Today is the first day of what I’m calling “COVID Reality.” In Colorado, while we aren’t ordered to “shelter in place,” anything that would be worthwhile leaving the house for has been closed down, most notably all sporting events, theaters, churches, restaurants, breweries, and bars. Oh, and schools. These closures are setup right now for 4 weeks. We’ll see how long it actually ends up being (I doubt shorter than 4 weeks). So we’re getting to know our family better, for better or worse. I’m working from home, the kids are doing school from home, Ethan is doing college from home (they closed the campus for the rest of the year), and Jenny has had to take on the new jobs of teacher and principal in addition to Janitor, Laundress, and overall house CEO.
I’m calling it the “first” real day of COVID Reality even though these conditions have been in place all week. It’s our first day in it since we spent the first part of the week attempting to do a spring break vacation. You can see how well that went in my previous posts…
We are actually quite blessed in this whole ordeal. I haven’t been laid off, and work in a profession that can sustain long periods of working completely remotely, so we will continue to have money coming in and have a setup where our kids can continue to do their schoolwork without the pervasive attention from the professionals that teach them every day.
That said, of course there are things that are harder now than normal. The news and social media are full of things that are bothering adults, but I had a conversation with Mireille that reminded me that our kids are suffering right now as well. Honestly, probably moreso than we are, and nobody really gives a darn. Most of the posts I’ve seen center around our own (adults) experiences, mostly in light hearted ways, but Mireille described that she is struggling with the change as well. Here’s how it went:
Mireille: Dad, home school is really different from school school.
Me: Yeah, how so?
Mireille: Well, none of my friends are here. And I don’t get to do the things I do at school.
Me: Like what? (I’m very eloquent in these conversations, you can tell)
Mireille: Like play, and doing our morning work. You know, like going on the carpet and doing our work. Well, I guess I get to go on a carpet, but I don’t sit on the carpet, I sit on a chair on the carpet…
This morning, Jenny and I went out to get Starbucks (they’re open, but just the drive-thru), and stopped quickly at Target to get some office paper (it’s an essential as Mireille goes through it at a very fast clip to draw) and some other minor essentials. As Toilet Paper has been a big discussion topic, it’s something we’ve started paying attention to whenever we get to a store. The past few trips to the grocery store we’ve encountered shelves completely devoide of TP. Today in Target, the first thing we saw was two pallets sitting right at the front of the store stocked with big packages of Toilet Paper! Every person we walked by had one of these packages in their carts. Jenny briefly picked up a smaller package of the essential item, but thought better of it and put it back on the shelf, hoping that once we did run out in a week or so that the panick and hoarding practices will have stopped.
Quinton had a funny take on the Toilet Paper discussion (I’m capitalizing it on purpose since it appears to have enough importance now to be a proper noun) last night. He came into our bedroom and asked:
What’s the big deal with Toilet Paper? Do people think they won’t be able to wipe their butts? I mean, I can wipe my butt on just about anything, it doen’t have to be Toilet Paper. I can wipe my butt on a towell, I can wipe my butt on the wall, I can wipe it on the curtains, or I can wipe it on the dog. People are crazy!
I think he’s figured it out…
We’re all trying to figure it all out. In an attempt to give our children and ourselves some sense of normalcy, we’ve decided to make more order in the house and to publish and follow a somewhat stricter schedule. For example, we’ve segemented the house into activity areas, and are encouraging each other to abide by the defined purposes. The bathrooms are for bathroom activities, the kitchen and dining area for food prep and consumption. The dining room is for school work, the bedroom office is for work-work and college work. The rest of the house is up for grabs, mainly dedicated to entertainment and relaxation. So far, one day in, only Ethan is complaining that he’d rather do his work on the kitchen table, but it is strictly for food ingestion during the “work day.” We’ll see how far this goes into this new reality.
As I’m typing this in the morning, Ethan and I are on separate conference calls at the same time on the same desk. Quinton is downstairs on the XBox (it’s his spring break) and Mireille is in school with her new, mean teacher in the dining room. The internet is handling things like a champ, so far, and so far we haven’t killed each other. It’s only COVID Reality Day 1, though. Oh, I didn’t mention the additional kick in the teeth of our first day of the new Reality, Denver March weather stayed true to form and dumped about 6 inches of heavy snow on us. Yay!