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Notes on sheltering in place #1

As I write this I have CNN going in the background and the kids hunkered down on their iPads playing games with each other.  I really should be writing a journal with my thoughts, but instead I will try to compile them here.

On the things that I am truly grateful for:

  • I already mentioned it, but online delivery of everything has been incredibly helpful
  • My immediate family being in one place, even if there is a lot of yelling 
  • I am aghast, but I'm thankful for the dreadful social networking platforms for keeping us connected.
  • Having three kids causes you to buy in bulk anyways, so you already have to have a week of supplies on hand on the best of days.
  • Broadband, sweet broadband.  I've got close to half a class C subnet in my house and it all uses on Xfinity cable modem link.  I really hate Comcast, but they have an excellent IP backbone.  You can quote me on that one.


On staying sane:

  • Keeping a regular schedule during the week.  This has been incredibly helpful in getting our kids to transition from a rigid school schedule to working at home.
  • Treating hygiene and getting dressed as a ritual.  Get dressed and get cleaned up as if you were going to school or work (OK, casual Friday dress for me) 
  • Try to keep up regular events if you can, event the small ones.  In my house we have big breakfast on most Saturday and Sundays.  Today was fresh buttermilk pancakes and bacon.  People that are very sociable are using Zoom and other video conferencing systems.

On permanent telecommuting: 

  • I try to be patient, but my official working setup really sucks, since it was only meant for sporadic usage.
  • I use paper a lot more for my paperwork, make notes and then enter it later.  Bad for the environment, but it is the only way I can function right now.
  • Multitasking with family is difficult.  Having the schedule I mentioned above is helpful in cutting out times to do work phone calls and video conferences with minimal interference from the kids.
  • Sharing a home office is hard.  My wife works from her home office when she is not in the field doing sales.  Now we are in the home office 100% of the time.  When it is computing only, it isn't that bad, but when we both need to do phone calls it is the worst cube farm ever.
  • The schedule that includes meals for the family will stop you from snacking every 15 minutes.

On distance learning and home school:

  • My children's school pulled together a curriculum in two days.  Bravo.  They have good leadership.
  • Having three children at home trying to do work requires more attention to keep them on task than I was hoping.
  • With the schools transitioning to do doing more Zoom video conferencing for the classes, the getting dressed and cleaned on a daily basis makes a lot more sense.  We had many conversations with our kids about the places that were appropriate for being on camera and where you can point your camera.
  • I am not a teacher.  I have a few degrees and I've taught classes in the past.  I am not an elementary school teacher and my kids are going to need time to catch up.  On the flip side, my first grader is reading fourth grade books.  I had no idea how proficient a reader she was.

On my predictions on the future from what I am seeing today:

  • Drones.  Delivery of packages.  Delivery of cooked food.  Delivery of medicine.  This pandemic will fast track the use of drones in the way they are currently being tested in West Virginia. 
  • Computerized Voting.  This scares the crap out of me.  I'm a fan of voting by mail or in person, but this will get pushed forward and will be one of the biggest problems to be solved in the next decade.
  • Nationalized healthcare.  The system is not consistent throughout the United States.  Too many people are going to die from this to go back to the status quo.  I don't have the answer, but what we have right now is not it.
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