Governor Ducey’s March 31 executive order for Arizona residents to stay home, stay healthy, and stay connected emphasized the importance of social connectedness. Unit 8A-er’s took the suggestion to heart, organizing several unit events and happy hours that respected social distancing, while encouraging social connectedness (and keeping the unit’s streak of monthly happy hours going!)
The unit’s 49th month-in-a-row happy hour on March 20 presented the first challenge during the stay-at-home order, with Ranch House venues closed as of March 14. Not ones to be deterred, unit residents opted for a toast that passed from house to house, much like a “wave” at a sporting event.
The 49th happy hour also featured a Unit 8A time capsule. All agreed that the current times are unprecedented, and historical times call for recording of that history for future times. So, unit residents anonymously contributed items reflective of the pause. The time capsule will be opened in 2021 at the unit’s celebration of five years of monthly happy hours.
The unit’s 50th happy hour on April 17 had a different twist and a contest. Residents were asked to use their imagination and items from around the house to create a sign, poster, or display in their driveway with a theme based around the current health crisis. There were three categories—Funniest, Most Creative, and Most Relevant or Emotionally Uplifting. Entries were ready for viewing by 2 p.m. and during “Driveway Happy Hour” from 5 to 5:30 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., residents raised their glasses in a toast to neighbors and in honor of the doctors, nurses, and first responders keeping us safe.
Pictures of the 16 entries were emailed to all unit residents that evening and votes tallied the next day. Contest winners were Funniest: Kate and Paul Thomsen, Most Creative: Teresa and Larry Burchfield, and Most Relevant or Emotionally Uplifting: Lani and Mark Warren. Congratulations to the winners!
May Day provided another opportunity for social connectedness and a bit of light heartedness as residents turned the page to a new month and looked forward to a new normal. All were challenged to create a fun and happy drawing on their driveways using sidewalk chalk. Fourteen households participated.
Residents created and drew the chalk masterpieces on their own driveways or were assisted by a group of creative artists from the Unit. Drawings honored May Day and featured butterflies, bees, a quarantined goldfish, ice cream cones, balloons, flowers, margaritas, beaches, and encouraging sayings.
Residents were asked to leave the drawings on driveways for several days for viewing. Happily, many Ranch residents from other units drove or walked through the neighborhood and enjoyed the artwork as much as the creators.