Checking In - How Are You Doing Now?

Edited: April 17, 2020, 11:26 AM

Hi everyone,

I thought it was time for a check-in post. Just wanted to see how you're feeling and how things are going in your community.

I'll start by reporting from the Los Angeles area, where we now have the cleanest air of any major city in the world, it's quieter at night than I've ever heard and it feels like I'm living up in the mountains again. We go to the grocery or farmer's market once a week, and I'm just cranking out Theme Park Insider articles as usual.

How are you?

Replies (28)

April 17, 2020, 12:05 PM

Robert - A calm clean LA basin sounds idyllic. Planning a return trip to DLR is another story. We had planned to be there in early September but now who knows? With all the unknowns we just carry on for now with health and safety at the forefront.

April 17, 2020, 1:19 PM

My family and I are hunkered down in the DC Suburbs and doing as well as can be expected. While our entire spring and who knows how much of the summer are being flushed down the toilet with each passing day, we feel fortunate that we were able to visit WDW in late January before everything went downhill. Our lives significantly revolved around theme parks and sports, so the current lockdown situation has made us all batty. In fact, we had tickets to the B1G Men's Basketball Tournament Final in Indianapolis before that event was cancelled following the first day of games. We would have probably spent at least 4-5 days in local theme parks by now (SFA, BGW, and KD). I most likely would have covered the Pantheon media event sometime over the past 2 weeks. We've already missed least 5-6 MLB games that we would have attended, and a dozen of my son's soccer games that have been indefinitely postponed or cancelled.

It seems that with every glimmer of hope that things might get better in the not too distant future, something comes to crush it and scrub away any potential silver lining. Luckily, both my wife and I can perform our jobs remotely, so our income has not been affected, and in fact, we're not spending a lot of money right now since we're just sitting at home, so it's accruing in our bank accounts at an unusually rapid rate. We can be thankful that all of our close family and friends have not been directly impacted by the virus, though my parents had a close call getting home from a South American cruise that was denied scheduled debarkation in Chile that necessitated an additional 2-week voyage across the Equator.

April 17, 2020, 2:23 PM

One of the only good things to come out of this is LA's traffic. It's so quiet on the streets now that it's kinda eerie.

April 17, 2020, 2:46 PM

@postcott .... ditto for Orlando.

It's great getting around .... :) but I'll be very happy when things get back to some semblance of "normal" though.

April 17, 2020, 3:03 PM

We are doing well here in north Florida. We go to the store about once a week but other than that have been hunkered down. I've been finishing up some classes for graduate school (all online) and have also been fortunate to work from home. Some in my family are feeling immense financial burden and job loss, however.

April 17, 2020, 8:39 PM

Russell, were your parents on the Zaandam?

Edited: April 17, 2020, 11:21 PM

I'm on day 38 since my last theme park visit, which as a Southern California resident is pushing it for a record. That said, I'm still working from home and still making money, so other than boredom I don't have a lot to complain about. We try to go two weeks between grocery shopping trips, and otherwise only leave the house to pick up take-out or walk around the neighborhood. Sadly, literally everything I look forward to enjoying is not an option right now, and with the cancellation of an event I had planned to attend in Georgia next month COVID-19 officially affected my vacation plans for the year. At this time, I am operating under the assumption that by mid May we'll start to see a phased reopening and that my summer coaster trip planned for the second half of July will be able to proceed, but I'm going to be watching the situation closely over the next month before making any plans that cannot be changed. In the meantime, I'm getting my theme park fix through NoLimits, Planet Coaster, and Parkitect, staying involved in other communities through chat groups, and cooking at home more in the last month than I typically do in a year.

Edited: April 18, 2020, 5:52 AM

I'm what called an "essential employee." I'm a pharmacist in a pharmacy that provides medication and medical supplies to long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, hospices, half-way houses, etc. I don't go into the facilities- nobody does. Every one is locked-down, and our delivery drivers have to meet someone from the facility in their parking lot to make deliveries and get returns (yes, meds and equipment from nursing homes can often be returned for credit) but everything then goes into quarantine for a week. Every day we have new homes listed as Covid-19 positive, and every day we lose patients. I'm not a first responder or a direct patient care giver, but I'm close enough to them to "feel the concern." We can't even get proper cleaning supplies much less get tested- we make our own hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes are rationed. It's bad out there- you hear about it in the news, but I see it daily. A coworker whom I work directly with was off for a month with all the symptoms, but even they couldn't get tested. ER and their physician told them to assume they had it and self-quarantine. They just came back, and said that it was not "just the flu," but the worst two weeks of their lives. My wife has MS and is immunocompromised, and rarely leaves the house, and every time I go out to work or to the store for something we need I worry that, regardless of how careful I am, how much I wash my hands and change clothes when I return, how careful I am to always wear a mask, I worry that I will bring it home. I see people refusing to wear masks because "they're uncomfortable", "they don't look good", "nobody else is wearing them", and grocery employees with no masks and no gloves, and now they want to lift the restrictions. Sorry, Robert, right now it's a bit stressful for me. I have a job that I have to go to, and I wish I could have the problem of being stuck at home. I'm going to have to consider going back to Cedar Point very seriously, because you know as well as I that social distancing will never happen in a coaster queue line. Just because our parks may soon be open doesn't mean they're safe. I was so looking forward to Cedar Point's 150th anniversary year. I was so looking forward to riding Orion at Kings Island. Now, I just want to keep myself and my wife alive. Sorry to be a downer- welcome to my world.

Edited: April 18, 2020, 6:14 AM

I work self-employed in theatre, and all my work for the foreseeable future is cancelled, with many of the organisations I work with at risk of going under. So that's a concern.

But I'm lucky only to have myself to worry about and not any dependents. James, I can't imagine what stress this must be - we're all very grateful for people like you putting yourselves on the line to keep things going.

How strict are police being where everyone's at? There's a lot of fines being handed out here, but generally it seems to be working out.

April 18, 2020, 6:32 AM

I haven't heard of anything being done by the police, but then I haven't heard of any "non-essential" businesses trying to break the closure orders. I have seen a lot more police on the roads watching for speeders... not sure why. As far as what's considered essential, it seems pretty "wild west" in Ohio. A factory that makes plastic boxes is still open. What would we do without our storage totes?

Ben, I appreciate your kind words. I have to admit that, when I went into pharmacy, I never expected it to be quite so...hard to find the right word..."hazardous?" "dramatic?" But in spite of my apparent complaining, I'm where I need to be right now.

Theatre- right now I should have been in the middle of rehearsals for "The Robber Bridegroom," the musical that I was to be directing for our community theater. We were closed down the night of auditions by the State of Ohio. At least we hadn't actually started rehearsals or, worse yet, it wasn't Opening Night (which happened to one of our neighboring theaters). On the marquee of our theater is the announcement, "We will be back...after a brief intermission." Hang in there, Ben!

April 18, 2020, 7:52 AM

Sad, But doing fine right now

April 18, 2020, 10:22 AM

Compared to a lot of folks who are suffering financially and physically, my family and friends are doing fine. Fortunately, nobody we know personally is seriously ill with the virus, but several of my wife's Facebook friends have had the virus, and are miserable but are handling it.

On the work front, I'm teleworking and my job actually seems to be busier now than when we were all in the office together. Most of my vendors, the unscrupulous bastards that they are, are using the COVID-19 crisis as carte blanche to delay delivery of critical items and are totally destroying my program's schedule. For some strange reason, they are saying that their delivery delays are solely due to the crisis and not to any fault on their part in over-promising and then under-delivering on their contracts. From my point of view, they all sound like they're auditioning to be Chinese diplomats.

At home, things are interesting. My wife is a germaphobe, and I think she's been researching how much Lysol she can spray in my direction without killing me or at least keep my death in the questionable area where it could be classified as accidental. Considering that she's a big fan of the Discovery ID channel, my thoughts are that she's planning on making it look accidental. "Detective, I followed the instructions on the can as best I could, and the print was so small that I couldn't read most of it!"

I don't know what to think of it because I'm too busy washing my hands for 20 seconds and singing the A-B-C song and trying to figure out why she calls me a sociopath when I sing Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust" instead. I had to stop because she started turning up the volume on the TV during the commercial breaks where divorce attorneys were advertising that they did consultations via Skype. Don't want to go down that path again.

Speaking of the TV and entertainment choices, we seem to have trouble finding common ground on what to watch. My comments like "Hey, there's a Godzilla marathon on the SyFy channel; Godzilla vs King Kong, Godzilla vs the Smog Monster. This is gonna be awesome! Break out the microwave popcorn!" are met with an incredible amount of negativity. So, I've been watching an awful lot of romance and relationship movies with her - no dragons - no robots - no hobbits. Nothing that is fun and helps me forget about the pandemic. At least we agreed on that conspiracy theory movie that her aunt recommended to her the other day. We both hated it - at least the parts we managed to stay awake for. Maybe that stuff on the Trilateral Commission controlling the government and the news media is true, but the part about Bigfoot being involved with JFK's assassination was total nonsense! Everyone knows that aliens helped kill JFK!

So, all in all, I'm doing pretty good. And considering that my issues are first world problems as my son likes to say, I'm doing great.

April 18, 2020, 11:41 AM

Tim, you win. NOBODY can top that!!

Edited: April 18, 2020, 12:56 PM

The police down in England have in some cases been making up their own rules, trying to tell people they can’t use their own front gardens, or rest whilst exercising, or buy non seesentisl things. Some were even telling health workers with ID that this wasn’t enough to make their journeys essential despite the guidance not preventing anyone going to work if it can’t be done at home. It got so bad that they were contradicted at daily press briefings and new guidance had to come out despite no changes in rules.

Up here in Scotland, the policing seems to be more reasonable. The only enforcement I’ve heard of involves teens and house parties.

April 19, 2020, 8:24 AM

James, I'll admit to a little hyperbole in my post. I don't think that my wife wants to kill me - all of the time. She might have the occasional passing thought about it every 5 minutes or so, but I think I'm safe for now. As a precautionary measure I did stop drinking iced tea and I hid the antifreeze in the garage.

Edited: April 20, 2020, 11:37 AM

@Robert - My parents were on the Celebrity Eclipse. They departed on February 29, which was right when the US outbreak began in Seattle, but more than a week prior to any serious talk about the dangers and mitigation started regarding the virus. They were on a 14-day itinerary sailing from Buenos Aires around the tip of South America with a schedule debarkation at San Antonio, Chile, but by the time they reached port, they were denied docking, because two other ships sailing parallel itineraries had passengers that had tested positive. The ship sailed around in circles for 2 days trying to figure out what to do, and eventually took on provisions in Valparaiso and again off the coast of Ecuador before steaming north and debarking in San Diego 2 weeks later. They've been home for 3 weeks now, and appear to be in the clear despite some scattered reports of passengers and crew from their ship testing positive after debarkation.

Edited: April 20, 2020, 7:40 PM

I am still working on multiple project sites in Tampa and Orlando. It's strange driving across WDW. Passing the empty parking lot at DHS is really quite sobering -- especially considering that it is Spring break and the lot should be wall to wall.

As quiet as WDW is (and I-Drive for that matter) There is still a lot of heavy equipment rumbling around the wide-open, exterior Epic Universe site.

My CM friends and family are all getting anxious. The conversations always evolve into people discussing what they've been "hearing" regarding when the parks will re-open. While most of these folks are furloughed, a couple are still working (some even on the so-called "ride-out" workers). And no one has any hard information as to when operations will commence.

But we are all healthy. When I venture out to the field I take heavy precautions. I'm grateful for the homemade theme park attraction videos as well as that great MIB stream from last week.

And for all of the TPI regs whose thoughtful perspectives provide a sense of normalcy ... Even Hillman's.

April 21, 2020, 11:28 AM

TH, I'm just a boring person living in a crazy world.

April 21, 2020, 3:20 PM

Things aren't good. I have family and friends who work in hospitals and medical facilities. It is stressful for them and hard on their families. It's annoying when people without experience with the virus want to talk about how it's not serious. Routine things have become complicated and the deaths we are familiar with are mostly complications from the virus and something else. Mostly....

Then there are the friends who have been fired, furloughed, or given reduced pay alongside people who are able to work from home or lucky enough to be paid to do very little. There is a mixture of sadness, relief, frustration, and survivors guilt. People want to be able to work, don't want to get sick, and are concerned with leadership's inconsistent messaging. There is envy all around concerning each other's position and a remarkable lack of calm and comfort from people who are at worst, inconvenienced.

The good is that there are people positively moving forward in their own way. I'm seeing wonderful things from churches, work colleagues, and social groups. The constructive and helpful nature of these people has made a much needed bright spot and a safe haven from the avalanche of folks telling you what to feel and do.

I hope we all can stay patient and safe. I hope we can continue to support and inspire one another in a empathetic way. I can't wait to get to that great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day.

Stay safe everyone.

April 21, 2020, 4:17 PM

I am one of the fortunate ones able to work from home, my wife and two boys aren't so lucky. Overall everything is good, everyone is still healthy and on an upside to this I've only had to put fuel in my gas guzzling SUV once in 4 weeks.

One other think I have discovered is that even though I used to dream about being able to work from home once they lift the gates and allow us to go back to work I will be one of the first to show up at the office. Working from home isn't as cracked up as I thought it would be, yes the commute is much shorter but managers feel that you should be available 24 hours a day.

April 21, 2020, 8:49 PM

RumbleMike, that was perfect. I know exactly how you feel, but I couldn't have said it better. Vaughn Miller, I'll never know what it's like to work from home- I'm a pharmacist...they frown on me taking the medication home to check it! As far as your gas guzzling SUV, it reminds me that someone told me their car was now getting three weeks per gallon.

Edited: April 22, 2020, 2:45 PM

Thanks James.

I think a helpful thing for my friends and family is just the chance to be heard. No matter how this pandemic has affected us, we seem interested in sharing our experiences. Sometimes it's just venting. Almost regardless of the method, we seem to feel better when we feel heard. Vaughn's experience is just as valid as yours, mine, TH's, Tim's, and Roberts.

Just like this website and this forum, I think it's a benefit to share, discuss, and support one another.

April 22, 2020, 1:39 PM

I agree 100%

April 22, 2020, 4:40 PM

I'm glad to still be employed. I work in HR for a smallish Family owned Beach and Tennis Club in La Jolla, CA. I do employee communication and Learning and Development. I'm working two days a week basically doing office coverage so there is someone in HR to handle incoming calls from Team Members needing help with anything HR related. My husband works in sales at SeaWorld so he's temporarily laid off right now and we are both on the unemployment to supplement my income.
We stay home 99% of the time and have more or less finished all of Netflix and Disney + at this point. I've also been doing a lot of cleaning and organizing in our storage areas.
I think we are being smart and doing the right things. I'm hoping we come out of this healthy and wiser.
I'm worried about the Theme Park...heck the Entertainment and Travel industry A LOT.

April 22, 2020, 5:21 PM

Rob, I hope your not doing to your husband what my wife has been doing to me. She is off work and has been "cleaning" and I can't find anything anymore.

April 23, 2020, 8:16 AM

I feel a need to post a disclaimer based off what I am going to say because i'm sure someone will be offended: in no way am I saying that this has been a good thing. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy that will probably take a long time recover from, killed thousands of people, and thrown peoples businesses into havoc. This is really, really bad. It is concerning to me how much money we are printing to bail ourselves out and its disappointing to once again see the leadership in the White House be totally incompetent on how to stop this.

Regarding my own situation TBH it's actually been really nice to have the time off. I am furloughed from both my jobs and my wife is furloughed from hers as well. I haven't really taken time off since before I can remember, even when I had days off from work I was still pushing myself to do a lot of stuff, and my body was really starting to push back on me, so this break came at the right time for me. I'm grateful that I had a [relatively] "poor" teenager/early adult life and then got beaten down over and over during the recession, because that experience made me never want to be in that position again...and I made sure that I would never be in that position again.

It's also given me [some] optimism that people will wake up and realize that when it comes to certain things, we all need to be in it together and be willing to make investments in order to prevent catastrophe's from happening. It's been really disappointing over the past several decades to see so many things that need investment get the back burner because people don't give a sh*t. Five years ago Bill Gates did a TED Talk about how at some point there was inevitably going to be a major viral pandemic that could cause $3 trillion in economic impact, and we should fund research and plans to try and contain it when it did happen. Of course no one listened and we didn't do anything, and the coronavirus has cost way more than $3 trillion in economic impact. As Warren Buffet says "an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure." I think the same applies for a lot of other things and I hope people think deeply about this during this lockdown and realize that over the past several decades we have done nothing to reduce traffic (bad for economy and bad for health), we find out all this information about climate change and what did everybody do? SUV sales up over 100% in the 2010s. Healthcare is now 17% of our GDP and it cost well over $100,000 to become a doctor. It's time for us to get our act together.

April 23, 2020, 10:14 AM

I think your thoughts are valid the_man. I too am hopeful people can see the positive and value in working together. In addition to the hardships, there is also good that's coming from this issue. But as you said, that good won't last if we think we can just go back to the way things were.

Times change. We grow. We keep moving forward.

April 26, 2020, 10:48 AM

Here in the southern part of New Jersey we are not as hard hit with Covid-19, yet, as the northern part of our state. I am still working as an office assistant at a small pallet building company, in fact my hours were recently increased when my co-worker (and only other office assistant) lost her child-care and could no longer work. Pallets are used to move groceries, medical supplies, beverages, and other essentials so we have continued to be open, though business has definitely slowed. Only four of us are allowed to set foot in the office, and we spray with Lysol anything and everything that gets delivered. My daughters are both home and participating in on-line learning. One is a sophomore in high school and the other in her first year of pursuing her master's degree from Syracuse University. Both are making out fine with the online learning experience. The younger one especially enjoys learning at home as she can sleep in most days! My husband works for a county govenment in Delaware, and at first was on a 2-day in the office, 2-day out of the office schedule, but when the governor of DE declared he wanted no one from out-of-state entering and staying in DE (especially those of us from NJ!) he began working from home every day. We are definitely doing more as a family now, playing games even more than in the past, having family movie nights (rare before), and taking long walks around our small town. My parents live one mile from us, and my mom is bedridden and sticken with Alzheimer's. The hospice aide comes mornings Mon. - Fri. to assist my dad. I also go over 3 times a week. He is nearly 78 and just can't do it alone, so we take as many precautions as we can and pray for the best. We take heart in the flowers still blooming, the temperatures slowly increasing, the local farms plowing their fields, and being able to still attend church via on-line services. We are too afraid to keep our Disney World trip plans for this summer, so are trying to stay upbeat by focusing on how we'll put our trip money toward next summer and make it a bigger, better trip :). I appreciated reading first hand accounts, and humorous accounts!, of how things are for others around the country so thank you, Robert, for starting this thread! Take care, everyone, and stay safe!

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