Our New Normal for Now

It’s hard to believe we are finishing Week 6 of pandemic restrictions in Anchorage.  The orders to hunker down are working, and today we celebrate that no new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Alaska!  Next week our city begins the slow process of reopening, and I pray our numbers remain under control.

In the past few weeks we have established a family routine that works, for the most part.  School remains online until the end of this year, so Maggie and I created a weekly log that both kids use to map out their academics, chores, exercise, and self care.

Maggie spends a lot of time baking, caring for her new chicks, and reading.  She blew through the Twilight series, so we obliged her request to watch all five movies as a family.  She is a better seamstress than me and whipped out a few face masks for donation.  She really misses her friends, but FaceTime helps.  She’s a trouper:  throughout all of this she didn’t complain until I logged her into a virtual orthodontist appointment via Zoom.  Can you blame her?  #awkward

Sam’s piano teacher offers lessons through Google Hangouts, so I still get to hear him play regularly.  Online video games with friends (Rocket League or Fortnite) are his primary social outlet.  His sanity comes from shooting hoops in the driveway  (or it did… more on that in a future post).  His hair was getting obnoxiously long, so he asked Clark to shave it off.  He’s rocking a buzz cut for the first time since 5th grade! #covidcut

(He received a few similar Christmas gifts – thanks to Aunt Kristi for the t-shirt and Grandma & Grandpa Quigley for the hoodie!  As you can see he wears them both!)

Teenagers are social beasts, so we let Sam hike Flattop with some buddies a few weeks ago.  His friend’s parents – who are far more fit than us – tagged along to ensure all social distancing rules were followed.  The boys had such a great time they hiked it twice in the same afternoon, and slid down in garbage bags.  Oh, to be 15 and have that energy again!

Family game night is still our regular evening entertainment.  Our overused dominoes were disgustingly dirty, so Clark decided to give them a good soak and scrub last week.  They emerged sparkly and looking like new.

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Unfortunately, this spawned a covid cleaning spree that didn’t end well:

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Apparently soaking billiard balls in dish soap is not a good idea.  Who knew?  Now the balls all look like they caught the corona, and the 8 ball is nearly indistinguishable from the 2 ball and 4 ball in our dark basement.

Not gonna lie… my husband’s quest to clean our billiard balls confused me.  Messes never bother him!  He is a grillmeister who sprinkles seasonings all over the kitchen counter, a dog lover unfazed by piles of pet hair, and he will happily watch TV through a dusty screen.  So why the urgent need to disinfect pool balls?  I cannot explain, but at least we have a gift idea for his next birthday.

We stay connected to our Nebraska family with phone calls, texts, FaceTime, and Zoom.  On Easter I stole an idea from my friend Nancy:  everyone sent me a picture of their “happy place” and I made a slideshow of all the photos.  During our gathering I shared my screen and we all tried to guess who sent each picture.  The most touching was from our niece Courtney, who sent a photo of her grandma’s house.  Pretty special!!

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I’m thankful that my grandma’s independent living facility is on tight lockdown, but I hate the thought of her sitting alone in a tiny apartment.  She’s used to social lunches, card clubs, and other activities.  Last week my mom smuggled dice through her sliding glass door, and on Friday four generations successfully played Yahtzee via Zoom. Shout out to my octogenarian grandma navigating the tech, and my mom who continues to deliver her groceries and prescriptions during this crazy time.  I wish my Gramma Q had access to Zoom as well!

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I don’t know what’s going to happen in the coming weeks as our city loosens restrictions.  I don’t know if a vaccine or treatment is on the horizon.  I don’t when this is all going to be over, finally relegated to a strange and distant memory.

I do know that staying connected is more important than ever, and it’s one of the few things within the realm of my control right now.  So I’ll focus on that, and try not to fret about everything else.

And for me, that would certainly be a new normal.

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