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Walks, house projects and family, and BLM

As you might expect from the pregnancy news in my last blog post, I’ve been very tired lately, and morning sickness (which happens in the evening for me) has hit me hard. My energy has been reserved for work, kiddo, and as many chores as I can manage. My free time has been spent playing Animal Crossing on my Switch and watching TV. As I felt a bit lazy doing these two things, I’ve started increasing the amount I’m reading to replace some TV time, especially in the direction of my 18 month long queue of magazines that have piled up while we adjust to having a little one at home. Thankfully, I’m starting to see the light at the end of the first trimester, and if this pregnancy is anything like the last, I’ll feel much better soon.

Regardless of energy, I have been making time for walks when the weather allows (most days!). I load up a podcast, stick a mask in my pocket in case I encounter other humans, and wander around the neighborhood, and on weekends I get the pleasure of taking Adam along with me. Remaining active is incredibly important for my health and it helps my mood, so regardless of how I’m feeling, I force myself out of the house.

We have been making progress on house projects though. With the exception of Adam’s room (his door situation is complicated), we’ve finished the project of installing all the closet doors! In the end, we decided to go with metal knobs on the doors instead of the wooden ones they came with, and I think it was the right move, they look really good. It is also somewhat hilarious how excited I am about closet doors. If the house had just come with them, we wouldn’t have given them a second thought!

The increasingly early sunrise that comes with the change of season also caused us to scramble for blackout curtains for Adam’s bedroom. He’d been waking up just after 6AM every morning, and though he could usually be convinced to snooze until at least 7AM, it was all too early. So we installed a curtain rod and had some blackout curtains we bought online mended by a local tailor. Voila! His wake up time now averages closer to 8AM, and there are fewer super early wake up moments. I think his mood is better too, he really needs that extra hour of sleep, especially since he’s solidly in the one-nap-per-day camp now (instead of two).

With some of the shelter in place restrictions starting to lift, we were also able to hire someone to come clean up our yard, which I’ve simply been too exhausted to deal with. The front was done last week, and they’re coming back to finish getting the mountain of weeds removed from the back. I think the next phase may be re-mulching because the wind and time have really done a number on the mulch out back. We’ve also started collecting quotes for replacing our fence, a portion of which collapsed a few months ago during a particularly bad series of windy days. MJ has put up a temporary barrier so Caligula can still go out back without escaping, but now that we can finally have people come out to give quotes again we’re hoping to move forward on replacement once we can get that scheduled (probably still a couple months away).

We’ve had some bad luck with glass lately. On my way to Target a couple weeks ago a rock slammed into the windshield and caused two massive cracks. It’s unclear where the rock came from, traffic on the highway has been a lot less than usual and I wasn’t near anyone else, but that’s how these things go. The new windshield has been ordered and I hope to have it replaced next week. This week we also had the glass top of our stove crack. There was a large chip on the edge that was there when we bought the house, and the giant crack that now spans the entire glass (and two of the four burners) started with that chip, and was probably inevitable. It won’t be cheap to fix, and it’s yet another kitchen thing we’re replacing before the remodel that we still hope to do in a few years, but nothing can be done about it. For now we’re using the other two burners, and I’ll start calling around next week to get some quotes for glass replacement.

A few weeks ago Adam got his second hair cut, and the first one at home! He’s definitely going back to a barber as soon as it’s safe, because cutting hair is not, and will never be, my forte. The hair cut was effective though. MJ also got his second shelter in place haircut, which was considerably easier than Adam’s because he usually adheres to my “sit still” commands and his hair trimmer makes the process pretty straightforward. Still, he’s going back to the barber too! I suspect they both have at least two more at-home haircuts in the future though.

With us all working from home with shelter in place, we’re thrilled to all be home for Adam’s latest milestones. He started walking, though he still prefers to crawl. His au pair also noticed he was getting a little bored on his stroller walks around the neighborhood, especially since they no longer include visits to shops, so she suggested getting him his first baby trike. It’s designed to grow with him, so while he can’t peddle yet, it does give him a more interesting experience around the house. We also got him a little basketball hoop for the family room, which he’s been enjoying.

Shelter in place is continuing to wear on us though. I miss just popping out to the store without thinking about it, I miss restaurants. I really miss going back to our home east to see family and friends (and eat good pizza), which we normally would have already done twice already this year. Still, it’s also scary to see things start to open up. On Wednesday I got a news alert telling me that cases in my county have doubled, while neighboring counties have started dropping. On Friday I got a news alert telling me that our county is moving forward with re-opening. It’s hard to understand what we’re doing here. As I mentioned previously, very little has changed since shelter in place began in March. It feels like we gave up trying to handle this, and now people are just going to get sick, and many people will die. As for us, as mentioned we have been meeting with contractors outdoors (and we do need our stove fixed), and we’ll probably slowly start to open our social circle. But life will not change drastically for us in the coming months. No traveling, no dining in, no movie theaters, no big gatherings. Masks on, and limited contact with the public.

Finally, it’s worth talking about current events, which is quite rare for me here. The Black Lives Matter movement picked up steam this month in a series of massive protests around the world. As a cause, it’s one that has rarely touched me personally, but their goals have been consistent with my liberal political views since the movement began. Unfortunately, like many white liberals, my support has been silent while I spent time on other things in my life and politics. This was not helpful. The momentum this time around actually drove me to make donations to specifically support BLM causes and to start amplifying black voices more aggressively. Being pregnant during a pandemic means I didn’t join the local protest in my town (which started at the high school, was peaceful, and included a lot of young people and families), but I did what I could from home and online to be supportive and vocal about the unprecedented, multi-day 8PM curfew imposed at the county level to restrict our freedom to protest. It’s still not enough, and I do still feel like a useless, armchair commentator, but it is the best I feel I can do under the circumstances.

It does feel like a real turning point this time though. I’ve been changed by it, and polls are showing that general sympathy for the cause is growing, and the wheels of real police reform have started to move in many places. I’m excited and grateful to be at this turning point, especially after living through a heartbreaking spike in very open and vocal racism, egged on a president whose biggest accomplishment is dividing our nation along cruel political lines. We have so much to do, it’ll take years, decades, but I finally have hope again that we are on the road to real reform and healing as a nation.