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Friday, March 20, 2020

New Normal



When I announced my retirement effective at the end of this year, I had no idea whatsoever that it would turn out like this. None at all.

I had expected my Mondays through Fridays to have a normalcy to them. Greeting kids as they got off the buses. Doing the Pledge, the Moment of Silence, and a message to the kids and staff. Signing purchase orders, wandering into classrooms, watching kids learn and teachers teach- the very best part of my day(s). Supervising the cafeteria during lunch and talking with or teasing the kids as I do so. Harassing my office staff or a teacher or two if they wander my way. Catching a game or a performance.

Then home. Kim would go to Cross Fit. We’d eat something lite. I’d do some writing or some reading, sometimes both. Hannah would call and tell me about her day either on her way home from school or on her way to the gym. Emily would text or call about her classes, mostly her work for the nonprofit.

Normal, everyday kinds of things. A good life. A comfortable life.

Now, a New Normal.

Em can’t travel out of state or she will have to self-quarantine because of her job at the nonprofit. She can’t work out because her gym is closed. Her classes are now online and she has no idea if she will have a graduation or not. Many of her friends have left for home already.

Hannah teaches from home using online platforms. Her gym is closed so she runs in a park- until they close. Her fiancé, Alex, works from home. Kim and I are planning on spending the day with them tomorrow. A break for us and for them.

Kim’s Cross Fit is closed now. She runs her four to six miles each morning and has begun working out in the downstairs family room. I walk most every day. I spend my time writing or reading. We make a pilgrimage to Walmart or Giant in search of necessities. We try to eat lighter and less. I certainly snack less, because I don’t want to end up looking like a Sumo wrestler.

I worry about our future- mine in retirement, wondering if perhaps I am retiring at the wrong time. While we have a time frame for when the school will be “back” we really don’t know what the future holds.

I am in the “vulnerable” group because of my age and because of my past history with asthma. I am the second youngest in my family, meaning that my older brothers and sisters are more vulnerable than I am. I worry.

I worry about the life Emily and Q, Hannah and Alex, and Kim and I face. I think about some of my kids from school- often- and worry about the same thing. You see, as a principal, I’ve always looked upon the kids as my kids, my staff as my brothers and sisters. I don’t know if that’s good or bad or right or wrong, but that’s the way I always approached my work. I worry about them.

But then I’m inspired.

I see the Italians singing to each other on balconies while in isolation in the midst of their family and friends dying. I see the same thing in Spain. I see a family singing Happy Birthday to their mother/grandmother from outside a window of her nursing home. I see a priest offering the sacrament of Penance in the church parking lot in a drive-through format. He sits in a chair, and the parishioner pulls up in a vehicle.

On Facebook, I see people trying to bring a laugh to others with a funny meme or two, trying to distract us from our situation. I see others offering inspiration and hope.

The New Normal.

I can’t say I’ve ever been through something like this before in my lifetime. Yes, many in the country have. There have been sacrifices before. There have been tightened belts and diminished wallets before.

We’re going through it again. We don’t know when the end will be, but I firmly believe there will be an end and we will survive. I believe there is enough goodness in us, in those around us to see to it that we will survive. I have hope. I have faith. I have seen both in and through others. I have seen and experienced love. I don’t know when our New Normal will return. I don’t know if it will ever be quite the same as it once was. But I do believe we will make it- you, me, my family both immediate and extended. We will make it. We will. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
My new book, Betrayed, will debut Nov. 12, 2020! It is a contemporary psychological thriller using some of the same characters from my previous work. It takes place on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeast Arizona. I will post parts and passages on my author page on Facebook. Here are two advance reviews from two awesome authors:

Adopted and bonding as a family, with histories of death, destruction and for some...abuse, these boys band together—ready to lay down their life for their new family—in order to find a missing friend before dangerous gunmen find them.

“A whirlwind of adventure, relationships, protecting family, hair-raising situations, and cold betrayal.”
Tina O’Hailey author of When Darkness Begins

A boy goes missing in Navajo Nation, a family is killed. Onto the next adventure for three brothers, including one who grew up there, to search for him. As to be expected, danger awaits, but these are not ordinary teens. They have faced harrowing situations before, and now they will rely on the skills and experience they’ve developed to get through this one.

“Once again, author Joseph Lewis has written a fast-paced psychological thriller mystery that immerses readers into a dark world few encounter.”
Joan Livingston, author of the Isabel Long Mystery Series

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor


Spiral Into Darkness:
Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm

Caught in a Web:
A PenCraft Literary Award Winner!
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis
                       
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis
                       
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family.
http://tinyurl.com/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis                                      

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis

Photo courtesy of Pablo Heimplatz and Unsplash

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe