Vernon Volumes

Vernon Volumes text

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Second week of Quarantine - COVID19

This past week was our second week of living with the Coronavirus COVID19 pandemic in America. The infections have been spreading throughout the world, but have accelerated in the USA and now America has more confirmed cases of infection than any other country in the world. We have continued to isolate ourselves as much as possible. I've been busy with work, and not much has changed with my job. The kids have been staying busy with the schedule Andrea and I put together for them last week and we are excited that they're both going to be starting online classes this next week. In preparation, we got Paige her own laptop. Connor's been enjoying PC gaming lately and although Paige was getting by with one of my old work laptops, it wasn't really fair to her. We shopped online and got her a nice laptop (MSI GF65 - Intel i7-9750H, 16GB RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB, 15.6" FHD 120Hz IPS) that will allow her to be productive, game, and learn about computers. She was so careful and responsible with the old work laptop that I was confident she would do a good job and would take care of her device. We got everything setup on it and Connor's been cute helping her setup her keybinds and everything for Fortnite. Today, we went through the many emails we've been receiving from the school about online classes and Andrea helped Paige bookmark all of the resources she'd be using for her courses and we setup her printer and made sure she could log in to everything necessary.

Connor and Andrea went through his emails and school stuff as well. Connor really loved watching the videos all of his instructors put together welcoming them back to class after their long break.

I set up the VR this past week for the first time in a few years. Since I got my Oculus Rift, I was disappointed that very few games worth playing have been released. I really enjoyed playing Robo Recall a few years ago, but all the other games I'd tried were pretty lame. This past week Valve released Half Life Alyx and it looked amazing so I dug out the VR set. In the past I'd set it up behind my desk in my office which really didn't provide much opportunity to move, pretty much just stand still and I found myself bonking in to the wall any time I tried to do anything. I got some extensions for all the wires, and while it looks horribly unsightly I set everything up right outside my hallway in the entry area for the house. Andrea's been nice and patient stepping over all the wires and ignoring the mess. I played HL Alyx a few times and I absolutely love it, but unfortunately my brain hates it. I end up motion sick and feel awful after playing it for very long. I've barely played it much, but it's been fun getting everything working again. I tried to get Connor to try a few games, but he's absolutely uninterested.

Paige, on the other hand, is absolutely enthralled with it. She's watched some Youtube videos of people playing "Job Simulator" and she's enjoyed trying all the different jobs in the game.

I took a short video of her playing as a convenience store clerk, at the time I took the video she was rooting around in the freezer and eating all the product. She's hilarious because she gets in to it and opens her mouth and chomps the food as she eats it in the game.

The kids have continued running with me this past week and we've gone on our 6 mile run four times now together. They don't particularly love it, but it's been nice getting them out of the house and around the neighborhood. Connor's getting good at recognizing landmarks and Paige has been so strong setting a fast pace for us. Andrea's been continuing her yoga, leg workouts, arm workouts, and whenever it's not too hot we like to go on walks and bike rides in the evenings.

Andrea and I were talking this afternoon that our pool has probably gotten more use in the past couple of weeks than it had the previous 3 years we've lived in this house. The kids have been going out every day to swim for an hour or so and the water's warm enough that it actually feels pretty good. We got them a big unicorn and they love for me to swim with them and rough them up in the pool, I play the part of the "Hippo" and I try to shake them loose and attack them if they fall off.

The kids have also been staying busy by helping out around the house. We all cleaned the car together last week. This week the kids helped us with yard work, vacuuming, cleaning up, dishes, stripping and making beds, and laundry. It's been an adjustment being home so much, but it also makes us appreciate our house, home, and family. There are a lot of people suffering and struggling in the world right now and we are very fortunate so far. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Quarantine Routine - COVID19

Spring break didn't turn out how we'd planned or hoped and for the past week we've been keeping our distance from people and doing our best to stay virus-free amid the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The kids have been happy so far to be home and we've tried to work on developing a routine to keep everyone busy, happy, and healthy. It's been nice that we don't have to wake up early for middle school and most days we don't set an alarm in the morning.

The kids have a checklist of activities that they need to do each day, but they still have had plenty of time to watch Netflix on their iPads and play video games. Connor's been keeping in touch with his friends by playing Fortnite with them and he's moved from the Xbox to the Nintendo Switch and recently he's been working on mastering the computer.

Next week their school is planning to start some online learning and since Connor's been on the desktop computer so much we ordered a laptop for Paige to use. She's been playing on one of my old work laptops from time to time and has taken very good care of it, so we decided it would be a great opportunity for her to have a nice device of her own.

The weather's still been pretty nice for the most part and it's started to get warm. The kids have spent at least an hour swimming in the afternoon each day and they've gotten creative with things to do in the pool to keep it fun.

The kids and I have been jogging recently as well. I went twice with both of them and we do the entire 6 mile route to the south gate of the neighborhood and back. There is a bit of walking and I carry the kids sometimes if they get too whiny, but they've been pretty tough about it for the most part. We chat throughout the run and talk about everything from Roman plumbing, energy technology, computer components, history, the meaning of life, and anything that pops in to our heads.

We've gotten our refrigerator fairly stocked recently and have been cooking at home more than ever. Andrea made some grilled cheese and ham sandwiches the other day and Connor loved them so much we had to make him seconds. We still try to get takeout for lunch each day and although the restaurants have been ordered to close their dining areas, almost all of them are still open for drive-through or carryout.

Andrea's been disappointed that she hasn't been able to get right back in to tennis. She's been so patient with her surgery recovery and was just starting to feel like she was back form recently on the tennis court. Each night we try to go on a long walk or bike ride and she also has been doing a lot of online Youtube workouts including arm exercises, leg exercises and yoga. She has done 17 days of yoga now and is getting more comfortable with it every day.

We've been spending a lot of family time together during the past week. Every night we watch "The Great British Baking Show" and tonight we finished the first season which we'd actually started during Thanksgiving. Although our favorite baker did not win, we enjoyed it and the kids already wanted to start the second season.

We've been tracking the spread of Coronavirus daily and for reference I've posted a screenshot from today's tracker. The website is maintained by John Hopkins and it's been an invaluable resource to keep track of the global spread. Hoping that the numbers start to slow down soon, but so far there's no sign that it will.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Spring Break, Wild Dunes, and the Coronavirus - COVID19

The world changed.

For a few months, I'd been following the news regarding a virus outbreak in China and it has always seemed like some distant threat. In the past couple of weeks the virus spread to Europe and now around the world. China has been dealing with the virus for a while and although they locked down many parts of the country, the virus escaped containment. In Italy the virus has caused tens of thousands of infections, thousands of deaths, and the entire country has shut down. France and Spain followed suit shortly after, shutting down all non-essential businesses. America closed off travel from Europe and our family was left wondering what to do with our spring break plans. We'd originally intended to go on a Disney cruise, but there have been some outbreaks on cruise boats that spread like wildfire and we made plans instead to go to Wild Dunes South Carolina for a quiet vacation to play some tennis, pickleball, and ride some bikes.

The night before we were supposed to set sail on the Disney cruise, Disney announced they were canceling all cruises for the foreseeable future and eventually all the other cruise operators followed suit. We debated whether or not to go to Wild Dunes and decided we might as well give it a try, so we drove up to Charleston on Saturday March 14th 2020.

On Sunday morning we went to the tennis clinics and enjoyed playing tennis with Connor in the adults "Peak Performance" clinic. Saturday afternoon we ate at McAlister's Deli and then we met up with our friends Amy, Derrick, Quinn and Cailyn who also canceled a Disney cruise. We played pickleball together and then we ate dinner at the "Billy G's Smokehouse & Salty Goat Bar" on property and were sure to wipe down the table extra well and we tried to keep our distance from other patrons.

On Monday morning we did the Peak Performance clinic with Quinn. It was awesome that it was just the four of us (Andrea, Connor, Quinn and myself) and we had some very competitive points and the boys played well. In the afternoon we played basketball, the kids rode bikes together and got ice cream.

On Monday evening the president announced that he was ordering a 15 day shutdown and the government pushed for increased social distancing. We decided not to do the tennis clinics for Tuesday morning, so Tuesday I got up and did some work before deciding that it didn't really make sense for us to be at the resort if we weren't going to be doing tennis or able to really do the things we wanted. We packed up the car and drove home in the afternoon.

It was a short stay, but we feel more comfortable at home and we're happy that for now we're safe and healthy. I went to the store this morning to brave the crowds so I could buy food and very importantly toilet paper, which has been in short supply around the country. The kids' school is canceled through April 15 for sure and I'm anticipating that the COVID19 pandemic is going to get much worse before it gets better.

Nice weather for bike riding

The weather's been wonderful lately and Andrea and I have been trying to go on a walk or a bike ride every evening. Last week we went on a ride with Paige and stopped to snap some pics during a rest stop.

Connor's second Middle School tennis match

Connor played in his first match on March 5th and won on line one singles. On Thursday, March 12th, Connor played in his second Middle school tennis match against his friend Quinn.

They had some great points, and Andrea said Connor played well and he ended up winning the match.

It's always tough to have to play a friend, and Quinn's a scrappy and athletic player so it wasn't an easy one for Connor. Great work boys!

Paige level 7 tournament at JCP - 3rd place

Paige played in a level 7 tournament Sunday March 8th at JCP and played 3 singles matches. She won her first match, lost her second, and won her third match. She had some great rallies and worked hard, keeping a good attitude in the 3rd match to come from behind to win in a tiebreak.

Great job Paige!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Shawn's tennis match

I played in a singles tennis match on Saturday and Andrea stopped by to watch towards the end. She took a couple of videos of me playing, which was fun for me to watch since I don't get to see myself on video playing very often. I ended up winning the match 6-1, 6-1.