This was also vacation day 2 for me. A vacation I intended to use working on the house.
My nearly 102-year-old grandmother’s assisted living facility is on complete lockdown. Despite repeated attempts to call her, I cannot get anyone to answer the phone. Why doesn’t someone put an Amazon Echo device in her room so I can use the drop-in feature?
I made a one-hour drive around Knoxville to pick up free food as encouraged by my big boss who is footing the bill. Thank you! Many people appear to be going about life as normal.
The rest of my day was spent working on a webpage that I cannot seem to get to load in less than 112 seconds.
This day was spent working. I’m fortunate to have a job that allowed me to work out of the basement in various stages of disrobe (get that picture out of your head) for 12 years. So, I worked all day long on a frustrating optimization project. I improved the code I wrote 4 years ago but ultimately it came down to a data issue.
I had a one-hour outing to make a run to Kroger (grocery), Barnes and Noble (a chocolate chip cookie), an adult store (lube and wishful thinking), and CVS drive-thru (medicine). Okay, one of these is made up.
I finished the evening making a screencast for another client and watching an episode of Locke and Key with my wife. An amazing show aside an amazing woman!
My wife made me rethink our family’s status in this pandemic.
My MIL works with the general public in a demographic that believes coronavirus is a hoax (are these the same people who believe we never landed on the moon?). She came to the house yesterday for social visit after shopping at Costco.
I went to hot yoga yesterday to sweat in a sealed-up room recycling the air of 20 people crammed together and will probably go a couple of times again this week.
My wife remains isolated in the house but is in contact with all of us high-riskers.
My eldest son works the cash register at a pizza joint that has run out of cleaning supplies and all his coworkers believe this is a hoax. He is spraying Lysol on the pen and cash as he interacts with the customers.
My eldest daughter works at an airport.
My middle son is on mandatory work from home. He lives with my MIL and joined her at Costco and the social visit yesterday.
My youngest daughter is house-sitting for my eldest daughter and hanging out in the Asheville mall.
My youngest son is addicted to working out at the YMCA.
We are not going to escape this plague.
Since I work in technology, this Saturday, I continue working.
My wife is already irritated at my presence and wishes I would go back to the office.
Today, the president of the United States declared a national emergency in response to a worldwide pandemic. The pandemic is decimating Italy. China is in bad shape. This is playing out like a post-apocalyptic zombie movie. Of course, many Republicans are calling the whole thing a hoax. They’ve their minds.
I’ve spent the past half a decade trying but failing to make our household self-sufficient but I’m in the wrong tax bracket. It’s very difficult to garden and generate your own power and supply your own water when you work night and day and barely scrape by.
Amy is in Asheville house-sitting for her sister and her SO who are camping in the woods. Those three are safe for now. Tommy is working at Dominoes dealing with the general public so he cannot self-isolate and is the highest risk of being patient zero in our home. Evan is out of school for Spring Break but wants to go to the gym every day. We are going to have to work on him to convince him that tasks like chopping wood are just as good as the gym. Noah is on mandatory “work from home.” We haven’t let Cathy out of the house in a year so she is used to being shut-in and will lead us through this. I’m on vacation for the week.
What next? I’m spending the evening cooking food.
In a crowded room
Surrounded by people
Mark this day. I am at a turning point in my life.
Dog paces then stops and stares at me.
I respond by grabbing my phone to text one of the children requesting they walk the dog.
As I type, I tell the anxious dog, “Hang on. I’m getting you an Uber pooper.”
Very exciting! What shall I grow?
Vacation ends with my todo list more full than it began. This is a binary year…it will either be astoundingly amazing or godawful. I do not see a middle ground. I would kill for a few hundred thousand in the bank and a year off from work. I really want a reboot to regroup and assess what I want to do with the next decade. A month-long meditation retreat would be amazing.
I am simultaneously excited about 2020 and terrified. I have big plans and have documented the anticipated year in a spreadsheet. Let’s hope the plan works.
I awoke this morning spooning the dog who turned her head and gave me a sloppy French kiss. I don’t even want to wager a guess as to the omen this is for 2020.
Yesterday, I spent the day trying to plan the year. I made it partially into January. I’ve had a nice relaxing break. 2019 was a great year! Still felt like I was on George Jetson’s treadmill all year. Cue comic moment when movers discard the 2019 treadmill, slide in the 2020 treadmill, and place me and my coffee atop it.
In scouting, we take a full day to a full weekend to plan the next 15 months. In my personal life, our planning is a bit more ad hoc. Granted, we are usually well booked several weeks in advance. However, my idyllic vision of family life has our family attending weekly family meetings (Sunday post-dinner) to discuss the week and the coming month with a high-level view of the months to follow. The reality is my wife keeps our calendar. We always have the next 4-5 weeks on a dry erase board by the front door. And schedules are coordinated via text messages and shouts as people rush out the door.
On this last day or 2019, I have decided to plan all of 2020. I am setting goals for the year, the months, and the weeks. I am planning meals for every day of the year which should give me the ability to better plan our grocery shopping and couponing. If I can cut out food bill in half of 2019’s then I will be thrilled. I also plan to be serious about growing my own food this year too. I learned much last year and now it is time to put that in practice. At a bare minimum, I don’t want to have to buy another store tomato for the rest of my life. I am listing the Knox County School calendar, specific school calendars, my work calendar, the scout calendars, and the church calendar. I am blocking off time for sharpening the saw for physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual development. And I have time set aside for each of the seven roles of mine (husband, father, homeowner, employee, entrepreneur, scoutmaster, volunteer). Next, I will fill in all the dates which I do not control such as school holidays and federal holidays. I will list birth days and anniversaries. Then I will begin filling in extraneous information. Then I will drink scotch and let the whole chaos wash over me as I begin my longing for 2021.
I find myself decision impaired. Mark the property lines? Finish the shed? Buy food for the year? Recharter the scout troop? Clean house? Repair the drip in the shower? Find the leak in the kitchen? Replace the dishwasher? Repair the car? Rest? Relax? Plot? Plan? Take the dog to the dog park? Land a rover of the moon? Learn Spanish? Automate the house? Decide on meals for 2020? Make a personal mission statement? Work on freelance jobs? Work on my budget?
Crawl under the covers….
The year 2019 concludes. As I look ahead, I see an interesting and busy year ahead. My daughter of 17.5 years will go off to college. I have a mere half a year to complete all the parental dreams I had for her. There will be a ton of work to do in scouting. I want to increase cash flow into the house which could mean a career change or placing more emphasis on my side work of freelancing or my personal websites. I’m toying with taking some classes at the University of Tennesee. And, of course, home improvements. I want all the home projects finished. I also want more family time. More travel.
Son: “Dad, you should get up at 5am and cook breakfast. You handle sleep deprivation better than I do.”