March 28, 2020

Self isolation is a must, but hanging out in a condominium on the 31st floor is nowhere near as fun as sitting on the deck of your yacht watching the birds or the sun.   The featured image today is the red morning sunrise bouncing off of the glass towers in downtown Toronto.   It was far more impressive in my entire field of vision, bouncing off of dozens of buildings, but this is the best I could do with the equipment at hand.

I have now been back for a bit over a week and have not left the condo since I brought my luggage up from my vehicle and it would be safe to say that I am going a little bit stir-crazy.  For those that may be in a similar situation, I thought I would write something that isn’t about the markets, update everyone on how we are getting along and  how we spend our time.

I would like to remind those that may believe they have found a way to combat the virus, that ISOLATION IS THE ONLY KNOWN WAY TO STOP THE SPREAD OF THIS VIRUS.  The longer it takes for EVERYONE to figure this out, the longer the virus will stay with us.

First off, Jinhee and I are both pretty busy.   Jinhee’s job is quite a bit busier and more stressful with phone calls covering day and night from all over the world.  With her position, we do have an inside look at some of the decisions being made by governments, sometimes before the media catches the story.   It can be worrying and depressing, particularly when the human effects are considered.  The work involved is substantial.   She is responsible for both Finance and IT and both of those areas are being dramatically and substantially disrupted.   Last week The Economist magazine put out an article titled “How Corporate Leaders Should Behave in a Crisis” and rightly highlighted that in times like these senior leaders earn their keep.   That is clearly what’s happening now.

Jinhees Home Office
Jinhee’s impromptu office in the background and our weekend distractions in the foreground.

For my part I have been watching market activity and tracking all sorts of financial and economic metrics.  The excitement is actually quite invigorating for me . . . okay perhaps I am getting a bit tired.  (I’m sooooo boring!)

I do seem to have picked up a cough over the past week or so.  I doubt it is Covid-19, but getting tested is not easy, and I am not in any sort of distress.   Testing needs to be targeted at those with the highest need and I am not in that category.   The best bet is to simply stay put for 14 days, perhaps longer, until there are no signs of flu/cold and then maybe an extra day or two.  Although I haven’t even really been sick, I have been getting ‘better’ all week and think I will be fully clear by Monday.

While I have been home though, “>Juan has rebuilt my ‘boat bike’, the Pinarello with a whole new Shimano 105 gruppo (the other stuff was so rusted, it was unreliable and  that is dangerous).  He delivered it to me on Thursday.  Now I am anxious to ride.

Pinarello with new gruppo

With COVID-19 going around, I won’t ride until my lungs are completely clear.   People with weakened immune systems are very much at risk and riding, particularly long distances, makes the immune system work overtime.   I will be super cautious and wait for a few more days before I set the bike up on the trainer.

One of the benefits of this isolation period is that people are spending time in the same space.  That means home offices, cooking at home, family time and no breaks!   We have eaten a lot of good home made food over the past week.  It seems like a bit more work, but because there is no ‘mad rush’ to get home from an office, or get on to the next scheduled item my perception is that it really isn’t so bad.  Perhaps it all seems easier because the wine fridge and Jinhee’s temporary desk are only separated by 10 feet of space?!

Interestingly one of the outcomes I am expecting from this disruption is a lot more people working from home in future.  Perhaps out of fear, perhaps because they realize that they can.

With that said, there are many interesting stories/reports out that have caught my attention.   Family counselors and divorce lawyers are seeing an uptick in business.  Apparently some spouses can’t stand being in the same space.  Another is that condom production is way down . . . it’s not an essential service, so there could be a boom in babies around Christmas or the new year for those couples who do like spending time together.

I am sure that many have read about streaming services such as Netflix not being able to meet demand.   We have definitely been streaming a few things, but the internet is getting a real workout.   A friend of mine with a tech company emailed me last night and said his customers are keeping him very busy setting up ‘work from home’ systems.

In any case, when the day is done we are happy to have Megan and Andrew in the same building so we can easily catch up over dinner.   As things slow down, we are trying to add in some board games or watch something on TV together.  It’s nice downtime for Jinhee and myself after a day of stressing out over what is happening in the bigger world.

Our weekend will be filled with board games and card games.   I can’t help with buying groceries, but I understand that the stores are no longer crazy.  Jinhee suggested it was more eerie, with people not talking and the six foot of social distancing being well observed.

For those of you who are reading because of our life on the water, Home Free is still sitting in her berth in Fort Pierce.   I have a camera that allows me to look in and see if all is okay on a regular basis.   I do miss being in the warmth and wonder if sitting this out on the flybridge would have been the wiser choice, but with borders closed and closing, this was the lower human risk.   Hopefully I will make it back to the boat sometime next month.


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