Childcare to reopen

Governor DeWine announced today that Ohio childcare centers are allowed to start reopening for the general public (not just emergency personnel) on Sunday, May 31. (Here’s an article from WLWT.)

CHILDCARE CAN OPEN ON MAY 31! WOOO!

Our childcare center is planning to reopen on June 1.

Now we just have to hope that we are high enough to the top of the list, based on how they are prioritizing things, that we will get one of the spots, since they can only have half as many children per toddler room now (6 instead of 12).

Fingers crossed.

Also, trying not to fret too much about how Dr. Amy and the governor keep saying, basically: We don’t know much about this yet and how it will go with childcare centers and spreading and so we look forward to getting more data on that soon (as childcare centers reopen).

Uh? Is it just me, or did that sound a little bit like our babies are lab rats?

I get it. They need a larger sample size. And I’m not one to suggest or support withholding data once it’s available – that’s how you improve things.

Just hoping that this doesn’t turn into a giant clusterfuck of death — you know, any more than it already is.

I know there’s a choice. There’s always a choice. But at the same time, there’s kinda not. It’s been pretty terrible working from home with a two-year-old (who, btw, doesn’t nap anymore).

Like you’re drowning, and they’re throwing you this inflatable life raft – FINALLY (but you understand why they took so long about it, because it wasn’t safe until maybe now) – but at the same time, they’re also kind of saying, “We’re not 100% sure this inflatable boat won’t take on a life of its own and suffocate your family and you’ll all still die, but you still want it, right?”

Yes. Yes, I do.

GIVE IT.

ohandifmybabydiesbecauseiwantedtokeepworkingilljustfeelguiltytherestofmylife

But it’s cool.

(Narrator: It wasn’t really cool, but what the hell else are they supposed to do?)

THANKS.

A Little News

Dr. Edwards hosted another video-chat open forum today. Although I have three pages of handwritten notes, here are the high points (low points? haha):

  • We’re probably not going to be working back on campus until July, if not August.
  • WSU filed the paperwork for that Shared Work Ohio thing, which is a special kind of unemployment service setup specifically for this crisis – and allegedly you can still claim it even if you volunteer to reduce your hours, which they (WSU) are hoping people will. They’re working on some written communications about this.
  • They are looking at EVERYTHING when thinking about where they might be able to cut. “Everything’s on the table,” she said.
  • Apparently, some of the other universities in the state were hoping that we’d go first with announcing our cuts, so they could basically use us as a shield for the media fallout – a sacrificial lamb to the press. Oh sure, let Wright State step out in front of the bus first; they’re used to it. They probably don’t even feel it anymore. To this, Dr. Edwards essentially said NO – because a number of other Ohio schools have already made their announcements and gone on the media chopping block – U. Dayton, U. Akron, Kent State, Ohio U., Miami U. – and we’re still taking our time, working things out (together, as she says).
  • And in that same vein, one of her closing encouragements: “If anyone can turn this place around, we can.”

Guys, I can’t even fucking cry about hardly anything right now (AND I SHOULD BE) – it’s so weird – but she almost brought me to tears twice today.

Can I just say how lucky we are to have a university president who’s so inspirational, compassionate, charismatic, and forthcoming?

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In another piece of my personal puzzle, we got another survey from our childcare provider, regarding their plan to hopefully reopen on June 1 (pending the governor’s announcement/approval/whatever) — and they finally gave us some FEE NUMBERS to work with. I knew it was going up; it was actually going to go up a little already even before the COVID thing happened. They hadn’t raised rates in years, apparently, and it was time. Fine, I get it, inflation and all that. They had not told us what those new rates were going to be. And now, it looks like they’ve probably had to raise them even a bit more, to cover smaller ratios of teacher-to-student, PPE, extra cleaning supplies, etc. Anyway.

The new monthly rate for Jack’s age group is $1,230.00 per month. That’s about $200 more than we were paying before. And our “old” rate included a $100 discount (for what, I forget), and they are not going to be applying any discounts initially, they said. So it will be the full $1,230.

OOF.

Well, it’s nice to at least have that number, finally, to plug into the mental “spreadsheet” of decision-making. (Hopefully soon I will have “the number” as to how much income I myself can expect to earn for the near/foreseeable future.)

The “mental spreadsheet” might have to be an ACTUAL spreadsheet at some point. I actually have one for calculating how much Emergency Fund we’d need in various scenarios – like if one or the other of us lost our job or if — GOD FORBID — we both did at the same time: how much we’d need for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, etc. Anyway, if the shit really hits the fan, some version of that sheet is going to get copy/pasted into a new “What the Hell Should We Do” spreadsheet.

But again, on the bright side, it will be nice to have all the damn pieces of the puzzle eventually. Right now it’s like playing a card game where half the deck is missing, and you don’t know which half. And I already hate card games.

In the meantime, here’s the kind of thing I’m dealing with while I’m watching Dr. Edwards’ video chats — and trying to do anything else (these pics are actually from Friday’s chat):

Cat wants to watch Dr. Edwards video-chat also, May 8, 2020

Cat wants to watch Dr. Edwards video-chat also, May 8, 2020

Toddler wants to watch cartoons in same room and also press all the buttons on the printer, during Dr. Edwards' video chat, May 8, 2020

Toddler wants to watch cartoons in same room and also press all the buttons on the printer, during Dr. Edwards’ video chat, May 8, 2020

God help us all.

OH! And there’s a GroundWorkOhio petition to Congress for childcare relief. Another working archivist mom sent it to me today, and you should all go do it! It just takes a minute.

Bit ‘o News

Another cell phone post, sorry.

We got a little bit of news from the head of our library today. I’m not really at liberty to discuss the details, but it was good to find out the status of things and what’s going on. Some decisions that need to be made will be made in the next couple of days, but it sounds like it could be longer than that before we actually hear how it affects each one of us individually.

Still no answers from Governor DeWine about childcare in today’s press conference. He’s not doing a conference tomorrow, but Dr. Acton mentioned that they will have something to say about it hopefully in the next couple of days, so hopefully that means Thursday. Fingers crossed.

University president Sue Edwards is having another one of her video chats tomorrow. I really enjoy those, even if a lot of what gets talked about is not good news in these times. I appreciate her candor and straightforwardness. And it’s pretty cool to have that instant face-to-face connection straight to the top. I even ask a question occasionally! But mostly I just listen to her answers to what other people ask. And once in a while, I post a link (in the group chat) to a trustworthy source of information about something that someone else has asked, because librarian.

No news today

Writing via voice recognition on my phone again, apologize in advance for any typos.

Well, Governor DeWine reneged on his promise to announce something about daycares today. Boooooo.

On the bright side, we can continue to live in the happy world of “maybe it will reopen for June 1st”! I probably shouldn’t hold my breath though.

I didn’t get any news today about the actual cuts the university plans to make to deal with the budget shortfall from now through June 30th, either.

But again on the bright side, I still have a full-time, paying job for the time being. Huzzah!

The university did make an announcement over the weekend that the campus would remain “essential personnel only” through the end of the governor’s current stay-at-home recommendation which expires on May 29th so I guess I’m staying home at least until then.

The same university announcement also stated that face masks would be required for everyone on campus (employees, students, visitors, etc.) for the foreseeable future. I consider this good news also. The masks are a good idea, and I was nervous when DeWine backpedaled on his mask order last week (was that last week? I’ve lost all sense of time) saying it was up to the individual businesses.

That’s all I’ve got for today. I’m off to try reading my book — which I just read in an article today is difficult for all of us right now because our brains are trying to solve and unsolvable problem. Good to know it’s not just me.

COVID-19 Diary: April 25-26, 2020

Always running, but I’m always running behind…

Saturday, April 25, 2020

We mostly worked in the yard, as it was nice and sunny (60s) until we got some rain showers about 7 pm. Matt mowed the grass. I dug up this weird rock wall/edging around a big flower bed in the back yard. We can’t keep up with all those flowers, and it always turns into a jungle — and we can’t just MOW IT because of all the rocks around it, so…good-bye, rocks. I got Matt to put the truck in the yard so I could load the rocks into the back, then I drove it across the yard to the edge of the woods and unloaded all the rocks into the woods. SO EXHAUSTING. 11,000 steps.

Digging up rocks, Apr 25

Digging up rocks, Apr 25

Rocks in the truck bed, Apr 25

Rocks in the truck bed, Apr 25

Matt installed a new gate for my office doorway, because Jack has been able to knock down the other (pressure) gate. This one screws to the wall AND HAS A CAT DOOR! The cats will be so happy. We made them both try out the cat door, and they had no problem with it. And so far (knock on wood), Jack has not tried to go through it himself.

New office doorway gate, Apr 25

New office doorway gate, Apr 25

The cat door works! Sorry, blurry action shot

The cat door works! Sorry, blurry action shot

In the evening, I made two more masks each for Matt and me.

Four more masks, Apr 25

Four more masks, Apr 25

A friend whose parents live in Minnesota has gone up to visit them, because her father is dying. He has a degenerative disease that affects his mind and memory, and so he lives in a care facility. At first they were told they wouldn’t be able to visit with him at all (wouldn’t be allowed into the facility), but they were able to go in and spend a lot of time with him after all. I’m glad for that.

Jack woke up at midnight just screaming and crying, no idea what that was about…

Sunday, April 26, 2020

This is the week we had been planning to go on vacation for our anniversary. We were going to leave Jack with my Mom and go…somewhere… I’m not even sure we fully determined where we were going to go, before the whole thing fell through with the COVID-19 crisis. I guess that’s better than already having reservations for something and having to figure out if we would be able to cancel it all.

I went to the IGA in Enon for milk and like four other things. I managed to spend only $40! They had plenty of toilet paper, meat, produce, and dairy. They were getting low on flour and were out of yeast. I didn’t see any employees wearing masks and only a few of the shoppers. (OK I can only recall actually even seeing TWO other shoppers on that rainy day grocery trip; one was wearing a mask and one wasn’t.)

Lisa new mask

New mask, who dis? Apr 26

IGA grocery store in Enon, Ohio, Apr 26, 2020

IGA grocery store in Enon, Ohio, Apr 26, 2020

Occupancy limit 84 and special hours 7-7, senior hours 7-8 Tues & Thurs, IGA Enon, Apr 26

Occupancy limit 84 and special hours 7-7, senior hours 7-8a Tues & Thurs, IGA Enon, Apr 26

Due to current conditions, we cannot guarantee sale items available, no rainchecks, IGA Enon, Apr 26

Due to current conditions, we cannot guarantee sale items available, no rainchecks, IGA Enon, Apr 26

Social distancing reminder sign at IGA, Apr 26

Social distancing reminder sign at IGA, Apr 26

Flour, IGA, Apr 26

Flour, IGA, Apr 26

(No) Yeast, IGA, Apr 26

(No) Yeast, IGA, Apr 26

Plenty of toilet paper, IGA, Apr 26

Plenty of toilet paper, IGA, Apr 26

We made hot sub sandwiches, chicken and (homemade) noodles again, and Matt made an apple pie from scratch!

Homemade apple pie! Apr 26

Matt’s homemade apple pie! Apr 26

I extracted a few more rocks from the soft wet dirt after it stopped raining. It feels good to feel like I’m goddamn actually accomplishing something tangible, even if it is just moving rocks from one side of the yard to the other like freaking Sisyphus. (OK not exactly like Sisyphus; to date, none of the rocks have moved themselves BACK into the flower bed, thank goodness.)

I ordered Jack a bunch of summer clothes before it suddenly gets warm and he doesn’t have any shorts – and in case everything takes forever to ship. (Well, we have a few from my sister, but the hand-me-downs and the seasons don’t always line up; and if he EVER goes back to school, he’ll need a lot more.) The things I ordered from Target came really fast, in just a few days; the stuff I ordered from Carter’s still has yet to arrive, as of this writing.

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Info about contact tracing from Clark Co Combined Health District, Apr 25-26

Info about contact tracing from Clark Co Combined Health District, Apr 25-26

Hunger Games Katniss: When it's my turn to to go tot he supermarket

Hunger Games Katniss: When it’s my turn to to go tot he supermarket

Is it RIF’ing yet?

Wright State’s President Edwards had another open forum via video-chat again this morning. She indicated that “reductions in force” are likely, with an announcement coming early next week. She specifically said they are not looking at “furloughs,” but it also sounded like the “reduction in force” would include some reductions in people’s hours that would hopefully only be temporary (to cover the $3-point-something million budget shortfall WSU has between now and June 30).

But…temporary…. Isn’t that…what a furlough is?

(I’ve been furloughed before, when I worked at Dayton Metro Library in the time after the housing market crash. We all worked 1 less day per pay period for a while, and our paychecks were reduced accordingly for that temporary period of time.)

I found this useful web page – What is the difference between a furlough, a layoff and a reduction in force? – from the Society of Human Resource Management. It seems to indicate that a true “reduction in force” is meant to be permanent.

But these are weird times. And I’m not criticizing the university president; she’s got a lot going on. And she plainly admitted she’s not an HR expert. Hagfish expert? Yes. HR expert, no. Haha.

So I’ll just…hold my breath and wait for that email to come out I guess.

In another twist of…whatever (irony? or perhaps nothing- we’ll wait and see), Governor DeWine promises us some sort of announcement about childcare in Monday’s press conference. I’m going to be super-pissed if this announcement is just “well, we’re still not sure, better wait a bit more.” Even if it’s something shitty like “we’re not opening until FOREVER, but here’s the date of FOREVER,” at least having a date will be helpful to know.

And again, I know, EVERYTHING IS WEIRD and changing every day. But it’s still…miserable…for working parents to keep working when there’s nobody available to take care of their child(ren), whether they are working from home or being asked to go (physically) back to work. Working from home with kid(s) is terrible. But I literally do not see how things are supposed to “work” if more and more people have to go (physically) back to their jobs but have no childcare options.

Not everybody has a retired grandma nearby. And even if they do, we’re all supposed to be staying AWAY from each other. And it’s even worse if the workers are going out every day into “public” and then coming back with whatever new germs (possibly COVID-19) for grandma.

So, yeah.

Current status:

  • Waiting to find if we’ll be getting childcare back anytime soon.
  • Wondering whether I’ll even need it when we do.
  • Hoping we can still afford it, if my pay goes down, because we already know that the price of our daycare is going up.

COVID-19 Diary: April 20-24, 2020

The saga continues.

Monday, April 20, 2020

That was the day we got that upsetting email from WSU President Edwards about the deans taking a 20% pay cut, budget not looking good, and halting all capital projects (our archives building! sad), etc. (I wrote about this on Apr 22 and Apr 23.)

Lisa and Jack working, Apr 20, 2020

Lisa and Jack working, Apr 20, 2020

Governor’s press conference announced 500 deaths so far in Ohio. There are protesters demanding the state reopen, but if we do now all our work is for nothing because cases will just sky-rocket as people gather. We need the ability to test more people, and there aren’t enough tests. My favorite protest sign is the “Give me liberty or give me death” (Patrick Henry): how about both, if you want everything reopened? Is a professional haircut or manicure really worth your life? Or your grandma’s?

The governor also announced that kids will not go back to K-12 school buildings this year, wasn’t sure yet about reopening daycares — which should be fun, if our workplaces reopen but not childcare centers? The fuck are we supposed to do? (I realize I’m fortunate that this I do not already have this problem, as many essential workers, like my grocery store clerks and gas station attendants and of course healthcare professionals, already do/might. There are special childcare centers just for essential workers, but I can’t imagine there’s enough of those right now either.)

Delicious homemade vegetable beef soup, Apr 20, 2020

Delicious homemade vegetable beef soup, Apr 20, 2020

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

I had another staff meeting in the morning via Webex. And this time, Jack “attended” the meeting with me, because Matt had to go (physically) to work for a while during that same time. This went better than I expected, as he mostly just watched TV, and I took my meeting on my university-borrowed laptop at the kitchen table where I could see him.

Matt’s trip to WPAFB was to renew his CAC card, which was expiring. (We later found out that they extended the expiration dates for everyone – similar to what the state did with driver’s licenses – so he really didn’t have to go after all, but that news came out like 1-2 days after he had already done it.) He said they had gloves, plexiglas shields, and some of the people there were in masks.

We got an email from our daycare with a survey in it. They asked things like how soon we’d like to come back (as soon as possible please!), how we felt about certain potential changes (e.g., being full-5-day-only for a while to limit the mixing of groups or raises in tuition prices to cover paying more teachers to accommodate smaller teacher-child ratios), and how we’re doing (I’ve definitely been better). They actually called again a week or two later to check on us as well.

We made homemade egg noodles again to go in stroganoff. We tried the pasta attachment for our Kitchen-Aid mixer, which we’ve had for like 10 years but never used. I think we must have done something wrong, because it all clumped together, and we ended up having…more like…egg noodle gnocchi as we pinched bits of it off and tossed in the boiling water to cook. It still tasted really good though!

homemade beef stroganoff with egg noodle gnocchi, Apr 21, 2020

homemade beef stroganoff with egg noodle gnocchi, Apr 21, 2020

I hit my 100-day streak on learning German in Duolingo. We’re slowly working our way through that Amazon Prime drama “Hunters” about Nazi hunters in the ’70s, and I’m overly pleased with myself when I can actually catch a word here and there.

One of my uncles is currently in a medical facility for some neck issues and numbness. Due to his age, he’s not a candidate for surgery. He’s also not allowed visitors due to COVID-19. So that’s sad. 😦

I did some more work after Jack went to bed, as usual…

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

I honestly don’t have much at all to say about this day. Fighting a toddler in order to work is exhausting. I started trying to map out a big back-yard garden (hmm never did finish that).

I ordered some more mask fabric from my favorite fabric store – Fabric Shack in Waynesville. (Not because I ran out of fabric – that will likely never happen, with my stash, but because…I wanted more/different fabric. Also, small business!)

I wrote the first post about Dr. Edwards’ email “Recovery, Interrupted,” and apparently this post was extremely popular, receiving over 100 hits in the first 24 hours!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Again, not much to say about this day.

Wright State University Libraries staff members for National Library Workers' Day, posted to the library's social media Apr 23, 2020

Wright State University Libraries staff members (my co-workers) for National Library Workers’ Day, posted to the library’s social media Apr 23, 2020

Jack insisted on drinking water out of a small glass measuring cup, holding it by the handle like a coffee cup. Weirdo. Whatever, I’ll allow it. My standards are on a pretty serious slide these days. Is he likely to get hurt doing it? (How hurt…?) Is he likely to cause property damage doing it? (How much property damage…?) Yeah. The Me of two months ago would never believe I’ve now (as of this writing) stooped to letting him play Play-Doh on the floor of my office… Anyway.

We did finally get out the Kinetic Sand that he got for Easter, too. I’m extremely impressed with it. It really does stick only to itself (and not you) and doesn’t make a mess. As advertised! It has a weird…stretchy…consistency…but I really have no complaints! Would recommend.

Lisa and Jack, kinetic sand, Apr 23, 2020

Lisa and Jack, kinetic sand, Apr 23, 2020

I wrote the second post about Dr. Edwards’ email “Interruption Redux” – mainly because I spent so much time writing the back story on the first post that I didn’t have much time to dissect the actual email before it was really late, and I was really hungry. That one wasn’t quite as popular as the first post.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Emergency staff meeting to discuss emergency supply budget cuts and a few details about reopening – like do we want plexiglas shields? (Yes!) Where? (Everywhere! jk – but no seriously, both sides of our L-shaped desk.)

Later, we took a ride, and I got Matt to take me to Home Depot – I went in, and Jack and Matt waited in the truck – to buy “a few” plants. I had been getting nervous about whether places would have plants. I keep looking at the Burpee web site (you can actually order plants?!), and they always seem to be out of everything I want. Well, Home Depot had plenty of vegetable plants and seeds and everything else – so “I’ll be happy if I can just get a few tomato and zucchini plants this year” turned into “oops I spent $200 in the garden section.” (I probably could have gotten a little better price at Lowe’s, but Lowe’s had a line to get in due to the new social distancing/capacity limitations, and Home Depot did not.) I also noticed that there were not many people wearing masks in Home Depot; even some of the employees were not wearing them.

Flowers, vegetables, and herbs from Home Depot, Apr 24, 2020

Flowers, vegetables, and herbs from Home Depot, Apr 24, 2020

In happy-fun-time Toddler News, Jack has learned how to unlock and open the front door, so Matt installed some preventative measures on that. SIGH. On the bright side, our house sits back a bit from the road, and the street is not at all busy and ends in a cul-de-sac, so the odds of him actually getting hit by a car are low, I think? But more like, he’d just wander off and someone on the Nextdoor app would post a pic and be like, “Ey, did somebody lose a toddler?”

Once again, stayed up until midnight working in order to get shit done. Story of our lives these days.

Trying to work with cats, Apr 24, 2020

Trying to work with cats, Apr 24, 2020

cats asleep in cat beds

My two midnight “co-workers” sleeping on the job, Apr 24, 2020

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FUNNY STUFF (AND SOME NOT FUNNY) FROM AROUND THIS TIME

“Quarantine is a great time to get ahead on your research and writing,” say academics while thousands of people are dying. (Hey, I’m guilty too; been doing a lot of online professional development lately.)

“What Face Masks Say About a Person” comic

Tweet from @MatthewModine, Apr 21, 2020:

Tweet from @MatthewModine, Apr 21, 2020: “The coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken.”

Masks plus Social Distancing vs Coronavirus

Masks plus Social Distancing vs Coronavirus

Why wear a mask graphic

Why wear a mask graphic (no idea if those percentages are accurate or based on science, but the gist is valid as far as I understand things)

How do we exit the Groundhog Day loop?

How do we exit the Groundhog Day loop?

How I used to begin work emails vs. How I begin work emails now

How I used to begin work emails vs. How I begin work emails now: SO TRUE. I feel like a horrible callous person if I forget to include some version of “I hope you’re doing well” in my emails now.

Quarantine State of Mind

Quarantine State of Mind: did I post this already? Ah well it’s worth posting again!

Isolation Well-Being Checklist

Isolation Well-Being Checklist: A nice sentiment and probably good advice, and I would LOVE IT if I had even close to enough time to complete this list daily.

Coronabingo card

Coronabingo card: YASSSS another Coronavirus Bingo card, and I AM HERE FOR IT. (BTW I’ve done almost everything on this card, except bangs and TikTok.)

And finally, last but not least (I really should do a post solely in Hunger Games memes)…

Effie Trinket from Hunger Games: States opening back up like

Effie Trinket from Hunger Games: States opening back up like “may the odds be ever in your favor.”

THE END