Friday, March 20, 2020

Corona Virus Blues

"Corona," "COVID19," and "Social Distancing" seem to be the buzzwords of the day.

Here in Ohio, where our governor seems to be more pro-active than many, all of our K-12 schools, as well as colleges and universities, have been shut down for just over a week now. That decision came while the state had just 5 known cases. Ours was the first state to take such a step, though many others have followed suit since then. I'm actually giving our governor a lot of credit for trying to get out ahead of things, and doing so at a time when many other politicians in his own party were trying to downplay the crisis as some kind of hoax (including the ones who were selling off $millions$ in stocks while saying publicly that there's nothing to worry about). Of course, everyone seems to be taking it seriously now (and trying to claim they've done so from the beginning!). But enough politics.

The "home office"
For me, as a teacher (and as a parent with two kids) it's meant spending a lot more time at home - most of it shut inside. My wife works at Kent State University, so she's also been working from home. Understand - the school shutdown is not a break or vacation. We're expected to keep "providing instruction" while we're home, and the kids are supposed to be getting and completing lessons online. This has been a challenge because I'm having to take everything I do in my classroom - face-to-face and in-person - and try to convert it into lessons that can be sent out over the internet. And our administration is checking in on everyone to ensure that we're actually posting lessons and assignments, and not treating this like an extended Spring Break.

Funny thing is that my own children and I never have Spring Break at the same time. I teach in a school district where I can't even hope to afford to live. The school where my children attend always schedules their Spring Break a couple of weeks after the school where I teach. This is the first time we're all home together - and we can't go anywhere! In addition to the schools, our libraries, museums, restaurants, and most other "attractions" are closed. Ironic.

One of my daughters suggested "well, dad, we can probably go for some bike rides together." Just add that to the many things I love about that kid. So far, however, the weather hasn't exactly made a family bike ride very desirable. For most of the past week it's been pretty chilly.

Today was an exception - sort of. The temperature got up into the 60s, but it was raining quite a bit in the morning. We had a reprieve from the rain right around lunchtime, so I decided I needed to get outside. Though I really wanted to take the newly finished Sequoia, the streets were still very wet, and there was still the threat of more rain to come, so I opted for something with fenders. I got my lessons for the day posted online, then took the Rivendell out for a ride into the valley. I was glad for the fenders because otherwise the bike and I would have been covered in road grime, and I'd have had that horribly uncomfortable wet stripe up my backside. I was out for about an hour, battling strong winds which seemed to come from every direction, then made the long climb home. The rain started again just minutes after I walked in the door. That's good timing. Tomorrow the temperatures are supposed to be back down in the 30s again - not too cold for me alone, but cold enough to dampen the idea of a ride with the kids. Well, we have at least several more weeks at home ahead of us. Let's see what happens.

I've been hearing from people who've been using their "self isolation" time to work on bicycle projects. That's a pretty great way to spend the time. Obviously I just finished a project and don't really have the means at the moment to start another one. But my basement work area is kind of a disaster, so I suppose I should use some of this time to clean and organize it.

Wherever you are - I hope you're staying safe and healthy.

1 comment:

  1. We've had it a bit better, weather-wise, here in VA. I've been able to squeeze in some nice rides 2 days in a row, between showers.

    Our federal government waited much too long to decide that test kits were warranted, to the point that not long ago little South Korea had tested several times more persons than had been tested in the mighty US of A. Of course, why would test kits be needed for a situation that is merely a Democratic hoax?

    Now that our government is coming to the realization that they have tallied only a small fraction of the actual number of persons already infected, they can deduce that hospitals could face an impossible onslaught of cases in a few more days. ICU rooms will become less accessible than a college education. Though the area under the curve (eventual cumulative cases) can't be affected, forced isolation will be used to flatten the curve.

    For the good of my fellow citizens, I will employ social distancing. And I will prepare in ways that I believe make sense:
    I am maintaining a vigorous exercise regimen to try to (hopefully) fortify my aged body's immune response to this virus when I do contract it.
    I am preparing mentally for forced isolation that may last for several months.

    And ultimately, I may have to tear apart my perfectly good road bike to finally treat it to paint removal/refinish that it deserves after 30 years of faithful service. Such a project is always good for the soul, and in these times may be a therapeutic way to spend time in isolation.