My Life During COVID: Brandon Parigo

Checking in to see how our UMKC community is managing the highs and lows of sheltering in place
UMKC photographer Brandon Parigo and his family

Brandon Parigo is at home with his wife, Nicole, and his two daughters, Simone, who is 10 years old, and Juliet, who is 6. 

Parigo, UMKC staff photographer, is accustomed to a calendar over-flowing with events, portraits, photo editing and creating and editing video. With campus closed and social distancing in place, his duties have shifted.

“Lately, my primary roles at work have been online coaching and planning for video work as well as photo archiving, organization and support for our other teams. That may sound simple, but we have a lot of irons in the fire at all times. A lot of projects are being planned for when we are able to make them happen. If I do my job right, we are going to be 100% ready for everything that comes at us once we are allowed back on campus.”  

While Parigo does freelance photography and video work during his time off, that work also is on hold.

“Thanks to COVID, we’ve had to be creative in how we are trying to find ways to make up that income. I’ve been dabbling in game design and my wife has been doing some work from home for a local factory, sorting parts for shipping. I have a backlog of wedding editing that I’m working on also.” 

His girls are attending online school at home and his oldest has kept up her ballet practice with Kansas City Ballet online as well.

Parigo’s commute to work is an hour each way. He’s finding the best part of being at home is having more time to spend with his family.

“We have picked up a pretty hard-core LEGO-building habit and have been having fun creating together.”

This time at home has also reinforced how much his work at UMKC sustains him. He’s found it’s challenging to be without it.

“Being around people, supporting them doing good work and supporting the students in their journey was a calling I never thought I’d enjoy so much. While the work I’m doing from home is still a part of that, it doesn’t feel as meaningful and I find myself suffering for it. I thrive on doing my work.” 

What are you reading?

I’m reading a bunch of roleplaying game books at the moment. My last big push on fiction reading before that was pretty much every book by Bernard Cornwell, recently known for writing the books the show “The Last Kingdom” is based on. My bedtime routine is to read to Simone (while Nicole reads to Juliet) and we are slowly making it through the “Keeper of the Lost Cities” series by Shannon Messenger.

What are you watching?

My nights are pretty packed with family and my backlog of editing, but I tend to squeeze in one show right before bed. I’ve watched “Waco” on Netflix because Tyler Kitsch is in it, and he was one of my favorites on “Friday Night Lights,” which is one of my top five all-time favorite shows.

I’m also watching “Homeland,” just burned through “Star Trek Discovery” and “Picard.” (Was “Star Trek” always that good? Probably not.) I’m eagerly awaiting the next season of “The Last Kingdom.” 

The current TV obsession of my daughters is “LEGO Masters.”

What are you eating?

Anything bad for me that I can find! In all seriousness, my house is pretty much gluten-free and organic. Lucky for us, Nicole makes the best gluten-free apple cake on the planet. I’m a sugar junkie but we don’t keep much sugar in the house, so that’s always a treat. Mexican-derived food is always top of the list at our house, and there’s a variation of the idea of what Mexican food should be on our plates for what seems like every other meal. I probably need to just devote a whole cabinet to salsa jars.  

Published: May 15, 2020
Posted In: Our People

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