“Drumsticks, I really like those…there is chocolate but not too much…”

Alright, what's your favorite snack in the summertime?   I would say slushy, I like slushy.  Do you have a favorite flavor of ice cream? Strawberry. Really?  Yeah, I like strawberry. That’s news to me. I’m your son how do you not know that? Because you don’t usually ask for strawberry, you ask for vanilla. Drumsticks, I really like those. Cause there is no chocolate in them, -- there’s not really chocolate -- there is chocolate but not too much chocolate there’s more vanilla.

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“…our plans haven’t necessarily been cancelled…just that we’ve had to reschedule them”

So for the past couple weeks, there's two things that I've been very grateful for. The first is that my fiancé recently had surgery which was a much more not scary but I guess anxious process to have that happen during the pandemic, but everything went fine. The recovery has been just as planned, as far as surgeries go it's been a good one. There's been no problems or complications. Another thing that I'm grateful for is that we are still going to get married this year, the plans of that have changed. There is no longer any big ceremony or reception, but we still plan on having something very small with a safe amount of the people who are closest to us get together and then once it is safe to do so to have a bigger sort of celebration with more extended family and friends that are -- are good friends, but not our very very close friends. I'm grateful that we still get to do something and that our plans haven't necessarily been cancelled for good, just that we've had to reschedule them and move them. That's something that's been difficult, is trying to arrange those changes and also just get ready for the upcoming rest of the year.

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“I definitely have become more appreciative of nature.”

The other question I wanted to answer today was about nature, you know, I adopted the dog a couple of weeks ago, our second dog. It has just been--I felt that adopting my first dog was just value add, complete value add, just by virtue of her being with us. The value add though that comes with the second dog is that you really have to have a little bit more structure. I mean, also they entertain each other and you know, that's nice too, but it's been really important to me that we all take walks together. It's been an excuse to have my son move his body a little bit cause we definitely have days where we're just kind of lounging all day, you know, we'll eat meals together but other than that, we're sort of on our screen some days. So just taking walks and -- and being together as a little pack and -- and of course, walks are good for you cause you get to be outside. I definitely have become more appreciative of nature. My son and I have a plan to get into foraging. He went out of town for two weeks with his Dad, but when we get back, we're going to start learning about the plants in our backyard and what's edible and what's medicinal and what not. So, yeah, I think that because going outside is like a safe option, or safer option, and also one of the only options, you have no choice but to try it out. And I think I wouldn't be surprised if most people found that it did them some good and that they appreciated it more. It's certainly been what I found.

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“I’ve been going to soccer practice once a week, that’s been fun.”

I've been going to soccer practice once a week, that's been fun. We've been social distancing. Oh, yeah, we have to wear our mask for like walking to the field and everything. We haven't, we've only been doing like non-play -- actually playing the game but it's on a super fun to like see my team and stuff and it gets so hot wearing the mask, so yeah, it's been very fun.

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“I learned that different countries and cultures have different concepts of personal space.”

When I was learning Spanish, I learned that different countries and cultures have different concepts of personal space. So when I was in school as a kid, you know, we learned about your bubble. You don't go into people's — you don't go to people's bubbles. You know, whether it's standing in line or you're standing chatting to somebody, yeah, apparently I forget if it was the cultures we were studying -- so like in Mexico, they stand closer to you? I think that was what it was, Latin American cultures they stand a little closer to you than Americans did?  I can't remember exactly.  In that case the the consequences is just awkwardness, but it occurred to me, that's kind of -- I wonder if there's a relation, an overlap of that to what's going on with social distancing. It's like our concept of personal bubble has been invalidated and so we're collectively renegotiating: what is an okay bubble?

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“So like I’m very confident I don’t have COVID. So that actually made me less nervous…”

My biggest concern for the last couple of weeks was that about a -- just a little over a week ago. Just one day, I was sort of feeling a little bit weird, a little light headed, a little nauseous and then that night I started feeling a little cold. So I took -- and it was weird cause there's like 94° so I was like, you know what maybe I'll just take my temperature and then I had a low temperature like maybe a 100 degrees and then it steadily got worse and worse until I had about a 103° temperature. My whole body ached, I was freezing cold, and I had a couple of other symptoms none of them respiratory all of them gastrointestinal. So, I was like, I'm just going to wait it out and call my primary care physician in the morning and that's what I did. So they told me to go to the emergency room. I went to the emergency room. I got a COVID swab just everybody knows what everybody told me was: It's not painful. It's just really weird and uncomfortable, which I agree with although not painful is the worst endorsement for a test I could ever think of. Basically, you just gag the whole time, if you're me. I didn't have COVID that was negative, got a couple of blood test. I went home. They were like, yeah, I probably have like a really weird -- a really bad stomach flu. We just do clear liquids for a couple of days and then call on Thursday. So, then the next day in the morning I got a call from my primary care physician saying call back as soon as you get this. So I called and they'd gotten results back from blood culture that was taken while I was in the emergency room, but It takes a day to have preliminary results then several days to have conclusive results. But basically it started growing something which is not supposed to happen in your blood. So because of my history with infectious disease stuff they wanted me to stay in the hospital on IV antibiotics until symptoms went away and the -- and subsequent blood test came back negative. So I came back to the hospital. I was there for four or five days and it's kind of weird because you can't have visitors.…

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“I went to Meijer Garden yesterday!”
American Horse by Nina Akamu - shadow 4 A monument to creativity, The American Horse was created by famed animaliere, or animal sculptor, Nina Akamu. The work was inspired, in part, by a work created by Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci for the Duke of Milan in the late 15th century. The project was championed by Fred Meijer in the late 1990's, resulting in two casts of the 24-foot monument—one for Meijer Gardens and one for the city of Milan, Italy. Nina Akamu. The American Horse, 1999. Bronze, 288 x 91 x 339 inches. Gift of Fred and Lena Meijer. © Copyright DaVinci Discovery Center of Science & Technology Frederik Meijer Gardens Grand Rapids, Michigan Taken December 19, 2018

“I went to Meijer Garden yesterday!”

I went to Meijer Garden yesterday! It was great there. I love it there. So will I see Meijer Gardens again? It’s so fun. You should probably go to it with your mom and your dad. Okay!

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“We did mud swinging”

I will be talking to you about Fourth of July when coronavirus was here. So my grandma and grandpa were visiting from Florida and we have lots of fun with them. We grilled burgers and hotdogs and I like provolone cheese on my burger and mushrooms and onions. It tastes really good. We did mud swinging cuz we have a rope in our backyard and there's like mud under it. It's not like soft but we got a hose out and sprayed the mud and it was like so like fun and we just kept on sliding through and sliding through and sliding through. We got all dirty.

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“Dragon Masters…A bunch of kids have dragons”

Are you reading any good stories right now? Yes. Like what? Yes, -- yes like Dog Man and Dragon Masters, what do you like about the Dragon Masters series? They're sometimes funny. They’re funny. Can you tell us a little bit about the books that we’re reading? Dragon books -- books like these -- A bunch of these kids have like dragons and -- and a big -- a Dragonstone that helps them communicate with the dragons and they’re just little kids. But why do they have powerful dragons? That's the real question. And I know what's going on in the latest book that we're reading? There was this bad guy named Maldred that stealed both of the keys to break the Naga. I basically know what it is. It's an earthquake dragon. Okay Because I saw one of the next book. Okay, and what are the Dragon Masters trying to do? Save their town, save their city, save the world! Yeah. Yeah basically.

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“…we’re trying to figure out a way to celebrate.”

Ways to celebrate, you know, my son's 20th birthday is in two weeks and we're trying to figure out a way to celebrate. I was going to have a party at a park, a barbecue for the family, so we’d be outside. I had thought about getting a campsite at a nearby lake, so people could come and enjoy the weekend with us here and there. Yeah, I wanted to take him down to Auburn Hills to do this golfing place, I can't think of the name of it now, but it's a golfing like restaurant and you get to shoot golf balls and stuff off of the edge. It was really a neat place when I went there with one of my friends and it was fun. I wanted to take him there I wanted to take my daughter there too when she came to visit. I don’t know my son is kind of a homebody. He likes to be at home. He plays video games and stuff and he's -- He feels safe here and he doesn't -- he's nervous about going out because he is asthmatic, he worries and the face mask do make it hard for him. He can only keep them on for so long. So he likes to stay indoors, but he does like to get outside too. So I found a nearby lake that we can go to for free. Just get out of the house. Take a dip in the water and relax for a little bit.

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