Monday, April 6, 2020

A New Week

Today is the first day of spring break for the kids. With my son being on the high school baseball team, it's been a while since we did something more than a day-trip or stay-cation for spring break. Even though we would only get away one day, we generally filled our time with other fun activities - hanging out with friends, mother-daughter pedicures, laser tag with friends, mini-golf and go-carts, sleepovers, swimming and ice cream. This year we simply are home. I have to say, it feels a little weird.

It's not like spring break is the only unusual thing going on though. One positive of this whole experience is increased family time. I am seeing it at my house and in the neighborhood. This weekend we took a family bike ride, just over 6 miles round trip from home to lunch and back again. We picked up carryout from a local favorite and biked back to the school to use the picnic tables to enjoy our lunch before biking home. We have always loved family bike rides (okay, who am I kidding, my husband and I love them and the kids come along because they have to and sometimes with a bit of whine as we plan for it) but finding time for them lately with two very active children (and parents) has been a challenge. Normally we do closer to 20 or 25 miles round trip but the restaurants we use as destinations on the journey are sit down places, that although I assume are doing carry-out wouldn't be as conducive to finding a picnic table or eating outside. It was nice to get in a bike ride locally and spend some active time together as a family. As we were out biking, I saw a lot of families walking together, biking together, doing yard work together and playing ball in their yards. It really was a nice sight to see.

This weekend we also enjoyed a family movie night in. We are definitely a movie family and have even included destinations like the dine-in theater as part of one of our staycation adventures. We watched Onward on Friday night on Disney+. It wasn't a movie that we had talked about going to see or were anxiously awaiting, in fact, even when we suggested it, my daughter wasn't really interested in watching it but we all did and discovered it was a good movie and everyone enjoyed it.

We also tackled a few projects around the house this weekend. We are entering the eleventh season with our Ultrabuilt playset this year and the kids (my daughter much more so than my son) still enjoy it. In the early years, I was very consistent in making sure that we gave it a fresh coat of paint each spring or at least every other spring to help protect it from the sun and rain. More recently, we have been a lot more busy and it has fallen to every three (or at least that is how long we think it was) years. This was not the best idea as we found a couple of boards that had not maintained the seal created by the paint (or maybe I missed a spot during the last one?) and had a bit of rot within those boards (or was it carpenter ants or something similar?). We made the repairs that were needed and then I used the paint we had on hand to paint the main slide platform and adjacent rails. We will need more paint so I can seal the rest but the store we bought it at doesn't carry that brand anymore and we tried but couldn't figure out how to do an online order for a paint blend - we could get the base gallon but there was no where to enter the color or see/select the color from samples. The rest will just have to wait until we can get back into the stores. We also had a water issue on the frame for our back door. We put in french doors several years ago and it looks like the flashing above the frame wasn't properly overlapped and so we have had a slow trickle of water in around the frame. This caused some of the wood to rot. We used some caulk to address the issue with the flashing and then tackled the frame. We dug out the bad part and filled it with wood filler to rebuild the space, sanded it and will paint it. Again, we don't have the paint we need, so in the short term we will use what we have from the front porch and will have to repaint later when we can select the color we need at the store.

I have found that I have fallen into a steady routine. I know that I am cleaning things more often trying to reduce risk. Each morning, I get up and feed the cats. If I sleep longer than they like, they make sure I am up by climbing up on my bed and sitting on my stomach to cry about eating. Then, I open up the blinds on the first floor to maximize the sunlight we are getting inside. Then, I start by cleaning up the kitchen - put away clean dishes, address any that were soaking from the previous night, take out trash and recycles, and then I wipe down all of the counters. To be fair, I had wiped down the counters and cleaned up after dinner too but I want to make sure that we are starting each day fresh. I then wipe down the counters, the faucet and the toilet in the main floor bathroom. It is the first place we go when we walk in the door to wash up from being outside the house - whether just out for a walk or coming in from the store - so I want to make sure that nothing was left behind on a surface in there. Then, I wipe the inside and outside door handles for all three entry doors and the button on the garage door opener. Then I swap the towels in the kitchen and half bath and add them to the washer to be cleaned with the next load. Then, I will typically work a bit on our puzzle, check e-mail and Facebook, have breakfast, maybe watch a show or movie, check out job postings and hopefully apply to one or two viable options. I typically will go for a walk in the afternoon but adjust based on weather - so far, I have found a way to get in at least a 30 minute walk each of the days that have passed since social distancing began.

We found out last week that school closures have been extended to May 1st and then that the Stay At Home order has also been extended to May 1st. I am glad that they didn't go as far out as some other states; I have heard June 10th for some state(s). I am hopeful and pray that we will be able to start to return to normal come May 1st. I know it may be a gradual return but a start to return is at least a beginning and something to look forward to.

Interestingly, I counted and May 1st represents 40 days of social distancing. I counted because I saw a blurb on Facebook about the number 40 and the significance. It referenced among other things, the 40 days of the great flood, the 40 days of Lent and so on. Of course I left to verify something and couldn't find the post when I went back into Facebook and I can't remember what friend had shared it. My husband found a similar one but it had less of the connections. One of the things it referenced (and one of the things I left to verify) was that even the word quarantine comes from the Italian word meaning 40 days (from Wikipedia: The word quarantine comes from quarantena, meaning "forty days", used in the 14th-15th-century Venetian language and designating the period that all ships were required to be isolated before passengers and crew could go ashore during the Black Death plague epidemic).

This week, I was able to schedule a grocery pick up, so I should be able to stay out of the stores this week but likely will do my own shopping next week. In part because it is so hard to get a time and in part because I still find shopping for myself easier but also a little riskier than I want - we learned this weekend that someone that works at our grocery tested positive. We are on about a 9 - 10 day schedule for groceries at this point. I am buying two weeks worth of bread and milk products each time so that we can stretch the visits out and have partial coverage if they are out of stock. The one thing that is harder to stretch is produce. We just make sure that we get our fruits and veggies fresh when we first shop and then we can move to frozen or canned later in the time between grocery trips. When we have a Friday evening without plans, we like to stop by the store and pick up a fresh baguette to enjoy as a snack. Not wanting to go to the store for one item, this weekend I made bread. I have made bread before but it has been a while. It turned out good and was a nice accompaniment to our dinner on Saturday as well. I will definitely plan to add flour to my shopping list so that I can make more.

How have you been doing? What adaptations have you made? How long are things 'closed' in your area?