What Happened to March?
As of today, I have been working from home for exactly one month. I’m surprised at how fast the time has flown. With this in mind, I thought I would share my experience of the past 30 days. Good news…Roger and I are still on great terms which is amazing since he’s not used to being with me during the week, much less 24/7.
We started the week of March 16th with only Scott Weingarden and one staff member, Felipe Gallo, working in the office. Thankfully, before they started working from home, Adrian and Daniel worked some magic to ensure our office phones were connected and could be managed via their computer screens. They could tell from their home computers who was calling, who was on hold, who to conference in, and how to transfer the calls to any team member…seamlessly. I’m very proud and impressed with Raymond James technology. Raymond James has gone the extra mile to provide technology so all of us can work from any device from almost any location.
Scott continued to work in the office until this Monday, when Raymond James decided that all branch employees should work from home. Thankfully, we remain connected. For the team, the day starts and ends with a Starner group team Zoom meeting so we can stay in the loop and update each other on the status of our tasks and responsibilities. Speaking of responsibilities, Jessica has the additional challenge of managing two children under the age of 5 at home! Unsurprisingly, Jessica has masterfully handled the challenge without missing a beat (though she has missed some sleep!). The world simply has no substitute for great moms.
Starner Group Zoom Meeting
Our days are quite full, as we work to keep up with the speed and volatility of the market AND do our daily work. Some days fly by and others don’t seem to end! Of course, we aren’t crazy about the market volatility, but given the uncertainty in the world, we have come to expect it….just as we have in prior periods of turmoil.
Scott, Bruce, and I spend many hours on calls and studying. We are either calling you, answering your calls, or listening to conference calls from our many experts and money managers. We want you all to know that we WELCOME your calls to discuss the markets, your financial plans, or even if just to chat, say hello, or ask a small question. Given all of us are isolated in some way, we know connecting via phone or Zoom is more important than ever.
Speaking of calls….Roger and I both try to call a distant friend every day. Roger got out his old address book (yes, he still has one) and began his daily calls…starting with the “A’s.” He hasn’t spoken to most of these folks in 20+ years. Most of these old friends are in their 80’s or 90’s and some numbers don’t work anymore. Still, I am amazed to say he has connected with many. He’s having fun reconnecting and I think he’s up to D’s now! I have stories too…will save for another letter.
Staying home is not a piece of cake, especially when we are really semi-locked-up at home…and we can no longer eat out and meet with friends. I now have to shop, cook more, clean the house, and water my many plants. I must say, going to the office is much easier! I miss my cleaning lady, manicurist, hairdresser, eyebrow waxier, handyman, and personal trainer! They are all special people who made my life nice and easy. I’m letting my hair grow. Roger ordered a barber kit and expects me to be the barber…so far, no luck!
I forgot how much there is to clean in a house. Today, cleaning has taken on a new meaning… Constant sanitizing and washing hands. All these chores means I haven’t seen as many movies on Netflix nor read the many E books I have bought.
Many of you know that avoiding house cleaning has always been a strong impetus for me to go to work. Growing up, I skipped cleaning house by always working in the grocery store. Subsequently, I went to college not knowing how to make the bed! Thankfully, I soon learned I could send sheets to the laundry. Luckily, Roger was raised by a German mother. He learned to wash, clean and iron!! He agreed to wash the sheets and make the bed…hooray! Bed is not as neat and pretty as I would like…however, I am happy and can’t complain. We only wear clothes that can be washed in hot water…making sure no virus can survive the wash. Not sure how many of my plants will survive with my limited attention to them.
Cooking has now become pretty routine. Before going back to work, I loved cooking and entertaining at home. I now have a chance to fix old favorites and try some new ideas too. We do order out frequently to help out our local restaurants. The biggest challenge is to schedule shopping trips when stores aren’t crowded…so we can really observe the 6 foot distancing rule. More recently, I’m ordering online since it seems to be safer given that we are in the vulnerable age group. Though ordering online is convenient, I happen to enjoy going and browsing thru grocery stores, especially Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. So, I miss my supermarkets and still dream about going to Trader Joe’s!
Socially (strange word now), I’m a big Zoom fan, doing cocktail hour with friends…and size of the group is not a limitation either. I know many of you celebrated Zoom Passover and Easter with your families this past week. Our granddaughter, Kendall had her 16th birthday last week and I organized a Zoom party with both sides of her family…grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and dogs. Even though we couldn’t all attend a real party in Dallas, we were each able to say “happy birthday”, have a fun conversation with her, and watch her open her gifts. And it was a gift to see her smile throughout the hour. I now, look forward to Zoom invites from friends.
For sure, we are the lucky ones during this scary and stressful times. We are well and living pretty well. I have the luxury of despairing about cleaning and making beds. I have a job, lots of friends to connect with, a wonderful husband who cares about taking care of me, a close relationship with my daughters and their families and ALL of You too. We’ve had only two clients, who had Covid-19, and happily, they both just recovered. We will be really lucky when we can be tested, have a vaccine and get back to work!
What I am trying to remember and practice are:
- Eat Better – my only snack is popcorn
- Drink less – only toast on good news :)
- Work out more
Do What I can Control:
- My Attitude
- My Actions
This weekend will be my 5th weekend at home. Maybe I will start on my income taxes or finally see the movies and the read the books on my lists…after I water the plants and wash the clothes.
Thanks to all of you who sat through reading my letter. Would love to hear how you spent your month too.
Be Safe and Stay Well.