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Thanks. Talked to DD last night on the computer. She (and her kids + partner) lives in a different part of the state, but they are doing OK. Her partner works so they at least still have a steady income coming in.

Hope you are doing well, as well.

I'm VERY fortunate that the university is allowing us to WFH right now. I'll probably go back either next Monday or the Monday after that - not sure yet. Have purchased three cloth face masks on my own nickel, although rumor has it that the university will be providing disposable ones.

Saving a bit of cash right now due to not driving anywhere or eating out anywhere (except for the weekly takeaway from the pub). On the other hand, my grocery bill each month is like $10626.37.

I have pretty much squandered the time here at home; I still sign on at 8 and quit and 4:30 as if I were physically in the office. I know a lot of people that have become lax about being at their screens so at least I have that going for me. However, I've gained a ton of weight and have no endurance at all because I live way out in the burbs (almost in the sticks but not quite) and there's just nothing to do here.

I binge-watched ST: Picard and ST: Discovery and I taught myself how to do an APK to put Google Play apps on an Amazon Fire, so I did do a little; I'm also for once actually caught up on my laundry and I balanced my virtual checkbook. I paid off two of my credit cards with the stimulus check.

I've treated myself to a couple of non-essential things from Amazon (I normally order a specific kind of water from them). I got a sling pack that will be helpful once I'm back to the physical workplace and that fits my tablet and my cell, and I also ordered some snap charms for a snap bracelet that I bought a few months back.
HEYYYYYYYYYYY! Happy to hear from you! I'm glad to know you and your family are doing okay! And aren't sick and still have income! That's so good!

I definitely feel you on the grocery bill--it's crazy how expensive things have gotten. I've been thinking about temporarily cutting meat from my diet to save money. Two chicken breasts here is $14+, which is just too much, especially if I'm trying to include protein at least once a day.

Woah, I didn't even realize APKs were a thing! How did you learn about that? What have you been making with it?

Also, how was Picard? I am a major TNG fan (grew up with it), but I've been reluctant to try the newer shows in fear it will kill that nostalgic love I have for the franchise/world/characters.

I think there's been a lot of emphasis on being more productive/doing more during this quarantine, but the reality is that's kind of a ridiculous expectation to have. We've all got a lot going on, I think just getting by with our mental health and bodies (as much as possible) intact is a pretty good baseline.

Personally, I've been swamped with work. My company's service is useful to companies during times like this, so we've doubled or tripled our marketing efforts in the last two months. I've been so busy I haven't had much time to sit and really soak in everything happening.

A lot of friends are doing calls, so that occupies my nights. But I'm trying to re-capture time for myself because too many nights with friends calling gets overwhelming.

Just started dabbling in After Effects this weekend, may see what I can do with that. Also been watching more movies than ever. Just saw Mulholland Drive for the first time (wasn't my thing but it was interesting to finally see a David Lynch film) and Portrait of a Lady on Fire (lovely film).

Being in California, we won't be open for awhile. I'm hoping they don't extend our quarantine until June but I won't be surprised if they do. First thing I'm doing when things are back up is taking a very, very, very long drive somewhere to the middle of nowhere. And probably hiking. I was supposed to have a solo backpacking trip this May but the permits were cancelled, which was a bummer.
 

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HEYYYYYYYYYYY! Happy to hear from you! I'm glad to know you and your family are doing okay! And aren't sick and still have income! That's so good!

I definitely feel you on the grocery bill--it's crazy how expensive things have gotten. I've been thinking about temporarily cutting meat from my diet to save money. Two chicken breasts here is $14+, which is just too much, especially if I'm trying to include protein at least once a day.

Woah, I didn't even realize APKs were a thing! How did you learn about that? What have you been making with it?

Also, how was Picard? I am a major TNG fan (grew up with it), but I've been reluctant to try the newer shows in fear it will kill that nostalgic love I have for the franchise/world/characters.

I think there's been a lot of emphasis on being more productive/doing more during this quarantine, but the reality is that's kind of a ridiculous expectation to have. We've all got a lot going on, I think just getting by with our mental health and bodies (as much as possible) intact is a pretty good baseline.

Personally, I've been swamped with work. My company's service is useful to companies during times like this, so we've doubled or tripled our marketing efforts in the last two months. I've been so busy I haven't had much time to sit and really soak in everything happening.

A lot of friends are doing calls, so that occupies my nights. But I'm trying to re-capture time for myself because too many nights with friends calling gets overwhelming.

Just started dabbling in After Effects this weekend, may see what I can do with that. Also been watching more movies than ever. Just saw Mulholland Drive for the first time (wasn't my thing but it was interesting to finally see a David Lynch film) and Portrait of a Lady on Fire (lovely film).

Being in California, we won't be open for awhile. I'm hoping they don't extend our quarantine until June but I won't be surprised if they do. First thing I'm doing when things are back up is taking a very, very, very long drive somewhere to the middle of nowhere. And probably hiking. I was supposed to have a solo backpacking trip this May but the permits were cancelled, which was a bummer.
First of all… very nice to hear from you.

Warning – novel sized reply to follow.

I’m very, very fortunate to still have a job that’s still paying at my regular rate and the privilege of working from home since March 23. I’d rather be at the office (and have access to all of my files and stuff), but it is what it is and I’ll adapt until we return to the offices.

Groceries are just insane right now, and that’s even if whatever it is, is actually in stock. The healthier options were long gone weeks ago, so at this point, I’m doing a lot of eggs, block cheese (that I cut up at home), and peanut butter. I’m also one of the few Americans that actually likes Vegemite, so there’s that. Have also been eating some things that aren’t as healthy (corned beef hash, white gravy and biscuits, etc…. but it’s cheap and it’ll hold fairly well).

I learned about it because I have a friend in another state that had an old Amazon Fire tablet that she didn’t want/need anymore, and she sent it to me since I only have my ancient desktop computer and a older model cell phone (I want to say that it’s a Samsung J3 but don’t hold me to that). I wasn’t crazy about the Amazon platform, so I went onto Google and did a search on “how to get the Google Play on Amazon Fire”, or something like that. A written tutorial popped up, and I thought, “hey, I have nothing to lose, and I’m not rooting the tablet, so here goes nothing”. There were several steps involved that you had to follow IN ORDER but a couple hours later… success! So… it wasn’t really about making anything; it was about me getting the platform I wanted. The Fire stuff is all still on there, but now there is another screen with just the Google apps (and the browser) that I installed.

Picard is actually kind of different. Without giving anything away, I can say that they have some of the other actors from Trek make some appearances (a few, not all episodes); Jeri Ryan, Frakes, Sirtis, and Spiner are notable ones. Most everyone else is new. The language is pretty coarse but that doesn’t concern me (they drop the F bomb a few times). They are realistic about Stewart’s age and don’t have him doing ridiculous physical things on-screen. It’s NOT TNG but I did like it. It was hard to figure out the first few episodes but it clicked a few episodes in. I have always been a TOS fan myself but I never disliked TNG… it was just never my favorite. I recommend you go ahead and spring for CBS all access. Also, Discovery is good as well. I did not think I would like it at first, but it grew on me. Although I have to admit, the character that grew on me? Of course they killed him off. Go figure. I’m looking for other content on the all access channel to watch in the interim since Season 2 of Picard and Season 3 of Discovery haven’t been released yet.

“Intact” is indeed a good baseline. Social media helps to keep connected with people, buuuuuut it’s a double-edged sword and I get to see about how people are planting gardens, taking walks in the evening after supper, making these fabulous meals, and I’m here like… um, yeah.

I haven’t been so much swamped as I have been expected to learn new ways of doing things in a very short period of time and expected to adapt to them almost instantly. It’s a learning process (i.e., MS Teams, Zoom, etc.).

I’m not much of a phone person – never have been. I prefer to chat in private messages or text messages. I can chat in multiple private messages at once if necessary, but I don’t have to immediately fill the gaps in conversation.

Have you created anything with After Effects yet? I did a quick search to see what it was (wasn’t familiar with it). I have been doing a little more stuff with PowerPoint (I already do some for the rink – I create whatever flyer I’m working on, and then convert it to a jpg so no one can change it)… but now I’ve had a little more time to explore more of the features. I haven’t watched any movies yet although I did watch the first episode of “The Man in the High Castle”… haven’t watched any other episodes yet because the pace was way too slow for me.

Indiana here, and we are opening in stages. Stage 2 started this past Monday, and Stage 2.1 will start tomorrow (hair salons with restrictions, etc.). They would like to be at the end of Stage 5 (the last stage) by the 4[SUP]th[/SUP] of July but we’ll see. Needless to say, the rink is still closed and I haven’t skated since the 11[SUP]th[/SUP] of March. When they reopen, everyone is probably going to crash and burn!
 

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@jcal @Sela @jamaix

I hope you and your families are doing all right during all this!
All has been good here. I can thankfully say that I do not know of a single family member, friend, acquaintance or even FB friend that has contracted the virus, though more than a few are front-line doctors, nurses, PAs, police or EMTs (in Bergen County, NJ... one of the virus hot-spots immediately adjacent to NYC) and, AFAIK, all are exhausted but healthy.

I've been working from home exclusively since 3/16, but it's not really any different for me than the many years I've worked from home in the past. Our office is opening back up this week, but it's completely voluntary whether we return to the office or not. As a 64 year-old diabetic, most would say I was in the elevated risk group, so I'm not in any hurry to leave the house. Still living with a 20% pay cut scheduled to run at least through end of June. We've been busier than hell here in our NC offices (I've been routinely working 12-17 hour days since the lockdown), which makes the pay cut all that much harder to swallow, but I know that our NY/NJ and CA offices have been almost completely shut down, which has put a huge hit on the company's cash flow as those offices can't complete work for which we have purchased (and are now sitting on) millions in equipment we can't install and/or collect payment for. Living with the pay cut is better than being furloughed, as many of my colleagues in harder hit locations have had to deal with.

Until today, I had only left my house twice since 3/16... once to pick up a prescription from Walgreens and the other time to get my car inspected. Today I had a real in-person doctor's appointment (routine diabetic care)... it was the first time I've ever worn a mask and it wasn't pleasant... all the more appreciation for the front-line workers who've had to work under those conditions for some time now.

My extroverted wife has been handling it OK as well. She's been going out to go grocery shopping at least once a week since the beginning but staying put the rest of the time. My daughter normally works from home 80% of the time, so she's doing OK as well. Her husband works a night shift with a skeleton crew at a huge regional plant nursery. My son is a high school teacher... he's been busy running online classes for his students and prepping for a football season he hopes will still happen in the fall. His wife is an advertising exec and normally works from home anyway.

All in all, not much to complain about. Hope all is well for everyone else, too.
 

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@jcal @Sela @jamaix

I hope you and your families are doing all right during all this!
Well thank you for thinking about all of us! I do so miss my PerC days and think about all the good years on here and people like yourself and of course Sela, jcal, Niss and many more.

My husband, two adult children and their families are all well. I don't know anyone personally who has come down with the virus. My DIL is a nurse who has cared for those infected, but has remained healthy so far.

Many changes for my husband and I as a result of the Pandemic. Some may very well end up being good for us in the long run, but only time will tell.

My husband got to work from home the first few weeks, but then the company he works for (He is an engineer for a Japanese automotive company) furloughed almost their entire work force the last 3 weeks. My husband got to resume working from home today and it looks like he will be working from home every other day. They are trying to do social distancing, but that is a tall order as the factory has about 3,000 workers. So those who can work from home will be doing so on a rotating basis to aid with social distancing. Massive changes for this auto manufacturer as I'm sure will be the case for most. Everyone was forced to take a pay cut (we are told it is not permanent, but we don't know).

That is not the worse though, his employer is pushing for those who are eligible to retire to take early retirement. Anyone 55 and over who has been with the company for 10+ years is considered eligible. If they don't get enough volunteers, there will be forced involuntary retirements. So needless to say we are very concerned about that right now. There is definitely not enough incentive in the offer to make it worthwhile for someone my husband's age. He is 57 years old. I can't understand how this is not age discrimination. We are hoping he escapes the ax, but right now we must live with the uncertainty.

I was a stay at home mom and had only worked a few part time jobs here and there over the last 25+ years. The last full time job I had was as an office manager. I quit shortly after my daughter was born and then I ended up homeschooling my kids and didn't have time for a full time job. Over the years I worked a few part time jobs (tax preparer, started a lawn care business, and a few other temp jobs), but nothing solid and quite frankly I was a little intimidated about re-entering the work force at my age. My computer skills are not current (although I can still type in excess of 50 w.p.m.), I am 56 years old and I didn't have any recent pertinent work experience. However, with all that is hanging over our heads right now I decided I needed to take that plunge. I guess I just needed a little push.

I am now employed. It's not a great job by any means and it is seasonal, but it will hopefully help me get back into the swing of things. It is about 25 to 30 hours per week and that's about what I wanted. It will allow me to still be available to assist my invalid mother-in-law as needed. Plus, I still take care of a few lawns. (about 5 acres worth all together)

The job keeps me very active and I am on my feet the entire time. I lost 4 pounds in the first 10 days of work. I am working as a merchandiser for a plant company. I love flowers and the job has very flexible hours. (within reason I basically get to pick my hours so long as I get things done) So I am gaining some work experience that perhaps I can take elsewhere later. We get in large flower shipments multiple times per week and putting all of them out on display keeps me constantly moving and on my feet. I'm "getting" to climb up and down ladders, lots of bending, stooping, lfting overhead, pulling, moving huge racks, etc. It's a great workout. (I keep reminding myself how good this is for me) :laughing:

I'm also doing a pretty good job of improving my health over the last year. Since last July I've lost 48 pounds and exercising regularly. (enough so that my husband has been cautioning me about losing too much - LOL) I need to be fit with this job as it is somewhat physically demanding. I'm actually enjoying the job most of the time. I don't enjoy the cold rainy days too much, but you have to take the good with the bad. I work outside all the time other than when I'm in the greenhouse. I do so hate having to wear a mask while working, especially when it gets hot. But that is part of it and something most are being required to do now. So if that's all I have to complain about then I must consider myself fortunate.

Again, thanks for thinking about us. I'm glad you are still around and doing well.
 

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Rave... A colleague submitted my name for a shout-out on our weekly corporate newsletter that's distributed to employees worldwide:

EMPLOYEE KUDOS
Shout-Outs to Extraordinary Team Members
The D*** team takes pride in going above and beyond to deliver solutions that exceed client expectations. We know that each and every team member working together plays a vital role in being able to consistently provide this exceptional customer experience.

Shine a light on a teammate you feel has gone that extra mile to get the job done and email your kudos to our Corporate Communications team.

From the Americas...
Spotlight On: Joe ****, Charlotte
Submitted By: Darren ****, Charlotte

Joe continues to show himself to be a wonderful combination of expertise, excellence and passion. This time, he produced detailed drawings for one of our VIP partners in an unrealistic timeframe (adding 10 hours to his regular work day). This allowed us to provide the drawings the following day and beat our own deadline by a day. The client was thrilled and our partnership strengthened. This is the type of commitment and teamwork that truly makes D***… excellent!
Rant... While part of me does appreciate the recognition by the local colleage who submitted it, the corporate-wide publication of it mostly makes me... uncomfortable. To me, I was just doing my job... nothing special that justifies being pushed out into the spotlight. Honestly, the motivation to knock off the drawings ASAP had nothing to do with satisfying or impressing the client... the real motivation for me was knowing that if had I left the drawing work for the following day it would have necessarily displaced other scheduled work that already had their own deadlines that I had previously committed to, and I hate not living up to commitments I've made.
 

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Things that drive me crazy? Here we go!
  • Being expected drop everything to do a task I was unaware needed to be done.
  • Blatant lies (people saying everything is fine while obviously crying. Just tell me you don't wanna talk about it).
  • Cities
  • Crowds of more than 4-6 people.
  • Disloyalty.
  • Extroverts (except ENFPs, they're pretty cool)
  • False choice. I hate it when people in authority asking me "If I'm willing, please to do this job/chore." Its so manipulative and It drives me insane. Just tell me what you want me to do and when you want it done. I guarantee you I'm not willing to do it of my own accord, but I will do it if I'm told to with no choice.
  • How damn complicated life is. I wish we had modern medical knowledge and practices, but medieval technology.
  • Incompetence. Hot damn does incompetence send me into an internal fit of absolute rage.
  • Inefficiency.
  • ISFPs (Except my little sister, she's okay).
  • Overly sensitive people who can't take even the smallest amount of criticism without delving into extreme levels of self hatred.
  • Passive aggression of all forms.
  • People not telling me ahead of time when they want me to do something.
  • People who have no respect for rules or laws.
  • Poor punctuality. Knowing people who can't arrive on time or are okay with being even 5 minutes late makes me question how they can function as a person...
I think that's enough for now, I'm getting antsy behind my keyboard:LOL:
 

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  • Incompetence. Hot damn does incompetence send me into an internal fit of absolute rage.
Willful/deliberate incompetence. Actual non-knowledge doesn't bother me; I'll explain best practices and move on.
 

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Rave: SJ's make the best family and friends. No matter how many times I've felt down and out in my life, the only group that has recently been consistently there to help me feel more human and like an individual who has worth has been the SJ's in my life.
 

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It was so cute how my long-distance ISTJ friend said he didn't want to end our video call because he wanted to see my "cute" face a little more.
He is also very wholesome. His scheduled meeting with best friends were postponed so he got a little depressed and he just randomly video called me. I love how dedicated and caring he is about every relationship in his life. I really don't want to ruin our current friendship for some dramatic emotions.
 
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