Updated: Apr 20, 2020
I want to Travel but I can't. Now What?
I couldn’t wait to get to spring break. I was literally counting down the days until we could pile into the car and drive up to New York. This would be our first real road trip in the new vehicle. Time to give it some miles and see how it takes to the open road! So much to look forward to....Time with family! Good food 🌟🌟🌟 Change of scenery, new memories and new stories to tell! All of this waiting as the days ticked down and we started packing.
I had done some road trip shopping! I had stopped off at a grocery store by work that I don’t usually go to, and just hit a ton of deals! Now my oldest son Wes was not going to be able to make the trip as work has gotten more demanding lately :-) we were OK with this. So being a good mom I grabbed all of our favorite road snacks and a few things to hold him down at home. I was feeling really good about grabbing the largest pack of toilet paper that would hold him over till we returned.
Work recently had been extra stressful. Why? Who knows! Tension was in the air. While I am typically very even natured I was becoming irritated. I could feel it in my bones. And my daughter, who never gets sick, was dealing with this weird cough/cold/allergies that she couldn’t shake. Where did it even come from? None of us had symptoms but my daughter had been back-and-forth to the doctor three times which is more than she’s been to the doctor in the last five years! I can count on one hand the number of times she has ever needed antibiotics. And I was glad she was taking them, but still with little improvement. I had begun to think she had pneumonia the way she would cough at night. They changed her prescription a few times and everything gave a little relief but this was dragging on an unusually long time now! It was starting to get old. I started to think she just needed to get out of the house and was really looking forward to her getting a vacation from work. She had only taken a few days off during the ordeal and I really thought that once she had a change of scenery she would snap out of it!
The news was getting louder and louder
I wasn’t worried about a virus. I know we have strong immune systems.... but.... what about my Uncle. The person opening his home to us looking forward to us visiting. We are kind of like the life of the party, bringing back food laughing telling stories dancing in the kitchen all that good stuff... he knows we will cook and clean. He probably has a mountain of laundry already waiting- but- how many heart surgeries has he had? He is the definition of Immuno compromised and I have to ask myself a couple of questions.
Could we infect him?
Would our visit put his health at risk?
If he got this virus, would he survive it??
I thought about the scenarios of us going and visiting other friends and family, while in NY and the possibility of exposing him to a virus he would never meet, because he rarely leaves the house. We would definitely be out – even if we had to cancel our city expedition… and Washington DC on the way up… what if we still brought the virus right to his door? Ugggh I had the PERFECT trip planned!!!!!!!!!
There are supposed to be cherry blossoms and museums, monuments and art work - history and even a FREE hotel room!!! Perfect trip. I can taste it.
My sister sent a text. “are you still planning to go to New York?” I decided to see what her concern was. And her voice mirrored my thoughts.
So I decided to call my uncle.
Because on the flipside of all this who knows how long he’ll live without the virus? What if we never get to see him and then he would’ve passed away without this last visit?
And he was 100% not worried “oh honey you’re being ridiculous just get up here”.
We are now one day away from packing the car and getting on the road. But I was feeling really heavy. I made a couple calls/messages to family and friends up in Long Island who all confirmed that the shelves were bare, people are scared, and this is not a time / place to enjoy a vacation! Not even to visit family? Really? I tried to picture it.
Every resentful thought I could think….
….and then I went into home mode.
Well if we are going to be stuck at home we are going to make the best of it damn it!
I was planning for one week of spring break being at home, and the news was already talking about possibly not returning for a week or two after school. Other Counties were prolonging the return, other states were closing schools. So I ran out early in the morning and did one big food shop. I had taken that Friday March 13th off months ago because that was to be our drive out day. I got whatever I could while our own Floridian shelves were going bare, I just planned to stay home and stay- cation.
On the way home I did a drive by of Lowes and grabbed the things we would need to make our vegetable garden grow. It had been on my to do list for a while and there just hadn’t been time before this.
Come to think of it....I had a few things on my to do list so I grabbed a few other items to do some home projects that have been waiting.
I did not know on March 13 when we did not leave to go to New York that over a month later we would have a World emerging from a COVID 19 takeover - where this virus is scaring people into giving up life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, in the name of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness! What a strange political debate. What skewed data. How about those charts. And science what??
We are fine. We are at home. I am a teacher/ Instructional Coach now working remotely and being paid to do my job on the computer all day. (Not my choice by any stretch) zoom meetings, parent contact logs, remote trainings... after an additional “do not report week” we got settled in pretty quickly with the new systems. Just off and running.
The kids are fine. It’s not easy to do school remotely when it’s not your preferred method of learning but we are all managing. I don’t have a senior missing graduation. Thankfully, because I would seriously be crying. I am sad for those who lose their moment on the stage! They earned it. I do have an 8th grader very disappointed grad bash and athletic awards are being skipped. (He was the fastest 400 meter dash runner ever at his school.) I don’t have a lack of anything. My son and daughter both have their jobs thankfully, they are "essential". What an interesting word. Necessary to work and worth the risk? If we had lost income I’d be one of these people taking to the streets to protest, but I’m too busy for that. My job takes longer now because I’m trying not to let tasks build up too much. I am working later. It’s just an email, which turns into more time working and less time “at home” while I’m in the comfort of my home.
So what have we done???
Before they shut the beaches and began to “enforce” the stay at home order we had a few glorious days with perfect weather. I was out in the river paddle boating and socially distancing simultaneously with a good friend of mine. The wild life seemed to enjoy our company too. Dolphins, manatees, pelicans, jumping fish, we do live in paradise. Those moments bought me back to reality and helped me appreciate where we live. As I was watching the videos of New York slip into chaos I was wondering why I had wanted to even go there in the first place. 80° perfect days, and I truly began to feel like I was on vacation in paradise realizing I was just moments from my house and with my friends! God is good. And there was yoga. Just a couple of well-timed classes before they shut all that down too. Others were already fussing at me for still being “out” but we were following all the social distancing recommendations and all of us were healthy.
Have I mentioned I’ve never been a homebody? (Hence the whole road trip/ travel blog obsession) I don't sit still well.... or allow those around me to either (sorry kids)!
I say that with the disclaimer that I DO love a good day at home in pajamas coming and eating and watching good movies and not having to do anything – every once in a while.
Down Time can be glorious!
But clearly the message was getting louder to stay home. Literally at your home. Ok fine. I can do that too.
But I quickly had to change my mindset from being stuck at home to being happy to be at home because remember my whole philosophy in life is wherever you are enjoy the moment.
What if we had time to do all of the things we never have time for?
~ Early Childhood ~ Almost immediately seeing friends and families go into the turmoil of homeschooling – which was never a preference for these families – I added a bunch of my own favorite links to my savvysinglemamatravels site. I started a new page for all things Early Childhood. My own kids were using this too! Friends and families who were still working and having kids at home were asking "what's a good site for..." I put all my favorites together. Mostly because schools were not yet putting out a plan – once they did, my links were no longer needed. But they are still there, with lots of great virtual field trips and fun sites to explore. See Link here.
Then I started REMOTE coaching/ Teaching.... which is hard in a house with teenage boys at home. For my first team Zoom meeting (with all 3 of my bosses) I asked my kids to take the dog outside and just stay outside for an hour. This way there would be no music or yelling in the back ground, or you know boy noise. Well they did stay out an hour, but the meeting ran over and two sweaty shirtless teenagers walked right behind the laptop live meeting, right after we discussed making sure your environment is conducive to your students and families and there is nothing inappropriate going on.... it was ok, by bosses laughed and the timing was so good they said, "kind of like that" but that was my cue to limit those live feeds, and if they had to be live - face a corner!
But it's hard to teach Pre- School (VPK) remotely.
These kids are not yet even navigating computers. So one thing we discovered was class dojo's video feature. We were all uploading video's of our favorite book or lesson. This became more fun as we all encouraged and inspired one another.
Oh so I started a youtube channel so I could share my lessons easier.
~ Garden ~ I was planting. I planted bunch of seeds in a container I knew I’d have no room to transplant if they did grow. And they did. My oldest saw someone recycling wood around the corner and we went and grabbed the planks off the road side and turned their trash into our new garden bed! Then we transplanted the collard greens and were really excited to see our garden growing. Bananas were coming and also mangos. You know what? We watered EVERYDAY. What a nice way to start or end your day – watering your trees and plants. We don’t usually get to really take that time. But we’d had no rain and someone had to do it!
This is last years garden, and again a month later.
A little more of the things we watered....
~ Back Yard National Geographic ~ I forget how beautiful it is here!
More time just being outside means seeing all the other things that live in your space!
Watching the wild life at home is becoming a bit of a past time. The birds are great. I have three blue jays that chase attack any squirrel daring enough to run across the phone line - still haven't gotten a picture of video of that but I've seen it now 4 times so I know its a real thing. Also, some cool critters out here! This guy can stay - he is a harmless rat snake that will help me keep the yard free of pests! Yaay! We stalked him a little and got great video.
Exercise & Mindset – It increases immunity. Now is a great time to spend 20 minutes a day doing some form of something? Yoga, cardio, dance fitness, stomach exercises… I saw a few people doing live free training's and was taking full advantage of their work outs! But the point that stuck with me is – EVERY DAY do something physical. My goal, a strong core and heart, can be touched every day in some capacity. But now that I can do a morning yoga after zoom conferencing, it’s so convenient. The time I spent NOT driving to work – I can spend stretching and meditating. Sitting on the floor just having some affirmations and gratefuls. I don’t get up later, my body is programmed to get up around 5:15. But I can spend those few minutes taking deep breaths and getting my mind set. I can drink my tea as I turn on the computer. I can eat more easily too… the kitchen is 14 feet from the desk and I can refill my water, do lunges on the way to the fridge and plank in between calls.
I've had the best views from my yoga mat ever and discovered I like it out in nature even more.
Garage ~ When I stopped teaching at the end of the 2018 school year, I had planned to move to a Kindergarten class when returning from Summer Break. I’d moved all the contents of my classroom to another building and brought some of my belongings home. Well, over the summer I was hired as an Instructional Coach for the district so I ended up returning for my boxes. And they’ve since sat stacked all over the garage. I intended to sort and organize then give away or save as appropriate... well after 2.5 weeks of being at home I finally realized it wasn't going to sort itself. Each day we did a little more rearranging, sorting, resorting, and designating. That was fun! But very difficult to start because I knew how time consuming it would become, and also I knew it would make me want to do many other things out there in the garage. And we agreed to spend 30 minutes a day out there. Organizing our space.
(I will spare you the pictures of the mess - and the sweatiness)
Good will ~ Piles will be donated if we can ever donate house hold items. We have sorted and cleaned out closets, including the pantry and the bathroom drawers! While the garbage’s were over flowing and I prayed Please don’t stop waste collection… some of it really just needed a new home. New piles in the garage now waiting to leave!
Meals ~ I am usually good for 2 – 3 dinners a week on average. I try to make a meal last 2 days. I never cooked every night. Well, I had decided to learn some new recipes and people were sharing favorite meals… so we as a family made several fun things to eat.
My son Josh taught me how he makes his favorite steak recipe. He also made beignets and also macaroons. I meanwhile learned to make lentil soup and worked on adding more veggies into some of my favorite recipes. I also cooked every night for like 20 days straight, making it a goal to feed the family a varied and delicious meal each day. I’m usually too busy. Now dinner is a priority and a highlight. Then I did take a couple days off of cooking. We are not ones for eating out, we typically eat at home, this is one of my “travel money saving” methods. But half way through April, one day when I literally couldn’t take it anymore I sent my son to pick up our favorite Japanese steak house dinners and while they were gone I set the table, but on Asian music and transformed the dining room into a nice little restaurant. That was fun.
Fixing it up ~ My front room got transformed into my office. It was already a “study” but making it an office was more official. Setting up and organizing all of the folders and papers I brought home from work was a little depressing at first but once I had it done, it was comforting.
Then came the spaces…. Closets got cleaned. Cabinets. Unmated socks got dumped. The Tupperware cabinet even got a remodel. We put up some shelves, we looked at spaces and decided how to make them better. The front porch got a little face lift. And areas that sometimes get a quick dusting once a month were getting deep cleans once a week. Wow. House Beautiful emerged! I remembered, I LOVE my home.
Movie time ~ Why not watch all the Marvel movies in order?
Did you know the hulk was originally NOT Mark Ruffalo??
Did you like Iron Man 3?
We did start having nightly movies and gathering on the couch!
Aaahhhh family traditions – Aren’t they getting too big anyway for egg dying and hunting? This is the first year we didn’t do it. Or baskets for all. I put one community basket on the table full of our favorite candies. Why? Maybe to save money. Maybe to make a religious statement. We know Jesus was arrested after the last supper which was on Passover. So we celebrated Passover. (This is not the first time we’ve done that) We ate matzo ball soup, and broke unleavened bread. We read from the bible and had a history of religion video. And we ate. I still made food on Easter Sunday. And we had some more History of Religion Videos… but this was definitely not the family event we usually share. What will we do in the future remains to be seen.
This video series has been very informative and connects the dots we'd never realized!
School ~ aaahhhh…. We have discovered how treasured our teachers are. That they are more than test preparation and walk straight in line regulators. Suddenly Teachers became the most revered professionals on the planet. And while I was learning to adapt and navigate a new way, my own children sat a room away at the kitchen table trying to get used to all their classes suddenly being on line. My own kids are doing their studies on their computers, and I am behind them learning about math and physics, and gaining a FULL appreciation of ALL these subjects but mostly of the people teaching them! How genius and inventive they have been with the work! Keeping students interested from afar is a real challenge. Especially at this point in the year. And now - We are not returning. Sadness fills my heart for students. The good thing is it is ALL of them.
Yet we make the best of it. Can they log in? Can they engage with the class still? Most of them yes. So we are trying to make it fun and engaging. We are sharing some fun stories and lessons. Hopefully this time is spent on some quality time and life skills, and I have had to switch my way of thinking/ teaching. Although it looks easy - this is NOT ideal. First: Find quiet place for lesson. Second: Record it until it comes out right. Third: Share. REPEAT.
Thoughts to Remember: Daily Mantras for success:
** Prepare don’t despair **
Put your energy into being proactive about what ever is causing you anxiety
** Focus on what I can control **
So much of these circumstances right now do not require my opinion or attention. I am focusing on the things I can use my energy right now to improve or complete.
** I am OK **
I remind myself of this several times a day.
I am ok, my kids are ok, I have a beautiful home, and thank God we are all healthy. If I want better health I have options. Better food, more sunlight and exercise - getting enough sleep! I can manage this.
** How can I make it better? **
By NOT participating in the panic. I can smile and stay grounded. I can remain who I am and not join the wave of hysteria. I plan ahead as well as I can, if I need to go out, I grab everything I can to not need to make another trip. Fortunately, my area has not had too many direct cases, my zip code as of today had like 9 confirmed cases... So yeah, stay healthy.
** But.. But… But…. – But it’s going to be ok. I know in my heart I will always make the best of what I have and I will never be out of options. The patterns in my own life have proven that windows close and doors open. Things do change. Struggle builds character. I have to maintain my spirit and soul and the world has to deal with itself as well. Did I mention my daughter's job later made a press release that they did have one confirmed case and that the employee who did not tell them right away about the status of illness did self quarantine? That leads to many more questions including - was that strange upper respiratory thing you had going on what all this fuss is about?
** Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, Give to God what is God's **
We read this during our Passover/ Easter study. And wow that hit home.
Sometimes there are conflicts between church and state – or more specifically – spiritual and physical worlds. We are definitely living in some "special" times, and this calls for you to know your own beliefs. Do not be deceived. You can not make others believe you, in fact I am not trying to change anyone’s minds. However, I know firmly where I stand in my own, and that gets stronger every day. Another blessing of the extra time: More reading and understanding our biblical history. Faith is more necessary than ever so my next mantra…
** If you're waiting for someone to give you your Health, you've missed the point of your LIFE **
This is an inside job.... You are a living breathing being.
Health comes from with in. No shot or pill can fix you - do the work yourself.
Every single substance you put into your body comes with side effects. Some good. Some bad. So you decide what is working or not - do not give away your power. Claim your being, raise your energy, and live a more quality life. Don't be afraid of how powerful you really are. Embrace your SELF and claim your existence. YOU make your own path and journey. Get to know your own body better and listen to what it is telling you.
** Feed Faith and Starve Doubt to Death **
How do you feed your faith?
Remember faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain. Which translates to you – if you have faith at all – you are empowered to over come. With out restriction.
**You are in this world and not of it**
** You are a spiritual being having a human experience, not a human being having a spiritual experience **
Remember WHO you are. You have a purpose.
**Be not afraid**
Is stated 365 days in the bible, once for each day. There are no asterisks for reasons to fear.
And finally, I came across this while scrolling.
It makes me count my blessings.
WE ARE NOT IN THE SAME BOAT ...
I heard that we are all in the same boat, but it's not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.
For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others, this is a desperate financial & family crisis. For some that live alone they're facing endless loneliness. While for others it is peace, rest & time with their mother, father, sons & daughters. With the $600 weekly increase in unemployment some are bringing in more money to their households than they were working. Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales. Some families of 4 just received $3400 from the stimulus while other families of 4 saw $0. Some were concerned about getting a certain candy for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk and eggs for the weekend. Some want to go back to work because they don't qualify for unemployment and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine. Some are home spending 2-3 hours/day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending 2-3 hours/day to educate their children on top of a 10-12 hour workday. Some have experienced the near death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others don't believe this is a big deal. Some have faith in God and expect miracles during this 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come. So, friends, we are not in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different. Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing. We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey. Unknown author
Think about this: What's your boat look like?
And Don't let the world scare you to death
#remoteteaching #Imissmyclassrooms #Homeschoolfordays #thiswasnottheplan #Wemissedtwotripsalready #homeiswheretheheartis #Stayfocused #savemoneyforlater #staycation #backyardnationalgeographic #snakesbirdsandgardening #plantingisfun #savvysinglemamatravels