A Month of Quarantine: A Daily Log of Parenting Part 3

A Month of Quarantine: A Daily Log of Parenting Part 3

I have been keeping a Facebook log of my time at home during quarantine. I decided to do this mostly because 1. We didn’t know how long this would last, so a log helped me keep track of the days, and 2. I wanted a way to remember all the crazy, silly, fun, infuriating, and hopeless things I was feeling as a parent during this time. This is a compilation of the first month.

I chose to end each post with #staysafe because it seemed appropriate given our orders to stay away from others during this time.

These are my unfiltered thoughts full of humor, frustration, anger, and obscurity. I think many parents can relate.


DAY 64: Haircut day! The little one and I were both in need of a significant trim. The counterpart volunteered to do the deed. I held out on recording a video greeting for work so she could make me look presentable. So, you could say there was a lot riding on the outcome of this endeavor. I give her top marks. Not only are both ears still firmly attached, but things are even and even a little shaped! Just for reference, I had not had a haircut since November. She took off a good 3 inches in parts.

The little one survived her first ever haircut. It took 3 1/2 years to accomplish all her growth. The counterpart was once again up to the task. We even saved the first (and ONLY) curl. This will be a trim to remember. Next up, the dog? You can do it babe!

Back to the store tomorrow. The preparations have begun. Lists are being formatted. Swords are being sharpened. Masks are being iron. An unironed or wrinkled mask is a serious fashion faux pas in the current crisis. I don’t want to be caught on some list of fashion disasters. I even laid out my finest sweatshirt and jeans. With a belt! Best dressed list here I come.


Day 65: Safely traversed the local general store. Lots more selection during the day. LOTS more people. Only 2 couples I saw that were not wearing any protective gear. Coincidently, one of those couples could be heard loudly discussing a) the damn people who use scented wipes instead of unscented (so unnatural), and b) “do we really need to change her that often? She’s doesn’t really need a new diaper unless she poops.” Not a good look anti-PPE crew. Let me know how your hospital stays are for the virus and your daughter’s severe yeast infection.

Also saw a parent of a kid from work. I gave a nod and a little wave which was not reciprocated. I was a little put off. I don’t know if I did something or what. Then I realized I was wearing a hat, which she had never seen me wearing, my glasses, which she has rarely seen me wearing, casual clothes, which she may have seen me wearing once, and my mask, which covers any other recognizable part of my face. So I guess I can forgive her, but I’ll definitely be asking about all the vodka in her cart next time I see her.

I weighed how much food the little one ate before her last feeding tonight. So I guess that’s the point of quarantine we have reached. 12 ounces. A little less than the usual tonight.


Day 66: The little one cried today because 1. she was sad we wouldn’t give her more food after breakfast, again, 2. the bigger one was laying the wrong direction on a blanket (hamburger instead of hotdog), 3. head bonk with the bigger one (legit. she had a grape sized knot), and 4. because we didn’t have dinner ready fast enough. Being three is hard.

I went to set up a graduation banner at work. It rained so hard and I could not find the correct connecting poles, so I gave up. I’ll attempt the procedure again tomorrow. I will not let the banner win. I will triumph.

The bigger one subjected us to a video for school today about parts of speech, specifically nouns. The counterpart and I listened to the entirety of the “Noun Rap” on YouTube. The counterpart stated it best, “I just died a little bit inside.” Look it up and enjoy our pain.


Day 67: Only one update for today. Multiple dams have broken around Midland County causing massive flooding and evacuations. It may be nearly impossible for some people to social distance and find safe shelter. Possibly 10s of thousands of people may be displaced or lose homes and property. Please pray for and help the people in our community in any way you can.

We are safe and in no danger on the eastern edge of the city.


Day 68: Best news of the day: the floods have begun to recede around the river. It has been a long 24 hours. We have been high and dry throughout the ordeal, but over a quarter of the city was evacuated. The churches and many other organizations are stepping in to provide aid. Any help to the Midland area is still appreciated.

We’ve been in quarantine too long. At dinner the counterpart said, “I’ve really been thinking about getting yard overalls. Just to do work around the yard.” You know what qualifies as an unnecessary expense? Yoveralls. Then again, my unnecessary expenses during quarantine include a 12 pack of cheez ball containers, so maybe I’ll just keep my big trap shut.

The little one was disciplined before dinner. Let’s just say the incident involved squirt guns, my face, and a kill shot, execution style, right between the eyes immediately following the statement, “you better not shoot me with that.” To her credit, she did not blink or hesitate. She aimed, pulled the trigger, then smirked at me before realizing I was displeased with her course of action. I brought her inside without a word and put her in the timeout chair. Three minutes later she was sitting in the same chair completely nude with a very sour expression.


Day 69: So many of my high school kids are pitching in to help Midland County. I spent the day trading emails, texts, and other messages with families and volunteer organizations trying to find out how our Outreach Team can safely help the community when the waters recede to normal levels. I’m so proud of this group. Seeing them in action really makes me pine for the missed opportunity to travel and work together in Wisconsin. I will miss that opportunity to really bond with them.

With school canceled for today and tomorrow in Midland, I really feel like they should just call it for the rest of the school year. Books and computers are set to be turned back in next week anyway. If a pandemic and a flooded town aren’t enough, I don’t know what is. We had a good run. Cut your losses and move on. Or move to the other side of your living room to stay safe I guess.

The little one fell and scraped the same knee for the third time. Tears, yelling, etc… Poor kid. Let’s hope this is the worst of the summer injuries. Meanwhile, I hurt my foot stepping out of the shower today. The next in a long line of things that continue my slow decent into feebleness.


Day 70: Spent my work hours today helping to organize groups to volunteer with United Way and cleanup crews. One of my Outreach leaders took a group of guys down to the neighborhoods closest to the river to being cleaning out basements and roads. The other Outreach leader had a flooded house and spent the day beginning the process of emptying the ruined items. This will be an ongoing cleanup for, potentially, months. You can still help by calling the United Way or Midland City offices for more information.

Bought gas yesterday for the first time since March 2nd. I had a quarter tank when the quarantine first started. I still had about 1/8th tank when I decided to fill up. 1/8th tank for 70 days isn’t too shabby I guess. My free trial of XM radio expired last week though. I don’t think I got my money’s worth out of that, even though it was free.

Today was “Fashion Day.” We all wore dress up clothes, the older one was allowed to wear makeup (applied by the counterpart) including eyeliner, blush, lipstick, and eye shadow. There may have been more. Those are all the makeup words I know. The older one was very excited for this. I shaved, put on a dress shirt, hard pants (the new official term for any non “sweat” style pant), and applied face lotion. I had an allergic reaction to something I applied to my face and pulled a muscle in my back reaching for a comb to slick my hair back. So yeah, Fashion Day was great.


Day 71: The town continues the cleanup process. People are coming from around the state to help. The shelters have a surplus of food at the moment, but funds and volunteers are still very useful. As the Fred Rogers said, look for the helpers.

A full day of activities with the unit. Painted soap box derby cars, played a few games (only one of which resulted in the older one complaining), played in the family tent which we set up to “camp” in the backyard for the weekend, lunched outside, took a long walk to the park and back, more games, the offspring had squirt gun and sprinkler time, Mario Kart and stories to finish up after dinner. The only thing missing is one of the offspring saying, “how come we didn’t do anything today?” That would really make the day complete.

Stress from this whole situation has gotten to me a little today. Also my back still hurts. And my head. I’m mad at the dandelions for their persistence. I’ve emptied and loaded the dishwasher 6 times in the last two days. Do all the neighbors have to mow the entire afternoon? That squirrel outside is eyeing me funny…


Day 72: A beautiful Sunday to be outside. We talked with our neighbors, who have twin male offspring, for a while today. We commiserated over the challenges of parenting during this time. We also discussed the neighborhood skunk, which apparently frequents their establishment as well. Going to bond over some celebratory fireworks before bed.

We finished and then raced our soapbox derby cars down the driveway. I teamed up with the little one. The counterpart took an early lead followed closely by the older one. It was a tight race going past the first twig where our car made a mad dash past the ant official and into the lead. With the counterpart quickly fading, the older one closed the gap, but the lead was too great and our car took the checkered flag at the finish crack! It was the most exciting 7 feet in all of home sports. We celebrated with popsicles.

The counterpart had the choice to order food tonight. She chose sushi. I set an alarm for the first time since the first week of March, then went to pick it up. While I was away and the counterpart was cleaning up the yard toys, the little one chose to get totally nude while playing with the water table in the front yard. As the counterpart approach to cover her nudity, the little one threw her arms up and exclaimed, “Ta Da!” Ah, to be three.


Day 73: A Memorial Day that will long be remembered for the continued strangeness of this situation. That said, we enjoyed the weather, however warm, because it seems to mark the coming of summer. It was a day full of American tradition. We all donned team ‘Murcia garb of red, white, and blue. All the clothes were made in China or Indonesia, another American tradition. I grilled sausages, drank a beer, and we set off fireworks after dinner. Thank you service members and families for all your service and sacrifice.

I am repeatedly surprised by how little I am asked for things by the offspring. I am by no means an inattentive parent, yet I can stand 6 inches from the counterpart and the offspring will ask questions and demand attention only from the counterpart. It’s really stunning how often the word “mom” is used in a 5-minute span. I don’t usually feel bad about their apparent lack of interest. Sometimes I think the counterpart would like to slug them.

The little one just stepped out of the bathroom to check on the bigger one while brushing teeth; something we have told her not to do 47 times in the past week. In the 6 foot walk to the bedroom the little one misplaced her toothbrush. She then proceeded to come to the top of the stairs and tell us that she needs a new toothbrush. 1. I’ve never heard of someone losing their toothbrush midway through brushing. 2. It takes a lot of hutzpah to ask for a new toothbrush 4 seconds after losing your old one while doing something you know you’re not supposed to be doing in the first place.


Day 74: We had snow falling less than 3 weeks ago. Our outdoor instant-read thermometer, which is in full sun from 4-6, read 100 degrees around 5:30. Yikes. Therefore, we spent most of today indoors. The offspring did fairly well considering we both worked today. Only one minor injury in which the younger one smashed her noggin into the counter while attempting a pull-up. We need to keep a log of all these or we may get some nasty looks in public while toting around a child that is consistently 1/2 bruises.

School is set to resume tomorrow-Friday, but next week’s final lessons are done at the teacher’s discretion. No new learning…. We did it. We did it! 2 1/2 full months of home learning, working from home, social distancing, food rationing, missed events, and a once in every 500-year flood; but we made it. All that’s left is the end of year pictures which will consist of children running through the house in the buff and parents passed out on the floor.

The counterpart left for a store run. We’ve decided to go once a week-ten days so we no longer need 2 carts. Also the neighbors have nice squirt guns and I was jealous, so we added Super soakers to the list. Can’t wait to surprise attack our offspring from the bushes. They’ll start calling me the Mysterious Monsoon. The Wonderful Wetter. The Terrific Torrent. The Deadly Deluge. (This is the one. I’m getting t-shirts made.)


Day 75: Today was the first day I drove right into the worst of the area hit by the flood in Midland. I went to deliver water and snacks to some families. The devastation is really incredible. There are piles of waste nearly as tall as some of the houses. One family told me that they have been cleaning out for 8 straight days and have at least that much left. This is Midland city only. I’m told Sanford and Wixom Lake areas are much worse. The entire downtown of Sanford sounds like it’s a loss. Some estimates are in the half billion-billion dollars’ worth of damage in the county. Most disturbing of all is that insurance companies will not pay on anything. The people I talked with today, all with differing companies, all say they were told this was not a “flood.” This was a “dam break” which is not covered. There will be all kinds of lawsuits. Personally, I’d like to see Dow lawyer up against some of the big insurance companies. Goliath vs. Goliath. If you would like to support the town in a personal way, check out this fundraiser through the Midland High CC team. One of my high schoolers helped set it up.

The little one gave us all headbands to wear during dinner. I did not argue one bit. I gladly accepted my flowered band and brushed the sweat out of my face. She said I looked beautiful. I did not look cute. That’s how you know she meant it.


Day 76: Wow. I’m going to sum up the entire dinner conversation from this evening.

The older one has a book about puberty. Not long ago, she started asking questions, so we decided to let her read it. Dinner started with an examination of the bathroom habits of the little one. Not that odd considering the young one’s ongoing quest to consistently poop in the potty. This quickly turned into a discussion about all the things the older one will experience before the younger one. Topics covered: pimples and face washing, deodorant, tampons, and pads. We handled it like pros. I’m sure puberty will go by with no issues whatsoever. Clearly, generations of parents didn’t have our skills.

The dinner convo then turned to a discussion of the best villains of all time. We listed all the Disney villains, some literary favs, and other TV and movie bests. The counterpart listed Darth Vader. The older one then had the audacity to say, “I like the Kylo Ren ones better than the Darth Vader ones…” I’m sorry. What? Where do you get off making that statement? How dare you. I take back everything I said about being puberty pros. This is going to be a real struggle.

After cleaning the table, we finished the evening deliberations with a discussion of big sisterhood. First the older one said sometimes she wishes she didn’t have a sibling because she likes it with just the three of us. Then, not 2 minutes later, she stated that she liked it when the little one was just a baby and introduced the idea of more babies because they are, “cute when they’re so little.” Sorry kiddo. I mean, I like babies, but we aren’t going to expand the family based on cuteness. If that were the case, we’d have a lot more baby koalas waddling around the joint.


Day 77: This has been a strange week. It felt both exceptionally long and short simultaneously. I’m so proud of all the work my kids have done. I’m also grateful to all the volunteers in town who continue to feed, house, and clean the most devastated areas. Sanford is looking much better than I ever expected, yet still with very far to go.

The little one cried today because she is scared of the blue piranhas on one of the Mario Kart races. No warning it was going to happen. We weren’t even playing the game. She took a bite of banana and then cried. How to best explain man-eating piranhas aren’t real…? She clearly wasn’t that disturbed because immediately following dinner she asked to play more Mario Kart.

Final week of school for the older one next week. I hope it flies by. I’d like to help my daughter with new endeavors this summer. Science and baking projects are on the docket. I also can’t wait to get out on the golf course with her. Let’s hope she enjoys walking and carrying her bag.


Day 78: Picked up some laundry to help out friends who are still without power because of the flood. After I came home, we ran the loads while the unit mowed, gardened, weeded, and played outside. I folded and returned the clean laundry this evening. The female friend said, “Well I never thought you’d be tossing around my underwear.” I laughed and, instead of replying with some witty or sarcastic remark as is my nature, I simply said, “No one cares about any of that. We just want everyone to get back on their feet and get back to normal.” I would have given her a big hug if circumstances were different.

During dinner we listened to the 90s station. A Whitney song came on, which lead to a conversation about, a) singers whose songs you cannot really even attempt due to their awesomeness, and b) drugs and addiction. The older one asked some questions and we went into a little more detail about how addiction to anything is bad. We talked about alcohol, prescription and non-prescription drugs, and TV addiction. The older one sat quietly and listened, seemingly pondering our words. Finally, after a small pause she said, “what’s your favorite blanket?” Maybe we’ll revisit this discussion in a few years.

We watched the SpaceX launch today. The counterpart and I were a little emotional. We recounted famous space missions to the offspring. I relayed some of my memories of 6th grade Space Camp. We were doing really well explaining the science and planning that goes into space missions. As the launch took place I had the older one watch the speed of the rocket. I began taking about the amazing way astronauts reach and maintain orbit; except instead of saying “earth orbit” I accidentally said “orth erbit.” The counterpart laughed so hard I stopped talking and sat out the remainder of the flight in silence. That’s love.


Day 79: We cleaned the house and weeded the garden today. I invited the older one to come out and help me weed this morning. She agreed. I got started around 9:10. At this point she proceeded to go upstairs, I assumed, to change out of pajamas. Instead she chose this time to begin a craft project. She made her way outside around 9:18, by which point I had finished the back corner of the garden. She showed me her craft but remained in pajamas. She went back inside to change. She reappeared at 9:27 in a dress and dress coat. She then proceeded to tell me about the Descendants character with whom she most identifies (Evie or Mal). I then sent her back inside at 9:35 to change into gardening clothes. At 9:43 I finished weeding and went back inside. The older one was still in her dress. Later in the day she asked if she would get an allowance for helping with weeding…

Spent the afternoon outside with in-laws today. We had our own lunches and dinners, played outdoor games, and chatted. The older one and the sister-in-law teamed up to win most of the competitions. The counterpart and I continued our dominance of ladder-ball. A full and stress-free day of fun was good for the soul and mental health.

My heart breaks for our country amidst all the anger and unrest. A high school friend is dealing with community outreach on behalf of the Mayor’s office in the Minneapolis/St. Paul. He is an amazing individual. As always, be kind. Help. Be empathetic. Try to understand a perspective other than your own. Advice I give myself and try to show to my daughters every day.


Day 80: The end of school is now only 4 days away. It cannot come soon enough. The older one is anxious to be done, while also missing her teacher and classmates terribly. At least we should be able to break up the week with a trip to pick up some donations. It also helps that the Stay-at-home order was lifted. While we do not plan to do any visits to restaurants or other facilities for a while, the freedom to visit other outdoor sites, while maintaining social distancing, is wonderful.

We had another in a series of “big” talks with older one today. She is aware of the unrest and anger in the country right now. We discussed the protests and anger with her. Her tearful response was, “there’s just so much going on with the flood and the virus and everything…” The counterpart gave her a hug and I said, “the thing is, there are people who do bad things, but there are way more that are doing good.” I hope we can do good. During a phone call today I was told the phrase, “If we do good, then we do good.” Simple, but I like it.”

I also talked today with a friend from high school. We talked about how to address the situation in the country with my group is teens. I both respect and value his opinion. It was a great chat that gave me some perspective on how to address my role and the role of all leaders for the betterment of our society. I will have an interesting and hopefully enlightening meeting this evening.


Day 81: A day of hearing about protests and a lot of solidarity for justice. We must stand together and grow together, because growth is needed. I wrote a statement for our formation team which we will send out tomorrow. We recognize that while we have always attempted to be conscientious and inclusive, I am sure that we have at times, even with the best intentions, failed in our actions and words. We must be better.

It is a joy to be part of a family unit that supports and loves each other while discussing topics of the utmost importance to our present and the future of the world in which we will leave our children. In our own failures and in the failures of those around us, we need to teach and be taught. It is evident that the older one is a future leader. The counterpart and I must do our best to raise an empathetic and caring individual. The younger one may be a leader too. It’s hard to know if someone that gassy can command a serious meeting without getting big laughs.

My streak of winning random drawings, contests and raffles continues. Bought a few tickets to support the recovery effort in Midland. Won, not the top prize, but a Chromebook and some gadgets. I think I have won about 5 things now. What a weirdly useful skill.


Day 82: The older one and I hung a school banner at Adams. It is a thank you to all the teachers, administrators, staff, and parents for helping all the students make it through the end of this very strange year. Way to go Adams staff and students! Way to go parents!

I can’t believe I am still finding Easter grass all around the house. We put decorations away over a month ago. We’ve vacuumed at least 3 times in every carpeted area. (Do not judge our vacuuming frequency.) Yet somehow today I picked up at least 3 pieces of semi-translucent, fake, annoying, unending grass. I can’t blame anyone I guess, but somehow I feel like the fault lies with the little one. I don’t know if she’s hiding it somewhere, waiting to disperse it at her leisure, or if it’s coalescing around the house in place of all the toys and shoes like some kind of dark magic.

The counterpart and I installed a new air conditioner unit. We do not have home air, an arrangement with which we are perfectly comfortable with the exception of the upstairs. We installed it with no arguments or squabbles. Next up, picking out colors to repaint the house and deck. Lord help us. We can do this.


Day 83: Congratulations to all the wonderful seniors from Midland High, Dow, Meridian, Nouvel, Sacred Heart, Clio, Birch Run, Montrose, Powers Catholic, and all the other school districts with which I have had the blessing to work with over the years. Good work. God bless.

While driving around delivering donations with the older one, I decided to play a podcast about the history of bra. (Once again, do not judge me.) The older one found the topic fascinating as it is along the lines of the puberty discussions we have had in the past. So, here’s the thing. What the heck. Bras suck. The way sizing works is the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard. It cannot possibly be comfortable. Sounds like the best possible way to get accurate sizing is to take about 10 different measurements, not 3, all sans clothing of course. I can imagine that some ladies may find that process uncomfortable. Any reason medical professionals couldn’t be trained do these measurements during an annual physical? That way you could have a trusted person take accurate measurements in a safe place. Not to mention I’d be willing to bet that a comfortable and accurate bra would probably cut down on back, shoulder, and neck issues. I’m just some dude, but from what I heard today, if you choose to wear a bra it seems like there out to be a better solution.

I’m spending the evening watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I want some mindless entertainment and it doesn’t get more mindless than this. I kinda have a man crush on Harrison. Give me Tom Hanks all day for diversity or high quality acting. But sometimes I want to see a guy defy physics, whip a machine gun, one punch knockout 40 Nazis, and discover the treasure of Oak Island. (60% chance this is the plot of the 5th movie.)


Day 84: The older one is officially a 3rd grader. I expect her to recite Hamlet Act III by next summer. Anything less is failure. I suppose I could accept King Lear Act I in a pinch. Maybe the screenplay of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. All works of pure genius.

The counterpart and I spent about 3 hours today cleaning out the garage. We loaded up the van with about 300 lbs. of clothing, toys, baby things, and various books and movies. I took the blower and cleaned out the remains of the winter leaves and dirt. Shelves are reorganized and separated into sections. It’s a thing of beauty. If it wasn’t 120 degrees in there during the summer, I’d add a couch and beer fridge. No TV. I just want to stare at the nicely organized shelves. That’s all I need.

The older one chose to make today special with a theme choice of “spa day.” We had foot moisturizing booties, which made her uncomfortable. We tried moisturizing face masks, which she tried on for about 20 seconds then started to cry because the moisturizer got in her eyes. We have a hand wax machine (to be fair, I don’t really understand or know what it does) which she put a finger in and cried because the wax was too hot for her sensitive skin/ego. We’re going to try some foot cream before bed. My guess is the complaint will be “too cold” or “too slimy.” I think a real spa day is very far off. I’m going to attempt to pluck her eyebrows and massage her cuticles while she sleeps.


Day 85: I have been dealing with allergies all day. I don’t understand why they have become exponentially worse in adulthood. Is it just part of the slow and steady decline? This specific plant life around our house? All the dust particles from the newly cleaned garage? Perhaps the pollen has become sentient and is seeking out the weakest of us. I will not yield!

The counterpart and I have acquired around 10 different hot sauces. We now order wings without sauce and provide our own. The bigger one has even gotten in on the action. Pre-sauced wings are a fools’ game. They reheat poorly, the sauce loses flavor, and the wings are either too saturated or barely coated. Next step is to buy a load of uncooked wings and fry them myself. Cheaper and they freeze well. Now that we are making more frequent trips to the store we have freezer room, the time has come to give this a try. Quarantine Summer-of-Wings here we come!

My parental units visited today. Really great to see family, as always. We shared a meal, chatted, and the offspring played “Mother May I” with grandma. At the end of the visit, I asked the little one to race to a tree near the patio so we could time her. After all, what’s a family gathering without some kind of competition? It was a lesson in instruction giving. My words were, “run and touch that tree and then run back.” Grandpa started the timer and she took off. A good 8ft in front of the tree she came to a complete stop and started jumping like a maniac, arms reaching toward the sky like a gymnast completing a dismount. Glancing overhead, I saw the nearest tree branches 10 feet above her feeble attempts. Lesson: be specific. Even the simplest instruction can be misunderstood.


Day 86: We spent much of the afternoon cleaning, organizing, and working in the bedrooms. The counterpart and I replaced the closet doors in the little one’s room. We hung a curtain rod and replaced the dark wood doors with a sheer white curtain. The room looks about 5 feet wider. Also put up a new magnetic chore chart. The chore options for the little one include brushing teeth, making bed, taking a bath, etc… I want to add weeding the garden, loading the dishwasher, cleaning the car, and chopping firewood. I think she can handle it.

We are getting ready to make Kool-Aid pickles. We’ve made a summer batch each of the last 2 years. They’re the weirdest, most refreshing thing you can imagine on a hot day; right up there with a cold beer. First year we made cherry flavored. Last year was orange. Back to cherry this summer. I feel like lime, watermelon, or grape is just too out there. I found a 4 pack of gallon sized pickle jars on Amazon. That should last us a month or two. BRING BACK MOBY DILLS!

Dinner tonight was a summer affair consisting of grilled brats and asparagus, watermelon, and chips. After the little one had 3rd helpings of watermelon (plus pita bread, applesauce, and turkey), I decided to give her a taste of mustard. Straight up, out of the bottle, plain, yellow mustard. Thinking this would temper her desires, I put a little glob on her plate which she greedily scooped up on a finger and inserted into her face hole. Her words were, “Mmmm! I like mustard! Can I have some more!” My repeated replies of “no more mustard” resulted in a somewhat angry, “I WANT MORE MUSTARD!!” Dear God, she’s moved on to the condiments. We’ll have nothing left. Please send the second stimulus soon. We need mustard money, apparently.


Day 87: The counterpart and I have been catching up on some evening television after the offspring are in bed. (Side note: the older one took THREE naps today. Safe to say the stress of the last three months has caught up with her.) A couple nights ago we watching The Last Crusade. It’s really a great adventure movie. Also, I cannot refrain from mimicking Johnathan Rhys Davies. What a voice.

We have also been watching The World According to Jeff Goldblum. It is Goldblum at his Goldblumiest. We let the older one watch an episode with us about tattoos. She asked the counterpart and I what kind of tattoo would we would get. My response was, “I would get the words ‘My Knee Hurts’ in bold letters on top of my knee.” It may have been the realist thing I’ve ever said.

Tonight we are watching the new Queer Eye on Netflix. The first episode is about an openly gay Evangelical pastor. I’ve gotten teary 4 times in the first half hour. Recommend 12/10. Love, care, and hope personified. Also JVN says about every person, “OMG you are sooo gorgeous!” Here’s the thing, he means it every. single. time. That alone gets me emotional. What a gift to give someone.


Day 88: I spent SO long on a PowerPoint presentation today. Thank goodness school is now over. The offspring played beautifully for 85% of today thanks to Duplos and Disney plus. I don’t even dislike the Imagination Movers theme as much as I used to. Although Warehouse Mouse is getting to be a little much. That squeaky little voice and the inane babble has got to drive Nina crazy. She’s a saint. Also Dave is clearly the Christ figure. Uncle Knit Knots represents the betrayer…. I may be reading too much into this.

We are doing our next food challenge tonight. So far we have compared dill pickle brands, vanilla ice creams, and tried international snacks from around the world twice. Tonight is international snacks gluten free style. a) Some countries have genuinely delicious GF snacks. Looking at you Asian countries. b) Norway, fiber crisps? Really? That’s what you have to offer? Might as well call them defecation delicacies. Do better.

The little one continues to ask for mustard as a side dish. I gave her a tiny bit of blue cheese tonight, hoping it would throw her off her game. No luck. She asked for more. The onslaught continues.


Day 89: I went shopping today to buy supplies for our last Outreach meeting. It is tradition that kids who have gone 3 years receive a hammer, while 4 year commits receive a crowbar. I found out that you get some mighty strange looks when you purchase a boatload of kid snacks (gummies, brownies, Rice Krispie treats, etc.) a dozen hammers and a dozen crowbars. Looks like we are about to commit a heist at Chuck E. Cheese. Thank goodness I didn’t also try to purchase all the duct tape I need.

Big storms hit today. Not as bad as it could have been, but we lost a few more limbs which are now hung up in branches like more death spears. One was hanging low enough for me to grab, which I did easily with my 10inch vertical. Turns out leaves hold on to a lot of water even a couple hours after the rain has ended. I wouldn’t feel so bad about getting drenched except the little one was standing close enough that she took a fairly heavy blast. She didn’t talk to me the rest of the walk around the house.

We are starting to look at summer reading lists. I’m about a quarter of the way through Dune. I have two of the sequels but I think I’m going to go back to a mystery novel or start one of my books on astrophysics. The bigger one is interested in the Percy Jackson books. I might reread those to her each morning. The little one will continue with her crayon books and Mo Willems. I don’t recommend anything to the counterpart. We have vastly different tastes in books and podcasts. I guess “How Narcolepsy Works” isn’t for everyone. All I know is, if someone I’m talking to falls asleep mid-sentence, I’ll know what’s going on. I can’t help, but I’ll tell them all about it when they awake.


Day 90: The counterpart asked me how long I plan to continue the updates. I am of two minds. I could stop them once we get into summer or the start of next school year. That would give me a definitive date. I could also continue until things are back to normal. Then I have to define normal. I’ll have to give it some thought. Regardless, this will all be a very interesting addition to the “dad journal” I’ve been writing for the older one since before she was born.

I went back to the office today and spent significant time there for the first time. I cleaned and filed a ton of papers I had left on my desk, replaced all the school/office materials and books back in their proper places, brought home more summer work, and disinfected all the surfaces. It was hot wearing the mask the entire time. It was also really quiet and dark. I’m not a fan of the horror genre, so I did not find the experience very pleasant. When you like the people you work with, working alone really stinks.

Today we celebrated the dog’s birthday. He is 5. The celebration consisted of homemade signs, a cheese treat, birthday hats, a song, and a homemade gift. He also got a bath. He enjoyed everything except the latter. I will also point out that he got a hug goodnight from the younger one. I did not. Lousy loveable dog…


Day 91: I was feeling a little anxious again today. It continues to come and go. At least I got a chance to look at some programming for next fall. It’s a good feeling knowing that you can plan for 3 months from now and almost assuredly none of it will be remotely the same when the time comes. *sigh* I’m sure every teacher in America is feeling this right now as well.

We played a game of Clue at lunch. We can usually finish a game within 20 minutes or so. I made an accusation and said the wrong name. Had all the right information, but said the wrong name. The counterpart was very reluctant to give me the win. I think it is still acknowledged as a “nobody won” scenario. I understand the sentiment. I said the wrong name apparently. Luckily Clue isn’t like real life. Innocent people are never accused and sent to jail in real life.

The little one learned how to snort today. So that’s cool. Our evening will be full of pig noises.


Day 92: A little different update today. Last night the counterpart and I discussed all the most commonly used phrases during quarantine. The following is our top 10 list.

  1. So here’s the thing…

A common phrase used when discussing either a sensitive topic, or when we are just tired of answering questions from the offspring. Example: “So here’s the thing, we don’t need to talk about bee stings the entire dinner.”

  1. Can you believe (insert noun and verb) …

Often used during our discussions of the pandemic, usually with a sense of exasperation or incredulity. Example: “Can you believe there are people not wearing masks at the store?! Good luck with your COVID!”

  1. What is even happening?

An expression frequently expressed whenever the next unbelievable thing happens. Example: “I wonder how long until the tornado gators make it to Michigan…? What is even happening anymore?”

  1. Well, it’s quarantine.

A reference to any type of event or action which would not be normal if it wasn’t quarantine. Example: “I’ve been wearing these sweats for 4 straight days. Well, it’s quarantine so I guess in another 3 days I’ll have to switch to the backups.”

  1. Wait, what day is it?

Said once a day by at least one member of the unit. Example: “Hey mom, don’t forget Saturday is Crazy Hair Day. Also, when is the food arriving for our next food challenge? Why is this called crabgrass? Wait, what day is it?”

  1. So, what’re we going to have for dinner tomorrow?

Spoken aloud be me at almost every dinner. Example: I list every food item we currently have in the house. Then I say, “So what are we going to have for dinner tomorrow?” Repeat every single night for 3 months.

  1. I have to go potty. I’ll make sure I wipe.

Said solely by the little one. She proclaims this realization 4 times a day. Example: “Dad, what’s your favorite fruit? I like raspberries and blueberries. Wait, what’s your favorite color shirt? I like my pink one with, Oop! I have to go potty! I’ll make sure I wipe.”

  1. I wanna be Puppit! No, I wanna be Puppit!

A daily argument between the offspring during our Hatchimals games resulting in either the counterpart or me exclaiming, “NO ONE IS PUPPIT!” Then the 2-inch plastic figure is removed from the board and everyone cries. No example needed.

  1. Hey mom. Mom. Mom do you see me. Momma! Mom look! Mom watch me do this. Are you watching?

Usually a sentiment or demand for attention by the older one. Could be in reference to any imaginable scenario. Often while doing mundane and totally unremarkable actions. Example (this is 100% real): “Mom, watch me swing in the hammock! Look at me, mom! Look how high I am. Do you think you could swing this high, mom? Mom, what are doing? Why are you going inside, mom?”

  1. We don’t say stupid and I don’t care. We say I care. I care is ok.

The reply given by the little one after we told the offspring they are not allowed to use these words. She usually says this phrase after either the counterpart or I say one of the forbidden words. Example: “Dad said, ‘I don’t care.’ We don’t say that. We say ‘I care.’ ‘I care’ is ok. I have to go potty. I’ll make sure I wipe.”


Day 93: Today officially marks 3 months or quarantine. We are going to celebrate with cocktails like real adults. I’m going to have a Bloody Mary, heavy on the pickle and heavy on the Mary. Maybe we’ll make it a real adult night and watch a movie with swears. Or something on the DIY channel.

I went to buy groceries today. I bought grad cards and gifts. This is the only year that I will have invites from seniors at all 3 places I’ve been a youth minister. So far I have 11 invites to grad parties, but I have another 15 invites via Facebook. Having invites to 20-35 open houses really adds up. I guess everyone will receive a very nice card and enclosed gift. Normally that would also include a hardy pat on the back, but this year grads will have to be happy with a wink and the gun.

Yesterday the counterpart saw our neighbor mowing the grass and referred to it as adult peer pressure. It’s really the only type of peer pressure you can feel as an adult while in your own home. After I returned from the grocery run, I decided to exert some passive aggressive lawn care of my own. Not only did I mow AND weed whack the fence line, I also watered both front flowerbeds and went full squeegee on the front windows. So… your move, Kyle.


I will continue this project for as long as we are in quarantine. I find the process cathartic. If you have not been keeping a journal of your thoughts, I encourage you to start.

God bless.

Stay safe.

Justin Rose

High School Youth Minister