Brad Pepers, our VP of Technology, is in self-isolation with his family for two weeks. It’s been challenging, and he’s telling us how they’re all trying to making things work.

Ok, so I’m not quite in quarantine yet, but I am in isolation for two weeks since my daughter, Alexei, finally returned to Canada after a trip to San Francisco. She immediately started coughing and sneezing!  So now we have four adults, all with social issues, living in close quarters for the next two weeks (at a minimum!) and trying to share limited resources.  Woke up this morning thinking “we’re not going to make it!”, so we started talking about rules to see us through this.  Here are our commandments:

  1. Thou shalt not stink.
  2. Thou shalt not shirk.
  3. Thou shalt not disrespect the house.
  4. Thou shalt not hog or hoard.
  5. Thou shalt not miss Mandatory Communal Happy Time (MCHT).

We only have five for now, instead of 10, but I’m sure as we go we’ll find more to add (though I’m hoping we don’t see a need to add any about coveting thy neighbors donkey).

The first is about maintaining a minimum level of personal hygiene.  Showers required every couple days whether you feel you need it or not.  Brad can’t wear the same clothes for a week running, and for the love of God, he shall wear pants!  We have plenty of brushes, so maybe try using one once in a while?!  Yes Alexei, I’m looking at you.

The second is about sharing the common chores in a way that feels fair to everyone.  Leave things as you found them when you’re done.  Our poor dog can’t go anywhere in the yard for his business, so he does it on the sidewalk. This means we must all observe the ‘fling it with a shovel into the woods’ rule!  We will experiment with either assigned chores or rotating chore schedules to see what works.  But Kathy always cooks, since the rest of us are sh*t at it.

Don’t disrespect the house is a shout out to Doug who came home one night to find his son making out with a girlfriend, and his response was to yell “Don’t disrespect the house!”  Not that there’ll be any such activities going on with us all family and such, but we have common spaces like the kitchen, living room, and TV room, and we have to share these.  Brad can’t take a nap on the living room couch and expect everyone else to remain quiet for him.  You can’t listen to loud music or videos in the common space or make noxious smells that drive Chris to flee the common space.  The private spaces are our bedrooms and offices, so do your private things there.  Wait, that didn’t come out right!  I think it best to just move on…

Being a hog is about sharing our limited resources, and Internet is the most important one.  Perhaps toilet paper is a close second?!  We need to communicate when we need priority access to Internet for meetings or school work.  Other resources such as snacks also need to be shared out in a way that feels fair to all and isn’t just about who can manage to eat them all first.  And no hoarding goodies!!  The exception is Coke Zero.  If Brad runs out, everyone will suffer terrible consequences, so he can hog and hoard it to his heart’s content!

MCHT is about creating a space to be together and bond.  It consists of supper time, a game afterwards, and then a short scrum to bring out any issues.  Rules are that there’s no negative news in this time, and we have to all be engaged; this means no reading a book or using electronics.  The game will be short with minimum conflict, and the game choice rotates between everyone.  Right now, Yatzee is surging to the top, with Mille Bornes a weird foreign element I’m not comfortable with.  After the game, we have a safe space to talk about what is or isn’t working to make sure we remain aligned and don’t bottle up any problems.  Winner of the game can gloat only until scrum is over, and then Alexei has to shut the hell up!

That’s what we came up with so far.  Anyone else have rules to add?

As usual, communication will be the source of all our problems and the thing we most need to work on.  Luckily, SeisWare has given me a ton of tools to do that, so wish me luck in making it through these two weeks and at the end still having two children, three pets, a comparable amount of sanity to what I had going into this, and a marriage.




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