Sunday, March 29, 2020

Day 16!!!

Today was dreary, and I didn't even go for a walk outside.

I did obsess over my online grocery cart that I want to pick up on April 7. Groceries, you guys! They are taking up all of my head space. The groceries I have coming on Tuesday this week are weird because I bought whatever was in my cart already, thinking I could stick my cart in the pick up space I wanted and then modify my order, but you can't modify your orders anymore, and the grocery store broke its very careful pattern of releasing pick up times 3 days out, and I just happened to check and see the 31st up for grabs. Basically, on Tuesday, we are getting my panic cart, and I want that to not happen again next week.

I also made a perfect lasagna from random things in the house to use up cottage cheese and this week's spaghetti sauce that I made from scratch-- and I added more from-scratch sauce to it because that's just something I whip up whenever now.

We cleaned the house like a normal Sunday, and the kids played hide and seek most of the day. Harry and Cooper also have this game where they make cars out of LEGO bricks and then batter them until one of theirs falls apart and then they make more. **Shrug**

Tomorrow, I am going to start the day with everyone making to-do's because I have 100 midterm essay exams coming in to grade, along with another small assignment AND ALSO my adjunct online class has its regular stuff due. I think the secret to online teaching is grading stuff ASAP, so I plan to have all grades posted by Wednesday.  As a result, I need the kids to take a little more ownership over their learning. (We don't start virtual learning from school until 4/6, but we have been doing school at home this whole time, and we all basically love it).

So, everyone needs to do 5 things for school:
1. Lexia
2. Silent reading
3. Write in their COVID-19 journals
4. Math (either on Kahn Academy or Moby Max, in a workbook, or on worksheets-- they can pick)
5. Read aloud. We are doing Harry Potter book 1 and plan to watch the movie when we're done.

Except for #5, which we all do together, I am fine with them choosing when they want to do each of these other things.

I also want them to
1. Connect with a friend (however they'd like-- Harry and Jack have been texting and FaceTiming. Harry and one of his friends often stand across the street and shout at each other. Cooper's teacher encourages them to email their letter buddies, and Dorothy hangs out on our deck and has a screaming convo with her BFF next door on  her deck)
2. Go outside for 60 minutes (we take a walk together that covers this, but if they can all get 60 more minutes, that's for the best)
3. Make something (art? food? music? I don't care)
4. Do something unexpectedly kind for a sibling
5. Clean something (dog poop in the backyard? a mess they made? a mess someone else made-- again-- I don't care what).

I also have high hopes that I will get freaking dressed before 5pm.  This was not always the case last week, and this whole weekend has been PJ's except for Zoom hang out time.  Wish us luck!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Happy 2-week quaran-versary! Some goals for the week

I don't recommend getting sick at the outset of a global pandemic-- especially not maybe WITH the pandemic (still no test results, is a travesty, etc)-- but I WILL say, it provides excellent perspective.

I am so happy to be breathing well and smelling things and seeing my family again that none of the things that would usually annoy me about all of us being in the house together are annoying in the slightest. Well, maybe like a little annoying, but mostly I am just happy to be in our little bubble, working our asses off, and trying to game the grocery delivery system so we never have to go to the actual store.

BUT. I have been sucked into social media BIG TIME lately. I have also noticed that I am not appreciating the moment as much as I claim to want to. For the, my happiness canary in a coal mine is not taking pictures, and there have been days without pictures, which leads me to screw up my Instagram 366 project, etc. (see look at how delightfully trivial my problems are!)

SO.  This week, I have 3 goals:

1. Read 7 books
2. Limit social media to 1 hour a day. My screen time is like 5 freaking hours a day, and I am always stuck in the scroll.

My afternoon walks (where I see NO ONE and catch up on podcasts) are a huge happiness highlight for me.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Since we're hunkering down, let's get tigers for our back yards: Quarantine Day 13

I would really like the results of my COVID-19 test.  I am worried that I really did have it. After an hour-long walk with the kids, yesterday, I came home and coughed and coughed, and my chest burned a little. (Note: the HMO told me I could rejoin my family after 72 hours of being fever free but shouldn't go anywhere but my house and outside on walks for 14 days. AS IF I EVER WANT TO LEAVE MY OWN AREA AGAIN. But it took a WEEK for me to feel well enough to even take a walk around the neighborhood).

I am really struggling with whether it is better to sleep more or get up before the kids and have some time to get my shit together. I am sick of being so tired that every time I sit on the couch I fall asleep, BUT ALSO, I am also sick of not having a single second to myself. Today, we got up at 6 to do a little work, have coffee, and watch Tiger King.  (Hi, you need to watch this show if you aren't.  WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING?)

Ben's job is really busy right now because his department deals with unemployment in the state, and DO YOU THINK SO, but more than that his job is structured in a way that demands total absorption and participation. Mine is more amorphous, and I can largely set my own deadlines, which means that I am the default parent.

Have you read this article about how COVID-19 has killed feminism? A big yep from me. I make less money. I have more flexibility. Therefore, I am the caregiver AND the worker. Not that Ben is a slacker-- he is just faced with more rigid working conditions.

I love feeling the baby move, and her movements are getting more reliable. I am 19 weeks on Sunday and feeling more than a little guilty about bringing a baby into this mess.

I am having trouble READING.  This is a happiness stumbling block I need to solve ASAP. One of my book clubs is choosing a new book, so that will help. The other one is reading something I have already read, and I am trying to revive my other book club. My friend dropped off a bunch of books when I was sick, and I have library books on the shelf.  No excuse is basically what I am saying. All I want to do is scroll FB.


 to the pool
 The most exciting minutes ofCooper's day: watching eggs boil.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Quarantine, Day 12

I just panic bought the same groceries I ordered this week because a pick up time opened up at my store ahead of schedule. This means I still don't have pantry snacks or hot veggie options and won't until the second week of April.  Oops. You can no longer modify your cart after clicking submit either.

So! NEW GROCERY STRATEGY. I am going to make a dream cart and just stalk pick up times everyday.  I AM DEVOTING SO MUCH OF MY TIME TO THINKING ABOUT FOOD. And there will be vegetables.

Other things I am going to do:
1. Wake up early.  I have let this slide, but I really like starting my day all by myself.  Right now, I am delaying the beginning of the kids' school day to drink coffee, work on my actual PAYING JOB, MOFOs, and blog.  But the kids are kind of agitated about it, and I want everyone to be as happy as possible, so getting up first is for sure something I ca do.
2. Take more pictures. Not taking pictures is my canary in a coal mine.
3. WEAR MAKE UP. This makes me feel happy.

Speaking of crappy pics: here are the ones I took yesterday:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Quarantine day 10 and 11

That's yesterday and the day before? Yes? (This, by the way, is why I SUCK at those photo of the day challenges. It is very hard for me to COUNT.)


Dorothy got this terrible whatever we have, but she seems to be feeling better. We told her she cannot come back to homeschool until she has been fever-free for 72 hours, so that makes her ineligible today and tomorrow, but maybe Friday.

We got groceries at the curb yesterday, a minor miracle because it's really hard to get a pick up slot, and food (even though we are FINE on food) is occupying most of my brain. Because I desperately want to stay at home, especially since we are finally feeling better.

Some people in our neighborhood are STILL having sleepovers and playdates. I thought this would be harder on my kids, but they think it is as insane as I do, so that's good.

I have been making a concerted effort to hang out everyday on facetime or zoom or google hangouts, and this has been SO GOOD for me.

I'm finally back on the elliptical, and Cooper ad I took a 40-minute walk yesterday.

The baby is moving a lot, and the kids want to feel her, but no dice so far.

This is my best quarantine read so far:
 They are worming on this vacation-planning project that has been a HUGE hit!
 Jack wins!
 Our living room has constantly had a sick kid since quarantine began.
 I found a second grade workbook on my shelf that he loooooooves
 Dominoes: fun to play with, terrible to clean up.
 Beatrix loves Paw Patrol.
 So pretty!
 We went outside for the first time in a week!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Quarantine, Day 8 and 9

I can't believe yesterday was day 8 already! Will we ever leave the house again?

Truthfully, I am just so glad that I feel a little bit better than I did yesterday. I am excited to do all the normal boring things that everyone is complaining about.  But.

Cooper's cough is absolutely terrible. He was feeling better yesterday and wanted to go hit golf balls at the school field with Harry and Jack, but when he cam back, he was coughing like crazy and seemed really run down. He was complaining of being cold after dinner, and I almost had an anxiety-based heart attack on the spot because a nurse I talked to from our HMO yesterday said a fever that goes away and comes back might be a sign of pneumonia.

Also, Dorothy is coughing a lot, and she has a fever, too.

I called the HMO to ask about my COVID test results because I haven't heard anything since Wednesday. The nurse I spoke with said there is a two week back up and I shouldn't expect a result for fourteen days.


We have heard from people with parents in the hospital that hospitals are not treating patients until they get their results back.

We have also heard from multiple sources, including news outlets, that healthcare workers are worried about running out of PPE.

Remember when I described all of the things the PA was wearing to give me my test? Well, if they aren't going to give people RESULTS until the potential illness has run its course, then that's a huge waste of gear.

And if they aren't going to treat people as positive until they get results but results never come, that makes NO SENSE.

So frustrating.

I am out of my room for the first time since Wednesday to hang with a sick Dorothy and a reluctantly couch-bound Cooper. I feel better, but the smallest activity is so exhausting, and my cough is still gross. I cleaned my bedroom and bathroom yesterday, and then I took a 2-hour nap.  That kind of thing.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Quarantine, Day 6 and 7

I might be counting wrong. But I think this means I am going to tell you about yesterday and today so far.


I watched season 2 and 3 of Workin Moms, all available episodes of Little Fires Everywhere and I'm Sorry.

I read a book.

I recorded a few more lectures for my class, emailed TAs, zeroed out my inboxes, worked on my adjunct class, drank a lot of water.

I took Tylenol every six hours. Unfortunately, my fever only stayed away for about 5-5.5 hours, so every time I took Tylenol, I ended up drenched with sweat.

I took some at 5 pm, knowing I'd need to take it at 11 to have the best chance of sleeping through the night (my sleep has been horrible), but then I fell asleep at 9 and slept until 3. When I woke up at 3, I felt a little achy, and my throat was SO DRY because I am disgusting mouth breather, so I drank like 30 ounces of water and figured since it had been 10 hours, I would go ahead and have some Tylenol, even though I didn't appear to have a fewer, according to my ear thermometer and also to the total absence of chills. I couldn't fall asleep again until 5, and I DID sweat like crazy again, so maybe the thermometer is broken? But, I woke up at 7:30 and felt fine. 

Except my cough is worse, and I feel like someone filled my sinus cavity with concrete, and I am SO DRIED OUT.

Still, it is going on 9 hours since my last dose-- no fever, no chills, no body aches, and I am 36.9 in one ear and 37.1 in the other.

That COUGH tho.

We shopped online for Jack's birthday and Easter, got Harry's meds sent from the pharmacy, and have groceries coming next week. We are worried that my test will be positive and that none of us will be able to leave for 14 days (from the day I got a fever, according to the PA, so Wednesday).

Cooper is OK-- fever-free for 48 hours (and mostly fever-free Wednesday)-- but his cough is also terrible and today he's complaining of a stuffy nose,  He is not eating with the other kids and is hanging out on the couch. 

Ben is averaging 30 emails a minute (yes, you read that right. I get stressed when I have 30 emails a WEEK) and working round the clock from the kitchen table. He's also keeping the house clean and doing all the laundry everyday.  He's pretty awesome.

I have big plans to record a lecture on Nixon's resignation speech, watch The Office, and finish a schlocky walk-in book from the library from long ago when libraries were a thing and taking my temperature every 5 minutes, which is totally normal, right?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Quarantine, Day 5

Hi, friends.  Do not freak out, but I got a COVID-19 test yesterday because I spiked a fever to go with my horrible cough and body aches.

I haven't gotten the results yet, but the flu test came back negative for both A and B, and my RSV test also came back negative.

People keep saying oh it's so great that you could get a test, but I have to tell you, getting tested makes me feel WORSE for 2 reasons:
1. Even if I test positive, they are literally going to tell me to stay in my room, drink lots of water, and take Tylenol. And they will not be testing my family or adding anyone but me to our official numbers, even though we would have to assume if I have it then Cooper does, too, and Dorothy and Jack have coughs, and Cooper coughed in Ben's MOUTH last night.
2. There are almost no tests to be found, and I sent a really innocuous message to my doctor through my electronic chart just saying, hey, I'm 17 weeks pregnant, have muscle aches in my legs, a 100.5 fever and oh yeah I have had a cough for 3 days, and I was getting swabbed LESS THAN 90 MINUTES LATER. I would like to feel like less of an urgent case, thanks, and please urgent care PA (who was AWESOME), please never use comorbidity in a conversation with me again. That's a scary word.

Can I just tell you how great, surreal, and painful the experience was?  Ok, so, our HMO is only seeing URI patients at one clinic, which is also an urgent care and used to see regular patients, too (the kids' pedi is there), but absolutely DOES NOT right now. You walk in and get a mask instantly, and then there is a partition down the middle of the waiting room: bleeders on one side (I made that up, but really, I cannot imagine why else you'd be going to a gd URGENT CARE in the middle of a pandemic) and coughers on the other.

I was the only person in the waiting room, and I only stayed there for 3 minutes when a masked CNA came to lead me to an exam room.  She opened the door for me and directed me inside, then she said she'd give me a call and left. There was a hand-lettered sign outside the door reminding staff to bring NOTHING in the room with them, including bags and papers, which was kind of freaky.

I sat there for a few minutes reading my book, and then my cellphone rang. The CNA did all of the charting via phone and said the PA would call me soon. She did, and she, too, did some charting, asking about my symptoms, their duration, my family, etc. She told me they would do a flu test for sure, but she had to share my case with the chief medical officer to see if I could be tested for COVID-19 and that she would be in shortly to examine me.

She entered the room in full hazmat gear, including a face shield. She used a portable cart to check my vitals, and except for a high pulse, everything was great. My lungs sounded good upon examination, but my fever was creeping back, and I was up to 100.6 before I left the office.

The flu test was no big deal-- a quick swab of my nose. The RSV and COVID tests? WERE TOTALLY BRUTAL. It's hard to say which one hurt more. Both involved sticking a really hard bristly probe INTO MY BRAIN through my nose (an exaggeration, to be sure, but not much of one). RSV was a much spikier probe-- kind of like a brush to clean the inside of a metal straw. You have to breathe in through your mouth, and the provider just sort of rams it in there. The COVID probe was softer BUT it has to stay in longer, and they have to TURN IT mid-test.  I almost cried.

After she swabbed me and said comorbidity (damnit!), we were all done, and she walked me out of the clinic through a disabled emergency door.  SO WEIRD.  But, in the absence of drive thru testing, it seemed like a really well-developed protocol. I don't feel like I left any germs, and I don't feel like I got any new ones.

She told me to isolate at home, and I feel awful for going about my business (covering my cough and washing my hands and cleaning surfaces regularly, but still) for 3 days with a cough but no fever. Today I am taking Tylenol regularly for the fever and staying in bed while Ben deals with all the kids and works another 13-hour day. I owe him one for sure.

I feel crappy-- cough, fever, chills, body aches, shooting sinus pain from the tests if I inhale just right-- but Tylenol helps a ton.

I am pretty freaked out, and I miss homeschool.  Also, think twice about sharing the scariest article you read about COVID-19 to the Facebook. You never know which friend is home with a cough and a fever waiting for results, you know?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Quarantine, Day 4

Things that worry me:

  • Cooper's cough
  • My cough
  • Grocery shopping (can't get a delivery until, next week; running low on fresh produce)
  • Soap (hard to find)

Things that are totally fine:

  • Spending time together
  • Juggling work and homeschool
  • Not needing to get dressed and go anywhere because I don't really have any maternity clothes anyway

Things that are better than I thought

  • How much time I have to exercise
  • Playing outside everyday for recess and gym and that last bored half hour of the afternoon
  • Homeschool in general
Dorothy loves to start each day with a morning meeting snd by reading the morning message she makes me write.
 I decided that since Jack's ELA teacher, who is wonderful, told parents to make sure kids are getting 40 minutes for reading and writing everyday, that we would tackle that first every morning with a literacy block. We use Alexa to keep time for us and first do silent reading (they chose the books)

 And then Covid-19 quarantine journals.
 Followed by good old Lexia
 The it's gym class!!
 Followed by art.
 Dorothy insisted we do self portraits.
 Math.  Also things get messy.
 While the boys worked on a social studies project, Dorothy worked in a first grade phonics book. I plan to do something with both her and Cooper during this chunk when he is fever-free and can come back to school.
 Everybody was restless, so we played 4-square at school for the last half hour of the day.
We can definitely keep this up until the end of the year!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Quarantine, Day 3

Yesterday was scary.

Cooper has a bad cough (to be fair, he has reactive airways disease, and his coughs always sound terrible) and a fever. When I called the doctor's office, it took over 15 minutes of recordings to speak to a person, and she got a COVID-19 pool (whatever THAT is) nurse on the phone for me pretty quickly.  That nurse was lovely! And so reassuring. She said to give Tylenol for the fever and let him use his albuterol every few hours. Other than that, just rest and watch. They *might* want to see him in 72 hours if the fever persists. I am worried, of course, but she reminded me that there are lots of other things going around besides the pandemic (gah!) We kept him away from everyone else, but that's hard. And he wasn't away away. Like, we did school downstairs, and he was on the couch upstairs. No on went near him. He covered his coughs. I followed him to the bathroom and wiped stuff he touched with Lysol wipes. We Lysoled the heck out of everything he touched when he went to bed (the remotes, the tray on the ottoman, the COUCH. He operated on a purely BYOB and P (blankets and pillows) situation.

BUT. We have not been doing these things before yesterday, even though he has been coughing for a couple of days. So.

We have also started making everyone wash their hands before (duh) AND after eating, and our hand hygiene has been so great that we ARE OUT OF HAND SOAP. And because people are assholes, so are stores. We still have one full bottle for every sink in the house, but they are going SO FAST. Ben went out yesterday and came back with a bunch of bars, so we'll be fine, and I placed an Amazon order for some that should be in stock early next month.  But I mean.  PEOPLE.

Now I am worried about our perfectly normal toilet paper supply.

Also, one more worry.  I also have a terrible cough. Ben does, too, but he has had a lingering cough since he had influenza-A a few weeks ago, so we thought his was just that. Now? Not as sure.

Dorothy also has a face full of green snot, and most of the kids at her birthday party had nasty coughs and runny noses. So, hopefully, we just have SOMETHING ELSE.

Despite being concerned about coughs and fevers, we had a great day of homeschool yesterday.

At morning meeting, we brainstormed our schedule for school, and Jack wrote it down. We blocked off  chunks of time between 9-3 for certain subjects, and we decided we can be flexible within those chunks about how we do those subjects. The boys, for example, have some pretty great stuff on their Google classrooms. Dorothy and Cooper are much easier to occupy with worksheets and simple  journaling prompts.  Everyone could draw all day. We also have a healthy 30-minute gym class, 45 minutes for lunch and recess, and a commitment to making at least one subject involve a long walk around the neighborhood. The main point is that we stick to a routine, do not watch TV, and only use devices (we have 4 laptops-- 2 from junior high, Harry's old Mac Book, and Jack's home Chromebook-- so everyone can do their Lexia and Moby Max or iReady from school, and that's terrific) for school things during those hours. Then at 3, the kids are happy to have a snack, go outside and play, and watch TV. Last night, they were fine until, basically, bedtime, and I got the break I was worried about getting.

Ben is home now, but he is also working 13 hour days still, so he didn't get much of a break until after a 7pm call and semi-successful soap run when he played cards with a crabby Dorothy who was at loose ends without Cooper to play with. Luckily her influx of new birthday toys should help.

Also, during school hours, I only used my phone for taking pictures, which is SO GOOD FOR ME. I think I hate social media right now.

I am so angry at any person in America who is not STAYING HOME (not people who have to work-- I get that. I mean people who are traveling for shits and giggles, going to restaurants, etc). I cannot believe how many people I know who are not quarantining after travel (WHY ARE YOU EVEN TRAVELING?) and are generally doing nothing to flatten the curve (but are probably the assholes with all the toilet paper and soap). The people who are having PLAY DATES?! GAH. I just didn't think so many people I knew would be violating the social contract in such a huge way.

OK. Some pictures from our first day of school, yes?

Making a 19 for Covid-19 list, at the suggestion of my very favorite Happier podcast.
 Their lists:
 Wiffle ball for gym class
Dorothy hard at work drawing and writing about her dream vacation
 Ditto, Jack
 Her fat little arms!
 Doing school stuff, even though he should have technically had a sick day.
 Writing to the baby in my Dear Baby journal
 Reading to me!

Other productive things I did besides forty-five loads of laundry:
1. Requested an absentee ballot for our upcoming April and August elections
2. Filled out the 2020 census for my household

What about you? How's pandemic life?

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Quarantine Day 1 and 2 (And Dorothy's 7th Bday)

I had meetings on campus Thursday and Friday, even though the University made the decision to close Monday-at least April 10. As I was wrapping up around lunchtime on Friday, I heard rumors that the kids' school was closing, too, so I hit the store on the way home, social distancing be damned, and got ALL OF THE THINGS.

Sure enough, the Governor closed schools, and I was so glad to have full cabinets and a tiny head start on the panic shopping.

Also, it was Ben's birthday, and he worked 13 hours.

Yesterday, Saturday, was also Pi Day, so Ben went out to pick up the pies I ordered back before the world closed, and he also got donuts for Dorothy's bday breakfast, since she requested them in lieu of a breakfast cake. But that was it. We stayed home and had a pretty lovely day. Ben and I took a walk. The kids played outside. I worked on my putting my course content online for students and on helping TAs understand the online course content I created on Thursday for the large class I direct. Dorothy and I took another walk, and she is SO EXCITED for homeschool to start on Monday-- more about that in a moment.

Today was Dorothy's birthday, and she was a giant smile all day long.  She had her donut tower with candles and presents for breakfast.  Disney Plus put Frozen 2 out early, just for her (so she thought). She played with her new stuff. We cleaned the house. The kids played outside. I took another long walk. Dorothy's bestie and her family sang happy birthday (with signs!) from their deck to ours, and we had breakfast for dinner with leftover donuts, birthday cake, and Pi Day pies. I don't think she missed leaving the house, and she kept telling us what an awesome day she was having. Before dinner, her bestie brought a speaker outside on her deck, and Dorothy went out on our deck, and they danced together. I mean. It was adorable.

Tomorrow, at 9am, we start homeschool. The kids are home indefinitely, and their school is NOT going online. I have no clue what's going to happen with the rest of the year. Go through summer? Repeat all grades? Just get passed along only knowing about 65% of what they needed to? I don't know. But I DO know that A)I have no control over the outcome and B) We need a routine to keep us all sane.

So, homeschool. Dorothy insists we start with a morning meeting, so we will. I will tell you all about it because I think I have to write my way through this thing-- it's such a surreal time. Grocery store shelves are bare, but we are eating through out cabinets like crazy. It's all so weird.

The internet is horrific (which is going to make working from home SO AWESOME, but here are a couple of pics: