Stuck Home – Now What?

This week, I was fascinated at the simulations posted by the Washington Post on how a virus (coronavirus or the flu for that matter) are spread.  You can see them here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/

The coronavirus is everywhere.  Schools are closed.  Casinos are closed.  Churches are streaming services online.  Restaurants and bars are closing.  College commencement ceremonies are being cancelled.  The CDC is warning to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people.  We are being told to “flatten the curve” and “stay home.”  Sure we have the internet, video games, and Netflix, but eventually, boredom will set in.

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I saw something on Facebook this week that read:

“Just thing of all the sit down family dinners that will be happening across America because of this inconvenience.  Practices, meetings, and more – cancelled.  So many people say they’re ‘so busy’ and now have been forced to slow down.  Here’s your moment.  Use it wisely.  Be intentional.  Stay home.  Clean a closet.  Paint a room.  Spend time just sitting and talking.”

There is a lot of truth to that!  I am guilty of complaining about not having enough time to do things.  On my days off, I don’t relax – I am out trying to accomplish things I don’t have time for during the week.  Things get in the way.  I get busy – too busy to focus on what really is important.  Is work so important that it should take away from time with our family – sorry, bosses, it is not.  The structure of the family is hurting, because “family time” is becoming less and less.

“Me time” is also dwindling.  You hear all the time how important it is to unplug, and recharge.  My doctor says how important it is to find time to do something I enjoy once a week, even if it is only for an hour.  The problem is finding that time in a schedule that is already full with other obligations.

Let’s be honest, if I was forced to stay home because my work shut down, I would be freaking out.  No work = no money.  I have financial obligations.  We have cars and a home to pay for.  We have groceries to buy.  We have a baby to feed.  I have child support to pay to be sure my sons are ok.  We have the usually monthly bills to pay.  My wife is already off work and not being paid, so this potential “stay-cation” can really put me in a state of chaos.  I hope it doesn’t happen, but I also 1) don’t want to get sick and 2) get others sick. Whether it happens or not, I have to consider that is a possibility.

So, as I read that quote from Facebook, I began to think about the things I might actually get the chance to do if I was told to stay home for a few weeks. It was quite easy to make the list.  Some things are chores or projects I have put off for some time and others are more family/me oriented.  Here is a list that I just started jotting down. If you get bored while at home, maybe you can steal some of my items or be inspired to create your own list.

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What To Do While on My Forced Stay-Cation

  1. READ. (The stack of “to-read” books at my house is HUGE).
  2. Put the clear coat up on the shiplap in the kitchen.
  3. Exercise.  (I never have time for this.  “Make time” people say.  Ok, I will have some now.)
  4. Purge.  (Old clothes, shoes, papers, etc.)
  5. Watch movies.  (My dad always seems to hand my a bag with DVD’s.  I have many of them on a shelf or in a box.  What a great opportunity to watch them!)
  6. Call an old friend. (“I’ll call you” we often say, and then life takes over.  Why not take the time to catch up?)
  7. Scan pictures. (I have a bunch that I have been meaning to scan for some time.)
  8. Organize my digital music.  (I have many CDs that I want to transfer to digital.  I also have a hard drive with a variety of random folders and songs.  Some songs, I will never play, so I should just delete them)
  9. Organize my computer files.  (So many folders – so little time)
  10. Go through old radio bits. (I have a hard drive of some of my best bits with my old morning show partner.  I keep telling her I will send them to her.  Maybe with the extra time, I can get this done.)
  11. Patch walls and paint. (Long overdue)
  12. Clean the basement. (Another project that is long overdue)
  13. Yard work (weather permitting)
  14. Clean the garage.
  15. Organize Blog Ideas (Lots of random “thoughts” and “scribbles” in my “To-Blog” Journal.
  16. Board Games.  (Family time – lots of laughs)
  17. Inventory.  (Make a list of valuables and such – just in case)
  18. Clean out my e-mailbox.  (Who knew that some of those things you thought you’d want to read, would end up being something that you never get around to?)
  19. Print out some of my blogs.  (I want to start making a “book” for my kids.  Many of these blogs will serve as “chapters”.)
  20. Sleep. (With a newborn, you gotta take advantage of as much sleep as you can!)
  21. Organize cupboards.  (My wife will oversee this – she is better at it than me)
  22. Create the Bucket List.  (I sorta have one.  I just have never written it down.)
  23. Write letters to my children. (Not sure where I saw this before, but I think this is something I would like to do once a year.  Eventually, they will get to read them and hopefully treasure them.)
  24. Learn a language.  (Yeah, I have been saying that for some time.  If I have a few weeks, maybe I can actually do it!)
  25. Unplug.  (No phones.  No TV.  No Internet.  Just sit and talk with my family.)
  26. (a) Take Pictures of Ella. (Cause a new daddy can never have enough pictures of his baby girl.) (b) Take pictures of the boys. (Cause they are growing up too fast!) (c) Take pictures of my wife (Because she is beautiful and I love her)
  27. Sort pictures and put them all in one place to print out (My phone had a gazillion pictures.  I need to send them to Walmart or wherever to print out hard copies)

So, how about you?  What are you planning to do with the gift of some extra time?  I would love to know what makes your list.

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New Year’s Resolutions

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It’s that time again …

Every year around this time I have a joke that I recycle when I am on the radio.  Basically, I say that I am going to make some New Years Resolutions I can actually keep.  I then proceed to list how I am (1) going to gain 20-30 pounds (2) live paycheck to paycheck (3) procrastinate more and (4) personally bring back Disco.  The last one usually changes from year to year, but disco is what I used on the air this year.

In all seriousness, a recent study shows that most New Year’s Resolutions are broken by January 12th.  Wow, only 12 days!  I guess I can see that, especially if the resolutions are biggies.  I have learned that it is important to keep resolutions easy and attainable.  While I would love to lose about 100 pounds, I’ll be happy if I lose 20.

I do have some resolutions that I am planning to put in place for the new year and I think that many of them are reasonably attainable.  Some say that you should only make a few resolutions, but I have made a list of many.  I figure with a lot of them, if I achieve a couple, that’s a win!

I Resolve

  • Make More Lists.  Hey, look at that!  I am already starting on my resolutions and it’s not even 2019!  I have found that I am forgetting things. I used to make fun of people who made lists, but I now realize that those lists can help.
  • Walk More. I am not sure why I don’t do this more.  Maybe it’s because I work midnights and am tired all the time.  I don’t know.  I love to walk.  I just need to do it more.  Time to make time.
  • Exercise/Be Active.  Ok, technically, this goes with “walk more”.  I’m hoping that walking more will lead me to this one.  We’ve been debating getting a gym membership for a long time.  Perhaps we just need to make it happen.
  • Make More Coffee at Home.  I probably spend way too much on coffee from Tim Horton’s.  We recently bought some awesome cups that keep coffee hot for hours.  Making coffee is really a no brainer.  It saves money and it’s always made right (nothing worse that ordering coffee from a drive thru and it is burnt or lukewarm).  My sons bought me two bags of my favorite coffee from Coffee Beanery, so I should be set for a bit.
  • Make More Meals at Home. This goes hand in hand with the above resolution.  We recently got one of those Instant Pots.  So far, we love it!  We made some amazing Potato Soup and chicken and dumplings in it already.  I see this as being extremely helpful in making foods for us to bring to work for lunch/dinner.  Again, it will also help us save money. It will also help cut out fast food.
  • Date Nights With My Wife. My wife is pretty damn amazing.  I love spending time with her and I resolve for more date nights.  Many date nights can consist of dinner or going out, but we have also enjoyed home cooked meals and time together on the couch watching movies.  I am going to make it a point of pampering her regularly in the new year.
  • More Family Time. This kind of goes with the last item, except this is more geared toward my sons, my dad, and my brother.  I have been meaning to take my sons out to learn how to golf.  My dad did that with me, and I think they might enjoy it.  I also want to throw the ball around more with them.  My dad lives an hour away, and I am resolving to do more visits to see him, whether it is just my wife and I, or with the boys.  I am also hoping to make a jaunt down to see my brother, who lives in that state with the very bland landscape – Ohio.
  • Drink More Water.  Ok, I am not stupid.  I know how drinking water helps with weight loss, blood pressure, and healthy living in general.  I, however, always seem to drink coffee…because I work midnights!  Well, I am making it a point in the new year to drink more water.  Along with that, I will plan on more visits to the bathroom to pee.
  • Read a Book a Month.  I absolutely LOVE to read!  I read a variety of genres.  I love biographies, mysteries, and historical stuff.  I have a stack of books at home that I have been meaning to read, and I am hoping to read all of them before the year is up.  This is one resolution I hope to over shoot.  I would love to read two or three books a month, if I can.  My wife and my boys got me some great books for Christmas that will probably jump to the top of the “to read” stack.
  • Give a Compliment a Day.  I know I am always glad when someone offers me a compliment.  Recently, I did a bit about Stan Lee on the radio.  My boss texted me and said how much he liked it.  The next day, one of the other jocks from another station in the building said that she had heard another bit I did on the air and said how much she was impressed by it.  Getting a compliment makes you feel good – so why not give them out often?  I plan on being generous with compliments in the new year.
  • Book a Trip. My wife and I will be celebrating one year of marriage in March.  We’re not sure where we’re going yet, but have some destinations in mind.  An anniversary trip will be booked soon!
  • Say “No” More. Very often we are pulled in many directions.  We often feel that it is necessary to agree to something, even though we really don’t want to do it.  We commit to things to make others happy and by doing so we sacrifice things that are important to us.  It’s ok to say “no”, and I plan on doing it a bit more this year.
  • Get More Sleep.  This, in itself, is a huge challenge.  With the time off over the holidays, my body has been very happy to get a decent amount of sleep.  I am really hoping to keep up that momentum and continue to get at least 6 hours every night.  This is not always easy, but I know all too well the importance of a good night’s sleep.  I work as a sleep technologist and we are forever telling patients the importance of sleep.  Time to practice what I preach.
  • Listen More/Complain Less.  Not really sure why I bunched these two together, but I did.  As I stated in a previous blog, we often don’t really listen to what people are saying to us because we are already formulating our response while they are still talking.  I am really going to try my best to listen more.  I am also very quick to complain about certain things.  Rather than complain, I am going to find the positives and focus on them.
  • Get Organized.  You know what is sad?  I actually think I am organized…..until I need to find something.  My wife will often make fun of me because I tend to sort things in “piles”.   The “to do pile”, the “to call” pile, the “not sure what to do with” pile, and so on.  I’m not sure how to do this….but I hope to figure it out within the next 12 months and am open to suggestions.
  • Expand My Vocabulary.  My friend, Johnny, gets an email with a “word of the day”.  I know there are also calendars with a “new word everyday” you can buy.  I might have to look for one.  Learning new words is just one of the things I miss about elementary school.  I always enjoyed getting a list of words and learning them.  I used to “show off” by using those new words in front of relatives!  I still try to use the word “kibitz” at least once a week!
  • Limit Phone Time.  Let’s face it, we are glued to our cell phones!  I need to remind myself that there is more to life than Memes on Facebook.  When I am home with my wife or with my kids, I am really going to try to put the phone down so that I can enjoy time with them.
  • Show My Gratitude.  “Thank You” are two words that cannot be said enough. Sadly, there are many who neglect to say them when they should.  I resolve to express my gratitude to those who help me, those who do something for me, or those who just offer a compliment or advice.  A friend of mine has what she calls a “gratitude journal”.  Every night, she writes something she is thankful for.  She then reviews it at the end of each month.  What a cool idea!  Might be interesting to actually see all the things in your life that you are grateful for on a regular basis.
  • Make “Me” Time.  A few years ago, I realized that I could not improve the other things in my life, until I started to improve “me”.  How can you make others happy when you yourself are not happy?  Finding time for yourself is such an important and overlooked thing!  Maybe that “me” time is reading a book, watching cat videos on YouTube, or cutting the grass.  Whatever it is, finding some moments for yourself is beneficial for everyone.  I will be sure to set aside “me” time often in the new year.
  • “Making a Decision on School”.  My wife basically gave me an ultimatum recently.  I have been going back and forth as to whether or not to go back to school.  This is probably the most daunting thing on my “to do” list.  It is such a big question mark!  There are so many things to consider.  I need to figure this out….and I will.
  • “Write More”.  Through the encouragement of others, I have found writing to be one of my favorite things.  My brother got me a book with creative writing topics, some of which will be future blogs.  While many blogs I write are personal, I also like to write about movies, music, and other things.  I have a feeling much of the “me” time I will have, will be spent writing.

So there they are.  That’s some list, huh?  Maybe I’ll be able to accomplish more than one of these things in 2019.  Maybe you will find something on my list to add to your list of resolutions?  I hope so.

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Now, if you can do me a favor and every once in a while ask how I am doing on my list … I’d appreciate it!

Wishing you much success and all the best in 2019!

Keith