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

Quarantine Day 35

Day 35 was a little more interesting than most. My school had our first zoom faculty meeting, which was interesting. One feature that makes these meeting more productive, is the mute feature. Side conversations do not interrupt the main speaker. Our administrator had sent out a group document earlier, for any questions we had. Before the meeting, the answers to everyone’s questions were added to the document, and it was shared with everyone. We are having a group book study to close out the school year, so anyone can get a jump start on professional development. This is the book we are studying…

Today was going to be awkward in part. I had planned to tell teen son’s therapist that we are going to change to a different therapist. I planned to do it via virtual session. Teen son was not comfortable at all at the prospect of having a last session. I ended up calling to cancel the appointment. I had to leave a voicemail, as no one was in the office. When the appointment time was getting closer, I tried calling again. This time I got the receptionist. As is common, I had to tell the receptionist that we were changing therapists. It was uncomfortable and weird to have to do this so impersonally. This has been how the office has operated as long as we have gone there. I am glad that is over.

I went to a plant nursery and got some starter plants for our little garden. We will have tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and beans. I will be planting tomorrow!

As I finished up my day, I started setting up social media and a website for my retirement gig. I have thought for a long time that I would do some tutoring into my retirement. I still have at least one year to work before I can consider early retirement, but with the extra time out of work, I figured I would plant some seeds! It has been so long since I have set up a website on WordPress! I spent far too much time on it, and never really got going. I don’t remember it being so time consuming back when I first started blogging about six years ago.

Here is the Dear Heart flower for today. It came with a quote today…

Stay well, stay home if you can, and check on a friend…

~AoA

Quarantine Day 34

Day 34 and Little AoA is going stir crazy! We went for a ride today, just to get out of the house. We are really missing going to places where there are people. To top off our day, it was cloudy and raining.

I watched online church this morning from my bed. I had stayed up too late last night binging some Netflix.

I am looking forward to having some actual work to do tomorrow from my job. Apparently, there has been some direction given now regarding our students with disabilities (my specialty area), and we will be holding meetings virtually to close out our school year and bring everything current.

Our county is up to 35 cases of COVID-19 now. The health department just spent the weekend doing drive through testing for anyone. It will be interesting to see if the number of cases goes up as a result. While part of our population stays home to mitigate, another part disregards all orders, and gathered at our state capital for a protest to “Free Tennessee”. I’m not sure how that fits with our “stay at home order”. Law enforcement has been able to break up and send home any gatherings of more than 10, but wouldn’t send home a huge group of protestors. It will also be interesting to see if this effects the number of cases over the next couple weeks.

Here are a few things that made me smile today…

Here is the Dear Heart flower for today…

Stay well, stay home if you can, and look for the helpers!

~AoA

Quarantine Day 33

Day 33 was a little more productive for me than days past. I started the day by making the run to the store for groceries, and dropping off treats at the nursing home for my aunt, who lives there. I can’t believe I am saying this, but I was really excited about buying a new broom and a floor duster. I can’t wait to clean the floors tomorrow with my new cleaning tools!

Little AoA is putting together ten treat bags for us to take to the nursing home. She is drawing pictures on the bags that she learned from a video. Each bag will have a word search book, pens, pencils, candy, lotion, cards, and a puzzle. Our nursing home residents have been locked down for over 33 days. That is a long, long time for families to not be able to visit their loved ones and make sure their needs are being met. I go about twice a week to drop things off. I am sure it makes a difference if family is involved and present. My mom gets a phone call every other day about how my aunt is doing. The biggest things so far were a report of a fall, and a report that she was being rude to her roommate and not sharing her candy!

My big job of the day was cleaning some boxes out of the garage. My dad had been saving shipping boxes for a long time. They were taking over the garage. We moved our riding mower out, and started taking it apart so it can be cleaned and fixed. I will probably be helping my dad with it over the next week. I am the only one who can work with him without getting mad! My dad is a big perfectionist, and things generally take at least four times as long for him to do than they probably should. I hope I learn something from all this so I can at least be familiar enough with lawnmower mechanics to make routine repairs to it.

Here are a few things that made me smile today, maybe even laugh a little…

Here are a couple things that might have been more funny if it weren’t for the truth in them…

(The sock mask is a good idea)

Here is the Dear Heart flower of the day…

Stay well, stay home if you can, and support your local businesses!

~AoA

Quarantine Day 32

Day 32 and it seems like sleeping too much has become a way to pass the time. I woke up really early, watched the morning news, and fell back asleep! My sleep time has been riddled with nightmares almost every night since our state shut down. I know the dreams are anxiety dreams. They usually involve me not being able to breath, or the ex husband being evil. They leave me drained in the mornings.

After sleeping too much today, I started connecting with people. I actually had a grown up zoom meeting with my school. It seems we are going to hold zoom meetings and conference calls to write our individual education plans that are due. I feel good about actually having to do my regular work responsibilities. After the meeting, I did a zoom meeting with a student. I can tell that our time out of school is wearing on the kids.

Little AoA wanted to have a FaceTime call with her piano teacher. That went well. Her piano teacher isn’t too comfortable with technology, but she is contemplating giving it a try!

As I retired to do the laundry, my aunt and cousin appeared online. I stopped what I was doing to play some house party Pictionary while Little AoA practiced her banjo.

That wasn’t enough for Little AoA. She wanted to call my aunt again later. We turned to the kitchen to fill some time making a fruit salad. Then we called my aunt again. Little AoA doesn’t talk much on the video calls, but she sits there and takes in the adult conversation. She just couldn’t seem to get enough today! After that call, I connected with my cousin to set up email pals with Little AoA and her same age second cousins.

I noticed some of my friends today sharing pictures of baby birds in their yards. I thought of the nest I found last week as I was hanging Easter eggs in my yard.

I went out to check on the nest today….

Baby birds! So sweet!

I saw one cute little thing today that made me laugh, and reminded me of my students…

Here is the Dear Heart flower for today…

Stay well, stay home if you can, and make connections!

~AoA