Some days are longer than other days.
When I woke up this morning my first thought was to see if my left leg still worked, as sometime in the middle of the night it woke me up with a cramp and even though I got it to stop doing that the fact is that once that happens you are just going to spend the rest of the day feeling like you just got over a leg cramp and wondering if the next time you so much as bump your leg against the back of your chair it will cause your entire body to turn into one giant cramp and then won’t you regret everything about your life up to and including that one memory from fourth grade that won’t go away no matter how much you drink.
The leg still worked fine, so I figured I was good.
I had some administrative things to take care of for my advising job when I got in – mostly a course-transfer project that all of us advisors are working on – and then I was going to host a question and answer session for my remote US1 students, who have their final on Friday. Assuming that went well, my next task would be to pick up Oliver and bring him home from Small Liberal Arts College.
And then things got complicated.
Lauren texted pretty early in the day to say that she was not feeling well at all, and after a pile of texts and at least one actual phone call we determined that she needed to take a cab to the urgent care at the hospital near Main Campus University to see if she had the flu or COVID. Like all of us she’s been vaccinated, but that’s no guarantee these days – it helps and it will likely make it less dangerous, but breakthrough infections do happen.
My question and answer session was nearly thwarted by two different university-wide tech outages happening within minutes of each other for specific systems. I got it to work, but nobody showed up anyway. It was optional, which I guess is studentese for "don't bother," but still.
Meanwhile the weather report for southern Wisconsin and points west was blinking red with predictions of howling gale-force winds, with sustained gusts of 50-60mph and temperatures in the low-to-mid 70s F in the middle of December. There were mentions of severe thunderstorms, possible tornadoes, and low-flying Kansas farmhouses, and the later the day went on the worse that looked so I moved my Oliver-fetching plans ahead a bit.
Eventually Lauren reported that yes indeed, she had tested positive. So Kim went up to get her while I headed out to SLAC to pick up Oliver. Kim took the van so she could put some space between her and Lauren (social distancing, people!) which meant I was driving my little car through the winds – less profile for the wind to grab than the van, but also less mass to anchor me to the roadway. We made it back to Our Little Town, but it was a … fascinating … drive.
By that point Lauren was safely home and in her room, where she will likely remain until Christmas. We’re not going to visit my uncle’s side of the family down south this year, which is sad but so it goes. I will be working from home for the next week or so, and I can live with that.
I dropped Oliver off, picked up the grocery list, and went shopping for food to last through quarantine. I didn’t get back home until nearly 9:30.
But we have plenty of food. We’re all together, snug and warm in our home while the winds howl outside. Anything that isn’t nailed down out there is going to be miles away by morning. The temperatures are falling and it will be winter again tomorrow. But we’ll be here.
It was quite a day.