Waiting – the frustration and frazzled nerves edition

I think we are all waiting for something right now. Most likely we all share one thing in common that we are waiting for. I have been waiting since the end of January and I am beginning to feel like a pro at waiting. Now, don’t get me wrong…. being a pro does not make me unflappable. The very idea of waiting and letting the world do what needs to be done is not something that is easy to do and stress free. It’s like a rollercoaster. You have ups and downs. The thing about going pro is you get better at getting off the rollercoaster. Everyone else can ride the rollercoaster and you’ll be fine doing something else.

The other thing about being a pro at waiting, or as I like to think of myself, semi-pro, is sometimes you are standing away from the rollercoaster and the ones riding the rollercoaster snatch you up and drag you along. This has been happening ever since the virus became a major player in the rest of the world. When it was mainly here, I felt like it would be handled and life would be restarting by now. Then it got out. Now I have to depend on a whole lot of people to become pros or semi pros at the waiting game.

We are all in this together. That’s what we hear. Except we aren’t because everyone is too busy pointing fingers at other people. Trying to lay blame on someone else. One country blames another. One group blames another group. One politician blames another politician.

Speaking of….. America looks like a hot mess from where I’m sitting. All these people siding with their political party. I’ve said it before the politicians have failed us and it has never been so obvious. It’s time to take care of you and your community.

We need to make sure our family and friends are good. Start with the immediate and move outward. Check in with those family members spread across the country. Your friend circle should be contacted in the same way, from the closest friends out to the acquaintance friends. Remember to check in regularly with the people who matter most. Then check in with the people you know, the social media friends list. We live in a world where this is easy. Lots of ways to reach out and check in. If you really are home bound it can just become part of the routine. Talk to loved ones and then share a happy post or two. Stop spreading the hateful and hurtful, be the light. Make it a routine.

Speaking of routine…. you need one. You need a waking time, working time, eating time, playing time, and family time. To a certain extent you get to make the schedule but I’d advise you to try to keep it to the societally accepted version of normal if possible. Just because you can stay up until 3 AM doesn’t make it a great idea. A little variance isn’t going to kill you but know your limits. Getting up and working remotely at 8 is hard when you binge Netflix until 5 AM. If you are lucky enough to still be working and bringing in money after being told to stay home you need to bring your A-game. Put on some decent looking clothes and set personal working goals. You want them to think you are valuable even if your physical presence isn’t necessary.

The MASK talk. Look, I know the Western world sees the face mask as scary but you need to protect you and your family. Get one of those cotton masks and wear it when you need to be in public. Wearing a mask sucks and it might not prevent anything but it does keep the virus in your head. You will wash your hands more regularly as a result. It has worked for me pretty well. I am more aware of what and who I come into contact with. I wash my hands more regularly because I am sweating away in a mask thinking about germs. If you know how to sew, make your own. If you have people in your circle who can sew, ask them for help. I have a link to a group called Buddha Gear that had hand made cotton masks for sale, message me and I can send you the link. I am sure there are other places to get them as well. I don’t want to say they are the only ones and who knows they may have sold out. If having a few cotton masks causes you to have guilt about medical staff needing masks then buy or make a few extras and donate them.

Let’s move on to the essential people. The grocery store employees, restaurants, medical staff, day care providers, hair salons, auto dealership employees, police and fire men, gun stores and manufacturers(???), and all the people I didn’t know about. You need to take care of yourself too. For the non-medical staff, get a few of those cotton masks (2 to 3). You can switch them out. Wear one and wash it, let it dry in the sun (if possible), and then wear a clean and dry one the next day. I recommend the cotton masks because they aren’t essential medical supplies. Leave those official ones to the medical staff and the sick. You should also have the sanitizer for when you can’t wash your hands. You can make it, lots of videos out there.

Let’s get back to caring about our community. We have taken care of our loved ones and friends. Now we need to take care of the people who are more vulnerable. Medical staff are high on this list. They are forced to work without the materials they need. They need love and support. If you sew, send masks. If you run a restaurant maybe a discount and free delivery. As a society, we need to really take care of each other. If we don’t do that the the virus will continue unabated. This means thinking of others when we go out and how our actions affect them. So be nice in your interactions, tip when you can, and stop worrying about people getting “free hand outs”. We need to make sure that people aren’t struggling to eat and feed their families. Donate to food banks and help how you can.

Motivational Shirt

We need a strong united community to survive this. The old saying, a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link, comes to mind. It’s the truth. In our current crisis this means that we have to make the testing and treatment affordable. People should not be dying because they can’t afford the test and/or lack insurance. That person who gets turned away could spread the virus to others. Then maybe some of those people can’t afford to get help and it keeps passing along. Then your parents or grandparents are shopping and so is someone who is infected (they might not know because the symptoms don’t affect everyone the same way and they can’t afford to be tested anyway). Now the virus has infected your family and maybe even you. By not caring about each other we ultimately doom each other.

Look, they should have a job that gives them benefits and they should make more money . The reality is they don’t and a lot of people have spent a lot of time telling us how that is totally fair and completely their fault. It’s not. If that job exists then they should get paid decently to do it.

We should want people to be healthy and safe from viruses because it helps us all. If we all can be cared for then we don’t have the sick person who just keeps going to work spreading their germs around. Those people go because they have to… our current world gives them no other choice. If they don’t go they could get fired and if they aren’t worried about that they might be worried that the missed shift means the pay can’t pay bills. There are a lot of working poor people. They work everyday, multiple jobs, and still have to choose what to pay and what to skip. The fact that they can’t take the time off is a problem. The fact that healthcare is unaffordable is a problem. You do not have to care about this person but you should hope they are at least able to stay healthy so that you and yours can stay healthy too. I do not believe healthcare should be free. I think free things are not good for society but we have let these medical product companies rob from us. They overcharge and have made healthcare unattainable for people. It isn’t like that in other places. Healthcare shouldn’t cause you to lose your life savings. It is like this because we see each other as cogs in a money making machine instead of as human. Good businesses should care about their customers and price things so they can keep that customer coming back. Why isn’t this the model in our healthcare? Why is it so often a choice between health or bills? How many deaths are caused because we don’t provide a way to get medical care at a sane and affordable price?

Let’s move away from that issue, as you can see it’s a hot button for me. Let’s talk about the “wait for two weeks” crap I keep hearing from my friends in the US. It’s not going to be two weeks. We have been here waiting for over two months and it wasn’t nearly as bad as it’s getting out there. You really need to come to terms with that. It sucks when the time keeps getting pushed back. So just find ways to stay busy. Learn things, create things, work out, start making beer, write, cook, join an online gaming group, and just stay busy. Trust me. You can sit there and stress eat, binge watch, and worry. That is a choice but why not do something that will better you and those around you (online classes, learning a skill, becoming a good cook, making beer, writing a book, creating art). Instead of watching that 14th Netflix episode maybe it’s time to learn a new game. There are online communities for awesome board games and role playing games. If you pursue role playing games you can get distracted by becoming a character of your choosing. You can be that cool character from your favorite show. There are a lot of games that cover a wide variety of worlds and eras. You don’t have to play the well known classics. There are games that will scratch that weird itch you probably are feeling right now.

Let’s not forget about reading. You can read those dusty books on your shelves finally! You can also get digital books from multiple places including your local library. Feed your brain guys. For those that don’t want to do the reading themselves you can get audiobooks. I love audiobooks because I can listen and cook, paint, or anything that does not really need the focus of your little brain voice. Yes that’s something I am sure everyone has. Mine doesn’t shut up most of the time. And check out podcasts while your at it. I have been listening to fictional podcasts lately and they are fun, kind of like old time radio. The one I am currently digging is Blackout. Sure there are a lot of news related ones but I would skip those. You already get more then enough of that right now.

Get outside! If you can, go for a walk. Be outside and just keep a good 6 foot distance between others. Hike in nature. Walk in a park. This is if you can do so safely and are allowed to. If you need to stay inside your own home then you need to figure out how to get some movement in. Treadmills re helpful but you can also pace the floor or merely walk in place. I’ve done it. Look up how to work out at home without equipment. I recommend this even if you don’t normally work out. Your body does not deserve you mistreating it by lounging and eating all day. I am not saying you should come out a new stronger and incredibly more fit version of you but you shouldn’t come out like a human from WALL-E either.

Home school? If the answer is yes then he’ll me tell you something: less is more. Do not expect a full slate of school work to get done. Get them reading, encourage some writing (journaling), creativity, movement, and then put them to work. Math can be done on the job (cooking measurements, tools for working on things). Teach them about budgeting (even if you have to learn about it first). Teach them to cook, you won’t always be there and they shouldn’t learn to rely on fast food. Eating at home is better for taste and health once you know how to cook. It’s time to stop saying you can’t and start saying you can’t YET. It’s a cheesy thing to say but it’s true most of the time. If you stop saying you can’t and start seeing it as something you can learn, then things will be learned and you will improve. This type of thinking applies to everything but I was talking about cooking. Here is important cooking advice. Until you know what you are doing, follow the recipe. Even after you know what you are doing you should still review the recipe. If you do what it says then you won’t end up with an inedible mess. Cooking can be pretty fun when you do it right. If you make the work fun it’s more likely to get done. And who couldn’t benefit from some real world lessons? At any event, mental health is important and constantly fighting over home school won’t help anyone.

A small update from me.

China has closed the border to foreigners. If you aren’t already here then you aren’t coming in. There is no clear end to that decision either. The decision makes sense as the world is struggling with the virus. I do worry that there is a slight uptick in people feeling the virus is now coming in on foreigners. It has not been the case if you look at all our imported cases in Shenzhen. Very few of them are from foreigners. It doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t close the borders. I have secretly been for closed borders this entire time. I think everyone needs to stay put and ride this whole thing out. As I see it this means that my school is in a weird limbo land. A good portion of our teachers are not in China and now can not return. This happens to be during the time that a lot of China schools are reopening. Our school is being very quiet at the moment and a lot of the teachers are frustrated. We work really hard on online lessons. They take a lot of work, more than classroom instruction, and are not exactly satisfying. Teachers don’t teach for the paycheck. We want to be teachers, we care about our students, and we put up with a lot if it means we are helping our students learn. So those teachers that are trying to meet the student’s needs via the internet are working long hours and are stressed. It would be nice to have support of those on the sidelines.

Carter is walking everywhere. He is super (un)helpful in the kitchen. He is talking some and whining a lot (we are focusing on getting him to speak more but it is apparently a process). He has a lot of personality and a definite opinion about what should happen. I am loving being with him daily.

Michelle is taking my advice to learn things. She is learning how to do nails. She usually is too busy to pursue these ideas. During a normal school year she is a bus monitor, a paraprofessional (teacher’s aide), and a tutor. She works hard but with school online and tutoring not happening because outsiders aren’t welcome in buildings they don’t live in yet. So she is making use of the time. She works 5 days a week learning the craft. That means Carter and I hang out all afternoon and evening. We miss mama but we have a good time anyway. That pretty much sums up my news.

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