Connected during the shutdown

This week we learned how to stay connected while we’re all separated in our little bubbles. 

Before March 21, when our state (Illinois) went into shutdown mode, our days and weeks had regular markers. We knew it was Tuesday because that’s the day we go to Obedience classes. We knew it was Thursday because that’s the day we have Agility training. We know it’s Sunday because that’s the day we do our dogs’ nails, teeth, ears, etc.

Okay, Sunday hasn’t changed. We still do everybody’s nails, teeth, ears, etc. But the rest? Gone. Instead of filling our gas tanks every week, we’re still on the same tank as when the shutdown started. Instead of relaxing watching hockey or baseball in the evening, we’ve succumbed to a steady diet of HGTV. It’s less fattening than the Food Channel. But even the commercials have changed. Every big corporation is talking about how we’re all in this together, separate, but together.

Connected more personally

Fran was doing okay with it, for the most part. But, in all honesty, Fran would be a fairly happy hermit. Hope? Not so much. I miss yelling at my obedience students and joking around with my classmates. We’ve never been huge fans of talking on the phone, so, aside from the occasional yell “Simon, leave Tango alone!,” the house has been pretty quiet for us sisters.

Then we got together with some friends for a Zoom cocktail party. It was fun! We could see each other, we talked about dogs (what else?), and it felt like really getting together with friends.

Map of the world showing connected family

And this past weekend, we had a family Zoom get-together. We had to coordinate the timing just right – there were family members from Scotland, New Zealand, North Carolina, Illinois, and several California cities. It was great to see everyone, even on our tiny phone screens. And we got to “meet” our New Zealand cousin’s new puppy, Otis! We discovered that almost everyone had dogs. And the dogless two have other animals. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. We’ve seen studies mentioning that love for animals is, at least in part, genetic. That’s a force that runs strong in our family.

Scary bits

The most somber part was hearing the stories from one cousin who’s a doctor in the Chicago area. He’s an Ob/Gyn specialist, so not an emergency physician. And yet, he’s still on the front lines – treating patients who may be positive and still need to deliver their babies. But we got to virtually meet his Great Dane, Frankie. For some reason, he always had Frankie at daycare when we went to visit. Maybe he was afraid we’d go into “dog trainer” mode.

Actually, that was really tempting. Between the new puppy, the two “catch me if you can” pups in North Carolina, and the big galumpher here, it was hard to resist. But we weren’t there to lecture, but to connect with our far-flung family. 

The biggest laugh was Fran’s Boston Terrier, Simon. All our dogs were snoozing pretty peacefully during our family Zoom – until Simon started snoring. Loudly. The giggles heard ‘round the world! Fran had to mute her microphone.

Technology newbies

We didn’t set up either of the Zoom calls, but we understand it’s pretty easy to do. And free. So, while we’re not endorsing it, or any other “app” that lets you make video calls – we highly recommend it. We can all learn some new tricks and it helps to see other, friendly and loved, faces.

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