Working from Home — Day Three

Day Three of “Working from Home Because of COVID” started at around 5:15 AM, when the dogs woke me up to be let out. Normally, they are let out by Mr. Rovira when we get up at 5 AM. Ike rested his snout near my face, so I knew it was time even though I have turned the alarm off for the foreseeable future. The nice thing, though? I’m not gonna lie. It is soooooooo nice to get back in bed and actually get up at 6:30 or 7 to start my day.

Mr. Rovira and I are all about keeping routines during this challenging time, so we made sure the Things were up, too, by 8 AM, and beginning to attack their school work. Things 1 and 2 had their online instruction start today, so they were busy with content for their classes. Mr. T had a few things to work on that Mr. Rovira and I gave him.

Having gotten my grades done, I sat down at the computer, took stock of the planning I was required to do by the district for the week of 30 March (in case we are not back), and made note of the times I was required to participate in a Google Hangout with staff for planning. But having noted that it was about time for the stores to open, and we needed noodles, I got my shopping bags and headed out. The first store we went to was Ralphs. There was a line outside, and it looked like the “older people shopping hours” that some stores are doing now, so we drove on to another store. At Stater Brothers, we were able to get noodles (yes!) and some ramen (not my favorite brand, but I’m not going to complain), and some Kool-Aid (to keep the Things from drinking so much milk)—”So we’re gonna let them get cavities instead?” I said to my husband—and some fruit. Even after only walking into the store about 20 minutes after it opened, the lines were long to check out, and people were pushing carts full of things throughout the store. The only other thing we looked for was a nice, big cut of pork, so that we could smoke it on our Big Green Egg. Mr. Rovira figured, since we’re home all day, he could get a nice big on one that took hours to get just right for pulled pork. But no such luck. We’ll try again in a few days.

The new order of business and in-real-time collaborating are these Google Hangouts or Zoom meetings I’m having. I hate the way I look on camera, though, so I always mute the video feed and participate only by auto. When I mute video, it defaults to my Bitmoji avatar, so I’m fine with that.

Basically it was just work, work, work until I broke for a little nap. Then I cooked dinner, worked some more, and then we had “family time” after Jeopardy to watch Parasite. The older Things hadn’t seen it yet, and Mr. Rovira and I wanted to see it again, so we watched it. The other night—Monday?—the days are already blurring together—we watched Jo Jo Rabbit. Again, the Things hadn’t seen it, so I happily rewatched it.

Random (Non-Shower, but Shower-like) Thoughts:

  • I’m loving all of the “family time” we have lately. It’s not like I wasn’t close to my kids before, but sometimes we all did feel like ships passing in the night between Scout meetings, sports events, working late, doctor’s appointments, and the like. Now I am in closer physical proximity, yes, because we’re “forced” to stay together at home. But it is just nice (as their mom) to see them (and watch movies with them!) and have all my chicks in the nest.
  • This COVID pandemic—it seems weird to really type that word and not use it in a hyperbolic way, because I never thought I’d ever live during a time of a pandemic—seems to be a cosmic, Higher-Power or God-initiated (if you believe in God) “hard reset” of our Earth right as it is at this moment. It’s like the Force is saying, “Look, some things have gotten troubling to me. I’m going to let this loose in order to get the results I want.”
    1. “Greenhouse emissions were getting too high. Now that you are forced to stay at home, traffic is amazing and CO2 levels have dropped in major cities world-wide. You’re welcome.”
    2. “Your finances—assuming you haven’t been let off work—will probably improve because you aren’t eating out all the time, which is expensive! Eat at home and save money. You’re welcome.”
    3. (“Sorry about the hoarding of groceries; that wasn’t what I intended. You humans behave strangely sometimes.”)
    4. “Your health will improve because you’re not eating junk food. You’re eating home-cooked meals—assuming you aren’t using DoorDash all the time, see point No. 2 above—and home-cooked meals are always better for you on some level. You’re welcome.”
    5. “You have more time for YOU, and you’re realizing (finally!) how stressed you really were because of the 21st century life you lead. I’m forcing you to destress a bit and center yourself. You’re welcome.”
    6. “Maybe the jobs sector (and public schools!) will finally really, really realize that online education and online working@home is totally feasible and workers might actually be more productive in this format. You’re welcome.”
    7. “I’m trying to get you to see how much easier work@home options are for people with disabilities. Really. You need to include them more! This pandemic is forcing you to realize that.”

I’m sure there’s more that the Earth could tell us, but those are just a few that have popped into my head. As much as I love my own kids and Mr. Rovira, I am missing the daily interaction with other adults (my co-workers are the best!) and, believe it or not, the 100 13-year-olds that I work with on a daily basis.

Tomorrow, I am making my screencasts for students. 🙂 Thank goodness I have a Master’s degree in this! I’m ready!


So I find myself a teacher with virtual classes now. Our school sent kids home on Friday for two weeks, starting Spring Break early due to the COVID-19 outbreak across the world and the need to keep a “social distance” to flatten the spread of the pandemic. It is a very strange feeling. I feel ready for this and confident with distance learning because I have a master’s degree in EdTech. But to experience a pandemic (with all its attendance impact on daily life, including work and school) is something completely new and, to be honest, not something I expected to experience in my lifetime.

When I left school on Friday, I didn’t know what the future held, so I brought home most of my assignments I still had to “process” and last minute grading I had to finish. Friday was the end of our quarter. I’m operating on the assumption that report cards will still be due on Wednesday (as they always are after a quarter’s end), but new developments may change that. Some schools are off a long time! Long Beach Unified School District, for example, is off until 20 April!

So one of the things I did on my “slide of the day” for my students is to suggest that they start keeping a journal (or blogging!) if they didn’t already do so. It is important to jot down how one feels and what one observes during this time. It is history in action! What a person writes will be considered a “primary source” document in the decades to come later when we look back upon it and write about it in textbooks. And, because I never ask my students to do something I wouldn’t, I am committed to making posts to my blog as well; I want to be a good model!

(And since my last post was 2.5 years ago, what better time to get back in the saddle and start writing again?)

One of the craziest things I’ve experienced is the evidence of “panic buying” in grocery stores. For example, I had asked Mr. Rovira to buy me some ramen (since that is one of my staple foods—COVID 19 outbreak or not), and he said that there wasn’t any in the store. Since I had just been there on Monday to get some for my week at school, I thought, “Eh, maybe he just didn’t find the ramen aisle, or my flavor was out.” Well, one of the things I did Saturday morning is to get up and stop by the store to get my ramen, and some noodles to use for Saturday night dinner. I got to the noodle (and ramen) aisle, and they were EMPTY. Like, he really wasn’t lying. There were none. It wasn’t like they didn’t have my preferred flavor; they had none. No frozen peas. No potatoes. I was running out of dinner ideas because I couldn’t get all the ingredients I needed. The lines were long. One woman just stood there with her cart and admitted, “I don’t know why I am here.” I got a few things for breakfast for the week, since the Things will be home, too, and I went home. I had grading to do.

Mrs. Rovira’s workstation at home!

So I got back to grading on a dreary Saturday. I think part of what is making people in Southern California panic more than necessary about the COVID issue, is the fact that it has been grey and gloomy, sometimes raining, all week long. It adds to the paranoia, creating a darker mood.

All the shelves were bare at Target—for everything!

After grading for a while, I took another break to go to Target because I needed some shampoo. I knew better to expect to be able to find any groceries—incidentally, there were no frozen peas or noodles there, either—and I just had to snap photos to document the craziness. No medicine. No soup! (“No soup for you!” – students, ask your parents about this allusion I just put in my blog post!) No bread or tortillas. No one was fighting each other, as I’ve seen on the news in other locations in our United States.

Now, if we lived where my husband’s extended family lives (in Louisiana, where hurricanes are a normal occurrence part of the year), maybe I’d be more used to this. But we don’t. This will take a while for me to get used to a “new normal,” as the news reports. Now on Sunday morning as I write this, I am resolved to just avoiding the stores for a few days.

In the end, Mr. Rovira and I went out to eat at Baek Jeong (Korean BBQ) Saturday night since I couldn’t get the other things I needed. The Things didn’t feel like eating much, and preferred playing video games or watching Netflix, so they stayed home. It is also easier to get seated there with two rather than five. 🙂

The deliciousness at Kang Ho Dong’s Baek Jeong. MMmmm!

Tonight, I’ll make something with my chicken that doesn’t involve noodles. 🙂 I’m reporting for work tomorrow, but I don’t know yet what I will be told when I get there. Even before they cancelled our classes, they started cancelling some ancillary things like Open House, any field trips, and awards events. More info to come, I guess. In the meantime, I’ll keep grading and investigating different online programs for instruction. I’ve gotten lots of emails in the past few days from different companies—some our school already uses and some we don’t—letting us know how they will support our instruction in the coming weeks. I will also take a nice Sunday afternoon nap to keep myself healthy and my immune system strong to potentially fight off any nasty bacteria or viruses, including COVID-19.

Stay healthy!

PS. If you’re wanting to read an interesting article on “social distancing,” try reading THIS ONE at the Washington Post. It was interesting and did a great job explaining the different models epidemiologists have to try to prevent or “flatline” the outbreak.