Tag Archives: childcare

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?

**********

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.

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

**********

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

COVID-19 Diary: April 13-17, 2020

Back to your regularly scheduled day-by-day. I made a goal for this week to try to get “caught up” here on WordPress, but you remember what I said about having purchased a goal planner for the first time, for the year 2020…

Monday, April 13, 2020

In today’s press conference, Dr. Acton said that masks are likely to be a thing for a year or so. (I better make more.) Governor DeWine compared the virus to a monster lurking outside, waiting to pick people off – an excellent analogy, really paints a picture.

Speaking of painting a picture, I took Jack outside at one point, at his request. He doesn’t seem to “get” that it’s not fun for us to be outside when it’s cloudy, windy, wet, and cold (40 degrees). I didn’t last long. I bribed him with an art project, to get him to come inside. We tried out his watercolors from the Easter bunny. I think he liked it, even if he didn’t entirely “get” how they work.

At least I didn’t bribe him with chocolate (this time). At one point on this day, he got into the pantry cabinet in the basement (having escaped from Matt’s office, which is in the basement), found a 4-pound bag of granulated sugar, and proceeded to carry the bag upstairs to me, then declaring, “I want sugar.” Same, buddy. (How did he know that was a bag of sugar?!) No joke. (I did not give him the sugar; I took the bag away before he could open it and dump it everywhere.)

My supervisor Dawne has been interviewed by a number of media outlets about the COVID-19 diary project. Among these were two different reporters from the New York Times. The first of these articles came out today: “Why You Should Keep a Coronavirus Diary” by Jen A. Miller. The second one came out two days later: “What Historians Will See When They Look Back on the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020” by Audra Birch.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

We had a staff meeting in the morning. I “arrived” at the video-conference wearing one of my masks, and everyone laughed (the desired effect).

I watched Gov. DeWine’s press conference on my Kindle Fire while working.

Watching Gov. DeWine on Kindle while working on my work computer, Apr. 14, 2020

Watching Gov. DeWine on Kindle while working on my work computer, Apr. 14, 2020

I purchased four Society of American Archivists webinars using a 20% sale coupon they have going. A lot of organizations are offering reduced rate or free access to their online training materials or publications during this time. They know everybody (OK well archivists and librarians- that is what I know about) is looking for useful things they can do from home, and boning up on professional development stuff via webinar is definitely a good option when you can’t get to your (physical) collections. I needed two more online courses for my Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) certification renewal, which is due this summer, and I bought the other two because they looked interesting and were “on sale.”

My brother-in-law Jerry asked me (via text) if I’m making masks. He said he’s been wearing one of the N95 masks (that I assume he already had just lying around the house- because you can’t find them in stores right now), but he feels guilty about it (since they’ve been saying to donate those for healthcare workers) – so I made 9 masks for their family: 2 regular ones each for Jerry, Gina, and the two kids, and a special “extra” Chicago Cubs mask for Jerry. (I still had fabric from when I made him pillow cases a few years ago.) I even modified the instructions to make the kids’ masks a little smaller. (These are from the Crafty Daily video/design.)

Masks for Gina and Jerry & the kids, Apr. 14, 2020

Masks for Gina and Jerry & the kids, Apr. 14, 2020

I took the masks straight to the post office at like 10:30 p.m. after I finished them; they arrived Thursday, and they love them. 🙂

Jack is driving us nuts. We’re probably driving him nuts, too. We’re all driving EACH OTHER nuts.

Dory from Finding Nemo:

Dory from Finding Nemo: “Oh look! Mom’s last nerve! I wanna touch it…”

Belle from Beauty and the Beast:

Belle from Beauty and the Beast: “I want much more than this pandemic life!” (Are there so many B&B memes about the pandemic because she was also cooped up for so long?)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

This was supposed to be Tax Day, but they extended the deadline for state and federal income tax returns into the summer. I had already submitted our taxes in February, I think, so no problem for us either way.

We got our federal stimulus money today (2 adults x $1200 plus 1 child x $500 = $2900). It was direct-deposited, and I popped it straight over into our Emergency Fund savings account. I guess it’s supposed to stimulate the economy, but things are so unpredictable right now, so we’re sitting on it for now.

I created a Zoom video-conferencing account and learned how to do it. I had heard that you could do a custom “virtual” background using any image, and I wanted to know what dimensions were best, how it worked, how it looked, so I could theoretically make some background images using photos from work (as an outreach freebie downloadable). I did make a few backgrounds, but the idea sort of got buried under other more important things.

Experimenting with a Zoom virtual background I created from the Wright Brothers Collection, Apr. 15, 2020

Experimenting with a Zoom virtual background I created from the Wright Brothers Collection, Apr. 15, 2020

In the evening I watched a (free) webinar about something I have literally been wanting to learn how to do for like 3 years. This is the kind of thing that you never feel like you can justify actually taking the time to do because there’s so much other legitimately more important stuff you could/should be doing with your time. Well, most of that stuff is in boxes on the shelves at work right now, and I am not one of the few people currently authorized to spend time in the library building right now, so…as I said…now’s a good time for learning new things and making an investment in your own professional development.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

It was very hard to concentrate on this day. I don’t know why, exactly. I think I read something recently that this is a “thing”: about having a few good days in a row, like thinking you’ve finally got your shit together for the way life is right now, and then suddenly you just…don’t…again. Oh, hey, here’s the thing I was thinking of:

Quarantine State of Mind: Good Days vs. Hell Zone

Quarantine State of Mind: Good Days vs. Hell Zone

The more I hear about….everything…okay, mostly, major outbreaks of the virus in food processing plants (especially meat for some reason?)…the closer I get to the “edge” when it comes to…like…living off the land, being self-sustaining. OK, let’s be real, we’re never going to do that. Unless society completely breaks down. Which it could. (These are not the right thoughts for 10:30 at night, as it is now, but…alas. This is the rabbit hole down which we tumble…)

In the past few weeks, things I have joked about (OK I am like 94% joking about these things) include:

  • Getting chickens – eggs! delicious meat! (ok yeah I’d need a LOT of chickens)
  • Getting a goat (ok that was mostly for munching the grass but also- milk!)
  • Whether the farmer whose cow pasture butts up to the property two houses down would notice if one of his cows mysteriously went missing- does he really know how many cows he has? (OK I am 100% joking on that one, I am not going to steal my neighbor’s cow- but I only mention it so you can see how weird things are getting.)
  • Whether we would need to make our fire pit bigger or smaller in order to effectively use it to cook food (for, you know, when society collapses – course if I don’t have chickens or cows, not sure what I’m going to cook over that open flame anyway).
  • Planting vegetables in all the flower beds instead of flowers. (Honestly, I’d rather have vegetable plants anyway.)

Which brings us to a thing that really DID happen.

We bought a greenhouse. Yep. It’s a Palram 6-foot-by-8-foot metal-and-plexiglas “hobby greenhouse”, with 7-foot ceiling, cost about $500 on Amazon, should arrive in a couple of days from now (like Apr. 28th). I was getting paranoid about being able to find plants for my “victory garden” by the time the last frost comes (early May is when we plant here in Zone 6) – so I thought maybe we can get things earlier if we have a safe place to keep them “frost-free”? (Well, spoiler alert, it’s still not here yet, and I bought vegetable plants this past Friday, April 24, but the greenhouse will still be good for things like strawberries I would think, and it will keep the bunnies off them. Also, I can start seeds in it – next year, if not this year – and the cat won’t eat the tiny plants! Yes, I have two cats, but only one of them is the problem – he won’t suffer a house plant to live.)

My sister Sara asked if I would make some cloth masks for her and her husband Chase. They are both medical professionals, and they have the good masks at work, but she wanted some cloth ones for them to wear on errands like the grocery store. I started those (also Crafty Daily’s) on Thursday night and finished them the next day. I made them four each because I figured out a very efficient way to fold the fabric to cut 4 masks at once with little waste. I also made a couple of little cardboard templates to help measuring and marking go faster.

His & Hers masks for Chase & Sara, Apr. 17, 2020

His & Hers masks for Chase & Sara, Apr. 17, 2020

Made a couple of templates to mark the mask measurements more quickly

Made a couple of templates to mark the mask measurements more quickly

Friday, April 17, 2020

I had a bunch of weird dreams Thursday night. One was about going to the grocery store, and then Matt showed up at the grocery store, too, and I’m like, “Where’s Jack?” Like, I know he’s not here with you because (a) I don’t see him and (b) we’re not even really supposed to go to the store any more than we can help it and we are for damn sure not supposed to be bringing kids with us to the store – so only one of us can really run errands at a time, awesome. He said he left Jack with a relative, and it was not someone that I would have expected him to have baby-sit our child (not to mention that none of our relatives live nearby). But on the bright side, we were able to get toilet paper in the dream!

Another weird Thursday night dream involved breaking up with my high school boyfriend. Again. Perhaps it was a riff on this whole Groundhog Day merry-go-round we’re all on right now? Deja vu and all that?

COVID-19 Groundhog Day

COVID-19 Groundhog Day

One of the weird dreams I had on Friday night involved learning to fly a helicopter. I’m pretty sure the helicopter tried to crash…for reasons that I’m pretty sure weren’t my fault. Just bad luck, I guess.

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A few more random things I saw on Facebook and saved because they spoke to me.

“You do not need to thrive right now. You don’t need to use this time wisely. It is ok to just survive it.” (I mean, we gotta work from home…and keep a toddler alive…oh, and ourselves. But other than that, sure, yeah.)

This infographic of tips for mental health was shared by my same friend who shared the thing I posted previously about how you feel like you’re doing a shitty job at parenting AND work because nobody should have to be doing all of those things at once. Anyway, here it is:

Mental Health tips infographic

Mental Health tips infographic

I especially like the overthinking one. I HAVE TO read some, in bed, before I try to fall asleep. Even if it’s 2 a.m. (and sometimes, lately, it has been) and I’m dead tired (obviously, it’s 2 a.m.), I HAVE TO read for at least a few minutes to…take my mind somewhere else, SOMEWHERE ELSE, that is not here, this, the pandemic, my job, my kid, my parents, my community…it’s just…somewhere else, something else, a distraction…so my mind can click “off” and fall asleep.

COVID-19 Diary: April 9-12, 2020 (Easter Time)

I’ll be honest with you, part of the reason I wrote the “Random Toilet Paper Thoughts” entry last night was because I wanted to sit down and write something but didn’t really want to write about Easter weekend just yet. Plus, who doesn’t like a good break from the day-to-day once in a while, right?

Easter this year was kind of a shit show. I initially wrote in my paper diary that this was the first major holiday we had ever spent away from our families (who live 2 hours away anyway, so I guess that makes it easier to resist the temptation to blow off the whole “social distancing from anyone who doesn’t live with you” thing). But upon further reflection, I recall that this is not the case. When the archives was open on Sundays, we were not closed on Easter Sunday, and I am sure I worked at least one of those. And I’m pretty sure there was another Easter (or maybe it was the same one?) where I didn’t go home, and I recall a lot of crying that day for reasons I won’t get into. And then, there was my son’s first Thanksgiving, when we didn’t go home because he was sick, and we didn’t want to be those assholes who came anyway with a sick child because we “didn’t want to miss it.” Yeah, and everyone else doesn’t want you to give them strep throat or the stomach flu or whatever the hell else it might be (we weren’t sure yet at the time). I made a lasagna for us to eat, and I have this sad picture of me sitting on the floor, holding a pitiful sick baby with one arm and eating lasagna from a plate on an ottoman with the other hand.

But I digress… While I may sometimes fantasize about spending a nice quiet holiday at home by ourselves — instead of packing up everything, traveling 2 hours, and either being away from home for days or (perhaps worse?) making it a whirlwind trip of only 1-2 days (such as Easter, when we usually have to work Friday and Monday) — well, this was my chance, right?! We had our own holiday at home! We could make our own traditions — or at least do the usual ones, at our own speed and style — right? This is an opportunity!

OK.

Guys.

I did my best to make this holiday special for just the three of us.

I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who really gave a shit.

And I’m just hoping that Jack wasn’t sufficiently traumatized by the bad parts as to actually remember any of them.

And I realized that the real reason we get together with our families and friends for holidays is actually strength in numbers.

Facebook post: I think I know the real reason we celebrate holidays with family and friends: Strength in numbers

Facebook post, April 12: I think I know the real reason we celebrate holidays with family and friends: Strength in numbers

Thursday, April 9, 2020

This was a pretty bad day for me as far as work (and really everything else too) goes, because Matt had to be gone for a lot of the day. And, as my son is a toddler and not an infant, he currently stays awake for most of the day. So you can see my problem.

Mask and gloves in Matt's truck before he left for the day

Mask and gloves in Matt’s truck before he left for the day

Matt had to go to work for a few hours to get “up to speed” on some stuff at his new job, to increase the amount of projects he’s able to work on from home. (He was only physically there 2 days before he had to start working from home.) Then since he was already in the area where all the stores are, he ran some grocery errands. (I already talked about these in the previous entry.) He wore his new mask everywhere. He said he did not have to stand in any lines to get into any of the stores (like Sam’s Club or IGA). Then after dinner, he went out again to pick up our ClickList grocery order at Kroger (in Fairborn), and he had to wait in line (in the line of cars) for TWO HOURS. He had offered to take the baby with him so I could have some peace, but Jesus, I’m so glad he didn’t. (The previous time we did ClickList a couple weeks earlier, the entire round-trip literally only took 30 minutes!)

ClickList Pickup Line at Kroger in Fairborn, Ohio, April 9, 2020, 6:47 p.m.

ClickList Pickup Line at Kroger in Fairborn, Ohio, April 9, 2020, 6:47 p.m.

Kroger ClickList line, 8:03 p.m.

ClickList Pickup Line at Kroger in Fairborn, Ohio, April 9, 2020, 8:03 p.m.

I put Jack to bed on my own, and he was crying a lot (not wanting to go to sleep), and I couldn’t take it, so I went to the garage — where I wouldn’t be able to hear him cry because I had had it — planning to sit in my car, when realized it was gone because oh yeah, Matt took it to Kroger. (I have an SUV; he has a truck.) So I sat in a camp chair in the garage, practicing my German on Duolingo. Then after I’d sat still for too long, the motion-sensor lights went off. And I just continued to sit there, in the dark (except for the light of my phone screen), waiting for Matt to come home. When he finally got home, he was like, “Why are you sitting in the dark all creepy?”

Because I needed some goddamn peace, that’s why.

After we got all the groceries (about 1/2 of what we actually ordered- they were out of everything else) inside and put away, I insisted that he watch some Netflix with me instead of going to the basement to play on his computer. He did so, without a word.

Friday, April 10, 2020

This was a better day, work-wise. Matt made sure I got plenty of big chunks of good-concentration time, and I was able to make good progress on an important project related to our efforts to collect COVID-19 diaries (such as this one).

Mom sent Jack some Easter presents in the mail, so we recorded a video of him opening the box up. I think he was most excited about the chocolate, haha.

Mom also mentioned in a text that she would be at church from 12-1. I almost had a fit, until later she clarified that she should have put it in quotation marks (“at church”) because she just meant she was watching the Good Friday service online. She said all the bishops have closed all the Catholic churches in compliance with the governor’s stay-at-home order, so she couldn’t physically go to Mass even if she wanted to.

I started looking at buying vegetable plants and/or seeds online. (I know it’s late for seeds.) I’m getting nervous about whether I’ll be able to find what I want when the time finally comes. (We don’t plant until the first or second week of May here; our last freeze can be really late and kill everything.)

Easter Ideas (Goals) in my goal journal

Easter Ideas (Goals) in my goal journal

Jack and I (and Matt) made cut-out sugar cookies after dinner. Jack loves to bake, and making cookies was on my list of “Easter goals.” (I legit made a list in my goal journal- see above.) Jack and I mixed everything up. He loves putting ingredients in the bowl. Then we got to the rolling part, and I don’t know how I sucked Matt into helping with that part, but he did. And it was very frustrating for everyone involved. Matt did a great job rolling, it wasn’t that. But I think it was too close to bedtime when we started, and the baby is two, and he was being contrary, not listening, trying to “do it himself,” and sticking his fingers into/through the dough (like poking holes in the cookies), trying to “help” pick them up and put them on the cookie sheet.

Baking cookies, April 10, 2020

Baking cookies, April 10, 2020

Oh my goodness. There was yelling. There was crying (only Jack). I hope he either doesn’t remember or only remembers that we made cookies and how delicious they were. And they were. I have a favorite go-to baking recipes web site called Live Well Bake Often, and I consider the author Danielle to be the Muse of Baking. (Here’s the sugar cookies recipe we used.) I have literally not tried a single one of her recipes that wasn’t delicious. I even made the homemade frosting for these cookies, and OH. MY. DAMN. In hindsight, making an entire batch of sugar cookies when you aren’t allowed to take them anywhere to share with people was probably a bad decision, but oh well.

Sugar cookies with homemade frosting and (store-bought) Easter sprinkles, April 10

Sugar cookies with homemade frosting and (store-bought) Easter sprinkles, April 10

In the evening, after Jack was in bed, I needed some “sewing therapy.” I tried out a new “3D” mask pattern from YouTube (by ArtThao162). I had noticed that there were a lot of videos (for this type of mask in particular) that were not in English (they mostly appeared to be from Asia). And someone had told me that Asians really know their masks because it is fairly common to wear them over there, not just because of COVID-19. I will say, I like the mask pattern by ArtThao162 a lot. I later (Sunday night- needed more thread-therapy) found a video for a very similar but slightly simpler (and faster-to-make) mask by Crafty Daily. I think the ArtThao162 may hold its shape better after washing, but…I think I can get the creases back in the Crafty Daily one by just ironing them back in, if I find that it matters. Anyway, here are a couple pictures- the first is me in the ArtThao162 mask, and the second is Matt wearing the one I made from the Crafty Daily pattern. (I have since made several Crafty Daily’s for family members.)

Lisa in the ArthThao162 mask

Lisa in the ArthThao162 mask

Matt in the Crafty Daily mask

Matt in the Crafty Daily mask

Masks hanging by the door to the garage, Apr. 11

Masks hanging by the door to the garage, Apr. 11

Saturday, April 11, 2020

The Easter Bunny got Jack’s basket ready, and I did some sewing on a drawstring pouch to hold some large wooden beads I got him. More sewing therapy! That pouch was fun. I also found the pouch pattern (by Sannari) on YouTube.

The weather Saturday was supposed to be nicer than Sunday (and it was), so we did our Easter egg hunt. I had hidden 15 plastic eggs in the front yard (with Matt’s reluctant assistance – mostly I wanted to make sure he knew where the eggs were in case Jack didn’t find them all, so he couldn’t complain later if he hit one with the lawn mower). Thankfully, Jack was able to find them all. I tried to put them mostly “in plain sight” since he’s only two years old, but there were a few that were challenging for him to find. Luckily, he never crossed the line over into “frustrated,” though. He really seemed to enjoy it. The egg hunt was definitely the highlight of the weekend festivities.

Egg Hunt 1, Saturday, April 11

Egg Hunt 1, Saturday, April 11

We all went for a ride in the car at one point. We drove down to Siebenthaler’s nursery in Beavercreek to see what we could see from the road. It looks like they have plenty of plants. So that’s definitely an option for our garden this year. We also took a ride by the stores and restaurants over on North Fairfield in Beavercreek/Fairborn. There was considerably less traffic than usual for a Saturday afternoon. The governor had recently issued the order for stores to establish a threshold for their maximum safe customer capacity in order to allow for proper “social distancing,” and so for some places that means waiting in line outside the store until it’s your turn to go inside (like that guy in southeast Asia from Matt’s YouTube video had to do!). We saw people standing in line outside of Lowe’s and JoAnn Fabrics. On the way home, we saw that the price of gasoline had dropped to $1.34 per gallon at the UDF in Enon.

Customers waiting in line outside the Lowe's home improvement store in Beavercreek/Fairborn, Ohio, Apr. 11, 2020

Customers waiting in line outside the Lowe’s home improvement store in Beavercreek/Fairborn, Ohio, Apr. 11, 2020 (notice a few masks)

Short line outside JoAnn Fabrics in Beavercreek/Fairborn, Ohio, Apr. 11

Short line outside JoAnn Fabrics in Beavercreek/Fairborn, Ohio, Apr. 11

Sunday, April 12, 2020 – Easter Sunday

It seemed like Easter was starting off okay. We all stayed in bed until 10:00. This turned out not to have been a blessing, though, as the baby had removed his diaper (again) at some point during the night and had left some little Easter eggs of his own around his room. Oh. My. God. I took him straight to the bathtub, and for some reason he hates morning baths with a fiery passion to rival the pits of Mordor, so that was fun trying to restrain him from escaping the tub AND wash him at the same time. Matt somehow slept through all of this, still. He sleeps like the dead. I later stripped the crib, and Matt ran the big carpet shampooer all over the room.

Matt did make waffles for breakfast, and those were pretty good.

And the boy seemed pleased with what the Easter Bunny had brought him. He fixed on the Legos immediately, and he has since gotten really into the wooden beads (in the pouch!). AND OBVIOUSLY THE CHOCOLATE. I got my little Chocolate Monster honest; chocolate is very important to me as well.

Easter Basket, April 12, 2020

Easter Basket, April 12, 2020

The Bunny overdid it a bit, because a few weeks before Easter when we were suddenly in need of activities…thought to save them for the basket…should have just gotten them out to play. Actually, I realize now there’s still a couple things I forgot to get out and give him – hid them in a separate place – Mom warned me about that, haha…

The rain held off for a while, and we were able to hide and hunt Easter eggs in the yard again, which Jack really enjoyed. This was (again) by far the highlight of the day.

Egg Hunt 2, Apr. 12

Egg Hunt 2, Apr. 12

We colored a half-dozen Easter eggs. Jack kept spilling the dye cups, and Matt was about to lose it. We’ve all got pretty short fuses these days. About half of the eggs somehow ended up cracked. Oh well. My salads have had some colorful diced egg in them this week. As you can see, I even wore silly bunny ears to try to make things festive. Also, as you can see, Matt is not exactly having the time of his life. At least Jack looks excited? Hopefully he was not scarred by the chaos that ensued every time he spilled that yellow dye cup. (It was always the yellow one…and to be fair, I think the yellow one had some manufacturing defects; the plastic on that one seemed thinner and flimsier than the others…just sayin’.)

Coloring Easter Eggs, Apr. 12

Coloring Easter Eggs, Apr. 12

I feel like these Easter eggs are a pretty good metaphor for the entire weekend. BUT I TRIED, GODDAMMIT.

Matt had bought a ham for dinner and wanted some cheesy potatoes. This is what his grandma usually makes for Easter and probably what we would have been eating for dinner if we had been able to have a normal Easter with family. We also had green beans and salad. It was a pretty tasty dinner.

Easter ham and potatoes (and beans), Apr. 12

Easter ham and potatoes (and beans), Apr. 12

We made a new kind of cheesy potatoes, though, and later I think those disagreed with me. Ah, a fitting end to things. Since I felt kind of funky, I was lying on the couch, thinking about reading but not sure I had the heart for it, and so I just laid there with my eyes closed for a while. My little gray cat hopped up immediately and curled up beside me. I eventually fell asleep right there on the couch and slept all night with one or both cats next to me the whole time.

And again, let’s end with a couple of jokes. These are maybe a little dark, but they both had me ROLLING. (You might have noticed that church service was conspicuously absent from our Easter weekend. I was raised Catholic but have not practiced since my parents stopped making me…) Anyway, for your enjoyment (or at the very least hopefully not total offense), a couple of Jesus jokes for Easter 2020:

Tweet from @jessecase, March 17, 2020:

Tweet from @jessecase, March 17, 2020: “The Vatican canceled Easter. You know much stuff has to suck for the Pope to be like, ‘You know what, this year Jesus stays dead.'”

Jesus, peeking head out of cave:

Jesus, peeking head out of cave: “Can I come out yet?” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine: “Nope.” Because stay-at-home order.

I know I still have lots to be thankful for and what-not, but it’s still…not how I planned it. (HAHA THIS WHOLE YEAR IS NOT HOW I PLANNED IT.)

Anyway, here’s hoping y’all had a good Easter, and maybe we’ll have better luck next year.

COVID-19 Diary: April 5-8, 2020

I’m slacking off on here! Fear not, everything is safely written down in paper journal nightly or every-other-nightly. You’d think that with working from home, I’d feel like I have more time, but somehow, that’s just not the case. Matt commented on this as well. We somehow feel like we actually have less time. After “fighting” our way through the work day while trying to keep a two-year-old alive (at the very least) and safe (pretty high priority) and entertained (mostly so he doesn’t destroy the house), in the evening we are still trying to catch up on our work day, instead of flat-out relaxing. I think this is exacerbated by the lack of a firm division between “work” and “home,” like there used to be. I read an article at some point in the past few weeks (can’t find it now) about people regretting their life choices with regards to those “open floor-plan” homes that have been all the rage for the last several years. I wouldn’t say that’s a problem for us; we each have an “office” space that is fairly separate from the main living part of the house—but there’s a little tyrant running around the place, banging on doors if you’ve closed them, and trying to disable your technology saying “Mommy laptop closed” or “Daddy phone away” (and trying to forcibly make these demands a reality if you drag your feet on them). So the times get blurred, and the lines get blurred too.

Actually, about a week ago, I read this article — “The Parents are Not Alright by Chloe Cooney” — that summarizes things pretty well, I think. We are not all right. And as much as we’d like to, we can’t (shouldn’t) turn to our parents for help (as much as I know they’d like to), because we don’t want to put them at risk. And we’re not really supposed to interact with anyone any more than we have to, so that rules out baby-sitters (not that we had any, other than the daycare). Another article I read recently (that I can’t remember the name of now) suggested banding together with one or two other families and taking turns watching all the kids so the rest of you could focus and get shit done. You’re still mostly social distancing because you’ve just basically made yourselves like an extended family unit. Like: “I’m taking the day off on Monday to watch 6 kids, and the other 5 of you can work. Then Tuesday, someone else watches the kids, and I & 4 others get to concentrate fully…” Then again, come to think of it, maybe I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and NOT be responsible for several children for an entire day. I have enough trouble with one, even when I’m not also trying to work, haha.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

I made my first mask, using the CDC sewn face mask guidelines. It’s extremely simple to make, but I don’t like it very much. I tried to make another one with the same pattern but used denim, and the denim was too thick, it wouldn’t “bunch” right on the sides. That’s OK; I have tons of denim. (I’ve been hoarding my husband’s old jeans for years, any time he got a hole in them somewhere that rendered them out-of-commission. Free fabric!)

Lisa, first mask, April 5, 2020

Lisa, first mask, April 5, 2020

We made chicken and noodles from scratch. I don’t think I’ve ever made homemade egg noodles in my life — okay maybe like once in elementary school for the big fancy all-school Thanksgiving or something? — but we were inspired by Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine’s chicken and noodles recipe. And OH. MY. DAMN. were those noodles good! Jack loves to “help” with everything, especially baking, and so we let him help. Matt did most of it, honestly; he mixed and rolled and cut. Jack and I took the strips and broke them up into smaller noodles. Jack was good at that, haha, just pulling off pieces of noodle to make them smaller. It wasn’t hard, just more time-consuming than opening a bag of egg noodles and tossing into the pot. But SO DELICIOUS, WOULD DO AGAIN.

Homemade chicken and noodles, April 5, 2020

Homemade chicken and noodles (and bread), April 5, 2020

We also made bread in the bread machine. That was pretty damn good too. I hear it’s getting tough to find flour and yeast. Apparently, everyone is baking right now. I don’t know if it’s “stress” baking or “I have all this time now to bake” baking or “what if the store runs out of bread, I better get flour and yeast” baking (that last one is what mine was, when I bought flour and yeast).

I have had a LOT of thoughts lately about how self-sufficient we are or could be (or rather, lack thereof). We’re so dependent on…the way things usually work. I warned Matt, only half-jokingly, that I might become a “prepper” after this. I saw someone online joking about how this COVID thing is “not helping my pre-existing hoarder tendencies.” SAME. Like, I know we used to have home hair clippers, and now I can’t find them; I think I gave them to Goodwill because we never used them anymore. We just went to the walk-in hair-cutters. And now those are all closed. And now you CAN’T FIND CLIPPERS to buy either. That’s the kind of shit that will make you want to never get rid of anything ever again. And then someday, somebody will be all, “Dude, what made you this crazy?” And we’ll say, “Settle in, kids, it’s a long story. It was the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020…” (It’s like, did you ever see or hear of an elderly person who did weird things because of the 1929 stock market crash and/or the Great Depression? And it was like, why are they still doing that? It’s been YEARS. Well, this is the kind of shit that — I expect — will scar you into that sort of thing. Like, Matt knew someone who legit buried money in jars in the back yard because of the 1929 stock market crash. DECADES LATER.)

Speaking of food stuffs, though, Matt was going to go the grocery store to get a handful of things that day. He was even willing to wear my flowered mask (since that’s the only cloth one I had made so far at the time). But I talked him out of it. We still had plenty of food, just were out of a few things we “like” to have around. I talked him into making another Kroger curb-side pickup order instead; the first available time to pick up was Thursday evening. Ugh. But we took it.

I got a little shook up right before we settled down to watch some television that night. I was cruising Twitter (as per usual) and saw some archivists tweeting about how it was…I don’t know…greedy? thoughtless? inappropriate? to be asking people to keep COVID-19 diaries and then donate them to us. (My archives is doing this very thing.) Like we are somehow preying on their vulnerabilities for the benefit of our collection development. I’m not sure I’m getting the words exactly right (I know I’m not), and I remember who it was, but I’m not going to go find their tweet because (a) I don’t want to relive it and (b) I’m not trying to call this person out. I’m just saying that I saw it, and it upset me. It wasn’t even directed at us or any particular archive in particular, but I saw it, and my stomach sunk. I had never thought of it that way, that we might be somehow taking advantage of people for our own gain. So when we were making our peanut butter sandwiches (nighttime TV-watching snack), I said to Matt, “Tell me we’re not terrible for doing this COVID-19 Diaries project,” and of course he said, “No, of course not, why?” So I told him, and he just kind of shook his head like, no way, not horrible at all. And then I thought about it some more and psyched myself up about it: I mean, nobody is making people write diaries or making them give the diaries to us. I still think people should be writing down (or documenting in an art form of their choosing) whatever their thoughts and feelings and experiences are right now EVEN IF they don’t give them to us. There’s a reason I have kept a diary since I was 13. It helps you chronicle your life, and it helps you think. Or it does me. (I was careful to put this very sentiment into my “So, you’ve decided to keep a Coronavirus diary, now what?” blog post I wrote for work — that I encourage the keeping of a diary during this crazy time, or any time really, even if you don’t give it to an archive.) Anyway. I hate when I see shit that upsets me too close to bedtime. Or ever. But especially too close to bedtime.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Another Monday, another work-from-home day. With a baby. Here’s a picture of the sort of thing that happens when I forget to lock the office door or if he knocks down the baby gate on the other side. (My “office” was originally the dining room of the house; but it’s always been my office since we’ve lived here, because I don’t need or want a formal dining room—and I do need/want an office.)

Trying to work from home on an archives finding aid with a two-year-old on my lap, April 6, 2020

Trying to work from home on an archives finding aid with a two-year-old on my lap, April 6, 2020

I watched some more mask videos and tried out a new, more fitted pattern (video by Sew Much Moore). It actually had a pattern to print out and cut out and came in four sizes. I made a big one for Matt. On Tuesday evening, I made a smaller one for me (I think I went too small actually). A little later in the week I made another for Matt with a pipe-cleaner in a pocket across the bridge of the nose (once my pipe-cleaners I ordered arrived from Amazon); wire not as strong as one might have hoped, but better. Figured I should probably try some more mask videos later. (Spoiler alert, I did, at least one more…)

Face Mask with pattern by Sew Much Moore, April 6, 2020

Face Mask with pattern by Sew Much Moore, April 6, 2020

Matt in a Sew Much Moore mask

Matt in a Sew Much Moore mask

Lisa in a Sew Much Moore mask

Lisa in a Sew Much Moore mask

My friend whose husband got laid off from a local hospital (wrote about this a few entries ago) called to chat, and she told me that he has found another job already. So that’s good news for them, hooray!

And finally, while writing one of my previous posts (the one with the Coronavirus Bingo card), I had the idea to make a Bingo game for the archives, with activities that involve our online resources (photos, videos, etc.). I’m pretty excited about it; I think it came out well.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I had a series of nightmares. In one, Matt lost his (new) job. Next, I was in a library and it was raining…inside…but just over one range of shelves. (That is actually a rather legitimate fear for a library worker, come to think of it, especially one who works in a library with a giant skylight. And roof leaks do tend to be rather localized.) And the last one (the least nightmarish of the bunch), I was attempting to explain the many different parts of the Dayton Daily News Archive (our largest collection) to an extremely large group of people—like, seriously, it was like regular people sitting at the Hogwarts House tables in the Great Hall…and I wasn’t up at the front, I was just kind of down in the aisles, and I was having to yell, and it wasn’t working out very well. Great, I’m having work nightmares, and I can’t even use that collection right now.

As I said, I did some work on the face masks on Tuesday. Jack really doesn’t like it when anyone wears a mask. We learned this during a few of his doctor visits when the doctors were wearing a mask for whatever reason. He’d stare at them like they were monsters and then start crying. He hasn’t done the crying thing to us at least — I guess we are familiar enough that he knows it’s still US — but he’ll say “mask off” and try to take it off us if he can get close enough. I let him come into my sewing room one day, and we were sitting at my cutting table (all cutting tools pushed FAR AWAY), and he upset a few stick pins on the table, and we were putting them back into the container, and while he was distracted with that, I slipped my mask on and positioned my phone for selfies to catch his reaction. He smiled at first because he just saw the phone on reverse camera mode (so he could see himself), but you can see his expression change when he saw that I was wearing a mask…and then you can see him taking it off me. I’m glad he didn’t cry; I wasn’t trying to traumatize him or anything.

Jack doesn't like masks, April 7, 2020

Jack doesn’t like masks, April 7, 2020

My sister Sara, a nurse practitioner in the Columbus area, sent us all some pictures of herself heading in to work that day, wearing her mask. She also has one of those headbands with the buttons to help alleviate the pressure of wearing the elastic all day; she said a co-worker’s relative made them for everyone. (She also gave me permission to post these pictures; I asked.)

Sara in a mask in the hospital elevator, April 7, 2020

Sara in a mask in the hospital elevator, April 7, 2020

Sara modeling her nifty button-equipped headband to save her ears from the mask elastic, April 7, 2020

Sara modeling her nifty button-equipped headband to save her ears from the mask elastic, April 7, 2020

There’s not much else to say about Tuesday, except that it was a gorgeous day (sunny and 75) and we basically ate all our meals outside on the back porch.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

There was a major thunderstorm about 4:00 a.m. The lightning looked like a rave. We had dime-size hail, and I found a pile of it still accumulated in a shady part of the front yard later that afternoon. And the baby woke up crying about 5:00; he was all right but had a hard time getting him back to sleep. I was very tired that day.

We had another web-conference staff meeting. It was good to see people and talk and laugh.

Archives staff meeting via WebEx, April 8, 2020

Archives staff meeting via WebEx, April 8, 2020

Did I ever mention we finally found out about Matt’s co-worker who was tested for COVID-19? He did NOT have it.

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Let’s end on a positive note again — I think I like doing that! Plus, it’s hard to work some of these funnies into the narrative, but I feel like it’s important to include them if they spoke to me enough that I saved them. Like a scrapbook!

“We cannot go to the emergency room right now!”

I have absolutely said this phrase (or something very similar) either out loud, or at least in my head, MANY times over the past few weeks. Usually it’s directed at the baby. But I do remember one of the times I was sewing, I tried to injure myself somehow ( I forget- probably something involving unsafe procedure with a rotary cutter), and I thought to myself, Wouldn’t it be ironic as hell if I hurt myself making my COVID-19 face masks and have to go to the hospital and GET COVID-19 because I was at the hospital because I hurt myself trying to make face masks?!

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Harry Potter series!

“Watching the federal government deal with COVID-19 is like watching the Ministry of Magic deal with Voldemort’s return.”

“Watching the federal government deal with COVID-19 is like watching the Ministry of Magic deal with Voldemort’s return.” ABSOLUTELY ACCURATE. (If you do not get this reference, refer to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling….after reading books 1-4 first. How have you not read this? I thought I was the last person on earth who hadn’t, and even I read them all in 2009.)

Governor DeWine as Picard with Jon Husted and Dr. Amy Acton and Marla Berkowitz

Governor DeWine as Picard with Jon Husted and Dr. Amy Acton and Marla Berkowitz

I don’t know who made this; it wasn’t me. My husband found it on the Internet and showed it to me. I have already shared a Picard “Damage Report” meme in a previous post, and although I am not what I’d consider a “Trekkie,” I have watched enough Trek to love these. I LOVE THIS. For those maybe not from Ohio (or from Ohio but currently living under a rock — not that I blame you — and not watching the daily press conferences), these folks are: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (center as Captain Picard); Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (left as Cmdr. Riker); Dr. Amy Acton, head of the Ohio Dept. of Health (right as Counselor Troi); and sign-language interpreter Marla Berkowitz (top as Worf- it’s perfect because she is usually shown in a picture-in-picture box at the upper right of the screen above DeWine’s—or whoever is speaking’s—head).

Rickey, out.

COVID-19 Diary: April 1-4, 2020

Is this entire year like one big April Fools’ joke?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 (Stay Home Day #16)

Not much interesting happened today. We had a staff meeting via WebEx videoconferencing software. It was my turn to staff the archives reference chat for a couple hours in the afternoon; I still have not had a question on it yet, though others have had a few.

Eating lunch at my desk, with a co-worker trying to steal my turkey sandwich, April 1, 2020

Eating lunch at my desk, with a co-worker trying to steal my turkey sandwich, April 1, 2020

After dinner, we watched a press conference from the folks at WPAFB. We watched it on my husband’s smartphone, using a toy tractor as an easel, while the munchkin had run of the big TV. We have another TV, but…that would involve leaving the kid alone in the other room to run amok…not worth it.

Watching the WPAFB press conference via TRACTOR-phone, April 1, 2020

Watching the WPAFB press conference via TRACTOR-phone, April 1, 2020

“The quarantine/isolation life is dull – haha!” I know that is simplistic, insensitive, and flippant. But, we are the lucky ones, staying in a safe, comfortable home with plenty to eat and plenty to do, just waiting it out.

Saw this on April 1st. Is Ohio saving the world, or...? What a time to be a Buckeye!

Saw this on April 1st. Is Ohio saving the world, or…? What a time to be a Buckeye!

Thursday, April 2, 2020 (Stay Home Day #17)

Again, not really much to say about today. I listened to the governor’s daily press conference while I worked and while Jack napped. He extended the stay-at-home order through May 1st, and he’s calling for stores to ensure that they don’t have too many people inside at one time. (I guess they need bouncers now?)

Some of the work I did at home on Thursday was updating processing status for a bunch of collections in our collection management system. I have an existing status (“paused incomplete”) for collections that have been started but not finished (for whatever reason), so guess what status got applied to like 13 previously in-progress collections?

Sad Kermit marking collections as

Sad Kermit marking collections as “paused incomplete” on April 2, 2020

Matt follows a lot of people who are traveling the world by boat, and a few weeks ago I watched one of these videos with him. The man was somewhere in Southeast Asia (Malaysia? I think), and he was riding a bicycle from the marina to the shops, to buy groceries. He was wearing his mask, and so was everyone else. They had a guy posted outside the shops area (I think he called it an arcade? it was sort of like a mall that included a grocery store inside), and you had to wait in line to make sure there weren’t too many people inside, then have your temperature taken, and then be admitted. It was…surreal…and now similar things are happening here in the United States.

Placating the masses, I mean co-workers, I mean... April 2, 2020

Placating the masses, I mean co-workers, I mean… April 2, 2020

Friday, April 3, 2020 (Stay Home Day #18)

I worked for a long while in the morning, and Matt had a big conference call in the afternoon. My cat Will barfed on the window sill right next to my desk while I was working…so, had to take a break to clean that up. Awesome. Many of us have been joking about our pets/children being our “coworkers” now; another meme I saw going around was to refer to your pet as “that drunk at the end of the bar.” So I combined these for comic effect in a couple social media posts:

Drunk co-worker Facebook post, April 3, 2020

Drunk co-worker Facebook post, April 3, 2020

Co-worker attempts food theft again, April 3, 2020

Co-worker attempts food theft again, April 3, 2020

Other co-worker impeding progress, April 3, 2020

Other co-worker impeding progress, April 3, 2020

Jack and I went outside for a while after lunch. It was gorgeous out – sunny blue skies and almost 70 degrees. I got out the DSLR camera and took some pictures of Jack, flowers, and this one extremely happy bee. Both Jack and the bee were enjoying all the dandelions (Jack picking them, the bee doing whatever bees do).

Bee on a dandelion, close-up, April 3, 2020

Bee on a dandelion, close-up, April 3, 2020

Our neighbor was burning some brush, and the wind changed, and suddenly we were in a cloud of thin smoke, and flakes of ash were raining down on us like snowflakes. And suddenly I’m thinking of Pompeii and wondering if that’s how it started with them. Duh, I know it wasn’t a volcano, but everything is THE APOCALYPSE right now. Disasters are ON THE MIND.

A friend (and fellow parent) texted me out of the blue to say he appreciates what I’ve been writing about the trials and tribulations of working from home with a small child in the house. He said something that really resonated with me – about how work is important and all, but it won’t let you live in apartment above its garage when you’re old…but your kids might. That’s so true. When it absolutely comes down to it, your family comes first. We are trying; I swear to God we are trying to do the best we can in the circumstances, in all of our necessary roles (parent, employee, and sometimes teacher depending on how old your kids are). But it is fucking hard, man. Anyway, it was so good to talk to him.

Another friend had posted (re-shared) this “public service announcement” about attempting to parent and work during COVID-19, and it was just absolutely on point. The gist is that the reason you feel like you’re doing a shitty job at ALL OF IT right now (and you probably ARE doing a less-than-great job at all of it but maybe “shitty” is too strong a word) is because you CAN’T do three full-time jobs at once. Here’s the whole thing, though:

Public Service Announcement to Working Parents at this time, April 2020

Public Service Announcement to Working Parents at this time, April 2020

In the evening, Jack requested to go for a ride in Daddy’s truck. Jack hadn’t gone anywhere in a motor vehicle since March 16th (my last day at work). Matt declared that he was taking Jack for a ride, and I dropped whatever I was doing and grabbed my shoes and purse and said “I’m coming too!” Outside! True outside! The lands beyond the confines of our neighborhood! Are they even still out there?! The TV and the Internet say so, but I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes since, what? March 21st when I went out to retrieve my forgotten computer power cord at work, I think? (On the bright side, we are saving like $50 a week on gasoline.)

We're going on a car ride! A car ride! April 3, 2020

We’re going on a car ride! A car ride! April 3, 2020

We never got out of the car anywhere, but we just drove around Springfield for about an hour. We drove up to Bechtle Avenue, where all the stores are, and it was so weird to see so few cars in the parking lots at stores and restaurants on a Friday evening. It was about 7:00 p.m., and a lot of the stores had already closed due to their new reduced quarantine hours. And of course restaurant parking lots were mostly empty due to the no-dining-in rule, but a few had big signs that said things like “still open for carry-out!” Please buy food from us!

Empty (or mostly empty) parking lots on Bechtle Ave., Springfield, April 3, 2020, about 7pm

Empty (or mostly empty) parking lots on Bechtle Ave., Springfield, April 3, 2020, about 7pm

Saturday, April 4, 2020 (Stay Home Day #19)

We all slept in until like 10:30. Oops? I will say this for the quarantine, at least I am usually getting enough sleep. That’s one thing I don’t mind about working from home- no commute at all. I mean, my commute is nothing to complain about, typically—maybe 20 minutes in usually light traffic?—but hey, 20 minutes is 20 minutes. Also, I can work in my pajamas. I know I keep reading things recommending that you get up and get ready like it’s a regular work day and get dressed, etc., but….there’s a crazy apocalyptic plague crisis going on outside my door, we’re lucky I got up at all.

It was beautiful again – sunny and 65 degrees – and we all spent a lot of the day outside. I finally pruned the rose bushes in the back yard. I am not much of a green-thumb, and these dozen or so rose bushes “came with the house” when we bought it. I would not have planted a bunch of rose bushes and then have to take care of them. But, since they’re here, I’d like to try to keep them alive and looking good. Last year, they got all snarly and borderline rabid-mutant-looking, with all these crazy clusters of little rose flowers. It was weird, man. So I decided this year I would actually Google “how to prune rose bushes” and take a whack at it and hope they look better this year. So I gave it a go, and worst that can happen is I’ve killed them all, right?

We ordered dinner from the local pizza place Slice of Heaven again. Delicious.

I called Mom to check in, and you guys…it is most definitely the End Times, because my mother informed me that she signed up for Facebook. Apparently, our church was only live-streaming Sunday Mass on Facebook Live at first, and she wanted to watch it. (And she got all signed up on her own! I’m so proud!) But she doesn’t think she’ll really use it. We’ll see. Some of my other relatives were telling her she should, just so she can see what pictures Ye Now-Olde Millennial Children are posting of the grandchildren. So we’ll see.

And finally, I saw another funny tweet: “WTF did I buy a 2020 planner?” So, so true. SAME.

Tweet from @PeteBlackburn: Why the fuck did I buy a 2020 planner

Tweet from @PeteBlackburn: Why the fuck did I buy a 2020 planner

I always have a regular journal, but this year I bought a goal journal (which is basically a sort of planner- it’s a Clever Fox weekly planner if anyone is interested to know that). You can brainstorm a bunch of annual goals, then break them down into more manageable chunks, and it helps you check in on yourself each week, building towards getting these things done. Each week, you choose a “main goal” and some “priorities” and…TBH it’s just a calendar and a bunch of lists, so obviously I (an over-achieving, anal-retentive, list-maker) LOVE IT. But anyway, for the past, like, THREE weeks, the only thing I’ve written for my main goal is “Survive COVID-19 Crisis.” That’s literally my only main goal until this shit dies down.

Main Goal, foreseeable future: Survive COVID-19 crisis.

Main Goal, foreseeable future: Survive COVID-19 crisis.

The main goal of “Survive COVID-19” includes (unwritten) sub-goals such as:

  • Stay alive.
  • Keep family alive.
  • Work-from-home as much as reasonably possible under the circumstances.
  • Maintain sanity.

That’s it. So far, I’m not completely failing at life yet.

And to end on a high note again, here are a few more funnies…

“We have sealed the vault until the plague passes” DOES sound cooler than “Closed until further notice.”

Someday in the future: One 2-year-old headed to grandma's.....

Someday in the future: One 2-year-old headed to grandma’s…..