Vernon Volumes text

Vernon Volumes text

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Week 6 of quarantine - COVID19 update - 4-26-2020

This past week was our 6th week of isolating since the COVID19 pandemic. Our week was mostly the same as the previous weeks. The kids are doing well with their schoolwork at home and enjoy their days for the most part. Connor's always been such a homebody, I think he loves this routine. We played some tennis together as a family, and although the kids complained quite a bit, I had them come with me on a jog this morning. The weather's been a little warmer, but this week was nice and cool out for the most part so we are still trying to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.

One of the big changes this week is that the beaches were opened up for the public to use for exercise and for fun. There's been a lot of people out exercising on the sidewalks in neighborhoods, so I think it was nice that we also have the option to go to the beach as well. Our little town made international news regarding the beaches opening, with newspapers as far away as the UK reporting on our beach activity. Most of the reporting has been pretty negative and they often showed what were clearly "stock" photos of packed beaches. In reality, the beaches had a lot of activity, but people are pretty good about keeping their distance from others and there are rules against setting up umbrellas and chairs and hanging out all day long. We brought our football and mostly just walked up and down the beach.

On Saturday we went North from our beach club and it was great and not too crowded. On Sunday, Andrea and I went by ourselves and we decided to go South for a different view. Unfortunately, to the South was a lot more crowded, so we will probably stick to going North from now on.

It's still pretty cold in the water, so I've been turning on the hot tub for the kids in the afternoons when they want to swim. They have been really good about hanging out and getting along together. We all worked together on Saturday and cooked tacos for lunch, which was super tasty.

COVID19 infections in the US are getting close to 1 million and worldwide close to 3 million. The deaths in America this week crossed over 50,000. We're hopeful that we're getting close to the peak of the infections and that some things will become safer in the near future, but things are definitely still very uncertain.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Andrea's 40th Birthday

This year was a big birthday for Andrea and on Sunday she turned 40! The world is pretty much shut down for Coronavirus, but we did our best to make her day special since she is a special person. Some of her friends sent her gifts, I got her some flowers, fruity pebble rice crispy treats, a cake, some sweet treats, and a new watch.

The kids both made some cute cards for Andrea. After opening up her Apple watch and getting it setup, we went to the neighborhood tennis courts for some family tennis time and then I picked up some BBQ for lunch.

Andrea's friend Gina got her a surprise from the "Big Yard Card" and they setup a cute sign overnight so it was all setup for Andrea's birthday morning. I snapped a few pics of Andrea with the signs and I also setup my camera on a tripod and timer so we could get a family shot.

Gina stopped by in the afternoon to see the signs and I snapped a pic of Andrea with Gina with a little bit of social distance between them. We chatted with the Fishman family for a little while and a lot of people wished Andrea a happy birthday as they drove and walked past.

Andrea enjoyed her birthday and made a little TikTok video with Paige to celebrate. She is feeling good, healthy, and I hope she is also feeling loved on her 40th birthday.

Happy birthday Andrea! We love you!

Week 5 of quarantine - COVID19 update - 4-20-2020

Another week down in quarantine. Work and school like normal this past week, nothing big different for our family. Paige has been learning some TikTok dances and we let her download the app with some parental restrictions in place. She got us all to learn a few dances lately and we enjoyed dancing together as a family.

The weather's been getting warmer and we've been playing tennis together on our neighborhood courts. Andrea never really played much singles prior to the quarantine, but she has gotten really good really fast. We typically play one court with Paige and then another court with the older family members. When I play against Andrea and Connor I typically give them one or two advantages to make it a little more even. I usually give Connor unlimited serves and Andrea usually gets to hit in to the doubles lines and I also have to return her second serve cross court, not too hard, to get the point started.

Connor took a video of Andrea and me, unfortunately he is still working at how to hold a camera still for a video so it's fairly shaky. I think I actually won the points in the videos, but Andrea ended up winning the match, she is tough to beat.

We've heated the hot tub a few times when the weather is warm enough for swimming.

The kids have been helping with cleaning up around the house and Andrea took a few pics of them while they were doing their chores.

Andrea's learned how to do french braiding and is getting pretty good at it.

We still get out once a day to pick up lunch. We finally did get some masks in the mail and wear them when we get out.

Coronavirus cases continue to climb. America has more than 750,000 and crossed 40,000 deaths. There are some signs that the spread may be slowing, and there have been some people protesting the shutdown lately. It's hard to know exactly how everything is going with all the information and misinformation out there. We're hopeful that things will return to normal soon, but it seems more likely that it will be a while yet.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter 2020

Today is Easter! Last night, as we were eating lunch and talking about Easter, Paige asked us directly if the Easter Bunny was real. Andrea and I had been discussing it for a while and we had a feeling the day would come, and yesterday we had "The Talk" about the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and sadly even about old Santa Claus. We hadn't ever really talked about it with Connor, but he was at an age where he obviously knew. He is a sweet brother and hadn't spoiled it for Paige directly, but we knew that Paige was outgrowing it and was definitely starting to suspect.

Andrea has always been very cute about making holidays special, and even though the kids knew what was up, she still was sure that the Easter Bunny made the day special. The kids did an Easter Egg hunt in the morning and were thrilled with their fizzy soda candy, Reeses peanutbutter candies, and some of the eggs even had cash!

Andrea also put together some cute baskets for the kids with some goodies and clothes.

Paige loves the Peeps.

We haven't been dressed in anything much other than pajamas for a while, so it was a fun excuse to put on some cute clothes and snap a few photos. I setup the tripod so we could get some nice family shots as well.

For lunch, we heated up a delicious meal that we picked up yesterday from Medure. We had honey glazed ham, macaroni and cheese, green beans, and rolls. We have some bread pudding as well, which we plan to heat up this evening when we're hungry again.

Happy Easter!

Week 4 of quarantine - COVID19 update - 4-12-2020

This past week is our fourth week of quarantining at home due to the Coronavirus. Things didn't change a lot in the last week and it was pretty much business as usual with the kids doing online learning, Andrea going out to get us food and keep the kids occupied, and me doing my work.

Recently there are more people out wearing masks and taking everything more seriously. Initially, everyone was just making a big fuss about washing hands, but as I'd been following the Coronavirus news closely for a while I suspected it was more contagious and wasn't a simple hygiene issue. Recently, there are a lot of studies showing that it can be spread through the air and at first people were thinking it was only from sneezes and coughs, but now it's believed it could spread even from just talking/breathing. Thankfully, for woodworking and cleaning purposes, I had a 3M N95 mask in my toolbox, and I've worn it out a few times now when I have to go in to a store. It felt more weird at first, but probably about 50% of the people you see out in public are wearing them now.

America, by far, has the most cases of any country and this past week New York's been impacted heavily. It looks like the peak # of cases for New York may be coming up soon, and it looks like the number of cases elsewhere in the country will peak at different times. It's unclear how much longer we'll be expected to stay at home and how that will affect the country. In our home, we're all feeling pretty decent for the most part and we hope that we stay healthy.

Tennis during quarantine

We haven't played tennis since returning from Spring Break and we've been missing it a lot lately. Wimbledon was canceled and all the clubs have been shut down for a while after the USTA released guidance around COVID19 and as a result tennis has been off the table for a while.

Andrea and Paige setup our pool volleyball net in the driveway and hit some orange balls around.

 Finally, yesterday we decided that we should try hitting on a real tennis court and went to the neighborhood courts to hit together. Connor hurt his toe recently on a bike ride, so he wasn't very competitive. Andrea and I played a full set together and we gave Andrea a couple of advantages; I had to cover full court and she got unlimited serves. It was close, but Andrea ended up beating me and we were all pretty tired afterwards.

Golf cart driving lessons

This past week Andrea had the idea that we should take the opportunity to work with the kids on their driving since there's a lot less traffic in the neighborhood. Connor had a turn first and practiced steering the golf cart on the roads while I worked the pedals. He did a good job using the turning signal and enjoyed honking the horn.

Paige and Andrea had a turn after Connor and she did awesome as well. They both took it seriously and did well on the roads and the golf course cart paths.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Third week of Quarantine - COVID19

This past week we completed our third week of life in the Coronavirus Quarantine.

Andrea has been staying active and is feeling well so far. Since her immune system still may not be 100% after her chemotherapy and recent surgery, we have tried to be very cautious with what we do, what we eat, and what we expose ourselves to. We have still been getting carryout food on most days and we make sure to wipe everything down that we bring in to the house. We needed some groceries and had them delivered last week and we needed some things from Target and did their online ordering where you pull up and they bring them out to your car. I did go in to Publix once to get ice and in retrospect I wish I'd worn my mask for it. Although I was only in the store for 2-3 minutes, I was incredibly aware of all the people around me and wondering what I was breathing in. Recently the government's released recommendations that people should wear masks in public, but most people still do not. Yesterday was the first time that I saw more than a few wearing masks, but I'd still say that less than half are doing so when they're out in stores and around other people.

The kids have been enjoying the pandemic for the most part, I honestly have a feeling they will remember this time fondly. We spend a lot of time together and try to limit the amount of electronics time. If given the choice, I know they both would 100% of the time choose to play Fortnite on their computers, so we make sure that they spend a reasonable amount doing electronics but also make sure they have time to do other things. They play well together and they are so lucky to have each other. Connor is such a funny guy and you can tell it's almost a relief in a way when electronics aren't an option. He is cute with Paige and although he antagonizes her quite a bit, he is such a sweet brother. Paige enjoys doing just about everything and she likes to get out with us sometimes to go get food or run errands. It's crazy to think that Connor's barely left the neighborhood in the past few weeks. It's been a week since the kids went on a run with me. They've been collapsing on the floor in agony if I even suggest it, and I haven't been pushing it. They were supposed to ride bikes with me this morning while I ran, but Connor was having a meltdown and Paige wasn't awake yet, so I decided to let them off the hook. We still go on bike rides with them and they love to swim in the pool, but I wish we could go play tennis or do something fun together. Their online schooling started off rocky, but has been getting smoother and the technology issues are being resolved with the Schoology system and other online materials. Connor has quite a few online meetings throughout the week, but it really doesn't seem to be super time consuming. Andrea is helping him right now and they're learning some geometry and algebra that Connor struggled with last week. Paige's online schooling has been pretty easy for her so far. Her computer's worked well for everything and she breezes through the assignments and is way ahead at the moment. She only has a couple of online meetings throughout the week and is done pretty early every day.

For me, it's been an odd mix of anxiety and comfort. I'm happy that we prepared for emergencies in the past and we are fortunate that my work has been mostly unaffected by the pandemic so far. That said, I'm still having trouble sleeping and I'm constantly checking the news and watching the market. I feel somewhat guilty trying to consider investment choices at a time like this, but I'd pulled all of our non-retirement money out of the market last year when the yield curve inverted and during trade tariff issues with China. With the market down at the moment, I feel like it's important to consider entry points for some funds and stocks that may be a good value. Anyways, that kind of thing has been weighing on me. I wanted to do some good for others and looked in to blood donations, however the websites showed that our local hospitals have ample blood supplies on hand through at least mid-April and I was directed to wait and check back at that time. I've decided to grow out my beard since we're all cooped up anyways and I can't get a haircut, so if this goes on too long I might end up looking like a Neanderthal emerging from his cave when this is over.

We've been cooking at home and we've been trying to involve the kids in the food preparation as well. Connor's been grudgingly learning what the different appliances do, and yesterday he helped to heat up some pizza in the toaster oven.

This past week Andrea found a lady on Facebook that was selling some sugar cookie decorating kits. She got one for us and one for the Fishman family and she decorated some of the cookies with Paige last night.

Globally, the number of confirmed cases blew past one million and the United States crossed over 250,000 cases. The number of deaths is expected to peak in mid-April for some areas, and right now the projected deaths for America is between 100,000 and 240,000. I have a feeling those numbers will be higher, but it's definitely too early to know for sure. Right now, I'm anticipating that we're going to be quarantining until July at the earliest unless something major happens to resolve this pandemic. Praying that we remain healthy!