This is my fourth Slice of Life and I look forward to it each year. This year ended up being a little different. I enjoy reading about everyone’s personal lives outside of our school days. It gives me an opportunity to share a little bit of my world outside of being a school social worker.
I have a different appreciation for the Slice this time around. During this time of social distancing, it was nice to feel connected to my friends and others. Even though it was tough for us to come up with different things to write about since our “regular” lives were on hold. It was still nice to "know" you are there and a sense of normalizing what we are all currently living through.
There were funny stories shared, lists of to do’s to do, learning how to Zoom, and just knowing that I was and am not alone in all of this...that was the most comforting part. I think that was the best part. Even though social distancing is keeping us apart physically, we still are able to connect through our stories. I have missed sharing our stories in person, but I am grateful for our opportunity to connect this way. I can’t wait to see you all and share our stories in person!
Take Care and Be Well!
I think the reality of remote learning has come to fruition for my kids teachers. As I have been flooded with many emails this week about it. My kids had already been completing work everyday. Some of their teachers sent work with them on their last day before this started. I had them bring home all of their books, just in case the quarantine took longer than expected.
As the teachers have started planning for April 8th, they are sending many, many emails. This is when my anxiety started to increase...Some of the teachers have set up google classrooms, some will send assignments daily and some are still working to figure it out. One of the teachers tried to connect via Zoom and another will be doing Google Meet.
I am grateful for all of the teachers working so hard to figure out how to educate our kids from a distance. This circumstance is beyond what I or we could have ever imagined. I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed by all of the emails from my school and now my kids school.
I am starting to worry that I will miss one of their online meetings...which platform is it - Zoom or Google Meet? I know how to “Zoom” but I may need to practice Google Meet. Some of the teachers plan on having “office hours” to check in if you need help with their assignments.
The district guesstimated that they will have 20-30 minutes of work per class. Ok, so we are off to a good start - that is what we were doing last week for content areas. Maybe we will ease into this remote learning quicker than I am thinking!
I just want to make sure that I can swing managing my workload and all my meetings while attending to their needs. I know that they are older, but the pressure of making sure we all meet our responsibilities is still looming over my head. I feel like their success rides on me. I just keep reminding myself, one step at a time and one day at a time.
At this time last year, were very busy with a variety of sports. Lucas's wrestling season was sending by the end of February. Both boys were playing basketball through the park district. Ryan was practicing with baseball at least three times per week. He also decided to try a new sport, volleyball. I would say that we were a little busy, but that is just fine with me. It was a perfectly balanced schedule...as long as there were no changes.
Volleyball = 5 days a week
Baseball= 3 days a week
Basketball= 2 days a week X 2 kids
This year the boys decided not to play park district basketball. They were both very excited for volleyball tryouts. I was so excited for Lucas to try a new sport and Ryan returning to a sport he enjoyed so much. I had to break the news that Volleyball was likely not to happen this year.
You could see the disappointment in their faces. Especially for Ryan. He will have to make the choice next year of continuing with baseball or risk trying out for volleyball. There won't be the option of doing both in high school.
I now look forward to getting back to driving Ryan to and from practices. I know he misses seeing his friends and playing the game he loves. I am not sure who misses it more, me or him. I'm not sure that we will get back to what we remember as being normal. Maybe Lucas will try a volleyball club this summer.
I do look forward to getting to a new normal that includes getting back to the activities that we love, even if other aspects of our normal are different.
When I heard the storms were headed this way, I forewarned the kids. They don’t like storm. So I like to prepare them. They like to head down at the first sign of strong winds or a tornado watch. They won’t leave until the watch is over!
We plan and gather what we want to take downstairs, just in case.
Charging cords ✔️
Our basement isn’t finished, but we have couches, air hockey and a fuse ball tables. Really, I’m not sure why we don’t hang out here more often. We are ready when ever this storm hits or the next!
I have found it hard to get out of the house for a walk or run. The days have just been very busy with parent phone calls, paperwork and Zoom meetings. So I decided I need to prioritize social distancing from my phone and computer.
Yesterday, I tried to go for a walk several times. Both times, I sat down and got my shoes on, the rain would come pouring down. Then when the rain had passed it was too dark for me to go out by myself.
Today, I was determined to get outside. It was another full day. I did it, I changed into warmer walking clothes. I made it outside. I decided to take the long walk. Lucas said he didn't want to go because of the incoming storms. I said we have several hours....
Well, he was starting to get nervous so he walked for a bit and then walked home. I continued on. I walked and walked and walked. I was wrong about the rain, it came earlier than I expected. It drizzled off and on. I took the long way back home. It was nice to be outside - rain or shine. This time to prioritize me, was long overdue.
Being home ALL day and sitting at my new workstation, I noticed something about my puppies. I noticed that they hang out on the chairs in my living room, where I sit at the dining room table. If they aren’t in the window, then they are on the dog bed by my feet.
I walk to the kitchen to fill my water cup, they walk to the back door. The check to make sure no bunnies have invaded the yard. I go back to my workstation. They guard the front yard from and bark to make sure I know a leaf is blowing or the angel statue from the next store is still there.
I go upstairs to the check in on the boys, the dogs must want to make sure the boys are ok too….they follow. They jump on each bed and get comfortable. I am off to change the laundry. They go to my bed and get cozy, they are never far enough away that they can’t see me.
We repeat this all day long. No matter where I go, whether it is for a few minutes or an hour. These two are always by my side. I wonder how they will feel when we do get back to our regular schedules!
I decided that I wanted to send letters to each of my students. This would require me to get cards and postage. I probably could find the 50 or so cards in my basket of stationary in the basement. So stamps are all I need to get.
I thought, let me try some smaller store.
Walgreens - sold out.
FedEd - they don't sell stamps (duh- it's FedEx!)
OK, so I decided to bite the bullet and go into Walmart. Deep Breath.
I decide, I am not taking a cart. I don't really want to touch anything, I just need stamps. Of course when I got in, I decided to walk past the meat section, it was bare. I was lucky to find some chicken. I grab the chicken and decide to get cards just in case I can't find them at home. I don't want to have to go back.
There are two people in front of me in line. The woman checking out wasn't sure if she could afford the package of meat. She asked the cashier to hold it while she got money. I got the feeling she worked there. I thought that I could offer to pay for her food, however, the woman in front of me told the cashier to just give it to her. She would pay for it. It was so nice of her!
The woman was so grateful and appreciative. She was so happy that she hugged the woman who paid. SHE HUGGED HER. I just about fell over and thought NOOOOOOO, that's against the rules! Just say thank you!! That was when I gave the guy behind me the side eye to make sure he stayed feet away from me! I bought my stamps and got the heck out of there!
I am on a group chat with my neighbors and my mom. We carpool each other's children to and from school. Well, I really think I am on the text chain as a courtesy since I leave and get home before all the kids start and end school. I only get to add the "thank yous" to the person who drops off and picks up.
Sometimes, we send each other random, fun texts for laughs. This weekend the messages started rolling. We joked about some of the memes that show neighbors having a drink and being social from their own driveways. We suggested doing the same. I joked that I am in! I didn't really think they were serious, especially since everyone has been hiding in their home (appropriately of course)!
Then it was decided that I would bring out the fire pit to the driveway. Before I even made my way outside, there were already chairs set up. They were all about 10 feet away from each other. As much as it was nice to see other adult faces, it was also very weird. Everyone kept their distance and if someone walked within the seven foot range, the other person would awkwardly step away.
While it was great to see everyone and feel, kind of, connected. It still felt wrong to be within 10 feet of other people - on purpose. I stayed out for about 10-15 minutes and then it was time for me to go in. It was really cold out and it was starting to feel uncomfortable.
I think it is kind of ironic that we are all longing for some togetherness. Then I had it off for a few minutes and I was desperate to retreat back inside to be isolated. The fear is real, the fear of being socially isolated and the fear of being too close due to the virus. I think we are in a no win situation right now. I am looking forward to things turning to be more of a win-win situation.
When at work, I am constantly walking.
I walk to pick up students from class, then I walk to take them back to class.
I walk to get printing from the copy machine from the office, which is across the building.
I walk to where I am called when a teacher needs assistance with a student.
I walk during recess supervision.
When I am at home, I am now sitting.
I am sitting while on Zoom meetings.
I am sitting while writing reports.
I am sitting watching television.
I am sitting while playing tug of war with dogs.
Yesterday, I was moving all day. I was cleaning EVERYTHING! I almost forgot what it feels like to feel my watch vibrate from meeting my step goal for the day. I thought I got a text, but really I had hit my 11,000 step goal. It has been over a week since that happened. It put a smile on my face. I got to over 12, 000 steps, 12,724 to be exact. Sadly, I was at half of that. Time to aim again tomorrow!
I have been deep cleaning all day. As I come out of the deep dungeons of the bathrooms, I see it has started snowing, not just a little...it is really coming down. Of course, it is snowing and I just hand scrubbed the floor. It can’t even last a few hours.
As the snow continues to grow and is clearly more than a dusting. My dogs just want to keep going outside to catch the sinkin’ bunnies. But what that really means is that my floors are going to be a wreck!
In and out they go. Tucker doesn’t stay out long, he doesn’t like to be outside for too long. His hair is fine and the snow doesn’t like to stick to his legs as much. Dakota on the other hand is the opposite. She likes to be outside, and has longer hair and it tends to show her poodleness when it gets wet.
Each time she goes out and chases all the bunnies, she comes in with a new set of snowy boots. I mean, TOP TO BOTTOM. I can’t even wipe the snow off her chin or legs because it is matted into her fur. She gets locked in her crate since she sheds snow with every step she takes. She whines periodically to remind me she is there. Then we repeat again, again and again.
I thought I was done cleaning her snowy boots for this year. I was wrong. ;-)