COVID-19 Family Hiking Social Distancing

The road less traveled

An abandoned road in our town

I really miss hiking. I keep thinking about places I’d love to go and then I remember we’re in a pandemic. Yes, gas is cheap (although the price has been going up) – we could drive to pretty much anywhere. We could pack snacks and a picnic, we do that a lot when we take road trips. But the pandemic part that keeps us close to home is, well,…. where can we go?

So I don’t mean that in the sense of our destination. I mean where can we have a rest stop?

Pre-pandemic after an hour or so in the van we’d stop somewhere like a coffee shop or fast food place, buy a drink or snack, and use the restroom. But now we’re in a pandemic. Who’s locations will be open for us to go inside? Quite a few places are still drive thru only or pick up only – so no restroom access. Are all of us going to drive for hours with no bathroom break?

So, we’re sticking local for our adventures. It seems the safest and most comfortable thing to do.

Yesterday the kids helped me unload and clean some of my equipment at my Training Center. On our way back we stopped in town and took a walk down this road. It was abandoned when Pease AFB was built. Taking a look online at the historic USGS maps the UNH Library has online ( I think this was the end of what is now Fox Run Road. I don’t know if that is the original name, but I’ve a book somewhere at home that might list it.

It was a fun walk, we only went as far as Arboretum Drive, saw some side trails, and we’ll be back to explore more on another day.

COVID-19 Family Hiking Remote Learning Social Distancing

Social Distancing Day 41

John, Sophia, and I went and hiked at Fox Point.

What a gorgeous day! We spent the morning doing yard work. Cleaned up a lot of brush and leaves. There will be a pretty good outdoor burn sometime in our near future.

We went and hiked at Fox Point this afternoon. Jacob stayed home to finish some schoolwork. His choice surprisingly, I figured he’d want to go.

Turns out John had never hiked any of the trails there. I’m really surprised, since we’ve lived in Newington now for over half of our lives and all but the first year of our marriage. We took the trail along the point and only ran into 1 other person along that trail despite all the cars we saw parked by the beach.

We had a great hike, followed it down to the beach parking lot and then walked the road back to the docks which is where we had parked.

What is bugging me though, is all the cars. Ours and one other were the only ones with resident stickers. Fox Point is posted for Residents & Guests Only. Same with the parking areas. I’m not begrudging anyone the opportunity to get fresh air and hike, but we’re really focusing on staying home. That means we have not driven to another town to hike. We’ve walked up and down our own street, we’ve been over to Fox Point, we’ve ridden our bikes in town, but that’s it. Our only trips out of our own town have been for work, necessary errands, and delivering masks and supplies for Seacoast Mask Makers. Stay at home means don’t go someplace else to do something you can do locally at home. I guess I’m just venting a bit. We’re trying to be socially distant and it’s hard sometimes.

What did you do to enjoy the day?

COVID-19 Small Business Social Distancing

Social Distancing Day 33

No picture today. I traveled to an essential business to provide a First Aid CPR AED renewal class. They don’t allow pictures in their facility as they are manufacturing and forging metal parts.

It felt so different. Traveling local to provide classes is something I do several times a month, but this was only the second time for April and we are all wearing masks and gloves and trying to stay 6 feet apart from each other. It just felt, I don’t know …. surreal? dystopian? I can’t think of the right word but I had those nervous butterflies like I did when I was first starting out. Which is odd since I’ve been an instructor for about 20 years.

College COVID-19 Family Food Road Trips Social Distancing

Social Distancing Day 31

Becca when she moved into her first apartment last September.

Wednesday I drove down to Boston to bring Becca supplies for her apartment. Most of her roommates have returned home and she’s barely leaving the apartment to stay safe and healthy.

I expected empty roads and surprisingly still hit pockets of traffic on Rtes 1 and 93. It’s like it is here at home. People are out commuting to essential jobs or just driving to get out. There were fewer pedestrians and traffic was definitely lighter when I was off the highway.

We definitely missed Becca on Easter. But we all decided it was safer for her to stay put than it was for us to go pick her up and bring her back. She’s finishing up the last of her senior work remotely, but still near school. Her graduation for April 25th has been rescheduled to August. She’ll have her graduation ceremony and then begin grad school about a week later.

We’re all hoping Becca will be able to come home to visit soon. She’ll be in this apartment for another year so we’re not planning on moving her back home. But hopefully she’ll be able to come for an extended visit soon.

COVID-19 Family Food Social Distancing

Happy Birthday Sophia!

Sophia and her birthday plant.

It’s official we now have another teenager in the house! Sophia is now 13!

It’s Social Distancing day 32 for us. She had remote learning and then a special delivery early in the afternoon. Becca is still in Boston and found a local business on Instagram, Wandering Sprouts. They do free local delivery so Becca sent Sophia a birthday plant! And of course she bought one for herself.

They’re Zamioculcas zamiifolia, Zanzibar Gem, or more easily called ZZ Plants.

The challenge with a milestone birthday like this during Social Distancing is that she could share her day with her friends. Yes, she saw them virtually, but it’s not the same as seeing them at school or at a fun event. We’ll plan something for this summer. Although when we can go out I’m sure all the fun birthday spots are going to be booked solid with everyone catching up from winter and spring birthdays that were spent at home.

We had a small family party and Sophia got to pick what we had for dinner – chicken fried steak.

COVID-19 Family Food Social Distancing

Social Distancing Day 27

Today I zested oranges.

Today was the first time I waited in line for a while to get into Market Basket. It had to happen at some point. But once I was in I was able to get what I needed and check out pretty quickly.

One of the things we’re doing more of is cooking. I’m making family dinners pretty much every night. The only nights are the few that I’m actually teaching a class, which have only been one or two. Everything is pretty much shut down except for healthcare provider classes and registrations for those are way down.

But we’re cooking and experimenting more. The picture is the oranges I was zesting. Zesting – it’s such a fun word! Too bad doing it isn’t as fun as the word is.

I printed this recipe 2 or 3 years ago and never made it. Easter Bread. It came out great! We had it after dinner. The recipe made 2 loaves.

COVID-19 Remote Learning Social Distancing

Social Distancing Day 25

I was thinking I should be better about taking pics, but I taught on location today and I’m not allowed to take pics there.

John was on Remote Learning Duty today!

Today was 1 of 2 on-site classes I have this month. I am only doing them for essential staff. Today was only 3 people for First Aid in a large training room sitting 6′ apart from each other while wearing masks and gloves. As a guest to their location I was required to wear a mask. No worries, it’s to protect all of us so I didn’t mind.

The thing I noticed in class though, I drink a lot of water. I bring a water bottle to every class and normally drink the entire thing. To drink from my water bottle I have to remove my mask. Which meant I didn’t drink a lot of water. Staying hydrated is a good way to help prevent COVID-19 so it’s a ironic that we’re wearing masks to stay safe which makes it harder to drink water when we’re outside the house. Although I suppose it’s a good thing that we’re not leaving our house or yard that much.

Today was also like a busy teaching day as I had an evening class. I only had 1 person scheduled, the other person who was registered asked to transfer to a May class. Which I totally support. Yes, I want to make a little income, but I’m happy to transfer people to May or June. Heck, my class schedule us posted into September right now.

So I get home from the first class, have a quick bit to eat, and head to my classroom.

The 1 person for my evening class was a no-show. I drove there in the pouring rain for one person and she didn’t show up. I’m a bit miffed about this. I got caught up on email while I waited in case she was late and then I went home.

Busy day, kinda boring day I suppose.

COVID-19 Remote Learning Social Distancing

Social Distancing Day 22

Sophia wanted to ride bikes. It turned into a bit of work to make it happen. Here’s what I posted on FB about it:

Sophia wants to go for a bike ride. So we dig the bikes out of shed. Tires are flat, she fills them with air. Time is spent trying to locate bike helmets. Can’t find mine, so we end up going to Walmart to buy a bike helmet. While there we get sidewalk chalk and frozen pizza. We’re also temporarily distracted by the new mess kits in the camping section, but leave that for a future non-COVID-19 shopping trip. Come home. Discover she didn’t put enough air in tires, fill tires with air. Start riding.

Less than a quarter of a mile from the house she starts saying she’s tired, this is hard. At a half mile I’m doing circles waiting for her to catch up. We go up the bike path. I stop at the end and discover she’s walking her bike. Same thing less than a quarter of a mile later. On the way back she’s suggesting an alternative route so we don’t have to go up this steep, but short incline. {sigh} There is a long downhill to get enough speed to pedal right up this hill. Just after that she manages to downshift too hard and jams the chain between the front gear and the frame. ????I can’t get it out. So now we’re walking the bikes home. And then we see one of our AMAZING neighbors who fixes her chain! Saving me from having to get out tools and take the bike apart.

We have awesome neighbors who are so nice and helpful! I’m feeling pretty pumped that out of shape me did just fine on this bike ride, better than an almost 13-year old, and I’m totally ready for the next one! ?????????

I’m ready for the next bike ride!

COVID-19 Remote Learning Road Trips Social Distancing

Social Distancing Day 21

It was a gorgeous day. I finished some masks and had an errand to do to my classroom, so I offered to do some running for Seacoast Mask Makers. It turned into an adventure. Sophia came along for the ride.

I should explain a bit about how SMM is set up. There are volunteers who have offered their homes as hubs. Hubs have bins outside or in an easy to access area where volunteers can drop off masks or supplies and pick up supplies. It’s all set us so there is no interaction or we can be Socially Distant. There are a group of volunteers who are coordinators – who coordinate supplies going to and from the hubs, or coordinate with businesses and organizations asking for masks or donating supplies. There are runners who are volunteers who pick up masks and supplies and drive them where they need to go. I’m a runner. I don’t do it every day, just when needed. A majority of volunteers are sewers. Some volunteers just wash and cut the fabric and it’s then picked up or delivered to someone who can sew it. I may have mentioned before that I am in awe at how fast this group grew and how the organizers have stayed on top of this growth to make it all work so seamlessly.

So Sophia and I went to the Dover hub to drop off our masks and pick up a bag of supplies. From there we went to a new hub opening in Exeter – dropping off the supplies for her to start the hub. We then went to my classroom in Hampton to pick up something I was going to work on at home. I got a text – can I do another run? Yes! This run took us to a hub in Hampton Falls, to drop off supplies and pick up completed masks at a volunteers home in Exeter, and then we went home since it was getting later in the afternoon and we still had things to do at home.

Waze sent us on this adventure through the back roads of Hampton, Hampton Falls, Kensington, and Exeter. We drove by farms, horses, and fishing holes. It was a nice scenic ride.

I was kinda disappointed though at a few things. The parking lot at Stratham Hill Park (we drove by it twice) was PACKED. We passed a fishing spot in Hampton that was PACKED. It’s not social distancing if everyone is at the same spot. If I had wanted to hike in Stratham and saw the lot was partially full I’d go elsewhere. Some of these amazing spots just aren’t big enough for us to pass by with 6′ of separation. I know we all want to get out, but we need to do it safely.

It was a gorgeous day, we drove with the windows rolled down and got to see some beautiful landscapes. We’re really fortunate to live where we do.

COVID-19 Remote Learning Social Distancing

Social Distancing Day 18

I rearranged my classroom to create buffer zones.

I had a class this morning. 2 participants. This is what my classroom looks like now. Since there were only 2 I had 2 tables for each of them and they swapped equipment between tables or switched tables depending up on what part of the course we were at. Their stations are about 8′-10′ apart from each other. I moved some larger tables to create a buffer between people entering the classroom, getting PPE, signing in, etc. from the student stations.

I have signs posted for my students as they enter.

  • Signs on the front window.
  • Signs on the front door listing reasons you should not enter my classroom
  • Sign on the classroom door telling you 4 steps you need to take when when you enter the classroom

I should next make signs for each step: 1. Handwashing. 2. Put on gloves. 3. Sign in on digital roster. 4. Sit at a station in the room.

I had 2 participants, both worked for healthcare travel companies. Their assignments are allowing card renewal extensions. Their travel companies are not. No card=no pay, so here they were. One drove an hour and a half to get here, the other drove two hours.

On the home front, the kids are still plugging away with Remote Learning. For the most part they have adjusted to it really well.