If you visit Ellis Island, the St. Louis Arch Museum, or the National Archives, you’ll see them: first-person accounts of unprecedented times in our history.
And now, for this uncharted territory we’re all navigating, is the time we add the Trusty Chucks blog to the history books.
I’m just going to tell you about our first week of social distancing, it’s not that big of a deal. Calm down. Our week probably looked a lot like yours. There were lots of snacks and whatnot.
You know when a major event happens in your life and then years or decades later, you look back on it and it all feels fuzzy and surreal? I think that’s what going to happen to us. I think we’ll forget what our day-to-day lives looked like when we had no where to go and nothing to do. I think my girls will get older, and this will be just a small blip on their timelines.
I think it’s good to write down what we’re doing, not because it’s special or important, but because it’s our life and one day we’ll forget the details. That’s what my blog has always been for me: trying to remember the details.
My daughters haven’t left the house since Saturday, March 14th. Friday night was full of fun, a school dance for Ellie and a slumber party for Harper. It was a last hurrah before the lockdown.
We did church online for the first time Sunday morning; we sat around the kitchen table with our dogs and hot coffee, singing worship songs and listening to a sermon. We took communion with stale Italian bread from the grocery store and water. (Services at 9:15, 11:00, and 4:30 if you want to join us!)
Chris worked as normal. His job is considered an essential service for safety and infrastructure so he was gone during the week. My workweek got really busy. I write for a digital learning platform, articles and high-interest texts for students and I design lesson plans and curriculum for teachers. (Some day I’ll write about how I tried to turn down this dream job and God didn’t let me.) My company is based in Seattle so I work from home, and I’ve had a front row view to the coronavirus as it ravaged its first city. We’d hold meetings and get emails about the measures the city was taking far before the rest of the country was really paying attention.
Full disclosure: I’ve been writing news stories for the coronavirus and China’s response to it since January. Me, a lowly educational writer in Indianapolis, knew this was coming months ago. Anyone who was paying attention knew this. I’m not here to share opinions about our government’s handling, but we messed up here. And, like so many times, the people who get the brunt of the consequences are those on the fringes. I know–because the Bible tells me so–that God is grieving our actions.
Because I was researching China’s response, how their political system was containing it, and the symptoms of those living in makeshift hospitals, I went shopping early. My friends made fun of me: at Bible study, at dinner, and on text message. I made fun of myself too, but I kept shopping and planning.
I hoped I was wrong and then I just wouldn’t have to shop for a month.
I wasn’t wrong. What a bummer for us.
We cancelled our spring break trip to Florida. Things weren’t completely shut down when we did this, but we knew it was selfish and dangerous to travel. The news was showing Florida beaches overflowing with people, and I didn’t want to be there. I mean, I really wanted to be there, but not like this.
Social media is brimming with small businesses and local businesses having sales, COVID-19 specials, and gift card deals. I have mixed feelings about this. If I have extra money right now, how great would it be if I just gave without expecting things in return? On the surface, it seems generous and kind to support these businesses. You’re giving them money to stay open, but you’re taking something from them too. I wonder if, right now, Christians aren’t called to buy local, but just give local. Give what you have, give what you can and make it hurt a little. This pandemic just upped my job security about 400 degrees. Even if Chris is laid off or his hours are cut, we’re going to be fine. We’ve spent our whole marriage living with less, following a strict budget, and staying below our means. I know the privilege that is, and right now when our favorite Chinese restaurant is suffering, our dog groomer Pam is without her income, and our tattoo artist-friend is out of work, wouldn’t it be great to just support them? Not with more work, but with generous, no-strings-attached giving?
I know this isn’t for everyone and lots of people are hurting and worried right now. But if you’re not, we have to make sure we’re not hoarding resources out of fear. If much has been given, much is expected, friends. Don’t forget that.
How an Enneagram Eight responds to chaos: Everyone stay calm and follow me. On Instagram.
What? Okay, here’s what I’m doing: distracting and encouraging. We all have our roles during a crisis and mine is to make sure we don’t lose anyone. Eights try to alleviate pain when they see it, either big or small. So while some people are sounding alarms, sharing infection rates, and reminding everyone to wash their hands, I’m encouraging people to train their hair to go with less washing, creating a dog parade in Instagram stories, and giving helpful work-from-home outfit tips. All tongue-in-cheek, all meant to distract and bring joy.
My friend Jessica dropped off pickle dip and chips to our friend groups’ doorsteps. I shared it on IG and everyone used cream cheese and pickles from their stockpiles to join the party. We’re going to soothe the world’s ails one dip at a time.
Ellie and Harper were technically on break from school this week so there was no e-learning or school work to be done. But since I work from home and have a ton to do, I knew we’d kill each other if there wasn’t some structure. Every family is different, but ours runs well on a schedule. It’s probably too loose for some people and too rigid for others, but I can tell you the girls did not once complain about being bored during the week. I was at my computer 10 hours a day and their dad was at work, and they managed to keep themselves alive, fed, and entertained.
Things that helped:
-This 30-day LEGO challenge; they’re designing backgrounds and taking a picture each day. Then we’re creating Chatbooks for them as keepsakes. They spend an hour plus on this every day.
-If you’ve been around here for a while, you know my kids don’t watch much TV. (We went TV free in the summer of 2015 and never looked back.) That has come in really handy as we social distance. Allowing them one hour of TV time a day feels like a luxury to them–they can’t believe I’m being so generous–and then they don’t complain when it’s over. I’m pretty anti-TV and electronics, but one hour of TV and one hour of iPad/Chromebook time during this chaos has thrilled my children to no end.
-Getting dressed and ready each day. My girls really want to stay in their pajamas all day. I’m asking them to get dressed and brush their hair and teeth every weekday just like normal. Two reasons: we feel better and do more when we act like it’s a normal day and this helps the weekends still feel special. We go schedule free on the weekends; it’s helping it to still feel like a weekend and retain some magic. (And that’s hard to do when every single day looks the same for them. I highly recommend this, it does break up the monotony.)
I hesitate to share this because it’s not pretty, fancy, or special, but just in case you need some inspiration for a daily schedule, here’s ours from our first week of lockdown. You’ll notice there is still a lot of time that just says go play or go outside. I’m not here to entertain my kids, I just know from being a teacher, most kids thrive when they know what’s happening and what the day will look like. We’re doing an hour of quiet time in their rooms every afternoon. My girls are 8 and 11 so they don’t nap, but they still need some rest time. Or maybe that’s just me, whatever. (You’ll also notice this PDF is not in the right order, it’s messy, and I didn’t write it with the intention of others seeing it; so grace, thanks.)
The weather kinda sucked this week so we didn’t get outside as much as we would have liked. I’m trying to go on a 30+ minute walk with them every day so I don’t sit too long. They’re doing yoga or an exercise video every day and I join them if I can.
Things we read, listened to, or watched:
-New Girl episodes; Chris and I are rewatching the whole series at night after the girls go to bed. We laugh so much, please watch it.
–KidsNuz podcast; we started this in December (?) and listen while the girls eat breakfast. It’s a five-minute news show for kids, there’s a fun quiz at the end, and they love it.
–Up First podcast; I’ve listened to this every morning for a few years now. I don’t watch TV or read much news, but I need to stay informed for my job and this is the right amount of information without feeling hopeless and overwhelmed with the world.
-I finished The Edge of Every Day: Sketches of Schizophrenia by Marin Sardy this week. It’s good but heavy. If you’re struggling at all with mental health right now, maybe skip it for the time being.
–Fearless Faith: 100 Devotions for Girls by Melanie Shankle is the devotion I’m reading to the girls every morning. It’s a good, quick way to read some scripture and encouragement with your kids every day. It looks pretty girly and has “girls” in the title, but I think it could work for boys or girls.
-I’m using Beholding and Becoming by Ruth Chou Simons and Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine McKelvey for my morning quiet time. I LOVE Simon’s book. I borrowed it from the library, didn’t get it finished before it was due, and then during a mad dash to the library right before it closed, it was on the shelf again. It was a miracle, it even had the bookmark in the spot I left off. So now the library is closed indefinitely and I get to enjoy it without buying it. But I will buy it eventually, it’s that good. I’m purposefully spending 2020 on focusing on prayer: liturgical prayers, what prayer is, how to pray more often, etc. and Every Moment Holy is a beautiful way to focus each morning.
-I’m listening to the audiobook of The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland right now. I dislike every single character, but I can’t stop it now because I want to know what happens.
-The girls and Chris are watching The World According to Jeff Goldblum on Disney+. It’s interesting and entertaining. They watched a few episodes without him this week, so we had to have a talk about TV etiquette and how you can’t watch a series with someone and then move on without them. This is the kind of homeschooling curriculum I’m here for: how to binge watch TV shows with respect.
I left the house on Saturday, March 21st. Exciting trip to Kroger for groceries for my aunt, Wal-Mart for random things, and Home Depot for supplies for some home improvement projects if we get really bored. Oh, and I bought a new plant. I’ve named it my COVID-19 plant, and it will be a great souvenir for this weird time we’re living in.
What’s for dinner?
Monday: bean burritos and chips & salsa
Tuesday: grilled chicken, zucchini, and salad
Wednesday: biscuits and gravy
Thursday: frozen pizza
Friday: chili and cornbread
Saturday: lunch meat sandwiches and chips
Bible verse that got me through the week:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
We survived the first week well. I hope you did too.
(Tell me something that helped you make it through it you want. We need all the help we can get.)
DISCLOSURE: affiliate links used; I’ll make a few pennies if you use the links to shop.