The Weekend Adventures

It’s been a tough month or two here. It’s January in Jersey, which means grey days and below freezing temps. It’s been impossible to do the outdoor socializing with family and friends that kept us afloat perviously during this COVID shutdown. With Ian transitioning from high school, I have sat through hours and hours of profoundly awful meetings with school administrators and private evaluators; it’s actually too horrible to blog about.

The boys have had virtual school for most of the year. Jonah hasn’t stepped foot in a lecture hall since early March 2020 and may not even next fall. Ian has been in and out of school this whole time. Right now, he’s going five mornings per week, but we have no assurances that this will continue. Even when he’s in school, he is often the only one in the classroom, since so many kids have given up.

When Ian’s not at school, then he’s home alone. He has no friends to hang out with at the park. Before COVID, we kept him busy by carting him around with us to various parties and socials events, or by driving him to a handful of private and community activities. None of that is happening right now.

All that just sucks, and the news keeps getting worse. It is tempting to snuggle under the blankets and anesthetize myself with romance novels and chocolate. But that is not helpful. We’re determined to survive the collapse of government with our marbles intact and with as little damage as possible to our children’s well-being.

We’ve been combatting isolation, depression, and boredom in various ways all year. I’ve cooked a ton, redecorated my house, learned about detoxifying smoothies. Lately, we have also carved out one weekend day for a hiking adventure. We travel to a new town within an hour of our house that has cute cafes and hiking trails.

Last week, we visited New Paltz, New York. New Paltz is an 80s-era hippie town with hockey sacks and the smell of weed in the air. We went to a local pub that has a nice mix of the hippie regulars, the hunting and fishing guys in plaid shirts, and college professors who all look Bernie Sanders. About 200 yards away, there’s a rail trail. Fueled with two glasses of wine, we did a two-hour hike that took us past old homes built by the French Huguenots with little rifle holes to shoot Indians during King Phillip’s War.

This Sunday, we went to Morristown, NJ for lots of George Washington history and a park with nice hiking trails. Next week, we’ll go to New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Yes, part of our weekend adventures involves indoor dining. While indoor dining is legal, but it is certainly a grey area for COVID safety. This once-per-week treat is a risk that we’re willing to take in exchange for mental health. Not everyone takes those risks, but they take other risks by allowing their kids visit friends and play sports. My kid doesn’t have those options, so we’re taking our risks at bars. Shrug.

Once the weather warms up around here in a couple of months or so, we won’t have to work so hard to have fun. But right now, it takes a little creativity and organization.

12 thoughts on “The Weekend Adventures

  1. I have not eaten indoors except at my own house since March of last year. My luxury has been getting alcohol delivered directly to my house. I don’t know how they are ever going to walk back that joy without a riot.


    1. My neighbors, the ones with 6-year old twins with special needs and a 3-year who isn’t potty trained yet, are a BIG fan of the liquor delivery truck. For obvious reasons.


  2. It’s 72 degrees, the cafeteria with big balconies is open, and our family is planning to go eat there tonight and as many nights as the weather allows.

    Spring is kinda sorta starting. It’s not going to be this nice every day, but we’ll have a lot of days like this in the spring before the outdoors turns into an inferno during the day and a steam bath at night.

    My husband and the college freshman have a very pleasant custom this year of going together to the cafeteria for breakfast on a balcony. I occasionally join them.

    We’ve dined inside the cafeteria a number of times this school year (it’s very spacious and you don’t have to sit close to people plus campus), but we’re going to try to time our visits for good weather for the time being so we can use the balconies.


  3. My kids have been in person all year (except for the week after Thanksgiving I took our 10th grader out).

    I believe there are about 440 students at school plus staff. There have been 13 kid COVID cases that I know of and one adult. The thirteenth (?) kid case was announced yesterday. That put the 11th grade and the soccer team into quarantine. Neither of my school kids has happened to be in a quarantine class yet *tfoo tfoo*.

    Our county COVID numbers have gone from a peak of 80 cases per 100,000 Nov. 20 to a high plateau of 60 cases per 100,000 but have recently fallen to the low 40s and I believe it’s still ticking down. (Our community really hasn’t had that much vaccination yet.) We haven’t seen numbers like this since October. The hospital suddenly has a much smaller number of COVID patients and the number of active cases in the community has also shrunk. Positivity has also recently declined from low 20s to mid-teens.



    Puerto Rico is up to 10.08 COVID doses per 100! (Up until now, they’d been kind of middling.)

    In other happy news:

    Alaska is up to 13.42, West Virginia 11.53, North Dakota 9.87, New Mexico 9.76, Connecticut 9.29 and District of Columbia 9.1. (The national average is 7.1 per 100.)

    The US has done over a million doses of vaccine every day for the past 6 days.

    New COVID cases are down 33% over the past 14 days.



    “The number of students applying to attend one of the State University of New York’s 64 campuses plummeted by 20 percent this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, Chancellor James Malatras said.”

    “SUNY enrollment of first-time or freshmen undergraduate students sunk ten percent in the fall of 2020 compared to the fall of 2019, a SUNY spokesperson said.

    “According to the National Student Clearinghouse, freshmen undergraduate enrollment declined 13.1 percent nationally in the fall of 2020, an “unprecedented” loss of 327,5000 students from the prior academic year.”


  6. bj said, “fascinating, because some schools (the rich ones) are seeing a huge increase in applications.”


    I know that Hometown U. (which is largely open in-person) had a record high freshman enrollment for 2020-2021. Not sure about 2021-2022. (They’ve just frozen pay for another year. Meh. Gotta pay for all that weekly testing, tents, COVID jail, and all the other COVID infrastructure, I guess.)


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