Changes aren't all bad
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in Carroll County, I believe itís safe to say ó if not directly, at least indirectly.
I should note at the outset that five Carroll County residents have died from the virus, and those deaths are not something to take lightly. My heart goes out to those five people, and to the families and friends they left behind.
I count myself lucky in regard to COVID-19. I havenít been sick and neither has anyone in my immediate family, although my daughter-in-lawís grandmother has tested positive after contracting the virus in a Little Rock nursing home.
While the virus hasnít affected my health, it has made an impact on my lifestyle. It has changed my work environment fairly significantly. As regular readers know, weíve suspended our Weekend edition for the time being, although the plan is to bring it back as soon as thatís feasible. That makes for a different rhythm to the work week but I think it also has made our Midweek edition stronger in terms of news content.
Our associate editor, Samantha Jones, and reporter Haley Schichtl are both working from home for now. Theyíre both still producing the same great work as always, but I do miss seeing them around the office. I also miss our group lunches, which happened once or twice a week.
I havenít been inside a restaurant since March 4, when Sam and I had lunch at Geraldiís. I have taken advantage of curbside pickup a couple of times and Iím a regular at a couple of local drive-thru windows, but Iím not in any hurry to be around a crowd.
I also find myself cooking at home more, especially on the weekends. Since I go home for lunch almost every day now, Iím eating a lot more leftovers too. Since I enjoy cooking, thatís a positive.
One thing that has really changed is my travel habits. Iíve become quite the homebody. Iíve only been outside Carroll County once in the past four months and Iíve seen a huge difference in the number of miles Iíve driven and the amount of money Iíve spent on gas. In fact, Iíve spent less than $50 on gas since March 17.
Sooner or later, the pandemic will subside. Maybe that wonít happen until there is a vaccine that becomes widely available. Or maybe enough people will take it seriously to slow down its spread.
Until then, Iíll continue to look for positives in the new normal.