Life in the Time of Corona

We have been in this quarantine stage now for almost four months. Today is Day 114 of being in “lock down.”

It’s weird that I haven’t written about it over here at all. I mean, it’s a pretty historical event, I suppose–a world-wide pandemic. I’ve written about it in my journal, but most of that is frustration-venting that I don’t care to put here.

I don’t know why Day 114 is the day I thought, “I should probably write some thoughts on the old blog,” but here we are.

The pandemic is real.

It seems that there are people out there who are bored or so against certain politicians that they think it’s all made up. I’m not sure how to even talk to those people. People are DYING of this virus that does not have a cure. When we were doing distance learning, my students’ parents had COVID19. I have friends who have written accounts of what it was like to have the virus. There have been famous people who have had it and recovered, and those who have died.

It’s super real. It’s super contagious. And our family has spent 114 days following the restriction and safety guidelines that the CDC and disease specialists have recommended.

Cortney was working from home from March until the end of May. He is the only person who goes out in public in our house. Even at work, he takes his temperature (along with everyone else there) every day, stays in his office with the door closed, has tape on his office floor if someone needs to come in, and washes his hands and uses hand sanitizer every time he leaves his office.

He wears his mask when we send him to Sam’s Club or the post office or bank. Really the only places he goes other than work.

The only “public” place I have been to is the greenhouse to buy my flowers (where I masked up and stayed away from people and was outside).

I took Alice to the dentist, doctor, and salon all where we were given masks (even though we had our own), our temperature was taken, we were asked a bunch of questions, and all staff had masks and socially distanced where possible.

I also got my own hair cut–this was the only questionable experience I had due to lack of masks, but everyone was pretty socially distanced.

The kids and I just don’t leave the property during the week unless we go see Grandma and Grandpa, who are in our “bubble.” We have one other family in our “bubble” as well who have been quarantine rock stars as well. This has allowed the kids to have playmates–and for us to have other adults to interact with.

It’s hard. I have never kept it a secret that I am not good at being a stay-at-home mom and I’ve been doing it (crappily) for 114 days. The kids have not had play dates or camps or rec sports. There have been no trips to the library, donut shop, beach, splash pad, or park. I have not had any days alone–which is a form of self-care for my anxiety.

We have a routine, of course, that works…well…we survive each day. The boys get up and handle their own breakfast. Alice and I usually get up around 9am and I get her breakfast and my coffee.

At 10am, computer and tablet screens are allowed, so the boys disappear for about 90 minutes. It’s generally the quietest, most peaceful time of the day if I am honest.

Lunch happens.

From 1pm-3pm we allow zero screens. This is the worst part of the day. Unless it’s raining or dangerously hot out–then I allow a movie and then it’s usually pretty quiet.

At 3pm kids have a snack and can get back on screens, but usually there is some sort of argument over something non-screen-related.

Cortney gets home from work around 5pm.

I have a To Do list for myself each day that may or may not get done depending on how many disputes I have to breakup.

I do try to find time to read a book each day. And the most awesome part of quarantine is that back in March, before they were out of stock everywhere, Cortney and I splurged on a Nintendo Switch with Animal Crossing: New Horizons and have kept it a secret from the kids. We play after they go to bed at night or take turns locking ourselves in our bedroom on the weekends to play.

The kids have absolutely no idea.

Since I haven’t had a lengthy commute to work or grad school since March, we have saved a ton on gas. I think I have put gas in my car 4 times in 4 months?

The kids have played more games and become more inventive in their play. I don’t think they argue any less than before quarantine. In fact, maybe they argue more, but that’s just because they are rarely away from each other.

Some people have binge-watched movie and shows, but not me. I can’t do that with the kids around and we play the Switch after bedtime.

Some people have taken up new hobbies. I started making fun cocktails. I also can’t stop eating this pub mix that Sam’s Club sells. So my newfound hobbies are maybe not the healthiest.

Some people have cleaned out and organized their closets and cupboards. I keep making lists of things to clean out and organize, but every time I start to take stuff out, a kid wants to claim it and then it ends up in their room and not out of my house. Just yesterday I cleaned everything out of my car and Alice claimed the sunglasses (I need prescription now), and Charlie called dibs on a broken thing that used to hold my registration and proof of insurance.

I try not to think more than a week ahead because honestly, going back to school is terrifying to me on many levels.

We have done so well keeping our family in a bubble and the idea of putting me in a middle school, Eddie in a middle school, and Alice and Charlie in an elementary school…AND all three kids on school buses…is too much for my brain. I just don’t see it being safe.

Keeping my kids home to do distance learning won’t be an option if I am required to be at school teaching.

All four of us doing distance learning is absolutely not possible either. I can’t guide three kids–two of whom are starting brand new schools–through new content while also teaching 8th grade English full time.

Every possibility gives me anxiety.

And there is an increase in positive cases every day. Michigan is in Phase 4 currently. We were on track to be in Phase 5 by the 4th of July, but people haven’t been following mask or social distance recommendations, so we are still in Phase 4. If we fall to Phase 3, we won’t be in person at school.

This is our life right now: trying to make the best of this summer without thinking too hard about what will come in the next month as far as school.

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