RBOC

  • Some of my students have started to hit crisis mode with lost jobs and lost job offers and having to move back in with family.  Some of them have families in crisis mode as well.
  • DH’s parents should be fine– they have pensions.  But his other relatives have been mostly laid off, including all the teens.
  • It’s not too late to apply to graduate school– our admissions was way down this year, so we still have rolling admissions!  Wait out the bad economy with a masters degree.  (I think we’re done with PhD stuff, but we still have plenty of MA slots… we probably still have financial aid.  And if we’re in this situation, other schools likely are as well.)
  • I war between feeling #blessed and feeling guilty.
  • DH and I have been trying to figure out how to just give money without having to buy anything to our favorite homemade noodle restaurant.  Credit card is our best method right now but we’d have to order and if we tipped it might just go to whoever did the curbside (this is our best idea so far though).  There’s a language barrier, so it’s hard to discuss this with them.  We don’t have much cash on hand.  A check seems weird and how would we get it to them?
  • The kids’ piano lessons have gone virtual.  I’m really hoping DC1’s violin lesson can–she just texted as I was typing this to say she’s doing zoom lessons now.  So that will be interesting.  I get how we can set up for violin since DH has a pretty professional setup already at his work-from-home computer, but piano is going to be a bit more difficult.
  • I’m using DH’s low quality cast-offs for my work-from home zoom set-up.  I’m also using my fancy ipad pro to record lectures.
  • Our internet is not great when everyone is at home.  Usually this is only a problem in summer, but it is a problem now.  DH has hard wired me into the internet which seems to help some, but it isn’t perfect, even when I’m just doing audio and not video.
  • I spent about 2 hours one day trying to figure out how to get graded exams into ecampus. Because the day before we got instructions telling us we can’t return graded assignments with emails. And then the student I tried to send something to via ecampus email did not get the email or the attachment. So I looked up how to upload exams in the grade center. But the graded exams are on my ipad, not my desktop, and I have no secure way of moving them to the desktop (since I’m not allowed to use cloud activities and don’t have the right kind of cable to connect my ipad to my desktop). And Safari won’t let me scroll in the grade center. So I figured out a kludge involving sorting by date added so the midterm column showed up in the screen, and then realized it resets the order after every single exam which is not realistic, so I went back to google. After determining that USC’s instructions for how to show scroll bars in IOS wasn’t going to work, I figured out that I could reorder the columns manually, but of course the reordering requires manual moving that does not work on the ipad. So I manually reordered columns on my desktop and can now go through the manual override process that the Vanderbilt webpage recommends for returning graded pdfs in ecampus. Test student got her exam back. This is not what I should be spending my time doing. :( (If I’d just graded my exams a day earlier I could have said I had no idea our email servers weren’t secure enough to send graded exams through and could have just said oopsie doopsie.  I bet a lot of profs are going to ignore that email saying it got lost.)
  • A lot of folks have been posting the wonderfully creative things their children have been doing while “unschooled”… my youngest has been leaving a creative path of destruction (DH:  why is the bathtub still full of water and why are there stuffed animals in it?).
  • Where we used to live for a year in paradise is giving rental assistance for families with income less than $100k who have lost substantial income.
  • We’ve been getting groceries delivered– $10 fee and we’ve giving a $10 tip on top of that (this is generally rounding up from their suggested tip).  They just drop the groceries off at our porch and I let them sit for a bit before taking them in, letting them sit a bit more, unpacking them, then washing my hands.  Usually the substitutes are pretty good, but vegan butter (aka fancy margarine) is not a substitute for cultured butter #richpeopleproblems.  I am grateful that we can do this.  See #blessed vs guilty.  (DH plans to use the “vegan butter” in pie dough, which will add flake even though we usually just do 100% butter for the flavor.)
  • My school put together a relief fund for students.  I donated.  I feel like heavily endowed private schools could do this without donations, but I’m at a public school and see a future with a recession and no raises for a while.
  • We bought a random care package from walmart.com for someone– random because all walmart had left were assorted random things.  Then the package got delayed, then split up weirdly.  So on Friday they got their first package, late at night:  A single box of Cascadian Farm organic granola.  The last package is going to be a single container of prunes.  And before that:  five cans of chicken noodle soup (Progresso).  In theory, today they’ll get the bulk of things (though I’m not sure how given they haven’t shipped), which will still be random, but not quite so weird.

31 Responses to “RBOC”

  1. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Update: all that’s showing up today are four tins of diced pineapple. Which is both random and weird IMHO.

  2. Leah Says:

    yeah, our kids are pretty unmotivated too. They’re done a couple neat things but . . . meh. Distance learning starts for our kindergartner today. I think having a bit of a schedule would be good for her. We are not good people for creating and imposing our own schedules, so this has been a pretty big challenge. I foresee a lot of personal growth.

    Also, weird with the random shipments of things. I am really, really glad I had the foresight to go shopping before everything shut down. I was able to stock up fairly well (plenty of flour left when I went). We are still going to the grocery store once a week, but that’s pretty much for things like fresh fruits and veggies. The weird thing we’ve noticed in our area is that there’s not a ton of cat food around. I stocked up on that too, but our darn cat is picky and eats a lot of wet food, so 30 cans is really only a two week supply.

    • Leah Says:

      oh, and I agree that this is frustrating for me, but I do feel lucky. We both have our jobs (even tho we have to balance taking care of kids and working from home). We have money to buy food, and we already stockpiled things like TP. This is the kind of thing I have prepared for.

      There are lots of little bumps and bruises for me too in figuring out this whole work thing with my students. But we are slowly getting there. I am giving myself — and them! — lots of grace and leeway as long as they show they’re making a good faith effort.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I wouldn’t say DC2 is unmotivated so much as self-motivated to do destructive (but creative) things.

  3. Foscavista Says:

    I am amazed you do business with Walmart.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I don’t usually, but in this case it seemed most expedient and they’re not as monopolistic or as evil to their workers as Amazon (admittedly a low bar). Plus it’s where the family in question usually shops.

  4. CG Says:

    The care package in dribs and drabs is pretty funny. Our kids are doing some schoolwork under duress, keeping up practicing their instruments, and otherwise pretty much on a screen unless we kick them outside (the weather here is not reliably nice yet so that works better some days than others). Our youngest did create a treasure hunt all throughout the house–that was cool. But mostly their creativity has been limited to building things in Minecraft.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Better minecraft than destroying the bathroom and soaking toys that are not meant to be soaked, I think. Zie also managed to do some potentially dangerous stuff with hir lamp. Zie won’t tell us how the prongs ended up at a 90 degree angle that doesn’t even seem possible.

      • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

        I won’t speak for zir but I have been responsible for nearly 90-degree angle prongs when I ran full speed into a plugged in plug and tripped over it and bent them so badly I wasn’t sure it’d come out …. Many of my life problems can be traced back to my klutziness.

  5. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    We have a fairly loose schedule – walk, writing, cleaning, building or art, math – but it’s keeping us mostly sane! If i had actual work to.do they’d all be roaming our yard making trouble.

    We live in a rural county full of poverty and the food bank is getting overrun. We’ve made some donations but I’m concerned about the long run. We’ve been ordering takeout once a week but I’m also concerned about the local restaurants. There’s a lot to worry about!

    Also our uni admin wants to ‘wait and see ‘ about donating ppe and I am trying to change that without burning any bridges. Aargh. The rescue squads and safety net clinic have already run out of masks.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      If I wasn’t so behind on everything this would be so much easier! And if the kids could completely take care of themselves I like to think I wouldn’t be so far behind.

    • teresa Says:

      Wait and see what?!
      Thank you for trying to convince them otherwise.

    • K Says:

      I sort of understand the,…”wait and see” with universities but mostly not. With the shit for brains in the white house questioning medical professionals and blaming them for shortages…..I say, all hands on deck. Some of our local, community colleges have already started donating as well as general contractors….anyone who has been using the equipment but does not need it in the immediate future has been stepping up in my area of Massachusetts. The poverty issues really worry me short and long term. That is where I am from and am barely out of it….I am grateful to still be working and to be able to afford to shop at my small local stores during this pandemic but even two years ago this would have been a different story.
      Keep up these conversations in comments and posts, they are very helpful!

      Ps. Found two rolls of tp today! Holy shiz
      Anon in mass

  6. teresa Says:

    -Also spending lots of time feeling simultaneously lucky and guilty/excessively privileged.
    -Sounds like the answer is probably no, but any chance the restaurant is using VenMo or similar that would let you just pay them? (My sister and BIL just set up an account for their restaurant to decrease cash handling and allow people to get totally contact-less takeout…maybe your place also thought of it?)
    -I think it is (weird/)interesting that my heavily endowed private SLAC undergrad alma mater has been soliciting emergency relief donations (and is not especially explicit about what they are to be used for) but my public med school alma mater has not

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We don’t know about the restaurant. Their webpage is down, so I’m concerned they may be out of business already, though their yelp page is still up and has them now closed on Mondays (last review was over a week ago). Some restaurants in town take breaks when the students are out of town and come back when they’re there, so I’m hoping some of our other favorites do that (like the good Poke place which disappeared over winter break). To be honest I’ve been really craving them so we may end up just doing take-out.

      re: SLAC solicitations. That is odd. Ours it is very clear– they’re for small short-term grants for current students.

  7. First Gen American Says:

    Hard to know what’s enough. Right now I think it’s a win if I can get through a workday from home while having my kids do: reading, language practice, math, exercise, laundry and dishes. It’s probably 2 hours of work total and if they get it done without fighting I consider it a great day.

    I have been checking in with old neighbors. The schools have been already allocating their lunch budgets to bag lunches for the families in need which is great. The bad thing about New Yorkers descending upon our community to escape the virus is our little county is now in the top 10 per capita in the nation for corona spread. The one positive is the restaurants that converted to takeout have huge lines and business. (Was going to put a big rant here but deleted it).

    I gave my cleaning person extra money last week because all of her air b+b gigs dried out. I reached out to contractors we’ve used in the past and let them know to reach out if they need extra work. We brought all our chicken’s eggs to my husband’s work when they were sold out everywhere. I’ve shared big meals with neighbors who needed extra help. I’ve called people to check in.

    Most importantly, we are taking the social distancing thing seriously. Would love more ideas on this topic.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That sounds amazing.

      In terms of social distancing ideas, in what respect?

      • First Gen American Says:

        I meant ideas on how to help people who’ve lost their income and/or ways to keep sane while cooped up at home.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I think you’ve probably been doing a better job in both respects than we have, but this is definitely something we can throw up on a Friday. There are a lot of other bloggers who have written posts on these topics that I can gather together even if my new ideas are just things like help people figure out unemployment insurance and explain they’re entitled to it because they’ve paid for the insurance in the form of lower wages.

  8. Middle class Says:

    Is Walmart worse than Amazon? At this point, I am not being picky. I finally got eggs and milk (!!!) from Walmart online order and pick up service. Pick up is free and you don’t even leave your car.

    I think many people who condemn Walmart probably have Amazon Prime…

  9. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Hm… seed packets are sold out all over the place now. Well.

  10. Debbie M Says:

    On checks for your favorite noodle place–can you mail them? I’m just picking out take-out from my favorites and overdoing the tips a bit more than usual.

  11. xykademiqz Says:

    My youngest has been doing video piano lessons right since the beginning. The first lesson was weird in terms of logistics, but now we have a setup (the camera has to be kind of behind and to the side so the teacher can see his hands and the music). But so far, so good. She offered several video options; we’re doing Skype, but I think she also offers Zoom and Google Duo.

    Kids have been on screens a lot. They start school on Monday of next week, so I said I wouldn’t bug them till then. They can have a three-week spring break. Once school gets back in session, I will have to battle with my seventh-grader, who is generally ornery and disinterested in school, but the third-grader likes it all right and is generally motivated by a desire to please authority. We should probably accelerate him as he’s way ahead of the curve in everything, but he really likes his friends and has thus far been decent at tolerating boredom.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Sadly the third grade curriculum for us has either been boring busy work for things zie doesn’t need to review or things that require parental involvement. So we’ve just been skipping them in favor of workbooks.

      The high school stuff has been more appropriate and has had to be turned in but it’s time consuming so we can’t make DC1 be the parent in all the heavily involved DC2 activities that DC2 doesn’t want to do anyway.

  12. rose Says:

    RE noodle restaurant and other local places: BUY GIFT CARDS and do not use them. Gets them money … Also take out is good to use in addition to buying the un-used gift cards. Do not forget your indie bookstores.

  13. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Quite a few of our local places just don’t have gift cards so I don’t know how to support them without actually getting take out if we are not in a position to eat the take out right now. I don’t want food to go to waste. I hope we can figure it out sooner than later.

    Our schedule is a shambles and I’m not a hell of a lot better, which my brain therapist reminds me is ok because this isn’t a normal situation at all. I’m not sure where to take comfort in that other than not feeling the need to push myself to pretend I’m ok with all of this.


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