Homeschooling officially started yesterday. Damien tends to argue and whine and I tend to lose my patience. It’s a huge adjustment for all of us. He seems to calm down and work better after we’ve been working a little bit so I don’t know if we should start a little later in the day (currently starting at 9) or if it just takes him a little bit to get going. I also wish he could work a little bit more independently. He seems to get stuck a lot even though he read the instructions which I find frustrating…But then I remember that he’s a child and maybe in school they are providing more guidance. Plus I remember countless people I’ve worked with over the years that couldn’t follow the simplest of instructions so there’s that, haha.
Aside from the transition into homeschooling, another reason this feels like a strange time is the dang weather. Not only is there a flood warning in effect due to snow melting and the river rising, we’re expecting to get 4-8 inches of snow today!!! WTF? I was looking forward to spring…
Of course I had heard about the coronavirus and how it had greatly impacted China and appeared to be spreading, but like most things in the news, it didn’t affect me. Spring break was coming up and Damien and I were planning to drive over to see my parents. But leading up to the trip, things slowly started to change. Reports of people hording supplies, mainly toilet paper of all things! At this point it was still something in the news and probably only really affected larger cities. The CDC and the news reported on common sense safety measures like washing your hands for 20-30 seconds and not touching your face. Hasn’t that always been the case? Day-by-day things progressed. Okay, now the store shelves here are starting to look a little bit emptier…And then like a tidal wave, businesses started to reduce hours or close. The term “social distancing” was everywhere. Keep 3-6 feet away from others. How worried should I be?
The week of spring break, starting 16 March, all ND schools were closed and the base was on mission essential status. This was unprecedented! It was a weird week. I was receiving messages daily from Damien’s teacher and my supervisor as everyone was trying to transverse the unknown. How long will Damien be out of school? How long will my workcenter be minimally manned? Will we not be able to get the supplies/food we need?
We are now two weeks into this and we have a few more answers. Schools will probably be closed for the remainder of the school year. Amazingly, they’re still providing school breakfasts and lunches through a drive thru style setup. And while Damien has been provided with daily activities/tasks to complete on school days (practice multiplication/division tables, practice state capitals, do jumping jacks, etc.), official school lessons will begin this week electronically. It’s nice that Damien was already issued a chromebook at the beginning of the school year so he already knows how to use it and all of the digital classroom tools.
The base continues to officially be on a mission essential status while leaving the decisions to the squadron commanders for implementation. This has meant that my squadron has been minimally manned at about 50%, but otherwise performing normal shifts. This week though we are further reducing the amount of time in the office which is a relief.
Getting food/supplies has been acceptable. Hording is still a thing, although a lot of places are now either posting signs nicely asking customers to not take what they don’t need and other stores are strictly adhering to limitations like one loaf of bread per purchase. In fact, Scott reported last week at Wal-Mart that the Police were actually in the store to help enforce limitations because customers were getting belligerent. Rice, pasta, ramen, dry beans, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper seem to be completely out and things like soaps, napkins, paper towels, tissues, milk, bread, meats (fresh and canned) are in low supply where we shop. Otherwise we really haven’t had any issues with getting anything we wanted or needed. In fact we were actually able to buy more toilet paper just yesterday which was a HUGE relief since I hadn’t seen any in a while.
Since we’ve been stuck home…
I felt like I needed to write out what’s going on right now just to document it. Maybe years from now it’ll be interesting to see what was happening. Overall, we’re all doing fine. I’d say “inconvenienced” would be the best word to describe our current state. Putting it into perspective though, our income isn’t affected, Scott will be able to do the homeschooling since he works from home, and everyone is healthy.
I wonder what’s going to happen in the future. When will things return to normal? Will there be a “new” normal? When will I get to see my family again? Hopefully this summer! Oh, I almost forgot! Damien had a write an essay for school about his favorite older American (55+) and he unsurprisingly picked my Dad. It was soooo sweet and his teacher said she could tell it meant a lot to Damien because he put a lot of effort into it, knowing that he doesn’t usually enjoy writing.
Well it’s already early March and we’re FINALLY starting to see temperatures above freezing–yay! The snow piles are very slowly shrinking. Here’s what we’ve been up to for the past two months.
The parent/teacher conference went well. Damien gets along with his classmates and has friends. He’s in speech therapy twice a week with one session working on social skills and the other working on sounds. Academically he’s on the low end of grade level for reading and on the upper end of grade level for math. This school doesn’t use the tradition A-F grading scales, but rather a list of end of the year goals and how well they’re meeting them. It’s a little bit confusing for me, but his teacher didn’t have any concerns so everything seems to be fine. He’s improving and advancing so I’m happy.
Lastly, last weekend I saw a friend I’ve known since Elementary school, Amanda, and her family. They were in Grand Forks for the hockey game so we met up at Northern Air so the kids could play and then went to lunch. It was really nice catching up. I don’t know the last time we saw each other, but I’m going to guess maybe 4-6 years ago? Where does the time go?
Damien is back in school today, but I think he had a pretty awesome winter break. He spent countless hours playing video games and watching TV, but he also starting writing a screenplay for a movie he wants to make. It’s called “A New World” and the main character’s name is Dave. He says it’s going to be rated PG-13 because it’ll have inappropriate stuff in it. Damien has about two pages written so far and he definitely enjoys the potty humor. And as a family we went to go see Frozen II in theaters which Damien and I really enjoyed.
We went through quite the winter storm last weekend. I’m not 100% sure how much snow Grand Forks got total, but the base got 13.5 inches on Sunday. Lots of snow and wind!
We just spent our first Christmas in North Dakota and it was very nice. To my surprise, Damien is handling the winter like a champ. Scott on the other hand is experiencing “new levels of cold” lol. But overall we’re doing great. Damien has off a week and a half from school and I’m getting a lot of time off too. Now if only I had the energy to be productive…
We bought a Nintendo Switch game called Ring Fit Adventure because Scott thought it might be a good motivator for him to workout. One controller is placed in this flexible ring that you hold and the other controller goes on a leg strap. You move, pull, and push the ring as well as other exercises throughout each level. I tried it too and thought it was okay. It would be nice if I thought exercising was enjoyable.
I feel like I keep saying “this is the LAST big purchase for a while” right before making another big purchase. We took advantage of some Veteran’s Day deals and bought ourselves a new couch for the upstairs living room. Prior to this, we only had the one couch in the family room downstairs so this room was just sitting empty looking sad. It’s SOOOOO hard finding a couch because you want it to look good AND be super comfortable. We ended up picking a couch where you could pick each individual piece and they fit together. Scott wanted a sectional which would have worked well in the space, but it’s more expensive and at least some of the seats would never be used. I’ve been excited to try a chaise lounge so we picked that and two more power recliners with dividers in-between. The dividers are more for Scott who really values his own personal space. I do like the cup holders and a place to set things so it works for everyone.
So after having the new couch for almost a week, I like it. It’s not as comfortable as it was in the store and the seats seem WAY bigger too. To counter that, I have to use the pillows to make the space smaller. The chaise is DEFINITELY the most comfortable spot so I think that was a good choice.
So mid-October Damien had a random Thursday and Friday off from school so we used that opportunity to visit my family. It worked out perfectly because the weather was still nice and there wasn’t any holiday traffic. Scott packed up his whole computer so he could still work which ended up working out well. We played lots of poker, had an excellent Thanksgiving meal, and Damien and his uncle David created comics together. Such a great trip!
This was our first year trick-or-treating in Grand Forks so I took Damien up to the local mall to check out indoor trick-or-treating while Scott stayed home and passed out candy. We weren’t impressed so we came home and Scott took Damien trick-or-treating around the neighborhood and Damien had a much better time.
North eastern ND got hit with some bad weather this past weekend. Highways and interstates were closed due to icy roads and low visibility. Oh and flooding! I’m definitely looking forward to some warmer temperatures this upcoming week to melt all this snow.
This post is all about Damien and his many interests and talents.
Earlier this month we went in for parent/teacher conferences. So far I really love the school and Damien’s teacher. She’s very kind and patient and I think Damien is really thriving in that environment. Damien is doing very well in math and needs to work on his reading, which we’ve been doing every school night at home. This is turning out to be a great school year!
Damien made his first comic book! He created it in class during his free time and he had the chance to present it to his classmates which was well-received so he’s already working on a second issue. I love it because it motivates him to try to spell words correctly and it gives him the confidence to try new things.