It has been so long since my last post. All is going well, just lots of distractions and other priorities, so posting got lost with all manner of good intentions.
Since my last, we've had all the summer things, started school things, and made some work shifts. For the most part, while some interesting (for us) things have happened, nothing really bad has happened.
We widened our circle of events, carefully.
We went camping with a smaller (than before) subset of our adoption group. It was as much a blast as could be expected. We had a different group area than when just our family went in 2020, but the area was well-equipped, clean, isolated, quiet...and some of our friends were there. The kids had a blast catching up and playing, and so did the adults. Even though I'm getting over sleeping in a tent on a cot, the weather and lack of bugs (there were a few extra flies, but not the biting kind, and not as many mosquitoes) made it easier than in the past.
We welcomed an intern for the kiddos' school into our home. With all of the concerns of the pandemic, lots of care and consideration went into this decision and activity. We had a lot of house prep to do, and used this as an excuse to clean and replace some household things.
Like that we replaced all of our 15-year old carpeting, destroyed by years of dogs and kids. The main floor has just one carpeted room, but the stairs and second floor have carpets everywhere except the bathrooms. The family room carpet was replaced in June, as previously posted, but the rest of the carpet went through some trials before being installed the week our intern arrived. Our house was a mess of furniture shifts and carpet work when they arrived. Thankfully, the small bedrooms were done a few days before arrival, so we had time to set up the furniture and cause only asides of disruption. On the day of the rest of the installation, we flurried around moving the last bits of heavy furniture while everyone else was away prepping for school, and got the bedrooms returned to working order before anyone got home. It did take several days to get the rest of the stuff moved back, and really there are some things not yet put away, but most of it has returned to normal.
The kids (and intern) started school at the the same time, and that's going great. Both the normal school things, like everyone has been up and dressed before the bus is due (although we have been pushing that as dark lasts later into the morning), everyone still likes their class and seeing their friends, and everyone has fun stories about their day and activities afterward. We have noticed both kids are fatigued or exhausted by the time dinner rolls, and that can sometimes lead to sibling fights or other outrages, but usually dinner sorts that out.
This is the only year they'll be in the same school, barring some poor performance, or maybe attending the same college. It's a huge convenience for us, but even better, it's a bit of joy for them. The reports of "I saw the other one" have diminished as the excitement turns to normal, but every once in a while it slips into a story. The little little is picking up Spanish a little quicker than we recall the bigger little, and sometimes that adds to the fights, but with the calm and linguistic aid of the intern added in, the competition usually wanes and turns into learning instead of fighting.
We've been doing weekly COVID testing, as has been recommended. We can now confirm that no one has been infected. It's provided us a little bit of relief in knowing, but also has made us a little more aware of when we're making riskier choices. We're hoping the vaccines for all school kids become available soon. We'll still be careful, but will feel much better in general. To that end, the whole house has been Pfizer vaccinated, and are scheduled for the boosters, being of age and fitness and other reasons.
Following the carpet work, and some changes in the pandemic where our offices both decided to remain remote at least until the end of the year, we decided to move our work spaces around. Working in the same (spare bedroom turned) office was pretty good for a lot longer than I think either of us expected. It was cluttered (still is) and a little cramped, and when it got hot outside, it gets hot inside the office. We both had project changes and suddenly each had a lot of "talking meetings," so I would roam about the house and take my Zoom calls from my iPad or the laptop in other rooms. But that wasn't sustainable. So we moved one of the desks (there were three in the office) to some "dead space" in the family room, and the wife works there now.
I've also adjusted my desk and the layout in the office, rotating to allow access (and Zoom visibility) to my whiteboard, and creating a little different openness. It's a work in progress. I focused on getting the desk moved and the equipment rearranged, so there's a lot more (or maybe just different?) clutter in the other spaces. I've spent a lot of time filtering through the junk that had been piled in the various nooks and crannies in the office, and there's plenty to go through.
The office changes have only been for a few days, so we'll see how it goes for the upcoming winter.
And thinking back a few days more, and pandemic things, the wife and I did go to a Vikings game on Sunday. That was not very pandemic comfortable.
We've been to a couple Twins games over the summer. The Twins are both rarely at occupancy outside of opening day and some special events. They have embraced that and people are separated with empty seats. The stadium is also outdoors, and they still encourage masks unless you're eating. The people moved about with generous space, and were all respectful of each other's distance and masks. Still, with the Twins really not playing well, trying to balance how to tend to kids for evening games, and just the general reminder vibes of the times, we opted out of the bulk of our season, with the Twins' blessings, and got a credit for our seats for next season. Fingers crossed more normal returns, and they play a little better.
The Vikings games are almost always at capacity, and while huge, it is an enclosed field. Around and throughout, there are signs and announcements reminding everyone of the CDC recommendation to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. All of the people working there had masks, and were mostly wearing them. Even most of the players on the sidelines not in the game were wearing masks. Few of the fans had masks. I noticed it walking in, and the wife dismissed it as we were still outside. As we crowded-up to pass through the turnstiles, all ideas of social distance disappeared, and very few people had masks.
We're both vaccinated, and while we recognize that doesn't mean we're immune, we expect that we're somewhat protected from a severe infection if we do get one. We also understand that while we may not have any apparent symptoms, although I can demonstrate that I arguably display half of the symptoms with seasonal allergies, we could still help propagate the disease, as well as catch it. No, the masks aren't a guarantee, either, but as thought "aloud" so many times in the last 500-some days, we believe they do help.
No one at the game gave any grief or even sideways glances at the fact that we kept our masks on the whole game. In hindsight, I felt more judgmental than I felt judged, with my dismay at the near total lack of masks. And, to be fair, I don't have a problem with people not wearing masks, but given the situation and guidance, and that this isn't over yet, I really expected more of a 50-50 or 60-40 split, instead of the fraction of a rounding error that it was.
Our next test is tomorrow, which is a nice gap to get tested after that event. It's the highest exposure, least comfortable, most risk situation that I feel we've subjected ourselves to since the pandemic began. Not any shopping trip, event, or even passing through the airport to collect the intern has felt as wanton as that Vikings game. I think we're likely to pass on future games. I'm sure I'm likely to pass.
Virus aside, it was fun to be in a "normal" event, and get some of the game-loving energy. That hasn't happened in a long time. Even when comparing to going to the Twins games, which I actually prefer to football, the energy and fun factors of the Vikings game were pretty favorable. Virus aside, of course.
I'm going to try to do better at keeping this going. I might go back in time and fill in some eventful or memorable days. I have a stack of desk calendar days with notes on things we've done. Maybe.