Journal of a Pandemic Year: Part Fifteen

Not a bad spot to hold virtual office hours!

Dear Readers,

My fall virtual semester started on Monday, August 31st, so I now have more to occupy my times. I spent time loading everything for the whole semester, so once it starts, it is a matter of holding virtual office hours, responding to emails/questions, and grading. Not a whole lot different than a regular semester, just without the face to face contact hours. Our classes are asynchronous, meaning the students log in on their own schedules to complete the weekly lessons. There is not a set time that they have to be in front of the computer. This is an easier way for students, particularly those working full time or with families (like many community college students) to stay in school despite The Rona.

As I mentioned in my last entry, Hurricane Laura made landfall to our east and so we were spared any damaging winds or storm surge. My wife had come home from where she was living to be here in case the storm hit and to help with storm preparations. We decided that it would be best for her to just go ahead and stay here and not move back out. Is it risky? Yes, it is. But life is short and we’ve spent enough time apart in our marriage. I’m infinitely happier with her being here, that I can tell you. I did fairly well while she was gone. Physically, that is. If you follow this blog or if you follow me on social media, then you know the challenges I face and also how I feel about my wife. Ours is a love story straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel, though I don’t know if that is necessarily a good thing. Let’s just say that we’ve been through a lot together. Or maybe I should say that I’ve put her through a lot. This is why our song is Far Away by Nickelback. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the video I made for her for Christmas.

Speaking of songs, I bought a new karaoke machine in early August. It helps with the cigarette cravings. That may sound odd, but it actually works…singing instead of smoking. Glen Campbell I ain’t, but here is a video of me singing Galveston. Twenty years of eating smoke (both as a firefighter and a lover of Nic O’Tine) shredded my voice, but there’s still a few songs I can do. We are thinking about having a karaoke party for the students at the college whenever we resume normal operations (either in January or possibly next August). Having fun at work is an essential ingredient of being happy in your job. I just wish that more people realized that it is okay to have fun at work.

My buddy Paul!

I’ve made a new friend during the pandemic. For several months now, I have a nightly visitor. I call him Paul the Possum. He stops by each night around 8:30pm to eat some cat food. He’s gotten fairly comfortable around me. Him being a wild animal and all, I don’t try to touch him, but he will come and sit under my chair or between my feet. He is friends with the feral cat that I take care of too. With everything going on in the world, it doesn’t feel like I’ve truly started back to school for a new semester. Nor does it feel like the summer is over, though to be fair, this whole quarantine period has passed (at least for me) with lightning speed. I imagine this is due to all the crap we had to deal with house-wise in April and May.

Last but not least, the NFL will be starting in a few days! Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints!

Until next time, friends, take care of yourselves, and each other.

L.H.

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