Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Dads Must Be Crazy CoronaBlog Day 8 & 9

Day 8:

The days are all blurring together at this point, but at least there is something productive happening here at my house. For instance, I managed to clean off the clothes rack in the master bedroom, and in the process I found a perfectly functional recumbent exercise bike. The weather hasn’t really been conducive to my 5th-grade daughter running around outside - apparently, she melts in the rain - so she was happy to use it today. She rode on it for about half an hour. Combine that with the distance learning she did on the computer, and I suppose you could say she had a good day.

Rayna and one of her good friends have discovered the magic of Skype. Multiple times today, and yesterday, too, Rayna has absconded with my tablet to all areas of the house and had phenomenally in-depth conversations about...who knows what with her kindergarten classmate. I don’t know what they’re talking about, really. But I’ll say this: the sound of laughter that comes from both of them is heartwarming.

I actually saw my son today! He stopped by the house to pick something up before heading back to my in-laws. I’ll reiterate this: I’m happy he’s close by, I’m happy he’s with them, but under normal circumstances (who knows what normal is anymore?) I’d be furious to have him not home this long. I’ll be checking on him Tuesday (which will be Day 9) to make sure he’s doing all the work he’s been assigned so far.

Speaking of work, Craig and I have had brief text discussions about the amount of work being assigned to our respective kids. Since I only have what my kids have been assigned to go on, I don’t think it’s too much. Rayna has played various learning games with multiple lessons as part of them based of what’s been sent her way, and Teagan has maybe averaged an hour’s worth of stuff over all her classes since this stay-at-home stuff began. Sometimes there has been more, sometimes there has been less, and unless she’s really gung-ho, she’s finished what she’s needed over a couple different times during the day. 

I credit the teachers that my kids have for their efforts in getting stuff set up on the various websites, and for their communication via texts on the Remind App, which keep we, the parents, informed. It is truly helpful!

As I type this, I’m looking out my window at one of the several flower gardens we have at our house, and I see a bunch of tulip stems about half-way grown, and several crocuses starting to bloom. Spring may be here on the calendar, but it is not HERE yet. The weather has just not agreed with the date. But the flowers are telling a different story. I don’t have a green thumb, so to speak, but I am looking forward to getting outside as the weather improves so that I can properly take care of the yard work that awaits me. And, thankfully, with the weather keeping me mostly inside, I’ve been able to make some significant progress on the inside of our house. There’s still a ways to go, though, so I’ll stop this entry here and get back to work. Stay safe!

Monday. The start of a second week of sequester in this virus outbreak. By now, we should have some routines set down to occupy our time. The twins have settled into pretty well. Jo is just doing her thing, and Corliss is out of her mind without the definite structure that school provides. As for Wendy and I, we’ve been getting on okay. Wendy has been working with her students on questions they have with the work she provided, and she’s been updating new assignments.

Meanwhile I have been starting to get back into my groove. Monday was a writing day for me. I worked on the blog a bit and wrote two book reviews for the week. I need to use Tuesday to finish editing the last of the podcasts that we recorded before all this began. And then I’m going to paint the entryway. And I have a teleconference on Tuesday.

I have been doing my best to avoid most of the news. I have been watching Governor Cuomo’s press conferences, though. While I have been highly critical of him in the past, I believe that his leadership during this time has been much better than I ever expected. Aside from a few misplaced backdrops, he’s been the leader we’ve needed. It’s hard for me to say that, but I have to give credit where it’s due.

Patience spent the evening taping off the area where I need to paint. Taping is easily my least favorite part of the job. I’ll paint all day, but the prep work just plain sucks. I believe that she thinks we’re painting together. I’m not sure if that’s the case, though. When it comes to painting, I have my own style and I don’t like it when other people “try” to help. She can talk to me while I paint, and maybe pick up some pointers on how to do a good job. Or maybe I just let her help and we finish that much sooner. We will see what Tuesday brings.

Day 9
Want to know what was awesome today? The smell in my house.

For breakfast, I opened a canister of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls and my daughters and I enjoyed the deliciousness of one of the most awesome pastries that exists. Later in the morning, I prepared a slow-cooked chili tamale pie (using a seasoning packet, because I wanted to keep things simple) that by the time it was done, had a cornbread topping. Yeah, the house smelled superb today.

Among the other accomplishments of the day were some laundry, some computer learning getting done by both girls, and a few more steps taken to clean one room in the house that I just can’t seem to conquer - the “office” or “my room” or whatever you want to call it. It’s where the computer is, it’s adjacent to the laundry room, and unless one of my kids is using the computer, I’m typically the only person who goes into the room. Because of that, it’s also a bit of a catch-all for the “oh I’ll get to it” type of stuff that almost every house has. But really, it’s coming along nicely.

There’s a hallway I just might paint later this week if I complete enough other stuff. I started it a while ago, and I could probably finish the whole thing in short order. The walls in question don’t take up too much surface area as they lead into the basement. The current paint is a flat white. The paint I have matches another part of the basement and the carpet on the staircase by said walls. It’s also a semi-gloss finish, so it would likely make that spot in the house a bit brighter because of the reflective nature of the paint. Yeah, I’m going to make that a goal to accomplish on Friday.

I changed the water in the fish tank today. It was due. Glad I did it as one of the pieces on the filter had come loose without my knowledge. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen again.

I suppose this is one of the most boring entries I’ve made so far. Pretty run-of-the-mill stuff. I will mention that while I agree with Craig on his opinion of the NYS governor, and in particular the leadership that is being shown from Albany, it all needs to be looked at carefully. Optics, especially in politics, are so much of the “game.” Putting stuff into motion is different. Without going into too much detail, I’ll simply say that what our governor wants to do is admirable. HOW it is likely going to happen is questionable, at best. At least he’s doing something and listening to the right people, though.

That pretty much sums up my boring Tuesday. Time to switch gears and check out our Niagara’s Watercooler Bracket of Games. The first round of Twitter polling ended today. Keep an eye out for the next matches!

Stay safe!

Tuesday was one of those days. Seriously. One of those days. Last week it was the dog that needed a vet visit during the sequester. This week it was the cats. We had to go to the store to get some medication for the furry beasts. Since we were out at the supply place, we made sure that we had all the painting needs for our entryway project. And we got seeds so we can start our garden early. We just may need it.

At the same time, we dropped into the big box supermarket. We grabbed a four-pack of toilet paper and a dozen eggs. That purchase was not for us, though. It was for a friend of ours who is in a high risk group and needed both. We do what we can. I carried the toilet paper around the store in almost a hug, trying to be funny. I was going to put the rest of the groceries down on the conveyor at checkout and then ask the clerk how much of what I had to purchase could be traded for the pack of toilet paper. However, the clerk was young and looked a little overwhelmed. I did not try to make my joke.

We have a birthday coming up at the end of the week, and we’re struggling to put something together for her. We thought of getting an ice cream cake for her, but that plan seems to have crashed and burned. As for a present, we’re going to show her what we’re getting for her on her birthday and then she’ll have to wait for it to come in. In these strange times, waiting is the trend of the days. 

Jo has been obsessed with playing the Wii. I was hoping to maybe play a little Minecraft with them on our world. Instead I played on my laptop world. I may have only played for 45 minutes. After I started, I realized I really wasn’t into it. I’d rather read a book. I’m on book number six for the last week. It could be a record year for reading for me.

Speaking of reading, it still pains me that the library is closed. This is the longest time I’ve been away from that hallowed hall. I had a conference call for the system that was an amusing time for all the technical difficulties involved with having nine people on a phone call at the same time. The libraries will be closed a little while longer. I guess that means that I may make a dent into the pile of books to read that I actually own. 

The kids are starting to make up their own games to occupy their time. They’ve been using some of the games to help with the physical education requirement. Not that my kids need to worry about that. All four are typically very active. More active than I’ve felt the past nine days, though.

So I have been busy for the last few days. My wife and I have been working on a few projects. We removed a shelf that was weirdly attached to our butcher block. There was some mud and taping that had to be done. My wife finished it this morning with a coat of paint/primer combo. I got the parts for the gate on my fence in the mail earlier today and promptly replaced the latch. There were also 2 posts left still in the ground that were used to stabilize the 4 fruit trees I removed from my backyard last year. I got those removed this morning as well. I would have loved to have kept the trees but one developed a bad case of black knot fungus and it can spread. So I removed them all.

My wife and I broke down and subscribed to Disney+ and so far I am impressed. I really enjoyed The Mandalorian. I know one of my esteemed Dads was not that big on it, but I found it to be entertaining. Albeit the editing was a bit choppy in a few episodes. The “child” stole the show in my opinion. 

On the other side of the coin, my wife and I are starting to go a little stir crazy. I’m sure that some couples are finding that they are arguing a little bit more. My wife and I don’t really argue with each other, but we are getting a bit snippy with the other. Normally we have substitute teaching, karate, and other activities that give us some time apart. These have been taken away during this pandemic. 

As I’m writing this my wife just informed me that my son just hit my youngest daughter in the nose with the lid to the roasting pan. PAR-ENT-ING ahhhh!. I need a break! This video is technically safe for work, however it is technically NSFW. Every parent should see this video. I find it hilarious.

Anyway, I’ll write again soon.

To rebut Bobby just a little, I didn’t hate The Mandalorian. I guess my expectations were higher than reality. It was, in my opinion, very disjointed from episode to episode. And against Start Trek: Picard, it loses, head to head. I still will be watching the when the new season comes out in the fall. Now that they’ve set the world and the main characters, maybe we’ll get a deeper storytelling.

With Covid-19 sequestering us, we seem to have a lot more time to study and break down these favorite shows of ours. Next up will be the monstrosity that Howie so loves -- Gargoyles. I’ve watched it and just don’t get the allure. At any rate, it will never be as good as Euchre. Yes, I know that’s comparing two entirely separate things, but Howie knows what I’m talking about.