So the last ten months have been different, to say the least. As many of you know, normally I’m traveling somewhere every week. Such has not been the case since February/March when I last traveled to San Diego and Reston. I’ve only traveled by car to two places since the pandemic began. I have not worked in an office since February. Within one week of all the shelter in place orders issued in California, SCS Engineers transitioned its entire office workforce to working from home. Our Field Staff and other essential workers continue performing services outside of the office and with PPE and social distancing.
I have never really perceived the stress of traveling all the time, but being home has been relaxing and therapeutic in a way. I eat lunch almost every day with Carole, my wife. We often watch something educational during lunch or just talk. I’ve been able to watch the sunrise almost every day. I observe the daily ebb and flow of life from my “home office,” which faces the front of my house. From there, I keep tabs on all things solid waste throughout SCS and the country. I watch my neighbors walk their dogs and stroll together, and the hordes of kids on their bicycles flying around the neighborhood.
I have walked almost 3 miles every day for the last six months, enjoying the morning solitude, quietness, and seasons’ changing. I’ve watched all kinds of YouTube videos, mostly woodworking, and taught myself how to use Fusion 360.which is a 3D AutoCad program from AutoDesk.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve spent a lot of time after work and on weekends in my woodshop. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this diversion. I’ve designed and built several fairly ambitious projects, the biggest ones being a set of workshop cabinets (tops and bottoms) with 20 drawers, cabinets for my daughter and son-in-law, a large mobile workbench for my woodshop, a bunk bed for my grandkids, and a new desk that I’m finishing now. I’ve learned that Amazon is a dangerous thing because it makes it way too easy to buy new tools and gadgets to support my woodworking habit. I’ve had fun talking with other SCSers and clients who share a passion for woodworking as well.
We were fortunate to have my daughter Christine, her husband Chris, and three of my grandchildren (Frankie, Robert, and George) with us this summer for nearly a month, which was fun and chaotic. We miss our West Coast contingent, Paul (my son), Lindsay (daughter-in-law), Austin, and Julia (our two other grandchildren). They moved to Bellevue, Washington, right at the beginning of the pandemic, where my son took a job with Amazon as an optical-mechanical engineer. Since March, we haven’t seen them in person; however, we do FaceTime with them almost every day.
I’ve learned to wear a mask, keep six feet of separation, use Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Talk, LifeSize, and Webex. We continue to keep work, family, and friends together using these tools, which has been good.
This whole situation does wear on me from time to time, but I keep telling myself, this is just like walking those three miles each day, one foot after the other. There are so many people struggling now; my situation is blessed. My family, SCS, and my friends are doing everything we can to ease their burden. Hopefully, the end of this pandemic is in sight. Until then, we find ways to manage, help others, and stepping out of our normal routines helps us grow.
Bob Gardner, Sr. VP SCS Engineers