March 24, 2020

Weekend Recap: Last Day of Freedom

Weekend of March 13-15

Wow, things have really changed quite a bit in the last week. I started quarantining on Sunday and don’t plan to leave my house except for groceries until this is all over. It probably won’t make sense to do just “weekend recaps” anymore… perhaps I’ll get back to blogging randomly throughout the week? TBD. But for now, how about I recap my last days of freedom before I started staying home?

I was in Atlanta for work on Tuesday and Wednesday, then worked from home all day Thursday. As you can imagine, things were blowing up, with a lot of uncertainty over whether my project would still be proceeding. I primarily work with travel and transportation clients (airlines, hotels, airports, and distributors) and retail and consumer clients, and they are going into a tailspin right now. At first I thought that the creative way we had done the contracting for my biggest project meant that we’d still move forward, but on Friday, word came down that we’d be shutting it down. I was so disappointed – it’s great work (that needs to be done), and more importantly, I love the clients that I’ve been working with there. I know we’ll pick it back up at some point in the distant future, but I’m sad to have to stop it right now 🙁

After a few calls to start winding things down on Friday morning, I threw some things into the car and headed to Vail, taking more calls on the way. I stopped at Whole Foods in Frisco for lunch and to knock out some slides for a last minute fire drill, then continued on to Minturn. Once there, I worked till I suddenly realized it was 8pm and I should really eat dinner (oops), then had a quick dinner and settled into bed to read. While I thought I’d read for 20 minutes and then fall asleep, I ended up staying up till almost midnight reading the upcoming Emily Giffin book, The Lies That Bind, cover to cover. It was a good one! I had an early copy through NetGalley, but definitely recommend pre-ordering / picking this up when it comes out in June.

The next morning, I slept later than I usually do, and so hustled to get over to Beaver Creek. Since I was a little worried about COVID19 and taking a public bus, I parked over at Arrowhead. This meant I had a bit of a traverse to get over to Strawberry Park and Grouse Mountain, where I planned to ski.

What a beautiful, blue sky day!

The lift lines were very short, but there were still a few people at Bachelor Gulch. Strawberry Park Express didn’t have anyone at the base lift, but that’s not a very popular chair. (Even though President Ford’s, the run under it, was groomed and lovely.) But when I next headed over to Grouse Mountain, it became clear – there was almost no one skiing!

How many people have skied down the lift line? I count… four.

Each lift had signs asking people to only ride with their own party. Before I got to the mountain, I was worried that would mean I’d have a long wait for chairs (where usually I go in the singles line and join whoever). But I needn’t have worried – there was literally not a single person in the lift line at Grouse, and the lift operator was in fact in the booth… she came out when I skied up. I didn’t see anyone in front of me on the lift up, and when I got to the top, I waited there for five minutes taking pictures and didn’t see a single other person come up! I skied down the lift line (though the snow was still pretty hard / icy), and only saw two other chairs with people. This was crazy – I have never seen the mountain this empty!

Literally not a single person on the lift in front of me.


After a few runs, I needed to use the bathroom, so I decided to venture into Talons Lodge (though I originally was planning to avoid the lodges). Well, I needn’t have worried – when I walked in, I was one of only three guests in the entire lodge! And the other two left while I was in there, making it very easy to socially distance. With this many people afraid to go to the mountain, I was surprised Beaver Creek was still open! I knew that visitors weren’t flying in, and I doubted anyone would come buy a day ticket, so the few people there were likely season pass holders like me. And if we weren’t spending money at the lodges, then Vail was spending a lot to keep the mountain open without actually get any new revenue from it.

Normally it’s hard to find a single seat at Talons. The only people here are the bartenders and cleaning staff!

I met up with a few friends, and after some runs down Larkspur and Strawberry Park, we headed over to Mamie’s Mountain Grill to try to patronize the mountain a bit. As with Talons Lodge, they had removed most of the tables and chairs, so those that were left were all at least 6 feet apart. I ended up opting for hot cocoa rather than actual food (I wasn’t that hungry), but in the time we were there, Mamie’s started filling up with people. Vail had done a good job of changing it from counter service to order at the bar and have your food brought to you, but everyone in the line to order was standing far too close for my comfort… I was glad when we headed back out to ski!

The snow had softened up quite a bit, and I was loving the bumps. But as I headed down Peregrine, I suddenly got really light headed and dizzy, and started feeling hot flashes like I had a fever. Uh oh! I had to stop skiing and just stand there, trying to feel better so I could get down the mountain. My friend (who was already further ahead but turned back to look at me) said he could tell by the way I was skiing that something was wrong, so it went without saying that we’d make that our last run of the day and just head down to Arrowhead.

I felt a little better by the time we got down, but I still decided I wasn’t going to stick around in the mountains – if I was sick, I wanted to be home. I stopped by my place in Minturn to pick up my stuff, then jumped back in the car and drove home. Even though I was leaving the mountains during what would normally be prime traffic time, I didn’t hit a single bit of traffic the whole way. This was unheard of! But I couldn’t really revel in the glory, as I was just focused on getting home and taking my temperature.

I stopped at the grocery before I actually went home, to make sure I had everything I needed in case I was home for a while. I was chatting on the phone with my friend Chris while I did so, and he reminded me it was Pi Day, so I decided I’d make a shepherd’s pie for dinner. Unfortunately, the grocery was out of potatoes! But seeing that paper products were at a premium, I went on my neighborhood Facebook group and quickly found a neighbor willing to trade potatoes for some extra rolls of toilet paper I had at home 😉

I’ll admit that I made this swap a little bit tongue-in-cheek… but now it’s seeming more and more real.

The rest of the night was pretty quiet – cooking, reading, and relaxing. I did not have a temperature of any kind (I took it incessantly every few hours just to make sure), nor did I have any kind of cough or congestion, but I decided that a tipping point has been reached and it’s probably time to self-isolate anyway. And so Sunday morning found me home for good, and I pretty much haven’t left since then except to go to the grocery.

I keep my pantry VERY well stocked, but I still want fresh fruits and veggies.

Sunday was a rough day, though. Long story short, I got an email from my office telling me that someone who had tested positive for COVID19 was working in the New York office when I was there, on the same floor where I was working. We were asked to self-isolate for two weeks from the last day we had contact – which for me was Monday March 2nd, so I only had one more day of isolation from the time I got the email (oops… darn long testing cycle).

Unfortunately, I had an in-person meeting scheduled on Monday, and when I told the people I was supposed to meet with about the situation, the responses were “stay away!” and “if Laura comes to the meeting, I’m not coming.” Not a single person reached out to see how I was doing personally, or if I needed anything, even though they know I live alone. To be honest, I was really upset by that response – it made me feel so completely on my own for anything that might come 🙁

On the brighter side, what got me through the rough day Sunday were the many people I spoke with on social media who reached out to check in and ask how I’m doing. Some offered to deliver groceries or medicine to my door if I needed it, which was so sweet! But all I really needed was that reassurance that someone was thinking of me… it meant the world. I realized that’s all it takes to make a difference: a simple message of connection.

I think this crisis is really going to show people’s true colors – and we may not like what we find. But for now, here’s hoping that I personally can be one of the helpers.

I keep thinking of this great Fred Rogers quote, and vowing to be a helper myself.

More to come on COVID19, isolation, and everything else. Please don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments or on social media – would love to better connect with all of you!


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