Sunday, June 7, 2020

Coronavirus and the new normal

The first known cases of COVID-19 in the United States were in Seattle.  The first major emergency occurred when a nursing home in Kirkland was struck with the virus.  A nursing home within the geographic boundaries of our old ward.  Jason and Jun are renting our house in Washington while their house is being remodeled, and Jun works in the hospital that became ground zero for the novel coronavirus in the United States.  Many doctors and first responders had to be quarantined when they realized that the hospital was filling up with cases of COVID-19.  Jun was fortunate.  She hadn't had any suspicious contacts, so she was able to continue working.  She was working extra shifts, but when we talked to her, her spirits were high.  We are grateful that she was spared quarantine, and that their family is healthy.  That all still seemed very far removed from us, since I was just doing a few classes online and the kids still had another week of spring break. 
Jared saw this St. Patrick's Day shirt in Wal Mart and had to have it.  It's very Jared. 
 Eloise was excited to have some break time to do puzzles. 
 We got this awesome mat at goodwill, and Megan started trying to teach B how to do cartwheels. 
 Someone had the brilliant idea to put the box for my new office chair on the skateboard and give rides in it.  Clearly this idea was abetted by a certain adult in this house.  It was great until someone drove the skateboard right into the drywall.  Then the skateboard had to be sent outside. 
 Parks are closed, but the little neighborhood playground across the street was spared.  We make sure to go only when there isn't anyone else there, and everyone washes their hands when we get home. 
 We had more puzzles to do. 
 I was back in classes, so this is me . . .  all the time. 
 With church cancelled, we had our meetings with our isolation group: the Campbells, the Knights, and the Knights.  We are blessed to have such an extensive isolation group.  After church, Ryan opened his birthday presents.  Happy 8th birthday, Ry-guy! It was a bit different to do birthday in quarantine. 
 As soon as we heard that school was going to be cancelled, the very organized Colette and Annette started planning quarantine school.  They looked at my schedule of when I would be in classes and arranged kid school time around that so that the kids would be at what they came to call cousin school while I was in class.  After a morning walk with Mom or Dad, the Knight children went to Colette's at 9 every morning for Spanish, then school work (alternating time on screens with paper work based on an elaborate schedule devised by Colette).  They had recess, snack time, and art every day.  The Knight kids came home for lunch and chores, and then went to Grandma's in the afternoon for PE and science. 
Packets of work were emailed from the teachers. The school had a couple of weeks of spirit days every day.  This was "post a photo with your pet" day. 
 Our first Friday of isolation school the teachers put on a parade.  We all went out to wave and cheer for our teachers as they drove around the neighborhoods to wave back.  My favorite was Mrs. Spear, the librarian, who dressed like a carrot and carried a sign that said "Keep Reading!"  She rode in the back of a pickup truck driven by her husband.  It was really touching to see how much the teachers care about and miss their students. 
 Zoom calls, emails, online lessons, letters, postcards, and online meetups with band and chorus are a few of the ways the kids stayed in contact with their school.  Within a couple of weeks the school started offering free drive-up meals for anyone under the age of 18.  None of the school work was being graded, but, thanks to teacher Colette and teacher Annette, all eight of the Campbell-Knight kids stayed right on task.  Under the tutelage of Grandma Knight, Sammy's reading and math skills took off quickly.   
Sammy decided that ocotillo plants look like anemones while we were on a Saturday walk, so he was very brave to get close enough to it that the branches could reach out and grab him.  When he saw I was taking a photo he started hamming it up for the camera. 
 Isolation school left the kids with a lot more time to play.  While it was tough to be away from friends, and Colette and Annette took on a lot more work, imaginations blossomed.  While we endured occasional fights, and it turns out cousins CAN spend enough time together to be tired of each other, overall I think that relationships have improved. 
It didn't take Eloise very long to start having an evening cry over not being able to go to the library or the zoo.  Our new normal is not our favorite normal, but we are adapting slowly.  We are very blessed that Todd already worked remotely, so he has been able to keep his job through mandatory isolation.  He had a scheduled orientation trip in March that was cancelled, but everything continued normally for him, except with a lot more background noise.  

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