40 Days of Social Distancing

It’s been 40 days since we’ve been out of school, no longer allowed to go out to a store or the gym, play in playgrounds, or generally see or spend any time with anyone outside of our immediate family. Our last day of being in our school buildings here in NJ was Friday, March 13th. How about that for an omen!

That week, I laughed because my desk calendar had a “Panic Day” as one of the official holidays. And a week later, we were home on the very first day of Virtual Learning and… our power went out. Internet and all.

Then, on the very first day home full-time our washing machine broke. That was fun! We had tried to repair it previously, so this go around we had hoped we could get a new one delivered. It seemed every day they were shutting down businesses, so we are a little on edge.

We were able to get a new one, which was delivered damaged. The second try at a delivery also was damaged, but not enough to warrant trying again. We set it up and off we went to wash everything!

As each day passed, it appeared the world was ending. I was glued to the news (which I’ve now since limited), and things were breaking all around us. Power outages, storms, the washing machine, trees falling… it was wild and overwhelming.

I never thought this would last this long, but it looks like we’ve got another many more days of this on the calendar. When we originally were shut down, it was for only “two weeks.” That has now spanned into almost six weeks now. I think I’m starting to slowly get used to this, and the kids have adapted pretty well.

Virtual learning, homeschooling, or however you want to view it has been a bit bumpy. The first week was crammed with us trying to do our work, and trying to encourage our children to do work as well.

We started out the first two weeks all working at the dining room table. Our children’s teachers were working as quickly as they could to find a format to utilize all of the online services for lessons and it felt like a constant barrage of emails, notifications, text messages! It was quite stressful trying to navigate it all, for our work and their work.

And then cleaning it all up every time to we could each meals together…

Now, six weeks in, I think we’ve found a good balance between our work and their teachers have a more organized manner in sharing it. Our oldest has adapted well to learning from home, and our youngest is doing his best, but most of his pre-school is about social interactions which are all limited right now.

We’ve moved our workspace back up to our office where we can focus, and we’ve gotten Monkey a refurbished Chromebook so he could do his work without taking from our need of our devices; which was difficult and making schooling last pretty much all day. We’re fortunate we were able to do that, as I know so many are unable to do so. (He actually used his savings to buy it; money he’s made from vacuuming neighbor’s houses!).

Now, we’ve moved into a good routine of working in the office, and taking breaks as needed. Monkey gets right to work and has been working through his lessons more and more independently, which has been wonderful to witness. Usually by the late afternoon, we’ve all shut down our devices and have gone outside or played board games. Chris and I are still working in the evenings, so some nights we’re back in the office working again for our second jobs.

There have been many days of anxiety. I had been sick the first week home, and my children were sick the two weeks prior to the shut down. We’ll not know for sure what we had, but I surely look forward to trying our best to stay healthy and care for each other the best we can in these circumstances. Venturing out to the store is fraught with challenges, so we’ve ordered what we can online and try to only go into a shop every few weeks.

My workout routine has suffered quite a bit. The first two weeks I attempted early morning workouts, then I dropped to afternoon workouts, then sort of attempted evening workouts. I have at least moved my body several days a week and I credit Peloton for motivating me to keep showing up! I have been battling some hamstring tendonitis, so that has also derailed me a few times trying to keep that in check.

There have been a few bright spots in all of this. When the days are warmer, we’re all happy to sit outside and play on the lawn or do some gardening. The boys have helped me weed our garden, dig in new plants we had delivered, and handle some yard projects.

We managed to set in motion a few bigger outdoor projects we had been saving for and attempting to schedule for over six months now to no avail. At this time every contractor seemed to finally be able to set a date and complete what we needed; they were returning phone calls. Unlike from Sept through Feb!

We’re just going to keep doing the best we can. We’ve all given ourselves a little bit of a break over spring break which made a huge difference to give us the breath and perspective to plow through the rest of this school year. We have no say in how long this will last or what our future holds truly, so we’re going to do our best to go with the flow and come out the other side of this stronger and more resilient. I’d also like to come out a few pounds lighter, but that’s a story for another day.

Be safe!