2020 School Year – A Start like no other

Covid-19 | New Scientist

What a strange start to a school year! All the “will they, won’t they” of July. Will school start in person? Will it be partial days or online? Will it be online or remote (yep, those two are different options). I’m glad my wife is a teacher and could help make sense of a lot of it but trying to figure out what to do with a wife and 2 kids all in different aspects of the WCS system was a stressor.
If there are words I could use to describe the kids in all of this, it’s these
  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Fearless
My daughter’s school is staffed with amazing people – from the principal to her teacher. Every level of education is affected by this but a first grader teacher dealing with kids who had their kindergarten year cut short and have heard the words “virus” for months now and probably understand A LITTLE about what is going on. And then you add a teacher in a mask all day to it – and them wearing a mask themselves.
My son’s daycare has been equally great. My boy is more than surviving – he’s THRIVING. Big man on campus style. And he’s getting smarter and smarter by the day. I know boys socialize much later than girls but he has hit this amazing stride. I’m not sure he really cared about missing daycare or his friends during the March – May shutdown period.
My wife…she’s a Rockstar. Not much else to say other than that. But I will…she created a whole online curriculum for an extra class – and then did the remote stuff with Zoom for two weeks. And JUST as she was hitting her stride…hey, all your students are coming back on campus and you have to wear a mask all day.

BW – Job History

It’s time for a job change…while updating my resume, there’s obviously a ton of focus on what I have done at previous companies. I wanted to focus (and catalog) some of the people and things that those jobs gave or taught me.

  • Codigent (later UCR Solutions, later FCG)
    • First job out of college
    • People of note: Rich Watkins, Danny Grigsby, Nate Deason, Paul Aebischer, Rob Dreussi, Matt Berggren (future groomsman), Will Golden, Michael Golden, Keith McLarty
    • 2+ years of almost full-time travel (NY, PA, CO, WA, NM)

 

  • Devgenics
    • An opportunity arose with some former co-workers from Codigent; career growth
    • People of note: Matt Berggren, the Palakies, Keith McLarty, Van deer Laan and Stocker

 

  • Gordian Health (later Onlife)
    • First job as a full time .NET developer
    • People of note: Herby DeWees, Jeffrey Johnson, Mark Swickard, Todd Lyles, Jim Crawford

 

  • Vision Consulting (later Parallon Technology Solutions)
    • Opportunity to create my own platform from scratch – libraries, configurations, portals, etc.
    • Third party consulting
    • People of note: Matt Berggren, the Palakies, Keith McLarty, Anthony Cannon, Doreen Degroff

 

  • PharmMD (later AdhereHealth)
    • Opportunity to come in and try to help an environment with very little automation, standardization, etc.
    • People of note: Victor Mattingly, Stacey Parker, Chris Wyman, Susie Gilmer, Joe Murphree, Joel Denowski, Celika Peters, Jake Woods, Mike Rezvani, Kempton Presley, Cynthia Sandahl

“Look”

My son says this with such ferocity that you HAVE to look. And he will keep saying it until you look. I will miss this when he gets older…just a little.

Mom, I apologize for my entire childhood and me and Keshia constantly competing for your attention <3

The Boy

Do you ever pick up something that your kid does that you maybe should have noticed but never did? Nothing big but just a small thing that makes a lot of other things make sense?

We had Krispy Kreme this week to “celebrate” (or mourn) the end of summer. My son had to get a fork to eat his donut. He’s eaten it by hands before. I’m sure of it. But today, he HAD to have a fork. Like he wouldn’t eat it without it.

I don’t consider him a neat freak. If you saw his room, you’d know the opposite is 100% true. He plays in the sand and in the yard all the time. He eats pizza and chicken nuggets by hand (like a good ole American boy). But with his food, he does not like to be STICKY. He ate one in the car yesterday on the way home but that may have been just from sheer hunger and boredom. And he whined about his hands being dirty the whole drive home when he was done. But at home, where he KNEW he had stuff to prevent stickiness…yep.


So I’ll be keeping some wipes on hand in my car from now on.

Once upon a Time…

One thing I have very little doubt about is my parenting. I am the right Dad for these kids and they are the right children for me to raise. (some days and moments are obviously harder than others – make no mistake about that).


There is one day in particular that has stuck in my head for years. It’s come up a few times since as we have been the recipient of other people’s decisions. It is in super focus now as we are about to begin a school year (hopefully) with a pandemic going on.

I have forgotten a few of the finer details but it all boils down to – one day when E was about 3 years old, she had a fever. I forget if it was a small one the night before or just popped up the morning of but it went between a 99 and 101. (100 is the “stay away” temp for daycare attendance). Becky and I sent her to school in the morning and hoped she would make it through the day.

She did NOT. I think we got a call to get her before lunch and we had to pick her up and take her home for the day.

So in the grand scheme of things, not a big deal, right? Irresponsible of us…yes. I’ll admit it. What’s funny is that whatever work we thought was SO important and needed to get done that day…didn’t get done when we got the call that we had to pick her up. We could have gotten a teacher or another student sick with what she had and possibly effected their family. And we know our kid…she has never been a “get a quick fever and recover girl”. She is of the multi-day type.  Bad call on our part. And if I remember correctly – it wasn’t like I had a big deadline that day or Becky was in show dress rehearsals or something. And we both had enough PTO in our bank to blow a day. 

All that to say…man, what parenting shows you about the importance of work and everything else. I promise not to send my kid to school this upcoming school year with anything resembling a cold or even a behavior out of the ordinary. This year…one rash decision could be devastating.

COVID TIMES

I have tried to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) about this so many ties over the past few weeks. I guess we now have hit the 8 week mark. It’s been about 50ish days since Tennessee started to shut down, which started with my daughter’s school closing for a “deep clean long weekend” and my wife’s high school musical (The Little Mermaid!) almost being canceled on opening night. This has now turned into the shortest kindergarten year ever and the longest summer vacation – oh please let there be school in the fall.

This disease sucks. People dying sucks. People dying in the manner this disease kills them sounds dreadful. I am extremely happy that no one I know has officially tested positive and that they are all pretty smart people who follow the guidelines laid out and do the right things. I can’t imagine losing a single one of them – family member, friend, co-worker, mailman, pizza delivery driver, and hated former co-workers.

All this to say…I am struck by some of the more beautiful things that have come out of this. I have seen more people out and about in the neighborhood than ever before. I’ve found some interesting conversation with people when my kids and I go for a walk – maybe because people are so excited to talk to anyone other than their spouse (or themselves). But if this pandemic increases community, that may be a silver lining.

I have always been active with my kids and gone outside to play with them. But now it’s a MUST as I work from home and my upstairs “office” 5 days a week. I’m like a kid in a candy store when the clock hits 4 (or whenever I get “off”) and we get to go outside. Even during a rainy day last week, I got chairs out to sit in the garage and play with the toys in there but I forgot they are kids. And kids love to play in the rain (it wasn’t pouring) so they still got to play outside. And because we are all home earlier than on a work day and the days are getting longer and the commute isn’t sucking the life out of us, we have that much more energy.

One thing that I’ve appreciated is getting to pull out ALL the toys we have and actually use them. My sister in law got me this bottle rocket about 2 or 3 years ago. I just hadn’t pulled it out – didn’t have the time, needed to research, needed to make sure we had a big enough room to not blow out a neighbor’s window. Well…COVID gave me time to research. So one day, we busted the sucker out and the kids LOVED it…heck, I think I loved it more just seeing how it worked (the kids didn’t care for my explanation on water and air and pressure. They just wanted me to pump it up and do it again). We’ve busted out the bubble machines and chalk and the busy board and the balance beam and my little homemade PVC pipe car wash (which injured kid 1 and has to be redesigned). We’ve used the things we actually have around the house.

One thing about this stay-at-home order and the response to it has kinda perplexed me. I am definitely not the social butterfly type but the family and I are rarely bored on a weekend or time off. This area has a ton of things going on: there are touch-a-trucks and food truck festivals and indoor play places, climbing gyms, parks, etc. That’s not even counting the kids regularly scheduled activities like gymnastics and dance – or the birthday parties.  I love my house and being at home – but I also love getting to show the kids the world, especially if they can meet up with a friend along the way.

All this to say, as adults we spend most of our waking hours during the week at work. We rarely get to spend time at the house that we put so much of our energy into. The house that we CHOSE to live in. In the area we CHOSE to live in. I get that we can’t all afford our dreams houses but you can turn even a tent into something that is yours. Sure, I am noticing that the kids rooms are about 50 sq ft too small and the lack of a pantry is killing us, especially when we are doing less shopping trips and stocking up to keep ourselves safe. But I get to look at the beautiful pictures and canvas prints of my family that I hung on the wall or take a little extra time at lunch “break” to spackle a few holes in the wall I never “had time for”.  This house is far from perfect or even ideal for the 4 of us but it’s home and staying home is nothing to argue or whine about. 

I am not a glass half-full person by any means. I probably fall more on the other side. But there is beauty in what is happening and I am so curious to see what happens on the other side. Some things may be better off not returning to normal.

The Williams World