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Pandemic Diary, Week 5

April 27, 2020

This is from about 2 weeks ago. I’m not committing to capturing weekly notes, but I do want a record for myself of life in these weird times. I might post more, but not on any particular schedule.

Day 28 (Monday): (I’m counting from March 16th, since that is when the shelter in place was ordered.) I was on parenting duty most of the morning, had a somewhat low key work call, then was back on parenting through lunch until just before nap. My 1 pm call snuck up on me. It is supposed to be a recurring working meeting that I lead, but I’m not very ready to lead today. It is only with 3 others, so I decide to hold it anyway and check in, since we hadn’t meet in several weeks. We go over status of several items, and walk away with a near term plan, and I move the meeting to be later in the day for future weeks so I don’t have to rush from nap time to a meeting I’m leading. LO sleeps until 4 pm! We do the family walk early, then I work until we break for dinner. I’m still feeling like I’m failing at work, so I do a little more working after LO is in bed.

Day 29 (Tuesday): After coffee and feeding LO, I walk the dog by myself. While he’s doing his business, a coyote starts approaching all casual like, not scared at all. The coyote is still pretty far away down the street, but we high tail it out of there and get home! After an 8-9 am meeting, I am in charge of LO until nap time at 1 pm. It is finally nice out, so we put sunscreen on and go out on the deck. We do bubbles, play with stacking boxes, and sit in the deck chairs and drink water (her) and coffee (me). When we go inside, she has a tantrum about it, pointing at the door and crying. I take her out the front door instead, and we do a stroller walk… which also ends in a tantrum when we arrive home, plus more crying and pointing at the deck. The kid likes to be outside, but I don’t want her to get too much sun.

We play in her room quietly until lunch (leftover chicken tortilla soup, some fruit, some toast). We read/play a bit more after lunch, then it is finally nap time. I make myself lunch and prep for my afternoon meetings. By the time my meetings are over, I’m tired. I still have 45 minutes of work time left in my “shift”, so I stick with it. At 5, we take LO back outside to play with her new water table, which is a big hit. However, a huge tantrum ensues when we have to go in for dinner. It takes a really long time, but eventually T gets her to calm down, and we have dinner. The extended tantrum delayed the whole evening, so it is nearly bedtime. After she goes to bed I answer a few emails – but am too tired to do any serious work requiring brainpower. .

Day 30 (Wednesday): Wednesday is my day to get a lot of work stuff done while T watches LO for most of the day – hooray! I wake up feeling crushed by anxiety, but get started on my day in hopes that making some headway will help my brain. It works pretty well. One meeting is cancelled (yay!) so I power through some more work during that time block. I take a break from 12 – 1 to feed LO lunch and grab some lunch myself. She goes down for her nap easily and the house is quiet for a bit. I continue with my afternoon work, then we all go on a walk, play, eat dinner, do bath time, then LO goes to bed. Due to the sheer amount of time I have blocked off for work on Wednesdays, it feels almost like a “normal” pre-pandemic day.

Day 31 (Thursday): I’m surprised to read something online indicating that we may be eligible for a partial stimulus. I can’t find our tax papers to check, but T confirms a deposit was made into his account. After finding our tax papers, I see that our AGI was lower in 2019 compared to 2018 due to a small amount of unpaid maternity leave, so filing our 2019 taxes early gave us extra money! Wooo! We have again benefited from the ablilty to save a ton of money pretax, lowering our AGI, making us eligible for the stimulus.

I’m on morning duty with LO, nearly until nap time. The Water Wow book is a hit for a while, then we head out on a walk, more playtime, then lunch. T takes over caring for LO just before nap, while I jump into a few calls, then a bit of spreadsheet work. We go on our family walk and decide to get takeout Thai from a local restaurant. It is my first time leaving the house (aside from walks), as T has handled errands so far. I leave a generous tip, and the food is delicious. We get through dinner and bedtime, and I take care of some more work to try to prep for my meeting the next morning.

Day 32 (Friday): I have an 8 am meeting with some Colorado coworkers, with whom I’ve long interacted with mostly via Zoom. I now feel the communication playing field is level since we are ALL on Zoom now.

At 9:30, LO has her first Zoom call! Her daycare teachers randomly set up a zoom session for the class. About 5 other families join, along with her 3 main teachers. She’s a little overwhelmed/shy, but enjoys the songs, the book, and seeing her friends. We are surprised when she exclaims the name of one of her friends when he pops up on the screen. I do not think she could say his name 5 weeks ago when she last saw him! She’s talking so much more.

I have an 11 am meeting, then take over feeding LO and putting her down for her nap. She naps well while we both work. I’m feeling super burnt out by the week and hoping to get enough done to avoid working the weekend. LO is not in a great mood after her nap, getting upset easily. We feed her dinner, and put her down for bed just a few minutes earlier than usual since she seems very tired.

Summary:

After several weeks, it is starting to feel almost normal to be at home. My work has clarified that we don’t have to take official leave, as long as we are still working each day – even if our hours are reduced. This is great, but there are basically no major tasks that I am able to remove from my plate. I’m strongly avoiding taking on anything new and avoiding meetings that I don’t need to be in. My leads are flexible with deadlines where they can be, but with no end in sight, pushing deadlines only works to a point. We think the local shelter-in-place allows us to hire in home babysitting help, so we’re going to look into that in the future.

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