Marfa Meanderthal: Shelter-in-place perks

So here we are, all sheltered –– or is it just trapped at home? Either way, you can look at the problems it presents or at some of the benefits such a situation offers. Who is going to care (or even know) if you just decide to wear your pajamas all day? Maybe you’ll decide not to shave for a week; who is going to complain (besides your wife)? And ladies, will it make any real big difference if you decide to let your face have a vacation from makeup? After all, nobody’s likely to drop by to visit. You feel like sleeping in an extra hour? Want to eat a meal at three in the afternoon –– or morning? This is your chance. Now you have time to spoil yourself a little. And to spoil your mate. And have a little family home fun!

Kids, this is your golden opportunity! Want a little chuckle? How about this: your parents have been grounded! No going out to play, no partying with friends, no just hanging out in the park or at DQ or somewhere; just staying at home for days with nobody but family! Haven’t you at least once wished it upon them? They’re not sick, and they’re stuck at home! Believe me, they are getting just as bored as you are. So let’s invent some fun for everyone. Mom still has housework and cooking and stuff, and Dad can putter about in the yard or garage, and you still have your schoolwork. Maybe you could experiment with some trading. Can you cook? It might be time to learn. Let Dad do some dishes and make the beds for a couple of days. Mom could read your lesson in math or history and then explain it to you. (But you’d better read it yourself, too, just to make sure she got it right.) Does anybody in your family play dominoes? It’s a neat game, and it does wonders for math skills. Get them to play with you! And then surprise them with a few unexpected favors; their gratitude can be sooo useful and so much fun.

As for the frustrations that are bound to arise from this enforced lifestyle modification, my advice is, “Write them down.” Then every few days, let everybody read each other’s lists. You’d be surprised how much better it can make you feel. Nobody has to do anything about any of it, just knowing, and knowing that they all know, is enough. Also, don’t just settle for regular, already established games; make up some of your own. Word games are fun. Have you ever had a specific word declared “prohibited” for an entire afternoon? For example, while talking to one another, ban the word “work” until dark. Whatever you do and whatever you say, don’t say “work.” I’d be willing to bet that the first person to say that word will be a parent.

Students may find it difficult to suddenly switch their learning and study routines from classroom to online or home. It can feel scary, I know. I did it, and I found chemistry in particular to be hard. Therefore, I have established an email account just to give help to anyone who needs it. Just send your questions to Ellen at [email protected] I will either answer you by email or call you on the telephone, whichever you choose. I’m not too good at math beyond algebra and geometry, however I can consult my tutor who got me through statistics online. But I do understand a lot of other subjects, and I really care about the students of Marfa ISD. Anything discussed will be kept strictly confidential. And you don’t have to be a student; parents are encouraged to contact me with questions regarding homeschooling problems too. I haven’t forgotten the joy and tears of having my own son being out of the classroom but still having to keep up with his studies. If I can do this, anyone can, I promise. And of course there is no charge.

Finally, when it starts to seem like overkill to follow all of these social distancing and isolation-type rules, remember how far it is to a city. In our THREE county area, we have only ONE hospital, with only TWENTY-FIVE beds and TWO ventilators. It takes a couple of hours to be transferred to a major facility. We can’t afford to deal with the problems that New York and Los Angeles are facing. Stay home and stay well!