This was my Instagram post for December 31, 2019. Talk about not aging well!!

But I gave it a go the first couple of months of 2020. There was my typical work stress, along with my humble little routine of Zumba class, gardening, grocery shopping, and going to church. I was also planning a nice high school graduation for my daughter, which included a summer vacation in Minnesota with our cousins at their lake house. We were so excited!!

Yep, you know what’s coming next…

TIME TO SHOP FOR TOILET PAPER

At the beginning of March, and the news was not good. There was a lot of growing concern over spread of this COVID-19 virus people new very little about. 

And then my husband and I went to Costco. It was a regular shopping trip, but as we were checking out the cashier was telling us he’s seen people buying up toilet paper. Really? There’s a virus amongst us and the first thing people think about is toilet paper? I went to the grocery store the next day to pick up a couple little things, and the shelves were full of paper products including toilet paper. But after I remembered what the Costco cashier told us, I thought to myself, ‘we are running a bit low, so I’ll grab this twelve pack just in case.’ 

I went back to that same store the following weekend, and the toilet paper shelves were empty! Wow, how did that happen so fast!! I never thought I’d be so grateful for a toilet paper purchase. How nutty is that?!

A week later, the rumor around my office was that there was going to be a stay at home order from the governor. So a decision was quickly made to have everyone take their computers home so we could obey this order. That continued for a couple weeks until our company’s revenue plummeted by more than 50%. No one was surprised since our business was in dentistry, and the federal government ordered people not to visit the dentist unless it’s an emergency. The idea was to conserve the short supply of PPE that health care workers needed to treat coronavirus patients. 

Once business dropped, my team was furloughed. During the furlough I did some gardening, baked banana bread, conserved toilet paper, washed groceries, and stayed glued to the news reports about the virus. What we didn’t do was buy tickets to Minnesota. 🙁

Then, when business didn’t fully recovery, I got a phone call in August saying that I would not be returning to work. Which meant that at age 54, I faced the daunting task of having to look for work during a pandemic while competing for the same jobs against people much younger and cooler than me. So far, I have not been successful. 

In October, the anxiety and stress started to overwhelm me, so I took to writing to release what I was feeling inside. This led to the first Nuts and Crackers blog post. Not in the form you see it now, but a work in progress. I really wasn’t sure what I was doing. Oh, I had blogged before, but I didn’t really have a clear vision of what this new blog would be about.

As it evolved, Nuts and Crackers became both a story telling platform and a social network. I’ve met some great people, shared stories, and the enjoyment I get from it is far beyond my expectations!

So too summarize, before the pandemic I was experiencing stress placed on me by other people. Now, I have self-imposed stress to get a job, and do a better job of writing this blog. I also practice gratitude for what I didn’t lose in the pandemic, my friends and family.

And things are getting better for my friends in the health care industry. Everyone I know got the vaccine, and that relieved a lot of their stress. Hopefully the worst is now behind us.

Thank you for reading, and feel free to share any before and after pandemic moments in your life. 

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