#WFH Diaries: Ryan Murray of Solve Advertising and Mindy Murray of General Mills

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to rage across the globe, we're checking in with folks in the creative industry to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Ryan and Mindy Murray, an agency-and-client Minneapolis couple.

Give us a one-line bio of yourselves.

Husband and wife, Dad and Mom, agency and client duo. Ryan is partner/director of account management at Solve Advertising. Mindy is a marketing communications manager at General Mills.

Where are you living right now, and who's with you?

Currently at our home in Minneapolis with our two children—Lily, 4, and Robert, 2. 

What's your work situation like at the moment?

It's a circus. Ryan takes the morning parental shift. Mindy takes the afternoon. For both of us it's a mix of Zooms, Skypes and turbo emailing by day. Then playing major catch-up after kid bedtime.

Describe your socializing strategy.

During the week it's mainly waving to the neighborhood dogs on our Razr scooter excursions (from a safe distance). Weekend is an occasional, impromptu Zoom happy hour with friends and family, but really it's about banking sleeping hours. Does that count?

How are you dealing with childcare?

We attempt to stick to their normal preschool routine and do a mix of worksheets, crafts, music and outside time. They both have weekly Zoom reading sessions with their friends and teachers, which is quite heartwarming. But we've quickly learned it's about novelty. We've become the parents we never thought we'd be and purchased a handful of new toys including ... a bounce house. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

What are you reading?

Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night?
Berenstain Bears.
More Twitter.

What are you watching?

We're fully up on our brit humor via Peppa Pig. Hippos from the Cincinnati Zoo. For those parents who haven't discovered TinoKidsTV YouTube channel, it's a must-watch for the truck enthusiast in your family.

After bedtime we have found late-night talk shows to be funny again as they're largely unscripted and just clearly killing time.

And like everyone else, Tiger King. It even inspired Ryan's staff meeting attire/Zoom backdrop.

What are you listening to?

Bon Iver (from our neck of the woods) seems to be fitting the quarantine mood.

How are you staying fit?

Fit is a stretch, but daily walks and bike rides with the kids help. We're still waiting for spring to truly arrive here in Minnesota.

Have you taken up a hobby?

Ryan's ukulele skills were getting pretty good until Robert sat on it, crushing the neck. We're awaiting the Amazon delivery of the replacement.

Any tips for getting necessities?

We've been shopping after bedtime when stores are pretty empty. A lot of curbside pickup from our favorite local haunts. And have found neighbor friends with Shipt accounts to be true allies.

An awkward moment since all this started.

Mindy was recently asked if a loud TV was on during a Skype call. Participants confusingly thought they could hear a sports announcer. She embarrassingly had to admit it was Ryan passionately pitching an idea to a client.

Best work email you got since all this started.

Solve recently announced it's paying for staff to run the Quarantine 5K, which is an individual "fun run" to help small businesses that are really hurting.

An aha! moment since all this started.

When you have no choice but to "bring work home," it's nice to have someone who completely understands what you do and can give an across-the-table perspective before you even ask. Without colleagues at arm's reach, it's priceless to do a quick gut check with each other to see if "this slide makes any sense."

What's your theory on how this is going to play out?

It ends with a lot more grey hairs and our 2-year-old knowing how to ask Siri for anything he wants to watch on YouTube.

See the full #WFH Diaries series here.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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