. It tasted like a gritty lemonade but it was no where as bad as the magnesium citrate. The next day I had the procedure and all is well. I have irritable bowl syndrome. Go figure.
As far as work goes, we decided to switch our benefit brokers (to late in the year) to get better service. Typically you don’t change brokers the month before you are supposed to finalize the next year’s benefits however, last minute is the how my company roles. They new broker is amazing and I’m glad we went to them though there were a LOT of changes and implementations was purposed.
Hang on tight, we are about to hit hyper speed.
This was the last month for us to do “real” camping. This means, the destination was not a full hook-up and relaxing more than anything. We wouldn’t do our full clean until we get ready to winterize the camper. We camped over labor day and then again at the end of the month.
Work was gearing up for our benefit renewal. Fourth quarter is one of the worst times in the payroll and benefit world. This year was even more challenging because everything that was supposed to happen earlier in the year was pushed because of COVID. All business had hoped that after the summer, things would calm down however, that was not the case this year. We all survived to see October.
On the 9th of October, JD and I went to BassPro in St Charles MO to pick up a shotgun that JD purchased. After waiting almost 2 hours to finalize the transaction, we met some friends down the road at Bar Louie. They both had had COVID about 3-4 weeks prior so we knew they were in the clear. Bar Louie was a shit show. We sat outside as a conscience decision though the patio was PACKED. As in if someone sneezed, every table around that person would be covered. No one was using masks, not even the servers inside the establishment. This was a bad idea!
The next weekend, we took the camper to a very ghetto RV park across the river just so we could rinse out the black and grey water tanks before we took the camper in to be winterized. It was a good weekend nothing special. Sunday when we got home, JD told me that he wasn’t feeling well. He had a lot of tightness in his chest and had a fever. Just fucking great.
The next day he went and got tested for COVID. He lost his taste and smell, had a fever for 5 days, had no appetite, no energy and brain fog. Before we event got the results, we knew he had COVID. I felt fine and had no symptoms so I stayed away from him. He stayed in his house and I brought him over food, dropping it off by his door and leaving. We did this all week while we waited for his results.
On Saturday the 24th, I received an email for our storage place saying that there was nothing in our spot and to make sure we had our camper. Confused, I drove by the storage unit. JD had dropped the camper off the Sunday before. I called JD and asked if he by chance had anything done with the camper. Knowing the answer, I tell him our camper had been stolen. Almost to the day of our 1 year anniversary with the camper. Come to find out, our camper was stolen the night before. The next day, JD tested positive for COVID.
Just great, JD has COVID and our camper got stolen. My world started to fall apart even more. We filed a police report and a claim to our insurance. I went and got tested for COVID and 8 days later, I tested positive. I was very lucky in the fact I had ZERO symptoms.
Nothing that was happening at work trumped what was happening in my personal life.
After the camper was stolen, JD and I had a very serious conversation on whether we were going to buy another one or purchase some land. We are leaning towards land though we aren’t 100% sure we want to stay in Missouri though I don’t trust any storage unit at this point. There has been and there still is a lot of conversation around this. More to come on this particular topic.
My brother and his 2nd youngest both got COVID around Thanksgiving so we decided not to travel back to Iowa. Instead, our good friends Shannon and Tom adopted us for the holiday. The fam (JD, myself and all 3 dogs) spent the night over at their place. We cooked, drank, and played games well into the night. It was a great Thanksgiving!
With the good comes the bad. For about a span of a week, I had an emotional anxiety ridden breakdown due to stress from work. I worked through it and actually talked to my doctor about increasing my anxiety medication a smidge. Sometimes you just need a little extra help and that is ok.
This is probably one of the worst two months of the year in my field of work. It is great because it is a short month however, it adds a level of stress to get more done in less time. Preaching to the choir I’m sure. I will just say, I was happy for this month to end.
With the bad comes the good. JD and I were once again adopted by friends on Christmas Eve Night for their family dinner. So much good food! I would be glad to make that an annual tradition. Christmas day, JD and I went over to Abby and Adam’s house to celebrate both Adam’s (12/25) and JD’s (12/15) birthdays. We binged on apps…..so many apps, played games and drank well into the night. On New Year’s Eve, JD had to work so we did the usual- hung out at home. I went to bed around 9:30 and he stayed up until 3:30 working. At least our end of year ritual is consistently the same so I guess I can say that we ended our year pretty normally.
Things I learned/was reminded of
- I’m more resourceful than I thought.
- I work independently very well and actually thrive in that environment.
- My daily routine has become lazy it is driving me crazy- the struggle is real!
- I’m a perfectionist to the T and am too hard on myself.
- I drank way to much during the year.
- Being in the wilderness is my and my family’s happy place.
- I have very little faith in humanity.
- I learned to reconnect with friends far and wide via video chat and it took COVID to realize this.