Our days during covid
In March of 2020, the first case of COVID-19 had been discovered in Arkansas. The advertising agency that Kate, my wife, a creative director, and I, a studio photographer, worked at sent everyone home to work virtually. A few days later, the school district sent all students, including our son Ryley, home to finish the school years virtually. The guest bedroom was hurriedly transformed into a one-room office, schoolhouse, and doggie daycare. Our spring break plans to drive to New Mexico were canceled as states began closing their borders to travel. In my 55 years, I'd never seen a time that states were barring travel to and from other states. It seemed surreal, but we were still confident that things would be back to normal by June of 2020.
For the following months, we were glued to the news and the Covid-19 tracking websites. We could tell you the state's total positivity rate, number of positive tests, and the number of deaths at the drop of a hat. The governor never gave an official stay-at-home order in Arkansas, but it was strongly suggested, like a winter storm warning; if you don't need to get out, don't leave your home. We began stocking up on food, puzzles, and Lego sets, anything to keep us entertained. When mask mandates were instated, Kate started sewing friends and family masks.
For the next four months, I worked at home, occasionally doing the studio's socially distanced photoshoot. Then at the end of July, I was furloughed and laid off at the end of September. I was on unemployment during my furlough, but my unemployment had to have a "decision" made to see if I deserved unemployment once I was laid off. I'm still waiting to find out four months later. Thankfully Kate has remained employed.
Ryley started working virtually at the beginning of the school year. For months we struggled to teach him and keep him engaged. It soon dawned on me that we weren't just his teacher but also his lunch lady, counselor, and principal. But it just wasn't working for him. We had to send him back to school. At this point, we saw that students in our area were not spreading covid like it was feared, so we went back to in-person learning.
For the past year, our new normal has been uncertainty. It seems like we've been living one day at a time, trying not to step on a crack. I know our story isn't that different than millions of other people around the world. And we certainly are luckier than a lot of people. We've had a few scares but have tested negative. We've had friends and families who have tested positive, but they all made it through so far. Knock on wood.