Coronavirus Part 2, Day 11- Virtual School Woes

Penny and I have just returned from an outing to the bird park, which is this little nature center near my house with indigenous Texas plants and pocket prairie where birds and squirrels and other critter-type wildlife come and go. I was inspired to hop on our bikes and take the outing because as Penny and I were sitting outside we heard a woodpecker friend pecking away at the tree overhead. I took his photograph, and a few other bird photographs at the bird park. I have learned that it’s one thing to hear the birds, it’s another to spot them, and it’s yet another to spot them long enough and in the right light to photograph them.

Downy Woodpecker
Blue Jay

I’ve been quite scatterbrained today. I have several writing projects that I have wanted to complete by June, but between virtual school and drill this weekend, I’m having trouble finding the time. Actually, the time is not the issue. Uninterrupted time is the issue. Blogging is the only writing I can do that, when I get interrupted, I can quickly pick up where I left off. These other projects require at least 20 minutes just to get warmed up. By then someone needs me for something. It’s very, very frustrating, so I avoid this during “working hours”.

Virtual school has gone poorly this week for Penny. She has refused to do most of her work and I haven’t had the will to fight her to do it. I recognize this is my fault. Of note, the Houston Independent School District published this back in April:

No district grades taken after March 12, 2020 can negatively impact a student’s overall average for the course.


The parent community has understood this to mean that the district is going to be flexible about grades. In other, other words, bad grades don’t count. I don’t care about grades per se, but I do care that my kids learn whatever skills they need to learn for their age/grade level. So maybe I sort of care about grades. Fine.

I wish the teachers for the younger grades would say, ‘look parents, if you want worksheets and video screen time because your kids enjoy it and it works for you, then here it is. If you have your own program or materials you’re welcome to do that as well. I won’t think you’re blowing me off if you don’t upload the spelling word search.’ Because this is what’s keeping me going, now, for this virtual school thing. Never mind the learning value, I just don’t want to be that parent who doesn’t turn in her homework. I don’t want to be that jerk parent that blows off the teacher.

Goofing off.

Coronavirus Part 2, Day 10- Face Masks and Public Health Free Riders

In the kitchen, (almost) always. Photo credit: Nicholas

I am sitting in my living room, Nick is showing Steve his Fortnite streaming video, which is to say he’s watching a recording of Nick playing Fortnite. I have just returned from taking the kids to Walgreens for a candy run where I picked out gummy bears and sour patch kids. I’m reminded of the gummy products in Guatemala. They came in odd shapes like spiders, and the pieces were too large, too chewy, and virtually flavorless. I usually couldn’t make it through a whole bag before getting tired of them, but I would still try. If I was in the mood for something salty, I would instead get a bag of chips by the ‘Diana’ chip company.

In the snack isles there were rows and rows of ‘Diana’ products. Apparently, the ‘Diana’ company in Guatemala is like Frito Lays in the U.S. For me, the other chip brands didn’t stand a chance. How could I resist a bag of chips with my name on it?

Yesterday, Penny and I went to Hobby Lobby to buy a frame for my promotion warrant. Now that the stay-home order has been lifted in Texas, people are going about their business with newfound habits which include face masks, hand sanitizer, and giving others a wide berth to move around.

Hobby Lobby was not busy, but it usually isn’t on a Monday at 2pm. Most people wore face masks, but I counted at least four shoppers who rolled into Hobby Lobby exposing the rest of us to their Coronavirus infected carbon dioxide.

Investopedia says the free rider problem is the burden on a shared resource that is created by its use by people who aren’t paying their fair share. In other words, it’s people placing a burden on Coronavirus-free public spaces just by being there, without doing their fair share to keep their germs to themselves, but reaping the benefits of everyone else wearing their face masks and washing their hands. Oh, you thought you were wearing a face mask for your own protection? This meme explains things better than I could.

The Face Mask Pee Meme. This circulated around the medical community, so it’s legit.

We’ve seen a lot of public health free riders during this Coronavirus thing. Remember all those millennials traveling the world on dirt cheap airfare and empty flights? Since the rest of us canceled our plans (okay fine I did consider still going to the Grand Canyon), they were free to roam and #wanderlust with relatively less exposure than they would have previously gotten. I read a blog post by a lady in the UK who says people there are downright hostile, responding to public health free riders with something akin to road rage. I don’t think we’re at that point in the U.S.,but still.

Just wear your face mask, people. Even if you feel a silly when you do.

Hobby Lobby

Coronavirus Day 28- Self Sabotage

Penny hearts Poppy

The Wall Street Journal just flashed across my phone this morning with the headline that New York City’s public school system will remain closed until September. SEPTEMBER. Welp, if you’re not settled into the Coronavirus reality yet, it’s time to get cozy because we’re going to be here for a while. As for us, my school district is not saying much. So I browsed over to the site to take a look and found that the Houston Independent School District is closed “until further notice.” I managed to find an actual date somewhere, tentatively May 4th. Enough said about that.

The idea of self-sabotage has been on my mind this morning. Self-sabotage sounds menacing and nefarious, almost like self-harm, but it really isn’t that bad. A quick search-and-click on Psychology Today finds that behavior is self-sabotaging when it creates problems in daily life that interfere with long-standing goals. While I do think it’s nauseating to be all, goals, goals, GOALS oriented in life, self-sabotage sucks. It’s sneaky. It’s me blogging every day when I should be revising my terrible novel so it’s less terrible. It’s me writing things that will later be held against me in the court of law of my life (and if I ever get a real job or go on orders again I will make all this content private thanks for reading). Self-sabotage is usually a sign that what you say you want and what you do is not in chiropractic alignment. Like I wrote about yesterday.

Steve and I are in the market for an automatic rifle. Ideally we would have had our household apocalypse-ready before the apocalypse, but when you find yourself in a stupid position because you procrastinated (another form of self-sabotage), you might as well come to terms with your dimwittedness and fix yourself as best you can.

Supposed to be a GIF