May 2, 2020

It is a glorious spring day in MN, which always reminds us why we live here. The next 5 months or so bring the kind of weather that allows for golfing, tennis, trips to the cabin... this will be a different kind of summer.

Since I last wrote, there has been a big development on the work front for me. Due to the lost revenue  caused by the COVID-19 shut down, Mayo Clinic has had to cut back on costs, including salaries. Temporary furloughs were announced for many teams and departments, including mine. I will begin a 12 week furlough on June 1. Many of my colleagues start their furloughs Monday, so it will be a different kind of job the next month until my furlough begins.

It has been such an unsettling time. Our team was once 20 people, then reduced to 13 when supplementals were let go in March. Now with furloughs, there will be 5 of us working on Monday, and just 3 of us starting May 18. We're really just in "keep the lights on" mode as we try to make it through the summer and, hopefully, return to full staffing in September.

It is hard to reconcile because we have been doing great, important work sharing information with the public about COVID-19. We have more viewers and listeners than ever to our news network site and our podcasts. But, reducing staffing is the fastest way to recoup lost revenue, so it must be done. It has been hard to deal with the emotions and support each other when we're all in our separate homes working remotely. We all, of course, can't imagine how the work can be done without us, but it can, and it's a good reminder that we aren't our jobs.

So, a lesson in resiliency for me and my co-workers as we each take our turn stepping away.

On the bright side, I have one more month to work and plan programming for the summer that can hopefully sustain us and keep our radio show and podcast alive. We'll see. I know things might look very different by the time I return in late August.

If you live in MN and you have to take a forced 12 week vacation, June, July and August are the months to do it. I am hopeful that our state will be more open for business come June and we can make our annual trek to Lake Hubert the first part of June when Erin has a break between quarters.

Erin is halfway through with this first quarter of remote learning. She's surviving the heavy credit load and already planning for the next quarter, which, unfortunately, will also be taught online. Philadelphia and Drexel are not quite ready to bring students back to campus for the summer quarter, but are making plans for fall quarter to be back to some form of normal, in person instruction.

Erin will stay with us through June, but once it's safe to return and campus opens back up, she's ready to return to her apartment, her friends, her life in Philly. We'll see if that can happen come July. She loves us and all, but Rochester is not where she wants to be!

We're still grateful that we're healthy and we've gotten this bonus time together. Dan and I laughed this week, reminiscing about sending Erin back to school after last winter break. I was weepy and sad because "she probably won't ever live with us again". Whoops... She's been here 6 weeks now with another 6 to go! It's been a lot of togetherness and we're all ready for something a little different, but we've made the most of getting to be a trio again for an extended time.

I'm hoping to fill my summer with golf, tennis, family and friends when the physical distancing restrictions relax. I can't wait.