Week 4 under lockdown is complete! Schools have been closed for only a month, but right now it feels like years. Can stay-at-home dads get PTSD?
If this pandemic has taught me anything (and it’s already taught me several things), it’s that I have the greatest respect in the world for teachers. People who willingly teach 20-30 rambunctious kids, day after day, year after year, without going insane are amazing people. They’re obviously saints or super-humans. Possibly both.
I’m no saint, but I’m trying! This week our local school system started providing online lessons again… but it’s only 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). Online lessons don’t mean I’m living on easy street though — It’s still a ton of work to still help Tako Jr. #1 focus and get through those online lessons in a reasonable amount of time.
So, like my previous “Lockdown” posts, this is going to be something of a photo dump…
Birthdays Under Lockdown
Both of our boys have birthday’s close together in March. We usually just pick a date and celebrate both birthdays at the same time. This week was our birthday celebration. The boys turned 5 and 7.
How do we celebrate birthdays for two young kids under lockdown? Well, we did the best we could…
Mrs. Tako baked the boys an orange flavored cake (their request). Here was the result:
I think it turned out great considering we worked with what we had at home. Unfortunately it wasn’t a big celebration. Just the four of us. No friends or extended family. We did managed to video-call the grandparents, and sang “happy birthday” together. That was nice, but a little sad. (We usually celebrate with the boy’s grandparents)
Birthday presents were limited this year. Most stores and shops are closed, and Amazon is providing delivery dates over a month away in some cases.
Thankfully, Mrs. Tako managed to secure some second-hand Nintendo DSI handhelds for the boy’s birthday.
While I’m sure the internet is going to be quick to point out that a lower cost Nintendo Switch exists, but $300 each is way outside of our birthday budget. Besides, we have to think about the next birthday. Hedonic adaptation is real, and it happens with kids too!
Mask Making Project
The first, and possibly most important home project this week was making masks! Mrs. Tako is a master of the needle and thread, and she whipped up a few masks for us in record time.
Apparently the CDC has reversed course and is now telling everyone to wear homemade masks in public. Yay! Thanks for that little tip CDC! Now I get to look like a ninja in public!
Lockdown Kid Projects
How do you pass the time under lockdown with kids? Do you binge watch Netflix? We haven’t been Netflix subscribers for years, so projects with the kids are how we’re staying busy during this lockdown time period.
The first “kid” project was a request from our boys — A sword and shield they could battle each other with. Mrs. Tako and I decided foam construction was the way to go for this project…
It took some time, but the shield(s) took shape…
The foam is actually cut from some Harbor Freight foam floor mats bought on sale (before things closed) with a 25% off coupon. I think I paid about $6.99 in total for four floor mats.
Cutting and gluing was the easy part. Painting the shield was the most time consuming part…
Eventually, we managed to create a fair reproduction of the Hylian Shield — from the Legend of Zelda. It was an interesting challenge. I’ve never worked with foam before!
Now, the boys are begging to finish the sword, to complete the set. This lockdown is probably going to last another month, so we probably have the time.
Before starting on the sword though, I needed to finish another project for an important customer…
The Adjustable Desk Project
It’s been a awhile since I’ve done any major building projects, but Mrs. Tako decided we needed a proper desk for Tako Jr. #2. He’ll be starting school in the fall (assuming schools open again), and we wanted an adjustable study desk that could grow with him… but holy hell adjustable desks are expensive! Amazon doesn’t even sell one under $100.
So I thought to myself. “Hell, I can do better than that! I can build one for nothing.” So I did!
Tako Jr. #2’s desk was made from entirely recycled materials (i.e. junk wood taken from my free wood pile).
It works as both a standing desk…
and as a sitting desk…
Building the desk took roughly 2.5 weeks, working around 1 hour/day on the project. Obviously I don’t have a lot of spare time with the kids home, but the boys both enjoy a chance to get hands-on experience with real tools.
Being made from recycled materials it’s far from a perfect desk, but I’m happy to have built something (for free) that will last us a great many years to come. Making the client happy is doubly important of course!
Frugal Food Failures Under Lockdown
While under lockdown, do you find yourself cooking more at home? We’ve always cooked most of our meals at home, but I’m starting to find it harder to keep the food budget under control.
Why exactly? It seems like more people are cooking at home these days. Food is flying off the grocery store shelves, and sales are far less frequent. Now, instead of watching prices closely, I find myself just paying “whatever” when I see items in stock. It’s a scary trend.
Thankfully, most food still seems to be available, but I’ve noticed prices are rising. (At least in my area.) Things like meat and eggs are getting more expensive.
Still, I do find the occasional good deal. Like the pork loin I found on sale last week for $1.49/lb. I made Tonteki with it (which is a kind of Japanese pork chop).
We paired it with a beautiful green salad, and I was a happy Octopus!
That’s it for this week! Stay home and stay healthy everybody!