Fri, 08/28/2020 - 9:32pm

Ohio State of Mind

In a first judging assignment post-COVID, everything old is new again

My first judging assignment since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is September 22th through the 24th. I fly to Ohio to evaluate breeding stock at the National Beagle Club of America 2020 Specialty. The pandemic is far from over. However, planning for this assignment is benefiting my mental health on multiple levels.

Pre-COVID-19, BIG MICHAEL and I were scheduled to be on a travel excursion to Australia and New Zealand. Like so many others, our 2020 international travel plans were all cancelled – South America, Thailand, Europe, Mexico, Canada, South America and, as stated earlier, Australia and New Zealand. But now, I have enhanced empathy, attention to detail, focus and super-charged creative energy knowing I am traveling to OHIO. 

I have been to Ohio on thousands of occasions. I used to live there, I traveled numerous times throughout the state for dog shows, and I was born in nearby in Western New York. In the past, traveling to OHIO would be just another destination, taken for granted on the never-ending, yearly judging schedule. THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT. As if I am planning for Australia and New Zealand, I prepare for my first judging assignment in seven months with wonder in my heart and eyes.

Ohio is the 34th largest state by area, seventh most populous, and the tenth most densely populated. Some may wonder why I bother to share this interesting data? Well, population density provides me with essential information when selecting the appropriate number of face masks, gloves, small bottles of hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, etc. I also apply the same data points to the various connecting airports. Pre-preparation provides me with the mental health boost I need, and planning trips make me happy. I continue to research OHIO …

This is interesting, and something I did not know – OHIO is named after the OHIO River. The name originated from the Seneca word OHIYO, meaning “good river,” “great river” or “large creek.” 

I am flying directly into Dayton, the sixth-largest city in the state, on American Airlines. This pleases me, as my favorite travel agent in the world, MISS. KYLE (JACK ONOFRIO TRAVEL), could have booked me through either Cincinnati or Columbus, causing unnecessary PPE waste due to population density. Furthermore, DAYTON is rated #3 in the nation for excellence in health care. If I am to get sick along the way, it gives me preplanning comfort to know my needs will be well addressed.

Yesterday, I received an AMERICAN AIRLINE COVID-19 update that provides me joy in helping ease COVID-19 travel anxiety:

“We’re committed to giving you peace of mind when you travel with us.” (Thank God, I can fire my therapist.) “That’s why our planes receive electrostatic spraying once a week with an EPA-approved disinfectant.” 

“Amazing!” I proclaim, while at the same time asking myself, “What the hell is electrostatic spraying?”

Google search comes to the rescue: “As chemicals exit the electrostatic sprayer, it’s given a positive electrical charge, allowing the appropriate sanitizer, mold preventative and disinfectants to wrap around and evenly coat all types of surfaces for a more complete clean.” I wonder if I should purchase one before my exciting trip to OHIO, and spray myself from head to toe before leaving the house?

I continue to read the American Airline “Travel with Confidence” updates: “We’re also providing PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer in our lounges and hub airports across the U.S. and working with Vanderbilt University Medical Center to provide guidance on health matters and our cleaning procedures.” 

Wonderful! I feel absolutely wonderful knowing Vanderbilt Medical Center is only a phone call away, if I should experience and COVID-19 symptoms while traveling American Airlines. And the PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer leaves me wiggling with excitement and relief. I ask myself, what makes this PURELL product so desirable and advanced?

Yet another GOOGLE search: “America’s #1 instant hand sanitizer” – it must be OHIO’s number one, too – “delivers advanced antimicrobial germ kill while being very kind to the skin. In fact, it provides unprecedented germ kill while soothing hands with four different skin condition agents.” Seriously, I want to buy a gallon and rub it all over my body!

The American Airline list goes on – hand-sanitizing stations, ticket counter, encouraging physical distancing, face coverings, Plexiglass shields, touchless check-in, etc. The one area that American Airlines does not address, or seem to have a spray for, is the traveler sitting next to me who is craving a connection and the social benefits of my company more than ever. I think a quick spritz of my personal travel-size Lysol spray should do the trick. Just a friendly little spritz should encourage him/her to keep his/her mouth tightly closed.

Thoughts return to my destination, OHIO – The BUCKEYE STATE, named after the many buckeye trees, and which will be my home for three days, the Roberts Cente / Holiday Inn, Wilmington.  I engage their Facebook page for current COVID-19 updates, and immediately I am transformed through words and the power of imaging: “The journey may not be what we expected, but we’ll get there together! We’re following guidelines to keep our visitors safe. How have you adjusted your sails?” WOW, I cannot wait to crawl into the Holiday Inn bed! I also take comfort in knowing the Beagle club included me in the conversation on show COVID-19 protocol planning. 

I spend a great deal of my mental time living in the future. Imagining the Beagle Club of America National Specialty, meeting new friends and greeting old friends. My future-mindedness provides a great source of happiness, knowing good things are coming, and my trip to OHIO, “The BUCKEYE STATE,” is only weeks away. 

Whoopie Ti-Yi-Yo … Here we go again!



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