Marking a Year
Last March was rough. It started off with a major tornado through Middle Tennessee overnight on March 2nd into the early morning of March 3rd. Twenty five people died and over 300 were injured. My block in East Nashville narrowly missed it but it left a huge path of destruction. Our neighbors in Nashville and all along the path of the storm lost homes and businesses. Trees were down everywhere. The next morning Brooks’s school was open, so thinking it would be good to keep normalcy, I set out to take her to school, not realizing how many trees and down power lines would be blocking the way and all the little detours we would have to discover. That day and the days following every car trip took us by by blown out buildings, knocked-in roofs, and blown down trees. All of Middle Tennessee struggled to rebuild lives and housing while grieving and trying not to be terrified of more bad weather. And then before the homes and neighborhoods were even repaired our attention was captured by “that new virus,” school closings, and what “safer at home” meant.
What lockdown newbies we were last March, thinking that instead of the spring break trip we had planned we would make it fun and call it a “staycation.” And bonus, that spring break staycation would be two weeks instead of one. As the grownups of the house, Stephanie and I were scared of the larger picture and preparing to be isolated but trying to keep it fun and light with our six year old and two three year olds. One of our first ideas was to go “all-out” on St. Patrick’s Day and I decided to make everything green. It turns out using enough kale and broccoli to turn food bright green does not make it taste that great. I made more than any of us wanted so we had green pancake batter and corned beef sitting in our refrigerator taking up space while my sense of impending doom grew. By the time I threw it out we were gearing up for a few more weeks of staying home or maybe even a month or two.
Last March I had six closings that had gone under contract before we were very concerned about the virus and suddenly we had to adjust everything to social distancing and working from home. Title companies, lenders, inspectors, appraisers-everyone had to adjust what they did to keep safely distant and transactions mostly on schedule. I was relieved and grateful when housing was determined to be an essential service but the weight of correctly social distancing for my family and clients was heavy.
I remember the first couple I started working with after the lockdown began that was not part of a continuing relationship. We first talked when I was working from home (had to take a break to go quiet down my kids) and met for the first time when they came to town to see houses. Meeting up with them was one of the first times I had used a mask or not touched anyone or not gone from house to house in the same car. Now all of those ways of working are established and understood but figuring them all out took collaboration and communication we had never needed before.
And all of a sudden we lost the chance to be with our people, to have our kids spend time with their grandparents, to eat with our neighbors. All of a sudden we were thinking back to the “last” time we saw so and so and the “last” time we went somewhere. Now with a growing group of people around us getting vaccinated, and sometimes-warmer weather hinting that spring is coming, we are hopeful for March–although we’re also more prepared for some big weather this year than last.
At our house though, we are still making things green-planning our garden and finding any occasion we can to celebrate. This March we will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th), the first day of Spring (March 20th), and one year mark of our family’s staycation (March 12th). There are still many unknowns, yet I am grateful for the clients and colleagues who have found safely distant ways to work together during this year, for friends who have visited in our yard or at the fence, this little crew at my house who will eat my green pancakes, and for the best wife ever who understands when the celebrating requires some extra clean-up.