Quarantine Day 14

Tonight my heart breaks for our country. She is hurting in a way I have never seen before. Our state governor finally issued an official strong recommendation to do “safer at home”, closing all non-essential businesses for two weeks. Some cities and towns were doing this already, but it wasn’t being taken seriously. At least with the whole state on the same page, we may improve the outcome some.

Today, COVID-19 made its way to a nursing home in the next county, and another one to our East. The first nursing home affected has had about 74 confirmed cases in residents and 33 cases were employees. I do worry about my daughter who is a nurse, and about my aunt and all the other residents in the nursing home where she lives. They are very vulnerable.

(The Hospital in my town)

Living in the country music capital, it was a very sad time when country singer , Joe Diffie passed away from complications of COVID-19. It was like one day it was shared that he was a confirmed case, and the next day he was gone. Here is one of his most well known hits…

I had goals for today, but not much was completed. I went to the garbage dump with a load of cardboard and wood. Little AoA did some of her school work. I made an instant pot meal for the family, and decided that anytime I have to chop an onion for a meal, I win! I finished up by completing a doll dress that Little AoA and I started sewing yesterday. I set a personal goal to learn this pattern and make a lot of them for others. Here is tonight’s dress:

On a lighter note, the world is trying to share laughter, which is good for the soul. Laughter is the best medicine…

Stay well and stay home if you can!

~AoA

Quarantine Day 13

Tonight ends day 13 of the quarantined lifestyle. It is Sunday, so grandma, Little AoA and I had church via Facebook live this morning. I was really exhausted from comforting Little AoA into the early hours of the morning when some severe thunderstorms came through. The person speaking in the church service had a really soothing voice, and I dozed off. It reminded me that there is a place of calm in the storm.

I had a couple of outdoor goals today, and it was a beautiful sunny day! I pulled some weeds, and then went to the back porch to freshen it up. Just as I was about ready to start the leaf blower, the neighbors started having a giant verbal fight! I stayed on alert, waiting to make sure that it de-escalated. Emotions are tender everywhere, and people have perhaps had more time together than they are use to. Our family went through a lot as we first adjusted to multi-generational living and mental health issues. Gladly, that seems to be behind us now. The neighbor’s to my other side were playing a family yard game of corn hole.

The pandemic is hitting close to home now, and people I love are at great risk. My 32 year old daughter is a nurse at a local nursing home. Today, a nursing home just to our north was hit by COVID-19.

My daughter’s nursing home now has to wear face masks all the time if they interact directly with residents/patients. They also serve as a rehabilitation center, and must take on new patients who are being released from the hospital.

My daughter is the nurse in the middle. They are securely locked away from visitors other than healthcare workers. My daughter is immune compromised herself, so my mama bear within is strong right now.

I noticed on social media, that others are also concerned that people are not taking the cdc guidelines and our mayor and governor’s requests seriously. It reminds me of a situation where some peer pressure might be useful. It is a shame that in our state, the powers that be has failed to take action that would assist in mitigation. He is sure that everyone will rise to the occasion with just a suggestion. It would be great if they did, but they don’t.

Interestingly, everything is starting to bloom here. Everyone has started cutting their grass, and allergies abound. Sneezing is not acceptable now!

Stay well and stay home if you can!

~AoA

Quarantine Day 12

Here we are ending day 12 of quarantine. I didn’t sleep too well, waking up when teen son ran through my room in the middle of the night. When it was actually time to get up, I started working on my list of chores and goals for the day. I did my designated errand runner trip to a local bakery to support them by getting a nice box of pastries.

I completed a set of five fabric face masks and two headbands for healthcare workers who now must wear face masks everyday. I saw the idea on social media, and thought I would give them a try. Here is the picture I saw…

I delivered the set to the nursing home where my daughter works. They are totally locked down. All deliveries are left outside on a table. A person retrieves the item once the deliverer has pulled away.

I tried to revive my sewing skills to make a doll dress. It didn’t quite work out as I planned, so it is just a prototype. I am determined to make a decent doll dress. Little AoA and I have some plans to make doll sets to give to our local domestic violence center for kids who are served there.

I stayed away from massive amounts of news today, only doing a brief check of the numbers, and noting news alerts on my phone.

I am starting to miss socializing. I don’t mind being home with the family, but I like going places with Little AoA. We are missing going to museums, shopping, and church. I miss seeing my coworkers and students. I think depression is trying to set in, but I will keep setting goals and push through….hoping it will pass.

Stay well and stay home if you can!

~AoA

Quarantine Day 11

Another day has passed, and it was a busy one! This morning we decided to get some new crushed rock for our driveway. It was well past time to do this. After the rock delivery, I did the designated errand runner trip. I delivered some treats to the nursing home for my aunt, and got some groceries. I have used the pick up service for a long time, but now, they are all booked up for seven days out.

I was a little disheartened when I went in the store. With all the new guidelines for mitigating covid-19, it looked like A LOT of people didn’t get the message! In the middle of the afternoon, I saw MANY elderly people. Some of them had small children with them. I saw whole families out shopping, and groups of teens. There seems to be a great unknown that people are all treating differently. Will the worst of the pandemic pass over our community with limited effect? It is not worth taking a chance, to me. It looks like a lot of elderly people in our community need support, or they might just be stubborn or in disbelief.

After my errand running, I helped my dad assemble a daybed. My parents have been having a lot of trouble at night, and we needed a comfortable place to go if one of them can’t sleep, instead of waking each other up with lights and the tv.

One of my students’ mom contacted me today and asked if I could do a zoom meeting with her child. I was so happy to do this! It was really good to see my young friend.

It is hard to wrap my mind around the effects of the pandemic in our country. I try to keep up with the news and the numbers, which amounts to watching numbers grow exponentially. I see the horror in the cities that have hospitals that are overwhelmed. Yesterday, a nursing home employee tested positive just outside of our capital city, and today they had to transport 19 residents to hospitals. With my oldest daughter working at a nursing home, and my aunt being a resident, I am perhaps overly sensitive to the threat this poses to this fragile population.

Stay well, and stay home if you can!

~AoA

Quarantine Day 10

Day 10 has come to a close. My body is readjusting to a schedule where I don’t get up until nine or ten in the morning, and stay up past midnight. I wish I was a natural morning person, but it just never worked for me.

I started with a list of goals. I got a desk painted today, and was able to do it outside! The weather was beautiful, after weeks on end of rain. I tried to do a zoom meeting with one of my students, but he couldn’t get linked, then I lost my connection, so we agreed to just try again tomorrow. I did a piano lesson with Little AoA. Grandpa did a music theory lesson with her. I tried to warn him that her attention span wasn’t that long, but he wanted to try!

Little AoA and I went for a ride in the afternoon to get out of the house. In the evening, Little AoA worked with me to make matching face masks for her and her doll. She was excited to push the sewing machine pedal. She had been playing with her dolls earlier, and dressed them in their “quarantine outfits” (pajamas). She set them up to practice social distancing.

I got a chance to talk to my older daughter, the nurse, tonight. She works at a local nursing home. I told her about the masks, and asked if there was a need for them where she worked. They aren’t filtered, so basically it will just keep a sick person from coughing or sneezing everywhere, and maybe keep a person from touching their face as much. She said she thought they could use them, so we will be making more tomorrow. It sounded like our local hospital was good with their equipment.

Today I had a difficult but necessary conversation with my mom. My dad has left a wish that if anything happens to him during this time of Covid-19, he wants to stay home and pass away. His heart only functions at 20%, so everyday is a new gift. My mom would want to go to a hospital, as would I. We all understand that going to a hospital would mean being alone. This is not necessarily if any of us are confirmed with Covid-19, but anything. All of us have high blood pressure and are still risky ages for stroke.

On a happier note, we have a lot of “Blessing Boxes” in our little town. These are wooden cabinets set up at some businesses, where people can leave food, toiletries, and anything else that a person may need. Everything is free. I am always looking for things like this. I enjoy crafting useful things, and it is nice to be able to share!

Stay Well. Stay home if you can!

~AoA

Quarantine Day 9

We just made it through the 9th day of quarantine. I was able to visit online with three of my students. After I did this, my boss let me know that there are a lot of obstacles and risks in doing this. I am in the special education field, and my students may fall under some federal mandates that they otherwise would not be under. Luckily, I didn’t violate anything, and I will move in another direction. I may look into online teaching or tutoring as a future”retirement” job.

I put our national flag out today, as our mayor requested us to do this to show that we are united. Another neat thing happened right after I put out the flag. Cars started honking and driving down our street. I realized quickly that it was a teacher parade! The teachers from our area’s elementary school were driving the bus routes and waving to everyone. I stood on the porch and waved to everyone as they passed by.

I did spend more time than usual looking at the news today. We are still waiting for our governor to order a “safer at home” order for our state. So far there have only been recommendations and suggestions, which many people are supporting. However, there are still a lot of people who don’t seem to be joining in with the efforts. When I had to go out to pick up prescriptions for my parents, there were so many cars at an intersection that I had to wait and wait to turn! Where were all those people going? We are suppose to be down to only essential businesses being open, and restaurants only offer takeout and delivery now. Our town has 13 cases now, with many more tests still being processed. There are mixed messages everywhere about whether there are tests, enough personal protection equipment, and ventilators. It would not take much to overwhelm our local hospital.

In some kind of an effort to do something, I worked today on a face mask prototype. I am not a great seamstress by any means, but I can sew a straight stitch with a sewing machine. I plan to work on it some more tomorrow, and maybe even try a couple of patterns. Here is my first attempt.

Some patterns call for elastic, and some have ties on them. These homemade masks are not recommended for hospital use, but they could be used in the home to prevent an ill person from transmitting illness with a cough or a sneeze. It also reminds me not to touch my face!

Please stay home if you can!

Stay well…..

~AoA

Quarantine Day 8

I’m not exactly working from home, but I am trying to keep up with my students and their families while we are all staying safe in our homes. I have now done a zoom room twice with one student. Tomorrow, I am going to try to meet with a few more. I found a game that I think we can easily play on zoom. It is called Scattegories. I had set my students up on a secure blogging platform earlier in the year, so I sent reminder instructions to them, and I hope they will utilize it. I use to easily be able to email them, but our school system changed all their passwords due to hacking. The new passwords are completely random numbers and letters which most of my students can’t keep up with.

After my “work at home” today, I had school with Little AoA. She is still meeting one on one with her tutor until it is not safe. Every precaution is taken, and it is only her, so we’ll see. Little AoA forgets information so quickly. She kind of reminds me of Finding Dory, the fish with no short term memory. She is identified with borderline intellectual functioning and a learning disability. It has been interesting watching her development. She is like an old soul, especially with her love for old country music. I have never seen a kid so fascinated with artists like Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, and Porter Wagoner! There are more, those are just her latest loves!

While Little AoA was with her tutor, I did the family errand to get groceries. The store has now put limits on items. At this store, I saw limits of one on bread, water, and meat. There was still no paper products available. I hear they are getting some, but it is bought out quickly. There was not much meat to be found. Living in the south, I sadly understood this…

Today was deemed a day to support local family owned restaurants. I ordered take out for supper for the kids.

By the evening, tornado watches and warnings were in our area. Little AoA is our most prepared person. Here is a picture of her hallway tornado kit.

You can’t see it, but she has a bicycle helmet in the backpack. She is prepared!

There are now 6 confirmed cases in our town. More are pending. I see on the worldometer site, that the United States is now third in the world with the number of confirmed cases, behind China and Italy. I am so very worried for the world❤️

Just stay home if you can. I saw this shirt, and it has words on it that my 30 year old has been using for two weeks now. He was about a week ahead of the rest of us, as he was following everything in the news.

I totally respect this!

Sending love to the world❤️

~AoA

Quarantine Day 7

Today was my dad’s 77th birthday! Little AoA and grandma baked a cake first thing this morning. I did my two hour screen free housework time storing away a drum set that was not going to be used anymore. I worked on some laundry and the kitchen too. My dad had ordered a day bed for our new extra room. One box arrived, but all the parts weren’t there. Apparently there were suppose to be two boxes delivered. My new rice cooker arrived today too. If the stores don’t start having bread, we may end up eating a lot of rice. Funny thing, about a month ago when I ordered groceries to pick up, they tripled my rice order, so there is a lot of rice! That was before the giant grocery store panic.

I had ordered a homemade beef pot pie for supper, from one of my friends. She is doing some baking to try and make ends meet. When I went to pick it up, my mom and Little AoA came along for the ride. I also stopped at a grocery store, leaving my riders in the car. I gathered just a few things, but when I got to the checkout, a store clerk told me I had too much bread! I had one pack of hamburger buns, and two loaves of bread for the 5 people in our home that I feed. The limit was two. I gave him one of my loaves of bread back. This is going to take a little getting use to! The people in line beside me had done the same thing. I held up my bag of flour and two boxes of cornbread mix, and suggested that we prepare to make our own bread! Actually, I was surprised to find flour, and as I suspected, there was no yeast.

There is still no toilet paper in our local stores.

(Not my picture)

In the evening, we had a virtual birthday party for my dad, using zoom. My sister and her family participated, and my 30 year old from the tiny house in the back yard. My 30 year old has isolated himself for about two full weeks now. He has even found a way to wash his clothes out in a sink to avoid coming in the main house. I offered to do his laundry in a “porch pick up” style, but he is good! His anxiety over the pandemic is about a step above mine. To me, whenever I go into a store now, my chest tightens with anxiety, and it is hard to breathe. Everyone looks like a Petri dish. To my son, the rest of the family also look like Petri dishes.

One surprising thing today was that teen son’s therapist would not do telehealth for his appointment today. I had called three times last week to ask about it, and was told to call this morning. I had to call three times over an hour before I got to speak with someone. They still weren’t sure if they were going to use telehealth. The receptionist said she would call me back by the end of the day….that didn’t happen.

The other interesting thing was that the supervised visit center closed for the foreseeable future. That was actually a relief, because it will not create an issue that can be used in court. I offered to have the supervised visits virtually with the supervisor if she wanted to. I feel like I did my part in trying to find a way for the kids to keep contact with the dad. All of the courts are shut down now, and I’m sure there will easily be a backlog when they reopen!

In our state and town, emergencies have been declared. There are now 6 confirmed cases in our county, and over 500 in our state. Major cities have ordered “safer at home” enforceable mandates. My town leaders do not have the authority to do that, so such an order would need to come from our state governor. He has seemed slow to respond to the pandemic, and I hope that he steps up before the worse hits.

I also heard this morning on our local news, a doctor from one of our big medical universities, say that Covid-19 can manifest as abdominal issues. I had to investigate! Two weeks ago, Little AoA had upper respiratory symptoms (ruled out flu), and almost a week later, my mom was having severe abdominal pain. Had it gone on another day, she may have ended up in a hospital. Her doctor adjusted her medications, and at least she is calmer now. The sad thing is, there would be no test for it. The only treatment until it is severe, is to treat the symptoms at home, and try to keep from spreading it. Now we just wait….praying that whatever it is doesn’t affect my dad, the most medically fragile member of our household.

If you don’t have to go out for essential needs or to work, just stay home! We can do this!

How are you all holding up?

~AoA

Quarantine Day 6

We made it through day 6! My parents, Little AoA, and I had set a goal to get up and watch online church at 9:30. We all made it! We sat in the living room in our pajamas, and streamed our church onto the tv. My parents had not been to church with me for a year or two. It was nice to have them with me. While it was being cast to the tv, I followed the live comments that were being posted on Facebook. It was nice just seeing some of my church friends there. All of this must be really overwhelming for pastors. I can barely imagine the intense emotion that must come with caring for a large group of people. I care for 20-30 on my work caseload, and even that can overload my mind and heart.

I started making a known effort to be screen free and working for two hours a day. I announce that I am doing it, so that everyone knows. I had some goals for today. I set up a desktop computer in our living room that I will use to set up zoom room hours for my students. I reorganized our refrigerator, and pulled some weeds outside.

Little AoA has been grumpy most of the day. I don’t think she slept well last night. Nothing could please her today. I tried to teach her a new game, Dutch Blitz, and she started blowing the cards. We called it a night and put the game away. It looks like it will be fun when we finally get to play it! Little AoA was able to do some of her homeschool work once she calmed down.

It seems like everything has been said about Covid-19. The stores have been raided by people in panic. Our states number of confirmed cases is up to 505. They are only testing people with severe symptoms who have knowingly been exposed to someone with a confirmed case. This does not seem like a very good plan to me, but the powers that be claim that the test availability is very limited in our state, so they must be strict about when to use them. I keep hearing in the news that there is a critical shortage of personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and gowns. There seems to also be a shortage of ventilators. My heart goes out to all of the frontline workers!

I have seen some requests for hand sewn masks. Of course, they are not preferable to the real thing, but many people want them for their families. Some hospitals I have seen online are asking for them. I found a pattern that I will try, which has a pocket in it for a filter. Thankfully, no one in our home has upper respiratory issues right now, but with spring in the air, allergies will not be far behind!

Are you in an area with mandated “Stay in place”?

~AoA

Quarantine Day 5

The first week of social distancing has been quite an adjustment. I don’t like it much. Being home all day has opened my eyes to how much support my parents need now that they are in the geriatric stage. Today I had to help my mom navigate a call to her doctor to check on a prescription. She had just called him yesterday, but now didn’t have the phone number. She needed help looking it up. I went ahead and added the contact to her phone. Then I had to be the one to explain what she needed, because she wasn’t sure. My mom has been slowing down for a while now, but technology has passed her by now. I am glad I am here to help.

We had a goal to get up by 9:00 this morning. Well, we failed at that one. It was more like 10:30. My mom woke me up, and asked if we could do two screen free hours today, where we (ummm, I) cleaned. She didn’t realize that I do that anyway. I happily obliged with my to-do list in hand. As i worked, Little AoA taught grandma to play Bunko. I got several jobs checked off of my list. There are still more left for tomorrow.

I had to do another run to town for a prescription today. Grandma and Little AoA wanted to come along for a ride. I had them both sit in the back seat for distance from whatever germs I might bring back to the car. We went to an ATM machine, and I used a Clorox wipe to touch all the buttons. We then went to a drive thru- I used a Clorox wipe on everything that I got. We went to the pharmacy, where I went in alone and left the others in the car. Finally, we went to the nursing home where my aunt lives, to drop off some Coke and candy, and pay her monthly fee. At the nursing home, I had to ring the bell, as it is locked down from visitors. When the door is open, I just set everything down inside the door, and tell the receptionist who it is for. I do not cross the barrier!

We ended our day watching The Grand Ole Opry live streaming with only three artists on acoustical instruments. The Opry house was empty….everything is closed in Nashville.

It was sad and beautiful tonight, as Tennessee has seen a lot of heartache over the last two weeks with massive destruction from tornadoes, and now Covid-19.

And to end up, country music lost a great person today. Kenny Rogers passed away last night. I grew up listening and loving all things Kenny Rogers. I always had a warm place in my heart when he and Dolly Parton were together.

Do you have a favorite Kenny Rogers song?

~AoA