Posted in Around the House, Organizing, What I Love, Writing

Morning Pages, Day Two

So it’s not morning. Morning was good.  Full of Animal Crossing and kids and happy, human goodness. David came over and we sat on the back patio and chatted online with Steph. We visited each others islands in Animal Crossing and made stuff for each other. We sat around and watched Community, I cleaned the kitchen, we ate some Shells and Cheese. A good day so far.

So now I’m at the computer and looking at my planner to see what I scheduled to write for today. Only I scheduled everything except for the writing. Oops. So here I am planning my writing in my non-morning Morning Pages.

Today: Finish critique for TCG

Tomorrow: Caro’s Quest writing – whatever the next scene needs to be

Wednesday: Getting class stuff together and writing ahead for that.

Thursday: Start work on Chapter 2 Magical PTA

Friday: Finish up work on Magical PTA for LCG submission

Saturday: Start work on The Dreaming end of Ch 5 or beginning of Ch 6

What else? I don’t even know.

Posted in Around the House, Writing

Six Weeks into the Pandemic

It’s about six weeks into the quarantine/social distancing/pandemic. I’ve been thinking about doing Morning Pages for about a week or more now, but never started because I was having bad hand days or Nick was being too loud, etc. Downloaded a template for Scrivener this morning and now I’m off!

Right now I am missing church. I can’t get the Internet to keep going long enough to do a video this morning. I’m actually disappointed about that. I dressed up, got everyone else out of the house, and then nothing. *sigh* At least I have my new keyboard to type on, right? Right. Still getting used to that, though. My left hand fingers feel like they are flying away every time I lift them from the keys.

And now my husband is mowing right outside of the room. This always happens, btw. Not the mowing necessarily, but someone interrupting what is supposed to be my private time. The downsides of a pandemic, first world problems.

Posted in Everywhere But Home, Lifelong learning, My Own Personal Weirdness

What Changes Will I Make Post-Pandemic?

Before all this happened, I didn’t really think of my life as boring. I had my monthly family events (one for each extended family), weekly church, weekly writing groups, biweekly writing groups, PTA board meetings and events, kids marching band events and band concerts, and weekly dates with my husband. I feel like I normally have a really full, busy life. Then I started reading post after post from other people about what they missed in their lives: regular live music events (not involving their children), daily or weekly visits to restaurants or bars with friends, art shows, ballet, opera, races, festivals, farmers markets, fancy charity events, parties, etc. I realized that my life really hasn’t changed that much since we started socially isolating and “wow, my life is so boring.”

Some changes I’d like to make:

  1. Start attending live music events
  2. Start going to my friends art shows
  3. Find some friends that can go out on the nights I have free (this is tricky – there’s only one night I’m free, really)
  4. Start dragging my family out to community festivals on the weekend – there must be some that go on on Sunday afternoons, right?
  5. Start arranging the family visitation calendar so I can start going to the extra events my church puts on (there’s usually at least one a week)
  6. Join a musical group – I’d like to find a singing group because the RA & fibro make it hard to always be able to play instruments.
Posted in Around the House, Computers and Internet, Exercise, Family Time, Lifelong learning, My Own Personal Weirdness, Organizing, Parenting

Our Quarantine Home Life

Sundays are fairly normal. My husband, Nick, gets up around 6:30am and exercises, then I get up and make some breakfast. The midkid and I watch our church service online instead of driving two minutes down the road. Nick and Greg make a grocery list, which Ree and I add to once our church is over. Then Nick goes out shopping for a couple hours while the kids and I do some household chores. In the later afternoon we watch another documentary or play a board game. Sometimes Nick has to work some more. Then the Nick makes dinner, the kids set the table, and we eat dinner. Then it’s time for showers and bed.

On any given weekday, Nick gets up at 5:30am, goes to the living room and exercises with some weights my kid brought home randomly from my dad’s house. He is so thankful for that. I wake up at 6am and grab a cup of tea and a chat with him before he heads off to shower. I read the news until it’s time to swap. After my shower, I dress myself and put on makeup and jewelry because that is one little piece of sanity in my day.

Nick starts work at 7:15am in the home office I rigged up for him from the desk our college kind left behind. It’s perpendicular to my own home office. We hung a curtain from the ceiling between us so our online meeting people don’t have to see the other person in the room. I also need it there because I cannot write if someone is looking over my shoulder. I’m also not used to people being home during the day. I usually spend quite a lot of time alone and I’m going a little bit crazy without alone time.

7:15am is also when I wake up the kids. They don’t wander out until nearly 8am, so I spend time playing the new Animal Crossing Game. It’s very soothing to have someplace to go and other villagers to visit with. My brain doesn’t care that it’s not real. Once the kids come out, we eat breakfast and then take a walk around the neighborhood. I try to pick a different kind of thing to look for every day, just to keep it interesting. Sometimes it’s a kind of tree or a bug or a bird.

When we come back inside, our 7th grader  has an online meeting at 9am. The teacher says its optional, but she also texts me every time he doesn’t show up, so I try to make sure he goes into the Zoom meeting before I leave his room. Then I encourage our 10th grader to look at his assignments. His teachers haven’t posted much at all, so he’s inclined not to check unless I stand there and watch him do it. Since he has 8 classes to check, this takes a while.

At 11am,  I coax the kids away from the computers and we start looking at our lunch options. I’m usually the one that buys the lunch food, but I cannot go out because I’m immunocompromised, so we have to make do with what my husband brings home. He rarely thinks of lunch food. By noon, we’ve come up with something, eaten it, and the kids wander back to their devices for some recreational screen time while I chat with my husband, who has an hour off for lunch. Sometimes instead I hide in our now-quiet bedroom and luxuriate in the fact that no one is speaking to me.

At 1pm, it’s instrument practicing time. Each kid has two instruments, so one plays for 30 minutes, then the other, and then back and forth again. Sometimes I don’t have to monitor this time period. If I can get away with it, I sneak off to do some writing or editing.

From 3-5pm, it’s serious school work time. The middle school teachers have been assigning all the things, so our youngest has a TON of work. The high school kid does not. So I have the youngest ask the middle one for help during this time while I go do my “work hours.” I have a lot of volunteer positions — Secretary for the Tyler Council of PTA’s as well as focus person for Bell, Moore, Lee, and Andy Woods PTA’s when they need help, Secretary for the Lee Band Parents Association, Secretary for the Moore Middle School PTA, Membership chair and Assistant Webmaster for the East Texas Writers Guild, Facilitator for this group. Plus I’m a member of  two critique groups. Some of my groups have successfully transitioned to online meetings, some have not.

At 5pm, I encourage the kids to go play outside or water the garden or weed something. Soon it will be too hot for that, so we may swap our morning walk for yard work, do indoor chores during this time, and take a post dinner walk.

From there, the kids get some non-homework time until dinner set up starts. I usually try to find some artistic thing for them to do or science experiment to run instead of more screen time. Some times it works. Occasionally one of them has an online music lesson during this time.

We eat dinner around 7pm, like we always have. After dinner, it’s time for a family board game or more Animal Crossing, which we play on the big screen together in group mode. Occasionally Nick or I will have an online meeting for one of our groups instead. (He’s on the security and media teams at church and he’s also trying to host online game nights for some of his co-workers who are quarantined alone.)  Then showers for the kids and they are sent off to read in bed until they fall asleep. Nick and I go to bed around 10pm after watching Star Trek: the Next Generation.

Fridays are different because Nick only works half days. We have our eldest son over (he lives alone around the corner from us) and do some take-out for lunch. Then play a game, usually. He goes home afterwards. Then Nick’s been finding household jobs to do to keep him occupied while the kids finish their school days. He’ll make a fancier dinner that night.

Saturdays are pretty normal. We wake up later, sit around reading or playing music on our instruments, then eat a bigger brunch. Nick’s church meets on Saturday, so he and the bookend boys watch the service online while I sneak off to write. Our midkid wanders off to read. After church is over, we have a family dinner and maybe some more board games. Sometimes we watch a documentary together. Then the eldest goes home and we do our nighttime routine.

And that’s our week.

Posted in Around the House, Music

The Saxophone Has Arrived

Have I ever told you the saga of the Christmas Saxophone? Settle in. This story is long and weird.

Sometime in October or so, my sister called up and asked if Kid#3 was still interested in playing the saxophone. This is the kid that so far has learned to play the recorder, the violin, the guitar, the snare drum, the ukelele, the piano, and the flute. Yes, yes, he wants to play saxophone, too. So my sweet sister orders one around the end of October, early November from someone on e-Bay. The expected arrival date at this time was around Thanksgiving.

In December, excuses started pouring into her inbox. “I forgot to mail it when I went to the post office.” “I can’t find a box to fit it into.” “I’m really behind on everything right now. Isn’t Christmas time crazy?” So when the saxophone didn’t arrive by Christmas, no one was really surprised. Disappointed, yes. Surprised, no.

Post Christmas, the excuses stopped coming. My sister kept trying to contact the lady and not hearing back. We despaired of ever seeing this instrument and we told the sax teacher we’d lined up that we wouldn’t be able to take lessons yet.

Sometime in February, my sister got an email that said the sax was on its was on its way. Greg had pneumonia. The coronavirus pandemic hit. Mail delivery started getting weird. We honestly just figured wasn’t coming.

Then yesterday, nearly seven months after she ordered it, the saxophone arrived!

It wasn’t in a box at all. It was in a regular soft-sided case, smelling of motor oil, and wrapped a couple times around with duct tape. We immediately checked that there was, in fact, a saxophone inside the case, and a then threw that nasty, smelly case away. We washed the saxophone as best we could, transferred it to the smaller, gig-bag style case that had sat empty all these months, and then dropped it off curbside at our lovely local band instrument shop. They’ll do a deep cleaning, a tune up, and set us up with mouthpiece, ligature, and reeds before it comes back home with us again.