by | May 29, 2020 | Chris Goff | 8 comments

Who knew in February what our lives would be like in May? It’s almost surreal, like a bad science fiction novel or B-rated movie.

The Timeline

December 31, China informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of 41 patients with a mysterious pneumonia, most connected to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.

January 20, the first US case is reported in Washington state.

January 30, WHO declares a global public-health emergency. Things move forward with a California person dying on February 6. WHO names the virus Covid-19 on February 11. Cases start to spike in South Korea, Italy and Spain.

March 7, I got on a plane and flew to Hawaii to visit my daughter.

March 8, Italy places all of its residents on lockdown.

March 15, I was changing my plane tickets and flying home with my husband to Colorado. I wanted to stay in Hawaii. He had to get back to work. My kids insisted I “act like an adult and come home.”


Life As We Know It Has Changed

Things snowballed after we got home. “Stay at Home” orders were put into place. My husband moved his office into the guest room. We’ve learned to work around each other’s Zoom calls. Trips to the grocery store to have someone load groceries into the back end have become adventures. We wear masks, because that’s what you do to protect other people. We miss our family and friends and colleagues.

And now we’re emerging and entering the “Safer at Home” phase. Unfortunately, being in the high-risk category that means continuing to stay at home for…a while. Having witnessed first-hand how terrible this disease can be, we’re listening.

Looking at the Positives

I figured there have to be some good things coming out of all of this, so I’ve made a list.

1. I have four cancelled trips worth of plane tickets stashed away for next year. One writer’s retreat, two cancelled graduations and an Alaska trip with our son and his family that I should be packing for. Maybe we can combine them to go someplace really special next year?!

2. I’ve gotten better at cribbage. I think I’m now tied with my husband for overall wins.

3. We Zoom with the kids every Sunday. I don’t expect it will last forever, but it’s been great spending time apart together. We have six kids and two grandchildren, plus their significant others. It’s like a party!

4. I’m mastering new technology. Who knew I would become a Zoom master?

Bottom line, I’m busier than I’ve ever been. Which ties back to #4 and how it pertains to my day job and volunteer work. And when better than during a pandemic to have my mysteries re-released by Sharpe Books?

So How Does One Stay Sane?

I have a suggestion. Based on all the YouTube videos that people have sent me, it seems anyone can create a video these days. Tik Tok videos are all the rage. So why not try your hand at a parody like these women did?

Of course, everyone’s offering all sorts of suggestions. This list in USA Today has a lot of great ideas. Here are a few, but the list is worth checking out if you have time on your hands.

1. Complete a puzzle. I think Robin Burcell likes puzzles.

2. Start a journal. Tom Colgan has this locked up. We’re into Day 70+ and he just keeps getting funnier.

3. Need some excitement? Text all your exes, just in case you have something more you want to get off your chest.

4. Watch all the really old long movies you’ve been avoiding up until now. Lee Goldberg likely has suggestions. Wes and I have tried watching a few, with definitely mixed results.

5. Teach yourself a foreign language. Okay, I admit. I did this, too. I dusted of my old Swedish language tapes and confirmed that jag förstår inte.

And my personal favorite:
6. Treat yourself to a facemask. They’re talking about mud!

So, tell us dear Readers, what are the positives you’re taking away, and what fun thing have you done while quarantined?

Don’t Miss a Thing!



  1. Karna Bodman

    Yes – what a life-changing challenge we're all facing now. Looking for the positive in all of this — I too have become a zoom addict, using it for everything from board meetings, "Rogue" get-togethers and watching lectures from experts. Then there's the time I try to spend "training" our two Labradoodles (again) to stop pulling on the leash (I welcome any suggestions besides offering treats all the time). But I have to admit I've enjoyed spending this exact time writing another novel – which I started on March 28 and finished last Friday. Saturday I began writing the sequel. Thanks, Chris for this post with all those encouraging ideas – and please stay safe…we WILL get through this.

  2. Lisa Black

    You are definitely the Zoom master. But don’t be silly…no one actually plays cribbage except characters in Agatha Christie novels.

    I have spent the past two months being busier than ever, as well. I was lucky (or unlucky) in that I had to keep going to work every day (at the police department I’m considered ‘essential’—first time I’ve ever been accused of that) but in the off time where I would have been going to friends’ or out to eat or to church or orchestra practice, instead I finished a book and wrote a slew of blogs and emails to prepare for the next release in August. I also cleaned out the garage (not a day-long project, a week-long project) and painted all my interior doors. I’m exhausted!

  3. Gayle Lynds

    I love your timeline, Chris. You were more places than anyone I know when all of this started to get hot, and now, oh, the places you'll go when we can all travel again. And very excited about the re-release of your birdwatching books!

  4. Rogue Women Writers

    You wrote that book FAST! Can't wait to read it.

  5. Rogue Women Writers

    I love that you painted your doors. Well done!

  6. Rogue Women Writers

    Thanks, Gayle. We haven't cancelled the trip to the Arctic next summer. This must be over by then, don't you think?

  7. Pat Marinelli

    Well, in our family we've missed 5 birthdays, a 25th anniversary, Mother's Day, and grandson's college graduation. Those things were sad for a family that celebrates together, but the worse was losing my twin sister to Covid 19, no hospital visits so she died alone, no service and no funeral due to the shutdown. We are trying to staying safe.

    Getting grocery deliveries is sometimes difficult, but kids, and two neighbors have helped us. Being retired money hasn't become as issue. We've replaced doctor visits with phone calls. One son is out of work, one must go to work, the rest of the adult kids work from home mostly.

    We all stay in touch by phone. Things here are starting to ease, but being 'at risk' we will stay sheltered in place.

    On the upside, I do more cooking than ever. Tried my hand at some new recipes…some great, some not so much. It is interesting to make meals with missed and limited groceries. I've read more books, reread many favorites. Watched more TV then I ever did. Spent more time on the Internet then I ever thought I would. Now gardening season is starting so there will be fresh tomatoes and hopefully fresh herbs.

    I'm hopeful that things will get better soon.

  8. Chris Goff

    Pat, I'm so sorry to hear about your sister. I'm late responding to your comment, but I'm hopeful that things are easing where you live. Thank you for sharing with us.