March 13, 2020

How We'll Be Staying Busy While the Country is Shut Down

This squirrel keychain (affiliate link) has been on my Amazon wish list for a while, and I thought it was a great perspective for all the chaos going on now. Squirrels are chaotic, but I think that's why I love them so much. They are as crazy as me :)

And no matter what my stress level, if I can take 10 minutes to sit out on the deck and feed them, it makes me forget about what's bothering me for a few moments. Squirrels are the best!

Jerry was off work today, so he let me sleep in and he got up with the kids (I let him sleep in yesterday). When I woke up and walked into the living room, he told me that the kids' schools were closed until APRIL 14!

I had no idea this was even a possibility. I was completely stunned. I don't even think we've had any confirmed cases of coronavirus in our county.

Yesterday, the big news was toilet paper. Today, the world is pretty much closing down until further notice. It's truly unbelievable.

I also woke up feeling sick--nothing serious, but a dry throat and nose, and later a stuffy nose. Some post-nasal drip. Probably the same thing that Eli had yesterday (he was feeling better today).

This next month is going to be completely out of whack with routines. I won't be going much of anywhere (not having to drive the kids to school will be a nice break, and I'll have some time that I can do some things for ME--I really need to destress, and this could be a good opportunity to do so. I'd like to finish up Nathan's ceiling and work on a couple of wood projects in my garage.

I can't help thinking of all the people who have full time jobs and whose children have to stay home from school. What are they doing? (I know there are a lot of full-time parents that read my blog--how are you handling work + childcare?)

Today, Jerry and I went to the grocery store at 8:00 AM to get supplies that will last a couple of weeks (also some meds like ibuprofen and Mucinex--which are staples in our house. I just want to make sure that if we DO get sick we'll have meds to help with the symptoms.) I made sure to get cat and dog food, too.

When we first got there, I was surprised that there weren't many people. Less than 10 minutes later, the place was packed! I immediately went to the medication section to get that taken care of. After that, we noticed that there was very little meat, no eggs, no milk, obviously no toilet paper, and no rice (my family eats a LOT of rice, and I was bummed to see it was gone!).

Thankfully, we don't drink bottled water (we fill reusable water bottles with tap water). There was NO bottled water left in the store. (The water bottle below is cheap and it's my VERY FAVORITE--I collect water bottles as a compulsion, but this one is the best I've ever gotten.) So, if you can't get bottled water, just try refilling a reusable water bottle.

Luke sees the bottle and knows it's for "ice". He knows that I always have ice it to chew and he always wants some when he sees the bottle. Then he feeds it to Joey, of course ;)

Anyway, I felt really sad as I saw everybody rushing around and throwing things in their carts in a flurry... I started to think of elderly people who can't get around that fast trying to grocery shop in that chaos. I offered on Facebook to help anyone who had a loved one needing help, and I'd get groceries for them. Especially the elderly, who are at the highest risk for this virus.

I also worry about jobs. Thankfully, Jerry's job is very secure. They would do ANYTHING not to shut down his production plant.

However, they loosened up on the sick days--now, if anyone is sick they are not allowed to come into work. They don't get paid sick time, but they aren't penalized, either. If anyone shows up with symptoms, they are sent home. And they also implemented a rule that people have to be six feet away from each other at work (I don't know how that's going to happen, but we'll find out when Jerry goes to work tomorrow.)

I'm super grateful to work from home in this situation. I can be here with the kids (I know most parents choose not to or are unable do so). This isn't a "vacation" by any means--Noah started asking immediately after school if he can go out with his friends this weekend and if he can do a video game tournament (in a facility, not just online) on Tuesday.

I feel bad about it, but I told him no--the whole point of staying home is to prevent spreading this virus. We really can't afford to have Jerry, our main breadwinner, to get sick. So, we are taking as many reasonable precautions as we can.

I told the kids that I will have a list of things that I expect from them during this break from school--since it's NOT a vacation.


*Chores (my kids have it very easy; I do most of the chores in the house. So, I'm making a list of things they'll have to do every day.)
*Reading time (an hour a day)
*Physical activity of some sort (an hour a day).

I promised to do it with them, too. It'll be good for all of us.

With nice weather we can do things outside:

*Walk at the state park.
*The boys can play baseball together--they played baseball together today at the park.
*Eli has a baseball hitting net and Noah has a punching bag that they both enjoy using frequently.
*Take a picnic to a park if it's warm enough.
*On bad weather days, we can have a movie marathon.

As a family:

*Family game night
*Family movie night.
*We can take Joey for nighttime walks.
*Spring clean the house.
*Cook dinner together.
*Sit on the deck and feed the squirrels.
*Long bike ride in Metroparks.


*I told the kids to Skype with their friends--they can talk to everyone at once, so it's as close as they can get to sitting in a room with their friends and chatting.
*I'm not opposed to them seeing their friends occasionally, assuming everyone is completely symptom-free.
*Jerry and I would like to invite couples over here and there to play board games or something--to at least see people other than ourselves!

I'm trying to to worry too much about it, but this whole thing is pretty scary! I worry about the economy--even if this all starts dying down in a couple of months, the effects on the economy could last for a long time. I'm going to be stingy with money to try and build up more of an emergency fund in case something should happen (Jerry gets sick for a while or they shut down his plant).

Anyway, I hope that all of you are staying safe! It's hard not to get sucked into the media hype, but ultimately, we all want the same things--for everybody to be safe and get this over with as soon as possible!


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  2. So nice to read something sensible and caring among all the craziness.

  3. It's great you're offering help to others via FB! The elderly (and immunocompromised) are the most at risk, and we have to support them. There are a ton of websites and groups popping up around the country where you can sign up to help folks who need it by getting groceries, picking up prescriptions, etc, or if you need help! I live in a big city, and work in healthcare, so we've been talking about COVID-19 for a few weeks and are all on high alert, and it's so so so scary. BUT it's great to see we are taking the right steps to prevent the spread of the virus, and we are supporting each other in this tough time. Stay healthy!

  4. My daughter is a teacher and they closed all the schools in our county for 4 weeks. They meet on Tuesday to discuss online instruction and other ways to make sure kids are continuing with classes. My husband and I work from home so we self-quarantine all the time. ;-)

  5. I'm in Oklahoma and just today they shut down the schools effective tomorrow through April 3, going back the 6th. This week is Spring Break, so it's an additional 2 weeks out of school. My husband and I both work full time. Many companies are offering work from home, but I'm in sales, so that's not much of an option. Luckily both grandma's are close and retired, so grandma's are on babysitting duty. I wish they could take my son to do fun things, like go to the zoo, but even the zoo is shut down. My son will be stir crazy by the end of this! I'm just really, really hoping Easter does not get cancelled.

  6. Your plan sounds great and super grounded! I'm from Israel where the nationwide government directive is to not leave home unless absolutely necessary, and not socialize in person with anybody you don't live with. I live in Chicago now and follow the local guidelines, but still taking inspiration from the homeland on some of these points! One thing I read that the health minister of France said was to actually avoid taking ibuprofen if you get sick with coronavirus and prefer tylenol instead, as ibuprofen can have some adverse effects. There are all sorts of articles online with more info on that.

    Thank you for keeping writing, I look forward to your posts and love reading them! And stay safe.


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