Staying at Home

Staying at Home
Staying at Home

Friday, April 3, 2020

04-03-2020 Writing About It

It is now 5:30 AM and I have been awake since 2, finally up at 3 thinking I could possibly write a blog post.  It’s funny how I can procrastinate this simple chore, and yes, this time it feels like a chore rather than a delight.  But it needs to be done. I need to try to track the milestones of our life, not just the great trips, but the down times.  March was most definitely a down time, but it didn’t really begin until March 10, when we laughingly enjoyed what was to be our last pedicure for a long time.

On March 10th, the Virus was still a distant rumor, just a tiny hint of what was to come.  We felt safe enough with our pedicure technicians wearing their masks as they often do. By March 13th, the rumor was big and loud enough that I called my hairdresser and asked if she minded if I cancelled my appointment.  She was still open, but understood completely.  At almost 75 years old, and with a random muscle disease as yet undiagnosed, I didn’t want to take chances.  Now in Oregon, all barber shops, beauty shops, and nail salons are closed along with many other so called non essential businesses.  It is a bit interesting to see what is deemed essential, with liquor stores and pot shops being high on the list.

Many of my blogging friends have done a fantastic job of continuing to write about the complexities of their lives as they deal with the Virus.  Covid 19. It. Some have said we should keep a diary of these times, of our lives as we go through what feels like a truly crazy dystopian novel. I haven’t done that well, in fact I haven’t even tried.  I have days on the calendar that list things that need to be done, but the huge blank spot in that calendar are appointments and outings.  All those doctor and dentist visits, blood work that needs to be done, hair  and nail appointments, dinner with friends, Friday nights at the winery with wood fired pizzas and a bottle of good red.

A trip to the beach, something we have done almost every March since we had the MoHo, cancelled at the last minute.  We had planned 3 days at an RV resort near Gold Beach beginning on March 23.  I called to cancel after social media went into a frenzy about too many people heading for the coast, but the owner refused to refund our deposit, saying everything was fine.  The very next day Oregon’s governor closed the RV parks.  Instead of the refund I would have received, I got a credit for another date in June.  Unknown to us and unmentioned by the park manager was that the cost in June was summer rates, quite a bit more than we planned.  I was NOT happy.

Our planned cruise to Scotland is scheduled for early July, but we are reasonably certain that it will be cancelled as well.  We have the ability to cancel with a full credit for a future cruise just 48 hours before our first airline departure so will wait a bit before cancelling.  Not exactly excited about getting on a long flight or a cruise ship even in July, and am pretty sure we will not be going on that cruise this year.

We are practicing social distancing, isolating at home.  Often, it doesn’t feel much different than usual.  We aren’t hugely social creatures, enjoying our own company, enjoying our home and our little almost acre.

That acre has been a godsend in the last few weeks.  We can still go outdoors when the weather allows and fiddle around with home projects to keep us busy and moving.  I can get 10,000 steps in a day simply walking up and down to mow and rake and haul debris to the waiting dump trailer.  Mo spends more time outside than I do, being less picky about the temperatures and willing to don outerwear to get out there.  I’m more of a warm weather person, I really don’t like working in the cold.  Maybe because I spent so many decades as a field scientist working outdoors in some rather awful weather. I’ll go for a walk, but actually doing yard work in cold damp weather isn’t any fun for me. 

Mo’s big project this month has been getting a solid, level gravel floor in the lean-to area of her wood shop.  She had to mix many bags of cement to enclose the area so that it would contain the gravel.  She then ordered a big load of rock, and shoveled it into the space bit by bit until she had a very nice solid floor. She was happy that she had her trusty tractor to help move the gravel from the pile to the shed. No more blocks trying to level up her sawing table.

Instead of braving the chilly weather I retreat to the sewing machine or make some cards, clean house or cook:  warm pursuits that keep me happy and far from bored.  I don’t think either of us has been even remotely bored in the last few weeks.  But things seem to be getting crazier every day, and the somewhat vague lockdown of just about every kind of commerce in the state of Oregon is beginning to take its toll. 

My dearest friend, Maryruth, came down with pneumonia early in the month, just as her husband Gerald was recuperating from a heart attack and major heart surgery.  It was still a time when I could take them food and groceries, but as the month progressed even that changed.  Maryruth never had a fever, was never hospitalized, but also was never tested.  We haven’t visited in person for 3 weeks now.  She is better, Gerald has recuperated wonderfully, but with compromised immune systems, there are no dinner get togethers, no card playing dates, no girly crafting days to share.

Cooking a deep dish quiche for supper

I can see that I am rambling as I write, trying to recapture how it feels to be required to remain at home, to stay away from family and friends.  Like many others, I am calling more and texting less, wanting to hear the voices of those that I love as they navigate the same scary waters.  My daughter Melody is working from home, but her honey is still going to work.  They made an offer on a house early in the month, before anything was known, and unbelievably they were funded, inspected, appraised and managed to close within a couple of days of the original closing date, yesterday. Is moving considered an essential activity? 

A lovely old home in Oregon for my daughter who loves history and old houses

My grandkids, Melody’s family, are all somehow magically safe at the moment, with Xavier, the most immune compromised with Type 1 diabetes on paid leave from his job at Fred Meyer.  My two grandkids and their two roommates share an apartment in Albany, Oregon, with one working at Home Depot, one working at WalMart, one currently unemployed but with some savings, and Xavier at home.  They are being careful and they are not ignoring the warnings.  Millennials and younger, they are paying attention. I am proud of them.

Deborah, a financial manager at Southern Oregon Head Start is considered essential, even though the facilities are closed.  She is getting paid and even if she weren’t she has a gazillion hours of sick leave she can use.  Her honey is retired, with a stable income as well. With unemployment applications topping 10 million so far, I am incredibly grateful that the family has resources and is safe.  What I miss are the weekly or biweekly Deborah Sunday visits.  Grandson Matthew is at home across the street, and we wave when we see each other.

Keith and my grandson Steven, and Deanna installing new hardwood floors in their home

Daughter Deanna and her husband, the truckers, are miraculously at home at their property in Northern Washington. They planned a month off to do some down time, to work on their home and property before all this started.  Now they are trapped there, without income, but unwilling to go back on the road and get stranded somewhere unable to move.  The airplane engines that they transport are stopped cold at the moment, and other drivers who do what they do are spending most of their time waiting in truck stops with no open restaurants.  It is hard on their savings and their retirement plans, but at least they are trapped at home instead of somewhere far away in a truck.  They also have property to play on and plenty of home projects to keep them busy, a freezer full of food, and plenty of isolation in a very tiny remote community.  I am grateful that they are safe.

I took down the St Pat’s decor, and put up Easter.  I do love the Easter decorations, but realized this year that love is mostly based on knowing that I will be sharing an Easter meal with family, and the decor is just a backdrop to brighten that precious family time.  Something that will not happen this year.  Back in mid March when I put it up, I did think that maybe this would all be over by Easter.  I know some of the world thought that as well, but now we know better.  Social isolation will no doubt last at least through April and probably much longer.

So many people have said what am feeling:  the days are all running together.  We have settled into a routine that is only broken when one or the other of us waken in the night and then we sleep till 8 or even 9am.  Unheard of around here!  We are binge watching Newsroom after dinner, if you can call two episodes a night a binge.  It is for us.  The Sunday night airing of the final season of Homeland can take my mind off of anything else.

The dog knows when the 4 pm chime rings it is time for her walk, and at 5 it is time for her dinner and at 8 she is insistent that it is her bedtime.  The days are pleasant, sometimes even lovely. 

I am enjoying uninterrupted time for quilting,working on a bed quilt for Deborah.

Another dear friend in Idaho is a crafter/card maker and turned me on to the Tim Holtz Facebook Live demonstrations on Saturdays.  She sent me some Tim style cards, so different from my somewhat regimented and orderly card making style. 

The Stampin’ Up style of cards I am used to making

I learned that it is very hard for me to just cut loose and get all crazy with random stuff, and was surprised that there is such a big learning curve to the chemistry of the particular style of Distress card making.

Learning to make wild colorful creative backgrounds, Tim Holtz style

It is very similar to why I had so much trouble trying to play blues piano when I was trained classical, as much as I loved the Blues. Laura is inspiring me to just cut loose and play with the colors and the paper and don’t even try to think of what it will be like in the end.  Challenging, and just what is needed to take my mind off of what is going on in the world around us.

Yesterday the sun came out after many gray, drippy days.  We needed the rain, and I don’t mind it, but I so miss the sunshine.  Even with a hard frost on the grass in the early morning, the day was gorgeous.  Mo and I treated ourselves to a drive to the compost center for a truckload of nice rich compost for the annual flower garden on the sunny side of the RV shed.

I love putting fresh compost down getting ready for the annuals in this garden

We enjoyed the gorgeous spring day during the 20 minute drive along the Rogue River.  We stopped at the drive through of Rogue Roasters for coffee to go for the drive.  It was an exciting outing for us.  I carefully wiped the credit card and the coffee cups with Clorox wipes from our last container.  Mattie even had a puppicino.  These are tiny cups of whipped cream that Starbucks has for dog customers, and the local Rogue Roasters was happy to oblige when I asked.

We have 18 more days of toilet paper, which I had stored prior to the hoarding kerfuffle.  I always try to keep the TP in the cupboard so I don’t have to shop for it often, so I was prepared.  Who knows if I will be able to get more, but I am getting a bit nervous about it. We are planning to head to WinCo on Sunday morning. Local conversations on Grants Pass Community Chat indicate that they are doing an excellent job of practicing social distancing, and are fairly well stocked.  We will see how that goes. So far we haven’t had any desire to brave the 30 miles and unknown that is Costco.

As others have said in blogs and facebook posts, not much to report.  Still, it seems important to write it down.  Someday we could all look back and say, wow, that was something.  Someday it could be completely behind us.  Then again, someday we could look back and say, that is when the end of the world started, or the beginning of a new word we don’t recognize.  It could be anything.  That is the uncertainty of these times that makes writing a blog feel so disjointed, that makes life feel so disorienting.  We are adjusting to a new reality, and no one really has a clue what that reality will bring.


28 comments:

  1. Interesting reading, believe it or not. I've already dealt with friends who've lost someone to Covid, so you and I are currently fortunate as heck. Keep gardening, mom!

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    1. Oh so sweet to see you here, Melody. Thank you.

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  2. Interesting seeing how you are coping. Too bad about the trip to the coast. Seems like your deposit should have been refunded but I guess times are strange right now. You are right, this may be the start of a totally new reality. Only time will tell.

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  3. LOVE yr cards!!! That is a really cool old house.. live the porch
    I have a cousin in Salem that got the virus and died!!! She had breast cancer last year and immune system was compromised.. it really hits home when it happens to dear ones near you.
    The uncertainty and changes to "normal" and "usual" that are scary.

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    1. I thought you of all people would enjoy the cards. So very sorry to hear about your cousin. I sent you an email privately. Yes, I plan to share cards with you!

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  4. Certainly different times the world over. In the UK WE are in total lockdown, only allowed to leave home to get food or medication and to exercise, unless you are a dedicated key worker. We were supposed to be going on a month long trip around the Baltic and Norway, We were going to see the ballet in St Petersburg. That has all been cancelled of course. I was sad at First, but now it seems unimportant. But in amongst the worry are so many moments of light heartedness - playing charades by mobile phone with the neighbours, community dancing in your front garden, play your favourite music for the neighbours. We have learned to use Zoom and shared a meal with my brothers via conference call - that was certainly different! Stay safe!

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    1. So sorry about your trip cancellations. It seems we are all in the same "boat" so to speak. I am also sorry that I cannot for the life of me remember if we have met. IF so, it is with a name other than Michele with an Ell. Love that! Charades with the neighbors via mobile phone sounds hysterical. I can barely get my family to play charades any more on holidays.
      Take care.

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  5. Love your cards and your photos! A friend and I were talking—this self isolation is not very different from our normal but it feels different—we are restless. I miss our friends, our dinner parties, the library, the list goes on and on.

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    1. Isn't that the truth, Janna! That inner restless feeling has as much to do with the uncertainty of what the future holds as it does with what we can no longer do.

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  6. It's a brave new world...good that you have and acre to keep you moving till winter. Take care.

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    1. Yes, moving it what matters no matter what. Hopefully this thing won't last till next winter though! But you might be right.

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  7. Thank you for sharing what might seem everyday to you, but not to me when not knowing. I am glad you two have chores and hobbies to keep you sane. Of course I don't get the bored and lonely thing myself, but respect that others do. I journal daily and sometimes struggle to write. I've missed two of my bi-annual haircuts so am struggling with this mop. Be well, be safe. Virtual hug.

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    1. Thanks, Gaelyn. Glad you enjoyed all my rambling stuff. Your mop is quite wonderful, actually, and you can always put it up easily. I think many of us who have journaled most of our lives are the ones who manage to keep up the blogs, at least somewhat.

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  8. Hello Sue! I’m so happy to have found a way back to your blog through Al. It wasn’t easy but I did it! I always loved the way you wrote and that has not changed one bit!
    I mostly maneuver around on my phone now on Facebook and I will send you a friend request if I find you there. Judy Ross if you’ve forgotten. I hope you two can be safe from the virus!

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  9. It is interesting indeed what is considered essential what is not. When the CO Governor first made his announcement, alcohol and pot shops were supposed to close down. There was such a big run on them, that the next day the announcement was made to exempt them. Golf courses being essential is another one I don’t get ... unless people are golfing individually and not in groups (people from different households) as they usually do.

    On the one hand, I can understand travel industry providers wanting to hold on to cash and give out credits, but what that campground owner is doing is just plain wrong ... especially since there is an order in place for them to close. That’s not the way to keep your customer base happy so that they come back once the crisis is over. Personally, I’d be less likely to go back to the place again ... after one last stay to use the credit.

    I have canceled all of the pay-on-arrival reservations we had for this year ... waiting on everything else to be canceled by the operator so we can get refunds where that option is available to us ... and credits where that is the only option. In our case, I have to bide my time for another month or so before I get going with cancelation work.

    We’re like you guys ... not hugely social, so social distancing has not made a huge impact on the way we live our lives. Boredom is definitely not in our vocabulary ... but things are getting so crazy that I can see where this can be a huge problem for many who are unable to entertain themselves. We’ll keep doing what we need to do to flatten the curve ... and hope that those who still aren’t taking this crisis seriously will wake up and do so as well. It will take more than a village to overcome this crisis around the world ... it will take whole countries.

    Congrats to Melody and her honey on the new home ... yes, moving is essential business IMHO. What a charming house they bought. What a haven during the pandemic.

    I had to laugh at your binge-watching description. For us it’s the Crown with 2-3 episodes a night. Have too much to do to sit and watch all day long.

    Never heard of a puppicino ... thanks for the explanation and the smile it put on my face when I read it.

    Costco has been great so far here in Colorado Springs ... they are enforcing the social distancing both inside and outside. We’re lucky to have two of them within 10-15 minutes. So far, Mui’s been able to get TP and disinfectant wipes and the like the two times he’s been there since our return to the USA. (Sonia has had more difficulty at Costco in Denver.) The commissary has similarly been a good place for shopping, with appropriate rules in place. Mui’s insistence on having military facilities near where we settle is paying off. Most of the local stores seem to have decent amounts of foodstuff. So far, so good.

    On the news yesterday, they mentioned a website created by two Texas students ... instok. Seems it pulls inventory from different stores that you can search for what you need. Check it out ... it doesn’t have Costco, but it does have Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and smaller stores ... the list changes by zip code.

    I’ll end by saying ... excellent post. I’m glad you wrote it. I found it an interesting read. Similarities in our lifestyle right now are especially striking. Stay busy ... stay safe ... stay healthy.

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    1. It was wonderful to read your comment, all of it, and sweet of you to private message me making sure I didn't mind all those words. How could I mind! Such a thoughtful response, it seems that this particular blog encouraged a torrent of words from folks who don't usually comment. I so love the comments, even though they are fewer than the old days, and especially love that you are so thoughtful about what you say. Thanks, Erin.

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  10. Good to hear you are doing well and finding a way to keep busy. We are stuck in our winter place in Arizona, not really a bad situation. We have stores close by and it is sunny most days. So far the hot weather has not arrived. My wife has her sewing setup in the living room and is making quilts, shirts and face masks. Normally her sewing setup is at the Fiber Arts Building, but that is closed. JoAnn's Fabrics is open and her normal quit shop is doing curbside pickup, so she can still get supplies.

    Costco here in Mesa has been a good experience. Winco not so much, too many customers of all ages not following social distancing. The Albertson's across the street is the best, about everyone is behaving.

    I am sure our May doctor appointments in Washington state will be cancelled, but who knows.

    Take care and stay safe.

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    1. Interesting to hear how the different Costco locations are handling the situation, and it seems to change daily. This morning Fred Meyer here in Grants Pass was darn near as good as it gets, with about 85 percent of people paying attention and at least 50 percent wearing masks. I never did make it to Winco.

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    2. and, Bill Joyce, I don't have an email address for you to let you know I answered your comment. Just an FYI.

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  11. Glad to hear you and yours are all well and safe. Amazing all you do. I am having a very hard time with this being so alone. I share your late rising times but mostly because it is colder than I like here and I have little to make me want to spring out of bed. There are definitely things that need doing but most of them require hiring someone else to do them now that David is not here. Of course that's no longer possible. My niece cancelled her wedding which was to be today. I won't be able to go to my granddaughter's 4th birthday in Maryland and little by little am cancelling all reservations as the parks shut down. Not a very cheery comment. So glad to read that you two have so much going on.

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    1. Well, Sherry, it really doesn't feel like we have that much going on!  A trip to the compost facility?  LOL and a coffee to boot?  I guess that was really pretty exciting.  I did go to the store this morning, with a mask and two dampened washcloths with dilute bleach water over my hands.  I didn't touch anything, wiped everything I picked up, wore a mask and used brand new paper bags since our old bags are supposedly contaminated.  The store had plexiglas between me and the checker and 85 percent of the people were paying attention.  Wasn't very encouraging to see a 6 year old standing in an aisle picking her nose, however.  I ran away fast!  LOL  You take care and be safe. 

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  12. “Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.” ~ Graham Greene

    I couldn't have said it better myself. Keep writing!

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    1. I must say it is really sweet of you to comment, Suzanne. I have been reading your latest blogs, completely overwhelmed at the adventure that you have been on, and all the comments are so well thought out and well stated that I just give up. Nothing I can say can express my appreciation for all that you are writing about, even though I know I will never experience any of those things. Take Care and as you said, Keep Writing!

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  13. I have to confess that I got so annoyed after reading that that RV park would only give you a credit, that I scrolled past most of the rest just to get HERE. I'm upset, and I'm not even you. I suspect that I'd show up at their gate, with my reservation number in hand, insisting that they either let me in, of give me my money. I'd plead ignorance as to the mandate from the government, as well as any other emails/notifications they might have sent. Just to see what they'd do. Carry on. Take care.

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    1. Hey, Bob.  I loved your comment about the RV Park.  It infuriated me too, at first.  Then when I thought about it a bit more I realized that they were under a lot of stress as well.  They are a small privately owned park, fairly new, and I am sure are working on a shoestring, fearful of losing their first year of income.  Probably worried about having to pay back all those deposits.  In fairness, they did offer me half a deposit refund which I decided to go ahead and put it on a future date.  I am still bothered that they didn't tell me about the price difference when they suggested that option.  But we will go.  Once.  And see if they are decent people or just money grabbers. Just wanted to thank you for being in our corner.

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  14. Quite a post Sue. But yes these are trying times indeed. I have been self isolated for 3 weeks with one outing to get Fred and his nasty glands cleaned out and a stop for gas. The groomer came out and got Fred and 20 min. later she brought him back out, I handed her a check and was off down the road. Then pumped my gas, wipes down my card and home we came.
    I'm so happy for your daughter and sil on there new house and it sure is pretty. I to love old homes. Good to know all your family is doing well as are you and MO.

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  15. Thanks for blogging about this very strange time in our lives. Each of us adjusts (or not) as we can. For me personally, I'd do better if we had good weather and I could get outside. If the virus wasn't a part of our lives, Jimmy and I would be all packed and ready to depart for Portugal, Morocco and Norway tomorrow. Not meant to be. So now I'm still trying to chase down refunds and credits. Of course we can't visit with our sweet Evie, now three years old, and that's hard, even with FaceTime. I believe I'm still grieving for lives pre-COVID19.

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    1. Oh so true, Nickie, a very very strange time. I am glad that you two have managed some good hikes at least, that must help. And missing little Evie must be really hard. They grow up so quickly. I think we are all grieving for life pre COVID19, and also grieving for whatever life we imagine will come in the future. So many things coming down, and not many of them are good.

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