Lockdown Update #2

It’s been about a month and a half since my last post, but it feels like an eternity. Our perception of time has changed in that days are starting to blend together. This post is intended to just clear my mind as we continue to stay at home though our area is starting to slowly reopen.

Job Status Changes

Since my last post my wife got laid off. She already wasn’t happy in her latest role so she was somewhat relieved, although we miss her subsidized health insurance. It somewhat works out since our nanny has also been staying home. Both my wife and our nanny started getting unemployment benefits, including the federal stimulus, after a few hiccups.

My work has been moderately busy, which is good. It’s been hard to focus and I’ve had trouble keeping my annoyance with certain things under the surface. All due to the current crisis I’m sure. We’re all a little on edge.

Staying in Shape

I find that I’m searching for various ways to escape. Working out with actual gym equipment has been a blessing. I’ve been working out probably 6 days a week. For almost all my lifts, I’ve been able to bust through previous plateaus almost of which were caused by injuries. To address that I’ve started to use a weightlifting belt to protect the protruding disc in my lumbar area as well as knee sleeves to protect my knees. I’ve also been hyper focused on proper form.

For example, when I used to do deadlifts ~10 years ago before I stopped completely, I could only get to 135 lbs before my lumbar would “pop” and I would feel discomfort that would balloon into acute soreness by the next day. With improved deadlift form and abdominal bracing from the belt, I carefully went from 95 lbs in March to 225 lbs this past week. I developed an IT band strain, but then stretched and massaged it out.

My front squat has improved in that I can finally achieve a proper front rack position instead of crossing my arms. I’ve never been able to do the front rack so that’s a big achievement for me. For bench press, I’ve improved my form and the lift feels very different than before when I had a flatter back and straighter bar path. I haven’t aggressively increased the weight yet as I’m still trying to stick the form to avoid shoulder injury. Also want to improve my pull up, but that’s progressing slower than I’d like.

I feel that I’m being more thoughtful and careful in my training, leading to better results than when I was younger. Plus, YouTube instruction makes all the difference. I also love that I can just go to our garage and start working out instead of having to drive a few miles to a commercial gym then wait for equipment to free up.

Raising Our Kiddo

Our baby started standing on his own in early April and started walking two weeks later. He’s an unstoppable force now, wandering everywhere and exploring everything. He seems to be drawn to things that he knows he’s not allowed to play with like locked cabinets, plants, diaper pails, power cords, etc. He can say mama and dada when prompted, but I’m not sure if he knows what he’s saying yet. It’s great to see all this development even before he hit 10 months. I can already tell he’s mischievous and we’re starting to think about our philosophy on how to discipline him. I saw that Frugalwoods recommended the two Simplicity Parenting books by Dr. Kim John Payne, one of which deals with discipline. We had read the other one and liked it so we picked this one up too.

Kiddo still has video calls with his nanny. He was super excited at first, but I think his connection with her is starting to attenuate. We had a call today and he was engaged for a little bit but then turned to me and asked me to pick him up to do other things. Hopefully they get to spend some time together soon. I keep checking our state and county health orders to see if there’s been any changes to the official guidance.

As an aside, one of our friends have had their nanny continue to come to their house. They both work full time. It’s a risk they were willing to take, and I’ve heard of some others doing the same. Their nanny asked to go to Arizona for Easter and later it turned out she went to a service with 800 people and our friends were horrified. Their kid came down with a fever 2-3 weeks later, but I don’t know if it was coronavirus. I would have been beyond pissed. You would think an omnipotent creator who presumably created the coronavirus would understand if people skipped a ceremony in their honor, but what do I know.

It’s still been a challenge keeping up with our kiddo, but it’s getting better and he’s sleeping more.

Entertaining Ourselves

Since we have a baby under a year old, we try to refrain from watching TV and exposing him to screens while he is too young. We have been breaking that rule by allowing him to participate in video calls with family and friends.

We haven’t been watching much TV, except some after he goes to sleep. We watched Star Trek: Picard and Homeland, but that’s about it. A few weeks ago I bought a board game called Ticket to Ride and my wife has gotten really into it. Our son hates it because we’ll ignore him for a few minutes at a time when we do play and he’s obviously too short to see the tabletop. He’s been getting his revenge by ripping off the tags underneath our dining room chairs as we play. I also bought Carcassonne but we haven’t played yet.

I’m going to venture out next week and play a round of golf. There’s a nice course I’ve been meaning to play and I found a great deal online. It’ll be my birthday round this year.

Other Ancillary Effects from the Shutdown

Amidst the stay-at-home order, I’ve noticed a few things with myself. I’ve had a hard time sleeping for the past ten years. Several times I’ve thought I had it under control, but then it would come back. I have a pseudo-science explanation for my inability to sleep. I get pressure in my ears and sinuses that basically blocks my chi from circulating in my system. When I’m unable to sleep, I can feel an acute pressure in my head and pressing on it feels tender/painful. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with more breathing exercises and body scan meditation techniques and it’s helped and confirmed my suspicions about my pressure theory. I’ve slept really well the last few weeks, which is the longest I’ve gone with good sleep. Having dreams again too. And it had nothing to do with my pillow or mattress. I hope it stays this way.

***

I hope everyone reading this is taking care of themselves physically and mentally and staying safe. Hopefully this is all a distant memory in the near future.

 

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