Well, Hello.

After three two weeks in our house, I have many things on my mind. This post has been written, edited, and re-written many times during the last 21 days. The news and the information keep changing and the cycle just keeps speeding up. But I feel like I have been away too long, and have waited too long to write. I made some decisions last weekend, and so…

Hello Friends,

Let me start by telling you that we, Wife, the girls and I, are all safe and healthy here on the detour. We hope you and yours are too. Like many of you in Chicagoland, we are sheltering in place. More of you are staying home each day. For us, this means the girls are home-schooling, and Wife is working from home. Also, like many of you, our daily rhythm is completely different than it was three weeks ago. But I’m not going to harp on those changes, nor am I going to share my opinions about the current situation or offer any kind of advice.

This begs the question, “Then why write? What’s your point?” First, I miss writing. I know my post schedule is erratic, but creating and editing posts is cathartic for me. Second, I miss all of you. From coffee with other parents to online comments, my social network is currently limited. I would like to move that from “limited” to “changed”, and I have to post to accomplish that. Third, I don’t want anyone out there to think they are alone in this. I may not be a high-volume influencer, but I can still connect with you all as a show of solidarity. So what are we doing?

The girls are home-schooling, and have been working on school work since March 16th. Our Principal is a lifetime Chicagoland resident. She worked with the Archdiocese of Chicago to prepare for e-learning in case of snow closures. For St. Viator Elementary School, e-learning was part of the conversation since August. Since March, the teachers have been working hard to implement and improve this set-up. And so we’re staying busy each day.

Kids don’t live on scoolwork, though, so we are finding other activities. Given my spring planting plans, this revolves around yardwork-yay!

No worries, I don’t work them too hard. We have plenty of time for walks around the block, chalk drawings, and appreciating the signs of Spring.

There is plenty if indoor stuff too, but the pics are not nearly as pretty. Lego, family dinners, family movies, family games, and impromtu concerts all find their way into our days. In short, we’re trying everything and anything here, friends.

Hopefully, I can at the writing. I am laughing at myself for trying to quickly sum up 21 days of sheltering-in-place. Honestly, the computer is tied up all day and I am usually gassed at night. But again, we’re trying what we can.

So now I have to stray from my plan. Look, I know I said I wouldn’t give advice, but things keep escalating so quickly. Stay safe, friends. If you are able, please stay home. I foolishly thought everyone got that message two weeks ago, but no. And be aware of others. Nobody needs ten Costco packs of toilet paper, but we all need some.

We are healthy, we are here. We are walking around the neighborhood, stretching and exercising in the house; we are supporting our local restaurants with one night of takeout; we are cleaning out our pantry and cooking creative snacks and meals; we are distancing; we are getting on each other’s nerves; we are bringing it in and hugging it out; we are digging in the dirt and listening to the birds; we are celebrating the spring flowers. These are the answers for us, and I hope you are finding some answers for you and yours. I have no idea what I might offer any of you who are in need, but please reach out if you are in a bad way. Big thanks to teachers, school administrators, first responders, doctors, nurses and medical staff, grocery store workers and everyone who is working to be part of the collective solution. Behave, be safe, friends. We won’t see you out there, not right now. But we’re here and we’re glad you are too.

Better to Light a Candle

How are you today? Are you celebrating the new administration? Are you sad about the exit of the former POTUS? Maybe you are like me, still reeling from the ugliness of the campaign season and just a bit numb to American politics in general. This election played out similar to the 2000 election when George W. Bush became the 43rd president. Similar to that year, I spent the day after the election in a fog of disbelief. In contrast, this year I listened to words of encouragement that helped me regain perspective.

Let’s be honest, in an election one side celebrates and plans their next steps while the other side packs up and figures how to regroup. That is the nature of an election. It’s just been a long time since I have thought about regrouping. A year prior to the election I was joking with Wife, telling her that we would move to her parents’ property in Mexico if Donald Trump won the election. I toyed with that idea the day after the election as I was listening to the preliminary results on our local public radio station, WBEZ. They were interviewing people who were sharing their plans for dealing with the upcoming four years. Productive plans, optimistic plans, plans that reaffirmed relationships, life and country. And in listening to those stories I thought of the famous quote, “It is better to light [a] candle than to curse the darkness.”

That sentiment was in so many of the stories I was listening to that day. People planning to renew their commitments to social justice. People planning to strengthen their relationships with friends and family. People planning to review their political involvement and figure how to get more knowledgeable, more active and more effective. It was not a collection of complaints or conspiracy theories,there was no more rehashing of ugly histories, there was no mud-slinging. The stories were lacking some of the hope that has been pervasive in the past eight years. But in the space it left there was determination. And I knew I would not talk any more about moving to another country to avoid this administration. This is my country, here are my people. The president does not change that.

So I lit my first candle that day after the elections. I went to the store and bought a replacement light to illuminate the American Flag that Micompadre flies outside the apartment. A small step, but I felt immediately better. Because you respect the country always; the flag we stand under, the land we stand on and the people we stand with, and you respect the government when it deserves it.

Our stars and stripes

Our stars and stripes