We finally got a halfway decent weather day and decided it was time to venture further than our backyard. As we left our garage, we explained the rules to the kiddo. She’s one of those kids who is very tactile. She likes to touch everything, especially to pick up and examine things. The rules: No touching things. No picking stuff up. No hugging if we run into people we know. Stay near mom and dad. And no, sadly, we cannot go to the playground at the end of our block because we don’t know if it’s safe for us to use.

She picked up a stick before we left our yard.

Some parts of our neighborhood, the slightly older blocks, have sidewalk, so we took it. It just feels safer to me. We took nearly the same route we would take when kiddo was an infant. That first summer, when she was between six and eight months old, we walked with her in the stroller almost every night, usually later at night after work. It felt kind of neat to be walking that same path, five years later. It was a surreal walk, too. We encountered people a few times, and everyone observed social distancing, but was friendly. Cars and trucks whizzed by occasionally, but there was noticeably less traffic in the neighborhood, overall. Spring is just getting moving here; the crocuses are blooming and the tulips are out of the ground but no buds are showing yet. I could hear laughter and noise and basketballs being dribbled in backyards here and there, but for the most part, it was very quiet.

COVID-19 Safety Warning sign indicating that Playground equipment is not sanitized.

It was nice, though, to get out of the house. I’m already looking forward to a walk tomorrow and it’s awesome to have something to look forward to right now. Every meeting, workshop, conference and event that was on my calendar between now and late June has been canceled or postponed, including two funerals.

Rumor has it the school closures are going to continue and there’ll be no actual school year. The school board is rapidly trying to figure out if the kids have reliable broadband and a device to use to access the online curriculum that has been developed. I never thought I’d be considering purchasing a Chromebook for a five year-old, but at the same time, I’m incredibly grateful that we have super fast internet and the ability to buy a device of our choosing for her. I’m NOT looking forward to teaching or trying to teach and work full time.

We’re in a state of limbo, just waiting for this wave of disease to wash over our town. And we know it will; we just don’t know when. Or if it’s already here, lurking in every un-sanitized shadow.

My secretary made this comment in a work email today and it rocked me to the core:

It’s possible at least one of us will get sick.

Even though we’re in our fifth year of working together, remotely, we’re examining how we do things, doing more document/process sharing and planning for contingencies we never ever could have imagined.

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