April 1, 2020

No Joke

Yes, it’s been a long time since I wrote here. A long long time and so much has changed in that time. Where to begin?

Well, since the beginning feels like an eternity ago, I just need to pick a random point and see where it takes me.

Random Point: It’s April Fool’s Day but ain’t nobody feeling like joking. Pandemic and Pandemonium have a lot more than their root words in common. Washington State, where we live, was the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak. That feels like an eternity ago and now, here we are counting the virus numbers and watching the needle surge long past the danger zone, though our State has done a remarkably good job trying to flatten the curve.

I have a lot to say about this, but it feels like this is not the place in which to say it. Regardless, none of us in this house are pleased. In fact, on any given day, we are quite angry, but we spend our days reminding ourselves to stay calm and focus on the “next impossible thing,” a quote we stole from one of our favorite home improvement shows — Room to Improve.

Another random point: We moved. Two weeks before our governor shut the State down, we got all of our things packed up in our Seattle home (well, they’d been packed for awhile), loaded the moving van, and spent the day transversing Puget Sound and Hood Canal and made our way to our new home (which for G was actually an old home) in Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula. Actually, it’s on the Quimper Peninsula, but nobody except locals refers to it as that.

But now we’re locals though for the first few weeks I was pretty certain we were just on vacation. A nice vacation at that with our own house, with wooded trails right out the front door, and a beach less than a mile away. There were long walks in Fort Worden and early morning excursions exploring what is affectionately known as Cappy’s Trails. And yes, getting lost. More than once. Still, it was fun and very much like vacation.

What did I know that all of our furniture found a place in our “vacation” home? Perhaps it was just a new way to travel? But as the weeks passed, I realized this was it. The home I’d known my whole life, 13 years of it, was a thing of the past and now, in my senior years, I’ve landed in an incredibly beautiful place.

Oscar, my kid brother, figured it out right away. That’s probably because he’s had so many homes or at least has lived in a variety of places and the concept of home for him is more fluid than it is for me. Regardless, he kept telling me that this was our new home, but I didn’t believe him. Now I do, of course, but I won’t let him know that I had my doubts in the beginning.

To be honest, moving to Port Townsend has been a mixed blessing. I love everything about the place, but since we’re in pandemic lockdown, I feel a bit cheated. My moms have been talking about moving (back) here for more than a year. I listened in on their conversations and got very excited. We’d be closer to Grandma, they said. We’d meet up with lots of our friends who live over “on this side of the pond.” We’d do all sorts of fun stuff including musical festivals and wooden boat shows and the Farmer’s Market and go out to dinner and see movies and…well, I wasn’t going to do all of it, but still, all the plans sounded thrilling.

But then smack down of the extreme — sequestered. No visits to Grandma or our friends, Jan and Albert. No visitors to our new home. No trips to the movie theater (renowned for many reasons, but chief among those reasons is, according to G, the best theater popcorn in the world). No concerts, no new restaurants, no meeting up with friends we hadn’t seen for a long, long time (even friends before I existed, which seems slightly impossible, but there you have have it).

And perhaps the hardest for my moms, no work. No dogs to massage for G and no gardens to tend for Momma Ann. Unemployed.

At first it was fun because it truly was like vacation — all of us together going on hikes, cooking up new recipes, playing games, organizing our stuff in our new house. But after a week, I could see they were both itching to be employed again. G misses her doggie clients tremendously and Momma Ann feels the same about the gardens she’s tended (and this is prime gardening season!).

We’re still going on hikes and we meet up (with appropriate social distancing) with a few friends for walks on the beach, but no one has come to our house since this all started and we’ve been unable to visit them in their homes.

And all our Seattle friends, all the ones who wanted to come this way for visits in our new home, are in lockdown as well so they can’t travel and we can’t see them.

And saddest of all, no visits with Grandma (who I should note, is doing well in her retirement community that is taking really good care of her), but still, we miss visiting her and sitting with her while she pets us and tells us stories about her life. We talk on the phone as much as we can, but there’s something special about seeing her in person, wagging our tails in delight, and for the humans, giving her big, warm hugs and kisses.

G tells me everyone is in the same boat (well everyone who is acting responsibly). There are a lot of folks on a fake “vacation” and they are all slightly worried about the uncertainty of the future.

Another random point: When this is over, we need a HUG PARTY. We all need hugs. From people we aren’t sequestered with (though those are nice, but variety is nice too).

Last random point: We are all healthy and relatively happy. We feel lucky to have left a huge urban center where social distancing is very hard. We feel lucky to have a home we love in a town we are getting reacquainted with (as best we can). We feel lucky to be surrounded by the beauty of nature (did I tell you two eagles often perch in the trees IN OUR OWN YARD??)  We feel lucky that we are healthy, which we remind ourselves of even as we get a bit twitchy about being unemployed. And we feel lucky that those we love and care for are staying healthy during this craziness.

Let’s hope it stays that way. No joke.

And now that I have all this time on my paws, you may be hearing more from me. One impossible thing at a time.

Wiggles and Wags (Rubin)


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