Oooh, the excitement in blogland today! Tom Gowans from A Hippo On the Lawn has resurfaced after going missing almost 5 years ago (with only one short cryptic post in 2018 that left many of us wondering if it was even him at all). After posting a video this morning that had everyone abuzz over whether he had really returned or not, he followed up with a current picture and a quick note to confirm that yes, indeed, he's alive and well! I sincerely hope he begins to post regularly again. We've all missed reading about his wild adventures in faraway Angola. Please don't ghost us again, Tom! :)
It's hot as hell here this week. Far, far too hot for the beginning of September. The heat index when I left work at 4pm was hovering around 104 degrees. It's so swampy that sometimes it almost takes your breath when you first step outdoors. Getting in the car is like sitting down in a furnace. Wearing a mask for 8+ hours a day means that my face sweats constantly even inside the air conditioned building. Speaking of face masks, we got new ones with our school logo on it the first day back:
The district is very serious about everyone wearing masks. We also have these temperature monitoring devices set up in the lobby that all staff have to pass through in the morning. You stand in front of it (it looks like a large camera up on a tripod) and it does a body scan and displays your temperature. Anything more than a point over normal body temperature requires a trip to the nurse's office. The health room has had a super sophisticated UV light sterilizer/filter installed in the ceiling, there's plenty of PPE for everyone, and there's an isolation room set up in case a student or staff member has a temperature and needs to wait for a ride home. With the students split into two cohorts and having virtual instruction every other day, as well as parents having the option to do virtual learning only, the class rooms will not have over 12 students at one time. In a normal year we have almost 1000 students every day; in the time of Covid there won't be over about 180 physically present in any given day.
Will it be enough to keep us all safe? Who knows. A mother called today and asked about picking up her son's in-person schedule....getting to the school is a problem for her because she's sick with Covid....and it sounds like her son is coming to school next week! How are we to know if they've taken all the precautions at home that are needed to keep her son from being a carrier? We can't. There's all these gray areas, and it's truthfully very worrying. But I feel like the district is doing an outstanding job controlling what's within their power to do, and I feel as safe as I'm going to. We'll just have to see how things go. The teachers are under unbelievable stress, trying to prepare for the start of school next week with all these new challenges and a doubling (or tripling) of their normal workloads. I feel so bad for them!
Back at home, I decided to welcome September by making an apple pie from scratch late Sunday afternoon. I'd never made pie crust before, always opting for the easy way out and buying premade crusts, but this time I decided to try. It turned out to be much easier than I expected! The crust turned out great for a first try. I even rolled out some of the leftover dough and cut out little tiny leaves to decorate the top.
Actually, the crust turned out to be the best part. The apples themselves were kind of bland. I grabbed a cheap bag of small Granny Smiths at the grocery store and they didn't have much flavor. Nor does the recipe I used call for very much sugar: only three tablespoons tossed in with the apple slices. With flavorful apples that would be nice, and I plan to try again this weekend. North Carolina mountain apples should be starting to arrive at the farmer's market by now.
We saw a beautiful full moon rising last night. We were out walking George just as it started to come up above the trees, and the three of us stopped and took in the sight of it for a few minutes. It looked so big and golden when it was only just above the horizon!
As for George, he's a little more sober these days, but he seems to be beginning to adjust to all the changes around here. And he's still such a handsome guy!