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Day 146

Fear in small amounts can be a good thing. Today is August 10.

Even though I didn’t fall asleep early last night, I got up 15 minutes before my first alarm went off today. I rolled over and closed my eyes, not wanting to be awake, but when I heard my parents talking in the living room I decided to join them and start my day. I flopped down onto our couch and half listened to whatever they were talking about, trying to decide what I wanted to spend my day doing.

I ended up checking my email and seeing yet another message about the credit card I’d applied for a few days back. I kept having an issue with the documents I’d submitted for my social security card, driver’s license and proof of school attendance. I called the company and spoke to a helpful lady in Utah who told me I needed to take new photos of the documents because the size I’d uploaded was too small, and subsequently too blurry for them to read. I used my phone camera instead of our printer’s scanner to take the pictures and reuploaded them. Then I called the company back and spoke with another person in a different state who informed me everything had processed correctly this time and I could expect my credit card in 5-7 days.

The smell of rain in the air is so relaxing. Photo by Bailey Stover.

Once that chore was done, I began working on the website for my job. I logged in to the WordPress site Dr. Noel Aloysius, an assistant professor at the  University of Missouri ― Columbia, had purchased and figured out where I needed to start. I had to download a template he’d purchased from Envato and then upload it onto our site, which took a while because of the data it had to transfer. I tried to figure out how to make a page and a post on the website, but I couldn’t find the tools I was used to using on Bearing News

When my mom got back from an errand she was running, she explained to me I needed to install the template and its plugins, not just upload it. She found a page with instructions specific to LabtechCO, the WordPress theme I’d selected for the site. I loved its science-based design and various tools, which I thought would complement the research of Dr. Aloysius and his team. I encountered a few issues along the way, but with some hard work and my mom’s guidance I was able to figure out most of the problems. She is absolutely amazing with all of this website work. I am beyond grateful for all the help and guidance she’s provided me with so far, especially since everything I’m working on is directly in her skill set. I thought I was a pro with website development after working on Bearing News for two and a half years, but just what I did today made me realize I still have so much to learn.

In addition to working on the website, Dr. Aloysius contacted me via email about a video he wants me to make by Friday. I told him that using an actual video camera would be a lot better than filming it on my phone, and he asked for details on prices. My mom is an expert at finding the precise equipment for a job, and research is her speciality, so she offered to help me with that while I kept tinkering around on the website. She ultimately came up with two options, and I sent them to Dr. Aloysius so he could make the final decision. When I checked my email again later in the day, I saw he’d taken a third path and borrowed a video camera from the engineering department, which works just fine for me. I would like a nice camera to work with this year, especially for taking headshots and photos of his various facilities, but that’s an issue for another day.

I love the sky’s calm before a big storm. Photo by Bailey Stover.

Around 2:20 p.m. my mom and I took my brother’s car up to Hallsville to get it checked out for repairs. Earlier in the day my mom and dad had taken my car up to the same place to have the driver’s window repaired, so now my mom and I were doing a car trade off of sorts. On the drive up my mom and I had called my grandpa to see if we could come by his house and eat a pizza with him. He’d just finished eating some ribs, so he wasn’t hungry, but he said he’d be more than happy to have us stop by. We called in a pizza at Casey’s General Stores in Hallsville, and it was ready for my mom to pick up once we’d finished getting an estimate for repairing my brother’s car.

I drove my car to my grandpa’s house while my mom took my brother’s car to pick up the pizza and then meet us at my grandpa’s house. When I got there, the rain had started and was falling heavily. I raced first into his barn and then across the yard to his house. I was a little damp but not terribly soaked through. My grandpa and I talked for a little while before he went out to his barn to wait for my mom. At the same time my mom arrived, a huge crack of thunder shook the sky, and the rain began to fall even harder. She and my grandpa hurried inside from the barn and we began to enjoy our pizza. 

My mom and I spent about two hours at my grandpa’s house eating pizza and talking. The rain fell heavy outside with brief moments of calm. My grandpa showed us some photos on his phone of when I was a little kid, and my mom and he talked about how I used to be when I was younger. I loved getting to spend time with my grandpa, but I wish I’d remembered to bring him some of the fudge I’d made the other day. Even when I’m off at school, I still fully intend to make time to visit him. I love him so much, and I consider myself the luckiest person alive to have a person like him in my life. When my mom and I left my grandpa’s house, the rain was just starting to pick back up again.

I waited in my car for my mom to come out of the building while the first few drops of rain began to fall. Photo by Bailey Stover.

I’ve driven in rain, but never anything as heavy as today’s. I followed directly behind my mom almost the whole way home. It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead of me, if that sometimes. My hands hurt from holding the steering wheel so tightly, and my eyes never left the road. My windshield wipers were at their highest speed and my brights were on, but the rain still prevented me from seeing more than the taillights of the car in front of me and the faint white paint of the road to my right. 

Even though the speed limit of the road we were on was 60 MPH, we went 30-40 MPH most of the way home. I didn’t breathe much, and at one point when I couldn’t see anything out my windshield I seriously considered pulling off the road. Eventually both my mom and I made it home safely. There were several tree branches and sticks down around our yard, and we’ll have to do a lot of cleaning up tomorrow. When I got out of the car at our house, I was shaken and still nervous from the drive home. If I had to learn how to drive in a torrential downpour, I’m glad I was able to do it with my mom right in front of me.

The rain created a mini flood zone at my grandpa’s house. Photo by Bailey Stover.

A little while after my mom and I got back, my parents, brother and I played a game of Spades together. My dad and I won. Afterward we took a break and I went back to work on the website for another hour before my brother said he was up for a second game. That time my brother and mom won. We immediately went into a third game, but half way through my brother called it quits. I think we were all feeling a little burned out from three games, but I was still happy to have played. I’m going to miss being around my family when I go off to school this weekend, so whether it’s work or play I’m making the most of the time I have left before college count. 

“You will not be the same after the storms of life; You will be stronger, wiser and more alive than ever before.”

Bryant McGill

Tomorrow my family and I are going to spend the morning cleaning the yard from the debris that fell during the storm, hauling branches and filling in runoff patches with rocks. I’m not a huge fan of manual labor, but I’m happy to help. Even though today was a little exhausting, and slightly stressful, I learned a lot and had fun. Whatever tomorrow brings, I’m grateful for my family and the life I have, and I don’t intend to take either for granted.

“You will not be the same after the storms of life; You will be stronger, wiser and more alive than ever before.” ― Bryant McGill

How did you spend your 146th day of social distancing? Let us know in the comments below.

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