August 11, 2020 Mind Travelling – Journaling through the COVID-19 Pandemic


Writing anything has been a challenge for me lately, as have many things. I lack motivation. But I keep trying to set daily goals of some sort and push through.

When it comes to writing for this blog, I don’t know what I have that my readers would find interesting or helpful as they too take this journey. It’s been suggested that travel writing should be focused on local things of interest now, to entice visitors, but during this time, we’d rather not have too many visitors here in our small, virus-free community. Most of us feel a little panicky when we see out-of-towners congregating on our small beaches, or lined up at our ice-cream shop, without masks. There isn’t really much room for more than half a dozen people to observe social distancing.

So, what else can I do? This week, after a week of bouts of unspecific sadness, I’m determined to jump back into a few projects that I’ve been neglecting, two of them involving walking down memory lane.

I spent several hours over the weekend updating my Family Tree on Ancestery.ca and I found some interesting information that I knew nothing about before. I plan to post an article or two about that to my other blog site, Unfolding Our Past, one I started a few years ago, but then walked away from.

Another is work on my Memoirs, which I’ve been working on off and on for many years. If I’m ever going to get it done, now is the time. The years are slipping away too quickly.

Yesterday I decided to merge the several versions I have and try to get it together. When I found the very first draft, that I’d revised a little, I was encouraged by the  positive feedback I’d received when I’d submitted it to an online writing community that I had joined probably fifteen years ago. I’m trying to remember the name of it. I wonder if it still exists? I wonder why I dropped out? No, I know why. I went back to work, and began to travel more, and my writing focus changed, to travel blogging!

Now that we aren’t traveling, and have no idea if/when we will again, it’s time to get back to it. It’s interesting that when I was reading through what I’ve written so far, I felt a bit of an epiphany, like I was looking at my story through different eyes. The stress, that I usually feel when remembering the pain, frustration and resulting depression during the bad times, lifted. I’m not sure where this will take me, but I’m hoping to completion, whether published or not.

There are a few chapters (or beginnings) included under the Memoirs/My Memoirs Tab on this website, if you’re interested. Feedback is always welcome!

And on days that I feel I have to get out of my head for a while, I still have that quilt that I’ve not yet finished!

July 17th – Mind Travelling – Journaling through the COVID-19 Pandemic


In the mornings of the two days that we went to see the eye doctor, I’d wakened up with a bit of a scratchy, sore throat and I was tired, so I wondered if I needed to postpone the appointments, but I was pretty sure that it was due to my allergies and extreme heat. By the time we had to leave for Peterborough, I was feeling just fine so I answered the questions at the doctor’s office honestly. But, by Thursday evening my throat was really sore and my ears were blocked. Again, under normal circumstances, I would have gone with the allergies diagnosis, but I began to worry about the slight chance that it could be COVID and I felt very concerned about having been to the Optometrist office the day before.

On Friday morning, after breakfast and allergy pills and using the netti pot, my throat was back to normal. In fact, I felt better than I had for weeks! Still I felt that I should go to the local clinic for a COVID test just to be sure. It was in the next town over from us. The info we found online wasn’t up-to-date so it took a couple of tries to find it, only to discover that it wasn’t open on Fridays! I’d have to wait until Monday, or drive further to find another clinic. It would have been nice to not worry over the weekend, but I knew I wouldn’t get the results before the next week anyway. So we kept pretty much to ourselves all weekend, going out only for an evening walk around our rural block. We don’t usually meet up with anyone we know to stop and chat. When we did see friends who were standing in line at the ice-cream shop, I kept my distance while they chatted. I’d forgotten to take a mask with me. That night my throat got really sore again. I was so disappointed.

The weather cooled down some. I slept better and regained my energy. I had no more sore throat after that. I kept doing the Self-Assessment on the phone App. I never did have any fever. By Monday I was confident that it wasn’t COVID, but I made appointments for both Jim and me to get tested anyway, to relieve everyone’s mind. We had to wait until Tuesday.

The Clinic visit was a horrible experience. I was called in first. Jim filled out the questionnaire while he waited in the car. I was expected to fill it out while also answering the verbal questions that were being fired at me from the technician! I have no idea if I filled in the written pages with all the correct answers! He finished his questions and then waited impatiently, holding a very long stick in his hand, for me to finish my form.

“Take off your mask. I’m going to put this way up your nose. Don’t cough and don’t pull away,” he said. And there it was, pushing further and further through my right nostril until tears rolled down my cheeks. I resisted the urge to pull back by holding my breath. Even after it was removed, the pain lingered. Outside, the slight breeze entering my nose increased the discomfort. I wish I had a picture of that!

“We’ll send you the results in two to three days, or you can go online to get them,” the other, female, worker said to me as she handed me a page of information. She was very pleasant.

Jim had his turn. He didn’t have to fill our questions at the same time as answering verbal questions, but he did have to endure the same pain. He was unable to resist pulling back and the fellow held his head!

I can’t imagine President Trump and his staff going through that every single day!

On Wednesday we drove to Cobourg to look at storage sheds for our new bikes, which should arrive within a month. On Thursday we went back to order one and all the materials needed to build the floor. I stayed in the car and Jim, of course, wore a mask and used hand sanitizer. We had no way of bringing it all home, but one of our neighbours offered to pick them up with a trailer when they will be going that way on Monday. We know what we’ll be doing next week to fill in some time! Assembling.

This morning, we went online to get our test results – NEGATIVE!

May 9th – Mind Travelling – Journaling through the COVID-19 Pandemic


The weather has been crazy; spring can’t decide if it’s going to stay or not. It’s as confused as we are.

Snow on the deck, May 8, 2020

Snow on the deck, May 8, 2020

 

I’ve been having trouble working through this lately. Maybe because I haven’t set any goals to complete projects, but that’s because the projects I have now are my own and they don’t have any urgency. There is always tomorrow, right? The calendar is blank. I’ve heard others make the same observation.

Calendar

 

Each day I wake up feeling a lingering sadness, even if I have something in mind that I might do that day. Today, I realized that, after nearly three months of avoiding close contact with people, then avoiding them altogether during self-quarantining on our way home from Arizona, and then continuing upon our return, and then becoming so conscious of the danger of not constantly washing my hands, or sanitizing them when out (wearing my mask) to do grocery shopping, this has become the new normal. As much as I long to sit down at a table with friends and family, to return to playing pickleball and ukulele in a group, I have trouble imagining being able to do those things again, without fear.

I’m one of the fortunate ones. I get to stay home where it’s safe. I don’t need to worry about losing my job or not being able to pay my bills if I don’t want to go to work in one of the dangerous environment out there, without adequate protection. I don’t need to feel obligated to risk my life to help save the lives of those who have been hit with the virus, although I shed many tears for those who are brave enough to do it.

And I do feel guilty about being so privileged. This is my new normal. Who knows if it will ever change?

Thank goodness for all the beautiful, and funny, video clips that are shared through the internet! They help to lift my spirits.

I’d love to hear from people around the world. How are you working through COVID-19?

Escaping the COVID-19 – The Full Story


On March 11, 2020 we were still in Arizona and had several things on our calendar for the next week. But disturbing glimpses of what could be coming were appearing in all our online news feeds. I wanted to pack up and head for home then. But we did seem to be isolated in our little community and I was convinced to hang on. In my head I prayed that they would all be cancelled.

That night we were in a crowded restaurant for the Sandwich Islands Ukulele Band final rehearsal for the upcoming Aloha Festival, but before we left we’d made up our minds that we wouldn’t attend the huge Festival that usually attracted thousands of visitors – my first sigh of relief. The next day our park management decided to cancel all large-group events, which included the Theme Day, in which our Mesa Regal Ukulele Band was supposed to play – my second sigh of relief. Some of our Canadian band members had already decided to head for home so wouldn’t be there to play anyway.

A Facebook comment from my son, who lives with his wife in Poland, told me to “pack up the RV and get out of there. You don’t want to be caught in a country that didn’t prepare for the threat of COVID-19 earlier.” He was speaking from firsthand knowledge. We decided to heed his advice, but it took us a few days to make it happen.

Since we wouldn’t be back anytime soon, we had a couple of big items to get rid of, like our car and patio furniture. It was probably risky, but I signed us up for the Patio Sales the next day (Saturday), and Jim put an ad online to sell the car. We were successful! While the sale was on we started packing things up. I had the inside of the motorhome mostly ready by that night, but Jim had to unload and reload outside bins in order to get everything he’d taken out, plus a few more new items, in. We weren’t ready to leave on Sunday. Jim wasn’t ready in time, so we accepted the offer of friends to go to their home, outside our park, for dinner. It was a nice evening of chatting, laughing and playing ukuleles, forgetting for just a while about the trouble brewing in the world. Small group gatherings were not yet frowned upon, but we were all conscious about frequent hand-washing.

Monday morning, March 16th, we managed to get the rest of our things into place, give our forwarding address to our Post Office, and check-out. But even that took a while as we stopped to say goodbye to our friends and neighbours along the street. No hugs, handshakes or kisses this time! Everyone was feeling the stress. There had already been 400 or more Canadians pull their rigs out during the last two days and more would follow us soon.

After a quick stop at the bank, we said goodbye to Mesa, possibly for good, and began our 2700 mile trip home. Our fridge, freezer and pantry were filled with food so we had no need to stop at restaurants or stores all the way home. When Jim had to get out to pump gas, or to hook up at a Camp Site, he wore disposable gloves. He had contact with no-one. In the six days it took us to get home, I left the motorhome only once, for about ten minutes to walk along a deserted path at one of the rest stops.

Jim with his gloves on

Jim with his gloves on waiting to pay for gas at the only full-service station we saw.

We put in long days after the first one, and covered hundreds of miles. Most days were uneventful. We listen to music and started an audio book, but found there was too much noise to hear it, even with an external speaker. Transports made up the bulk of traffic on the highways, roads were rough, and wind did blow.

Thursday morning was an exception. I was awakened by the sound of heavy rain on the roof and loud rumbling. I couldn’t decide whether it was thunder or just the roar of the many  trucks on the highway, until one big clap of thunder and the roar of wind got us both out of bed and dressed in a flash! The motorhome was rocking like we’d never felt before. We thought we were in the midst of a hurricane! We were in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so that was a good possibility. We were in a mostly empty Walmart parking lot, with no service of any sort, so I dug out the weather radio that we carried with us, but had seldom used in all of our years on the road. Relieved to learn that there were no Hurricane warnings in the area, but there was a flash flooding warning (2 inches of rain had already fallen and the drain ditch beside us was nearly full).  We decided to just try to relax and have some breakfast. The rain and wind stopped as quickly as it had begun. By the time we had eaten and secured everything inside again, it seemed safe to leave. It was only 8:15. We were both a little testy after that early morning scare. No flooding impeded our way, but we noticed spots where it probably had been up on the road. Fields were flooded. It rained off and on during the day, but Jim kept on pushing. A little nap after lunch revived him enough to keep going until 6:00 that evening. Needless to say, we were in bed and asleep early again that night.

Flooded Fields Close to Road

Flooded Fields Close to Road

We’d heard that the Canadian Border would be closed at midnight on Friday, to all visitors and anyone without a good reason to be crossing into Canada. It wasn’t looking good. On Friday morning Jim decided we should try to make it to the Detroit crossing instead of carrying on to Buffalo as earlier planned. We had 500 miles to go!

We hit the road at 7:45 a.m. We made short stops for gas and to have meals in our “home”.

While driving through Ohio, we passed these strange looking items being moved along the highway on flatbed transports. The first time we saw two different parts, which Jim determined were some parts of an airplane. One definitely looked like a wing. Hours later we passed another two. At first we thought they were the same ones we’d passed earlier, that they’d gotten ahead of us while we stopped to eat or gas up. But then we noticed that these parts were a little different. One looked like the opposite wing from the first one. Because of road construction at that part of the highway, which involved construction cones along the right hand shoulder, the entire convoy was blocking both lanes of traffic in order to accommodate the right side overhang. We patiently followed along and it wasn’t too long before the construction zone came to an end and the left passing lane was freed up once more.

We made it across the border without any problems at 6:00 pm! That Welcome to Canada sign brought us great relief and joy.

That night we shared parking with several other RVs and transport trucks at the first Onroute Travel Centre that we came to, near Windsor, Ontario, too tired to go another mile. It was noisy with all the traffic in and out, but surprisingly we did get some sleep.

We were up at five and on the road before the sun came up, so anxious to be in our home town, in our small condo. Traffic was light. We got through Toronto in record time and arrived home shortly after noon, to nearly empty streets and cold weather, but it never looked so good! Thanks to Jim’s daughter, we had food in our fridge and pantry that, along with what we had left over in the motorhome, should do us for a couple of weeks.

We’ve been in self-quarantine ever since. It’s been difficult – not wanting to watch the news, but needing to know. I’ve shed many tears, not for fear of us getting the virus, but for our families and friends all over the country and beyond; for the front-line workers everywhere who are risking their own lives to try to save many; for those who have lost loved ones, and those who are stranded in foreign countries where the epidemic is far worse than here; and for the stories that are emerging of the amazing people who are doing so many self-less things to help those who are suffering.

I’m grateful for the phone calls, texts, video chats from family and friends. We even had our Book Club meeting yesterday, by video!

It’s a time for reconnecting with people and appreciating what we have. Soon, tomorrow will be a better day. For now, stay inside, stay safe and keep in touch.

Escaping Coronavirus


We’re on our way home, as are many, many other Canadians. But ours is a long journey -2700 miles- in the motor home. At least we don’t have to worry about crowds. We’ve kept ourselves pretty much isolated, avoiding restaurants and site seeing.  And so far the staff at RV Parks have been very understanding when Jim request entering his credit card himself with his gloved hands. We just enjoy the scenery and listen to music or audio books. I keep in touch with family by text if I can. And I try hard not to stress out. Not an easy task.

Hoping all my friends and fellow bloggers are staying safe and well. Who knows when we’ll be able to travel again.