pandemic diaries: the first two weeks

Oakland's school district announced on March 13th that schools would close for 3 weeks* (2 weeks + Spring Break). Since then, it's been a whirlwind couple of weeks of 13-14 hour nonstop days, redefining work-life balance/integration, figuring out how to work from home, which I always do, but with the kids home, too. Ah, to homeschool or not homeschool, that was the question! Following up on this post, here's a round-up of how the first couple of weeks went. (*By the way, since beginning this post earlier this week, all Bay Area school districts have announced that schools will be closed until at least early May. Given the school year ends for us at the end of May, I'm not holding my breath that things will return to any kind of normal before fall.)

As my Grandma pointed out when I called her last weekend, I'm a "planner" so, while a lot of other parents were treating this like an extended cross-country flight (translation: unlimited snacks and screentime), I created a schedule, inspired largely by the National Day Calendar. I should add that, while this is an unprecedented situation and we're well into uncharted territory by now, parents in Oakland have had a small preview of this due to wildfires and resulting smoke, scheduled power outages to prevent said wildfires, and a 10-day teacher strike last spring. In other words, this ain't our first rodeo. With that, here's what I've done to supplement my kids' instructional plans being sent home daily/weekly:
  • Made a couple of art ASMR videos, here and here. (Is art ASMR a thing?)
  • The only way I'm even remotely interacting with people outside my immediate family is grocery shopping. I've been to Trader Joe's twice, and Safeway and Pet Food Express once each. TJs is doing an incredible job. I hope their employees stay healthy and get raises.
  • Cleaned the house as a family on Sunday morning. Hello, chores! And, likely, allowances.
  • Did my nails.
  • Finished Pandemic on Netflix.
  • Put together a suggested pandemic "shelfie" for creatives.
  • Started re-reading 'The Plague' by Albert Camus and 'Diary of a Young Girl' by Anne Frank.
  • We've been going on A LOT of neighborhood walks, literally walking in circles, but still seeing cool stuff, and meeting all the friendly neighborhood cats.
  • We attempted a hike last weekend but I fear hiking is short-lived due to the impossibility of proper social distancing given how incredibly busy it was. 
  • That said, running around the lake while 6-footing it can still be done so long as you run at 6 a.m.

Today is officially the first day of Spring Break, through next week. We should have been on our way to Seattle by now (of all places), but obviously that trip was canceled a few weeks ago. We have no structure for what would be no-school days, no daily instructional plans (I live-tweeted the first day here), but I did put some of that National Day inspiration into a Spring Break bingo card in case the kids get bored. You can access that document here.

By the way, if you're stuck at home and think you might like to receive some free art in the mail to brighten your day, you can fill out this form, part of an ongoing mail art project I started a couple of months ago. For the time being I'm mostly sending out 5x7 CMYK screenprints from this grad school project. So long as USPS is operating.

Stay home and stay healthy, friends!

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