3/27/2020

And then there was mulch

The Lowe's delivery truck came last night and offloaded our pallet of 50 bags of mulch. I always go for the dark brown. I'm not sure about these people who like the Ronald McDonald orange. On what planet is that a natural color for tree bark? And the big chunks? No siree, shredded please.

I had him put it behind my car's garage door, because really, where do I have to go?

Regardless, after a tiny bit of school today (we generally take Fridays off, or at least keep them light - so I just made eldest edit and reprint out his compare and contrast essay and youngest finish the painful and maddening process of him reading me a story. Because of all the fussing earlier in the week, he had six pages left (I try to keep it to 3) and it was torture. But he did it.) we hied out to the lovely, sunshiny day and hefted the bags about to cover the front garden beds.

It looks very nice, if I say so myself.

Which I do. (Someone has to.)

Now my car is free for all those trips out and about I'm not making.

Hubby stopped by our favorite Mexican place on the way home and got carryout. They're not running their full menu right now, which meant neither his nor my favorites were available, but whatever. We have backups. And it was delicious and I didn't have to fix it.

So there's that.

Slow weekend ahead, I think. Maybe lots of writing, which would be good, as I'm woefully behind where I wanted to be on the current book. (Had planned for it to release mid March and, well, I'm just over 2/3 finished writing the thing. So we see how that's going.) But maybe also will paint the powder room. Or at least prime it. I have managed to do all the taping, so there's progress.

3/25/2020

Ennui Generated Random

So here we are. Day whatever of being stuck at home. (And yes, fine, we do go out and play in the yard. And we could go pick up food and bring it home or hike in the forest - it's just that both of those feel irresponsible. And like I'd be breaking a rule. I need better defined rules for this situation.)

Anyway, random thoughts as they occur:

  • Adding rain to this whole mess is not so amazing for the depression/ennui/childcare structure. Seriously.
  • I ordered mulch to be delivered from Lowe's. It felt like I was breaking all kinds of rules, but darn it, they're open and it's spring/mulching time. Plus it's something the kids can help with and they kind of enjoy doing. So really. 
  • I'm also repainting my powder room. If I wasn't lazy (is lazy the right word? Probably. I'm too lazy - ha - to come up with a different one), I would search through the ol blog archive to see when I painted it purple (aubergine, to be accurate.) My mom said I'd be tired of it within a year. I know I made it well past that mark (I'm fairly sure I did the painting prior to kids, so that's at least 12). But regardless, with the dark hardwood we had put in...three(?) years ago, that room is now ridiculously dark.
  • So I'm painting it teal.
  • Mom would not approve that choice, either.
  • I've never been on the line item veto train. I mean, I haven't given it tons of thought, but it was never something that I felt was necessary. I have now changed my mind completely. 
  • Either that or our "lawmakers" need to be required to have only one item in each bill. Because OH MY GAWD this "stimulus" thing is porkier than a pig farm. And other than that? Useless.
  • Anyone who votes for that abomination should be removed from office immediately. Anyone. Either party.
  • Our government has devolved into an utter farce. Last week I would have said it was close but could still be saved. Now? Abandon hope all ye who enter.
  • Good Lord I weep for my children.
  • Which is why I've ordered mulch. Maybe if I spread it thick enough, I can bury my head beneath it and pretend that things are going to be okay. Even as a fiction writer, I'm not sure I have that much ability to suspend disbelief, but I'm willing to try.
  • We're still doing school here. I probably will evaluate where we are in both boys' curriculum and just go ahead and test them here before much longer. Then the school year is "over" and we can just do work here and there to finish out books as needed. It's never really over when you homeschool.
  • Also, as their piano lessons are cancelled for the forseeable, I've taken that on. It goes well enough with oldest, but youngest...may just take a hiatus from piano for a bit. I refuse to argue with him about it, because I hold out hope that he'll enjoy playing. So I don't want it to be yet another thing he fights with mom about.

3/23/2020

School's Out?

So the governor of Virginia has closed schools for kids for the year. They've applied for a waiver for SOLs with the feds and...are they doing online classes? This seems to be up in the air slash up to the individual counties? I know our county had already said that while kids were being sent home with packets that the work wasn't required.

All of this has mostly been a passing sort of "huh" to me because homeschooling.

And yet, I'm a little irritated that, thus far, the state is holding the line on us having to submit our proof of adequate yearly progress, i.e. testing.

Is it a big deal? Not really. Not in the overall scheme. But the double standard is frustrating.

Plus with youngest's issues, not having to worry about trying to test him and/or find an evaluator (someone who's willing and able to come out and assess his progress in person) would have been a nice relief.

Anyway, we're continuing apace locked up here at home with no social contact (wheeee).

And while I thought this was going to be a short-lived, survivable thing, I begin to worry that it's going to go on forever and the folks who have been pushing for socialism are going to sneak it in while everyone is panicked and hiding in their basements.

3/19/2020

Tales from Lockdown

So I guess now because people like arguing semantics, we're not supposed to call it "quarantine" unless we are, in fact, sick. So it's self-isolating. Which is a mouthful. So now people are calling it "lockdown," which to me sounds like we live in a police state, but, well, give it time.

I have one friend who says something along the lines of "Never put it past the government to make full use of a pandemic." He's probably not wrong. I did see where Pelosi was trying to secure more funding for Planned Parenthood in a pandemic relief bill. because obviously somehow PP is going to help us all not die of Covid-19.

Oh wait.

I'm honestly rather glad that I'm already fairly cynical and sarcastic. I imagine the true Polyanna's of the world are in for a harsh awakening when they realize just what's going on.

Hubby is loving the traffic these days though. (Yes, he still has to go in to the office. It's basically him and 5 other people, but he works in a secure environment so it's not really anything he can do from home. He does try to do as much as he can here, but so far has only managed one full day away. It's the perks of a small company, being fairly high up on the food chain, and aforementioned non-teleworkable-work content.)

For me and the boys? It's basically life as usual, minus the playdates. All our various therapy offices have closed at least through March if not past Easter, so that makes the days stretch out somewhat. But the weather has been nice, so I've been shooing them out into the yard and there has been much rejoicing.

I will say I'm glad the therapist office closed. We did show up to OT on Monday. Arrive to an empty room, devoid of toys, chairs along the walls. No one else there. I check in the kiddo and pay -- the woman puts on fresh gloves to take my credit card and process the payment -- and as she hands back my card she says, "After he goes back, you can wait in your car."

What now?

"No." Says I.

She looks rather taken aback. "Well, we're just trying to reduce the potential exposure to the virus by limiting the number of people in the waiting room."

I glance back over my shoulder then back to her. "From one to zero?"

"So you can wait in your car?" There's a hopeful tinge to her voice now.

"No. Sorry. I'm not leaving the building while you have my minor child. I'll be sitting over there. If that's a problem, you can refund me and we'll cancel our appointment."

At this point she's spluttering and the office manager comes to investigate the problem. She's much nicer about it and says how it's something they're offering, as if it's for my safety, as opposed to the initial presentation that made it sound like a requirement.

I defer again and say, "If you're really that worried about people sitting in your waiting room that you're willing to be rude about it, you should just close. Many of us can't cancel - you make it clear we run the risk of losing our spots if we do that - but if you close, everyone wins."

I was pleased to see them close the next day so I didn't have to go through the same idiocy at the other location today.

3/17/2020

Suggestibility and Being Trapped at Home

You know how you're perfectly content to spend the bulk of your days at home without leaving until someone tells you should have to?

That's where I am.

It's ridiculous.

We don't have anywhere we NEED to be and under any other circumstance, we'd all be fine with it. But now that suddenly we can't just pop out wherever and whenever, the walls are closing in.

The mind it is a weird thing.

Regardless, we're plugging along must as usual. We'd planned to continue going to whatever medical appointments (OT, Vision therapy, speech, etc) as usual, but they've all shut their doors until April (minimum) so now we're not even venturing out for that.

We have some holdouts at our church (in the decision-making group), so they haven't officially cancelled everything yet. I did talk them into cancelling the one ministry I'm in charge of, but otherwise, I suspect we'll hear something tomorrow. I think given the current recommendations-slash-mandates from on high, their hand will be forced into closing.

To be honest, I think that's wise.

The kids have been spending a lot of time out in the backyard now that the weather is warming up a tad. Of course the elder is creeping into the age where he'd rather be on the computer or Xbox and I'm having to give him stern glares to get him to play with his brother in the sun. But for now, it still works.

Anyway, I spend a little extra time checking everyone's temperature these days because we all have moments of feeling like "Is that a fever? Am I hot?" (It isn't and we're not.)

Reference previous statement on the weirdness of the brain. Suggestibility is a thing. An annoying one.

Corned beef and cabbage (well, brussel sprouts b/c the grocery store was out of cabbage. I mean seriously, who panic buys cabbage??) on the menu for tonight. Because why not.

I'm off to put some Irish music in the CD player. The kids haven't rolled their eyes at me loudly for a little while, so I'm overdue.

3/14/2020

Corona Madness

Good. Lord.

I don't get the toilet paper thing. It's like a snow storm where people buy bread, milk, and TP. Why? It's ridiculous - like the lizard brain takes over and suddenly people think the most important thing in the universe is being able to wipe their butts. As opposed to, I don't know, eat something other than bread and milk for a few days?

Crazy.

Of course, as I type that, I'm also pulling for my church to do the right thing and cancel Awana. Not because I want to join in the cancellation madness, but because we have a track record of people bringing sick kids to club ("Oh, it's just allergies. I know he's warm, but I'm sure he's fine." Um no. Allergies don't have a fever. Your kid has strep. Or the flu. Go home.) Because two child free hours is a big draw for a lot of the folks who attend. I'm annoyed by this on a regular basis during flu season, adding in an unknown(ish) flu on top of it? Yeah no. Plus, a lot of our volunteers are older and need to be limiting their exposure.

They did just send out an email. It was, hands down, the most management email I've read since I quit working full time. A solid page of words that said absolutely nothing but were designed to look as if they were saying something.

At the end of the day, they're planning to hold services tonight and tomorrow as usual and other activities will be cancelled on a "case by case basis." When and by whom? Seriously. Stupid. Just make a stand and stand by it.

Is the rash of cancellations perhaps too much? Yeah, I'd go with that. Do I want another Spanish Influenza? Nope, not so much. (And I do roll my eyes that this one gets it's "official name" from the science because initial origin naming is racist. Whatevs.)

We've been home from Disney for 7 days now. So another 7-14 til we find out if we got it there. I'm not super worried, but because there is the potential, we're sticking closeish to home (but still going to our appointments because we don't know we were exposed. But we were at Disney. With a whole bunch of people.)

The most infuriating meme though? The one that says all the fighting over TP should mean you never question a refugee fleeing their country. Um what now? First off, hoarding TP (or cleaners or whatever) is ridiculous and irrational. So if the hoarders are equated to the refugees then...refugees are ridiculous and irrational? Or they're not willing to act rationally and trust the system? (I mean kinda? There is an immigration system for legally coming as a refugee that they're circumventing and making it harder for the people who DO trust the system. Just like TP hoarders are making it harder for people who are using a measured, rational response but still, somehow, would like to wipe after pooping. And maybe now the meme does make sense. Just not in the way the originator planned.)

Anyway. Go forth and wash your hands. And maybe if it's been a while since you did, wipe down your electronics and other frequently touched surfaces. Just because cleaning is never a bad idea.

3/09/2020

Apres Vacation Musings

We're back from our week at Disney and slowly getting back to normal life. I think we'll end up with an extra day off school because today is already half over and there's still enough going on around the house that it's just not happening. I could try and work up the energy to care but...meh.

Disney was fun. And relaxing. The best part, to me, was hanging out with friends who are Air Force and now live about an hour from the Mouse. We hit their house on Saturday before the parks, spent the day, night, and most of Sunday with them before check-in. They're the kind of people who it feels like you just left, so things pick right up. Add in that they're laid back and easy going (are those synonyms? Maybe. Still.) and it was the perfect way to start a vacation.

Plus the Mr. makes an amazing hurricane and we might have imbibed many of them after the kids were down for the night. If you like fruity drinks, I'll give the hurricane a hearty two thumbs up.

We stayed in our usual spot - a Cars-themed suite at the Art of Animation. It's I think considered "middle tier" by Disney, so not too ouchy on the wallet (don't get me wrong, it's still not cheap) but has the creature comforts that I require. (I'm the high maintenance of the hotel stayers. I'll own it.)

We hit Hollywood Studios on Monday and Wednesday. Monday we even set an alarm for 6:15 so we could grab the first bus out, get through security, and be milling around with the throngs before rope drop so that we could try and snag a Rise of the Resistance boarding pass. We succeeded! Group 19 even. It was fascinating to hear the enormous crowd go silent at 8 (when they officially open) as everyone madly swiped in the app to try and grab a group. Then cheers or hearty disappointment as people did or didn't get in. I imagine all the groups were gone well within the first two minutes of the park open.

The ride itself was fantastic and I'm glad we gave grabbing a boarding group a shot. I'm equally glad that none of us were so in love with it that we had to try to ride it a second time and could hit up HS on Wednesday in a more leisurely manner.

We did also get to ride the brand new Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railroad on opening day. It's a fun little ride - great effects and a good length. Would I wait hours and hours for it? No. But then, an hour is about as long as I'm willing to wait for anything. We only rode this one because we added the disability access to our bands because of youngest. Basically that lets you wait in line without having to STAND in the line. And the ability for him to mill about and maybe get on something with a shorter line was priceless. It saved our bacon considerably, because the ADHD is strong with him and his over stimulation combined with sensory seeking did make the whole trip a challenge in parts.

Said friends also came and visited Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom with us on Thursday and Friday, which was additional fun for the kiddos to have friends along.

I think we were all not only ready to come home, but also rested and revived. And isn't that really the whole point of vacation?