Tag Archive | COVID Diaries

COVID Diaries: Day 467

Today is the third day in a row that it has felt hotter than the surface of the sun here in the Pacific Northwest.  The predictions for a record breaking heatwave were not exaggerated.  Both yesterday and today, we have broken an the all-time high temperature for my city.  96 degrees yesterday, and 99 today.  Out in the county, and further south the temps are about 10 degrees hotter.  Where my mom lives, it topped out at 108 today. 
 
I know many of you probably read this and wonder why we Northwesterners can’t handle the heat.  But hear me out.  We rarely (or never?) get temps this high here.  Only about a third of the homes here even have air-conditioning.  Our temperatures are moderate year round, so our homes aren’t insulated in a way that keeps out the heat.
 
My non-air-conditioned home reached a high of 93 degrees yesterday and 95 today.  Yes, that’s INSIDE.  And that’s on the first floor, where the thermostat is.  I would guess that upstairs is about 10 degrees hotter.  And before you say, just go somewhere cool, there really isn’t someplace cool.  Many of our restaurants and public buildings don’t have air-conditioning either.  In fact, many of our restaurants have shut down because of the heat.  Even if they were open, we are still dealing with COVID capacity limits…  UGH.
 
The pavement on some of our roads is literally buckling.  They have closed roads and highways to assess the safety of the roads and the damage.
 
I’ve been chilling wet food for the kitties, and giving them cold, cold water.  They are basically just lying around in a puddle. That’s pretty much how I feel.  I’ve been drinking so much water and iced tea and moving a fan around wherever I go.  I’m still hot!
 
Last night I went out for a cocktail with a friend in the glorious air conditioning!  It was hard to leave.  Seriously.
The good news is that today is supposed to be the last day of the crippling heat.  Tomorrow’s high forecast temperature here is 83 degrees.  I imagine I’ll have to put on a sweater – HA!  I have been sleeping on the couch because my bedroom is upstairs, and I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tomorrow night.  Right now 5 minutes upstairs has me sweating like I’ve been pouring water over the rocks in a sauna!  I just have to make it through tonight!
I hope you are all staying cool!

COVID Diaries: Day 464

It’s the weekend! Unfortunately, it is going to be a scorcher! The Pacific Northwest is going to have record breaking heat through Monday, and in an area where most of us don’t have air conditioning! It is supposed to be 96 degrees here on Monday!

Still, I made it through my workweek and I’m glad to get a few days of a break, so that’s cause for celebration.

I’m hoping to get some home purging done, going through closets and drawers, and getting rid of things I don’t need. Let’s see how I do!  I’m sure I’ll have to carry the fan around throughout the house as I go, and point it directly at me.  I also want to give this blog some attention, and go through the photos from my trip!

Next week, our state is going to fully reopen.  It’s been a long time coming, as we are one of only four states yet to reopen.

On my flight home on Sunday, I watched Nomadland, with Frances McDormand.  First of all, she is an incredible actress.  Second of all, even though the movie was hyped as super-depressing, I was inspired!  I have been thinking an awful lot over the last year about my road trip and getting back on the road.  I’ll admit that I plan to do it with quite a bit more of a safety net in terms of money but traveling around and seeing the country (and the world), has such an appeal for me!  I’ve been focusing on saving money for my early retirement throughout COVID, and this just makes me want to buckle down and get there faster!

Life is short, and nothing is guaranteed, so we should do what we can to achieve our dreams.  I always feel so grateful that my parents had 20 years of retirement to enjoy before my father died, but that was only because he retired at 53.  What if he had waited until he was 65?  If there is anything that I have learned, it is that I’m not working a day longer than I have to.

Happy Friday everybody!

COVID Words of Wisdom: “We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” ― Confucius

COVID Diaries: Day 431

I had a great weekend.  Friday was my day off, and I ended up being kind-of lazy.  I did walk to the store to pick up fruit to make fruit salad for book club on Friday night.  We were able to meet on the rooftop of a downtown building, with fabulous views!  I love the company of these smart, compassionate women, and our topics of conversation ranged from COVID, to jobs, to love.  The love part makes a lot of sense, as the book, my pick, was about healing from a broken heart. 

 

Saturday was chores day.  I did get quite a bit done that I intended.  I did a deep clean vacuuming, including the stairs, the corners with the wand, and the hardwood and linoleum.  I did a lot of laundry (sheets and blankets and jackets), and folded most of it.  I did dishes, and put things away and broke down some boxes to recycle.  I mowed the lawn and raked up the heavy clumps of grass that were left behind.  Even better though, I had a chance to spend a couple of hours sitting in the sunshine, reading.  Heaven! 

Today, Tiffany and I went to lunch at a place a bit south of us, that has excellent food.  My elk burger was so delicious that I ate the whole thing! 

 

Then we went to check out a state park we had never been to before.  Rasar State Park was well worth the trip!  We spent a couple hours walking the few miles of trails, talking, and were mostly alone the entire time.  The trails take you down to the river, which is a feeding ground for bald eagles in the late fall and winter.  I’m going to have to come back in the winter…  They have a small campground with camping cabins that look like they would be fun to stay in too! 

We came home happy; there just something about nature that is so good for the soul.  And our timing was wonderful, since it started raining about a half hour after we got back.

In COVID news, our Governor FINALLY announced a full reopening no later than the end of June.  Yay!  It’s about time!  Of course, there’s still a chance that he could move away from that, but hopefully it happens.  I guess that means you have 5 more weeks of COVID Diaries, before I’ll have to abandon it for a new series! 

COVID Words of Wisdom: It is not your job to make other people comfortable with who you are.  Be wary of those who don’t want you to change or grow.  Grow anyway — there is no alternative.  Keep Moving.  -Maggie Smith

 

COVID Diaries: Day 411

Another weekend has come and gone.  It’s back to the grind.  I have already had a long morning, and I don’t have much inspiration at the moment, so the grind is probably going to be harder… 

A few days ago, I finished my most recent puzzle.  Castle Donan Eilean in Scotland.  One day, I’d like to visit Scotland again.  Mom wants to go to Ireland – I can’t wait to travel again.  All that dreaming led me to book a weekend at the coast – a few days of beachcombing will have to do for now.

I’m loving the nicer weather, although it rained for good portion of last week. I always love seeing the blue sky peek out from the clouds!

I’ve been reading quite a bit lately – I finished three books this weekend! 

My new rock polisher came and I started in on my second batch of rocks.  So far, so good on round two. My beachcombing weekend will give me a lot of opportunity to scout for some new rocks!

Counties are being locked down again – the word is that we will miss the culling tomorrow, but we will probably get locked down again in 3 weeks.  I guess we’ll see.  It helps me to save money, I suppose.  And Cora loves it…

COVID Words of Wisdom: You never know how hard someone had it before they became soft, and you never know the ugliness they had to go through to have such a beautiful heart.  Sometimes we learn grace from the worst times of our lives and that’s what saves us.  – Stephanie Bennett-Henry

COVID Diaries: Day 402

We had over a week of unseasonably warm and sunny weather, with highs in the low 70s!  We even broke a record last week, with a high of 74.  It has been amazing.  I’m not one who can take the endless gray and cold days of winter and early spring around here.  Someday soon, I’ll have to change that up.  This morning, it’s back to rain…

The sunshine and warmth meant I was able to get in some outdoor dining at my favorite spots around town and soak up the Vitamin D and good food! Plus the time spent with girlfriends is always much needed.

The rocks I started tumbling are finished!  They look beautiful!  I even discovered that one of them is most definitely an agate and there’s another one that I think is an agate.  I’m going to keep trying to find agates, but obviously my agate skills need polishing.  Sadly, I’m pretty sure that the motor on my tumbler went kaput, within hours of starting a second batch of rocks.  I tried to poke around in it with my very limited mechanical skills, but the sound it is making and the fact that it is no longer turning the shaft leads me to believe there’s not an easy fix for this.  It was $12.99 at the Goodwill, so I can’t say I did too badly.  I’ll keep working on the first one, but thanks to Amazon Prime, my new rock tumbler arrived yesterday and I’m back in action!  Yes, I am aware that owning a rock tumbler (or multiple rock tumblers) puts me in a very distinct category of nerd.

Now that the rain is back, I imagine I’ll make some more progress on my puzzle.  I worked on it for a bit last night and was happy with where I ended up.

I’ve been getting some reading in too, but I still really need a vacation!

COVID Diaries: Day 374

The weekend has arrived again!  I had to work yesterday on my day off, as one of my employees had a family emergency, so it was nice when the workday was finally over! 

I had a friends dinner date on Thursday night at a new pho restaurant in town.  So simple and so delicious!  It’s so nice to be able to eat in a restaurant again.  We followed it up with a walk to the University, since it is now light out later in the evening. 

Friday night I took a long walk in the Arboretum, and then back down through the University.  It’s so nice to have this wooded park just a few blocks from my front door. Afterwards, I tried a new Raspberry Lemonade canned wine.  It was ok; not great, not terrible.

Today I had to do the unpleasant task of buying a new washer.  Why are these things so expensive and why oh why can they not make quality things the way they used to?  In my first house, the dishwasher was 42 years old and still worked fine.  You are lucky if you get 7 years out of an appliance these days.  But I am now the proud owner of a brand new Speed Queen top loading washing machine with exactly no bells and whistles, which is exactly how I think it ought to be.  Hopefully it will last… 

To reward myself for getting this chore done, I went to the Lost Giants cidery and got a 6-pack of their new Passionfruit Guava cider.  It is soooo good! 

I hope you are all having a fantastic weekend!

 

COVID Diaries: Day 370

We launched into spring last weekend with a gorgeous sunny day!  Haha – just kidding – I wish.  It rained.  Pretty much all weekend.

That didn’t stop me from taking a long walk in the rain on Saturday, but I must admit that the rest of the weekend I was lazy.  I made chili with bratwurst meat, which seemed to fit the still-wintery gloom.

A year ago (shortly before COVID) I found a rock polisher at Goodwill and snatched it up for $12.99.  However, there it sat, unused, because I couldn’t figure out how to get the lid to seal when you put the rocks, grit and water in it.  The instructions I found online weren’t very helpful.  A few weeks ago though, a friend showed me how it works, and now I’m on a roll, happily tumbling the few rocks I had collected.  I swapped them out to change the grit this last weekend and they are definitely starting to shine up!  I can’t wait to see how this batch turns out!  Of course, this means I need to find some more rocks, so next time I have a complete batch to polish.

I have been told many times that my interests are those of much older people.  History, battlefields, antiques, rocks, etc.  I suppose they are right.  I don’t care though.  I’ll retire early and travel, visit battlefields and collect rocks, and be happy.

Yesterday I was rummaging through a box of old postcards that were sent to my grandparents and aunts between the 1960s and the 1980s.  I found one from Nebraska, three days after my parents’ wedding in 1968.  They drove from Michigan to California, where my Dad was already working.  Mom was unimpressed with Nebraska, per her postcard narrative.  She doesn’t remember this, but it made me smile.  I still haven’t made it to Nebraska – I wonder if I will be more impressed.

Last night I finished a Thomas Kinkade puzzle that I had gotten at Goodwill a few years ago.  It was hard!  But thankfully it had all its pieces, and the English cottage scene makes me want to jet off to the real English countryside.  It’s either that or bake myself in the Arizona sun, to try to tan away the nearly translucent skin I acquire each winter.  Some hiking in Sedona sounds really good about now, but of course, it is still far colder there than it is here in the Pacific Northwest.

This coming weekend marks my two-year anniversary at my job, and my raise!  Woot woot!

Happy Tuesday, Peeps.  I hope you are well.

COVID Diaries: Day 365

That’s it…  We’ve hit a whole year.  A whole year of disrupted life; isolation, worry, and all the other things that have gone along with COVID.

On this day last year, we were sitting in my employees’ office, making last-minute plans to work from home.  Sending telecommute agreements to managers to have their employees sign, assigning cables and peripherals for Surface computers.  Testing Microsoft Teams for videoconferencing.  St. Patrick’s Day was the last day that I was in the office on a regular basis.  The official lockdown in Washington was announced on March 23.  Although I have been in to work since then, it is for a day at a time, once a week at most, but generally a day every couple of weeks. 

I mourn everything that has been lost since then, and I have struggled mightily at times.  I haven’t had a real vacation in that time, as I am not a fan of staycations.  I’ve had a few days off here and there, but it isn’t the same as getting out and fully decompressing.  I long for a flight to a far away town.  I long for a road trip to a National Park.  I think I just need to book something soon. 

I continue to believe that COVID has been a huge boost for the early retirement plan.  With nothing to spend money on, I have saved so much!  But I have had a hard time feeling motivated to tackle all the home projects that I ought to do.  Purging all the random crap that I know I should get rid of?  Still not done.  Selling stuff on Facebook Marketplace?  Nope.  COVID has not been the shot in the arm I need to take on these tasks…  See what I did there?  Clearly this lockdown has not made me more witty either! 

Anyway…  15 days to bend the curve and all.  Maybe year two will finally start looking up.

COVID Words of Wisdom: They said I changed a lot.  I said a lot changed me.

How are the rest of you all feeling on this one year anniversary? 

COVID Diaries: Day 345

It’s my weekend! 

It’s a beautiful, partly-sunny morning, the birds are chirping, and I have a date with the rake and the yard waste toter.  My yard is once again littered with small branches and pine cones from the wind storms, as well as fall leaves that are still hanging out in the nooks and crannies.  I also need to do the dreaded deep clean of the house.  It is needed.  When did life become about doing chores?  There really has to be a better way.

Last weekend Shelley and I did a FunDay and went down to Stanwood and Camano Island to do some state park exploring and girl bonding.  The sprinkles of rain weren’t too bothersome and we enjoyed searching the parks for little plastic clue balls.  It is an annual event where if you find a hidden clue ball, you can turn it in for a blown glass ball.  They are beautiful!  We didn’t find any, but it was a wonderful, relaxing way to explore a new area and let the stress of the work week fade away.  We also learned some tips and tricks to employ next year.  We tried out the food at a relatively new brewery in Stanwood, SAAL Brewing, and it was delicious! 

I also finished my latest book club book, and finished my Bend to Whistler Challenge!  I walked 700 miles between October 1, 2020 and February 19, 2021.  We had six months from our start date to finish the challenge, so I’m still tracking my miles.  I want to see how far I end up at the end of March. 

 

Monday night I completed the 2,000 piece puzzle I had been working on – it only took me 17 days!  Clearly my puzzle skills have been honed by a year of lockdown…

Restaurants are back open at 25% capacity, so on an evening walk to drop off books at the library we decided to stop at a brewery in town for their to-die-for bison burger.  The last time we were there was in early September, for our birthday lunch.  Yes, Shelley and I are birthday twins.  How often do you find a friend who shares your birthday!?  The burgers were amazing, and the company was perfect. 

At work I completely wrapped up a project I’ve been working on for almost a year, and came within a stones throw of finishing a second one.  That felt good!  These were monotonous and tedious tasks with no benefit to the organization; they are simply a statutory requirement.  It felt good to be able to finish something that has taken a lot of time away from my regular duties! 

Last night I made the transition to the weekend by watching a Facebook Live Event on the Ghost Towns of Washington State.  Many I have heard of, but some were brand new to me!  One of the ghost towns featured I have visited; Monte Cristo is accessed by an eight mile round trip hike, as the road and railroad line long ago stopped being maintained and eventually washed out.  I even blogged about it!  I definitely need to do a ghost town road trip one of these days. If you want to check out Washington State Ghost Towns, here it is

It feels nice to be feeling like myself again.  I know so many of you are feeling the same way – the endless, aimless drifting of a surreal “new normal.”  Thankfully, spring is less than a month out and the days are still getting longer and brighter!

COVID Words of Wisdom: “Kill the part of yourself that still wants to save someone who walked away while you were drowning.” –Unknown

 

 

 

COVID Diaries: Day 333

Day 333.  Well that has a nice symmetrical look…

It’s the Valentine’s Day edition here, but really that means it is just another Sunday… 

I was supposed to have Friday off (my regular Friday off), but my employee wanted a vacation and I can’t blame her!  So I worked instead – I can take another day sometime soonish…  I did get a new employee hired, just pending the background check, so that was a nice start to the weekend!  Hopefully work will be back to its more normal frenetic pace soon.

It snowed Friday night, after much pondering by weathermen about whether or not we would get snow here.  We got up to about seven or eight inches!  Since then, some has melted, while at the same time it is still snowing.  It is pretty and peaceful and reminds me of my dad, who always loved the snow.

Yesterday afternoon I went out for a walk to enjoy treading through the fluffy whiteness.  I might do the same again today.  There is something so soothing about seeing the white fluff fall from the sky.  It’s supposed to warm up and turn to rain tomorrow, I think, but I will love it as long as it sticks around.

Things are starting to look up COVID-wise.  Our Governor is finally allowing our County to begin to open back up, with restaurants and entertainment allowed to open at 25% capacity.  It has literally been 11 months since anyone could go to a movie or museum around here – it will be pandemonium!  But wait, nevermind, because our only mainstream theater is Regal Cinemas, and they announced several months ago that they were temporarily closing all their theaters, so who knows how temporary that will be, or if they will be just another casualty of the lockdown…

I’m making progress on a 2000 piece puzzle that I got for Christmas!  Hard to believe it is twice as many pieces as the largest puzzle I have done before.  It doesn’t seem too tough – but I’m still probably only 30-40% finished.  It keeps me busy.  Cora remains ever helpful… 

How are things in your world?