May 13, 2020: Summer Plans

Are you making summer plans? Canceling them? Putting your fingers in your ears and not even thinking about anything beyond making it through the next few days?

102 thoughts on “May 13, 2020: Summer Plans”

  1. Saw really cheap airfare to Denver in August and thought about taking the family though Rocky Mountain National Park. Then, I realized that was probably not the best idea for this year. (Plus, I have two college roommates in Denver, and I've never met their children. It would be tough to go out and not necessarily be able to catch up.)

  2. We're planning on a nervous breakdown if the kids can't go out and play, and can't go to grandparents', and we're not allowed to take them to activities, places, or events, while we both try to work.

    1. Dance competition in Orlando in mid-July was cancelled for us. Sister's wedding, also mid-July, is probably on the chopping block.
      We haven't regrouped to try to make other plans yet.

      1. My cousin's kid got married last weekend. Only parents and wedding party in attendance. Everyone wore masks, including bride and groom. But, they got married.

      2. My brother moved his wedding from early June to August. Just immediate family is obviously more than 10 people, so the plan is to still have basically only immediate family, with the hope that late summer can accommodate that.

    2. Jane wanted one last year, but this year reeeaaaalllly wanted to get that big playset that they display at Costco. I'm not crazy about having that monstrosity in the yard, but I can't deny the benefits of having it on premises. Anyway, once this is all over, big blowout BBQ in joe's backyard! Now with 42% more sunshine!!!

      1. I want to build something like this, but move the uprights to 24" apart and put a slide in the middle and the swings on the outside.

        1. My dad built us multiple swing sets when I was growing up. He found a giant old metal slide somewhere (~15 ft.?) and built a play set around it, with swings, climbing features, an old steering wheel, etc. All the classics really.

          I regularly feel guilty that I haven't built something similar for my children.

          We live less a block from the park, and three blocks from the other park.

          1. I would feel guilty if I did build something for them because it'd likely be a deathtrap. We're going professionally installed. Cowards way out, sure, but 1) lazy, 2) ill taught and ill equipped, 3) eh, put some money in the local economy. As Jane sold me on it (my reluctance to purchase included building the damn thing), the amount we're saving on gas (we both drive a lot, or did) as well as tolls is pretty significant in the Chicagoland area. I'd say we spend around $100-$120 each month on tolls alone. Anyway, yeah, gonna have someone come out.

            1. I have enough rudimentary building skills passed down from my dad doing exactly this kind of thing, that I know I could put it together. I really can't justify the cost/time with the two close parks though.

              This is probably why I'm planning to built a skating rink in our backyard next winter - we don't have skating rinks in town, and that's an easy enough project but still substantial enough to assuage my guilt.

              1. Are parks around you open? Nothing is around here, which is why we're going backyard. If that wasn't the case, I would have been more reluctant.

                1. Our parks are open, but most of my neighbors are not practicing social distancing at all, so no way I'm letting my kids go there for now.

                2. Yeah, playgrounds in MN are open, though obviously social distancing and caution are recommended.

                  1. Parks are open, but the playground within walking distance of our house was closed last time I checked.

          2. We bought a trampoline and put it in our only flat spot, in the wetland. Not too wet. More like the buffer zone.

    3. We had a trip planned with a group of friends to drive our '62 Herald to Galena, IL in late Aug-early Sept for the annual Vintage Triumph convention, but it was canceled just last week. We are tentatively planning a different trip at the same time since we all had the time off, but we'll see what happens. Also, annual Appleton trip in early August to see the wife's fam, but again, we'll see when we get closer.

    4. We're planning on a nervous breakdown

      SAME. We did get an update about summer childcare being available with some new rules/restrictions in place and a 1:10 ratio for all ages. It costs an extra $7 per day per kid, but with not having paid for child care since March 13, the cost will be fine. I'm planning to sign up the boys as I can't imagine trying to keep them occupied (and not constantly fighting) while working from home once school is done, but I'm also not completely confident in this decision.

      Also, I'd registered the boys for summer care back in February when registration originally opened, and due to the change in cost and regulations, they CANCELED all summer contracts and now we have to register all over again. This is one of my most hated tasks every year, and the fact that I'm now going to have to redo it makes me fling myself into the abyss.

      1. Our daycare sent out a thing saying any child who hasn't been in attendance by June 4th loses their spot.

        With TSC(The Second Child) on the way, my wife is hellbent on not allowing a 3 month old to go to day care at all.

        We're heavily weighing our options about the cost of two children at daycare vs. only one of us working.

        1. I was the only wage earner for about 8 years in my household, until the kids were all in school and their mom went back into the workforce. It's easier to do than you might think, but we also had her parents half a mile down the road to help out.

          1. We were forced into a single income for a few years a while back. Unfortunately, my income was... less than it is now so it was a bit of a struggle that landed us in quite a bit of debt. I imagine it's easier if you can plan for it, though. We're both working now, though (and we're very fortunate we can both do it from home) so I'm just counting down the days until my daughter is old enough to where neither have to go to daycare.

        1. Huh. I found the FAFSA to be a lot simpler than I was expecting when I started filling it out for grad school.

            1. I didn't know that the RRs paid so well!

              FAFSA got a lot easier when they switched to letting you use the prior year's tax return.

              The real PITA for me was handling taxes. For years, TurboTax absolutely suh-hucked at handling the calculations relating to allowable educational expense and dealing with 529 withdrawals.

                1. I priced it out that sending them to a UC probably would have cost me out of pocket about 70-80 percent of what it cost me to send them to fancy-pants schools, thanks to fancy-pants endowments and significant price discrimination, compared to getting no help to go to a UC.

                1. Just hiring an accountant every year is one of my happiest guilty pleasures.

                  It's more important now that I'm running a business too, but... it would have easily been worth it without the business even.

                  1. This last year, every time I opened up the software it forced me to run another update and it erased a couple of my inputs. So frustrating!

                    1. I literally just get mailed an appointment time (with a candy bar in the envelope!), show up with a bunch of papers, get told "grab these 1 or 2 other things for us," e-mail those things in later the same day, and then a week later go sign the papers. It is so nice.

                    2. last year, I put in the time, but didn't have enough deductions to do the long form any more. This year, with the house sale and purchase...maybe??? I haven't finished yet.

                      Turbotax is massive overkill when you are using the standard deduction. But the tax prep people pay shittons in lobbying and, uh, incentives, to keep the tax system opaque so that we sheeple continue to buy their products.

                      It really, really should be much easier and cheaper to file electronically.

      2. We’ve continued to pay tuition despite the mandatory closure for public health. As this wears on, I find myself struggling more than I’d like with this. We are keeping the place afloat and teachers paid; we love the teachers, so we want to retain them and help them avoid layoffs/unemployment. The Poissonnière has been cleared but he school district to attend again next year. Theoretically, we could do this forever — we’ve budgeted for the cost of tuition, so whether we’re actually getting anything for it is beside the point as long as we continue to bring in the same income.* I’m upset with myself for letting the idea that tuition has essentially become a donation bother me, but there’s a latent capitalist reflex in me that’s whining about the outlay, and the communitarian/socialist is sticking his fingers in his ears.

        Mildly FZ SelectShow

        * Of course, our income will go down as the furloughs kick in, but we’ll press on to keep our spot. What the next round in October brings is more concerning.

        1. Rick's daycare is open, however they're still allowing families to pay 50% of tuition to hold their place. This has seemed like an acceptable medium.

      3. and not constantly fighting

        This, strangely, has gone really well for us. There have been fewer fights per hour of the two oldest being together than when they attended school. It's now possible for them to be together, relatively unsupervised, for a few hours.

        1. I . . . wow. I will say that when things are going well, the boys are definitely closer than ever. But "wrestling for fun" inevitably ends in tears.

        2. I would say a similar thing has happened for us. Total number of incidents has probably remained about constant, but they're together so much more than they were before. The first week or so was a bit rougher than the norm, but once that passed it got so much better.

      4. Our summer childcare is through the elementary school and recently got an update that prices won't be increasing but hours will be cut by 30 minutes at the beginning and end of the day. That doesn't affect us, but there isn't a green light that the program is happening.

        We were talking about what to do if it doesn't open and we didn't come to a conclusion. My wife's office will likely open once the statewide stay in place order ends, it is spacious and rarely has more than 4 people in it. Not sure about mine, it is larger with a lot of cubes. Maybe we'll have to rotate on/off days at home, but oh man the childcare portion will be exhausting. Maybe we run the risk and see if a nearby family can take care of him since their boys will be home? I don't have any answers today and don't know when I might...

        1. Seems like there are lots of college/hs kids looking for nanny jobs (see, for example, Algonad). I'm hoping those are natural fits for lots of families in similar situations. Good all around if they are.

          1. We are considering this route but don't have anything locked down...decision day for keeping our spot is tomorrow.

  3. Will I still be employed? Then, I don't know. Will I no longer be employed? Then, I don't know.

    Can't imagine we will go anywhere outside of the Twin Cities for vacation.

    1. Ditto our Berlin trip over the holidays. By the skin on our teeth, it seems.

        1. We had one last hurrah in downtown Chicago. We stayed over a Saturday night pretty much right before everything started shutting down. Sadly, we had a gift certificate for a good yaki niku/kalbi restaurant that we left at home. Were going to hit it up on our way back. It expired last week. I'm sure I could haggle with them when everything reopens, but I'm sure they'll be hurting for cash when they do, so might have to let that one go to the universe.

    2. I was planning to take Mrs. Hayes & the Poissonnière to Hawaii next February; it’ll be our last chance for such a trip before truancy is a consideration. With initial furloughs announced and more likely coming in October, I doubt we’ll be making that trip.

    3. Co-worker went home to Malaysia in January-February (Chinese New Year to President's Day). Travel through Singapore.
      He had to quarantine two weeks at home upon his return. Then had been back in the office a week before we were all sent home.

      He planned on having his parents visit this summer, but that's been scuttled. I told him to be glad he got to take his trip.

  4. I may take my RULA week in July and drive up to the homelands to visit my parents. This would be a very limited contact, heavily sanitized driving trip, or I wouldn't do it.

  5. Things are in constant flux for us. Luckily, my job seems pretty secure. It's more the kids that are getting yo-yoed around.

    Oldest daughter lost her research job with St Thomas. Offered a part-time position at the local senior apartments doing Covid screening for visitors. Also talking to Tubman Center about volunteer position.

    Middle child lost her job with the parks department. Looking for possible nanny jobs.

    Youngest is signed up for soccer and wanted to referee. The plan is to start in June but I doubt it.

    Also, the youngest and I have a 10-day hiking trip in New Mexico in August. So far, the June treks have been cancelled but they are planning on starting in July. I really don't see how that is going to happen. Boys from all over the country coming into a location together. I know once we're on the trek, we'll only be exposed to each other but it still seems like a mess. I hope they cancel soon so we don't do all this training and prep to just get the rug pulled out from under us.

    1. Is the hiking trip at Philmont? I've been there twice. If that's where you're going, you would meet other hikers frequently plus there are the staff camps.

      1. Yes. They're trying to adjust things but we'll see how it goes.

        Supposed to get an update this Friday and another on June 1. I really don't see how it would happen.

  6. Our cruise was in April and of course it was cancelled. That was our only big plans this year. We took that money and decided to purchase a Rainbow Play System and a backyard patio, both will be in within a month. So yay.

  7. We had planned to go to Virginia to see my brother in July, but we will not be doing that.

    1. One benefit has been that United Methodist Annual Conference, scheduled for June in Sioux Falls, has been cancelled. Instead, they've scheduled a twenty-four hour Annual Conference for Bismarck in October. This proves what I've been saying for a few years now: Annual Conference is where we cram one day's worth of work into four days.

  8. The Mrs has already cancelled her school's summer camp. Holding our breath that they will be able to reopen in fall on time.

    Governor releases the revised budget tomorrow. My agency is funded by a special fund rather than the GF, but it still is gonna be bad. I have been warning staff to expect furlough days. Which is still way better than layoffs.

      1. General Fund.

        My agency is funded out of a "special fund" financed by a surtax on personal income for people making over $1 million per year. California has many special funds, which operate like trust funds and have their own dedicated revenue streams. The GF covers the bulk of the State's annual budget.

        In FY 2018-19, the GF had revenue totaling $138 billion. $14.36 billion went into the State's "rainy day" reserve and another $5.4 billion was set aside as cash reserves for "economic uncertainties" and $900 million for a "safety net reserve."

        Special Fund revenues were in the neighborhood of $60 billion. The fund my agency draws from generated a little over $2 billion, 95 percent of which, by law, goes straight to county mental health departments on a monthly basis.

        In the Great Recession, our Special Fund saw something like a 20 percent dip in revenue from the peak to the trough, which was the next year, and then an immediate rebound almost to the prior peak.

        This time likely will be worse, both in the size of the dip and in its duration.

        1. My college's revenue comes from the state general fund, so everyone is waiting in anticipation to see what the governor's revised budget looks like tomorrow. College president said he expects the college's budget to be worse than it was during the Great Recession, but is hopeful that it will be for a shorter duration (like 2 years instead of 8).

          I have no idea if that is correct, but I'm sure we're in for some cuts.

          1. He'd already signaled that the Prop 98 guarantees would be slashed for K-12, based on revenue projections. I would have to imagine it's gonna be tough times for CSUs and Community Colleges too.

            1. Yep. Also really hard to predict enrollment. Being a community college, we may actually end up with an increase in number of students. We are currently working on Fall schedule adjustments, but have no idea how many sections to actually offer of everything.

              1. We’re also wondering what fall enrollment will bring. I’d expect resident student enrollment to go up, but out-of-state to drop significantly. Our three biggest non-resident states of origin are New York, California, & Illinois. As for international, which is China-dominant, I have no idea. Non-resident & international pay substantially higher tuition ($5362.66 in-state, $7385.02 MN, $18,892.54 non-resident, $19,392.58 international). In 1973, the state contributed $12,908 per full-time enrollment in the System; that was down to $6991 in 2016. I doubt the state legislature will suddenly reverse that trend.

                1. In 1973, the state contributed $12,908 per full-time enrollment in the System; that was down to $6991 in 2016. I doubt the state legislature will suddenly reverse that trend.

                  This just makes me shake my head and get angry. The same people who kept cutting that contribution then wonder why kids these days can't just get a summer job to pay for college...

                  1. FZish SelectShow
                    1. I think more transparency is key. Many people don't realize that they could go to a private university for the same price as a public university.

                      I agree with the Doc above.

                    2. the move to net price calculators on college websites has been a HUGE improvement on the transparency front. It's still complicated, but huge, huge improvement.

                    3. FZish SelectShow
                    4. I agree on the calculators but they don't update them, hide them on their websites, and need to improve their accuracy.

  9. We were in the process of planning some camping trips with my family, and possibly a trip out to Mount Rushmore. Nothing too distant or big, but something. Now we're pretty much resigned to going nowhere except to the cities to see family, whenever that is finally able to happen.

    Not as close a call as others have mentioned, but I'm super glad our trip to D.C. last fall with Aquinas happened when it did. We had been planning that for years, and it was a wonderful experience. To have had that lost here would be devastating. So I really feel for those who are losing those experiences.

  10. I was really hoping to take our dog to a state park to see if she'd like swimming (she's a golden, so the answer is "most likely"). But that doesn't look like it'll happen. I do plan to sit on my deck and drink fruity cocktails, though. My wife ordered some syrups from Liber & Co and I have been impressed so far.

        1. As mentioned in a previous thread, we've taken to adding it to our coffee. Jane was surprised at how quickly it was going, actually. She asked to confirm I was also using it. I might glaze some salmon with it tonight...

  11. I have two weeks of vacation I have to use or lose before 30 June. My “vacation” now looks a lot more like full-time childcare with a side of yard work or home improvement.

    What I need to do before then is get myself into the headspace that embraces this opportunity to make some memories that she’ll (hopefully) share decades from now, while finding some way to preserve my sanity if I’m the only outlet for her play & socialization. I’m very conscious of not being able to provide the interaction she’d get from kids her age, as well as my own need for a cohesive internal monologue shortcomings. I solo parented when Mrs. Hayes was in the hospital for five weeks last year, but this will be different: no daycare during work hours, and a partner working at home who will need space to do that work.

  12. My wife had some summer work trips scheduled for conferences and whatnot, but those have all been canceled already.

    For pleasure travel, my wife and I are both college teachers, and our families live far away, so we usually spend large portions of our summer break traveling to see everyone. We planned to drive to Colorado to spend a week in a big rental house with my wife's parents and siblings, then drive to Minnesota to spend some time with my mom and siblings, then head to Arkansas to spend time with all of my cousins and their families in a house on the lake we used to go to each summer when I was a kid. None of those have been officially canceled yet, but I expect they will be.

    Since all our classes are online, my wife and I each signed on to teach some extra summer classes this year. So, at this point I expect our summer will look pretty much like what is going on now: Lots of work on our asynchronous classes, with kids running around going bonkers. Our house construction should be done by then, so our "vacation" may just be that we have a kitchen and family room again.

    1. I had work trips canceled that would have happened in April and late June, both of which I was looking forward to. I don't know yet about an August workshop or an early September conference. Some things will be happening virtually instead, but trying to "attend" any sort of weekend event while at home with the entire family is going to be difficult at best.

      I'm glad for your sake that there's an end in sight for the house construction; that sounds tremendously difficult!

      1. Thanks. It has added an extra wrinkle to staying at home, but it's actually been going much better than I thought it would. Just about everything is harder to do (cooking, cleaning, doing dishes in a bathroom, etc.), but we're getting by.

        My wife and I were both going to be a part of a training and planning workshop on Friday and Saturday this week related to some teacher training we are doing over the summer. It was supposed to be a 2-day meeting in a hotel, but it's of course now been shifted online. So, we don't need to worry about finding someone to watch the kids, but I'm quite concerned as to how it will work for both of us to be engaged with the kids completely on their own all day. We'll see!

  13. My Peru trip was canceled of course and looking to reschedule for September but not holding my breath.

    Me and a friend are planning a 4 day hiking trip along the Border Route trail in northern Minnesota along the BWCA in July however.

  14. Im so glad my small town has a grocery store and other "Essential" places because I cant fathom having to trek to New Ulm, Mankato, or Fairmont to buy a weeks worth of groceries or having to rely on something like Amazon grocery and hoping half the stuff I order shows up in the mail. I have only left town once since early March and that was to take a cat to the Humane Society in St. James. Even if the State starts to open up, I dont know when I will decide its safe enough to leave my bubble.

  15. COVID-19 also taking out pitchers hitting.

  16. We reserved a trackside camping spot for a race that (as of now) is still scheduled for June. Road America (Wisconsin) is a HUGE facility and could probably pull off social distancing requirements better than just about any other event/facility, but we don't plan on attending.

    I don't want to rent anyone's RV at this point, let alone be anywhere near a crowd.

    Otherwise, we are waiting to see if there is a travel baseball season for my oldest.

    1. The missus brought up a possible Rushmore trip in the summer. I once went out to the Badlands (stupid us didn't consider it would be Sturgis weekend) and we camped the whole trip there and back. I'm not opposed to something like this. I'm not sure how busy parks will be, but contact would seemingly be kept at a minimum. We'll see how things shake out I guess.

  17. Good friends have their only child's wedding in Colorado this September. We met them 27 years ago at childbirth classes for Elder Daughter so we go way back. Since we have kin there we could do a trip on the cheap, a couple of nights in Pueblo and one at the venue in Pine, maybe sneak in an overnight camp along the way. But we don't know yet, Mrs. Twayn has to put in for the time first and that's a lot of reverse social distancing. Plus two long road days with drives of 14 or 15 hours, but I kind of like those.


      The article is from March, so exact figures are out of date. The point, though, is that it was never about waiting out the whole thing. It's about stringing everything out as long as possible. We appear to be in the "dance" part of the show. Hoping that the common populace is smart enough to do what needs to be done.

      I don't imagine I'll be doing things much differently than I've done the last couple of months, to be honest.

      1. Hammer and dance, yes, but...our hammer was the whack-a-mole mallet, and it looks like we might be doing the hokey-pokey.

  18. Watching a replay of last night/this morning's Twins game. It's a blowout in the 8th inning and the 4ltr crew is showing the camera all of their sports swag that's sitting in the background. Exciting stuff.

    1. This bit from Fangraphs' writeup on watching the Twitch streams stuck out to me as particularly true.

      Something stuck out to me immediately, even before the game started: the language baseball announcers speak hardly matters. The cadence of the game is what I’m actually hearing; a high note to denote excitement, a pause after a player’s name that denoted that I should pay attention.

      No matter the language, the announcers kind of become background noise. This is, of course, doubly true when I can only understand the few English words they carry over (ball, strike, out, etc, as well as one humorous exchange in yesterday's game where I picked up the phrase "ESPN" and then heard "uh, keep watching"), but I find that I really don't mind it at all. I find myself using the Heroes' wiki page as a reference to figure out who's batting and pitching, but for the most part, it's just baseball, and that is very good.

      On a side note, ESPN really ought to have gone all in on this. It's the biggest thing going right now. Their

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