Life in lockdown?

Whatever your status — married, single, working at home or in the office, retired — rocket scientist, IRS agent or poultry inspector — we’re all in the same boat thanks to the pandemic. But it is a very, very big boat. Depending on lots of things from income or location to personality and health, life on the boat is similar yet very different for all of us. We are surviving in a new world order few predicted or expected. I know how I am doing and, all things considered, things are good for me. Work schedule is flexible. Great job, great colleagues (though fewer visible). Best part maybe include the people I work for. That would be you. Over the years I’ve communicated with many of you. Some many times. When I hear from you it makes my day.


The other day, over a rare masked outdoor lunch with a colleague, we naturally compared notes. How we were coping. What we were and were not doing. Which begs the question, how are doing? And what? And how’s that working out?

Feds, both active and retired, are scattered all over the world. Doing just about everything from the North to South Poles and points in between. So let me know what you guys are up to and how’s it going.


I reached out to some names I readily recognized and got a great response. So great, in fact, we’ll break it down into several columns so you can see how some of your most interesting and creative colleagues are rolling with, and in some cases thriving, this major body blow to humanity. Hope you are as intrigued as I was. Real people facing an unreal threat.

Here goes:

*Instead of eating out at restaurants, getting either takeout or delivery. More cooking at home too.

My gym reopened in June. I no longer shower and change there. Go dressed in my gym clothes and shower when I get back home. Try to get in and out as quickly as possible and avoid speaking with anyone. Workout wearing a mask the entire time. When the gym was closed during the lockdown, I was taking long walks. A few other exercises I did at home, like lunges, squats, and modified push-ups, using two chair for support.

For entertainment, explore Amazon Prime Video services. Just started watching
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (which seems very good). Signed up for Disney+ to see Hamilton (which was fantastic by the way!). A year subscription was $70, so cheaper than seeing it on Broadway. Watched season one of The Mandalorean too.

My local county library reopened in June and offers curbside pick-up. You reserve items on their system, park, and call when you arrive. They’ll place items in your backseat or trunk, which you prefer, for contactless pick-up.

Sent you my Coronavirus Blues poem earlier which you were kind enough to publish.” -A.R.C

*As far as the Brave New World from a work perspective, we were already driving “reduce the footprint” by telework and other “out-of-office” activities which enabled hoteling in work spaces. The shift to full-time telework for those who have “portable” work has enabled social distancing within our facilities for those who must be on-site due to job functions. The prior efforts toward telework for “reduce the footprint” had great VPN capability in place, but we do need to minimize high band-width elements with more people teleworking.

From a home perspective, I have been pleased with retail requiring masks and the level of compliance. However, I do try to choose times when facilities are less crowded. I have been quite disappointed in poor outdoor compliance with masks and social distancing. Too many people fail to recognize they can be contagious long before they have symptoms. I think it will take a long time for COVID-19 to go away and we may only escape this pandemic when a vaccine is ready in great supply.” -Geoff in Philadelphia

*Yes, I’ve just finished my 3rd antibiotic in 4 months – sinus infections are my normal for Spring, Summer and Fall as I’m allergic to every tree, every bush, every grass, every mold – you get the jist.

As for the brave new world….well, I went from 5 days a week at the office with 2 monitors and a lovely view of Alexandria to 5 days a week at my home desk with a laptop and view of the back yard. I have 2 monitors at the office because much of what I do requires several applications open at once with me going back and forth. Did you get the part about at home, I have the government laptop only??!!! Yes, I suppose I could go buy monitors and hook them up but that requires patience and a clear understanding of what wires/cables go where to which I have neither patience nor even a beginner’s knowledge of computer cabling. On the bright side, I can pop upstairs for more coffee or fruit or whatever. I can have my slow jazz playing louder than what was allowable at work. I have 3 lovely assistants, Ali (Dachshund Mix), Thor (Toothless Chihuahua) and Jordi (short hair grey cat) who come over for cuddles and pets often which always brightens my day. Not that my friends at work didn’t brighten my day but if they even tried to cuddle – please, I’d have to remind myself I don’t look good in stripes.

The longer we have to telework full-time, the more it will become normal to me. I do worry about folks that have left the agency either for other jobs or retirement. As farewell parties and retirement luncheons are a thing of the past, do they know how much they were appreciated? Will their bosses tell them or just let them leave without any acknowledgement at all? Will their coworkers even know? Unless the people involved reach out, the answer is probably no. That’s sad to me. When you give 8+ hours a day to your job, it would be nice to have a get together to share you moment in the sun with the people you see (in some cases) more than your own family.

My hope is that Covid 19 gets under control by EVERYONE doing their part and wearing a mask and staying away from crowds and other stuff that should just be common sense logic during a pandemic people!!! I digress. Eventually, going back into the office will be possible. Until then, please remember your coworkers, check in with them, tell them they are doing an awesome job and let them know you appreciate them. Please don’t let them feel out of sight, out of mind.

Take care Sir – stay safe and strong. Wishing you and your family blessings, light, health, strength and love.” -Diie

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Alazar Moges

There are people using Netflix these days that don’t remember it started out as a DVD by mail rental service. The company saw the trend moving away from the DVD business as streaming picked up popularity to the point that in 2014 they spent $0 advertising to the DVD service, but despite that, even in that year they still had 6.26 million subscribers to their DVD rental service. You can still get DVDs delivered by Netflix by paying for the separate monthly plan.

Source: Guardian