All Clear (5/15/20)
There is no shame in admitting to hopes that didn't occur. When our quarantine began in
March with a flurry of shutdowns that history will ultimately remind us was pretty scary
(it's scarier to look back and gratifying to think how many of us handled it with optimism),
we all envisioned a gradious "All Clear" moment. We'd rush out of the home and into
each other's arms as though celebrating the final out of the World Series.
It became clear after a few weeks that wouldn't happen and reality would be muddier.
Like a teenager that dreams of the perfect moment for a first kiss, then has it happen
in the corner booth of a Denny's at 3AM.
The news this week was welcomed by some, shunned by others. I'm here to tell both
sides to understand we need to pull the rope in the same direction.
1) STOP DRAWING POLITICAL LINES! There are republicans scared to go outside and may not
leave their house until their is a vaccine (if there is one). But there are also democrats eagerly opening their bars while storing their two-legally owned rifles below the counter-top.
2) We need to start opening, albeit gradually. Even before the Eau Claire County rulings came down post Supreme Court decision, most establishments were taking a slow approach. Folks, we can't start moving again WITHOUT STARTING! There was never going to be a perfect time. We knew that back in March.
3) Just because things are open doesn't mean we have to go out. I WANT THINGS TO SLOWLY RE-OPEN, yet I also am not about to go out regularly right away. It'll happen naturally. Perhaps go get an Ice Cream one week. Then the next week I visit a store and a coffeeshop. Eventually the family comes to and over time a pattern develops.
4) Get off your high horse no matter what side. Those people you see on TV at the bar aren't bad people who have doomed us all. The State Surpreme Court isn't full of knuckeheads. Meanwhile, that bar owner that did open up right away isn't some "LIBERTY GOD" nor are those who do go out without much concern braver than those that aren't.
Strong Thighs & Calves (5/1/20)
There is a sepia toned picture emblazoned somewhere in our minds of suburbia Americana.
That imagery and sensory of a neighborhood full of life in terms of activity and sound.
Likely there is manicured lawns and picket-fences to boot in this mental photography
but regardless there is a concept of in-direct camaraderie and play.
And like most things, we think it was better “back then” and our minds enhanced
by media images and our own mental ability to exaggerate more than a former high
school athlete regaling a bar with stories. Still, I think when we look back at the spring
of 2020 one image, I’ll have is that of busy streets around my neighborhood. Not of
whizzing cars and trucks but that of people milling about. Kids riding bicycles in
groups (unfortunately in groups of friends not family members) and lots of walkers
While actually not allowed, nightly there are people doing everything from flying kites to using
the track at South Middle School. Before the gates were locked, the tennis courts were full. Backyards
hum with activity almost nightly.
Our neighborhood on the southside is one that is full of residential houses and a mix of young and old families and though we can’t get together there has been a sense of a deeper connection during this time.
That simply comes with all of us milling around more. Getting out for an evening walk, or “cruise” around the neighborhood is becoming the highlight of the day and its not uncommon to see people due it multiple times. Which leads me to the assumption this is going to be an area…and honestly a country…that is going to have some very muscular calves and thighs when all is said and done.
There are worries of a “quarantine 15” among experts but also people are eating healthier. You simply don’t put on as much salt or cheese on that dish at home as you they do at a restaurant…your mind stops you. Plus, people are moving about more. For some like me, I’m actually working out less because of no gym and my time is more limited but it balances out with those such as my wife who now gets 10,000 steps in a day, something that didn’t happen before.
So enjoy your walks and enjoy your neighborhood. When the fences of society are re-opened, it won’t stay this way because people will filter out of the neighborhood again nightly. However, for right now, enjoy it for what it is.
Upset over the Mundane (4/10/20)
It’s okay to admit things aren’t ok.
This should’ve been a time of great excitement for me as recently I took over as the
station manager for Converge Radio 99.9. While I’m still thrilled for the position, see
great opportunity with it and have dived into the work there is no mistaking the
dreariness over everything. That position alone comes with challenges that didn’t
exist just six weeks ago, but I’ll get through them.
It’s the other struggle, the one we all deal with at some point during the day, that
wears me down too. Maybe it’s the realization when you wake up or during the crush
of bad news during the day or some point during the evening. The time where this all
seems like too much and while we have been given the mandate to “stay at home”
it seems like there is nothing we can do to control ending this.
Yes, there have been positives this week and reinforcement it’s trending in a good way, but it’s a
legit worry to wonder to what extent will summer plans be impacted.
We’ve heard it and it’s true. “You are not alone”. My struggle is the same as many of yours and I honestly believe the best way for all of us to advance to the next stage of this shutdown that is at best halfway through and likely only a quarter, is to be up front and honest with ourselves. It’s okay to admit we’re sad and not just for the serious items but for the mundane that we miss.
We are a society that loves to complain about lack of free time but actually, many of us don’t want it. My wife is a “house cat”, very domesticated and dislikes lots of activity yet I can tell she too is not without loss during this time.
Before I go on, I’m firmly aware there are honest to goodness struggles out there. Our family is not stricken with economic peril, and our relatives who are all in New York are all safe and virus free for the time being. There are people significantly worse off but this is one of the rare times where all of us can admit that we have made a sacrifice.
Here are the things that have saddened me that goes beyond seeing the daily death toll.
My kids’ activities have been shuttered. They are eight and six and know what is going on isn’t common, but thankfully they’ve adapted well. Still, they tell us how they miss school. They haven’t complained about their other activities, such as baseball, hockey, gymnastics and figure skating but that isn’t because they don’t miss them.
I’m saddened knowing they’ll never get these days back.
Professionally and personally I’m hurt by all the local athletics that were shuttered. Whether it’s the Chippewa Steel and bringing true playoff hockey to the area this April or the UWEC hockey teams and their NCAA Tournament runs that were halted.
I love baseball…there is no baseball.
My family and I had planned a bucket-list trip to NYC (yes, I grew up in New York but five hours from NYC and you just didn’t go further than a couple hours for trips in the Northeast) for this July that included a pair of Yankee games. That is done.
My wife and I’s bowling team was making a late season surge and in position to make the league playoff and win the whole thing. That was cancelled.
I was a college sophomore and an hour north of NYC on 9/11. I made a pact with myself over the course of the next week and half that followed when nearly everything was cancelled or closed (and what did go on had a pale over it) that I would never take events and joy for granted.
I haven’t, which makes this even more difficult. I look forward to the mundane. Going to ballgames, being dragged to a PTA Bingo Night, attending a live concert, arguing with buddies over something stupid, holding court at a press box somewhere.
Someday they will return, and we will all have a story to tell.
But it’s okay to admit you’re sad. It’s okay to miss what seems trivial. Its those things that make life worth living. Family is #1 in our lives but family many times revolves around those things.
A New Day for Eau Claire Hometown Radio (3/27/20)
Change is something we all resist no matter whether you’re the most stubborn or free-thinker
there is. Think of the shaking of the fists that happens when something as mundane as when
there is a shift in the time your mail gets delivered or a business changes its logo. Heck,
I’ve seen a woman get irritated at a pharmacist because the company that produced
her medicine had changed colors from white to a cream white.
Of course, the current climate has forced change upon all of us so with that as the
backdrop I’m excited to announce some additional alterations to Eau Claire
Hometown Radio. Our platform is going to be changing over the next several
weeks and while we can’t report all the details, yet you’ll notice some differences
For one, the “Talk of the Town” podcast is going to be decreasing to just two days a
week with new episodes airing on Tuesdays and Fridays. This will make even more sense
in a few weeks when other announcements are made (you’ll be getting MUCH more of Scott,
rest assured) but the program will become a twice-weekly show, still in a podcast format.
The show will be a straight recording on Tuesdays, but our plan is for it to be LIVE on Fridays at 10am.
We will be removing the interview segment from the program and it’ll be straight talk and opinions.
The Concert Venue will now become our Wednesday featured program and “Banker with a Beer” presented by Northwestern Bank will anchor our Thursdays. Each of these programs will continue to be updated throughout the current COVID-19 shutdown as best as possible.
Other popular elements such as the Hungry Italian Restaurant Reviews will also continue to be updated (though not as much until the shutdown is ceased).
Why the changes? There are a couple of reasons, namely a bit of news that can’t be announced at this time. Actually, that’s it. If not for an announcement that will be forthcoming, we probably wouldn’t have changed anything. However, this is a very positive announcement that is coming up and one that is no doubt going the shake up the Chippewa Valley’s media landscape.