Storyteller Woman

Well I am back from pandemication at the cabin. We went to the Yoop, it was the weirdest vacation we have ever had. Usually, Ben and I drive all over the place to look at all the woods and waterfalls and lakes and swim/ camp eat whitefish/ jerky/ smoked fish and drive. This year we spent 99 percent of time at the cabin and at Lake Michigan with the kids. My son was coughing and had a cold, and my foster baby was wanting out of the carseat to practice walking those situations and social distancing kept us in the cabin. We were surprised at how many out of state license plates there were heading north at the bridge and in St. Ignace. 

I was glad every business we past had wear mask or no service signs. The funniest one said “no mask, no jerky for you” at our favorite jerky/ smoked fish place we stop in at on US 2 with the big smiley face sign. For those of you who are too young to have watched it, that is a Seinfeld “no soup for you” reference.

We had some fun at the cabin, we are learning new instruments. I am a drummer mainly, When I was a kid I played piano, my sister’s flute, harmonica, tried mandolin, alto sax, pan pipe, ocarina, kalimba, tried violin , tried guitar multiple times but my fingers are so short ugh. So now I am learning uke and guitarlele.  I don’t really read music, I play by ear mostly but now I am learning tabs. My husband is trying out guitar, he has the fingers for it. So that was fun to step away from the daily news cycle and be off grid.  It is harder now with arthritis/ carpal tunnel hands but hey… if there is a will there is a way.

So, I am gravely concerned for all of the elementary and college teachers and faculty in our family for schools to open. I decided not to put our son in in-person school for his own safety and that of faculty. He will be attending kindergarten virtually through the public school here. Luckily, they left parents a virtual option. I love all the articles that say if parents do pull their kids out to online schooling that they are “privileged”. We are not privileged, we are a working family, and this will take a toll on my job and whether I continue to have one for sure. It is 4 hours of work per day for kindergarten with a zoom type meeting everyday with the teacher and another with students. The teacher emphasized that the work did not have to be completed in one block but could be spread out through the day. We have to have it completed by the end of the school day each day, for the teacher to evaluate progress and send parents a progress report every evening. It is a lot to ask of teachers and kids to switch, but I would rather everyone stay healthy and home than get sick and possibly spread the disease and/or  die from Covid.

I read our states roadmap to back to school and it is pointless because most of the safety precautions for in class school are only “suggested” “not mandated nor required”. It is also gravely dangerous for special needs and medically fragile students to be in a class with anyone who could have been exposed. Read gravely as they will have students die because 45 demands they be in school or lose funding.

As for suddenly being a temporary stay at home mom… well I have lasted since March.  I feel more stress right now not knowing what will happen with my job, because I am supposed to work 6 days a week for the USPS. But, having to school my child virtually is not going to allow that. I also am worried that 45 will close our Post Offices, which will be a disaster for all the small and rural people getting any mail, and the loss of all that money workers spend into the local economies.

They need to expand the federal unpaid FMLA emergency leave program. They need to start a universal basic income so us “essential” workers don’t have to be pandemic canon fodder who will be homeless and starving if we don’t go to work. I don’t see many alternative choices.  Maybe, if we all can survive till after the election…. And it goes well, perhaps then there will be mandated masks in all states and mandated vaccinations when they become available, maybe then we can all take a breath, and regain some peace.

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