Top 20 Things I Learned Part I

I am going to break down the top 20 things that I have learned during these last few weeks off due to the Corona Virus.  I am doing the first ten tonight, and wrap up this challenge with the final ten tomorrow.

Before I start, Happy birthday Cassie!   Hope it was a good one!

  1. I hate the Corona Virus.  No explanation needed.
  2. I actually really do miss teaching.  I would’ve thought that if we had an opportunity to get off a couple extra weeks without having to make it up, I would be ecstatic.  Turns out, I wish nothing more than to get back in the classroom with my students.
  3. My kids are awesome.  Being stuck in the house for this long, I feared the worst with my kids.  However, they have been such troopers.  They play so well, love doing the school work, and rarely fight or argue. They make it so much easier on us.
  4. My wife is a work horse.  My wife works from home, so besides the summer, I don’t really get to see her work.  Over the course of this week, she has had so much thrown at her, not to mention the fact that her huge presentation is due.  She worked day, night, and weekends.  Never complaining, just getting it done.
  5. I am not good at being quarantined.  I need to get out!!
  6. I miss going out!  See above.  We typically would go out to dinner at least once a week, plus some bar nights with friends sprinkled in.  I miss it!!
  7. I need adult interaction.  As much as it is fun talking with my kids, I need to have some actual adult conversations.
  8. I don’t like being told no.  My wife is taking this very seriously, as am I, but I still want to try and sneak over to our friends house.  She told me no.  I don’t like it.
  9. Even working out is fun.  The mental hurdle is the toughest for me to get over when it comes to working out.  Now, I actually use it as a break from doing nothing.
  10. Fresh air is key.  Getting outside has been so important.  I don’t care if it is cold, rainy, or whatever, I still need to get out and get some fresh air each day.  Although, having the sun out is so amazing.

 

There are my first ten.  The second ten will close out this chapter of slicing tomorrow.

Struggle bus

Today was a struggle. Granted it was my own fault, but it was a rough one. We played an online poker game with friends last night, and the girls all chatted on Houseparty. Well, a couple of rounds of shots and a bunch of beers later made for a rough start to the day. I had all intentions of getting a lot done around the house. That will now start tomorrow instead.

I finally decided I needed to get off the couch and do something to try and make myself feel better. I went upstairs and decided I would do a workout. Sweating it out hopefully make me feel better. My daughter followed me up and wanted to do a workout with me. So we did. Well I did the elliptical and she spun around in a chair for a half hour. Then I grabbed my weights and she asked if she could do it too. I grabbed her my wife’s 3 lb weights and we worked out together. Then we did band work, sit ups, and a couple push ups.

The cute part was that she wanted to do this with me. She motivated me to do it even more. It really did make me realize how much we shape our kids lives though. If they see us being bums and sitting on the couch all day, that becomes normal to them. This is something that I am going to keep in mind over this break, making sure we are keeping them active. We need to be the examples for them, because they pay attention more than we know.

“Getting Out”

Friends that play together, stay together.  Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t do well locked up.  I am of course the one in my family that this is hitting the hardest.  Some of my favorite things in life, including sports, friends, and bars/restaurants are gone!  It is killing me.  I need to get out and be social in a bad way.

We came up with a solution with my friends.   My buddy and I found a website that we could create a private poker table at.  YES!  We set it up, and currently have about six guys that are going to play.  It is all free which is even better.  I am sure we will bet real money, but at least we don’t have to pay the site to play.  The girls are all having a “House Party,” which is some app that they can get together and chat on.  So the girls will be drinking wine and entertaining themselves while the boys get to chat and play some poker.

Even though it is killing me to have to stay in this house, at least now we can have some fun with our friends.  Some poker, some beer, and some laughs.  Just what the Corona Virus doctor ordered.  Now we just have to survive these tornadoes.  I would ask “what else?”  But I don’t dare!  Hope you all are finding something fun to do tonight!

Drive by birthday

Today is my niece’s fourteenth birthday.  I literally feel so bad for anyone that has a birthday during this crap.  As if things weren’t bad enough, you can’t even celebrate your birthday.  This is especially bad for kids.  I have seen so many poor kids that have had to cancel birthday parties with their friends due to being home bound.  It makes me feel terrible that I haven’t paid attention to which students I have that have birthdays during this month that I have missed.  I will be making sure that I go through each student and checking when their birthdays are.  I will be sending a personal message to each student that has their birthday during this time, hopefully giving them some excitement on their birthday.

Anyway, with today being my nieces birthday, I wanted to make sure that she got something special today.  Something to make her day.  I rallied the troops, or my sister and my parents.  I ran to Walmart with my kids and picked up lawn signs, light up balloons, a card and a gift card so she can shop online.  We came back home, and each made a sign for her to post in her yard.  My five and three year old each made such a cute sign in their own handwriting.  Then I let them draw some pictures on it.  Maybe not the best idea with my three year old since she colored over a bunch of her letters, but who cares.

We drove over and met my sister and her kids, as well as my parents, at a nearby Portillos.  We got her a chocolate cake, then drove over to her house.  I ran outside and stuck the signs in the yard, attached the balloons, and put her present on the porch.  My sister and her kids, plus my parents were all dressed up in who the hell knows what.  We did not get that memo.  We called my niece and had her come outside.  She was cracking up.  It was so nice to see how excited she was that we all came to celebrate her.  I also found out that a bunch of her friends had their parents do a parade in front of her house.  They decorated their cars, hung out from the windows, honked, and just really made her day special.

I hate that these poor kids don’t get to celebrate their birthdays exactly how they want to, but I think that seeing other people step up to make their birthday count is really awesome!  I truly believe that she loved the attention she received today.  It may have been different from other birthdays, but who gets a celebration caravan for their birthday?

Happy birthday Kaelyn!!Kaelyn

 

Ten Feet From the Vet

The whole quarantine thing is pretty weird overall.  Staying at home, only allowed to go to the store, ordering take out from any restaurant that is still open.  Today, I think I had the strangest experience though.  The vet.  My poor dog has been really favoring his ear, both scratching and shaking his head constantly for the last two days.  He never usually scratches at himself, so we knew something was up.  When my wife gave him a bath the other day, she said there was stuff coming out of his ears that should not come out of any animal.  It was time to take him to the vet.

When I called, they said they could get me “in” at 3:00.  She said they are being compliant with the social distancing, so just pull up and call them when I get there.  When I got there, I was five feet from the door on the street.  I brought my daughter with me just so she could get out of the house.  They told me that someone would meet me outside to grab him.  I described to her what was going on over the phone.  They grabbed him, brought him in, and told me to stay in my car.  They would call me when they had news.  Twenty minutes later I get a call from the vet saying sure enough, he has some nasty ear infections.  She said they cleaned it out, and now needed to figure out exactly what it was so they knew what medicine to give him.  She said she would call me back.  Sure enough, about ten minutes later I get a call explaining what it was and what to do about it.

The crazy thing is that she was literally about ten feet from me, and I never once saw her.  I paid over the phone, a tech brought him out, and away we drove.  The whole social distancing thing has been weird, but today it hit a new level.  Now to get this poor guy on the mend.

Struggling

The Slice of Life challenge is tough to begin with.  Then add in that we are in the movie Groundhog’s Day, stuck at the house doing the same thing every day.  It makes thinking of something to write about way more difficult.  Lets see, do I write about my kids for the 20th time, the Corona Virus, or something else that I have done, which is nothing.

After I got off another Zoom meeting with the fourth grade teachers, I learned that this little “vacation” we are on will most likely be lasting through the end of April, if not the end of the year.  Yippee.  I needed to get out.  I needed to go burn off some energy, and since it is supposed to rain the whole weekend, we had to take advantage of getting outside.  My kids strapped on their helmets and we took a bike ride around our neighborhood.  It felt good to ride around, even though it was a little chillier than I had hoped.  Going with the wind it wasn’t too bad, then we turned the corner by a huge pond and the wind came howling straight at us.  I had aspirations of doing a nice, long ride, but that chill ended that quickly.  We still took a decent ride, but cut it a little shorter than normal.

On our way however, we were out looking for paw prints.  Our community in Batavia is having residents color in different things and post them in their windows.  Last couple of weeks it was shamrocks.  The kids were supposed to look for shamrocks in people’s windows and keep track of how many they found.  Now that St. Patrick’s Day is over, they switched it to paw prints, for the Batavia Bulldogs.  My kids colored and taped them to the window.  Now every time we go out, whether it is a bike ride, or to walk the dog, we keep an eye out for the paw prints.  I love seeing how excited they get every time we find a new one.  When they get home, they have a sheet that they color in how many they have found total.  It isn’t much, but it gives them something to do while we are out an about.  As we are all in this together, we need to keep finding ways the community can continue to do things that keep these kids entertained, while still following the separation rules.

Connecting

Today I tried my second attempt at having a Zoom meeting with my students.  After the first attempt, I was a little discouraged.  I logged on all excited to talk with them, and crickets.  Not one student joined.  I sat there for a half hour hoping someone would drop in to say hi.  Nope.  Not a one.  Today was different though.  Today, I had 14 out of my 21 students join.  It was awesome to see them and to talk to them.  It was a little awkward at times trying to make sure everyone was involved, but it worked out well.  They got a chance to talk about what they have been up to, and what school work they have been doing.  Sadly, it didn’t sound like a whole lot of either.  I am going to do another one on Friday, and this time I gave them a challenge.  I challenged them to bring things to the table that they have been doing.  It could be a cool game they played, a fort they built, an obstacle course, a website they visited, a book they read.  Anything!  I want them to give each other ideas on what they can be doing during this time.  I even created a Google Doc that is a chart they can fill out all of the things that they have been doing over the course of this week.  Hopefully that will lead to some better conversation, as well as some ideas they can take and use to fill the empty hours of their week.

After doing the meeting, we had school work with my kids, played Bey Blades, took a bike ride, played with stomp rockets, ran to the store, and cooked dinner, it was now time to connect with my family.  We are close, and usually spend a decent amount of time together, so not being able to do that has been tough.  We had everyone from my parents, my sisters and brother in laws, to my niece, nephews, and my own family.  It was nice to catch up, joke around, and just chat for a while.  I found out my nieces made an amazing beer pong table for the lake house, so I am pretty excited about that.  Then we closed it off by doing a virtual shot together.

It was really nice to connect to everyone today!  It is really tough not being able to see everyone, so being able to connect like this makes it a little easier.

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I was really looking forward to…a meeting?

A couple times a month we have what we call a “3-4” meeting on Mondays after school.  Typically I dread them.  There are so many other things that I could be using that time for.  Especially since the topic is quite often repeated.  They feel like those meetings that you meet just to meet.  It is one more thing you have to do after an exhausting day.  I would rather use that time to grade, or lesson plan, or meet with my partner to discuss how things went that day.

Today we had a 3-4 meeting, except this time, I was actually looking forward to it.  In the beginning of the year, if you would have told me we get a couple extra weeks off during the year this year, I would have been thrilled. However, if you then told me that we get a couple extra weeks off, except we are quarantined to our houses, with no friends, no social life, no bars or restaurants….well then I would be feeling just like I am now. Miserable. I am a social person.  I need that interaction with others, whether it be friends, family, or colleagues. I love the time with my kids, it has been amazing, but you also need that adult interaction.

Today we got a half hour of “normalcy” I guess you would say.  We did a Zoom meeting with our staff today, and I was really excited for it.  I didn’t care what we talked about, it was just good to see some of those faces again.  It was good to make my annoying jokes that interrupt the meeting.  Because to me, that is normal, and that is who I am.  Even though we couldn’t be together, at least we got to talk, laugh, and see each other.  With the uncertainty of what the rest of this year will bring, we will need to lean on each other and be there for each other like we do during the normal school year.

It is funny that you never knew how much you would miss your job, until it is not there.  I do miss my students a lot.  It is tough for me not to see them everyday.  But, I miss my colleagues more.  We have the best staff, and they are what help me get through every day, no matter how tough it was.

Projects

One good thing about being stuck in the house forever is that now I can get some of the projects done around the house that I have been putting off.  I have decided to try and take it one floor at a time.  Today I started in the basement, in the crawl space.  Probably the last room that I should have started in, but it needed to be done.  We have so much crap down there that needs to be organized.  I organized all the shelves and the million games that we have.  I dusted, which honestly may have never been done since we moved in.  Tomorrow will be going through the rest of the basement with the kids and purging anything they don’t play with anymore.  I can’t wait!

Then I move upstairs to the middle floor.  This is where I will be spending most of my time.  I have to repaint some of our cabinets, and put hardware on half of them.  Then I have to replace a bunch of transition pieces on our baseboards that my dog decided were chew toys when he was a puppy.  I have to then deep clean the whole area.

From there is upstairs.  Luckily my wife finally tackled our closet, and now I can confirm that we do actually have a floor in there.  It looks amazing. I have already done a few small projects up there, but there are places where there is a huge need.  The bathrooms.  Both of our bathrooms need a complete makeover.  I don’t have the funds to completely rip them apart like I want to, but it is time to start fixing them little by little.

I am not looking forward to getting all of this done, and I probably won’t, but at least we are making some progress.  The nice thing is that I actually need to do this stuff to keep myself sane.  Here’s to hoping that I get all of these things checked off my list.

Messenger Kids

The fact that we can’t get our kids together with their cousins is killing them.  They want nothing more than to have a play date, a sleepover, or just a few hours to play with them.  But…they can’t.  We are in full lock down, so now we have to improvise.  Today my sister sent my kids an invite for Messenger Kids.  I built profiles for both, picked the people who they can connect with and we are online.  

My nieces and nephews immediately starting contacting them.  They sent notes, pictures, and videos.  It was like Christmas for my two.  They loved getting the messages!  They started off pretty shy, simply sending “hi” back.  Then their grandparents started connecting with them.  Now they are sending messages back with pictures for their grandparents to see.  Before I new it, they had this downloaded on their IPADS, and were now calling anyone that would answer.  My son connected with his cousin Quinn, who is a little older, but his best friend.  He is walking all over our house showing him his new Bey Blades.  These two sat and chatted like a bunch of old women for like a half hour.  Then there was my three year old.  She called four people, but barely talked to them.  As she dragged her IPAD around our house, the unlucky person who responded got a view of our carpet, walls, and a couple shots of our dog.  

It is so cool that in this time where these poor kids can’t see any of their friends or family, at least they can connect with them now.  I look forward to many more entertaining conversations between them.