Tag Archives: covid

Hope?

Standard

So. I have been putting off and avoiding writing a post for some time. I have even had it on my “to-do” list. This week, I made a point to tell myself I would do it by Friday, as I would have some time. When I was heading to work, I decided I wanted to title the post as “Hopeful”. So I find it ironic and a bit funny that my stupid desk calendar at work had this cartoon today:

What are you trying to tell me from the grave Charles?

My last post was bidding 2020 adieu. To fill you in on details of each month, I will begin with January:

January

Biggest thing here was getting my foot surgery. I had a Cartiva Implant put in on January 18th. Leading up to the surgery, I was not nervous about going under…but I was nervous about not getting to. With COVID, if I had been placed under quarantine at all, I would have to postpone my surgery. See, that month we had our last week of a 6 week stint of students being ‘at home learning’ and then all students in Alberta were coming back in person the week of January 11th. I joked that if any of those damn kids caused me to postpone this surgery I would never let them live it down. Good news is they did not let me down.

This is the best I’ve looked post surgery ever and I think it’s because my brows are microbladed.

During surgery recovery that month I discovered I cannot handle the side effects of T3’s. I also got to watch the Inauguration of a decent human being and VP from the comfort of my couch. I binge watched Bridgerton, Blown Away and Bling Empire. Overall, January was pretty great.

February

Foot is healing and I was back to work by the end of the first week in February. Crazy that I was already walking on my foot. This surgery is insane! Second semester started and we were all in person, but the COVID cases in classes were still happening and effecting a ton of random classes and kids. I was trying to do strength and core workouts via the Peloton app since I was not cleared to run yet….it was something at least.

Valentines Day allowed for a fun photoshoot with myself and Andy….so adorable this little guy. We also were able to escape to Red Deer for Reading Week because we felt case numbers were down enough in the province to warrant that….little did we know this province would fucking blow up in the coming months.

March

OK. I feel like this is when the disparity between what was happening in the US vs Canada in COVID started to develop. Vaccines were starting to given places in the states pretty swiftly. My whole immediate family (most importantly my mom) were able to access first and second doses quickly. Rollout was great.

What was happening here? Not a whole lot.

My husband is better at explaining the rollout and why we were so slow to the game….in the end, he just commented that “When the US does something great, they do it damn well. We are just a small fish in the sea” We didn’t have the supply needed to start the rollout fast. Every province’s rollout plan was a bit different, and our Phases in Alberta were moving slow. ALSO-Educators were not included in any of the early phases….we would just be the general public in Phase 3. THANKS JASON KENNEY.

March was nice for weather at least. Very grateful for my friend Tracey who fixed my bike, which is my dad’s old Schwinn from the 90s. And Dan bought a bike off Lethbridge Swap and Buy. Andy is getting a bit too heavy for the running stroller, so we tried our friends’ Thule bike carrier and loved it. Huge thanks to Lexi and Simon who are letting us borrow it this Spring and Summer, as they have a double they now use!

All set to go!

Also, I started running this month. I was first told to wait until mid April, but my foot was healing and I was itching to get out there. I decided to sign up for the Virtual Moonlight 6km as a goal. I ran it in a 35:32 which for being two months out of surgery isn’t too bad. Big thanks to Tracey, again, who was there for me – she joined me as I did my 6km! Felt good to do an ‘event.’

As the month wore on, the numbers in Lethbridge for cases were growing, and our school in particular was having case after case after case. I kept dodging my classes being quarantined, but students were in and out for random amounts. Our district wasn’t allowed to make a change to Scenario 3-Online Learning. The Alberta government must approve that. But our school did get approval finally to go online for the four days leading up to Easter because it was just a hot mess and a half.

April

Holy shit, this month was a different thing each week….

Easter came and went. The highlight of Easter weekend was the fantastic weather and our friend Nick’s 40+1 birthday celebration. Last year, his 40th had to be completely cancelled because it was the start of the pandemic. This year, we did a “Runstravaganza” on a Saturday where a handful of us (still within the restriction guidelines of groups gathering outside) ran and biked around 18km, stopping at eachother’s backyards for drinks and snacks. We had Andy with us and I biked with him as Dan ran. It was an awesome day! Felt a little bit of normalcy, as this is something we would have done in a non-pandemic year!

Dan and I also took Andy on a little mini getaway the weekend after Easter….We went to the Calgary Zoo for the first time. While I have been to many zoos, this was also my first time here! I know it’s a bit different than normal, as no indoor-exhibits were open. It was outside only with timed entry slots and masks on. It was a cooler day, but it was honestly great seeing the zoo in a low-crowd scenario. We then stayed in Mossleigh for the night at Aspen Crossing, where we booked a Caboose Cabin. I had gift cards that had been given to me in December as reimbursement for the Polar Express that was supposed to happen, but didn’t. Andy LOVED being in his BLUE TRAIN. It was a really fun experience!

So, that weekend was approximately April 10th give or take…..we had to come back to school IN PERSON after Easter break, as the government denied our schools request to stay online for one more buffer week. Thanks guys, thanks. On Wednesday, April 14th, I was minding my own business teaching Pre-Calculus students about Quadratics when I got a phone call from daycare….Positive Covid case at daycare, children must be picked up immediately. Quarantine for 2 weeks (became a bit more due to a second asymptomatic case during tests) and daycare closed.

:::fuckkkkkk:

I had been around these school quarantines, kids and teachers being in and out all year. My husband had not. All in all, we are pretty fortunate that this didn’t already happen to us. But we had to be creative from the 15th through the 28th. My principals were super in explaining all the different ‘days’ I could access for being at home, as I took on most of the at-home care since Dan needs to be working in order to be bringing home the money. I did not have to get into my personal days or my co-curricular days, and the fact that I already have a morning spare two days a week helped too. But dear god, taking care of a 3.5 year old for over 2 weeks when you can’t leave your house with them….that is something else. Andy was awesome though….Dan and I keep having to remind ourselves that he took it like a champ. He had three different COVID tests and they all came back negative…Dan was the champ taking him for those, but honestly driving to the testing centre at least killed time.

During quarantine, covid vaccines were starting to go up a bit, but moving on from the stages was not going fast. After doing some more digging, I felt like I could honestly declare myself as eligible in one of the early phases because I looked at my Cardiac MRI results from last year pre-COVID and compared them to something that was listed an a chronic health condition. This is something I plan on discussing in a future post, so we will leave that for another day. ANYHOW, since Kenney wasn’t prioritizing teachers I took matters in to my own hands and got my first Pfizer dose on April 18th. In another twist, we heard about that the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana was holding a vaccination clinic at the Carway border crossing, as they had a surplus of vaccines to share. After looking into it all, Dan drove down to the border at 4 am on Wednesday, April 21st. He was 13th in line. Our friends were number 35 or so, and the line kept growing and growing. Dan crossed the border, stayed in his vehicle, got his first dose of Moderna, waited 15 minutes, and drove home. He received paperwork from both Canada and US exempting him from a 14 day quarantine for going into the US. The Blackfeet Nation did not have to share these excess in shots…but they did.

Dan took a pic of the lineup to the Carway/Peigan border with Cheif Mountain in the back. People form age 18-80 were in the lineup….the gentleman behind him was a 70 year old who drove from EDMONTON just so he could get his second dose since those are now being delayed.

So then, a bunch of our friends were able to get the Astra-Zenaca shot because they opened it to 40 and older…don’t worry, no one has had blood clot problems. But the second dose of that is up in the air because of supply….but they suggest 12 weeks for that anyway….and then just when our school and another high school had gotten district approval to moved to a hybrid-teaching schedule for the duration of the school year in attempt to limit tons of quarantine, Jason Kenney sent all 7-12 students in hot-spot areas online. We literally announced to our students Thursday morning that it would be starting the first week of May, and that night an announcement was made. Could have given us a heads up, huh? Fuck.

May

Well, we are halfway through May so who really knows what’s going to be happening. The two week online for hot-spots now is three weeks because then they decided to move it to all K-12 online. Alberta was a flaming dumpster fire at the beginning of the month….cases are crazy. There are so many people being irresponsible and our hospital admissions are so high right now. And it’s a lot of younger people. Who are being reckless. People hosting Anti-lockdown anti mask rodeos….like seriously. Grow the fuck up. We are all sick of this pandemic but it keeps lasting longer because of idiots.

This was the night all the new restrictions got announced and four of us drank beer in a garage while we read them. We would do this even when it is not a pandemic.

But remember at the start of this page, when I talked about Hope?

I still have hope for this month…and the rest of the year!

Vaccine supply increased…Teachers were given FINALLY given a go to get their shots before it was wide open. Kenney allowed them a one day heads up….but then it opened to 30 and older for booking. And as of earlier this week, 12 and older. Basically, anyone who wants a shot in Alberta can go get it. So thank you!

All our friends have had their first shot. I feel safe at work. Dan feels safe at work. We feel safe about Andy at daycare. Numbers are starting to go back down with the new restrictions. Weather is getting better. Summer is ahead.

We are going to escape to the cabin for May Long. In June, I have a virtual Ladies Fest 8km to do, we have our 100 Point Day event again…..I maybe (fingers crossed) will get to go to Wisconsin this summer (big fingers crossed). We will be getting second doses of vaccines. Fall school year should be more normal. And I scored a 50 km race bib for Lost Soul Ultra in September along with us doing the Lone Wolf as a team.

HOPE. I have tons of it. Very, very, hopeful.

Goodbye 2020. It was nice knowing you.

Standard

Well, I say this every time I type a post….but I have sucked at posting in 2020. It has been hard to keep up, be motivated to do so, etc etc. Especially since this blog was originally started with the purpose of talking about my races, training, trips, and so one…there was really not much to report on this year. I did not have one single in-person “official” race. Moonlight Run 10km turned virtual back in March as it was the week after all the chaos really began. Right or wrong, or something in between, I chose not to register for any other virtual races during this year (except the RunDisney standard 5km virtual summer series…and that was so I could get the medals…which were sent to my mon’s house since they didn’t do Canada shipping…and I haven’t seen my mom in a year, so I will get them someday).

Andy is busy looking for 2021 under there!

I don’t want this 2020 year-end post to be a sob story, woe-is-me. Because my husband Dan and I have discussed, that while it’s been a tough year, it’s been tougher for a whole lot of other people out there. We recognize how fortunate we are that we both have had stable jobs and income during this. When childcare shut down from March until Summer, while we don’t have family in town, we have close friends that we basically co-parented with. We rotated who watched the kids so the adults could work.

Races and trips were cancelled, but our friends’ made the most of it. There’s a core group of us that have had a group chat on WhatsApp going since March. A lot of the daily talk is just nonsense and things that just make us all laugh. But at the start of the first quarantine, we did weekly trivia on Zoom, we would join eachother for wine tastings, we met on each other’s lawns for socially distanced drinks. In summer, when things were a little more relaxed we did socially distanced beer miles again and some outdoor gatherings. I mentioned some posts ago about our June “100 Point Day” race we held in place of the cancelled Lone Wolf. It has already been determined it is becoming an annual event, even when races get back to normal.

Dan and I were able to go to the cabin at Gull Lake twice and see family and friends, with the last time being in August. Dan actually went up with a bunch of his friends on Labour Day weekend and had a pseudo “guys trip.” This whole fall we’ve been pretty bunkered at home, and I have been feeling the constant anxiety and stress being in the school system. In the Spring, educators were praised often for switching over to virtual learning and many maybe fianlly realized how improtant it is to have your children in-school and that what we offer at a school is more than an education. This fall, many on the outside have seemed to have judgement and concern if we are seemingly doing enough. Whatever we do, it doesn’t seem to win everyone over so really you just have to do the best you can every day for your students and not take things too personal.

I have not had to quarantine at all during the school year, and any in-school student COVID cases were not a result of in-school transmission. Students and staff at our school wear masks 24/7 as social distancing is not possible due to large class sizes. I truly believe this mask wearing, increased cleaning and awareness have help contribute to the school setting being SAFE! There was at most 5 active COVID cases at our school, and this was in the window of time in the end of October and beginning of November….right near the US election, so I was already a mess. Tons of students and staff were required to quarantine and do at-home teaching and learning for whatever time frame was given by Alberta Health Services. While some stduents and colleagues of mine had to quarantine just that one time, there were a handful that then fell into a second quarantine group later in the fall because of a different case or two in their class.

Case in Alberta, as in everywhere, have been on the rise all Fall and into winter. I know people are getting fatigued with this, and many people are getting just downright rude about following the rules. I’m sorry that this inconveniences your daily “freedoms” of being able to participate in activities of privilege that you are so used to, but if you cared about everyone you would actually take this seriously. Alberta went into a second sort of “lockdown” at the end of November, where on November 30th all grades 7-12 would be doing virtual learning until January 11th. Grades K-6 would still go in-person (mainly due to childcare situations) but ALL students in Alberta would do at-home learning the first week in January, 4-8th. I am not going to go into an analysis of this, but more so wanted to put it out there that since November 30th, I switched my in-person instruction to all online. I am allowed to go to the school every day (we are required to unless we get quarantined) and I teach in my classroom to my students who are at home.

Kids WANT to be at school. While I teach mainly academic classes this semester, even the “weaker” students who may not “love” school want to be here. Many people outside the education field don’t realize that being at home poses lots of potential issues. Do students have technology? Do they have reliable wifi? How many siblings do they have? Do their parents have to work from home too? Maybe their parents work shift work and having the children home during the day can wreck havoc on a normal routine. Do they come from a troubled home? Is there a chance of abuse if they are home all day? What if the school is the safest place for them to be from 8 am-3 pm? Now what?

It is now nearing the end of my Christmas break. We were supposed to be in Milwaukee visiting my family, but that obviously had to be cancelled. While travelling within the US is still allowed, though not encouraged, many people have started to seem to bend the rules for themselves. It’s a slippery slope. And now in the past two months I have had people close to me (back in the states) contract COVID. While they are recovering “fine” it had been a tough road for them. I can’t tell people what to do, but here is my woe-is-me post: I haven’t seen my family in Wisconsin for over a year now because the land borders are still closed to non-essential travel. If I were to travel anywhere in the US I would have a mandatory 14-day quarantine back here, not be allowed to work, and loss of pay. And why risk using the loophole of having my mom come here to visit (she could actually since she is my mother) when she would be someone potentially at risk herself with her age?

I hope my mom has access to the vaccine by Spring and that by summer, she can safely come visit. There’s been some bright spots in the last month or so (though it’s seemed more than a month) with the elections, the vaccine announcements…it gives 2021 hope. Our Christmas was quieter than normal, but Dan, Andy and had each other. We Facetimed Grandma, Nana & Gramps, brother and sister in laws, friends who live far away, etc…We made it work. And having a quiet Christmas with a 3 year old isn’t possible even if you think it’s going to be quiet. He had the MOST AMAZING TIME this Christmas season. Opening his advent calendar each day for the Thomas the Train car, gluing a cotton ball to a Santa Beard chart…..he can count up to 25 easily now, because he knows that SANTA COMES ON 25! To see a kid open a set of markers on Christmas, or underwear, or socks, and be so excited to get a gift is a special thing.

This year was tough. But it is not the end of the world. Going forward, I hope that people can recognize how lucky they are and take advantage of the little things. There were lots of little things that happened this year because of the Pandemic that I know I learned from and will take moving forward.

So what’s next? See you in 2021 to find out.

Canadian COVID Chronicles

Standard

Oh hey.   I still have a blog.   Just haven’t had time in the last three months to actually write what I’ve wanted.   COVID is the reason why.   I have time today to write something, and I want to just do a month-by-month recap on things.  Some of it family, some of it running, some of it work, some of it just whatever.  More so now, I just want this as a record of what the hell has happened since the Pandemic started!

MARCH

Yeah, so March was a chaotic mess.  On a Friday at work I frantically printed out like a dozen different study packages for my IB kids in case we weren’t there on Monday….and sure enough, school got canned Sunday night.  For the month of March, in our district we had to still be coming into work unless you were immuno-compromised.   This also meant daycare was cancelled.  Our son is 2.5 years old.  We have no family in town.  Our family are our best friends Peter & Mac and their daughter, Aria.  Since both kids go to daycare together, we figured out a way to make a cohort family and basically co-parent.  We rotated days that one adult would take both kids.  It took some planning, but we had to make it work.  And it did.

Races and events this month that were cancelled was Moonlight Run 10km (which is usually the kick-off of the race year) and we officially cancelled my mom’s trip for the month of April.  I had a hunch that she wouldn’t be able to come visit, so she cancelled her Amtrak ticket and got refunded, and then about a day or two later the borders got closed.

APRIL

I barely can remember April.  It was Easter, but we didn’t do anything special.  Actually, we were going to try and do a dinner, but then I got a sore throat and freaked out and two days later I got a COVID test.   It was negative, but I was happy at how easy it was to book.  In Alberta, we have been fortunate to have pretty easy access to testing.  At that point and time, they had expanded testing a bit, but all I had to do was go on the Alberta Health website and complete a self-assessment.  The next day, I received a call from someone and booked an appointment for that afternoon.  It was quick and easy, and it was the throat swab, not the nose jab one.  In three days I got an automated call telling me my results were negative.   At this point in time, I remember talking to a friend back home who said she wasn’t even sure how they could access a test if they wanted one.  I realized at that point how lucky I was to be where I am.

As I said before, April was supposed to be a time my mom came and visited.  10 Mile Road Race was cancelled, our friend’s 40th birthday party pub run was postponed, Dan’s yearly Guys Trip to watch NBA playoffs was a no-go, and Andy’s appointment at the US Consulate in Calgary to get him a Social Security Number (first step to get him dual-citizenship) was canned.  We had the option to start working-from-home, so I started doing that.   I became less-motivated as the month wore on.  With running and work.  With no real consistency it was very hard to stay on track.  Our friends started doing weekly trivia on Tuesday nights so that was a great way to pass the time via ZOOM calls.  I said it at some point this month that I actually felt like Dan and I were ‘doing’ more with friends, as there was a concerted effort for front lawn drinks together, quarantine wine and beer tastings and Tuesday Trivia.

MAY

This is when it got weird.  Beginning of May was just like April in that we were pretty much at home all the time.  But in Mid May, Phase 1 of the Alberta Relaunch came.  Our friends, due to their jobs, opted to have their daughter go back into daycare.  That left Dan and I with Andy on our own.  It ended up being that I basically stayed home and worked while taking care of Andy so Dan could go into work and make money.  Dan has been the busiest he’s ever been this year (we think that since everyone is just at home they decided to take care of all their yard stuff!)  By the month’s end, I was at the end of my rope.

In May, our Whitefish trip for the half marathon was cancelled.  We had a beautiful cabin booked for us and three other couples.  We hope to do it next year.  Instead, some friends and I partook in an underground race involving trail running and drinking.  That’s all I am going to say about that!

JUNE

We waived the white flag for help and my mother in law came down for a week to watch Andy so both Dan and I could actually get work done.  HUGE stress relief.  The school year was wrapping up and then thinking of the next school year was stressful in itself, as there are so many uncertainties.  The Alberta Government will make an official announcement on August 1st for the the plan in going in to the fall.   So I am just going to shut myself off in the month of July.

Phase II began in mid June and at that point Dan and I decided to try and get Andy back in to daycare, at least part time.  The month prior, I had said we could just save money this summer and wait to put him back in August….but my sanity to wearing thin.  He needs to socialization, we need him to be back.  He started back two days a week just last week and in July he will be back full time.  The protocols that they are following are very detailed and we feel confident and happy that he is back.

This month also marked some sadness.  Our beagle Snoopy had to be put down.  He had a decline occurring the previous six months, and it was just time.  His last week with us he stopped eating.  It was a cue.  We are so grateful that he made it to his 13th birthday in May, because back in 2017 was when he stopped walking for a bit due to his arthritis.  All we really were hoping for was that he would be around when Andy was born.  We aren’t sure how much Andy will remember Snoopy, but we will remember the time that he had with him.

The US/Canada border is still closed to vehicle traffic.  I understand why.  But it is now hitting me hard.  In a week, I was supposed to take the train back to Wisconsin with Andy.  We last were in Wisconsin with him during Christmas 2018.  This is the longest time that I haven’t been back.  The fact that I can’t go is hard.  I know there are worse things in life, but I am starting to struggle with this.

As I write this, it is my last day at work.  I took tomorrow off and we are heading to the family cabin at Gull Lake after school with Peter, Mac & Aria.  We haven’t ‘gone on a trip’ in some time.  To be somewhere different than Lethbridge for a few days, with our best friends, and seeing some of our family will be amazing.  COVID-19, you’ve really sucked the life out of 2020.  But, this is going to be a story to tell for the rest of our lives.