Quarantine Day 45

Day 45….. hair salons will open soon, and everyone can get fixed up. I don’t think I ever realized how much importance people put into hair and nail salons. I hardly ever get my nails done, and I only get my hair cut when it starts to get too long and hot. People are so excited.

I attended a large group online book study this morning. The comic relief came when a technologically impaired teacher friend showed up after the speaker was well into her opening. Everyone was muted, and my friend came on, unmuted. She couldn’t hear anybody, but we could all hear her. She was going on and on about how she couldn’t do this technology, unaware that we could all hear her!

I made a doctor appointment for my mom, since she fell last night, and has seemed to be having some issues with possibly her kidneys, or with dehydration. Within about 30 minutes of me making the appointment, she called the doctor’s office and cancelled. She is afraid to go out right now. This is probably my biggest worry right now; that my parents will need healthcare, and won’t go to a doctor or hospital.

Tonight, Little AoA had her first big breakdown over the quarantine. She really wants to go on a vacation and stay in a hotel. We had been planning a trip to Gatlinburg before the pandemic. She cried in my arms for a while, then I was able to help her get her mind on something else. We ended up coloring together, and then she decided to work on her LEGO creations. We all miss going places.

Here are some things I saw today that made me smile….

One fun thing that people are doing, is giving play by play reports of their pets. Here is the first one I ever watched…

Here is the Dear Heart flowers for today…

Stay well, wear your mask, and show kindness to a friend!

~AoA

Quarantine Day 44

Day 44…..I saw this sign on my journey to pick up my groceries curbside today. I had Little AoA with me for the ride, and we started a little game where we count the people with and without masks on, going into stores. We counted less than half with masks. Our state allowed dine in restaurants to open Monday, and today, non-essential stores could open. Just for curiosity, we drove be the Hobby Lobby.

It looked like the Christmas rush!

I had a very busy morning, doing zoom meetings and making phone calls. Then I did a little cleaning before it was time to go on the grocery pick up.

Little AoA and I had some fun playing around with a new Bluetooth camera switch. It was really cute when she discovered how it worked. She just laughed and laughed! Here is a picture of us she took…

Little AoA and I did a couple of brain teasing puzzles in the evening, and planned the next day. I was suppose to have read a book for a work book study that starts tomorrow. I only got through the first chapter. I tried to read many times, and I see that when I want to read, others want to talk. It will be ok, because the reading is not mandatory for the class.

Just when we turned out the lights to go to bed….

My mom fell and couldn’t get up! This is about the third time in a month that this has happened. She has no strength to position herself or pull herself up when holding onto something. My dad and I ended up having to lift her onto her bed. We put a walker next to her bed to aid her if she tries to walk anywhere. The thoughts that went through my mind were of having to take my mom to the hospital at this time. She would not do well with that.

On to a lighter subject…things that I may have laughed at today!

Here are the Dear Heart flowers for today…

Stay well, and show kindness to someone….

~AoA

Quarantine Day 43

Day 43… my mom is starting to get an infection that is not good for her sweet age of 77. She does not want to go to a doctor. I am doing my best to make sure she drinks and eats to stay hydrated. I will go against her wishes and call her doctor. The prospect of her needing a hospital right now is terrifying.

My work decided today that we will all need to work the week of May 11th. We must work a four hour shift each day, or use a sick day. I feel ok about going in for a half day to lock myself into my classroom and get it cleaned up for the summer, but that’s about it. I have a feeling that money is the underlying root of this request. In my opinion, volunteers should have been requested before making everyone take the risk. However, if they did that, they couldn’t force everyone to use their sick days. So if an employee is immune compromised or otherwise in a high risk group or caring for those in a high risk group, we must now pay. I can’t wait until I can retire! I really love my job, but it is almost time to change.

I had a zoom meeting today for work, and did some emailing. I ran essential errands to pick up medicine for my mom and deliver things to my aunt at the nursing home. I noticed today that people at the pharmacy are still using cdc guidelines. However, the fast food places have now stopped wearing masks and gloves.

I think part of the mindset in my county is because the social distancing worked. Everyone was really prepared for the worst. Hospitals were on edge, waiting for the rush of COVID-19 patients. Our hospital was not overwhelmed…. not even close. It is much like the boy who cried wolf. Now the people doubt that the wolf is as harmful as portrayed. I know the wolf is still there, waiting for the right moment to attack when no one is looking. My anxiety is kicking back in, waiting for the outbreak.

I found something today that made me laugh a little…it is a sign to put on the door of the new home work areas….

Here are the Dear Heart flowers for today…

Stay well, social distance, and show kindness….

~AoA

Quarantine Day 42

I can’t believe it has been 42 days! Our state started opening back up today with restaurant dining rooms opening at 50% capacity and no more than six to a group. I drove by a restaurant on my way to the grocery store and saw the people dining. There is no six foot social distancing while sitting with a group at a table. As I made my way to the grocery store, I noticed that no one was wearing masks. When I went in, it was apparent that people have abandoned all of the cdc guidelines. There was only one other person in the store with a mask on. Even the employees weren’t wearing one. I hope our county remains on the very low end of COVID-19 cases.

I got a lot of my school work done today. It will be a busy two weeks full of meetings and computer work. Once I get through that, I will start some home painting projects.

In our multi-generational home, I see that my parents really do need support. Both of them have short term memory loss and hearing loss (of course they don’t want to wear hearing aids). My mom is having a hard time following a conversation. It is like she is not making connections. She is also having trouble keeping up with her pills, which results in me being sent out to pick up medication that isn’t there. It won’t be long before I need to start helping her with them. I have been helping my dad. He nearly died a couple years ago when he was accidentally overdosing on one of his medications. We had a home health nurse for a while after that, but after so long, it wasn’t approved anymore. We sort about 1000 pills, once a month. We have it down to a science now.

My brain is tired, my soul is restless….

Stay well, and show kindness to another…

~AoA

Quarantine Day 41

Day 41….I was so lazy…. I made myself a goal for today to bless others, and that is about all I did. I watched virtual church from my bed, in my pajamas of course. Then I found another church message to watch from bed. I struggled to get up today.

I finally did get up and start the day. I made some cookies to take to nurses, and had Little AoA color pictures to go with them. I also got started on a new batch of face masks.

I think part of my drudgery is that our state starts opening up tomorrow. I am glad that people will be able to work and pay their bills, and honestly, if everyone would follow the recommendations about social distancing, mask wearing, sanitizing, and staying home if sick; I might be more optimistic about it. Sadly, it’s not happening.

I have some goals for tomorrow, so maybe I will magically gain some energy.

Here is what we took to the nurses…

#muletownmighty was created as a way for us to support local small businesses during this pandemic.

I stopped for a moment today to check on the nest of baby birds in my yard. They are about to crowd themselves out of the nest!

I found this funny but true cartoon that made me laugh…

…and an accurate prayer for days like today…

Today our Dear Heart Flower ministry is opening back up for business. I was able to order some surprise flowers for a couple people, and a yard sign to remind us all….

Stay well, and show kindness to someone in your life…

~AoA

Quarantine Day 40

Day 40 of quarantine, and our world is preparing to open back up. I had to pick up medicine for my mom today, and it was crazy out there! People are back to how they were before the stay at home order was in place! Whole families were out shopping together, and not wearing masks. The super sanitizing that had been being done at the store was no longer being done, and there weren’t any Clorox wipes available to wipe your own cart. Luckily, I carry some in my car now, and take my own into stores.

It was raining most of the day. I felt a little down today. Maybe it was the weather, or maybe I was mentally exhausted from “working” this week. On top of that, I became very worried for my community when I saw everyone disregarding the safety measures that we were all asked to do. Maybe it will pass over our community….seems to be the belief of many.

Tonight, I watched The Grand Ole Opry Live, with no audience. Luke Combs performed a new song that he wrote in response to the pandemic, called “Six Feet Apart”. It will be released on May 1st. Here is the early release…

I saw one little thing today that made me smile, in the midst of all the opinions about whether it is too soon to open up…

Today’s flower comes from Pig and Leaf…

Stay well, wear your mask, and show kindness to another…

~AoA

Quarantine Day 39

Another day…..day 38. Today was my aunt’s 74th birthday! She lives in a local nursing home, so we couldn’t go in to visit and celebrate with her. My mom and I went there in the morning and dropped off presents, cake and ice cream for everyone on her hall, and some treat bags for some of the other residents. Here we are at the drop off…

When we got home, I did some of my school life work, scheduling meetings. I have 12 meetings to hold via zoom, in the next three weeks. I was very industrious today, and set up a little office space in our little sunroom. My dad tends to be a collector, and just happened to have a Windows 10 unit to spare.

Our state prepares to start opening up on Monday. They will start with restaurants on Monday, and then non-essential stores can open on Wednesday. Before we opened up, there was suppose to be a consecutive 14 days with a downward trajectory of new cases. Here is the graph from our state website of new cases…

Today we were given the “phases” for opening. Since I live in a multi-generational home, it looks like the earliest for me to drop my guard will be around July, assuming testing and contact tracing are strong, and the new case numbers drop significantly.

I would say that less than half of the people I see when I have to go out, are wearing masks and look like they are aware of how close they are to others. I carry a Clorox wipe with me into stores to avoid touching things at the checkout. I have my doubts about our citizens being respectful of these “phases”. Maybe it’s from working in the schools, I just see people ignoring expectations even when they are clearly communicated. I hope I am wrong…I really do.

Here are some things I found today that are sadly funny….

Here is the Dear Heart flower for today…

Stay well, and spread kindness!

~AoA

Quarantine Day 38

38 days…..this has become my new normal. I actually did real “work from home” activities today. It really felt like work. If this is continuing, I need to set up my “work area” so that it is more functional. I was originally set up to work in our living room. That had its challenges. Anytime someone walked across the living room to go to the bathroom, they walked through my camera’s line of site. Then there was my mom’s tv that could be heard by everyone. I decided to move to our small sunroom with a laptop. That has worked out pretty well. Oddly enough, before we went into quarantine, I had moved things around with the idea of someday using that area for tutoring.

My family got a good sample of what life would really be like if I was to be working from home all the time. I have learned that my people don’t clean up after themselves much…..and it’s not just the kids! It’s ok, because I have more energy and time that is usually spent driving.

We are all bracing for our state to officially end the “stay at home” order. This coming Monday, businesses and restaurants will begin to open again. There are still some guidelines about social distancing, but my guess is that this won’t last long. Once people start easing up on being vigilant, I predict there will be two groups of people. I believe Dr. Seuss wrote a book about this that is relevant today, The Sneetches. I will be the “stay at home” group. I hope that things are in place as our public officials claim they are…. testing, contact tracing, plenty of hospital space, and plenty of ventilators and PPE. We will see….

I found a few things that made me laugh today…

I probably laughed more at that than I should have.

Here are some more….

I came upon a really good idea today that could keep kids busy for a while…

These are painted rocks.

Here is the Dear Heart flower for today…

Stay well, social distance, and show kindness to a human!

~AoA

Quarantine Day 37

Day 37 was Earth Day! I think the earth is resting while the people stay home. We did a lot of planting yesterday.

Today was a big day for zooming. I met with two of my students, Little AoA met with her tutor, and I met with my counselor. I am glad we are getting a chance to adjust to doing things virtually. It looks like we may be doing it for a while.

I helped my dad work on our lawnmower for a little while, which was satisfying. We will probably try to sell the lawnmower once we get it fixed up. It is a big one, and requires more regular maintenance than any of us can do. If we get another one, it won’t be as big.

I finished working on a new Facebook page and my new website. It is really simple, but it communicates basic information. I will be trying to do some tutoring and consulting that is reasonably priced. Since I entered the world of homeschooling, I have been overwhelmed at how much everything costs! There are so many choices, it can make my head spin and leave me broke! I think my family has settled into our curriculum now. I try to restrain myself from overdoing it. Reading, writing, math, interest based activities, and life skills suits us well. Every family is different, and I am sure there is something for everyone in the world of homeschool curriculum. What we found, was that having a tutor to check in with once a week is very motivating. Even though I am capable of teaching Little AoA, having another person for support is priceless!

Little AoA got creative in the kitchen this evening. She needed something to do, so I suggested she make some fruit salad. She took it to quite another level. She made a mixture in a glass with grapes on the bottom, then banana, then topped it with uncooked oats. I am glad to see her coming out of her shell a little, and expressing her creativity.

On the COVID-19……

My state, Tennessee, is one of a few states that are opening up to the government’s “phase 1”, on May 1st. I re-read the guidelines developed by the Covid Task Force. It stated that before we go to “phase 1”, there should be 14 consecutive days with a decreasing number of new cases. Our state just had its largest number of people die in a single day than since the pandemic began! I watched the governor’s address to the state, and they spoke in circles trying to explain how we will have had 14 consecutive days of decreasing numbers of new cases by the projected date. I pulled up our state website that tracks cases, to try to make sense of it. I presented the information to my 30 year old (quite the math guy). I simply don’t see the decrease. I want to understand and believe that I am wrong and I missed something. Regardless, we will still be staying home. I have already seen people advertising big get together within days of our stay at home orders being lifted. Maybe they plan on having social distancing….I hope it works out.

We had a bit of good news on the kids’ supervised visits with the dad. I reached out to the supervisor the other day, asking again about a supervised call or FaceTime. She answered that she would ask the dad if he wanted to do this. I feel like I have done all I can do in these circumstances. I just don’t want to be taken to court after all of our state shutdown, over the visits! It is better for the kids to maintain them, as the longer they go with no visits, the harder it is to get started again.

I came across something that made me laugh today….

Here is the Dear Heart flower for today…

Stay well, and show kindness to another!

~AoA

Quarantine Day 36

Day 36 couldn’t have been more beautiful! I started my day by going to the Harbor Freight store for some lawnmower parts. My mom and I planted some vegetable plants in our little garden. It still needs a little work, but my body wouldn’t do much more today.

I had a zoom meeting with my colleagues. We will be holding our parent meetings virtually. The scheduling has the potential to be a logistical nightmare, but we will get through it!

I have been spending time setting up a little online tutoring business. There is no telling where we are headed in education for the next year. I want to be prepared just in case I am forced to take a leave of absence to wait out COVID-19. I have set up a Facebook page, gmail, a google phone number, and I am working on a website. I hope to reach families who really need an ally in education. My prices are very reasonable, as I have never had my sights on getting rich from teaching! It is much more of a calling for me….and gives me a sense of purpose.

My state, Tennessee, is one of the states with a governor who has decided to lift our stay at home order on May 1st. Nothing appears to be in place as was suggested by the experts. I’m not sure who exactly the people are who think it is time to lift the order. The governor is still going to advise social distancing, but our citizens have already shown that they don’t respect that request. I, for one, will be keeping my people safe at home.

Our baby birds are still safe in their nest….

Here is the Dear Heart flower for today….

Stay safe, stay home if you can, and show kindness to a neighbor!

~AoA