Summer Quarantine

In a way we were already quarantining before it was cool. We left Spain on February 27th fully mostly prepared to go to Japan. But by March 3rd  we had serious doubts. We didn’t want to quit Japan if we didn’t have any alternative lined up. Why quit something sketchy but at least all ready to go just to do… nothing? So that’s when we started ‘quarantining before it was cool’. We essentially locked ourselves inside to figure out what on earth we were going to do next. It’s how we problem solve – lock the door and don’t come out until it’s done. Sure its a lot of head banging but it does get done. This was on March 5th.

The goal was to figure out an alternative quickly or just commit to Japan. Hours of research, hours of discussion. Just sitting inside researching and calling people. On March 9th we had enough of a grasp on what to do (teaching licenses in America) so on we formally resigned from Japan. On March 11th the WHO officially declared it a global pandemic. Right when we were finally done researching and ready to go enjoy a state/place we haven’t had a chance to enjoy for the past 3 years… it shut down. On March 16th pretty much everything was closed in Colorado (restaurants, bars, schools, etc) and March 25 was the day the “stay at home order” began.

We obviously wish we had messed around more in restaurants, the library and all over the place for the 20 days between us locking ourselves in and being requested to stay indoors. But still, we’re pretty good at locking ourselves in. In Korea, the air quality made it dangerous to go outside on some (many) days. In Spain it was too hot to go outside for 3 months of the year (and in Mallorca, tourists made going outside intolerable for 3 months). So we just did what we usually do. Just get busy and stay busy, knowing if we slowed down we would be forced to think about all the shitty things happening in the world and the shitty things that had happened to us personally over the course of 30 days (leave a beloved country, lose a family member, lose another opportunity, question if we were making the right decision, dealing with culture shock… )

So what did we do for our quarantine? It was a wild ride.

Got jobs at Mesa Verde

We applied to not only work but live at Mesa Verde for the summer. Kaeti was to work as a “front desk leader” but it was a bait and switch thing and the job would actually be housekeeping. Chris was supposed to work as an outdoor water/snack seller but they also switched his job to sell jewelry. They also said they would get us couples housing…

Lost/quit our jobs at Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde kept pushing the opening date back week by week then by months. By the time they were ready to open we were ready to move to another part of the state. Also they kept changed what they said. We were hired to work as one thing and by the time it was going to open we were both told we would be doing different jobs. They said they had couples housing but this turned out to be a queen size hotel room with no kitchen We told them no, so they called 3 times and emailed 2 times just to be sure we really meant “no”. Yikes.

*We want to make it totally clear that this wasn’t the NPS side of Mesa Verde, this was a private company that works in Mesa Verde for shopping/hotels.

Hung out with the dog

Having a 4-6 month old puppy was obviously a major part of our quarantine. Dogs are endlessly entertaining and loving so if things slow down just mess with the dog and you’ll probably be happy and entertained for another hour. Look at this precious boy and how big he got over the stay at home order.

Also I got a new phone which is why the quality of pictures improved 100X.

Build furniture

Barely know how to use a skill saw or even a power drill? No problem. Just start building stuff and after a month you’ll figure it out. The spring cleanup happened where people put all their trash/furniture they didn’t want anymore on the street. So we drove all over and started grabbing all the old wood people put out. Obviously we weren’t grabbing rotted, dissolved wood. Plenty of people were using the quarantine to do home repairs so sheds, decks and ski/bike racks were thrown out just so new ones could be built. We picked up shutters, doors, pallets, cabinet doors, drawers, etc and set out to build

  1. a desk
  2. a headboard

But what we ended up building was:

  1. a desk
  2. a headboard
  3. a side table
  4. another side table
  5. a coffee table
  6. an entertainment center
  7. a bookshelf
  8. a standing desk
  9. another standing desk

Once we started it was impossible to stop. Our mental health improved so dramatically when the only thing we had to think about how was to attach two pieces of wood together. Like Forrest Gump “I just kept running” We just kept building. When one project finished one of us would slap six spare pieces of wood together and say okay picture this – a new coffee table. Chris would be busy cutting wood for something else and I would show up with a piece of wood I wanted to cut just to visualize how a coffee table could come together. There wasn’t very much planning, it was purely “well what if we …” A strange way to build, I know.

The desk was probably the only thing we planned thoroughly before starting. Because we use the desk so much we wanted to make sure it would never collapse under a net worth of about $6,500 of electronics. We made the desk with an old door. Easy enough but we found some cool shutters so we put those on the top and later put a whiteboard between them.

The coffee table is made with cabinet doors and pallet wood. The doors lift up and we put games and stuff inside.

Some of the things we built later were with leftover scraps so we had to get even more creative – the bookshelf didn’t have 4 pieces of wood long enough so we used shorter pieces in the middle to make it wonky yet modern. It actually works better for tall books that would otherwise have to go sideways on the shelf. We found some really cool drawers so we built an entire TV table around them. The headboard was entirely pallet wood. Then we found a full kitchen cabinet which we turned into a bench by the door (shoes are inside the cabinet). We also refurbished a stool.

Of course we did some other stuff, we went hiking, of course. Then we walked right into a rattlesnake so we stopped hiking. We also did lots of things to prepare for work – like get fingerprinted and study for our teaching tests.

But this was more or less our quarantine time. We made some big decisions, played with a dog and built furniture.


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