Scottsdale residents shed light on the days of their lives at home

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As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, Arizona residents have been ordered to remain home except for specific essential activities, and as some Scottsdale residents cross the three-week mark since social distancing suggestions began everyone is adjusting to the “new normal.”

From elected officials and young parents to retired volunteers, being home and sheltered from friends and family is having an impact on everyone. Some people are learning new skills, while others are coming to terms with feelings of loneliness. And on top of it all, homeschooling is taking place for school-aged children at the leadership of their parents.

The Independent reached out to a handful of Scottsdale residents to gain insight into what their new routines look like --- for most, missing the gym and physical activities topped the list for worse outcome of the quarantine.

However, family bonding appears to be a silver-lining that has emerged through this unfortunate, historic situation.

All respondents were asked the same eight questions, and portions of their responses are below. Learn more about your neighbors and what they had to say:

Melinda Gulick

•How are you filling your time during this quarantine time?

As a solo mother of two boys ages 4 and 7, we are filling our days adapting to life at home with no school, no friends and no sports. Attempting to keep a schedule and a routine but also enjoy quality time together. It’s overwhelming and OK at the same time.

•If you have kids, tell us what activities you’ve been doing with them? How are they spending their time?

We have been doing daily ZOOM classes with my son’s first grade class, walking our dogs regularly and cooking together. We’re limiting screen time and TV time. We’re going to make a valiant attempt at online school and teaching my four-year-old to read and recognize sight words. Overall, I’m trying to keep them busy and active so we don’t go stir crazy.

•Overall, what is your emotional state during this quarantine?

Lonely and overwhelmed. I’m an extrovert and usually quite busy with friends, community commitments and work. I miss seeing my wonderful village in person. Having my children home for the rest of the school year – and the routine and schedule it provides for them – is daunting. I miss having time to myself for reflection and exercise.

•What has been the worse thing about quarantine?

No school! No church! No social activities for me or the boys. We miss our friends. We miss our teams. We miss in person worship. Our family has endured a lot of change and loss already with the loss of my husband in December. Adjusting to yet another change has not been easy for my kids --- especially since they don’t truly understand what COVID-19 really is.

Peter Palmer

•How are you filling your time during this quarantine time?

  1. Catching up on home tasks – mainly paperwork that we keep putting off
  2. Reading
  3. Watching movies
  4. Waterfront Condos --- hosted a mini conference with a singer who is on our staff yesterday. Most watched from their balcony but others (not on the canal side) sat out doors and listened with social distancing in effect.

•What has been the best thing about quarantine?

The waterfront community supportive response to restrictions placed on them. I’m on the policy board and we had to close our gym, pool and clubroom early in the process. Again, residents have been very supportive and understanding. We also went to minimal manning for our 43 staff members, but we still are paying all of them full salary. This was also fully supported by our residents and board members.

Andrea Alley

•How are you filling your time during this quarantine?

I’m using this time to catch up on reading, clean our house inside and out, keep my houseplants alive, crossfit in my backyard, connect with my family, and build professional relationships virtually. Oh, and apparently, I’m a homeschool mom now.

•If you have kids, tell us what activities you’ve been doing with them? How are they spending their time?

We’ve been spending lots of time outside when the kids aren’t facetiming or gaming with their friends. While we still monitor what they do, our typically strict screen-time restrictions have mostly gone out the window. We recognize this is the only way they can connect with their friends these days, which is hard on all of them. We also write letters and draw pictures to send to senior living centers since visitation is locked down.

•What has been the best thing about quarantine?

My youngest daughter learning to ride her bike and taking our first family bike ride on the greenbelt together was the highlight. Our dogs are so happy about whatever is going on right now because we are all here all the time. The heartwarming news stories that shine through our efforts to stay informed.

Lucas Miller

•What is your work situation?

As for our work situation, well we don’t currently have one. As we are both bartenders in the same restaurant, we both have been laid-off until further notice. It’s a bit scary as we have both lost our incomes and have had to file for unemployment. Fortunately, some relief is on the way, and we have our savings to rely on, but not knowing when work will resume is worrisome. Additionally, having been furloughed means that, for the time being, we have lost our health insurance coverage as well. We just received our COBRA information yesterday and were shocked to see that our coverage will now cost a whopping $1,600 per month. We may have to make a very difficult decision on that front soon.

•Overall, what is your emotional state during this quarantine?

Our emotional state has been mostly very positive. We are cherishing our time together as a couple and with our child. This time together is priceless and may never happen again in our lifetimes. It’s been a joy to watch our child’s development and she’s definitely happy to be receiving so much attention. Of course, there are moments of worry and uncertainty. I have had a few sleepless nights. But, I continually remind myself that one, worry doesn’t change anything, and two, that this too shall pass.

•What has been the best thing about quarantine?

The best thing about quarantine has just been the opportunity to slow things down, smell the flowers, spend time with loved ones, and reconnect with old friends (via social media or phone).

•What has been the worse thing about quarantine?

The worst thing about quarantine is of course the uncertainty and the lack of pay. I would be lying if I said that I’m not a little bored from time to time. Also, we have been cooking non-stop, so there are dishes to be done --- tons of dishes.

Elise Adland

•If you have kids, tell us what activities you’ve been doing with them? How are they spending their time?

We have been playing soccer on grass, going for walks, painting rocks, planting a herb garden. Bike riding if the weather is nice.

•Overall, what is your emotional state during this quarantine?

I am tired but learning to embrace every little moment. Yoga has helped and going for walks. Seeing our gym is closed.

Christian Serena

•If you have kids, tell us what activities you’ve been doing with them? How are they spending their time?

I have three daughters, two of whom are school aged. Their schools and teachers have been great through this unexpected shutdown. They have 1 on 1 videos and group video lessons with their teachers and peers throughout the day. My wife keeps them on schedule, jumping from class to class, while I work.

•Overall, what is your emotional state during this quarantine?

You have to stay positive. It’s a horrible situation but we are all in this together. We will make it through stronger, we always do.

Debra Marshall

•How are you filling your time during this quarantine time?

I’m taking an Italian language class on ZOOM from Florence Italy every morning from 5:30 to 9am; I make new recipes; organize things at home for which there was not enough time before; FaceTime friends and family; have virtual cocktail hours; play golf by walking and strict social distancing.

•What has been the worse thing about quarantine?

Learning that we have few government officials (including health department) who are willing to put public health above economics and civil liberties. I have worked with a group of concerned citizens, including physicians like myself, who have tried to persuade the Governor and Scottsdale mayor with the somber facts about this crisis. I am convinced that we could act to prevent needless death and illness with a strict Stay at Home campaign and closure of non-essential business. The order issued from Mayor Romero in Tucson is what we need statewide. I guess we will have to remember this at election time.

George Ertel

•How are you filling your time during this quarantine time?

I had been doing things around the house that needed doing – and spending more time on line. But this past Sunday, our church (Highlands) challenged us to use Monday to fast and pray. Not worried that the end is nigh, but used Rahm Emmanuel’s maxim – never let a crisis go to waste – in a spiritual, non-political way. So yesterday was a day of prayer and fasting – something I’d never done before but I highly recommend it for praying every two hours.

•If you have kids, tell us what activities you’ve been doing with them? How are they spending their time?

My kids are grown, so their recent activities have been shopping for toilet paper! Actually, one seems to have been shopping for home goods on Amazon, so I’ll expect to see a lot of craftwork and home décor projects in her house.

Solange Whitehead

•How are you filling your time during this quarantine time?

I am working from home. In addition to our usual priorities, we have the added priority of trying to govern with COVID-19. I have been advocating strongly for pre-emptive measures to reduce the case load, save lives, and lessen the overall economic impact. I have appreciated the opportunity to communicate with elected officials around the State and country. As well as regular briefings from the County Health Department and input from our many qualified residents. The city is also planning ways to prioritize resources to protect residents and local businesses and I am very supportive of the priorities. I don’t have direct access to updates from the Governor’s office, that is reserved for Mayors, but I do appreciate almost daily updates I receive from Mayor Lane.

•What has been the best thing about quarantine?

Arizona has not faced quarantines but the substantially reduced activity has made our air cleaner and fresher. People are wasting far less time driving here or there and spending more time outside and with family. And, it seems jigsaw puzzles are in, which has got to be healthier than Twitter!

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