Sunday, April 26, 2020

A Baffling Bug - Week of Apr. 20th

"'Tis healthy to be sick sometimes."  "There is one consolation in being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before." ~Henry David Thoreau
It's funny how you assume that if you are staying home and staying safe, you are immune to contracting an illness.  We have no idea how or from what, but Cam became quite sick on Monday.  Although he completed his walking routine, something was off.  Before he could even begin his homework, he didn't feel well and things steadily worsened throughout the day.  His stomach couldn't retain anything and he just felt awful.  Most of the day, he was on the couch, fiercely protected by Stella who chose to watch over him.  After a rough 24 hours, Cam was feeling more like himself and easing back into things.  By Wednesday, he declared he was feeling great again!
In the evenings, a new project had begun in the garage.  Chris and Cam have a new device to use called a CNC (computer numerical control) machine, recently acquired for project creation.
A CNC router is a computer-controlled cutting machine related to the hand-held router used for cutting various hard materials, such as wood, composites, aluminium, steel, plastics, glass, and foams. Instead of routing by hand, tool paths are controlled via computer numerical control.

On Saturday, a very special event was planned.  Ms. Amanda was getting married to Mr. Nick!  Their large gathering was rescheduled for July but they still wanted to have their planned ceremony on their original date.  To help all guests feel connected, the couple set up a private Facebook live event.  As a surprise, a few of us gathered in the church parking lot to watch from our vehicles.
The current state regulations only allowed for 10 people to be inside the church, but we were thankful to be able to see and witness their vows.  As we waited for the newly married couple to emerge from the church, we talked about how awesome it was to be a part of it all, even if though it was virtual.
We decided to get out of our cars and stay by them so we could show our excitement for the Mr. and Mrs. when they walked out.  As soon as we saw them, the cheering began.  Mrs. Amanda spotted Cam and ran over to see him!  We snapped a quick picture before adhering to social distancing.  The most difficult part of the day was not being able to give our sweet Amanda big hugs.

As a treat for the couple, we made some homemade goodies and decorated a box to put them in.  The homemade sign designed by Chris and Cam was our favorite gift to give.  They sent us a picture that evening to show how cool it looks in their new home.  A strip of remote-controlled LED lights was added to the back of the signage so that the happy couple can change the color whenever they wish.

Saturday evening, our family sat together to watch a movie.  Although it is tough not to spend time with our friends and extended family, the silver lining has been the extra time spent with each other.  A quote found this week: "Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure."

Camology Quotes:
Cam prefers to follow all rules.  Chris enjoys joking with Cam.  One evening, Chris appeared in Cam's bathroom with a tape measure keeping himself exactly 6 feet away from Cam.  Cam asked what in the world he was doing.
"I'm social distancing Cam."  
"Not funny when we are in the same family, Dad!"

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Feline Focus - Week of Apr. 13th

“Cats are connoisseurs of comfort.” ~James Herriot

Without a doubt, the family member experiencing the biggest benefit from Michigan's quarantine is our cat, Stella.  Cam is beyond attentive every day, making certain she is let out of her room early in the morning and checking her litter box and water intake multiple times a day.
Stella looks at Jane as if to say "Thank goodness someone is paying attention around here!"
Each morning after breakfast, Cam is ready for his round of walking.  He seems to have newfound enjoyment in the exercise and happily completes his 10 minute stroll around the house as shown in the video below.
We all settle into our respective "offices" around 8am downstairs.
His virtual schooling officially began on Wednesday of this week.  Our routine kid first checks his activity homework list on an iPad app called "Seesaw."  Once he completes the items, he moves onto two other apps- Epic for reading and IXL for math and language arts.  He will request help if needed, but has typically finished everything within a few hours.  His daily FaceTime chats with Ms. Amanda and Auntie Karen usually take us to lunchtime.

Three afternoons during the week, Cam is tutored by Ms. Ann via a zoom meeting.  Near the end of the work day, it is time for Cam's stretching and more exercising.  Sitting and balancing as well as standing are all on the agenda.
The work days are long, but the "Cam check-ins" to each of his parent's office areas makes the time much more interesting for Chris and Jane.

A warmer Sunday offered the chance for a stroll in the park.  These outings seem more meaningful for us all in these days of isolation.  It is a reminder to continue to appreciate all of the simple things we take for granted.  Be thankful and be safe :-)

Camology Quotes:
Jane has been a remote worker for years, accustomed to filling her days with video meetings and conference calls.  She is not as accustomed, however, to having office mates.
~Jane mumbles about a spreadsheet of information missing data ~
"What mom?"  
Sorry, I'm talking to myself Cam.  
"That's ok- I do that a lot!"

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Virtual Appointments - Week of Apr. 6th

"We all live every day in virtual environments, defined by our ideas." ~Michael Crichton 
Oma on her first video call!

Cam has grown up in a world of technology.  He has never had to use a typewriter or worry about how long it will take his camera film to be developed.  He will never know the joy (or frustration) of rewinding cassette tapes to hear a lyric over and over again to figure out exactly what they are saying, and then realizing years later you still had it wrong.
Cam knows the virtual world of asking "Alexa" to play a song or turn off lights or start a timer.  He can operate an iPad better than most adults and is fearless when it comes to using technology.
It seems only natural then, that a virtual appointment is something Cam would gravitate towards.  Tutoring with Ms. Ann, checking in daily with Ms. Amanda and Auntie Karen are on his list for connecting with others.  PT with Mr. Patrick and watching a magic school virtually with classmates were all on the schedule this week.

A surprise 'drop-off' from Uncle Jon really made Cam's day.  Our uncle's car stayed in the driveway a couple of months ago during a trip they took.  They had picked up the vehicle some time ago, but we still had their spare set of keys.  The swap was done without interaction during this 'stay home stay safe' period.  Cam was elated when his dad showed him the bag left by Uncle Jon containing a personal note and peanut butter cup treats.  Needless to say, his snack choice was an easy one.

A milder Saturday called for some driveway biking.  During the winter months, Cam's bike has been at school where he has ridden it in the gym and other areas.  With the building shut down for the remainder of the school year, the principal allowed Chris to set up a time for pick up.  It was good to see our kiddo excited to show us his skills.

Easter Sunday was the first time we can recall not being with Oma and Opa for the holiday.  For the last several years, we have attended church with the Raisch family.  The service was held virtually and we were present from our own homes.  Afterwards, though, Mr. Steve recommended a social distancing walk in the park at the end of our former street.  It was the first time we had seen our close friends (from six feet away) in a month.  Patti requested a family picture and then Cam asked if he could be in it too.  Although odd to maintain our separation, we still felt together.
As the sun set that evening and we saw the speck of brilliant color, we are reminded to count our blessings and to look forward to the brightness of a new day.

Camology Quotes:
To maintain regular routines, using one's manners is part of each day as well. Cam occasionally needs to be reminded but is pretty good at remembering to say please and thank you and excuse me.  It seems he came up with a substitute this week though.
~big burp heard from Cam immediately followed by...~
"Pardon the interruption!"

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Ready, Set, Zoom - Week of Mar. 30th

"Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success." ~Henry Ford
Our new normal of home life seems to be hitting a stride.  Although work is hectic, Cam is doing his best to keep himself busy with homework and visit his mom and dad in their respective offices.  A new fun activity he has discovered is following our cat, Stella around to see where she will lead him.  Interestingly enough, she seems to know her presence is needed now.
Grabbing the daily mail used to coincide with school bus pickup and drop off.  Now it is a task set aside and one to look forward to, especially when there is something for Cam.
When he opened the card from his teacher, Ms. Konkle, he was very surprised to see a "Save the Date" for her August wedding.  After his screams, he told his parents, "This is such an honor to be invited to your teacher's wedding!"  Chris and I agreed that the teachers miss the kids as much as the kids miss school and the teachers.

With the governor's directive to stay home and stay safe not only in Michigan but across the country, many people, including schools, have embraced videoconferencing technology.  In March alone, there were 62 million downloads of video apps.  Ms. Konkle sent out an invite to her group of 7 kids to connect via a Zoom conference.  The classmates stayed on together with their teacher for almost an hour, excited to see each other and talking about different things they had been doing.  At one point, Cam turned to us and said "I think everyone is going crazy because we miss each other."

It is strange that being outside seems a bit of a luxury these days.  On a warmer, sunny day Jane asked Cam if he wanted to go for a drive.  They ended up at a nearby park that was practically deserted.
An older couple was in their car and commented (from 6 feet away) "It is such a nice day."  Jane and her son agreed and Jane said "Are you staying safe?" The older gentleman said "Oh yes and don't you worry, things will be fine."  As Cam and his mom made their way to the sidewalk, Jane told her son that it was so good to hear the man say that.  Cam led the way and they ended up on the boardwalk down by the river.  There they stayed, in silence, both looking at the river.  Cam said "This is so relaxing."  It is ironic that in 'normal' times, this outing would be a rarity.  Even more rare is the absence of people.  In all of the chaos in the world, Cam truly seems more at ease.  Maybe it is because of the pause in the hustle and bustle of normal activity.

At Cam's request, our big weekend outing was to the backyard for our son to feel relaxation once again, but this time in our hot tub.
While we were all hanging out, Cam said "Thank you for getting this, Mom!"  I reminded him that the hot tub was a birthday present to me from he and his dad.  Cam smartly replied, "I guess you need to thank us again then!"

Camology Quotes:
With the daily changes in the news and multiple announcements from our governor, Cam has taken a keen interest in hearing the formal addresses and has actually asked to watch the news a bit in the evening. He is very intrigued by the concept of an 'executive order' and decided he would create his own at bedtime.
"This executive order says that you must pay me $8 for 5 hugs and then you will need to get my permission."