Yet Another School Update

auditorium benches chairs class
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I claimed I was going to back off from writing about my life so much, but this is another update to the posts School Limbo and School Update.

In the last school posts, my daughter’s on-campus housing was canceled and we scrambled to find her a place to live near campus. Campus is within commuting distance, but she really didn’t want to keep doing online school at home with her parents. It turns out the scrambling on the day housing was canceled was not that necessary. Her school announced that most classes would remain online for the fall semester. Only around 20% would be in person. My daughter is the only one in her friend group that had one class scheduled to be in person. Once people found out their classes would be online plenty of options came along for living near or on campus as students were now trying to get rid of leases to stay at home.  Many students are mad that they are not being let out of leases for on-campus apartments. There are plenty of housing options now.

Today’s update is that any in-person instruction will be delayed at least 2 weeks. Classes will start at the end of this month as scheduled, but they will all be online. They are requiring students have proof of a negative test before moving to campus and then requiring another test once they are there. They are supposed to quarantine until they get the on-campus test back. They are also being asked to stay in their rooms as much as possible for the first two weeks so they can assess the status after all of the test results. Not exactly a fun way to start college. I have suspected that the big reason they had not already done this was football. It is easier to justify football if the rest of the students are on campus. Now that football is likely not happening it is easier to delay everything.

Not much will change for my daughter. She still moves into her apartment next week. She will get tested as we expected. Her one in-person class will start online and might remain there. She will possibly spend more time with her new roommates vs her friends on campus for the first two weeks.

I really miss normal.

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Tater Talks Current Events

Before I write anything about current events I want to make sure there is no doubt on two things: 1. I believe Covid is real. I wear a mask in public and the only people I have seen in person are my family and people at work. 2. I am not a fan of Donald Trump. If the Democrats ran a potato against him I would vote for the potato. Tater for president! Now on to the random thoughts I’ve had recently

I stumbled on this article recently After severe illness, NBC’s Dr. Joseph Fair tests negative for COVID-19 antibodies and I remember when he was on air talking about his battle with coronavirus. He was ill. He was in the hospital and on oxygen. He talked about how he had been so careful and all he could come up with on how he got the virus was through his eyes on a plane. It was big news on the Today Show. Only problem? He tested negative for the virus four times and then his antibody test came back negative He was sick, but with something else. This didn’t stop him from going on TV to talk about his recovery from an illness he never had. I get that he had al the symptoms and thought it was safe to assure he had it, but I also think that someone in his position needs to be a lot more careful with his reporting. It is things like this that make it easier for people to come to the conclusion that much of this is fake. You can read this article and think that if he reported he had it when he didn’t, how many more of the reports are fake.

Another big thing in the news is the discussion about opening schools in the fall. I’m not going to give an opinion. I’m glad I don’t have to make the decision. I’m glad I don’t have any K-12 students. It’s bad enough stressing about what college will look like for my daughter. One thing I do know – Trump deciding he is going to push states to open schools does not help the matter. We are in a very divisive state right now. People have taken sides and they will dig in and refuse to agree with the other side on anything. Especially when Trump is involved. All Trump has done is guarantee that even people on the left who might have been leaning toward wanting schools to open will now dig in against him and fight against any openings. That’s just where we are now. If he had announced that schools should stay closed I would bet some of those same people would have become the loudest proponents of doing whatever it takes to open schools and the people on the right would immediately become lockdown proponents.

Masks are now a political fight. It shouldn’t be this way. We can’t recover as a country if we fight about everything. We’ve reached a point where it seems like some people are rooting for the virus and against the country. I’ve seen people comment that they hope cases go up where they live so they could never consider opening schools. They are actively rooting for more people to get sick so they get what they want. It’s insane. When the virus was ravaging New York there were people who were OK with that. It’s only hitting a city full of liberals, so it’s no big deal to them. Now that it is hitting the south  I’ve seen posts from people happy that the “red states” are doing poorly. We should not be happy that anyone is getting sick and dying. Everyone has lost their minds.

We need to take a pause and remember that we are humans first not living embodiments of our political party.

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It Has Really Sucked

That’s not me in the picture. But honestly, for the better part of the last 4 months or so, it could have been. Every night around 9 pm, I sit at this exact
— Read on kentuckysportsradio.com/main/this-has-all-really-sucked/

The above article is from Kentucky Sports Radio. The radio show revolves around University of Kentucky sports. When there is a lull in sports, they talk about current events and their personal lives. There are no sports. Current events are all depressing and most people aren’t doing much outside of their houses.

I know how they feel. All I have is a dumb little blog and I have the same issues. Not much is going on in my personal life. I’m sure people are tired of reading about how I desperately need to quit my job. The only thing I can write about besides that is watching TV and walking the dog. Not too exciting.

Current events are all depressing.

I still have trouble focusing enough to finish most books.

As mentioned above, sports is paused.

This has all really sucked.

My Off-Kilter Schedule

One thing that has been thrown out of whack over the past few months has been my sleep schedule. Really, my life schedule in general. It is going to take a bit for me to readjust as we move more toward normal. I’m not sure I will even attempt to adjust until my daughter goes back to school this fall. I will just be tired until then. Here’s a look at how my life schedule has changed.

Pre-pandemic:

Wake up around 6am. Drink coffee and read the paper while my wife gets ready for work. After she leaves for work, get ready for work. Work 9-5 most days. Come home to an empty house. Take the dog for a walk. Watch a TV show. Cook dinner if it is my night to do so. Eat dinner when my wife gets home around 7:30. Watch TV together until we go to bed around 10-10:30pm.

Early pandemic:

Still wake up around 6am or so. Drink coffee and read the paper while my wife and daughter sleep. On the clock 9-5 while my wife works upstairs and my daughter does school in the office. Clock out at 5. Walk the dog. Watch TV with my daughter until my wife finishes work and then eat dinner around 7 or so. Watch some more TV as a family. Go to bed reasonably early since we all have to be up early for work and school.

Post-school pandemic:

Same as above except my daughter is in bed until 2pm or so instead of doing school in the office. Continue to work while she watches Grey’s in the background. After work, watch old Survivor with her until my wife is done working and we eat dinner. TV or movie as a family. Bedtime varies.

Back to work part-time schedule:

I now work in the building for 4 hours a day. Some days are morning. Some days are afternoon. On morning days, the morning routine is the same and then I go to work. I arrive home around 2 or so, eat lunch and work some more from home while my daughter watches Grey’s.  We are now watching old Amazing Race when I’m done with work. Watch Jeopardy and then a random movie or TV show as a family. Afternoon workdays, i am off the clock when I get home so we go straight to the watching TV with my kid portion of the day. I fall asleep earlier now, so most nights after I get drowsy my wife and daughter watch Disney stuff while I sleep on the couch. Eventually, I go to actual bed. That time has gotten later and later the last few days.

It will be hard to readjust to the original schedule once my daughter is back at school and whenever I am back to work on a fulltime basis. I have no idea when my wife will ever go back to the office. Normal might be a long way off.

It will be nice to have tomorrow and Friday off to try to rest up from being so tired from my off-kilter schedule. I just hope people respect my days off and I really get time say from work.

Emerging From Isolation

Friday, March 13 I was at work. My wife was picking our daughter up from school for an extended spring break. My wife was already teleworking. I found out that day that we were closing and everyone would telework for the next two weeks. At the time, it felt like a pause. A pause seemed nice. We would all be home together. We would get family time after being an empty nest for a while. I was too hopeful. The virus spread and the stay at home was extended. School was online the rest of the semester. Work was telework indefinitely.

I struggled with this more than I expected. I was sad for my kids and the loss of their normal lives and time with friends. I was already unhappy in my career and telework oddly made it worse. Reading was always my escape and I found I now struggled to focus on a book. I watched the numbers daily and every day was sad to see they kept going up. Work stressed me out more and more each day. I dreamed of the possibility of finally quitting and taking a sabbatical until the new year when I would figure out what to do for the rest of my life. That dream came to an end when I finally talked to my wife about it and she was not on board. Now all I had to look forward to was a return to a more stressful return to a modified workplace.

I returned to work for 4 hours Thursday and Friday last week. This week the entire staff starts to report back in shifts. None of us will be there for more than four hours a day. We still won’t have customers in the building. We will only have curbside service for a while. Hopefully, being at work part of the day will make my workdays go by faster and I will adjust and will eventually stop feeling sick at the thought of clocking into work each day. I will keep my eye out for the possibility of a change.

I emerge from isolation today.  I wish it was to a better situation.

School Limbo

Update – housing has officially been canceled. Everything sucks.

Yesterday was the day we were supposed to hear from my daughter’s college about plans for the fall semester. The day went by and there was no email. Finally, right as I was about to go to bed she gets the email

As expected, the plan is to have a hybrid of in-person and online classes. Classes of more than 50 will most likely lean toward online. Labs and other hands-on type classes will be in person. Dining halls will be open, but set up to allow for distancing and will have the option of food to go. Dorms will be open but adjusted to reduce density. Triples and quads will no longer exist. Some dorm space will be reserved for possible quarantine of students who test positive for Covid.

This is where we are still in limbo. Because my daughter was supposed to study abroad this fall, she missed the deadline for getting a lease at the on-campus apartments. She was finally able to secure a dorm room. The problem now – they only expect to offer housing to around 75% of the people who applied for housing with the emphasis on giving all first-year students housing.  That means there is no guarantee that the room she was supposed to have will still be there. We have no idea when we will know for sure. She was in a single, so we are hoping that increases her odds of keeping the room, but being a junior she might be on the bottom of the list for housing. I hope we hear something soon so we can join others in the mad rush to try to find off campus housing in the area so she’s not commuting to school.

I guess I understand why they want to guarantee housing for freshmen, but it makes things stressful for existing students who were supposed to live on campus. It sucks that we are in this situation because they took so long to tell us that study abroad was definitely not happening and we have no idea if she will have the option in the Spring either. Now we are left in limbo again while we wait for res life to tell her her status. I’m not a fan of waiting.

The New Normal

I hate the phrase “the new normal” I see it everywhere. Everyone talks about the new normal in regards to everything. The new normal when it comes to business openings. The new normal when it comes to travel. The new normal at amusement parks. The new normal in everyday life.

I get that right now there is a new way of life. I get that right now businesses are opening at lower capacity and many have requirements that you wear a mask. I get that social gatherings are limited. Weddings and funerals are delayed or done with very few people. I’m not arguing that we aren’t living in different times.

I hate the phrase because in most cases it is used in a way that makes it seem like the writer thinks this will be the new normal forever. It implies that we will never fully go back to the way life was before the pandemic. We will forever live in a world of social distancing, masks, and lockdown. We will all telework forever. Kids will never go back to school. College campuses will be empty. This is not normal and I refuse to believe that it is the new normal forever.

We have a temporary normal. We don’t have a new normal. The virus will eventually subside and/or we will have treatment and/or a vaccine. People will go back to normal pre-pandemic life. There might be some changes. More people might telework going forward. Hopefully we will be better prepared for another pandemic. Some people might change how often they use mass transit. People might flee the city and move to less densely populated areas. There will be some new normals. but where we are now isn’t it.

The Things I Don’t Write

I’ve written a lot about how I’m struggling with some aspects of isolation. I’ve written so much about that I’m surprised people still read what I post. I guess people are really bored. There are some aspects of all of this that I have in my head a lot but never write for a variety of reasons.

I look at the numbers for my state in detail every day when they come out. I look at all of the numbers. Positive tests, negative tests, hospitalizations, reported deaths, deaths by date of death. All of it. I calculate percentages. It is a little bit of an obsession. I’ve stopped trying to tell my wife what I’ve discovered because she was obviously tired of my analysis. I consider writing about what I see n the numbers but I don’t want to open myself up to arguments about policy.

I also look each week at the numbers in our long term care facilities. These numbers are atrocious and I think by matter in two ways: we need to do more to protect the people in LTC and we need to look at the numbers minus those to really analyze the virus in the community. When it is brought up, however, people get mad and act like talking about those numbers is insinuating that people in LTC’s don’t matter. That’s not what I am saying, but that’s what I see when other people bring it up

I could write detailed posts on all of this, but I’m not sure it would be worth it. So, I will keep watching the numbers in silence.

The Never-Ending Wall

I wrote earlier that I had hit the wall during the lockdown. I hoped it was a one day blip. It was not. I took the day off that Friday and gave myself a three day weekend. For those three days I was pretty much OK. I did some cleaning and yard work to not feel completely useless, but I also spent some time watching TV, reading, and doing other things that were good for my mental health. Then, Monday rolled around and I was back to dreading the day every day.

I thought maybe getting out of the house and visiting the branch on Friday would help a little. I think the visit stressed me out more than I already was. Another sign that everything I actually like about work is gone and will be for a long time. Its hard to have something to look forward to when it seems like I will be exactly where I am for the next few months. It is even more depressing when I see posts from back home n Kentucky where they have done a better job of containing the virus and are getting closer to back to normal. Normal is a long time off for me.

I had another three day weekend this weekend. For the most part, it was a good weekend. I did as little as possible on Saturday. Sunday we had our time to go move the rest of the stuff out of my daughter’s dorm room. I’m usually a little sad when we move her into her room, but this was probably worse. I dread the thought of school being online again in the fall. She loves college and being with her friends so much and really hated the online end to Spring. I wish she and her friends would get a house together off-campus so that even if school is online they can experience it together. So, after the sad experience, we had lunch from her favorite place near her dorm and headed home. We grilled hamburgers, played Life, and had fun.

Yesterday was my yard work day and I noticed as the day wore on I got more and more depressed. I started to dread the end of the day. It was almost time to be back on the clock. I’m back to being sad this morning. It’s not hard to comprehend what makes me sad. I could deal with all of this better if I was retired already. I need to work on convincing my wife that I should quit working until the end of the year to get my head straight and figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. I can’t imagine that it will work.

 

I Have Not Improved

A surprise bonus second post today. I considered scheduling it for Saturday, but I might have something else I want to write at that point.

There has been a lot of talk about using the time in lockdown to learn new things. People are learning other languages. People are learning to bake bread and to cook in general. People are reading the books they’ve never had time to read. Yards look really nice now because people spend their time working outside more. These people are not me.

I’ve gone in the opposite direction when it comes to reading. I usually read over 100 books a year. This year I will be lucky to get much above 50. I just can’t seem to read more than a few pages at a time. Maybe it is the reading material. Maybe it is my brain Maybe it is both. I just can’t focus as much as I did before when reading.

I am not baking bread. I’m not cooking anything new. I’m not learning to be a better cook. I made homemade pimento cheese one day, but that is it. We are cooking. We just aren’t making an effort to cook elaborate recipes or bake our own bread.

I’ve taken training for work, but that is the extent of my learning. I’m not taking ASL classes online. I’m not learning Spanish. I’m not taking online classes outside of work. I’m watching a lot of TV and playing games on my Ipad. I do have a crossword app so I am doing crossword puzzles a lot, so at least that is somewhat using my brain.

I am not spending more time in my yard. I’m still working from home so I’m not doing projects around the house. I guess I probably could, but I wouldn’t feel right doing work in the yard while on the clock. So, my grass is too tall right now because I’m still waiting for the weekend to mow.

I won’t say I didn’t learn some things. I learned that working from home is only a good thing if you like your work. If you don’t, it sucks. If you don’t you really need work and home to be separate so home is a refuge from work. I learned I could deal with all of this much better if  I was just home and not working from home.  I’ve learned too much about people who are my friends on social media and, because of that I’ve learned I like a lot fewer people these days. I’ve learned that my circle is very small. I’ve learned that I would be perfectly OK to stay at home if my time was my own and not someone else’s.

I have not improved during these times. I might have gotten worse.