Life at home: Van Gaver Family

Escaping the city

By Greg Van Gaver

I feel like this is the Pandemic of Irony. The world is uniting around a common goal to fight a virus that requires us all to stay apart. Cities and states are all stopping work, giving lots of people lots of free time … but there is nothing to do. In some ways I feel unlucky and in others I realize how lucky I really am.

As soon as the statewide shutdown happened, my family and I were able to head for the hills and set up shop in Suncadia with grandma, who is actually a retired teacher and was willing to teach the kids. A safe environment with plenty of space for all of us to work and play safely was a no-brainer.

With the isolation we, like most people, quickly understood that routine would be key to keeping everyone sane—especially 6-year-old Harper and 4-year-old Ella. For us, we are trying to mirror the school day as closely as we can during the week. Online Zoom learning with teacher Davis in the mornings, math and reading lessons, then outside for some exercise after lunch. Right around 2 pm it’s free time—riding bikes, card games, puzzles—until dinner. I’m not going to lie and say that screen time doesn’t exist, because it does. But we try to keep it limited.

For kids’ activities, we discovered that closed golf courses make excellent picnic sites, sand traps are evidently Barbie’s favorite beach, and there is no better golf ball hunting ground than at the driving range. For the adults, the cart paths make for ideal bike rides, walks, and runs.

I’m in the construction industry, so my work has essentially stopped, giving me a lot of time to think about fitness again. Early on, I decided I would start training for a triathlon as a way to pass the time and feel like I was actually working toward a goal and using this downtime productively. In the city, my bike riding would involve the 520 and I-90 bridges and, of course, the Burke-Gilman Trail. Finding good running routes was more of a challenge. Up in the mountains, rides and runs are a lot easier, with few interruptions. But swim training has been eluding me from Day 1.

Getting back into Helene Madison Pool at the WAC will be near the top of my list when normal operations resume! The pool is, of course, only one of the things I look forward to jumping back into at the Club. Committee meetings, get-togethers at Hagerty’s, and Family Fun Nights are just a few of the others.

For now, I hope that everyone who can is able to fit more fitness into their life. Maybe the final irony will be that a virus that made so many people sick also allowed many others to become healthier.

—Send your Life at Home story to Content Director Darrick Meneken.

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