Back to Campus

I’m a little behind on posts – I’ve had to return to in-person teaching in the afternoons while still doing the virtual teaching for every student each morning. That has added a layer of stress to our household. First it was the uncertainty of whether we would be returning to worrying about what precautions will actually be followed to worrying about the time factor and what I’m supposed to do with the returning students.

55+ Coronavirus Memes — Funny Coronavirus Memes

Should I teach in the morning at home and commute during my lunch? We end morning teaching at noon. Initially the district wanted us on campus by 12:30. Now I can make it – we live just a few miles away with no traffic along the way. I plan for 10 minutes but it never takes that long even if I have to wait for a train. Just a day before we reported, they made report time 12:45 (when the students arrive and report to our rooms.)

I found they are actually taking measures to ensure the safety of everyone when I returned to campus! I was hesitant, to say the least. They installed contactless water bottle refilling stations and gave each student a water bottle. Each student was also given a cloth mask, a pencil box filled with supplies that will stay in my room, and a notebook if they need paper. They labeled the desks for the M/T groups and Th/F groups so each student has their own seat and can leave their supplies to minimize contamination.

Syndicated cartoon gallery: Back to school 2020 | Columnists |  tulsaworld.com

The district has opted to have the afternoon session be voluntary – as of this writing I have 2 students on Monday and Tuesday and 3 students on Thursday and Friday. That’s not the stressful part – what am I going to do with them is! Should I have them catch up in their classes? do social emotional activities? All of the above? Something else I haven’t thought of yet?

Did you know I know how to play Among Us? I have a group of kids how come to virtual office hours so they can play Among Us and talk to each other while they play. I’m really not liking the new ship! With the return to class, my Among Us playing will be reduced significantly – whatever am I to do???

Flamingo Hat Among Us Gifts & Merchandise | Redbubble

Fancy Friday 12 Mar 2021

I am really enjoying our restful fancy Friday dinners – I don’t even mind washing the good china and silver afterwards.

Tonight’s menu: Grilled chicken, roasted acorn squash, and Pineapple Passion rum punch! I know, not the combination you would find at a fine restaurant but it works for us!

I think the acorn squash is just about out of season but the rum punch never goes out of season! We experienced this punch at the Kilohana Plantation in Lihue, Kauaʻi several years ago and recently found a local distributor. They also have great food here!

Better than Fancy Friday 19 Mar 2021

We are eating dinner tonight with the grandbabies! Now that we are both vaccinated and kiddo #1 received her first shot, they invited us up for the weekend. No pictures but I will tell you it was a WONDERFUL experience!

While there, I got to take Grandkiddo #1 to her “ballet” class. Here’s a picture of her being a ribbon dancer! It was a tad chilly outside for class.

COVID vaccine! And the week after

We both received our 2nd vaccine shot on 19 Feb. We are grateful for the ability to get the vaccine as educators.

When kiddo #2 received her second Pfizer shot, she missed 2 days of work due to her immune response so we were expecting the worse and hoping for the best since we were getting Moderna.

John almost never gets sick – he must have a really robust immune system! I, on the other hand, catch everything that wanders into my classroom. I am basically fighting something from about week 2 of school until we finally end in May/June. After all these years, you would think I’ve caught every germ already! This last 11 months of self-isolation have been amazing from this standpoint – I’ve not been sick since last March 2020! I was dreading this second shot.

We finished teaching at noon on Friday and had the second shot done by 1:15. It was very organized for the entire process. We decided to skip Fancy Friday for this week.

Friday:

  • John – no symptoms
  • Barb – headache and arm soreness started about 5pm

Saturday:

  • John woke about 6 am feeling tired (not his usual!) and arm soreness but no fever. As the day went on, John felt feverish (99.5), took a nap and was feeling normal
  • Barb – chills started about 2 am, by 8 am fever was 101.7, body aches, tiredness – I basically slept all day. My arm now had a goose egg sized red spot. Tenderness doesn’t even begin to describe it! Took all I had to drink 8 ounces of water.

Sunday:

  • John back to normal with some arm tenderness.
  • Barb still running a fever (100.6), arm soreness, and fatigue. My immune response is still in overdrive. I was able to get up for a little while but after about 30 minutes on the couch, I had to go back to bed.

Monday:

  • John’s arm is still tender but only when he touches it. No soreness when moving his arm.
  • Barb on the other hand, still running a slight fever in the morning, arm goose egg finally goes down in size. Fatigue and sweating is driving me crazy! Finally feeling “normal” by evening. This has been like having the flu – I can’t even imagine what having COVID would be like if this is my body’s response to the vaccine.

Tuesday:

  • John’s arm doesn’t hurt at all – everything back to normal
  • Barb still tired. Arm still hurts to move it and swelling is decreasing. I have to sit through a district meeting – I really wanted a nap by lunch but can’t.

By Thursday, my tiredness and headache is still lingering and my arm is tender. My immune response lasted a full week. Friday everything was back to normal but by Friday night I was exhausted! I was in bed by 9:30!

Moral of the story: John had typical response and Barb’s immune response went crazy – I keep imagining what my body’s response would have been if I had COVID.

Fancy Friday 12 Feb 2021

Just a little behind in the Fancy Friday posts.

This Fancy Friday is a gluten free order from PF Chang’s! Take out on the good china and eating it with the sterling! This is a great end to the week.

Chang’s lettuce wraps, egg drop soup, Chang’s spicy chicken, Singapore street noodles, shrimp with lobster sauce, and ginger chicken with broccoli. Brown rice was also in there somewhere!

2020 Decluttering Update

We decluttered 2051 items during 2020! Our decluttering “grandtotal” since we began in 2014 is 19002!

This might be one of the few positives for the last 10 months – this and our new grandbaby!

We began our mindshift in mid-2014 with a desire to simplify our lives (physical, financial, emotional) with one aspect being the removal of clutter from the house. The decluttering gods must have know, since our house flooded in 2015 and we removed 11827 items that year.

We have debated if we should continue to count the stuff that leaves the house and every year initially decide we are done counting, until I declutter something and start mentally keeping track. This year it wasn’t even debated – I just printed out a new page!

Our lives are definitely simpler than they were in 2014. We both learned to say NO to extra obligations at work – this is probably the biggest change for both of us. We also decided to think more about our purchases before making them. That, in turn, helped simplify our finances.

This journey in Decluttering the Stuff has been life changing!

Fancy Friday – 15 Jan 2021

Let’s all use the stuff we were lead to believe can only be used for “special” occasions! Every day is a special day! Keep it and use the china, sterling silver, and “fancy” tablecloths and napkins you have boxed up. I only wish I had done this years ago!

I realize that I need some sort of centerpiece for our table. The search is on!

Grilled chicken with roasted brussels sprouts and butternut squash.

A little decluttering

We decided to do a little decluttering – just one box in the garage.

Hours later the box is empty and we have removed old yearbooks – yep, old yearbooks. When was the last time you looked at your old junior high/middle school and high school yearbooks? Ours had been in boxes untouched for at least 31 years. As we looked through them, some people who signed we remembered but most were unrecognized.

In the same box were 2 photo albums and several envelopes of pictures. My photo album had random pictures from junior high based on the house they were taken in. There was nothing that sparked “joy” or even any feelings when I saw them. They were decluttered.

John’s photo album was one his aunt put together when she took him on a cruise through the South Pacific when he was about junior high age. Most of the pictures were of scenery that he didn’t recognize. He also decluttered them.

Moral of the story – label those pictures! The label might spark a memory.

Fancy Friday – Jan 8, 2021

I’m going to use the “fine china” at least once a week. We had our first Fancy Friday last night and decided on a few “rules”.

  • The china and sterling will be used to eat on/with.
  • If we order take out (at this point highly unlikely) it will be removed from the takeout containers and put onto the “fancy” dinnerware.
  • Fancy clothing is not required unless we agree there is a special celebration – kiddo #2 comes home and immediately showers after being at the hospital/clinic and is reluctant to redress in fancy clothes afterwards. Can’t blame her in the least! Maybe later in the year.
  • If something breaks, I will not be upset. This stuff, which I love, has been sitting in the cupboard way too long unused and is, after all, just stuff to be used.

It only took 10 months of pandemic, 2 major holidays without family (other than the 3 of us), and the death of my mom to realize if I love it enough to keep it, I will use it!

Instacart – We finally used it

Well, I finally did it – I ordered something from the grocery store using Instacart. I’ve always resisted using the app – surely I can do my own shopping. Why pay someone to do something I can do?

With the pandemic lockdown in full effect in Southern California, I figured I would support someone else’s income and keep us out of stores as much as possible. Our usual perishable shopping has been Walmart pickup for the last 9 months.

Our niece, who works for Instacart corporate, has been encouraging us to try it. Grandma is a “member” and frequent user. If my mother-in-law, age 89, can navigate the app, surely I can. (side note: I’m mother-in-law’s tech support.)

Last night about 7:30 pm I went to the app and selected the grocery store in our neighborhood. I selected 15 items. Some were items Walmart didn’t have when we placed our pickup order last weekend. The order was “assigned?” to Shopper “Joshua” immediately. Then it was changed to Shopper “Jose”. No idea why or how it was changed. Kiddo #2 said it must have not been worth Joshua’s time since it was a small order.

When Jose got to the store, he let me know he was beginning and would update me along the way. The app has a special texting feature built in. I did let him know it was my first time and he replied “It’s my pleasure I hope I can make your experience amazing!”

He was so helpful – sending pictures of the shelves if something was out and wanting to know if I saw something else I would rather he pick up. It was as if I was right there! I guess they do this for every order but it sure felt special to me.

About an hour after placing the order, the items had been delivered and put away! I’m sure it would have been longer if I had left the house when I started.

$10.52 for peace of mind – worth it on an occasional basis.

Actual ReceiptInstacart charge
Items$47.64$50.57
Tax$0.55$0.65
Service Fee0$2.49
Tip0$5.00
Total$48.19$58.71