Working from Home

I’m a homebody. Even before COVID-19 restrictions, I rarely left the house other than for work, errands, or doctor appointments. Social distancing hasn’t changed my world all that much.

Vision issues have limited my travel for years. The odometer in my 2015 VW has yet to hit 25,000 miles. Going to unfamiliar locations or anywhere at night means finding a ride.

Toodles keeps me home too. I can’t see to check her sugar, so managing her diabetes is more art than science. Her behavior is my guide. Disrupting her routine is asking for trouble. Were I to leave her with anyone, I’d worry too much to enjoy the trip .

My last overnight trip was more than two years ago. A gal-pal from high school picked me up to celebrate our 60th birthdays together in Florida. Andy died two weeks later. Since then, I haven’t gone anywhere.

Maneuvering in unfamiliar places can be a challenge. Seeing addresses, street names, assorted signs, thermostats, television controls, and elevator panels is difficult. Took me forever to figure out how to turn on the shower in my last hotel room.

Staying home agrees with me. I know where things are (mostly) and enough about how everything works to get by. Living alone agrees with me too. Toodles has no bad habits and is my constant companion. Everything stays more or less the way I want. If not, I have no one to blame but myself.

Three straight months of staying home has been a learning experience. Working from home is getting old. Or maybe it’s the work.

For years, counting the days to retirement kept me sane. After three decades in outreach, I was burned out and ready for the next phase of my life. The clock stopped two years ago when I taught my first course. Teaching a college class recharged me and reignited my passion for consumer education.

I try to make learning fun with simulations, games, blind taste tests, and other activities. These experiences get the point across, lighten the mood, and force students to interact with each other. They don’t seem to mind. The class consistently gets high marks on course evaluations.

Moving classes online sucked the joy out of teaching. I got through, but the prospect of another semester online doesn’t thrill me. We still don’t know the plan for fall semester. We’re preparing to teach online, but returning to face-to-face instruction as soon as safely possible is a priority.

A return to face-to-face this fall doesn’t thrill me either. A vaccine for COVID-19 is not likely to be available this year. Age increases my risk. If I were to return to campus, social distancing puts the kibosh on my activities.

I’m not sure what’s next. Information about applying to continue working from home was released last week. I’ve started the process and will see where it takes me.