Sunday, June 7, 2020

March was not what we expected

March started normally enough.  I listen to the radio on the way home from school, and I was hearing reports of a novel coronavirus emerging in China, suspected to be linked to a market in Wuhan.  The city was locked down, but the virus was still spreading throughout Asia.  I laughingly told Todd that listening to that report while I drove made me feel like I was living through the opening sequence of a zombie apocalypse movie.  I remember many reports of public health emergencies in other parts of the world that did not spread to the United States, so, although the reports sounded urgent and alarmed, they didn't sound like they were happening here, so we went on as usual.  
Eloise had a field trip to the planetarium.  Since she was on campus, I walked over during my lunch hour to say hello.  They had been having a tour of a new entomology exhibit, and they were excited to tell me about cockroaches and butterflies.  
 Jared loves bike riding.  Our neighborhood is relatively insulated, and he is allowed a lot of freedom to explore and ride around by himself.  We can get easily from our house onto the loop trail that goes all the way around Tucson.  He hasn't ventured very far with Todd, but he loves the freedom to be out on his own.  He was outgrowing his bike when we moved to Arizona, and I was thinking about getting him a new bike for Christmas.  I was in my contracts class one day, and my professor was lecturing about gifts when he got on a tangent about a bike he had given his son several years ago that had been mostly ignored.  It was still hanging in his garage. "I don't suppose any of you have a need for a child's bike?" He asked.  I think the question was meant to be rhetorical, but I went up to him after class and asked about the bike anyway.  One long drive to the other side of Tucson later, plus a little bit of tire patching and a replacement seat, Jared had a really sweet new ride.  It has disc brakes and everything.  He's a legit biker. 
 B, Ryan, and Sammy love to dig holes together.  If they can fill them with water so they get really muddy, so much the better.  Grandma and Grandpa believe that yards exist for children to be happy in.  As long as they clean up whatever mess they make, they can make whatever mess. 
 We haven't had a lot of time to take great care of our yard.  The weeds are pretty out of control.  Todd's broken thumb put us even farther behind on yard work.  B was excited to pull weeds that are as big as he is on our first day of spring break (the second week of March). 
 Our loft always looks like this.  These kids are always building elaborate cities using every toy we own.  They play very well together here.  I think everyone was glad to be able to spend a lazy morning playing with blocks. 
 I was having a very tough semester, so I was relieved to get something of a break, even though I still had homework to do.  We got to go to the park.  Sammy wanted me to help him get to the center of this giant sphere. His smile is because he figured out how to get there all by himself. 
 Jared was heartbroken in the fall when he got sick and had to miss the Arizona Supreme Court oral argument when they brought it to Tucson, so I contacted one of the justices, Justice Beene, and asked if we could get a tour of the court.  He is a really cool guy, and always happy to support students, so he said we could come.  The only problem was that for security reasons, only three guests are allowed in at a time.  We invited Rachel to come to Phoenix with us so she could watch the little guys while Jared, Eloise, and I toured the AZ Supreme Court. 
We also went to the Arizona Science Center. 
 Sammy had grown right out of his old "Born to be a Wildcat" shirt that he got in August, so I upgraded him.  New uniform:
 The science center was cool.  We had a picnic in the plaza outside at lunch time. 
 This is B lying on a bed of nails. 
 I forgot to ask for a picture with Justice Beene, but here are Jared and Eloise at the Supreme Court.  The heavens opened just as we arrived at the Supreme Court, so we got drenched as we crossed the parking lot.  It was still coming down pretty hard when we came out of the court, but it stopped raining soon after. 
 Jared was excited to email his teacher pictures of himself at the Supreme Court. 
 On Friday I finally got around to organizing the massive pile of backpacks and shoes just inside our front door.  My favorite part of this is B's backpack with eyes peeking out of its box.  Later that day I got word that the rest of the semester had been cancelled.  Not cancelled, but Asia's public health emergency had reached the United States, and it was no longer safe for the University to have classes in person.  Classes were cancelled for the following Monday, and moving online beginning on Tuesday.  Suddenly my zombie apocalypse premonition did not seem so far fetched.  I had some concerns about school going online, but I thought that everything would be fine as long as the kids went back to school as scheduled.  Ha! What a weird week that was.  It only took a few days for elementary school in-person classes to be cancelled and moved to home school.  In the mean time, the kids had one more week of spring break. 
 Happy pi day! 
 This may actually be the only photo I got of Todd's purple cast (color chosen by Sammy).  That is shameful.  Jared and Todd were snuggled up on the couch with the humidifier as they fought off a cold.  I caught it, too, and ate enormous amounts of cough drops to get me through it. 
 Todd has a photo feature that allows Pikachu to appear in pictures.  Jared and Eloise love their new virtual pet. 
 I used my last day of freedom to take the kids to the pool.  I got some excellent photos of kids jumping off the diving board. 
 One thing that I love about Arizona pools is that they don't make kids pass a swim test to test themselves in deep water.  Some of the swim tests in Washington were absurd.  A kid needs to be able to be in deep water without panicking or sinking, and to get to the side.  They do not need to be able to freestyle fifty yards with side breathing. 
 This is the life. 
It was fortunate that we went to the pool on March 16 because on March 17, all city pools, rec programs, libraries, and services were closed for the foreseeable future.  Our new reality was isolation to help control the spread of COVID-19. 
Suddenly, all of our expectations for this year were turned on their head.  Church was cancelled, people started running on stores for toilet paper and cleaning supplies, school was dramatically altered, travel was no longer safe, and the only places left for us to play were outdoors. 

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