Ups: my husband has now had 2 vaccine doses. We have no debt! We have a good savings. We both work. The kids are ok. One is moving to Canada! We could do lots of things with our future.
Downs: the country is a wreck. Half of the country voted for a wreck and I find those people unrelatable. Is there going to be more vaccine? Will we ever be able to travel? I am tired of being away from people. Are we stuck in this crappy present? How much longer do we have to do this.
I’ve been reading a ton. It’s been a good way to cut the bad. I’ve read a lot of books around WWII.
Last weekend we took a trip to a little cabin with no cell signal or wifi. It was a lot of fun. I read, hiked and wrote. I did nothing for a purpose, only for enjoyment. We had no news so it was like nothing bad was real for a weekend. Time was suspended. I decided to give myself a weekend of that every month. Maybe it will get me through the next few months while things possibly get better?
My husband has seemingly adapted to living here after 3 months. He loves it, he says. He’s buying a mountain bike. Me? I’ve gotten used to 40 degree weather, but 30s are hard. I’m still cold a lot. I try to get out and walk or hike. But I still feel like this is a place we are visiting. I’m not sure what happens after April.
Will started working last week. It’s a little bit of a big deal because he worked at the same hospital for almost 20 years. This was a big change. New people. New electronic medical record. Even new IV start kits.
That’s something that people outside of nursing may not know. That when you move from one hospital to another, the charting system can be totally different. I don’t know if that happens in other jobs. I mean, microsoft word and Excel stay the same from place to place. But for nurses, everything you click on looks different. And charting is like 40% of our work.
I’ve been working at home still. We’ve been busy too. My work from home job involves reading a lot of medical records and typing up summaries about people’s cancer. It’s a lot of reading and writing mostly. With a side of worrying. I never was like that before. Maybe because most of my work has been with leukemia and lymphoma, more rare occurrences. Now I am reading about people’s melanoma, breast and colon cancers. And all of the stories are “was in their usual state of health until abdominal pain and constipation.” I know, it’s totally vague. Lots of these start off seemingly benign sounding, and then it turns out they have a malignancy. Like back pain or something and then they already have mets.
I’m glad to be at home during this covid time. Every day we hear about someone else we know who had it. Is that the same for everyone else? But I know it means I am not a priority for vaccines. My husband will probably get one soon but who knows when I will. Maybe summer? I haven’t heard an exact time line beyond healthcare personnel and there seem to be a lot of logistics with that much vaccination.
Lately on my mind is how long should we stay here? What if I can’t go to Canada? Should we go somewhere else? How long do I stay at this job? But mostly, I am tired of living in a pandemic. I am tired of the enormity of it. All of the things add up. The vigilance, the distance from people, the worry about your own health and your family’s, the economic cost, the sheer amount of loss we are all enduring…it’s just so heavy. Most days I am lucky enough to keep it as background noise. But sometimes, if I think too long on it, it feels so exhausting.
I also keep thinking, is this how the roaring 20s happened? They came off of WWI and a pandemic and just let loose. Will that happen to us too?
I made it back from Sacramento just before they locked down even more than they already had. I did a pretty good job of avoiding people on the trip, getting food to go, staying mostly in my hotel room. The airports were pretty empty and I was glad I had missed the majority of the Thanksgiving folks. My plane strategy was to sit in the back so everyone would be facing away from me if they took their mask off to eat or drink or talk.
And now we’re are headed into the holiday season. And I know for all of us it’s very different. For us there is no annual dinner and a show. Normally we eat a nice out and go to the theater with the kids. We are talking about buying tickets for the online nutcracker. You can do that to support all of those ballet companies not currently touring.
We also are probably not seeing 2 of the kids. They were planning to travel over the holidays, but as the pandemic has worsened and hospitals have gotten more full, the kids decided to stay home. I am trying to come up with fun ways to celebrate despite being apart. Even tree decorations are something we do all together. We do have one of the kids here but it’s definitely harder.
Aside from trying to manage upcoming holiday changes, the weather is getting colder. We’ve been waking up to ice on the windows. Our friend suggested a mixture of alcohol and water, but so far we haven’t been in a big hurry so we just let it melt after we start the car.
Will starts working tomorrow. He has orientation full time and then is planning to work only a couple of days a week. Weekends are still ours for walks and hiking adventures. One thing I like here is that we are in between a lake and a bay. So we have lots of opportunities to see water. I hope you all have holidays full of love despite distances.
Anyone else ever move across the country in a pandemic?
A guide to relocating in a pandemic would be good. How to find a new dentist via email because you just can’t walk into a place and chat up the receptionist guide. Or how to get to know your new neighbors from a distance with a mask on but still seeming friendly guide. How to find your favorite neighborhood coffee shop when half of them close for the next month.
Luckily a lot of people here are friendly. But that’s a lot of what you get, friendly strangers. I am not sure how it moves past that without time near people. We did attend our first feast. Feast is like church for Baha’is. We hang out every 19 days and pray, go over the business of the community, and then do the social portion. Of course feast was on zoom. The social portion was in break out rooms. We did meet someone whose mom lives in Pasadena. That might be an avenue for meeting people.
But we are also a little uncertain about how long we will stay. We have a 6 month lease. But will we be able to go to Canada if it’s still a pandemic. And also, I prefer my work from home life over hospital life during the pandemic. Today Will and I were talking about hanging up art. And he said, if we aren’t staying should we even bother? I say yes because I care about what I am surounded by.
Those are the kind of questions we have when we aren’t working or trying learn how to exist in the rain. Teddy seems to be getting used to the rain somewhat. But if we take him out in it I worry about how cold he is. How do you know if it’s too cold for your dog?
I watched a video on snowshoeing on you tube. I’d like to try that out. It seems less intimidating than skiing.
8 months of a pandemic. Whew, that’s weird to write. I don’t know if this has happened for anyone else, but I have found the pandemic has really shrunk my circle of people. It makes sense because we go less places, we don’t go to events, and we spent a lot more time at home. The people we do see or talk to are people we work with, our neighbors, or our very close friends and family. For me, there are also seems to be a lower bandwidth for people. I find myself having less energy for certain conversations about certain topics with certain folks. If this talk is going to cost too much energy, I’m not engaging. In fact, not long ago I deleted my Facebook because I couldn’t stand reading the craziness on that damn website.
In the last months, we’ve had our energy spent on so much, it really makes you realize what a finite resource it is. And I need more time to replenish it these days. In the last months, I’ve spent my energy on maintaining awareness of so many issues facing us as a country, facing us as healthcare professionals, and what we have faced in our family. It’s felt like a relentless energy suck. So no, I don’t have the energy to listen to Covid conspiracy theories and fake facts about 5G. And I am not debating Trump. There’s no debate to be had.
Now that we are moving and thinking about saying goodbye to people, we realize there are people we haven’t talked to in quite some time. And they didn’t even know we were moving until we ran into them at Starbucks. Living somewhere for 20 years and then moving in a pandemic has definitely been odd. But I don’t feel too much regret for not being able to see everyone before we go. Sometimes we have to do what we have energy for.
We are down to 9 days until we move. 9 days of constant sunshine left. 9 days of amazing mexican food. 9 days of southern California mountains and chaparral brush. 9 days left to pack!
It’s kind of weird to sell your house during a pandemic. There are no open houses. Showing by appointment only. Hand sanitizer and shoe covers. But when we leave in the afternoon for people to come look, we have no where to go. You can’t hang in a coffee shop or go to your friend’s house. Today when we left, I had a work meeting so I did actually go to Starbucks. Obviously not inside, but I sat outside the drive thru one and used their WiFi. After that, we ate dinner in a park.
When we got back, I went around the whole house with a spray bottle cleaning doors, light switches, counters, etc. And we still have tomorrow and the weekend too!
Everyone says it will sell fast because that’s what the news has been saying. Fingers crossed. But I am taking it week by week. Because after that is escrow and inspections. I am already pretty tired of having to let people in my house. Which I guess is what makes it more stressful. There’s more hypervigilance around all of these regular interactions. And so far we have learned that we are on the more cautious side than other people. But you we are nurses. We’ve spent the last 6 months being vigilant for our patients and ourselves. It doesn’t turn off easily (not that I want to). I do wonder how hard it will be to go back to regular interactions when the pandemic is over (is that coming anytime soon?).
Wow, this year continues to crush us. The west coast is on fire. We left home because the fires in the mountains were causing so much smoke I couldn’t sleep. The other morning my husband woke up next me in a hotel room in a pandemic 90 minutes from home and he was stressed. He turned to me and said what if all these fires mean we can’t sell our house?
I don’t know. I really don’t know. I mean, we’ve been saying things are getting worse for years but we haven’t been able to understand what getting worse looks like on an individual scale. We’ve been a bit protected in our careers and our privilege. These things that are happening are a constant back drop of dispair and now personal impacts that show up in ways we don’t always expect. On a macro level, you say of course the west coast is on fire. Of course this administration has failed us in a pandemic. But then you find yourself trying to book a hotel in a not crowded place to work from during a pandemic with better air quality without spending too much money and you think- what the fuck is this life?
Hey, I get it. I am lucky. Lucky I have a job. Lucky I had $600 to spend on a hotel for 3 nights by the ocean. Lucky I have a car. Lucky I am not sick. But some days lucky doesn’t feel so fabulous. And I can’t help but wonder, how did people survive WWII? How did people rebuild Japan after the bombing of Hiroshima? How about Vietnam after the US pulled out? I think a history of terrible things and wonder how do people recover mentally, spiritually, and emotionally?
But then when I think about that, I feel like I’d rather bury my head in good fiction or mindless television or play music loudly. Maybe that’s how people survive. Maybe other people’s art is literally how people survive. I wish I could say my faith is carrying me through. But it’s not. It’s me going through the motions. It’s me wondering how faith matters in the face of climate change, pandemics, racism, and willful ignorance.
But that’s just part of today. Today I also went through boxes of slides, photos, developed negatives, and old camera equipment with my husband. We made piles to keep or not keep. I’m taking Teddy to the vet so all of his shots are in order for a move. I am continuing on as if things will continue on. And that’s how we are getting through another day.
My oldest kid had a fever last Thursday. 100.4. They were sent home from work (yes, I said they-they/them pronouns are being used). Because of this, I have quarantined them in their bedroom with a designated bathroom. All day long we deliver food on disposable plates to limit dishes going in and out. We text and call to check in. They have a thermometer and check their temp.
I am home from work. My work wants me to stay home until we get test result. Have you tried to take a a test recently? There is a lot of searching online for available appointments. Because getting a test requires an appointment. I finally got one by getting up at 4:30 to see the newly released appointments. Now we wait. Test results are taking a while-7-10 days.
There are 4 of us at home and we all trying to manage this situation. Sometimes I wonder if I am being to strict. But I know this was the CDC recommendation when one member of a household is suspected to have Covid-19.
In many ways, we are so lucky. We have enough money, insurance, etc. But we also worry. And get anxious about everything. So far we haven’t seen any new symptoms. I’m holding onto that as good news.
Which means this post will probably be ready by zero people. Despite that, I have been feeling like getting back into writing. It’s been a long time since I blogged, since I wrote in my writing club, and a while since I even wrote on my own.
My last post was 2 years ago when I turned 40. It feels like a lifetime ago. Has this pandemic aged us? These 4 months feel like they’ve been a whole year. Time has moved strangely through this pandemic. March felt like a crawl, while May went flying by. Some days feel soooo long. Those days include a lot of me laying on the couch watching #vanlife on youtube. We don’t go many places. Grocery stores, pick up take out orders, and work. So vanlife it is.
I started watching it because I was fascinated with so many of them being trapped during the pandemic. All of their videos were “trapped in Morocco” or “trapped in Argentina.” Let me tell you, there are a lot of criticisms I could make about vanlife, and I do at home on my couch, but I haven’t stopped watching it. All of the couples have found their way home and are filling their time (and videos) with projects. Projects feel purposeful. Watching them work on projects is relaxing. I get to imagine a life where work once again feels purposeful and future centered.
I am not saying my work has no purpose. But the future? It feels pretty uncertain. I don’t know exactly what we are all working for. I mean this in the sense that I cannot see past the next few weeks. This is the opposite of how I have lived my whole life. Not knowing how the next year will be leaves me feeling quite purposeless. So I watch other people’s purpose.
I do occasionally come up with plans or ideas. And then I get frustrated because I don’t know if they can happen or how they will happen. The news often grinds down my tiny hopes so I have to turn it off. And back to vanlife.