Day 193 of Isolation: The New Normal

My youngest daughter is having a hard time adjusting to online school. She missed the first five days because she was sick so got behind. The way this program works does not allow for missed days, especially not more than one in a row. They already expect her to do nearly six hours of work every day to stay on target. Because she’s behind, she would likely have to do ten hours every day including weekends for the next three weeks just to catch up. There are no “off” days scheduled in besides weekends.

Each assignment takes three plus hours to complete and there’s a new one every day. I thought she was working on all of this the last two weeks, but apparently, she’s mostly been playing on her phone and ignoring her work because it’s impossible to catch up.

I emailed the director of the program and her teacher about how it would be impossible for her to catch up based on the the number of assignments and how much work each one requires so now she’s just depressed and constantly anxious. They said they’d look into it.

In the meantime, I told her she now has to come downstairs to do schoolwork in the morning instead of just sitting in her room where she’s distracted by her phone every few seconds.

So now my schedule looks like this:

6:30am – wake up, get dressed, make bed, go to the bathroom, etc.
6:45am – make coffee, do dishes while coffee is being made.
7am-7:30am – either sit in my room sipping coffee to wake up or clean the kitchen
7:50am – get Jack to log into his Zoom meeting
8am-10am – Jack does his Zoom meetings, I work on my laptop (hopefully doing some writing)
10am – take my pills, wake Nora, get Jack started on homework
11am – start making lunch while also helping Jack and making sure Nora is doing her work
11:15/11:30am – have lunch sometime around this time (Jack is usually done with homework by the time lunch is over)
12:30pm (Mondays/Wednesdays) – get Jack to log into Zoom for his small group meetings)
12:30-1pm – make sure Jack pays attention to his meeting while getting Nora to do her work
1pm – Jack is done with school usually; Nora takes a half hour break after three hours of work
2pm – my husband gets home from work; Nora and I go up to my room so she’s not distracted by the TV
2pm-4:30pm – keep Nora working on her afternoon assignments, helping as needed
4:30-5:30pm – cook dinner

So basically, I’m going to be doing something from 6:30am until 6pm every day. While also being severely depressed because my meds don’t seem to be working much and having chronic fatigue that has been getting worse each week.

I doubt I can keep this up for very long. Last week, I took a nap almost every day right after lunch because I was so exhausted.

Here’s us working during lunch today. Jack across the table from me working on an art project while Brenna works at the PC and Nora works on her Chromebook in the living room.


Day 181 of Isolation: Smoked Out

The wind storm the other day started and stoked a lot of wildfires in the area, turning the skies an eerie orange/brown.

Today, the skies by us were blue, but there was a streak of smoke in the distance from fires in Oregon. So me and the kids walked up the hill to the little park to take pictures.

As you can see, the skies are mostly clear and the smoke is far away. It was over 90F and very sunny while we were out.

But an hour later I took this photo from my front porch as the smoke blew into the area.

A couple hours later, the entire sky was blocked out and the sun looked red. It was creepy to watch.

There aren’t any fires near us, though, so we’re not in any danger other than respiratory distress from the smoke. The closes fire is like 30 miles north of us, I think, but blowing in another direction. The smoke is mostly coming from Oregon which is largely on fires at the moment.

At least there isn’t ash raining down like in 2017 when the Eagle Creek fire jumped the Gorge and got within ten miles of town. Same weekend, too–Labor Day. This is becoming a yearly tradition.


Day 175 of Isolation: 2nd Day of School

School went a little better today, thankfully. He even spent a good portion of the day giggling at stuff going on.

There were no major technical difficulties, just the expected lag (which was better than yesterday, he said). He got all of his work done without tears even though he was really tired this morning as he’s still adjusting to needing to be up before 8am. Normally, his bus doesn’t even come until 8:45 with school starting at 9:15am so this is a really early day for his school.

He got all of his work done before 11:15am so he’s on the computer again. I guess having to get up at 7:30am is a good trade-off for finishing school before lunch.


Day 174 of Isolation: First Day of School

Things didn’t go that great. He had issues with Zoom right off the bat before class even started that resulted in a panic attack and lots of tears.

I got the technical issue sorted out and managed to calm him down enough to continue, but he wanted to quit right then and do the all-online option with no Zoom meetings.

Hopefully, tomorrow is a little better.


Day 171 of Isolation: Dinner Roll Recipe

Tonight, I made salisbury steak, but right before I started it, I decided I had a taste for dinner rolls. And since I’ve mastered pizza dough and sourdough bread, I thought maybe I could try making some rolls from scratch.

I found this recipe on the Fleischmann’s Yeast website using Rapid Rise yeast. It only takes thirty minutes to rise so I started prepping it at 3pm (I normally start making dinner around 4pm). By the time I got the dough rising and the salisbury patties made, it was time to start cooking.

The rolls got put in the oven and the meat in the pan around the same time, and everything was pretty much done at the same time.

I forgot to take a picture of just the rolls, but oh my god, were they delicious. We use sweet cream butter which was in the rolls and melted on top giving them a slight sweet taste.

10/10 will make again. The recipe is simple and quick and great for beginners.


Day 167 of Isolation: Never Ending Weeds

The yardwork never seems to end here. The yard just got so bad since we moved in almost four years ago because of my chronic fatigue. I just don’t have the energy to keep up with the yard and no one else (husband or kids) will do anything about it. The only reason my husband might go pull some weeds is because the HOA complained and threatened to fine us.

Since I’ve gained a little more energy with my new meds, I’ve taken on the task to clean up the yard starting with the side of the house. We’re on a corner lot so have a lot of exposure to take care of so the HOA will leave us alone.

Our side yard is actually raised above the sidewalk a good four foot because of how hilly it is here. Last week, I did the part on the sidewalk level next to our retaining wall. I worked my way from the back of the property to the front then did around the driveway.

Today, I’m tackling the raised part which is a path from the front porch to the back gate and has a bunch of bushes and other plants. And weeds.

You can sort of see all of the weeds and grass popping up between the flagstone. There’s also a bunch on the other side of that bush which is the worst part of the yard.

I already did the part next to the front porch the other day.

The weeds are gone, but I got too tired to clean up all of the leaves from trimming the bush on the right. I had to take several inches off of the front because it was covering the path, leaving almost no room to get by.

I’m hoping to get through all of the weeds from the porch to the back gate. There are more around the back gate but also a lot of work behind the fence where blackberries are growing, but that will be for another day.

Not sure I’ll get it all done because I never know how long the burst of energy will last, but I’m trying to use it for good when I have it. We’ll see how it goes.


Day 164 of Isolation: New Cleaning Project

Since I managed to get the garage cleaned up and the downstairs closet, I decided to tackle the upstairs closet which has been a disaster for years.

It’s used as linen storage for the kids, but we also store out-of-season clothes, and more recently, stuff that needs to go to donation. I haven’t had the energy to sort it for years, and the kids have just kept shoving more stuff in there.

Now, the bags with clothes are ripped open and donation stuff is mixed with storage stuff and the cats are sleeping on everything and it’s just a disaster. There isn’t even room for towels anymore. We used to keep the toilet paper and tissue boxes in there, but you literally couldn’t even squeeze one roll in there right now.

As you can see, it’s a disaster in the hall outside my bedroom door which makes it hard to walk. The plan is to pull everything out of the closet, sort it into storage and donation, wash the stuff covered in cat fur then figure out how to fit it all back in there.

kids, life

Day 5 of isolation

Another walk while the weather is nice.


It’s been in the upper 50s here all week and we’re basically stuck inside. It sucks but what can you do? At least walking is okay if you stay away from everyone else.