COVID-19 Journal – 3

Monday March 30 (Day 15): First day of “for real” school for the kids. Week 1 was a warmup, Week 2 was spring break (officially), this is Week 3 in which We Try To Get Real Work Done. It was also Susan’s first day back at work after ~1 week of mostly not working. She is stressed. There’s a whiteboard schedule in the dining room that Susan updates every morning. Thanks to this, we have a clear and agreed schedule for everybody, and we know who is on duty for helping the kids at various times. It’s a good system and it feels fair. Amelie lobbied for more unstructured free time over lunch, so we skipped Marla’s walk and they practiced their Dance Party Kids dance routine.

Tuesday March 31 (Day 16): Second day of “for real” school for the kids, and everyone trying to work at full capacity. It’s hard. Some schoolwork is slipping through the cracks. I am comfortable with that, but Susan is not, so we’re figuring that out. Today is the 4th day of essentially linear growth (same # of new cases per day, between 200 and 250) in Ohio, which suggests the social distancing and curve flattening are working. By contrast, number of cases would be growing exponentially without these measures. I saw a figure on twitter a few days ago showing a graph of “deaths by all causes” in the US and we are WAY DOWN in 2020 compared to previous years. Pretty interesting, and makes intuitive sense, given that people are mostly staying at home and not driving.

Wednesday April 1 (Day 17): April Fools Day, and the pranksters at Chez Snipes have been hard at work. Amelie has been plotting for several weeks, and offering a daily countdown. Pranks today included: hiding all of my shoes (finally located them after dinner), placing fake spiders everywhere to surprise me (terrifying) and unscrewing all the lightbulbs in the dining light fixture (“hey, did we throw a breaker?”) and placing small signs everywhere (coffee = “Poison”, trashcan = “dead animal facility”). Susan and I are figuring out how much to push the kids about schoolwork right now. I tend toward very low expectations, and she wants to push them to finish all assignments. We agreed to cut off schoolwork at dinnertime, regardless of completeness, and to make sure they have at least 1 hour of free time in the afternoon.

Thursday April 2 (Day 18): We were all feeling a bit better about things today. After lunch I sometimes have overlapping obligations (start a conference call for work, and also start the kids on a facetime call with their aunt Molly who is working with them on an art/music lesson. It’s awkward but I’m managing to juggle them reasonably with a bit of planning. I realized yesterday that I had completely forgotten to do my mid-March invoicing. I’ll still be paid, so overall not a problem. But an unnecessary inconvenience. I talked with my mom for a bit this afternoon and she’s in good spirits. I’m always a little surprised how cheery she is in the circumstances, as I feel like I should be checking in more. On the other hand, her daily life and routines haven’t changed that much, she has friends online, and physical solitude has never bothered her.

Friday April 3 (Day 19): End of the third work week. Susan and I celebrated with drinks on the porch. This time of year our east-facing porch catches the afternoon sun and provides a warm place to sit. The US white house today issued a half-hearted recommendation for everyone to wear facemasks in public. (“The CDC says you should…”) but the president and team aren’t and likely won’t. Susan’s been ahead of this and tried a couple of home-made mask designs yesterday. She wore one on her weekly trip to Whole Foods this morning. The kids’ school routine is feeling more normal. Susan is managing the morning organization of assignments and whatever deliverables need to go to the teachers, bless her. I will try and help more next week.

Saturday April 4 (Day 20): Saturday, no particular schedule. It seems especially rewarding today. I cleaned all the first floor window and door glass, possibly for the first time since we moved in. Clean windows are really a treat now that spring buds are popping and the grass is growing. Amelie helped me paint GCP targets for drone photogrammetry and mapping. Italy reported their first drop in coronavirus ICU cases, and Spain reported a drop in deaths from it. So it’s possible we’re starting to see the other side of the growth curve in those places. Looking at growth charts for various countries however (also here), China and South Korea are the only countries clearly past the (first?) spike.

Sunday April 5 (Day 21): Had a really nice day today. The kids wanted to play in the bathtub this afternoon so <shrug>. I worked on video editing today. I have now learned enough basics with Davinci Resolve to create what’s in my head, so now it’s a matter of getting better ideas and practicing with the drone. I’m really appreciating the work week / weekend distinction these days, and I’m getting better at prioritizing essential/paying work during the work week. People are having very different experiences right now. Some have more time on their hands, some less.