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The Lighter Side of a Pandemic

The Covid 19 Pandemic has been painful in so many ways, that it is sometimes hard to find your happy.  In an effort to bring back some smiles, ETC is starting a new Thursday post called “The Lighter Side of a Pandemic”, highlighting some humorous moments as we all adjusted to the “new norm”. 


The Life of a Parent in Covid Times – Matt

Let’s Face It. We are FRUSTRATED. We are frustrated with our kids, ourselves and just life in general. Some may be thinking that they are failing. We miss our normal life, our friends, our daily commutes (if you can believe you might secretly miss a nice LONG traffic jam on the way to or from work), our social get togethers and our SCHOOLs…oh how do we miss our kids going to school. Stay at home parents, working parents, and most every adult is just waiting for that big yellow bus to show up at the corner and take our kids somewhere, anywhere…….

Don’t worry, we’re not failing. We are spending more time with our kids than ever before. Even though the kids seem bored and frustrated in their own sense, all they will remember in a few years is how much time their parents, grandparents, caretakers or whoever is responsible for their well being were around for the spring of 2020. At least that is how I have learned to cope.

Nevertheless, lets also discuss what is frustrating us in the most comical of ways.

Snacks – Have you ever seen kids eat so much food??? How are we supposed to socially distance ourselves from others when we must go to the store every other day for a new supply of snacks? We personally started with fruits and veggies and healthy choices…. And now the trip means getting dry cereal, cookies, chips, Go-Gurt, string cheese, juice, popcorn…. If only I bought stock in any of the snack companies when all this started. Why does it feel like my kids have the insane ability to only want the one snack we ran out of yesterday? Anyone else in that boat…. Geez

Becoming Mr. Rogers – Ever seen a parent try to teach basic math to a kid who doesn’t want to learn it? 5+5 = 10. No, its not 4 or 9 or 12, its 10. Its always been 10 and will always be 10. Why can’t you remember that after the last 60 days of practicing??? You can tell me the life story of every LOL Doll you own and that 4 years ago I told you this was the summer we would go to Disneyland, but you can’t remember this? All this conversation happens with a big smile on my face trying not to show the frustration. At some points boiling over to the point of wanting to trade in this kid for a new model.

Side Note – Teachers, if you really want a raise, now is the time to negotiate. I think most parents are ready to pay you whatever you feel you deserve. And from what is happening in my household, you are going to have some serious work to do when my kids come back to your class. Good Luck!

Social Media – Seriously, go away perfect parents. Your posts about how easy your kids are to teach, and they never fight with their siblings and life is just pure bliss…I’m BLOCKING you. Its great that you have taken this time to learn 3 new languages or your kids are now Chef’s in the kitchen, and you’ve lost 15 pounds…. I am happy for you…. Well not really. My view is just not the same so I can’t be happy for you right now. Where is my clan who are all just ready for this to be over and can’t wait to boot their kids out of the still rolling car in the drop off line to summer camp?

My Waist Line – Between the “Daddy Tax” I have implemented whenever my kids get a snack (I need to test it for quality and to make sure its not dangerous to eat), the take out food because we do try to support our local eateries and the “occasional” cocktail, I may not have a single pair of jeans or suit pants that fit when this is all over. I would like to request that it be socially acceptable to wear sweatpants into business meetings for the first 30 days once we are all back out in the field full time.

So, there you have it. My life as a working parent through no rose-colored glasses….

In the end, we will all be ok. A little more educated on a teacher’s importance; a little more patience with our kids; and maybe even a little more “you” to carry around but healthy if we are lucky. There is light at the end of the tunnel and there will be a rainbow that greets us when we get there. Even if that rainbow’s only color is Yellow and it has the letters “ISD” painted on the side.


“Sleeping Through Class” Taken to a Whole New Level

As a former college student myself, I have to admit sitting in those stadium seats for my 8:00 am freshman required courses was one of my least favorite events. I took every opportunity I could to slide down a bit in my seat and snooze behind the hundreds of other students. So, I get it! I truly get it, but thanks to the pandemic, my children, who by the way are historically excellent students, have taken “sleeping through class” to an entire new level.

I discovered this one morning as I was in my room working. I knew my daughter usually had a zoom class around 9:00 and I could hear someone talking, but every light in her room was off. I walked down the hallway, still listening to the teacher give her lecture. I cracked my daughter’s door just a bit, “Hannah? Are you awake?”

“Shhh, mom, don’t talk, I am in class.”  

I opened the door a little wider to see she was plainly asleep.  How was she in class?  Tucked away in the corner, half under her pillow, I could see her laptop.  On the screen was her teacher giving a full-on lecture and below were tons of thumbnail pictures of the students who were attending the class.  None of the pictures were live, they were just photos of the students.

Again I asked, “Hannah, how are you in class, you look asleep.  Are you paying attention?”

“Yes mom. I am paying attention. I can’t talk right now.”

Thirty minutes later, Hannah emerged from her room and came to see me. “Gosh mom. You can’t just come in and start talking, my professor can hear you.”

“Hannah, how were you paying attention?”, I asked. You looked asleep.”

“Mom, I was half-way paying attention, besides all of the lectures are recorded so I can go back and see what I missed.”

I knew she had it covered and would not jeopardize her grades, but I could not help feeling sorry for the professor, who obviously thought she was giving a lively presentation to all of her students. I guess this is how my professors felt when I slept through my 8:00 classes.


Nerd Top 10 Pandemic – by Greg

I am a professional nerd (computer programmer, to be more exact), and have been one for far too many years. Now, all this time of staring at a screen has refined my non-people skills to an exacting degree of perfection. But until the pandemic hit I had very little chance to put these acquired skills to good use. Today that has all changed, and in celebration I present to you my rather tongue-in-cheek top 10 list of things I appreciate about the pandemic: 

  1. The doorbell is now officially an Intruder Alert.
  2. No contact delivery is a great excuse to not answer the Intruder Alert.
  3. With the new seating plans, dining in finally has enough elbow room.
  4. Thanks to the mask, people don’t know if I’m smiling or not.  And if I’m out, I’m probably not…
  5. Three words: Family takeout meals.
  6. I now have the perfect excuse to not attend any birthdays, anniversaries, or other public or private gatherings without appearing rude.
  7. I am not avoiding the gym out of laziness, but rather an overabundance of caution. But somehow, it’s okay to make a food run. See #5 above.
  8. I can now get first run movies at home. Sure, they are more expensive, and I probably won’t actually rent them, but that’s still cool.
  9. Calls about my car’s extended warranty have dropped significantly.
  10. And finally, we are finally celebrating front line workers instead of sports figures. And even a nerd appreciates that one.

Puppy Winslow – by Jennifer

Welcome to life and times of COVID with pets and a teenage boy!

To all my fellow work from home comrades who also love pets or the idea of having a pet….how many people thought it would be a great idea to get a dog (or any pet) during COVID? In my case a puppy from the humane society.

How did we get Winslow, wells let’s just say it started with my son saying look mom “He smiled at me” followed by the promise, “I will put down the video game controller and walk the dog” and if that didn’t work; the “he is so small and cute”! (Can we all agree 43 pounds is NOT small?) Oh, the promises made by a teenage boy, so well-intended: NOT. I thought how nice: we could help a four-legged friend find a new home and we would get companionship, exercise, lots of cute photo ops but then reality set in. My new puppy likes to get up before 6 am to go out (no teenage boy has ever heard of 6 am right).

He loves to make sure I get lots of exercise by having to jump up from desk to play chase for whatever he is eating that definitely doesn’t belong to him. Did anyone else know that Lego minifigures and corners of carpets are part of a puppy’s diet? I can also say he makes phone calls lots of fun….especially when the Amazon driver shows up and wants to join my call. As for the photo ops – they are far and few in between. We quickly found out he is part reindeer or something because who knew puppies could actually fly!!! With all that said, meet Winslow…my new co-worker and exercise companion!
We have all loved having him join our family (although the cat vetoed the idea).  Do you have a story or picture you want to share of the life and times of COVID with your pet?


Sharon and Quizno

It was mid-April, 2020 in Texas and we were all in quarantine. This was not a big deal to me, as I have been social distancing long before social distancing was the norm. It did feel different though, the kids were not able to stop by unexpectedly and clear out my refrigerator.

A few weeks into lock down with my two dogs, who both seemed blissful to me, my son and his gf called to say they were going to stop by and get some of my “supplies” out of my garage.(for the record I only had 2 12 packs of TP).

When I heard the garage door open, I opened the house door just to see familiar faces and say hello. Then, out of nowhere, my 1 ½ year old shih tzu flew out the door like he had been shot out of a cannon. He ran past the kids, and like a dog on a mission ran straight through the neighbors open gate.

Without hesitation, he made the leap of his life into the middle of their pool! Yes, it was freezing outside, no he doesn’t know how to swim. He has never seen a pool in his little life. The kids just yelled over their shoulders as they were in hot pursuit “geez mom, you must be a blast to quarantine with, even the dog would rather jump into a cold pool than be with you”….. Apparently even dogs get antsy and anxious in quarantine.

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