Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Sol 14 - Tricia - Needlework Pirate

This morning, my youngest son greeted me with:

"Sol 14"

I hope you understand that reference (MarkWatney from The Martian - a family favorite - watch it).

As a mother I had to laugh as well as totally appreciate the sentiment and humor he was finding in the situation.  We have been self isolating as a family now since March 12th.  We had foreseen that it was  coming and had been taking precautions and had a family plan that we pushed into action.  The trigger was when the public schools closed in our town. We had developed a 4-week food plan, shopped for the 'dry goods' and both my husband and I had the list and would rush out to fulfill the moment the trigger occurred.  I was taking a short break as I had just moved a UHaul of boxes to the house (casket boxes) and my son looked up and said - 'they closed our school'.  I jumped up and grabbed my purse and bee-lined it to the local store.

Several years ago, the FIRST robotics topic of the year was natural disasters and so the kids had studied all kinds of preparedness and worked for a year on innovative projects regarding getting populations to do the right types of things in the face of some sort of disaster.  In this one, I am glad the kids had advance mental preparation when younger.

We had spent a few weeks casually talking to our college son to get him mentally prepared to respond if we asked him to come home.  That helped, it was so hard for my 20-yr old son fresh off spring break to get a call from Mom and be asked to throw stuff in a bag and that I would be there in a few hours to pick him up.  His university had just announced online courses but that they would be residential during the rest of the term. Of course as soon as Harvard and MIT across the river closed that day - I knew it was days until his university would have to close.  So he was horribly embarrassed to leave, but it was Thursday night and if we could avoid a whole weekend of coronavirus parties - we wanted that buffer.  We allowed him the next day to pack up his room and say good bye to a handful of friends as they were coming to terms that their own parents were starting to call, expecting the university would close (they did it the worst way-announce on Sunday night and be out by Tuesday).  I was so relieved that he respected his father's and my request to come home in a way that limited our exposure.  Of course he has now been notified he can't come back for summer semester so he is stuck here with us until September.

My kids have been awesome.  We all talked for weeks about what we would do if we had to become shut-ins.  So we had identified skills we wanted to develop, tools, materials and fun stuff we would need and they were all ordered that night.  Loads of projects.  At Christmas we had given my husband a rain check on a lathe to be ordered for this summer after we could reconfigure the shop.  It arrived a week ago.  So at this point it has been non-stop project time and the family has been so busy.  My oldest has so many projects envisioned we will need to be in quarantine for months.  In fact - its been a bit like The Martian around here - complete with moving robots.  The boys want to know when we get to try growing potatoes in our own poop.  I said the garden room would be appropriate.  (ha ha).  There was a baking soda experiment on Sol 2.  Getting the 480 pound lathe into the basement by ourselves on Sol 7 was hilarious as delivery men wouldn't come in house.

They have kept the humor up - which honestly is pretty amazing.  The day we 'went inside' or "Sol 1" was particularly hard on my youngest.  We were in the UHaul and his worst fear came true - the World Championship for Robotics was canceled.  I haven't had the chance to tell the rest of the story from last year or this year's story.  Sometimes I do that as other teams scour the web for pictures of our robot.  Spoiler alert - they had just won the state championship four days before and were #2 in the world (OMG, he is just a freshman) - he was legitimately competing in late April for the World championship as captain of his own team.  He was upset that wouldn't happen now.  I feel so bad for the kids.

So his daily humor is good.  In fact, even though it is now likely his robot will never get fielded again, he has taken on not only rebuilding it to be the best ever but doing prework for next year.  He is taking advantage of his brother being around to tutor him in advanced CAD and other techniques.  His team has been keeping busy in their own homes building a new team website, learning more coding skills, etc.  It shows remarkable resiliency for these kids.   Every day there is another big thing the kids tackle.  They cleaned the whole robot room this morning just to play a rousing game of ping pong on the work table.  My husband and I took a walk on Sol 10 to talk serious stuff and the boys figured out how to hook their music to the home speakers and had the place rocking when we returned along with a huge dinner cooked.  The board games have lasted hours and we are only on movie #5 of watching the entire Marvel Universe in chronological order.  Actually, the TV has barely been on.

Sol 14.  I actually couldn't believe it - after shutting down the shop I was starting to think about what I would do now that I was shut in and I didn't really realize that we had been locked down already for  half a month as a family.

So they have been advising me on how to do modern informal videos or vlogs.  So expect some stuff in the future.  I promised them I would take a "Vacation" first.  It lasted 30 minutes last night.  But I will try again sometime today and make it longer.

Tricia - Needlework Pirate

1 comment:

  1. My husband is retired and disabled so he seldom ever goes any where, and I work from home. So our social distancing was well practiced beforehand. We are doing FaceTime for family visits. I am not sure my virtual office will ever get a work reprieve, so I soldier on. Stay safe everyone.