Zev News 2020


Last year I wrote up my traditional year-end newsletter, but then life overwhelmed me and I never sent it out.  I have posted my newsletters at www.zev.la, so if you are interested, you can read previous newsletters.

What can we say about 2020?  Good riddance!  Life was sucky in so many ways – for us, Covid-19 was actually the least of them.  But there were a few bright spots among a generally awful year.

The year started with Marc’s work going out of business.  Sigh.  We were not surprised, but that didn’t make it any more pleasant when it happened.  We decided to not let Marc’s job status get in the way of a planned kitchen remodel and went ahead with interviewing contractors.

Jackie’s life was, as always, busy.  Being president of her Sisterhood ended in 2019, so not having presidential responsibilities, she took on being Sisterhood technology chair.  She is also Treasurer of the Pacific district of the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ).  She is still Finance VP, newsletter editor, website administrator, and membership assistant for the San Fernando Valley Branch of AAUW.  She is on the board of the SFV Engineers’ Council and she is Avodah chair for her Temple’s religious school.  All while working full time, still for Northrop Grumman, where she is about to hit her 27 year anniversary.  All this keeps her busy, but she’s used to it!

One of the bright spots in 2020 started around the beginning of the year, when a very nice woman named Emily joined one of Jonathan’s board game groups, and they started dating.  Emily is a chemical engineer and we like her very much.  Jonathan continues to be employed with Sequoia Research, and enjoys his work.  Towards the end of 2020, they started cohabitating and now they are exploring getting a bigger place together, as two people, two cats, and a millipede in a one bedroom is a little cramped!

Benjamin is still working for the Department of Defense in Saint Louis.  He and Delaney (and Archie, the cat they adopted in 2019) are still in the little house they rented when Benjamin graduated from college in 2019.  Not only are they sharing a house, they are sharing a last name – yes, they got married.  They went to a justice of a peace just before Thanksgiving. 

Speaking of getting married, covid made our nephew Michael’s wedding plans problematic, and he and Danielle opted for a small backyard ceremony in July, instead of the planned big celebration.  Both couples hope to have “real” weddings/celebrations in the future.

Covid-19 has not affected our lives nearly as much as it has affected most people.  Most importantly, none of us were laid off due to covid-19.  In fact, Jackie’s office continued to hire.   Jackie goes in when she needs equipment that is in the lab, and works from home when she doesn’t.  Jonathan and Benjamin both need to go in to their offices to get work done, and both their jobs made various accommodations to reduce the amount of contact people have at work.   Defense turns out to be a good field to be in during a pandemic.

Jackie’s non-profits switched to holding meetings via Zoom, and they soon discovered that Zoom has advantages (people who cannot travel to meetings can participate) as well as disadvantages (harder to hold small side conversations).  One of her groups has proposed that, once this is all over, they continue to have meetings on Zoom as well as in-person meetings.

In February, we took a one-day trip to San Francisco to see our niece Jordan (and Dave) and their baby Reese.  Good thing we didn’t wait!  Then Covid hit, and Jordan was moved to working remotely (which Dave was already doing), so they gave up their expensive SF apartment and moved down to LA.  So now we get to see Reese (and Jordan and Dave) regularly.  A Covid silver-lining!

In March, Marc’s father had to have his pacemaker replaced; after that, his health steadily declined.  He passed away at the end of April.  He was able to spend his final days at home with his wife, Irene, rather than alone in a hospital.  Last summer, we also lost our dog Pippin, who was almost 16 years old.  We had him for close to 15 years, and it was a long time before I could walk in the door without wondering for a second why he wasn’t greeting me.  We decided not to get another dog – we are hoping to travel more in the coming years.

Covid hit before we started work on our kitchen remodel, and we then did not start because we could not get the cabinets.  But after a couple of months, the contractor said that we could now get cabinets, so we decided to go ahead with the work.  But as soon as the demolition was done, we were told we could not get the cabinets and would have to do custom cabinets instead.  They did reduce the additional cost of doing custom cabinets to a third of what they were going to charge us.  The cabinet boxes arrived only a little behind schedule, but getting the faces and doors delayed the project by about 3 weeks.  And then, when they arrived, they were the wrong color, causing another huge delay.  Jackie was furious with herself that she had not insisted that we have the cabinets on site before starting demolition.   In the end, the project that was supposed to take 6 weeks took 4 ˝ months.  Had the cabinets been on site before demolition started, it would have been 6 weeks.  But now it is done and we are happy with the results.

Covid-19 also scotched Marc’s hopes of getting another job – although it did substantially raise how much unemployment money he received!  He has gotten involved with a non-profit called Boundless Brilliance, whose mission is to bring free, empowering, science presentations to elementary school classrooms. They aim to educate, empower, and engage students in order to close the gender gap in STEM. 

While 2020 wasn’t all bad, we are definitely looking forward to 2021, and to a time when we can host people for dinner and feed them food cooked in our newly remodeled kitchen!

Hoping that life is treating you well,

Jackie and Marc