We have crossed the one year mark when the coronavirus shut down my piece of the world. Last week, Connor returned to in-person school for two days a week and Helen returned yesterday for two days each week. And here's where life is funny. Connor and Helen have different last names. One has a name from the front half of the alphabet and one has a name from the back half of the alphabet. Guess how days of in-person school are decided? Yes. By last name.
But...but...you say, surely there are many families like yours (well, where there are children in families with different last names, not necessarily where two children share two married parents and have different last names) doesn't the school district think of this? Yes, they do. But Connor and Helen are also in two different school districts. And I didn't want to ask any questions or make any demands because I am walking on egg shells at the notion that they are back in a school building, so rather than send a query to see if their days could be aligned, I just accept that they attend school on different days.
At the start of the pandemic, I was fielding calls from several reporters about one set of issues I work on and I am in the midst of fielding calls on another set of issues - and twice now, a reporter has said "you must be so glad your children are back in school" and then I tell them the details and as I explain it, they laugh and we all agree - so 2020-2021. Of course I have a problem that is entirely of my own making and related to me stubbornly not wanting my children to both have their dad's last name. Life comes at you, friends, in ways you can never anticipate.
So...what is it like? Well, truthfully, I look at Helen's desk and more often than not, even on her at-home days, she has abandoned our shared workspace. She notionally comes in, but then she claims to have lots of group work and while I'm not quite sure it's true, I figure we're almost at the end of this nightmare and maybe what she needs now is to have a few wins, and maybe being in her room a little more than I like is that win. Also, I've been trying to take her on walks and to get treats and such more often lately so I'm doing more checking in at other times. Please don't let this backfire.
Connor is a machine. He knows himself and he sits across the room from me for most classes, gleefully telling me how he just crushed some concept that I, more often than not, do not fully understand. But I am good at asking questions and I am interested in what he's doing - because it clearly interests him, so he gets the satisfaction of explaining and I enjoy hearing how he sees different assignments.
The dog was a bit confused by Connor's absence the first couple of days, but she's settled in a bit. But when he comes home from school, she jumps up on him and it is really the best thing in life. She misses Helen as well, but as Helen says, even though she loves Trixie, Trixie barely tolerates her. That's an exaggeration, but Trixie most definitely loves Connor the most.
Ed thinks his office will finally reopen in October. I'm guessing he'll be back before then. He's gotten dose one of the vaccine with dose two coming up next week. I have no clue when my office will reopen, but I suspect it'll be around the same time.
After canceling our trip to Vietnam this year, I decided to plan a trip that felt more like a slam dunk in the times of COVID. We are traveling to a couple of National Parks and then we will raft down part of the Grand Canyon. After that, my parents are driving out to meet us and we'll hang out at a final resort before heading back home. I'm trying to not get my hopes up too much, in case things go sideways, but planning the trip has been a huge boost for everyone in my house. Turns out, living mostly boxed in for a year is hard. I don't recommend.