Day 8 – Work from Home With Kids At Home, Oral Surgery of Mesiodens

Family, Lifestyle, Money

(Reader’s note: I count by business days & don’t count my weekends, so Day 8 is Wednesday March 25, 2020. I’ve been WFH since Monday 3/16/2020)

Before going to bed yesterday night:

“Mom? What are burdens?”

“Burdens are problems you carry on your shoulders”

Yesterday morning after feeding my girls their breakfast, I went to my bedroom, closed the door and called my mom to vent and cry for 5-10 minutes. I was in fear in how this illness is serious enough to shut everything down, including school. I hadn’t taken the girls to daycare since the 16th but yesterday, the daycare announced they would be closing this Friday, March 27th. I was still getting over the shock that school would be closed until May 1st. Talking to my mom helped.

Vivian had an oral surgery scheduled for today that we made in January 2020. She had a mesiodens that needed to be extracted because it was impacting her permanent front tooth from growing in. No idea back then how COVID-19 could possibly affect her procedure. A week out from surgery, it was just waiting to see what changed day to day until Monday. Would the office would be shut down?

The office called me on Monday; I could proceed as scheduled; they would submit an appeal to the surgical board explaining the extraction must be done Wednesday given her age & possible problems if it got delayed…or I could move it to end of May. May??? I’m working, yet I have no idea where I’d be with my job by then. The amount of layoffs across all industries has been insane and heartbreaking. Get this extra tooth out while we still have dental insurance! The procedure was $375. Without insurance it would have been $1600.

One of the reasons for the long wait between January consult and March procedure is that the oral surgeon works in conjunction with a pediatric anesthesiologist when they are dealing with very young patients for extractions. The pediatric anesthesiologists go to several oral surgery offices in the area so the soonest the anesthesiologist could come to this office was today. It required removal of her front baby tooth, then extracting the mesiodens. Vivi also had a wiggly bottom tooth and to my surprise she wanted it removed too.

The procedure went well, thank goodness. For a bit she thought she was ugly not because she had no front teeth but because she could see the stitches and her gums were a bit purple. The rest of day we let her have it easy and let her watch iPad non-stop. Super adorable with her toothless grin. She’s very excited to turn in 3 teeth to the Tooth Fairy.

Day 6 – Work From Home With Kids at Home for 4 More Weeks

Career, Family, Lifestyle

Saturday: no ballet for the girls. Out of vanity I went to get my nails filled as the salon is closing for two weeks. Salon was very good at spraying door handles and constantly washing hands. I anticipate I’ll need to learn how to file my acrylic nails down within 2-3 weeks, not sure if the salon will remain open for a while. We have most of our necessities at home, yet I wanted to buy another gallon of bleach for good measure. Couldn’t find any at Smith’s or at Anaya’s market, a Latino market. Later that night, I did curbside order for sushi for me and Dave.

Sunday was low key. We did not have Sacrament Meeting, we partook of the Sacrament as a family at home for the first time. Would have loved to have taken a picture, but I do not take pictures of sacred things. Glad we could have this in our home. My sister Claudia came over to take Sacrament and also help me to make dinner – milanesas. It is a happy dish. I think all Latin dishes are happy so I’ve been cooking more Latin food lately. It was good to talk to her.

Today was pretty busy as I took PTO last Thursday & Friday, which was much needed and well worth it. I’m training a colleague on a daily process for business continuity purposes through our computer screens, not side by side at our desks. Training virtually is possible when there are clear step by step procedures. Procedures should not be high level, procedures need to be detailed enough that a person who’s never seen or done the procedure could do it in one shot. Glad I got great feedback about my procedures. That made my morning at work. A little nervous on one process I’m learning that I have to get down by next week.

We are still getting aftershocks from the earthquake. I am just glad I am home with my girls next to me when this happens. Dave is helping me figure out how to use two monitors to connect with my laptop so that my workload will go easier, instead of doing everything on a tiny laptop.

Social distancing has made me crave more social media. Learning to use Instagram and being more vocal on LinkedIn. Using Twitter to get instant news updates. Instagram truly is an escape of happy pictures and positive quotes.

Each day is getting more nerve wracking with the spread of this illness. An elementary school near us in our city got shut down today due to possible COVID-19 exposure. My in-laws mission call has been delayed. As I was wrapping up my workday, I got notice from the school district that distance learning will extend through May 1st. Next week I’ll be preparing for month-end close and quarter-end reporting, perhaps one of the busiest times at work with one colleague leaving at the end of this week for a new opportunity.

I agree it is not an ideal schedule but I rather deal with that than lying in bed unable to breathe. That is what scares me the most.

Day 2 Work From Home COVID-19 Recap

Career, Family, Productivity

Same routine as yesterday only that I stayed logged on 1 hour longer, 6:30am-5pm. Girls started eating breakfast at 8am, they did some activities, watched YouTube, and then we went over to the school to pick up lunch at 11am.

The school breakfast and lunch is federally funded during periods of national emergency and available to all schoolchildren for free. One of my biggest worries as a working parent needing to stay home during COVID-19 was how to make sure my kids get a good lunch without taking more time away from work during the lunch hour. School lunch solves that. Huge time saver for mom, healthy for kids, and everyone’s happy for the rest of the afternoon. When kids are fed, they don’t get in bad moods and disrupt you while working. Go to your school district’s website to find out more about this program during school dismissal.

5:30pm I had personal trainer come over. Generally on Tuesday’s he comes at 6:30pm but being home this week, I asked him to come one hour earlier. I’ve been working with my trainer for over a year, I only exercise 2x week for 30 minutes on Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings. The workouts are intense so sometimes I’m done in 15 minutes. I honestly don’t have time to exercise more than that per week as a working parent. My trainer over the time we’ve been working together, has shown how we can get effective workouts in the comfort of our own homes without needing to go to the gym. It’s also a huge time saver, not needing to get dressed, haul kids in car and then go to the gym. More info on personal training here https://www.thumbtack.com/ut/salt-lake-city/personal-trainers/lionstrong-fitness-llc-salt-lake-city-trainer/service/272584301285934328

I stayed online a bit longer going over some written procedures to train a colleague in the next few days and it has to be done online instead of at the office.

I am a huge advocate of detailed, step by step written procedures. Procedures are very important for audit and business continuity purposes. Most workplaces, you sit and watch someone prepare a process but often that is not effective, especially during times like this where people have to stay home, or worse quarantined and can’t make it to work at all for 2 weeks. 2 weeks is half of the work month!

Having step by step procedures may seem redundant and I would say a lot of people hate writing them. I cannot emphasize enough about having good written procedures, especially in a pandemic where things must be completed regardless. Please have procedures for crucial tasks because you don’t know if you will have half of your team show up or not. Good writing with good screen shots please. Your procedures need to ensure no steps are missed and that a person can successfully complete the task on their own even without having done the procedure before. Procedures should be reviewed annually and when someone new is working on the procedure.

Anyhow, that’s all what I have on my mind today. Think about business continuity during COVID-19 at your jobs.

Day 1 Work From Home COVID-19 Recap

Career, Family, Productivity

I chose to wake up at normal time at 6am but login to work around 6:30am. No need to style makeup, pick out an outfit, wake up the girls, get them ready, dressed and out the door before 8am. This allowed me to get some key things out of the way with work before the girls woke up around 7:15am.

I had originally planned to drop them off at daycare but yesterday night changed my mind. We really need to avoid being in groups of 10-20 people to combat the spread of coronavirus, and reduce our chances for the need to be quarantined.

I’m glad I work at an employer where we are allowed to work from home. I figured it is better to have the kids home with me even with some interruptions to my work day rather than risk being contagious and not being able to work at all.

Dave left house at 7:30am, no orders yet from his work to work from home. He got the girls to start watching the movie Frozen, which allowed me to wrap up what I was doing between 6:30 & 8:00am and then prepare their breakfast. Breakfast lasted about 8:20am.

Girls finished watching the movie and encouraged them to draw/paint. Kept working on laptop through this time.

Today was the last day of the chocolate bar fundraiser at school and needed to go to the school with the girls at 11am to give the money to the PTA. When we arrived at the school, they offered free hot lunch to take home and it was available to all children. It was also good to step out of the house for a small bit.

The grab and go lunch was a huge convenience for me as a working parent, and encourage other moms to go to the school to grab a lunch for their kids if offered, things can get so busy between lunch hour and work. I’m used to making breakfast in the morning for the kids but making a lunch at home during the weekday was new for my routine. Girls had lunch around 11:30am at home and then went outside to play for about 40-60 minutes. My plan during school dismissal is to show up right at 11am before the crowds show up to grab their lunch to take home. My favorite part of the day today was sitting at table with them for lunch.

Because the girls were very well behaved and ate all of their lunch, I told them they could watch iPad after they had enough of playing outside in the back yard. They also played indoors with their toys.

At 4pm I decided to call it a day with work. I think that is the plan I will have when I’m work from home during the period of social distancing. Work from 6:30am-4pm with the breaks needed to feed girls and grab their lunch.

4pm-8:30pm was great. I was able to work on getting the house cleaned and do more laundry. Girls spent some time in the tub and had dinner around 6:30-7pm, roughly the time that Dave came home. Typically on a normal weekday, I arrive at work at 8:30am and we are not home until 6-6:30pm. Dave joked the house was actually clean lol. Yes I want it to be tidy as much as possible.

I thought I was going to be more frazzled today managing work and managing parenting at home but I was actually more relaxed, particularly in the afternoon. Usually by early evening, I’m exhausted, I guess the commute makes me tired that way. Nice to take a break from commuting.

Dave went to the grocery store to grab some things. Store was literally empty. No pasta and no meat or poultry. We do have some things we can prepare but will have to go back and check. Each day, more things are shutting down, and more restrictions imposed.

Tomorrow I will take more notes of my routine and the girls’ routine to see what’s working and what can move around. Girls are requesting activities. I usually obtain a paper print out online via Preschool Pioneer-UEN (https://preschool.uen.org/), very helpful, and UEN has several activity plans to look at. More convenient than looking at Pinterest for activities.

Girls were so happy I could stay home. Social distancing is a rare opportunity to be with them.

How was your day like at home with the kids? What have you planned for your time at home with them and with work during the period of social distancing?

Planning Your Life During a Pandemic

Career, Family, Organization, Productivity

Pandemic or not, many interruptions and demands will arise and you have to be able to reset priorities when change happens.

Plans are still good to have because it allows you to remain focused on the most important things and know where to reset a few things around. If you’re not able to revise as interruptions come about then your planning will not be effective. Planning allows you to prevent things from slipping even when big changes happen.

Many interruptions will arise anyway, you have to review and reset plans as changes occur.

The biggest change in my plans as well as for everyone else affected by COVID-19 is staying home during times I did not anticipate to be home. My weekend is starting to look different because ballet is cancelled as well as church meetings. Starting next Monday, my schedule and routine will be different too.

My Pandemic Planning

(1) Daycare. Daycare will remain open. My kids do not have a set routine at home between 8-6pm M-F so my plan is to bring them to daycare where they do have a routine. I won’t bring kids to daycare if they’re sick though.

(2) Kids’ school. So much conflicting information on the news about school closures. I went and reviewed school district website about their plan. Preschool is cancelled but kindergarten and above is not closed, only dismissed. School will move to online distance learning format. I will find out next week about checking out a Chromebook from the school and then decide whether my oldest should be in daycare during the school hour. My main priority is ensuring my kindergartener can get her schoolwork done with minimal interruption.

(3) Work. After figuring the plans with school and daycare, I was able to relax about work. Work updates related to COVID-19 changed by the hour this week. By end of day Thursday, they asked us to work from home at least through end of March. I was really glad I tackled some big items before switching to work from home (thanks to planning ahead!!!). Sometimes it is quicker to have two monitors at the office instead of one little laptop at home to work on spreadsheets. Remember to get the big rocks outta the way first whether the routine is eventful or not.

Most important area of focus is morning routine* during weekdays. I am planning to get up at the normal time and get girls to daycare like I would pre-pandemic. There will be discretionary time because the commute will be much shorter and not need to dress as if I’m going to the office.

Looking forward to temporary evening routine*. I should be able to get the kids earlier back home than I would normally, between 4:30-5pm instead of 5:30-6pm. Hoping I can get them to bed early! Also want to plan at least one weeknight meal early next week.

That’s what I have so far! What plans you got now with everything closing and cancelling?

*Note on morning & evening routines: they are 2 hour crucial time blocks between the hours of 6am-8am and 6pm-8pm Mondays through Fridays. More on that in another post.

President’s Day Recap

Family, Lifestyle, Productivity

On Sunday, Vivi already started to plan on what to do for our day off together

  • Breakfast
  • Park
  • Lunch
  • Play
  • Go Home
My kiddo getting into the habit of planning!

And we did just that yesterday, President’s Day 2020!

The girls

It was a well-needed break from the hectic routine of girls in daycare and school and me away at work.

I asked Vivi before bed about what was her favorite part of the day.

“Spending time with you!” Aw, why thank you. 🙂