Monday, April 6, 2020

Corona Virus 19 .. and Why you SHOULD care!

NOTE:   Newer studies indicate that not a single traceable case has been linked back to any child under 10.   .....   this was written via the information that I had available in March 2020.    Now two months later, as more and more numbers are becoming available ....  I've wondered if I should remove it ... but no .... it serves as a mark in time.  Caution was advised.  Caution was wise .. but some used the cry of caution to grab power, rewrite laws, and make themselves secure and rich at the expense of many.  Time will tell.  Time will tell.

why the virus information is deceptive and why you should care ...

Coronavirus: What it does to the body - BBC News

It is true that the recovery rate is high.  It is true that most children show few if any symptoms.  Most healthy people will show few symptoms, and feel like they have a cold, allergies, or a touch of the flu.  Most people will never know that they even had it.  In fact, in large populations, it appears as if around 10% will catch it and of those 10% will need extreme hospital care.  Overall, there have been deadlier viruses in the past.

The thing is ... nobody in the world had ever had this .... nobody.  We've not seen this level of "nobody" since the bubonic plague came to Europe from ship rats that carried fleas that carried a microbe that until then .. supposedly only lived in one mountain area in China.  Totally harmless to that population.

But you see ....

... if you are the first person infected, you potentially could infect up to 90% of those you come in direct contact with (if you are the first person to spread it) unless they are already infected ... which is why the "infection rate" appears low.  In the law of averages though, the infection rate is quite high.  Each of those people have a 50% chance of being "benign" cases ..about 30% chance of being very sick, but don't need major medical care, and a 20% chance of needed medical intervention of some degree - many cases attack the lungs to create a severe pneumonia symptom that breaks down lung tissue into (according to the article I read) a honeycomb of burst cells. ....... ALL of them will become carriers infecting many of those they come in contact with.  Since *nobody* (there is a theory that this virus has been around for much longer) had this virus before Jan 1, 2020*estimate, it is unlikely that it will pass you by.   Although there have been a few families that one member never tested positive.

Children are the worst carriers.  around 75% of the kids have mild or no symptoms.  They touch everything, they don't cover their mouths when the cough or sneeze, and they tend to stick fingers in noses, mouths, and eyes.  So a child can just "feel off" and infect dozens of others on an outing.   Surfaces touched can share the virus for up to 4 days (plastics).
Still, MOST of these figures are smushed together from the extremes of articles that I've read, some translated from the Chinese articles that my "moms" post on WeChat.   These figures could be high .. or low.  Even if only 5% of the cases are problematic, could the 2 local  hospitals in my town handle even 1% of the population needing to be on the big ventilators at the same time?  Most nursing  homes don't have this kind of equipment for intensive care. 

You can be contagious for up to 5 days before you show any symptoms.  Like most viruses, once you touch it, you can spread it until you wash very well, then there is an incubation period and at some point you become contagious before you realize that you are spreading a serious illness.   You can be contagious and never run a fever.  Of course, hygiene has improved so much since the last pandemic.  We have it available .. we just have to actually use it!

Let's look at just ONE theoretical case.

So here is 5 year old Johnny.  Mom doesn't want to be cooped up with her little bundle of energy.  Mom doesn't know it, but he has picked up the virus from a park water fountain last week and is a carrier, she shrugs his cough off as normal spring allergies and gives him an allergy tablet.  First, they head to the indoor playground and play for an hour.  Twenty other kids are there.  The play area is mostly plastics, and small, they line up to slide down the slide, climb the blocks, and play the giant board games along the walls.  Johnny touches everything, including many hugs to the other kids, as he is a friendly boy.  They are all exposed by the time they leave because these kids are touching eyes and putting hands in their mouths after climbing the same slide and climbing wall a dozen times.    (A few diligent moms will have been watching and cleaning, the cleaning will prevent actual infection - but most will wait until they arrive home, feeding kids snacks in the cars with the unwashed hands.)      Next Johnny's Mom heads to the store to buy groceries.  He doesn't want to stay in the cart and manages to touch enough surfaces that he will pass on the germs to another 20 people when they touch these same surfaces over the next 36 hours. 

One child, 40 new potential cases, more than half of those are other kids.   He was the first one in this little town to pick up the virus.  His mom had no idea that a homeless man from an infected area many states away had stopped at their park and had a drink and a cough hours before she had taken Johnny to the park one cold but sunny day the week before.  One contact.

Several moms were careful and cleaned or put sanitizer on the kids hands which does slow the spread of the virus, but it isn't long before most of those kids have exposed siblings, parents, and other friends and family in random moments that they let down their guard, after all, they are sure they haven't been around anyone who had the virus  - a baby puts fingers in a siblings mouth, sneezes during supper, and wants picked up a dozen times a day.

Because the infection transference is so high, by the end of the week, Johnny has managed to expose 100 people as Mom takes him to stores and parks and play dates to "burn energy".  Johnny never really feels sick.  Mom eventually thinks she has a severe cold but is never tested for the virus.  She will be uncounted and so will Johnny.  Most of those exposed will catch the virus and begin spreading it.

More problematic will be the weekend to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Both grandparents will become severely ill and wonder where they managed to catch it.

Of those 100, half will be spreading the virus because they are showing few if any symptoms.  (We know that the chicken pox is only contagious just before the spots and during the spots eruptions. .....  One of the questions is ... how long is a person contagious and when can they start spreading it? .....   The answer is, "day of" until the hands, clothing, and exposed body parts are washed with soap.  Then for a few days they are ok, some doctors are saying a person can spread this for a whole week before showing any symptom at all, while others say, they are not contagious until there is a fever.  They are still learning - we are all guinea pigs.  14 days ... maybe 21.)  So back to those 100.  There will be at least 20 that get pretty sick.  They probably will go see a doctor and even get a test run (5 days to get a result in the USA because the tests have to be mailed to a lab and then mailed back).  So half will never know they had it or were spreading it. ....  Of 30 that were sick, about 20 will be able to weather the virus with normal "drinking, sleeping, isolation" regime.  At least 10 will end up in the hospital, and at least 5 of those will fight for their lives.  Those who survive will probably have permanent lung damage.

Those are simple numbers.  But this virus is on an "e" curve and is not linear.   By the end of week 2, Johnny will have exposed an additional 20 people, and exposed most of those he has contact with in a week several additional times.  But now those he infected are beginning to spread the virus as well.  By the end of week 3, Johnny's trips into the still active public will have spread to over 500 from those he exposed and infected, he is no longer spreading it, but those he infected are.  That 500 will continue to infect others.  By week 5, over 2,000 people could have contracted the disease from Johnny's trips out, including many who have now taken it to other cities and neighborhoods.   The thing with "e" curves, for everyone that remains out of the equation, fewer people are affected and the less extreme the slope.  

This is why the virus appears to be controlled and not a problem for the first 2 weeks.  Laugh, joke, "yeah right, I've got a vaccine for that in my fridge, give it to my cows" ... but it's a completely different corona virus.  Week 3 will see a jump in cases and people will begin shifting from foot to foot with unease, laughing and secretly worried.  Week 4.  Hospitals become increasingly unable to keep up.  Week 5, they could be choosing who dies here.  You can be sure, they did in Wuhan and Italy as well, and every other affected area.  

What about the uncounted?  The very poor, unable to get to medical help, places where there are no fancy equipment to assist breathing?  That could mean up to 25% of the population could die.  Take Africa .. poor health and poor living conditions already, or the homeless population. 

Remember when smallpox hit the Indian nations?  Whole tribes were decimated within weeks.  We keep comparing this to the flu because it acts like a flu.  Try comparing it to something that was as easily spread when introduced to a new population ... like the smallpox or medieval plagues.

Wuhan/China waited weeks before admitting they had a problem.  By shutting down the entire nation, even during a critical vacation and revenue time of the year, here they are 5 weeks later and most of the cities and population has been spared (or that is what they are reporting), even in Wuhan.   Numbers are probably much higher than reported, as China has a sub culture of "non-citizens" that are born illegally... those will not be counted and are at the highest risk of death.  They would not have been tested and they will not be given medical care.  They simply do not exist. 

Let's bring this home ...  how many people do you know that is high risk?  What will you be willing to do to keep them safe?  Song has asthma, anyone with breathing issues like asthma and allergies.  My dad is taking cancer treatments, anyone in any form of cancer treatments.  Anyone over 60.  Anyone in the medical field.  Anyone who tends to "catch everything".   People with sensory issues.  Anyone with gut health issues.  Anyone who just had surgery.  New babies. ... and so many others.   Overweight, heart problems, diabetic... in general, if you are in poor health, the outcomes are worse.

My students and their parents say this to me.

1.  Stay home.  Do not be tempted to go out at all.

2.  Drink warm water (they boil all of their water) and wash your hands a lot.

3.  Exercise and eat healthy foods.

4.  If you have a cough or sneeze, use a facemask.  Do  not go anywhere.  Stay alone in the house.

5.  Only one person leaves the house.  Only to buy food and things you need.  Cover yourself and wash well when you come home.  Do not touch anyone or anything.  Come home quickly.

6.  Teacher?  Where is your facemask?  You MUST wear one!

Several teachers have students mailing them "good" facemasks to keep their teacher safe.  Most are "stuck" in the mail.

Isolation seems to be a critical factor in controlling the virus spread (isn't this ALWAYS TRUE!)  (My kids always get sick right after they go to SS or other group events).   Frequent and thorough hand washing helps a LOT (SHOULDN'T WE BE DOING THIS ANYWAY?).

Many people who work medical or vital services have not been allowed to return home in China.  They have beds with plastic sheeting between.  No two beds can be occupied at the same time.  What you need, the government will bring to you.

There are very few restrictions in the country.  Many of the children were sent, or left in the country at the beginning of the outbreak. 

I'm heading to bed.
It is sobering.  But God is in control.
Don't fear it ... but do as the Bible says ... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.  Just stay home unless you have no other choice.  Set up video networks to talk to friends, attend get togethers, etc.  When people begin to have family and friends -  people they love - with this ... THEN they will care.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The VIPkid Train Gains Momentum!

So as Christmas rolled around ... this gig called "VIPkid" was taking off.  Christmas was not bleak, but I gave more to the two small ones hoping the big ones would understand, they were both adults now and had had many big Christmases in their past.  I even managed to sneak in some Black Friday shopping.

I was SO exhausted.  Waking up at 4:30 every single morning for over 40 days and still trying to run a full schedule ...  ....  but the shocking thing was the "involuntary naps".   I found that I had no control over these naps that I would suddenly find myself waking up and a whole hour was gone out of my day.   Never in my life had I had this much problem staying awake ... and I chalked it up to one more thing in my brain that the stroke had affected.   In my attempts to stay awake for the 2 hours required (5am - 7am) that could be booked as a short notice, I started watching the "Highlander" series on Amazon Prime.  A show that had been on my "rewatch" status for a long time.  (Side Note:  my husband says I don't watch TV like you are supposed to - I fast forward and skip whole sections)  anyway, I managed to cover the entire series in a little over 2 months of these early morning times.

I homeschooled 2 extra kids 3 days a week, and those days, I just opened the door at 7am and kept going with my day.  Otherwise, I went back to bed or turned off the light and fell asleep in my chair.   Nights remained chaotic as the ref was .. reffing ... and he was seldom home nights between McDonald's and reffing.  At this time also, our car seemed to be IN the shop for repairs almost as often as it was OUT.   From late August on, with growing frequency, we had one electrical repair after another from needing to replace a "newish" battery to a starter and so on.  This meant that getting anywhere was difficult and we relied heavily on friends and family to get us places.

Finally my "big break" arrived!  December 23, wee house of the morning, I managed a booking that didn't disappear!   And I taught my first class to a kid named "Hamburger" I think, or was it "Minecraft".   We laughed and enjoyed ourselves and managed to only go over a few minutes.  Another class the next day, and 4 in a row Christmas morning.  And a few rebooked and left 5 apples.  I was so excited.

As we rolled through January, I was becoming more desperate for sleep.  I did not  want to sleep through the school day, and being a light sleeper, the refs very different schedule and only 3 beds in the house, meant I was falling asleep at odd times, forcing those 2 hours awake, and often taking advantage of any reprieve (kids in church or on an outing) just to be able to sleep in quiet bliss for a few hours.   Without it, my blood pressure shot up.  Also, I'm a sleepy snacker.  If I'm tired, I eat to stay awake.   And the negative side effect is ... pounds.  I began to notice my hard won weight loss beginning to reverse.

Being desperate, I began dragging blankets and pillows into the hallway or Sunshine's room, just to sleep for a few hours before teaching.

As January rolled to the end, I found myself very close to my goal of 50 classes per month, but just shy of the 45 class bonus.  I sent in a ticket, and to my delight, a few more classes booked, bringing me to 46 for the month.  I was OVER THE MOON.  For the first time, there was a deposit to my bank for VIPkid.   It wasn't much, but it would relieve the tight budget.  ... Or help pay for the car bills.

At any rate ....  I was making a bit of cash and for the first time in 20 years, we didn't wonder if the paycheck would stretch to cover the bills.

February did see us hitting a major glitch.  We had a 1TB data plan ... imagine our shock when we were notified 20 days into the month that we were over our plan!  HOW did we use up a whole TB of data?   We traced the source back to my computer ... and then to my teaching Chrome Account. ....  It took us about 2 weeks, but most of the data was being eaten by my using Google Slides group accounts.  Once I copied the files into my own account, changed to Firefox, and put a choker program to close the tabs that I was not using, the data usage dropped to normal.

Just if you are wondering ... Teaching 4-5 classes with Google Slides runs about a GB of data is all.   Which means that if I have to use our hot spot (and I have) then I do not have to worry about using the entire data plan for our cell phones.   I use Google Slides on 2 devices.  I have a borrowed iphone that I use for reward slides, and my personal phone is for the teaching slides.

Currently my hours are from 4:30 - 7:00 AM every morning, and Friday and Saturday nights from 6:30 to 11PM ... whatever books.  I try to not book more than 5 either night and give myself a break every 2 or 3 classes. 

I have a bedtime goal of 10-11 pm, though I'm good if I get in bed by midnight.  I have taught as early as 3:30am, but found it too exhausting to power through to 7am.   I tried teaching just week mornings for 3 hours.  But that was harder than 7 days a week.  I didn't book classes past 9:30 until recently. 

China passed new laws and now I have lost my 7am - 8am teaching slots (everybody did).  So, I moved that class to 4am/4:30am ... and discovered 5 classes is my upper limit without a break.  I have to take off the headphones and walk around!  5 x 7 is 35, so I make up those last 5 classes on the weekend nights.  I may try to push to 50 a week if I can establish a routine for the family.

After my last class, I do feedback until my eyes start closing, then drop into a bed and sleep until my body lets me wake up again between 9 and 11 am.  THEN we get going on the day.  In total, I require 6 hours of sleep to function, and if I am woken after that 6 hours, I can't go back to sleep.

I also started my own YouTube Channel!  ENJOY!

If you want to learn more?... Use my referral link.  I do help answer questions and point you in the direction of more help if you need it.

Sorry, this opportunity is no longer available in California.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

VIPkid's "Sister" site = LingoBus Free Class

LingoBus teaches Chinese to kids - most speak English.

We have a Chinese teacher who speaks Chinese who works with our Little Sunshine once or twice a week.

It uses a lot of the same format and VIPkid teachers get a discount as one of our job perks.

LingoBus is offering a great deal to the kids using the program ...

Use this link to take a FREE demo class, and when you buy a 10 class package you will get 2 classes more FREE.

During November, they are also running a second Bonus .... finish a Demo and GET A FREE CLASS!!!

My daughter has taken 34 classes and is halfway through Level 1, she's found an awesome teacher and takes classes 1 or 2 times a week. There is a lot of support material available as well.

Honestly, Free classes? What have you got to lose? It's FUN!!! It's a lot like the curriculum that I teach to the Chinese children ... and you can watch that class over and over again.

Disclaimer ... Sunshine will also get a free class if you use my link.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

VIPkid Starting Out ...


September ... I once again pulled out the VIPkid link, dusted it off, and this time I filled out the application form online, following the advise of others from Youtube and blogs.  I scraped out any and every child teaching experience that I could think of and listed it.  AND they were interested!   Looking back, there was one I should have written down.  The year I taught kindergarten, I had a little girl that was learning English as a second language in my classroom ... but I forgot.

The VERY NEXT DAY I had a returning email... Let's set up an interview!

So, now I panic.  I needed to set up a space, we were still moving and unpacking.  I needed a headset too.  And it took a few weeks to get all of the required essentials together.  I contacted the company... what is the next step?

We set up an interview ... and wouldn't you know, our city had a frightful thunderstorm roll in right as the time for the interview rolled in.  It was loud enough that Oscar heard it and laughed a few times.   Twice during the "mock class" our internet and lights were knocked out for a brief second, and God blessed and brought them right back.  I certainly would pass on the tech side!   And ... I passed!  Without a teaching certification, I was not offered the top dollar ... but it was a lot more than I've ever made!   You get offered a "per hour" rate ... but you are actually paid per class with bonuses at certain milestones.  Such as, if you are on time, you get a bonus for every single class that you are on time for. 

So, now I was on to step 3.   I needed to set up a mock interview to pass a certification for actual teaching.   Up until that month, the set up had been ... two mocks and you are out of here.  Now, you take the mocks until they feel you are ready.   It took 3 for me to get the background and lighting and pacing down to what they liked.   In the process, I rearranged my living room 3 or 4 times.

But finally, I passed the Level 2/3 Certification.  This would give me 2 levels to teach .. except, they were switching kids over to learn in the "Interactive" Level 2.  So, I decided to go for that one as well.

Knowing what I do NOW, I would not have signed my contract until I passed the second certification, but ... I did.   And while it was not related ... I promptly got very sick.   I ran a fever for 4 days, and slept much of that time.   Obviously, I did not open slots to teach while I was sick.  In fact, I didn't do anything.

By the time I got myself pulled together and started to open slots, nearly 2 weeks had passed.  I got booked, cancelled, booked cancelled.   Sigh.

Eventually I slugged through the mail and found the "take these special workshops for new teachers" email.   I started in on the list, but missed out on several bonuses because I didn't get them all in within the first 2 weeks. 

Eventually, I did pass the Level 2 Interactive as well, but it took 3 tries in the "fake classroom".

Maybe this wasn't for me?

Thanksgiving was approaching and the company began to offer "PPT Short Notice" bonuses ... most kids in China take their classes between 7pm and 9pm Beijing Time.  Most teachers dropped the number of slots that they were willing to open during the Holidays.

So each morning, I got up at 4am, set up the classroom, and waited to see if anyone would book me on short notice.  Crickets.

On the other side of the coin ... I managed to watch the entire 5 Seasons of an old favorite TV program in order on Amazon Prime.   That had been on my bucket list for ages. 

I kept taking Workshops.  I kept doing Hutong Challenges.  I joined various FB groups.  I changed my pictures.  I changed my video.  I changed my tags.  I had plenty of time between 4am and 7am to do all kinds of things in the absolute quiet.

Then, on Christmas Eve's Eve (43 days from signing that contract) ... I was booked.  It was 1:30 AM ... BUT I was booked!!!  And I taught my very first class.  The next morning, I taught a Short Notice class at 5:30 AM.   Christmas Morning - I had all 4 of the PPT slots booked!   and of those 6 classes 3 of them rebooked for 2 weeks out  (one of those is still with me)!   By the end of December, I had taught 10 classes.  The first week of January was similar to Christmas week.  I finished January will 46 classes.   And some of those kids were coming back!    My first payment in January was not much (November and December combined), less than $200 ... but it was money!   And I more than doubled that for the month of January! 

So, now the challenge was to keep the kids coming back and giving them a great class.

AND THEN ... it was Chinese New Year .... turns out the Chinese are fiercely Family Oriented and Holidays were frequent and important....

And a friend found a garden decoration that was a sheep on a stick.  Now, I collect sheep.  My house has so many of them... so it was an excellent prop.  I named her Sparkle and let her give the stars.  The kids LOVED this!   And suddenly - I had my gimmick for the parents and kids to remember me.

So ... what next?   Will I fly or flop?

Friday, January 25, 2019

And So a NEW Chapter Begins in My Life

I suspect many out there will take ONE look at that picture and know EXACTLY what I've gotten myself into.


Money has been tight for YEARS.  And I've struggled again and again to find a way to make extra cash.  I have an affiliate link for so many different places ... but not enough traffic to make much more than $50 a year.  IF I'm lucky.

Swagbucks was great for a while.  .... and I have made about $400 ... over the past 10 years.  Sigh.  It's not as easy to rack up the swagbucks any more ... and they changed search engines and format, so I find myself going elsewhere to search at least 25% of the time.  Still, if I wanted to cash it in, I have $10 that I can move to Amazon cards!

I also wrote short stories - which Kendra published on Amazon.   And curriculum which is available at School House Teachers .... link on the sidebar.

Back in February or March last year.  I asked on Facebook ... where can I work from home online.   And I got a lot of good ideas.   Some required training, some making phone calls in the middle of the day, some lots of time.  But none of it appealed, and I bogged out.  Then 3 or 4 people who knew me well said, "Try VIPkid."   One sent a link.  And I checked it out.

Bummer.  I needed MUCH faster internet.  And ethernet.  ... BUT the rest looked great.   THIS was something that appealed to me!

Our trailer continued to fall apart.  We had a hole in the roof in the bathroom, right next to the wall.  The furnace quit.  The hot water tank quit.  New hole in the floor and a new leak in the ceiling.  Our washer quit, and the list went on and on and on.  Every week or two, we added a new thing.  The entire AC duct system needed to be replaced, roof, walls, windows, floors, hot water tank, new AC and Furnace, most of the plumbing and electrical also needed to be redone.   AND on top of that... our neighbours were convinced that our daughter was vandalizing their property.   Shocking to us.  And it kept escalating to the point that she had to go live somewhere else and not risk coming home ever.   (They still watch the trailer frequently).

So .... you know, maybe it's just time to pull on the boots and MOVE.  We'd moved there temporarily over 15 years before.  My babies were adults now.  My 2 new babies were half grown.

So we began house hunting.

If we liked it.  We probably could not afford it.  If we could afford it, then it was in the bad part of town, small, or needed a LOT of fixing.  And the Ref is NOT a handyman, he's not even a good mow the yard and take out the trash type of guy.  So a fixer-upper is really OUT of the question.  We also needed a fenced yard for our dog.

Our dog died.  She just disappeared ... and we found her a week later about an acre back.  So sad.... but now we could afford an apartment maybe.

We started to look at rentals toward the end of spring.  Found a great one ... and it was rented the next day.  Sigh.

At one point, we thought we had a deal to buy a really wonderful trailer about 40 minutes away - it would need storage and maybe a fence.  But we fell in love with it.  And they told us it was ours and we signed and put our money down.  A month passes with no word.  Then they called to say they sold it to somebody else!!??!!

Then Song got a job being a nanny for a 3 year old.  They travel a LOT and Song goes with them.  They helped her get into college and she should be getting a driver licence soon.   We had been looking at sizes that would allow Song to live us.  Story wanted to stay with our Aunt.  So now, we only needed room for 2 kids.

It was now July.  We were getting desperate - as the Ref was to be starting volleyball season soon.

As it worked out, we were offered an apartment at $100 off because the renters had backed out at the last minute.   It was close, we barely qualified.  BUT they let us have it.  It's on a small lake, a huge tree outside the window, 2 balconies, 3 bedrooms.   It was still a stretch.  But the middle of town and we loved the location!

So August 1 found us moving in.  Getting internet.  Getting school organized.

Early September, I pulled up this thing called VIPkid and began looking at the details again.  I was determined to make it work!

To Be Continued ........

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