Pandemic Check-In

I have a number of posts in draft right now – overthinking/optimizing Roth vs. Traditional 401Ks, my meal planning process, etc.  Nothing that matters in this weird world we’ve been living in for over 2 months now.

I just keep thinking about the Sunday in March where I decided to work from home – how I was worried that I was going to be seen as hysterical, overreacting.  By Wednesday, leadership was talking about how to implement telework for the whole company.  By Friday, reduced staffing and/or telework were in place for everyone the following week.

We are the lucky ones – Chad and I are still working (from home), and our financial situation has improved without the massive payments to daycare.  Of course, the added anxiety and stress have reminded me why I never minded that $30K price tag!

We’ve had other spending categories creep up – groceries, takeout (+tips), yard care – but nothing to the tune of that $2000-3000 per month.  We’re trying to increase spending where we can to support local businesses, which so far has meant a lot of takeout (with 50-100% tips) and paying for yard work we would otherwise have done ourselves.  It’s hard to overcome my frugal principles, especially for outdoor work that we’re clearly capable of doing, but these are easy changes.

We are still millionaires, which seems deeply unimportant (though I still checked!).

I drained our donor advised fund for donations to food banks and family shelters.  The DAF ended up being the most comfortable way for me to give money – I can keep hoarding cash to settle my anxieties but do what I know is “right” with those funds and replenish them later. Though it represents years of our charitable savings, it felt like such an insignificant amount of money.

Our new neighbors don’t believe in the coronavirus (or vaccines, but that’s a post for another day), so their kids have been relentlessly pursuing ours for playmates.  We are still trying to enforce social distancing, even though our other neighbors have given up.  I can’t tell if we’re the crazy ones or not.

We were supposed to go to the Outer Banks with family next month, and I have no idea if that’s a good idea or not. No refunds.

With Virginia beginning to open up, I am wondering when we will have to go back to the office.  Our daycare and schools are still closed, and it’s interesting how my company management never includes childcare in their list of considerations for a return to the office.

It’s startling how this has started to feel like a new normal.  I’m getting used to working at home, the kids are getting used to us being at home, and our managers at least accept some decreased productivity in the short term.  It will be interesting to see how normal changes after we’re back to work… I used to share an office with 2 other people!


2 Responses

  1. Good to hear from you! I’ve been watching out for an update.

    I feel the same about daycare. I like having the money but I deeply appreciated the time and reduced number of jobs we had to do that the money bought us. It’s a lot more now that we’re coping with but as things start reopening on whatever schedule each state and county wants, it feels like we’re on the cusp of a lot more disruption than when everyone was shutdown. At least that was straightforward and people didn’t have to wonder about whether they SHOULD risk their health because they need to earn income. I think of all the people who weren’t necessarily feeling like it was safe to go back yet but having to because they were allowed to, and that hairdresser who worked WITH SYMPTOMS potentially exposing nearly 100 people. We’re incredibly fortunate in our setup and our companies that are not taking any chances and really do take childcare into account at least as far as any kind of normal return to work. But we have other health related issues to handle so there’s always something.

    I’m glad you’re all healthy. I don’t think you’re the crazy ones in not wanting to do playdates yet. We’ve cancelled travel through the end of summer TBH, I’m high risk and even if I weren’t I’m not prepared to be a carrier for someone out there who is high risk who we may encounter. We can make the choice to stay cautious until we know more, so we will.

    • Ugh, just read there was a second hairdresser, unbelievable. But this is the problem with literally the whole economy right now… folks who don’t get paid if they don’t work end up with no choice but to work sick. At least with a lockdown folks can get unemployment…

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