Coronavirus Update from Central Texas

Boy, I sure am tired of being home day in and day out! I have a feeling I’m not the only one. Here’s an update of all things coronavirus from our neck of the woods in central Texas.

Devoted listeners of our Parental Settings podcast will know that in early March, I had openly complained about how stir crazy I got when I had to watch the kids at home by myself while Lauren traveled for more than one hour. Oh my, I had no idea what was about to hit me. Parenting has by far been the hardest part. I know teachers are getting a lot of accolades these days from parents who now know what they go through every day, and rightfully so, but teachers don’t really teach kids while trying to do an entire other job full-time simultaneously. Obviously that arrangement did not work out for us, and we had to bring in the big guns to teach the boy.

I guess all things considered, I’m taking things decently well as long as I try to live in the moment and not start thinking about how many things I’ve had to cancel, that the Twins should be a quarter of the way through the season, or the summer fun that is surely no longer going to happen. Obviously I worked primarily from home even before coronavirus, so me being at the house is no big deal. As much as I love the setup, I have begun to go into our Austin office and sit alone occasionally just to get out, and I think I’ll go more frequently when all this nonsense is over with.

Not much has changed for Edie. Of everyone, she has remained most on schedule. Her daycare closed briefly but then reopened to limited hours for essential working parents, and is slowly expanding to longer hours and more kids. Still, one of us has to leave to go pick her up around 3:45 every day, which means one of us is losing over an hour of work per day. The lucky parent (usually me) then must hang out with the kids until dinner time. Not that that’s a bad thing, but by this point in the day Johnny is getting ornery.

The boy’s school days go from 8:30-noon with Ms. Wendy, a neighbor lady who has a background in special education. He has good days and bad. Lately, more bad. They go through John’s kindergarten schoolwork subject by subject, with a lot of bickering, angst, tantrums and backtalk. Smart as he is, John, probably like many other kids, is just over this homeschooling thing. And it’s not even 3.5 straight hours of learning, it’s interrupted with games, videos and other fun stuff. But darn it, if he isn’t drastically improving on his reading and writing through it all.

After Ms. Wendy leaves, John eats lunch and then plops down on the couch for movie time while we go back to work. I have put on a different movie for him every day so far, to the point where we are struggling to find any suitable kids movies on Disney+, Netflix, IMDB.tv, Prime, DirectTV, etc. that he hasn’t seen. And when the movie is over, it usually leads into him getting to watch YouTube, and he zeroes in on KidCity. You can’t pay this kid to go play in his room with his toys, chase the dog around or go outside by himself. It is just screen time or bust, and if not there’s hell to pay. He just so desperately needs to play with kids his own age again.

We have been pretty decent model citizens and law abiders throughout this stupid thing. We’re always social distancing, always wearing masks, only leaving for essential tasks. Outside of immediate neighbors, we haven’t seen any friends in two months. I haven’t seen any coworkers in person since early March. The worst I’ve done is gone to my office, and even then I was completely alone. We’ve done grocery trips, but again we’re always following the rules.

We’re doing quite a bit of curbside or takeout meals, trying to support some local restaurants so they maybe can survive. Collectively, the local restaurants flat-out suck at this curbside thing. Almost every single experience has either been an excruciatingly long wait beyond what was quoted, orders have been mixed up, items have been forgotten, we’ve been overcharged, there’s nowhere to park, there’s no clear instructions of how to collect the order, etc. Just an absolute, total disaster. I think the only flawless experience was our local Indian restaurant, Sangnam. I literally waited over an hour longer than our pickup times at Peached Tortilla and 45 minutes at Interstellar BBQ, and Lauren 45 minutes at Torchy’s.

I really do blame this entire thing on Trump. The guy fired pandemic response teams, ignored warnings, hoped things would magically go away, and has no plan whatsoever. He has no idea what a test even is; he was astonished that that White House aide could test positive after several negative tests. He tried to blame Obama, who had been out of office multiple years before coronavirus existed. Through it all he continues to tweet at unbelievable rates (150 per day?!), trashing random newscasters and promoting his own properties. And now he is defunding organizations trying to find a cure. I think he actually wants people to die, believing that the hardest hit areas are the black and Hispanic people who aren’t going to vote for him, or more crowded urban areas. Rural America is pretty safe by comparison, his primary voters. Or at the very least, he wants to wait until closer to the election for a cure so he can take credit and it can give him a boost. Is there actually any American citizen who is on the fence and would really flip at this point? Doesn’t pretty much everyone either stand pretty firmly on one side or the other after 3.5 years? For me, there is absolutely nothing that could possibly change my mind on Trump at this point, short of him personally pardoning me for some yet-committed crime. I honestly believe we are trapped indoors and unable to go to restaurants or sporting events because of Donald Trump’s reelection bid. I just don’t understand how anyone can still take this lunatic at his word, find him remotely sane, or believe he is a suitable, let alone the best, person to lead the country. I literally can think of no living human I would want running the country less. You, whoever is reading this, would have my blind vote over Trump! I voted for Warren in the primary, but I’d happily take any other Republican candidate… there were some good ones in the past like Kasich and Joe Walsh. Heck I’d take Pence if it came down to it. I liked Obama, but I didn’t worship the guy, I didn’t think every word he said was 100% right every time, I would never defend him to the death. The Trumpies seem like quite the cult. Maybe once in a while he could be wrong? Just once? Well, love him or hate him, we’re probably all going down together. Some will just be more oblivious to it than others.

Anyway, the current state of affairs are not great for me, Lauren, and John. Edie, she’s fine. And now we are approaching the most devilish time of year, the hot Texas summer. No pools, no escapes, just outrageous AC bills and sweat. I would be tempted to throw in the towel and admit defeat, but it’s not like I can just ditch the mask and walk down to the bar! There’s really no way to defy anything. Me walking 15 miles downtown I guess is the best I can do.

I suppose we should just suck it up and be thankful we’re both still employed!

In other news…

  • We celebrated Mother’s Day (weekend) this past weekend. While we couldn’t go anywhere, Lauren did get to sleep in both mornings, was relieved of kid bedtime duties, received several baked good deliveries, and received a homemade dinner that Johnny assisted with.
  • Walsh, Nick and I are doing Saturday movie nights on zoom, watching a movie together in our own homes with video chat on to comment to each other.
  • I am nearly finished building a new dining table.
  • We are thinking of spending our stimulus check on a new bed.
  • I might build a bathroom vanity and/or bed frame next.
  • Baxter turned 9 today.

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