Friday, March 27, 2020

Quarantine Week 2

So we have made it two weeks largely isolated from the rest of the world without killing each other or showing any signs of plague. There have been several close calls on both fronts. Small child, as small children are want to do, put up several good fights about why it is unfair that she needs to do school work when her friends aren't, why restricting her time on electronics is cruel to the point of torture, and why it is actually healthier to stay up until one is actually tired. Every sniffle, cough, twinge of sore throat, or chest twinge has set off alarm bells.
Last week H had a lot of flexibility to maintain structure while I continued to slave away for the man from the confines of my bunker. This week H's work was trying to figure out what distance learning looks like when kids are out of school for at least six weeks. We struggled to keep some semblance of structure with just one kid. I cannot imagine how people are managing with multiple children.
OK, I do know how some manage it based on frequency of calls, texts, and other pings Bug got through out the day. It is amazing how connected todays kids can be. For a child who needs social contact, the internet is a small blessing. There are virtual playdates in Roblox and FaceTime lego challenges and Google Duo make up parties and Messenger Kids games and virtual classroom meetups. It is crazy. It can also make small child crazy. There have been a few nights where disconnecting her triggers something akin to coming down from a high. It was like she was going through detox....
I cannot say that all the connectivity would have changed my life at all or improves it in anyway. I am actually much happier working away from the office. All the noise and drop in distractions and constant cleaning was crazy making. The virtual connectivity options are nice because they can be muted and otherwise managed.
I'm still exercising like a fool. The overcast weather forced me onto a creaky old exercise bike. 30-40 minutes maintaining 130-140bpm is a great way to get the stress out. Of course when I'm breathing heavy afterwards, I do freak out a little bit.
I'll be totally honest and say that it is not just the clouds and rain that is keeping me inside. On Sunday, H wanted to get us out of the house and we went to a nearby beach. We were able to maintain way more the 6 feet from any other people, but it totally stressed me out. On the one nice day this week, I did go for a walk. I started out on the streets in my neighborhood and was able to keep far, far away from others. The roads are wide and not busy, so crossing to avoid people was easy. Then I hit a part of the walk that was in the woods and of course, the trail was packed with people. I got way off trail to avoid people the first few times. Then I just gave up.
My crazy got the best of me...
We have also had to deal with grocery acquisition without going to stores. We did find a local store that has a great curb-side pick up and have managed to get other stuff from Amazon. H goes to great lengths to ensure that everything is properly decontaminated. OK, I probably, make her do way more than necessary.
I keep reminding myself of Anna's big song in Frozen II: "Just do the next right thing"
I keep eyes on the next immediate thing. I exercise. I meditate. I focus on the people I love.
I do not look at the news. H has even cut down on Facebook. It is all too scary and depressing.
This will pass and things will work out. I am still hoping that summer happens and we can all get back to paddling and biking and camping and hanging out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Quarantine Week 1


I've been in social isolation since last Wednesday. My kid had a stomachache, which was probably nerves; I WFH on Thursday; Friday they closed the schools for three weeks.... Or more likely until May or September.

Aside from some seasonal allergies and anxiety induced crazy, we are all fine.
We are taking our temperatures like 100 times a day, washing our hands every 10 minuets, and sanitizing everything regularly for at least the next week to make sure we stay fine. 2-14 days is what the current information says is incubation time.
Maybe then my health focused anxiety will lessen. I can turn feeling short of breath and tired from a killer mountain bike ride and turn it into a cardiac issue without any cause. My doctor, despite his best judgment, had me take a stress test (with imaging) to mollify my fear of impending cardiac doom and I'm still not 100% sure I won't just drop after a hard workout.....
One way I deal with this is to push myself a little just to prove to myself that I am OK. So if I'm nervous that I am going to keel over, I will go for a bike ride or a long walk figuring I will either prove myself right or prove myself wrong. Neither option is really good. Proving myself right means, at a minimum, a hospital visit. Proving myself wrong just makes me feel bad and doesn't really prove anything.
The current health scare has me doing similarly silly things. I was feeling a little tired and tight chested this morning after sitting on the cramped little couch in my office typing on my cramped little laptop doing some tedious work thing to help the rich stay rich by testing some publishing platform that is glitzy but that our team is unprepared to use because they still think people read books on the web, so I decided to brave the damp, chilly air and go for a two mile power walk on some of the biggest hills in my hood. (I kept at least 6 feet from all other human beings.) What did I prove to myself.... That I can walk 2 miles; that it is hard to do given that I usually do not walk that far up that many hills; that physical exertion makes one breath heavy..... On the plus side, if I keep it up walking up steep hills for several miles will just get easier and easier and if hiking season doesn't get canceled I'll be more than ready for our multi-day Hut Hike.
We have all also cut down news consumption to once a day. At least I have and H says she has. H does look at Facebook more than is probably healthy. (I think the simple act of logging in to Facebook is unhealthy, so I'm not a good gauge.)
Aside from being generally crazy, the house is running as smoothly as can be expected.
H is doing her best to keep child on a schedule that involves school work, creative endeavors, and problem solving. Child keeps trying to sneak in FaceTime and iMessage chats with her friends or TikToK time. It is the age old struggle - just now we cannot offload the majority of it to the underpaid and under appreciated teachers who are typically on the front lines.
We are fortunate to have access to countless online resources and two college educated adults. Child is also fortunate that she has so many ways to stay in touch with her friends. (Not that I can understand the need; I've muted the chat rooms at work because I prefer the quiet.) She has been having a daily Lego Challenge playdate with one friend over FaceTime. We also have incredibly dedicated teachers who are sending out regular online assignments and links to resources.
I cannot imagine how hard this is for families without access to technology, the ability for both parents to work from home, or the ability to put good food on the table everyday. Our school system is providing two squares a day for families in need. The local Y is running daily programs for parents who truly need daycare for their children.
For now, I am counting my blessings and hoping that the storm will pass with the least damage possible. Hopefully in a month we can all come out of our burrows and get on with life as normalish.
Stay safe and as sane as possible.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Pool Play

My luck with pool sessions this season has been pretty bad. Nearly everyone has fallen on the same day as a gymnastics competition.
Don't get me wrong, I love watching my daughter and her friends compete; they are amazing athletes.
Still a little bit of water time does have a certain restorative power that sitting in a gym cannot match.
Fortunately, this weekend the rolling session and the competition fell on different days!!! Saturday was spent doing gymnastics stuff (competitions can be an all day affair despite the fact the each kid only spends a couple of minutes doing stuff). Sunday got to be pool party time!!!
It was also the first time I was going to get to see how rolling with the new Kalleq. It was a very exciting time.
I started off just getting a feel for the paddle by maneuvering around the pool, doing some sculling draws, and some sculling for support. Then I took the plunge... It wasn't the prettiest roll, but I ended right side up. The Kalleq has a surprising amount of power when rolling - more than any of the wooden sticks I've used - yet feels very light. I can usually feel it in my shoulders when I power my way through a roll, but with the Kalleq.
I did get some very good pointers about watching my paddle tip while rolling. I also got reminded to keep my head down. Once I started doing that, things went much smoother.
Once upon a time, I was a pretty balanced roller. Once upon a time, I paddled three times a week. Now I definitely have a strong side and a weak side. Fortunately, all the practice that I used to do means that I can stay relatively calm under water and switch sides in a pinch.
The Kalleq even made me confident enough to try rolling without extending the blade like a Euro paddler. It was surprisingly effective. I think I got like 95% of the rolls I tried. It was a little weird because I could feel the back side of the paddle bumping against the hull.
Tim M. tried out the Kalleq for awhile as well. He seemed OK with it.
While he used the Kalleq, I tried to do some rolls with my trusty Lendal.... It was far less rewarding then I had hoped... I struggled to get the angle of the blade correct. I did manage a few rolls, but none that made me feel confident that I could do it in the wild. (It is a good thing I didn't consider that I may not be able to roll with the Lendal during the Gales....)
I also did some re-entry and rolls which are always a good thing to have in the back pocket.
Watching some of the regulars did make me a little jealous. The Tims and Gary have bombproof rolls that mostly look effortless. One of the Tims was even doing rolls with half a paddle after doing a rat swim to get the paddle.
Then I remembered why I don't paddle three times a week anymore; I have an awesome wife and kid at home. The bombproof roll can wait until the kid turns into a teenager who is too embarrassed to hang out with her dad.
After the pool Tim M. and I grabbed coffee. It was nice to catch up and unwind.
I returned home energized and looking forward to summer.