posts tagged with 'pandemic'

is this the pandemic?

We had a busy day yesterday. Indoor in-person Kids Church started up again—for the first time since March 2020!—and the boys and I left the house at 8:00 so I could be sure to be ready for the 9:15 start time. It went wonderfully, and it was so lovely to be there with the kids doing fuze beads again, but it was a little more involved schedule-wise than turning on the computer for a 45-minute like I was used to for the last year and a half. Then straight from church we headed to a mini-golf course for a birthday party—well, the first part of a birthday party, because after a mostly successful 17 holes (one of them was closed) we headed to the birthday boy's house for a couple hours of backyard socializing. By the time we got home at 5:30 I was wiped out!

I guess we've been doing plenty all summer, so it's not a total departure. But being inside again for church, and the fact that the party was with friends who we've seen much less over the past year and a half than we always used to, made the day feel like one from before the pandemic times. Of course, we were wearing masks all the time we were inside, and there weren't many people at either Kids Church or the party. So maybe we're just getting used to this life?

out of abundance of caution

We had to cancel school today because of illness. Our Friday school group is three families: last night one family's kids were feeling sick with sore throat and runny nose so they decided they'd stay home today; then the other family decided that it'd be safer to stay away too; and that turns out to have been a wise plan because in the middle of the night Zion woke up with a little fever and sore throat. Now, in pre-pandemic days none of these symptoms would have stopped us from doing anything—with such a fun day ahead of us we would have needed to be dying to call it off—but the coronavirus is a whole nother thing. Never mind not wanting to get it: that goes without saying. But almost as bad would be having to tell your friends that you had it and exposed them. How embarrassing!

It's probably nothing. Everybody will probably be all better tomorrow. But I don't mind missing a day. In the old days we probably used to all get each other sick all the time! At least today we spared giving one other family a cold, and that seems worthwhile. And just in case, we have Covid tests to take before church on Sunday!

Bedford Day returns!

Bedford Day was cancelled in 2020 thanks to the pandemic. So was Pole Capping, Fourth of July, and Halloween. Then we also missed Pole Capping and Fourth of July in 2021. So let me tell you, there was some excitement for Bedford Day 2021! It happened this past weekend, and it was spectacular.

Zion watching fireworks

boom!

I don't know if there were more people out than the last time we celebrated as a town, but enthusiasm certainly felt higher as we arrived at the center of town for the parade Saturday morning. We met the same friends as last time—well, mostly, since in the intervening years all the kids have gotten older so some of them are now marching with karate or soccer. So we waved at them. There was a little less candy-throwing than past years but still plenty, lots of which—again—failed to reach the barricades along the side of the street. We didn't let our kids crawl under, but they still managed to get enough to kick off their sugar rush.

the boys and friends watching the boys scout float go by

local color in full flower

Zion, Elijah, and some other kids scrambling for candy at the parade

their instincs kick in

Not that they needed much parade candy, because the fair following the parade was full of sugary treats. Elijah was possessed by the idea of cotton candy so the first thing we did was wait in a long line to get some at $3 a shot (Zion too; Harvey chose a much shorter line for pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream). We felt a little sheepish later when we found another booth with free cotton candy, but that just meant the kids got another hit. We also enjoyed snow cones (free), popcorn ($2), and homemade chocolate chip blondies ($1: much the best deal). Plus we even found time to eat the lunches we brought!

Elijah with a big pink cotton candy

he's been waiting for this for two years

Zion's two best friends were in the karate demonstration this year, so it was extra fun to watch. And there were balloons to play with, and fire trucks to tour, and the library book sale. Elijah got face paint. Then everything started closing down and we went home.

Zion, Elijah, and a friend sitting on little steps eating snowcones

everybody starting to wind down

But unlike past years, that wasn't the end of the festivities! In Bedford we have Fourth of July fireworks only every five years, and we missed our shot in 2020. Never mind, leftover fireworks are much better in September, when the show can start at 7:30! We rejoined our friends—they brought glow sticks!—and the kids ran and played until the sky lit up with the most amazing fireworks display I've seen for at least two years.

more fireworks

now that's a celebration

more

our studio

Today Leah spent some time at recording video for a project. Audio recordings are much more common: we leave the house so she can record her podcast every couple weeks or so. Today the boys were with their cousins all day so it was only me who needed to vacate to make sure the video wouldn't be interrupted, but I didn't mind at all. I know the drill: I made something like 40 video recordings over the course of this pandemic (maybe more! I have no idea really, and I'm too tired to count). But I haven't had to for some time now, since our online Kids Church program—they were all for work—wrapped up in mid-June, and we'll be meeting outside in person this summer (starting this Sunday!). The skills are still there though, as is the simmering frustration at being interrupted in the middle of a good take by someone moving a chair upstairs. So I stayed well away.

When will one of us next need to record a video? Who knows. We may be seeing other people, but there are still some disturbing pandemic signs... our studio will be ready for action for a little while yet.

at church

Yesterday was a big day! Not because it was Fourth of July—though we did celebrate that with dinner at our friends' house, much fun—but because it we went to our first in-person church service since March 8, 2020! Lots of other churches have been open for a while, but we're being cautious: this was our first service, numbers were limited, everybody had to wear masks, and there was no singing. It was still fun to be back, though! Being with lots of other people that I know at least by sight is pretty nice. I've missed it!

It was funny, though, how much we'd forgotten about the whole process. For Elijah, it was hard to even remember what the church building was like. That makes sense: the pandemic closure lasted almost a fifth of his whole life! Leah and I were pretty confident we remembered how to do church, but the length of the drive was a surprise to both of us. We're out of practice taking that long to get anywhere. But nobody forgot about hanging out on the playground afterwards.

what are we doing now with this pandemic?

I don't pay the closest attention, but as I understand it the federal and state governments have abruptly removed most or all of the Covid restrictions we've been living under for the past many months. Which is great! Especially since lots of our friends have birthdays this time of year. But there's also some uncertainty in the air—not to say downright anxiety! For example, while I'm totally fine with wearing a mask I don't love it, especially as it's been getting so warm. Now that I don't have to, outside at least, I'm back to feeling like I did way back at the beginning of this plague: what do I need to do to make the people around me feel comfortable? Like when someone's approaching on the sidewalk: should I put my mask up? Or will that make them think I'm afraid of them and want them to have a mask? Can we just all carry signs indicating our preference?

The kids, of course, aren't vaccinated, nor do they have any immediate prospect of so being. At schools they're now letting the elementary kids have mask-free outdoor recesses, but most of our friends are still more cautious and we're mostly staying masked up for playdates. Which makes sense, since there's a lot more wrestling at homeschoolers' play dates than at your typical school recess. But bike rides are now unmasked. You may have noticed Zion unmasked in the photo heading Sunday's post; as soon as I took it I told him to put his back on. As hard as that is in a water fight. Confusing times.

more

we had a party!

All through the pandemic we've kept up with all our friend groups over Zoom. And of course we have our bubble friends over every week or so. But all that is nothing to the amount of entertaining we did before the plague hit. Well, now that it's maybe drawing to an end—or we're pretending it is, at least—we figured it was time to have a party!

several marshmallows toasting over our fire

what you do when you have a party

Well, it actually wasn't much of a party. Just our church community group, and only half of the families were able to make it. Still, that means there were ten people on our back deck not counting us (and really not counting Leah, who was in bed with a migraine). That's a big deal! It was delightful seeing folks in our space, more delightful even than I imagined it would be. The only problem was everyone had such a great time they stuck around past 8:30, and then there the cleaning up to do. When we met over Zoom I never had to put away chairs!

more

being traffic

I don't love leaving the house in the car, but occasionally I have to—like this afternoon, when I ventured out to Costco to get more flour. There were moments on the trip, both there and back, when I felt like the whole idea of automotive transportation might be a mistake. Like on the way home when I contributed to filling the highway and causing a traffic jam. Traffic is back in Massachusetts the last couple weeks; I guess people are all vaccinated or trust the folks around them are. What's strange is that the stores don't seem to be any more full... I wonder where everyone is going? I did have a thought that maybe the volume of cars wasn't really what it was during rush hour pre-pandemic, but people just have forgotten how to drive on full roads; that came to mind when we returned to highway speed after five miles of traffic without any reason for the slowdown to be seen.

And I did see some specific moments of concerning behavior. On the highway on the way to the store I was in the right lane, as I tend to be, and there was a driver in the next lane over who was so slow one moment that I found myself passing on the right, and then zipped past me the next moment. When this happened a second time I looked over and saw them texting—or anyways doing something very absorbing on their phone. Yikes! Then a couple minutes later I stopped at a red light and was startled to hear screeching brakes as the driver following barely stopped in time to avoid rear-ending me. Maybe they expected me to run the light? All in all, it wasn't super fun, and I'm glad I don't have to leave our little local roads for another week or so!

more

had the new jab

Leah and I got our first covid vaccine shot yesterday. I had expected challenges in getting an appointment—challenges that Leah would face, since she does the communicating with medical professionals in this household—but as it happened her parents' health care place had tons of vaccines to give out, so we got in just about two weeks after Leah first thought to look. And the appointment was really quick and easy too. Plus the shot hardly hurt a bit! Although it did make Leah feel a little sick, and leave us both with sore arms today. We got the Moderna vaccine, so we have to wait a month for our second dose; then we'll all vaccinated on June 10th. Pretty good!

(The title from this post is a reference to a song on Youtube by the Marsh Family: it's really good, you should check it out if by some remote chance you haven't heard it already.)

a momentous day

In former times the library was pretty central to our lives. Both because we all love having a constant stream of new books to look at, and because it's great to have somewhere to go in any sort of weather that's a) not the house, b) inside, and c) free. As I've noted before the second biggest trauma at the start of this pandemic—after having to cancel our long anticipated co-op music day—was that the library closed down before we had a chance to lay in a big store of books. It was my fault; I thought of it on that fateful Friday the 13th but told myself that Saturday morning would be a fine time to browse. Nope: they closed that evening and haven't opened to the public since. Of course, books have been available since last May or so, but in order to get them you had to know what you wanted in advance, put a hold on it, reserve a pickup day and time, and then be there in the specific half hour you put in for. All of those steps are hard for me! Well, the procedure hasn't gotten any easier, but my desire for new books has reached a breaking point (and I've been properly shamed by friends who do regular library pickups) so I'm proud to report that, yesterday evening, we received our first library books in over 13 months.

picture books on our coffee table

library books at our house!

I was super excited to go and pick them up. In retrospect, I could have extended that excitement to the boys by requesting some books that would be particularly delightful to them; I didn't do that. Mostly it's picture book biographies of poets, since that's what I've been thinking about. Still, such is the demand for reading material around here that Harvey has now read every word of all of them (he accomplished the feat in just slightly under 24 hours). Good thing there are more coming! Including some requests from the boys. What I need now is some way for them to access the library website and put in their own holds when they want something... any chance I can manage that before the library reopens for real?

more