perspective

How Close is Too Close?

I went to dinner the other night at a local restaurant. We were seated at the center table. No masks required as we were dining. Seems simple. Just the new normal we are used to.

Then my daughter said “we aren’t distanced like we should be.” I looked around. What did she see that I didn’t? I mean I’m telecommuting most days while she is in physical school distanced and masked 8 hours a day following rules, new rules and more rules each day. Her perspective is clearly different than mine based on our exposures to date. Weird that the child is teaching the parent.

She said “this table isn’t 6 feet. Those booths are not spaced. It’s not distanced like it should be.” Wow. I paused and thought to myself how much she has changed due to the pandemic. Will we ever get back to normal? Will I actually be able to hear a waitress ask me about my order where I can understand her without a full mask?

My elderly mom was dining with me. The menu was a scanned barcode. That’s pretty high tech for her but it’s the only option. She can’t see the screen as well as me to order. Sigh. Sigh deeper. This is what is normal. Will there be a return of paper menus?

The next day my daughter calls for an early dismissal from school. A neighboring student is potentially a covid exposure. “I can’t sit in class for more than 15 mins or I’ll get close contact,” she said. What? “If I get close contact then I’ll have to miss social activities.” What?

So today I learned about close contact. Secondary contact. Confirmed cases. Contact cases. Exceptions. Rules. Suspected cases. And. And. And. I’m exhausted just digesting this information. Technically I knew these scenarios but not up close. To the point of sidelining one of my family members.

It’s football season. Homecoming. All the things high schoolers look forward to. So many instances of socializing being scrutinized, cancelled, postponed and so on. I’m going nuts keeping up with changes on the calendar and it’s driving me bat shit crazy that it’s emotionally hitting my kid.

Spring was tough enough with isolation for a teen. Now a new level of toughness is needed to combat the stress and anxiety that’s goes along with adapting to so much change in your formative years. The years of milestones. First kisses. Dates. Driving. Team sports. School events. College visits.

I am hopeful that the new year brings peace to not only my child but all kids enduring so much stress as a rippling effect of the pandemic. Developing brains can only handle so much and parents are also battling their own demons in the workplace, on the home front and just in society in general.

Just my random recap post. The blah of the week and it just started with just 6 feet. How much difference 6 feet can actually make. And how my differences could be so different than another’s. #perspective

dare to be different, inspire

Sally Said

I’m kind of a big deal.

All my friends want to be around me.

At the park.

At school.

At the mall.

Being a big deal can get crazy at times.

Sometimes one of my friends will get really mad if I don’t spend enough time with just them!

I also have to make sure I don’t leave anyone out when I make plans to play after school.

Sometimes picking teams on the playground can be hard work!

I have to make sure I don’t hurt any of my friends’ feelings when I pick teams.

Who I pick first or last can be a really big deal to my friends.

Being a big deal can be hard work.

I have to be extra nice to everyone all time time.

I mean I try to be nice to people all the time but I might mess up and hurt my friends’ feelings.

I don’t know why I am a big deal.

I get up the same way each morning.

I even have crazy hair in the morning.

I brush my teeth just like my friends do.

I am not rich.

I am not famous but I might be famous one day.

I don’t have super powers.

I am just me.

I really like being just me.

I like to smile and have fun.

I like to laugh at funny jokes.

I like to make funny jokes.

I like to play sports and have fun outside.

I like to play with my dogs.

I like to be around people especially my friends.

My friends say I am goofy sometimes.

I make my friends giggle a lot.

I always have fun playing with my friends.

My dad says I am his sunshine every morning.

My dad makes me feel good when he tells me that.

My mom told me once that he calls me sunshine because I can brighten up any room full of people.

Maybe my mom and dad make me believe I am a big deal.

My sister says I can fall in a bucket of doggie doo doo but still smell like roses.

I never really understood what my sister said but my mom explained it to me.

My brother just says I am annoying.

My mom said you are special.

Your smile is infectious.

You can can make people feel better about themselves even when they can’t see for themselves.

I still don’t understand why my sister said doggie doo doo smells like roses but my mom said one day I will know when I grow up.

My family makes me rich I guess.

I love my family.

I guess I love being a big deal, too.

Being a big deal helps others.

I hope you can be a big deal, too.

If lots and lots of people believe is being a big deal then the world will be a much happier place.

I hope somebody reads this story in China or maybe even Russia. And maybe I will write more stories and become famous one day.

In today’s world we need more Sallies. What Sally says is important. In world of crazy corona challenges we all need to be kind and channel our inner Sally. We can all be a big deal. Today, tomorrow and the next day.

Because Sally said so!

dare to be different

Junk or Treasures

In the last 30 days I have had a slight obsession with Facebook marketplace.

I haven’t really been big on posting items online for sale however I heard it was a good outlet to find what you need at a discounted rate. I gave it a whirl or two.

When it came time for me looking for specific pieces for my upcoming project I decided to see if it had any items I truly needed to keep my budget low. From casual browser to waking to see what had dropped in the night before. Off I went. By phone or by computer. Click click click. Wait. Deal or no deal. Sometimes getting a good item requires you to be the first hit. I got lucky sometimes but not other times.

Here are a few of my finds:

The barn door. A little bit of an odd size but it’s perfect for the spot I need to add some flair to. This is a PVC-type version and again it totally suited my immediate need. What this person bought in error was just what I needed. A win for both parties.

The odd red barrels. The soon-to-be base of a massive outdoor table. Inspiration was a cool table at an outdoor seating area of a restaurant I visited. More photos to come of the completed project. This was just somebody’s trash from a recent project that they made a few bucks on. A little elbow grease on my end and they look as good as new.

The church pew. Yes you read that right. I bought a church pew! A few pillows for flair and I will have a great pew for many to congregate at in my special entertainment space. I couldn’t be more excited about this piece. Who would have thought you could buy a church pew? Heaven knows I didn’t until I stumbled across it. Restoring these old pews is definitely a trend. Should I paint it or keep it natural? Let me know what you think.

The brand-new pillow -op mattress. This was a steal and I may have bought more than one. Overstock sales are in abundance online. If you happen to fall upon a good one, you can save big.

Stools for a steal. These brand-new-out-of-the-box stools retail for around $50. I was able to pick up 10 at $20 each. Great addition to go with the table I mentioned above and I saved a bundle.

Look for the finished project of my outdoor space in the coming weeks. Be sure to see if Facebook marketplace has any items you are looking for before you pay full retail. You can get new, gently used and hard-to-find antique items online. One of the benefits of online selling and buying is access to the inventory at your finger tips.

If you are willing to do the work, the bargains are out there. Picking, sourcing and putting together some handmade crafts has been a fun learning experience.

Signing off, a thrifty girl.

health, perspective

Doctor Doctor

Who called the doctor? Seems like many I know had to call the doctor this week. Maybe things are getting back to normal after COVID or maybe just the opposite.

Let’s start with my visit to the doctor. The dermatologist to be specific. Nothing traumatic or life altering just a quick zappy in and out visit but how this visit seemed so different!

It started in the parking lot. The parking lot is a make shift COVID drive-thru testing site. You see the white tent. The medical staff all suited up in hazmat gear in 90 degree heat. Same as it’s been for months but the past few days there were lines around the building and to the street. Why the mad rush?

After sorting through that I had to go into the medical building which has a pharmacy in the lobby. It seemed to be a senior citizen magnet spot. Walkers, wheel chairs, masks and lots of slow moving people. Once you maneuver that traffic you hit the elevator.

The elevator had signs for two people at a time so there was a wait. Then the two masked individuals look at each other like who is gonna press that button that could possibly have COVID on it. I just hit it. That opened up a conversation with the stranger who said she was glad I had a mask on or she wouldn’t have ridden with me. Interesting comment but I had to wear one for my appointment. No big ordeal for me.

Now I arrive at the second floor to have my temperature checked and had to answer a questionnaire. Then I could proceed to the window or shall I say plexiglass now. But again it’s different.

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Every other seat is marked off like a restaurant. Signs on the floor noting social distance rules. So much change. It’s a lot to comprehend. Then there is the chatter in the lobby. Should schools start up? Do you wear a mask outside? Just different chatter than pre- COVID. This was an experience for me. A people watcher I am. An observer. I took in so much this day.

Then I heard the news. My gym shut down. Somebody tested positive and a deep clean was needed. That was the first boom. Then a friend tested posted for COVID which was boom 2. Then another friend was exposed and had to go for test and is now playing the wait-and-see game. And let’s not forget about all the mental health mailers, emails and announcements circulating. Many are overwhelmed and really need the doctor.

The world we live in today is ever changing. A simple visit to the doctor is so much more complex. Society is weighing risks at every turn. Commerce has changed in so many markets. People are self-shamed when they let others know they have tested positive for COVID. One friend said it’s like telling the world you have an STD. Just not a proud moment in life. Hadn’t really thought about that.

As I worked this day I looked up at a cell tower and thought we have so much technology. The sky is the limit in so many arenas. Yet we are all frozen in COVID times to some extent.

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Will normalcy revert back any time? What is normal now anyway? Is anyone else sick of  COVID and the havoc it’s wreaked in your area?

I just needed to go to the doctor and somehow I ended up on this rant. At least I got a in-person appointment because telemedicine wasn’t a fit for my need.

Here’s to hoping I get to stay away from the doctor moving forward. It seems less stressful.

challenges

A Cautionary Tale

The countdown is on.

A few weeks until summer ends and school is back in session…or is it?

My district ended last year with over 40 unexpected days of digital learning due to COVID-19.

Now it is 6 weeks later.  Numbers of cases that seemed to be trending down in my area have sloped back northward.  School districts are starting to try to make decisions about how they will open schools. Cue the special meetings, surveys, and plans (subject to change, of course). Also cue the opinions, the feelings, the exceptions, the arguments, the fears.

Colleagues have asked me many times throughout my career if I would want to become a school administrator.  My answer is always a fervent and unequivocal NO.  Times like this only magnify those feelings.  I don’t envy the public scrutiny that leaders are under in this seemingly no-win time.

I understand…

A significant portion of the economy depends on schools being open.

Many kids have their best access to food, learning, and social / mental health resources when they are in school.

Being taught (in person) by credentialed professionals is what we believe works best for most students.

At the same time…

Many teachers and school workers are themselves vulnerable to serious COVID-19 cases, or live with and care for other people who have those underlying conditions.

This virus is still new and developing, so science is still catching up to understanding what it is, how it moves, and so on.

Our schools are mostly based on kids being close together and moving with organized freedom throughout buildings and surrounding areas.

All the money and power at stake make every decision a politically charged and controversial one.

Then there are the logistics questions that come along with schools opening…

How do kids ride a bus?  How do they have recess? Can they sing? Can they play sports? Will there be field trips or assemblies?  Anyone who has worked with elementary school kids knows that kids love hugs and playing together which often involves contact.  How do I police that? I can’t even start about the masks, or what happens when a suspected case pops up.

Will all the fun stuff just be stripped away? 

In the end, I know this:

No choice will make everyone happy.

No choice will keep everyone healthy.

No choice will meet everyone’s needs.

We will be doing the best we can given what we know, and know that what we know might change at any given time.  Not an easy position for any of us.

I went to a branch of our local public library recently.  They opened up the buildings a few weeks ago.  This gorgeous, light-flooded, award-winning building, created for people to congregate and spend time reading and learning, is full of caution tape to keep people out or at least moving.

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I’m not sure there is enough caution tape to insulate school kids and workers from what we are facing. Our best protections will be patience, good faith, positivity, resilience, flexibility and showing kids and colleagues that we care about them in every way we can imagine.