Wake me up when September ends

Life is good. We are healthy and even happy. But we are waiting. Waiting for CoVid to end. Waiting for herd immunity. Waiting for schools to reopen. Waiting for a vaccine. Waiting to meet friends. Waiting for November. While life continues.

The furry family members are the big beneficiaries of this ersatz living. They have us around all day. While the cats will probably not be unhappy when in-person school starts, Ouiser will be devastated. Every time one of us disappears into our room for a few minutes or we leave for a trip to the grocery store without her, she greets us when she sees us again as if it has been after days. I’m not complaining – I don’t mind a huge tail-wagging welcome several times a day.

We are settling into a bit of a daily routine for the first time in over 12 months, mostly because of a new brilliant policy for screen time that Jo recently came up with. iPad time can be earned in increments of 15 minutes up to a maximum of 90 minutes daily by spending the equal time first by being outdoors and engaged in something active. So Evan wakes up, trudges outdoors, practices soccer drills for about 30 minutes, plays pickle ball with me for about another 30 minutes, and then swims with Ouiser for the last 30 minutes. By 10:00 am most mornings, before it gets horribly hot outside, he’s earned is full allotment of iPad time and gotten it by being outdoors. No arguments, no negotiations, and almost fully self managed! Aunt Cole bought him a watch so that he would know exactly how much time he earned at any point without having to ask me or go indoors to check the time. It has been much harder to train Vivian.

We are cautiously socializing at a distance. Family and friends visit around the swimming pool and have camped in the yard overnight. We spend time with friends outside around the pool and the grill and the ice cooler and the pickle ball court. We meet friends at the lake and go for a swim. Our kids have been to sleep away camp with their friends. We take some risks. Here are my Rules of Quarantining:

  1. If you are taking more risks than me, you are making poor choices. Be more careful.
  2. If you are being more careful than me, you’re a scared hypochondriac. Loosen up dude.

There’s a meme making the rounds that sums things up pretty well.

Coronacoaster (noun): the ups and downs of a pandemic. One day you’re loving your bubble, doing workouts, baking banana bread, and going on long walks. And the next you’re crying, drinking gin for breakfast, and missing people you don’t even like.

We are trying to stay on the “One day” side of things. There was an initial spike in number of wine bottles that were being hurt during any given week, but I’ve have settled down into a more sustainable lifestyle. We are going on walks and baking a lot of banana bread. Vivian has been baking other things too and is trying to master making macrons. Yesterday she had me take her to the grocery store in the evening (Sunday evenings are the best time – the stores are almost empty), started baking at 8:00pm, and had a box of chocolate coffee macrons and a clean kitchen by 10:30pm. We’ve dabbled a bit in cooking new things too – like Nigerian meat pies, gumbo, Emeril Lagasse’s dirty rice, and slowly smoked pork shoulder. I smoked the pork for 20 hours, waking up through the night every hour or two to pop another log of wood into the smoker’s firebox, but hey, I’ve nowhere else to be. Unrelated to this, and unintentionally, I also smoked the Land Rover’s engine. I filled up the coolant and forgot to close the coolant tank. Small detail, major mistake. About 10 miles later the Land Rover’s engine was damaged beyond repair. The car is as useful as an anchor and worth less. I felt bad for a day, mostly for Jo because she did like that clunker. The LR4 did a great job of getting us from point A to point B safely and comfortably, and we will miss her.

We got news about the death of a friend. She was living alone in California and it appears that she may have had a heart attack. Her family had spoken to her the night before. She was gone by the time the police did a welfare check the next day. Jo and I, like everyone else, are deeply shocked. We remember her always smiling face and her zest for life. A life cut short, probably needlessly. With no public funeral and not even a comforting hug, life during in the times of CoVid keeps pushing us into uncharted territory.