BulgingButtons

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Shut Down Checklist

When I was an undergrad, my university had a poster listing “100 things to do before you graduate.” It was fun to fill in the tiny boxes, and when there was nothing to do (other than study, of course) that poster provided some ideas. I was reminded of that poster as I stood in my kitchen the other morning thinking about my upcoming day. There were two online meetings, a pan of brownies to be baked, and some laundry to finish up. Throw in a mid-morning dog walk, and an afternoon swim, plus some grading, professional reading, and a webinar, and you have a full day. Three months ago I could not have imagined that a regular Friday would look like this, but things are anything but regular.

Without further fanfare I present my checklist. During the shut down have you…

baked banana bread

spent more time on social media than ever

completed a jigsaw puzzle

ordered online groceries

cut your own hair

dyed your own hair

binge watched Tiger King

cleaned out your pantry and threw away expired products

rediscovered a show you used to watch

cleaned out a closet

participated in a virtual happy hour

reached out to an old friend

scrubbed something gross that you hadn’t realized was that gross

alphabetized your spices

finished a long unfinished household project

made one or more facemasks

ordered something online that you couldn’t just go pick up

participated in a car parade

reorganized a bookshelf

bought a thermometer

noticed the teddy bears in your neighbors’ windows

washed your hands until they cracked

attempted to bake bread (bonus if it’s sourdough)

chalked a sidewalk with a positive message

participated in a group challenge/project

bought more toilet paper than usual

tried a new recipe

got take out from a local restaurant

overtipped delivery people

gotten crafty

used up a whole container of hand cream

rode your bike through your neighborhood

cried for a stranger

looked through old photo albums

learned to use Zoom

played board games

unfriended/unfollowed anyone on social media

stayed in pajamas all day

spent more time playing with your pet

ordered something from a small business to help keep them afloat

read a novel

made homemade soup

tried to teach your kids

done an errand for a friend/neighbor

stayed up too late

been grateful for your health

sang as your washed your hands

planted a garden

learned to use Tik Tok

participated in an online course/class

gone for a hike

gone online “live” in your pajamas

worn a mask in public

thought to yourself, “hey, that person should be wearing a mask…”

wiped down groceries

painted a wall

done a dance challenge

rediscovered an old app like Candy Crush

updated your resume

spent more time watching/reading news

worked out in your living room

spent less time watching/reading news

carved out a home workspace

planted flowers

worried about paying your bills

cleaned out your freezer

volunteered in your community

wrote in a journal

used curbside pick-up

started a project you have no intention of finishing

told essential workers “thank you”

participated in an online birthday party/baby shower/bridal shower

rearranged your linen closet

learned your neighbors’ schedules

thrown away leftovers

updated your life insurance policy

avoided pants with a button

given yourself a manicure/pedicure

realized you spend way too much time on social media

actually missed going to work/school

weeded your yard

gained newfound appreciation for your loved ones

tried to get your pet to do that cute/funny thing that you saw on YouTube

learned how to do a home improvement chore

slept too much

cancelled travel plans

created meaningless lists

And that’s where I think I’ll stop. No, I haven’t done all of those, but maybe more than I’d care to admit. How about you? How is your lockdown going?


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Confessions of a Cooped Up Teacher 4

Day 18: April 8, 2020

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Walking the dog. Walking her again. And again. And again.

Hours at the dining room table, covered in papers, notebooks, sticky notes, and tech.

Bleary-eyed from wearing glasses for so many hours of the day. Remind me to get my eyes examined. After.

Cooking from the freezer and the pantry. Weighing the urge to pick up groceries against the fear of picking up the virus, and deciding to stay home. To stay safe.

Learning to use Zoom, then not using Zoom. Learning to use Google Meet, then learning how to get rid of that echo. That horrible echo. Learning how to conduct online meetings with nine year olds who are just happy to see one another, and hopefully me.

Learning to sleep through the night in spite of my increased anxiety. Learning to avoid napping in the afternoon as an escape (which in turn messes up the sleeping at night).

Trial and error creating masks. Wearing my mask. Making one for my sweetheart and my son and his roommate and my aunt… Being productive. Helping. At least in a small way.

Appreciating nail technicians. Pedicures are so much more than the polish. I always tip them well, it’s a job I would not want, but I will tip more when I go back. After.

Thinking about everything I see and read in terms of social distancing. Starting to get anxious on those dog walks. Even while wearing my mask.

Appreciating my home. Knowing I have it easy. Appreciating the safety and space and comfort it provides. Appreciating my job and my sense of purpose. Appreciating others who are doing far more and making do with far less.

Waiting. Waiting for this thing to wrap up. For it to stop taking lives. For it to stop interfering with lives. For it to stop ruining lives. Waiting for it to end. Waiting to see the world come alive again.

 


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Getting My House In Order

So far 2020 has been the year of “cleaning up.” What does that mean for me? Well, it’s multifaceted, which is my fancy way of I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to do too many things and not doing any of them particularly well. Let’s break that down a bit further, and see where things really stand.

Home: This is what I first think of when someone talks about getting their house in order. I suppose I’m a bit of a simpleton, going for the literal meaning, but that’s the way my brain works. My house is still undergoing a transformation. My beautifully remodeled bathroom is done, but the rest of the house still hasn’t quite recovered. I sort of think of it as having gone through a major surgery. Everything looks okay, but there’s still some healing to do on the inside. I did have friends over, so that gave me a jump start on some of my delayed cleaning up projects, but there’s still so much to do.

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Not my actual house.

Finances: I’m actually doing pretty well with this one. I’ve been reading some self-help books and following some of their “Law of Attraction” types of advice, which really can’t hurt, and things have been going well. My credit card is paid off, my retirement is funded, and my bills are paid. Now to do my taxes. UGH.

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Not my actual money.

Relationships: These have been going pretty well too. There are some far away friends I need to reach out to, and some closer to home who I haven’t seen or heard from in a while, so there’s that. Family is good, the kid is good, the sweetheart is good, and the dog… well, she’s the best.

dog

Not my actual dog.

Work: I’m a little scattered here. When our schedule gets a bit mixed up everything sort of falls apart, at least that’s how it feels. We’re experiencing that right now due to field trips and artist-in-residence experiences. These are all terrific learning opportunities for our kids, but they mean major schedule changes, and, this is a biggie, I have to teach math. I can teach math. I’d just rather not. I have colleagues who are experts at this, I am not. Still, we’ll muddle through. And then there’s my national board process. I need to light a fire under that.

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Not my actual plan book.

Well, as expected, when I put it all on paper it doesn’t look quite so daunting. Make a few phone calls, straighten up here and there, and review the lessons before teaching them, and I’ll be all caught up. Oh yeah, and do that little national board thing. Wish me luck, I’m going to need it.