Tag Archives: winter

Oliver Outdoors

After Oliver’s brush with COVID in November, we kept him home through December and January. As he was starting to go a bit stir crazy, we were lucky to secure an opening at Dodge Nature Center‘s outdoor preschool program. Both Griffin and Maggie had wonderful experiences at Dodge before they started kindergarten.

Starting at the beginning of February, Oliver has attended Dodge on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. He’s had a great time so far. See a few pictures below. Oliver wears a bright pink hat.

Unwelcome Guest

This week we discovered, to our dismay, that we have an interloper in our midst: COVID-19. Here’s how things have played out for us thus far:

  • Tuesday, November 3 — receive a call from Oliver’s preschool that there had been a positive case in his classroom. Everyone must stay home for 2 weeks and get tested for COVID in 5–7 days. We’re concerned, but not super-worried.
  • Saturday, November 7 — We take Oliver in for a COVID test. He hasn’t had any symptoms, so we’re hopeful that he’ll be negative.
  • Tuesday, November 10 — We receive the call that Oliver tested positive. Yikes! We discuss with the doctor how we should quarantine within our house. It sounded more plausible on the phone than it turned out to be in real life. Sequestering an almost-four-year-old isn’t easy.
  • Wednesday, November 11 — The rest of the family goes to a drive-through COVID testing clinic. The tests are easy and everything was impressively fast and professional. Results expected in 2–4 days.

Meanwhile, also starting on November 3, I noticed a bit of a scratch in my throat. Not quite a sore throat, but it wasn’t 100% either. Sarah had similar symptoms. I reported this in my health monitoring app for school and they told me to stay home on Tuesday (which was a teach-from-home day anyway). On Wednesday, I felt 100%, so I went to school. Same on Thursday. By Thursday evening, however, my mild sore throat had returned. I attributed it to the dry air, but I reported it on the app in the morning and, out of an abundance of caution, I stayed home again. Sarah was in a similar boat but we weren’t too concerned. This sort of thing happens as winter kicks in.

Once we got the call about Oliver, of course, we started wondering if our throats were indeed related to COVID. Indeed, every stray itch seems like it might be an ominous sign. We can’t be sure until we receive our test results.

At this point, we feel grateful that we are all healthy. Oliver has no symptoms at all. The rest of us have a few mild question marks, but certainly don’t feel sick. We are hopeful that we are either negative or that we’ll be in for a mild brush with the virus. Of course, we are 100% quarantined. I’ll post more as the situation evolves.

And, to my delight, as someone who appreciates a properly dark joke, a friend and colleague from the Bahamas shared this meme with me today (the Bahamian flag is at the bottom):

Widjiwagan 2020

For the first time since 2011, I was able to go to Camp Widjiwagan this year as a chaperone for the week-long seventh grade trip. It was glorious to be back up north in the heart of winter.

The overall experience was similar to my first trip (as described in this post). I still enjoy cross-country skiing, but haven’t improved much in nine years; I still have a hard time managing downhill slopes where I pick up too much speed, panic, and crash. The sauna-dip experience involved much less trepidation, since I remembered it fondly from the first trip. It was just as good this time. For bedtime readings, I warmed my cabin up on Monday evening with one of my favorite creepy stories, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Cats of Ulthar. The next night, the students requested more, so we dove into The Call of Cthulhu for the remaining nights, wrapping up on Thursday with a few brave students managing to stay awake for the ending.

A personal highlight, as mentioned in my previous post, was our Wednesday DFRPG game with Sam doing a masterful job in the GM’s chair. It was the closest my beloved character, Zafir Abrashi, has come to dying, being nearly digested by a giant carnivorous plant!

I didn’t take many pictures, but the selection below provides a sense of things. (All of the following are my photos except for the chaperone group which was taken by Molly McMahon.)

Update: My colleague, Cheryl Wilgren, shared some additional shots from the trip:

Vortex Walk

I braved the vortex this morning to walk to a local supermarket (less than two miles round trip). In the end, to my surprise, I overdid the layers. I was hot and sweaty when I got home. The only real challenge was my face. I brought goggles, but the wind wasn’t blowing hard enough to justify them. In the end, I just pulled up my neck warmers and that was fine. Moisture control is a pain, though, with every breath creating crackling ice.

Post-walk frost.