Thanks to technology such as Apple Watch and detailed record-keeping, I can tell you that my average wakeup time in 2020 was 6:47am, that I did nearly 4x as many school drop-offs as pick-ups, I did 22% more John bedtimes than Edie, I wore shorts 95.7% of all days, and Baxter ran away from home at least once in roughly 84% of all days. I averaged 17.5 miles of driving per day, my earliest bedtime was 8:00pm, my latest bedtime was 2:00am, and there were 6x as many days with no precipitation than with.
Interesting those numbers may be, they do not very well tell the story of 2020 at the Glanzer house. So here it is!
January – We rang in the new year with Dad and Emmy in town… who would have ever dreamt those would be our only visitors to Austin the entire year!? Well, back then we weren’t very familiar with a thing called coronavirus. Lauren was still very actively traveling for work, sometimes up to five trips per month. That left me home alone with the kids very frequently, including the time on January 19 I took them both to the cave system known as Inner Space Caverns, where Edie nearly ran away down a dark forbidden tunnel! Later in the month, I left for Las Vegas for Affiliate Summit for work. I went out a day early to celebrate Bart’s “last hurrah” before his son was born.
February – Even in February, life was still normal. John was playing basketball for the first time, and I was his coach. He also started teeball simultaneously. We had a big crew over for Lauren’s birthday brunch where I prepared eggs benedicts for all. We were doing frequent dinners out at Jardin Corona with friends. John was still at Jollyville Elementary just around the corner. On the 5th, we received our only dusting of snow of the year. On the 21st, I accompanied Lauren to the Whole Foods gala at the Hotel Van Zandt, the last time we got to go anywhere fancy. Just about every weekend was another John classmate birthday party somewhere or another. On the 22nd I took Edie to a friend’s wedding reception. On the 23rd I attended my one and only baseball game of the year when John and I went and saw Texas play Boise State. And on the 26th I made my one and only trip of the year to Tulsa for work! Yep, life was sure more interesting back in February! There were very few nights where they wasn’t something going on.
March – Even in early March, it was still pretty normal. We were beginning to hear a little about coronavirus, but no one had any clue yet that it would become as big of a deal as it did. Before the world shut down, I was happily riding on a zamboni at a Texas Stars game, playing Brian Mego in racquetball twice per week, and attending teeball practices. Around March 7, things started to take a turn. Lauren’s team decided not to travel to Anaheim for the big annual food expo. I also received an email from my company saying non-essential work travel was being halted. I still had time to get in my trip to Greenville, SC for an email conference, as I declared it essential due to us having already paid non-refundable fees. While I was in South Carolina beginning on March 11 is when all hell broke loose. Mind you, when I departed on the trip, there were NINE reported cases in SC. Today what must there be—tens of thousands? The major sports all shutting down, international travel bans, and domestic flight cancellations were all announced. I began to get a little paranoid that I might be stranded in South Carolina! Thankfully, I made it home, and the next week was the kids’ spring break. We had no idea that would be the last day of school of the year. We had plans with the Megos to go to a cabin in Hill Country near Wimberley, and we stayed true to those plans, enjoying the outdoors. All the while, I was glued to my phone as more and more things shut down. It’s where we got the news that the kids would not be returning to daycare and kindergarten, leaving us wondering how we’d ever manage. I already worked remotely full-time, but Lauren would have to set up shop at home too.
April – At first, we had a babysitter coming over to watch both kids until noon. We’d break for lunch, put Edie down for a nap, plop John in front of the TV til 3, then try to manage until the end of the work day. Then, Four Seasons reopened to essential workers for daycare. Lauren, being in the food biz, was considered essential! Edie returned to school. John, however, remained at home where we did our best to home school him and work at the same time, but it didn’t last long. We hired a tutor named Wendy to come over to help John with his schoolwork, and that wound up taking us all the way up to the end of the semester. We were also introduced to the mask, something we figured was just a temporary measure. Trips to the grocery stores featured people wrapped around the building in spaced lines, dressed for the apocalypse. Looking for ways to kill time, I began work on a new dining table. On the 25th, I said pandemic be damned, and walked from our house to the state capitol building and part of the way back, over 20 miles on foot. We started entertaining friends on Facebook with Hot Wheels races and home run derbies. The pandemic had to end soon, right?
May – The pandemic was showing no signs of going away anytime soon, with some experts predicting it could last well into July. Hahahahaha… if only. Things were pretty boring as the temperature warmed up. We celebrated Mother’s Day with some backyard grilling. I finished the table and moved onto flower boxes on the shed. John’s school year came to an official end and Wendy left, meaning John was now just hanging around for the summer. I got new glasses and a printer. Man, May was awful boring. Looking back at my pictures from the month there was just nothing happening at all.
June – Speaking of nothingness… June came along. Sports were still cancelled. Meeting up with friends and going to restaurants were not options. We basically had one and only one thing to do—make our own fun at home. I started work on a headboard for our new Helix king size mattress. I started shedding some pounds as Lauren and I began going to the sparsely attended LifeTime Fitness most every day over break. The only real fun of the month for me occurred on June 17 when I went out to local bars with Bart and a former colleague and his wife. This was the beginning of the very limited crowds, very spaced tables, very cautious restaurant and bar reopenings. We also paid a singular visit to a restaurant and the family went to Easy Tiger.
July – Finally, something fun! On the 1st, we risked it all and boarded a plane to South Dakota, where we would enjoy a week on the Glanzer family farm, isolated from all of the pandemic nonsense. It was just what we needed at that time—an escape from the confinement of the city. We went for big walks, checked cows, swam, watched fireworks, boated, enjoyed big meals, and capped it off with a trip to Storybook Land in Aberdeen. Our trip to the farm was a great success and we returned to Austin on the 9th. By this point, John had returned to his old preschool at Four Seasons for summer daycare. We had the house to ourselves once more and could start getting some work done. On the 15th, we purchased a trampoline which definitely helped kill a lot of time. On the 19th, I scored big when I got 50 boxes of free baseball cards to sort through. And baseball returned to the airwaves in front of empty stadiums on July 23. On the 30th, our new tree was planted in the front yard, which I would wind up badly overwatering to overcompensate for the daily 100s. Life was starting to show some signs of normalcy once more, and COVID cases were flattening a little.
August – I hadn’t trimmed my beard or hair in months, and it was at its peak. Real smart growing out a burly bushy beard in the dead of a Texas summer! The kids were off for summer break for a week, and I took them to Dinosaur Park in nearby Cedar Creek for a day. Temps were really sweltering now. 105º almost every day. Blasting, blazing sun with no traces of clouds or rain. Every day of the entire month was hotter than average. I kept on woodworking and built a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall desk for my remote work. We managed to find a few things around the city to do, like a stroll through the UT campus on the 15th. I found solace in the little things, like the first releases of seasonal pumpkin beers, reminding me that fall days weren’t far away. I celebrated my 38th birthday on the 23rd with Lauren and the Plumpes surprising me with a socially distanced trip to Austin Beerworks where I got sloshed. On the 24th, John began his first day of first grade at his new/old school, Four Seasons. We opted for that over Jollyville, believing (correctly) that it would be safer and in-person instruction would continue uninterrupted. On the 29th, John celebrated his sixth birthday with a party with school friends on the trampoline. Andy’s Custard sponsored the event.
September – On a random September evening, Edie and I started tearing up the lawn in preparation for a new stone walking path we would install. We took in a few more Austin things including hiking trails and the strip mall aquarium. We tried to keep friends’ sprits up with silly things like John’s video trying on funny outfits. John’s birthday present—a Nintendo Switch—quickly became Lauren and my favorite toy, discovering Tetris 99 and Mario 35. On the 18th, John and I made a return trip to South Dakota for Grandma Bell’s memorial. Flights were especially empty this time. Against better judgment, I attended a distant family member’s wedding in Watertown where no one was masked. I feared I had contracted COVID and would later get tested upon return to Austin (we were in the clear). All along we had our good friends and neighbors and quarantine buddies the Plumpes there. We considered them part of our bubble and spent countless nights hanging out at one house or the other. On the 29th, I was excited as the Twins began their playoff series with the Astros, which they would of course lose badly.
October – The temps finally backed off a bit, falling into the 80s and 90s. I was still letting the hair and beard grow, but trimming a little to keep up appearances. On the 10th, Lauren and I got a sitter and took a very rare night out downtown for our 11th wedding anniversary, enjoying drinks at a speakeasy and dinner at a steakhouse. On the 13th, Edie celebrated her second birthday at home, opening presents amongst family. On the 14th, I cast my early ballot in the election. On the 15th, Lauren went on her first work trip since February, a quick trip to Houston. It wasn’t like COVID things were improving any—in fact, just the opposite. John’s school—for the one and only time for the semester—had to cancel in-person classes after a positive COVID test by someone who had been in contact with the school. For two weeks he learned from home. On the 17th, I took both kids to a pumpkin patch in Marble Falls, a great way to spend a rare chilly day. Later that day, I won my first of many Mario 35 games! The cooler weather hung around a little, with Halloween a perfect night in the mid-60s. One of the bright spots to come from the pandemic was the new way of trick-or-treating with people getting super creative!
November – No, things had not returned to normal at all. Daily records were being set for new cases, hospitalizations and deaths from coast to coast. On the 6th, the election was a back-and-forth affair, and we woke up on the 7th not quite sure who the winner would be, as so many mail-in ballots had to be counted. Also that day, I put up our Christmas lights. If ever there was a year to enjoy some prolonged cheer, this was it. On the 14th, we bought a random dog mascot costume at a garage sale. The very idea that something like that made it into a year-end recap tells you all you need to know about the year. On Thanksgiving Day, I tried to do a full 5-mile Turkey Trot with the kids, Edie in the stroller and John on bike. Lauren had to pick up John at the halfway point. Lauren’s family dinner for 4 was nonetheless a masterpiece. On the 27th we put up our tree and other Christmas decor, and on the 28th we drove out to Circuit of the Americas for the drive-thru Peppermint Parkway.
December – Very little happened. We had to have our kitchen cabinets torn out after water damage caused by the dishwasher. Edie enjoyed her first ever dentist appointment. We did 90% of our Christmas shopping online and anxiously awaited deliveries each day. We had a very rare night out with two other couples on the 16th when we went to see Dave Chappelle, Joe Rogan and other comedians at Stubbs BBQ. We had to get rapid COVID-19 tested on-site! We tried to be in the Christmas spirit as much as possible, from taking in light displays to watching every Christmas movie. On the 23rd and 24th I threw caution to the wind with the kids out of school and took them out on the town, from a train ride to Topgolf to an arcade. And then on Christmas Day we opened presents and Zoom’d with both sides of the family. We ended the month by staining our outside fence, nearly two years after doing the inside. On the 29th, I got to take a solo overnight “recharge” trip to San Antonio.
And that takes us to today, New Year’s Eve. With just a few short hours left in 2020, I’m sure there is something else crazy bound to happen. We’re not getting off that easy are we?
Happy new year to all, and thanks for continuing to frequent this blog after all these years!