Summer slow down

You may be wondering why I haven’t been writing as much. I’ve only uploaded two posts for July, and only one for August so far. There are a couple of reasons.

July was a big month for us, with a day trip to Nashville and a vacation along the Gulf Coast. We spent a lot of money, so we are partially staying home in order to plump our checking accounts back up.

The county that we live in, and the county that I work in are both considered high risk counties for the rising COVID-19 cases, due to the delta variant. We want to be cautious, so we have started to wear our masks again. I see the data daily for work, and it seems like it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. It makes sense to just stay home more often than not because of this.

The weather has not been on our side either. It has been a rainy August, which has kept us inside more than we’d like. When it’s not raining, it is still excessively humid, which is uncomfortable.

Also, I think in the future I need to slow down when it comes to planning summer activities. It seems silly but sometimes I forget that, though it feels like summer in May, it’s still not technically summer until the end of June! I had a list of things I wanted to do this summer (camping, kayaking, Lookouts baseball game, etc.) and all of that was completed before July even started! There’s honestly nothing that I want to do at the moment, that would be best enjoyed during the summer months. We have decided to not hike during the summer. Why be uncomfortable and need to carry twice as much water?

I’ll be back to posting more regularly in the fall. We have plenty of activities planned!

Signs of the pandemic

A couple of months ago I started to take pictures of pandemic related things — mostly signs in different locations — as a way to remember this unprecedented time when it’s all over.

Here are some of the pictures that I have collected.

Pandemic Summer24
Signs on Clumpie’s door.
Pandemic Summer28
A quarantine box to keep you occupied while you stay at home. A collection of items found in a store.
Pandemic Summer23
Stand here, please.
Pandemic Summer15
Eliminating the need to disinfect menus.
Pandemic Summer12
Stay healthy!
Pandemic Summer16
Pandemic Summer11
Derek on UTC’s campus, standing in a social distancing circle that was painted on Chamberlain Field.
The classroom where Derek teaches. His class is split into two groups, with half coming into class on one day, and the other half learning remotely. This allows the in-person group to keep physical distance.
Signs at a small park that is near our apartment.

Soldiering on through this pandemic summer

August has been a hard month. The running theme has been depression and anxiety.

Derek goes back to work next week at UTC and I am scared. Yes, everyone will be wearing masks in the classroom, but knowing that he’s going to be around more people worries me.

I’m worried about Derek getting COVID-19 because his immune system isn’t the greatest. If someone else is sick, he usually gets it. He’s had the gamut of illnesses. It should be noted that whenever Derek is sick, I never catch it from him, but COVID-19 feels like a different beast.

I am struggling with work. It was hard to start a job working remotely from home, and to still be stuck at home almost five months later. Currently I’m working through a big project, and there has been a lot of confusion surrounding it. My anxiety is already high from the pandemic, and I’m an anxious person by default. Couple that with the confusion of the project and still working from home, well, let’s just say I’ve been a mess. My confidence and self-esteem are down. I cry a lot and I’m not sleeping well because work follows me into my dreams at night.

And then there is the long lasting cabin fever. We are still doing smaller activities in general. In a sense, one could argue that I have fulfilling weekends. Today I took two separate walks, worked on my scrapbook, read and watched The Sound of Music. But it’s not the weekend I want.

We still go to parks. We’ve walked the Walnut Street Bridge. We still eat at some of our favorite coffee shops and restaurants, or at least the ones that have large enough outdoor seating areas. But the problem is that we’re not doing anything new. My Chattanooga to-do list is stagnant. This is what I was afraid of in March, which feels like a lifetime ago.

The one good thing to come out of staying at home is that I’ve been challenging myself to take more photos with my macro lens. As the seasons progress, there are different things to photograph. I will attach some of my photos below.

I’m counting down the days until September. I want fall to come. I don’t expect anything to automatically change when the days get cooler, but I just need something to feel different — even if it is only the temperature.

The pandemic is not the only thing that has halted our activities. The heat has done that too. The only things we can do safely are outdoor things. Derek doesn’t handle the heat as well as I do. It’s just better to stay inside and stay cool.

When fall comes, there are some things on my to-do list that can be crossed off. I am looking forward to picking apples at Wheeler’s Orchard in Dunlap, Tennessee. We will also go hiking at Cloudland Canyon State Park in Dade County, Georgia.

With September also comes my birthday. We were thinking of making a lunch reservation at The Cookie Jar Café, also in Dunlap. The family owned restaurant has a large porch with seating, and, specifically for the pandemic, they also set up extra picnic tables.

There are plenty of indoor things open now, but do we really want to do any of it? Everyone wearing masks does go a long way in keeping everyone safe, but it’s better to wait it out for now.

Social Distancing Macro Photography58
Social Distancing Macro Photography51
Social Distancing Macro Photography61
Social Distancing Macro Photography42
Social Distancing Macro Photography38
Social Distancing Macro Photography62

Coronavirus and life update

So much has happened in the two weeks, and yet nothing has happened at all since I have last written. When speaking about the Coronavirus, I’ll bet that you understand what I mean.

Derek and I are both adjusting to working from home. He works upstairs in the office, while I have made a spot for myself at the dining table. We joke that this is the most use the table has gotten since we bought it about eight years ago.

I started training for my new job. It is hard to learn everything from home through video chats, but everyone has been kind and gracious. I have been assigned a mentor, and we check in with each other daily.

I am trying to keep as much of a routine as possible. Even though I am not commuting in the morning, I still get up at the same time in the morning as if I would be commuting. I take that extra time and have my first cup of tea and browse social media. I try to get up once an hour for two minutes and walk about 150 steps around the apartment, so I am not sedentary. When the weather allows, I take my lunch break out on the balcony, so I can get fresh air and sun.

It may sound silly, but I find that I am missing a daily commute to the office. Having that drive time makes for a good transition. Home is home, and work is work. It’s odd to close my work laptop at 4:45 p.m. and then be on the couch at 4:45:25.

I have been taking a lot of walks around our apartment complex, and two weekends in a row we went to the Walnut Street Bridge, and got to-go drinks from Rembrandt’s Coffee House.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, and while there were a lot of people also out, we managed to keep our distance from everyone because it is a wide bridge. Now we are not so sure that we should have done that.

A photographer with the local newspaper took a photo of everyone walking on the bridge, the same weekend we were there. The photo was published on the newspaper’s website and social media sites. A lot of people were angry, telling others to stay home in the comment section. The issue we both had with this was that the photographer used a tight shot, making everyone appear closer together.

There is a lot of gray area here. We are human beings, and we want to go outside. But now everyone is going outside, more so than usual. This makes it harder to stay safe. And some people have different definitions of safe.

As of this post, there are 1,140,327 confirmed cases in the world, and 278,568 of those are in the United States. There are 3,068 cases in Tennessee and 68 cases in Hamilton County. Eight of those have died.

Most recently, both the mayor of Chattanooga and the governor of Tennessee have executed a Stay at Home Order. We are not allowed to go anywhere except for to get groceries or to seek medical attention.

There is more gray area here and a lot of confusion. Exercise is considered an essential activity, but if we’re not allowed to drive, then can we really go to some of these parks? Some of the city parks have closed, such as Coolidge Park and the Walnut Street Bridge, but others are remaining open. I have seen some media reports that we are allowed to exercise in our neighborhood. I am choosing to think that if we have to drive to get to a place to exercise, then it’s not allowed. It’s better to err on the side of caution.

My parents visit, which was supposed to be in two weeks, is effectively cancelled. We were also planning to go to the Smoky Mountains for a week in May, and I’m assuming that is cancelled too. I received an email last week from the hotel that I had booked, and they had cancelled my reservation for me.

I have this illogical fear that the whole spring and summer is going to go by and we won’t have explored and checked off any of my “Chattanooga to-do” list, and therefore we’re not going to do any of these things ever. Something bad will happen like all of these places will close down for good, or we will have to leave Chattanooga for whatever reason, leaving us with no time. I am trying to reason with myself that this will not happen, and a lot of things can still be done in the fall, if things are back to normal then.