lørdag den 28. marts 2020

#stayhome day 437

Well, technically we have been doing this social isolation for about 2 weeks, but I cannot be the only one feeling like each day is stretching out for eternities - and this is for someone who has old kids perfectly capable to to feed themselves and take care of their own school work. My deepest respect goes out to those of you who have to juggle work and toddlers these days.

First and foremost: I know that the federal government takes up a lot of news with this whole COVID19 situation, but luckily it is the individual state governors who decides how to handle it on a state level, and it seems like things are fairly under control here in PA. For the first time I actually consider myself lucky for living in an area with very little public transportation and lots of space for everybody. So far I have not heard a single cough in the neighborhood nor does there seem to be any confirmed cases from the kids schools (but since schools are closed they can't really keep track of it, so technically it doesn't mean much). In addition both Kristian and I can work from home and both of us have employers that handle the situation quite well with the safety of its employees being the top priority.

We are trying our very best to stay mentally healthy and make sure that weekdays and weekends feels different. One of those seemingly little things is to keep up our daily walks with Ruby and her owner. We meet up every single morning at 7:15 and it is literally the thing that gets me out of bed:
We have office spaces set up throughout the house and until about lunch I have my office buddies joining me for homework and treats:
We try to be outside when we can. And today Ulrik, Bailey, and I ventured out on the Pennsylvanian country roads which went fine until we encountered one of those bridges where it is highly recommended to wear shoes when you cross. It totally seemed like Bailey understood why Ulrik carried him across the bridge the first time. Going back home - not so much. And it became one of those interesting wet-dog-wrestle situations where he became stuck in Ulrik's rain poncho...... I am happy to report that everyone survived and no-one got hurt (except maybe the dog's pride):
In addition there is a lot of beer brewing and puzzle making going on. And once again I have to recommend a puzzle mat. Being able to roll up a puzzle and put it away is brilliant.
We actually finished one this morning. And when I say "we finished" that is very very true. As much as I am the one spending by far the most time sorting through the pieces and building the puzzle those darn kids appear out of no-where as soon as the time for the last piece draws near. Today was no difference but the enthusiasm got a bit dampened when it seemed like there were pieces missing. It turns out that I was not the only one hiding a piece in my hand........ LOL

lørdag den 14. marts 2020

Planning ahead

Covid 19 starts to feel increasingly real and we are preparing mentally for a loooong spring/summer with no physical school for the kids and a lot of working from home. First step has been to retrieve Ulrik. So far campus is not completely closed down and there was also some uncertainty as to whether the students would be required to take their exams on campus or not. This is very clearly not the case and we made a decision this morning to drive over and pick him ASAP rather than wait an additional week as we had planned. The whole situation looks and feels drastically different now that it did just a few days ago, and we do not want to risk travel complications due the expected exponential growth of infected people. We had very much looked forward for all of us to go to Michigan and reconnect with friends but instead it has almost turned into a military operation with a "go, retrieve target, return" feel to it. And so be it!

I have become "annoying mom" who insists on creating a disciplined approach to our weekday lives so we don't end up paying a big mental price for staying homebound for what is likely to be months. I still have to report to work as I have experiments going on and after all it is a little hard to run those on your own home. All meeting activity has been converted to skype and anyone who does not have lab obligations is required to stay at home. I am probably the worst one to adapt to being at home anyways, as I turn into a "caged rat" as my sweet husband describes it, so I do not mind having to go to work. To try to encourage at least some level of physical fitness I had Luca pick out a youtube fitness blender video this morning which we ended enjoying quite a bit. Afterwards we went to the bookstores in Doylestown to stock up on books. We ended buying a giant bag full of books at the secondhand bookstore plus a few extra Stephen King novels and some more 1000 piece puzzles in the regular bookstore. The library has closed and I simply hate the thought of not having any books.

Otherwise I do my best not to panic. I follow the situation in Denmark quite closely and they are under complete lockdown with all borders closed. Super scary. And considering the current governmental cluster-fuck in the US I doubt the situation will be handled very well here. I am trying to prepare myself for a complete meltdown of the health care system and it is high on my list that we all stay as healthy as possible over the next months.

torsdag den 12. marts 2020

Corona virus Pennsylvania style

As is the case for a lot of earthlings these days our daily routines are beginning to get impacted by the corona virus. Schools have been open this week (after a thorough deep-clean over the weekend) but I highly doubt they’ll be open tomorrow. We’ll see. The neighboring county has made a complete shutdown and closed all schools, public buildings, and non-essential shops and I doubt we will follow far behind. I drove by Trader Joe’s on the way home and they were pretty much out of eggs, meat, and frozen vegetable (didn’t even bother to look for toiletpaper......).
Technically I should have been on the way to Atlanta to spend the weekend with my favorite Ann Arborite -Tammy🥺. We spent most of yesterday texting about whether we should go or not until we got notice that Atlanta was starting to close down too. And as much as I had looked forward to getting down there, it was not appealing to hang out in a closing city without knowing whether it would even be possible to make it back. We kind of decided on this in the middle of the night. Equally sleep deprived and stressed out. Unfortunately things got cancelled so late that there are not really any refunds to be had except 30% of the Airbnb cost, but so be it.
Ulrik is still in Michigan. They have closed all in-person classes but the campus as such is still open. Right now we are waiting it out to see if he should come home and whether that would be Ulrik all his stuff (going by car) or just Ulrik a suitcase (on a plane). It will depend on whether they will be required on campus for exams etc.
So for now we are waiting. And washing our hands. And disinfecting our phones every time we come home. And in the middle of all this I keep reminding myself that we are doing quite well, and that maybe - again from a global perspective - it is not a bad thing that we all get to take a break from flying and buying just to give the climate a little breather.
Last but not least: check out this bird poop!!!! Wow! This serves as a good reminder NOT to look up when geese are migrating
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fredag den 6. marts 2020

Surgery and corona virus

It’s a lovely Friday in March, that I spend here on the couch slightly woozy from Ben & Jerry’s icecream and some morphine ✌🏻 Both are equally necessary to recover from having metal screws whacked deep into my jaw bones. Here in the US stuff like that gets done under full anesthesia which I really don’t mind. Especially not when the fantastic Afro-American-no-fuss female surgeon insists on playing gospel music in the room, ask my to “scoot my bootie” a little lower in the seat and calls the oxygenation cable “Queen B”. “Queen B” canNOT be crossed by any other cable in there.Period! I prefer her to any of the other entitled male oral surgeons I have had the - ehm - pleasure of dealing with previously.

Luca has also been home today too due to corona virus related school closing. Most likely the first of many. A couple of people (kids or adult - that’s not specified) have been close to confirmed corona virus victims in another state and as a precaution they are scrubbing down the schools today. I have very mixed feelings about this. I understand the worry, but I honestly don’t think this virus can be contained, and if this is the strategy I guess they will technically have to cancel schools until the summer break begins. This will not affect us too much as the kids are teens and as Kristian works from home several days per week. But what about those families that are not this lucky?
Over and out from a couch in Pennsylvania:
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søndag den 1. marts 2020

Spring break and summer plans

This week is spring break at university of Michigan. Since the semester ends around the time May starts, the break always happens early and we have made sure that Ulrik could come and visit for some of the week at least. He arrived Saturday morning. Looked a bit tired. Went to take a nap and woke up....... 19!!!!! hours later!!!!!!! How is that even possible? At least he looks somewhat more well rested today (duh) which was good since Luca made sure to keep him on his toes (and I know this may look like Luca beating his brother in pushups, but I can assure all of you, that he got his a.. kicked by his older brother)
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It has also been a good time to discuss the summer as there are many plans on many different levels to fit in. Let’s start with the youngest member of the family. At his confirmation last spring my sister gave hm a trip to visit her in Copenhagen, and since he is going we have made sure that he can stay as long as absolute possible and get to hang out with family and even go to a camp, while in Denmark. He is a bit nervous about it as he doesn’t really remember that much but I think he will have a blast!
Then there is Teresa. Who will graduate high school this spring. She has decided to move back to Denmark and will start at HK gym (small private Christian high school) to take 3.G. there (final year of danish high school). This will give her a chance to get settled as well as make sure she can pass the danish study test. A requirement for kids with foreign educations who wish to study at the university to get a non-international degree. She will stay with good friends of ours and is rather looking forward to the whole thing. Prior to this I had promised her a big trip. Just like Ulrik and Kristian went to Tokyo, Teresa and I had plans to go somewhere exotic. We talked about Australia..... well.... 🔥 then we talked about Korea..... well.... 😷. And now we kind of wait it out a bit to see where things are in a few months (I won’t start ranting in this blog post how much the state of the world terrifies me these days).
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Ulrik also has quite the summer ahead of him. His program requires him to have a study abroad period, so he will go to Nepal. Remote Nepal. And help make ceramic water filters for families who will otherwise not have access to clean water. He is already taking weekly classes to prepare him for a longer stay in a country where “cows have more rights than women” - as he frankly puts it. This will only be a 3 week program and there are 4months of break before the third year in college starts. And we have talked a bit about having him go to Denmark and visit Bornholm to start to build network in the ceramic circles there which may hopefully result in some sort of internship’ish stay in the summer of 2021.
Kristian and I will of course stay back in PA and make sure to work and make money to pay for the kids’ adventures. Sigh.