Friday, June 19, 2020

When the World Paused - Day 94 - Then, Now, and Maybe Tomorrow

"...This doesn't seem like it's going to be a terribly temporary situation. We as a nation, culture, and race seem to be going through something that will change the way we relate to each other, the way we interact with each other, and the way we teach our kids forever. " - J Humenay
Well, here was are, neck deep into day 94, and boy, have things ever changed.
 The statistics as they stand today are mind-numbing to grasp. As of the moment I'm writing this, the 2.23 million people in the United States have been confirmed positive (a 27,000+ increase over yesterday), 699 thousand have recovered, and 120 thousand are dead (a number that went up by over 690 people overnight) due to 'Covid', 'Rona', or the Corona virus. (Yeah - we've been in this so long that the virus has earned nicknames.) The United States currently leads the world in positive cases and deaths. At least, so the statistics say. There are over 8 million cases world wide.
Things are starting to reopen here, and seeing people wearing masks in stores or on the street is no longer an odd sight. In fact, I get compliments on our masks often. There are lots of mask making businesses popping up and doing very well. But most large summer time events are still closed. 
Only this week have we started venturing into outdoor playdates - and even those are rare. No hugging. avoid touching. Sanitize hands. It's a wild new form of normality. 

Other things that have changed- 

We avoid going into stores. I order groceries and have them delivered directly to the trunk of my car. I do Curbside pick up whenever I can. I used to loath the idea of someone shopping for me, picking out my groceries, etc, but it's probably made me buy less anyway.
The Impossible Girl really wants to go inside places. We haven't ventured into an eatery yet though. We still grab drive through if we're going to eat out. 
People are doing drive through graduation ceremonies, and struggling with what the next school year will need to look like to keep everyone safe. I keep hearing fellow parents say, "My kid is so behind!" but I have a feeling the goal post has moved. "Behind" may just be the 'new normal' for most of the kids who don't learn well online.

Work is... interesting.
Without the blessing of Child Care at the YMCA, I have been doing what I can for my clients long distance, and been trying to figure out things face to face in the meantime. 
Friends have been chipping in here and there - but babysitting isn't cheap - nor do I want her to have exposure to a bunch of different babysitters, so I've been able to keep that to a minimum, but finding consistency in a price range that makes adding face to face work back in make sense is proving challenging. 

Our routines have loosened up a bit as summer is fully upon us now.

Today is a good example.
I set a 'goal' for the day - One thing I would like to do or accomplish. 
They are usually super simple and I just add to the list as the day goes on to see what else I can tackle. 
This morning, the plan was simple - 

Take out the trash. (I forgot last week...)
Plant seeds.

We got up late this morning and snuggled up eating breakfast and watching SCOOB - the new movie about Scooby Doo that would have come out in theaters - if they were open.
Then we zipped off to get a school lunch (always a treat for her and they really help stretch the grocery budget). 
We came home, ate lunch by having a 'car picnic' (eating lunch in the trunk with the hatch popped) and I got out our pots and ran some water, ready for filling with soil and planting! 
Well... The Impossible Girl had other play plans for the pots, so I let her have her play and worked in the front yard. 
I dug up some of the marble chips in the front yard, and made a strip of dirt. I planted the wild flowers and bee friendly flowers we'd been sent in the mail (one by her school teacher pen pal and the other by the Washington Department of Agriculture).  I also put half of the free Dahlia tubers into the ground beside the wild flowers (The Impossible Girl helped with those), so we'll see what happens there. 

We were hot and tired and dirty after that so we went inside and cleaned up.
Mission accomplished. Anything else was bonus at this point.

 I took her over to a friend's driveway to play. They knew not to touch or hug each other and played really well all together. Even though they hadn't seen each other in months, it was good to see them pick up immediately, and it was a hard goodbye though for The Impossible Girl. She's been struggling with those lately...

We've finding lots of  spur-of-the-moment adventures - like a weekday trip to Point No Point ,where we found what we think is an eagle feather and raced up and down the beach several times.

And our local(ish) Drive-In Movie theater reopened, so we stopped in to see a socially distant Trolls 2 on Sunday night. She lasted through the whole movie and about 10 minutes into the next one before we called it a night. But it was a nice break from routine - especially with the social distancing guidelines. Cars had to be parked 10 feet apart (usually they cram as many cars into the field as possible) and everything was paid for in advance through the internet - tickets, concessions, etc. Masks were worn to and from the concession stand/bathrooms. It was pretty relaxed, but we missed running the fields and we missed the pre-movie playground (playgrounds are still closed).
(I have no idea why they put a trailer for Tenent before a kids movie...)
 We have explored different hikes. This was Lake Gazzam on Bainbridge Island. It was a lovely little walk after we manage to out drive some rain clouds.


It's getting late and tomorrow is another day with small goals - 


Do more laundry.

Get outside (preferably while doing a chore - like weed whacking or mowing...

This time has truly helped me understand some of the struggles (and triumphs) of domestic life flying solo parenthood. 
And I 'think' I'm doing a pretty good job. History will be the judge.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

When the World Paused - Day 85 - Memory Therapy

There is no doubt there has been a lot of change in the country right now. Our day to day life looks pretty much the same as it has for months now, but that doesn't mean the world hasn't changed considerably over the last few weeks and months.

As of tomorrow, I'm seeing my first client face to face since MARCH. Their patience has been amazing. And there are still clients I can't see face to face because they are over 65 or have a chronic health condition. Within the midst of all that, the disease of apathy is being challenged in our world - as it should be. 

Every single day, 'The Mickey Boat' experience comes up. I know cruising and vacationing is going to completely change for the coming year or two - and we took a lot of flack for going on a family vacation on a boat, unreachable, over Christmas, but - especially with all of this isolation going on- I'm thrilled that we had this experience to look back and draw from. It was completely positive and worth it.

So I thought today I'd share a funny experience from one of my favorite nights of the cruise - 

Pirates in the Carribbean

We spent the day walking to a small beach and relaxing in Grand Cayman - stopping at a small park to learn a little about the place we were visiting. (It's a travel requirement of mine. Learn something about where you're visiting while you're there.) 

It brought back so many memories of when I was her age and my family went to Grand Cayman a few times (usually over Thanksgiving). Watching the Impossible Girl run and play in the sand and the waves, discover hermit crabs, and different shells than we see in the West Coast was a journey into some of the best moments of traveling as a child. 
We came back to the boat for lunch and the kiddo took a nap while I, well, did laundry. 

But the mood changed soon enough!

It was time for Pirate night! We all dressed up for Pirate Night! It was so much fun. We played a game in the club called Pirate's Life and even spoke in 'Pirate' for the rest of the night.
I was excited to do the Pirate deck party, but our smallest pirate needed a nap during dinner. 
One fun memory - 
Since we were speaking in pirate, I was helping The Impossible Girl out in the bathroom - while speaking pirate. (She was doing it back, so it was fun.)
I think the exchange went something like this -
Me: "Argh Matey! Don't Farrrrget to wipe yer butt! No Pirate wants a bum like a blige!"
Her:"Argh! "
Me:  "Argh!"
(She flushes and we're on our way out.)
Me: "Now we've got ta' go warsh yer grimey hands matey!"
Her: "Argh!"
At this point- the 3 other women in the bathroom are laughing hyterically.
(Yes, we didn't buy alcohol this night. I was completely sober.)
We made it to the deck party just in time, and danced and watched and had a blast. We had the last standing room in the boat, but we could see and hear everything,

After Captain Mickey saved the boat from Captain Hook (and a LOT of singing and dancing), the evening rounded off with some ice cream by the pool. I couldn't help but say out loud -
"Is there anything cooler than watching Pirates of the Carribean outside while sailing on the Carribean sea?" Even the memory of it all still strikes me. 

And we ended the night back at our rooms with a kraken blanket/towel animal from our room steward.

We were acutely aware that we were incredibly privledged to have the ability to do this.  Some of our fellow guests sailing on the ship have done them over and over for years. I have no idea if we'll ever be able to do this again. It truly was once in a life time. 
We celebrated with people who celebrate different holidays than we do, ate and danced and chatted with people from all over the world (some fellow guests, some crew members) and enjoyed a glimpse of something completely different.

The quiet ways that traveling and being open to others can change the way we see the world is amazing. I look forward to The Impossible Girl making new friends with new hands to hold someday soon.

But for now, the world is closed. 'Because Germs'. 
When we miss playgrounds and movie theaters and friends and child care, we are always brightened up by conversations and thoughts from our week on the Mickey Boat. 
The Disney Wonder

Sunday, June 7, 2020

When the World Paused - Day 83, The Business of Summer

June is upon us - a different kind of summer than we've ever seen before. Playgrounds are still closed. Playdates are limited, but a possibility. There are also a few conversations going on about what's going on in the world - which is challenging for an adult to process, much less a child.

But the world of the Impossible Girl is different than the adult world too. We live in a highly Military location, so many of her friends are of a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. She's never been exposed to her friends being treated as 'less than'. As she gets older, I hope we're raising her to stand up for her loved ones and continuing to see others, no matter the cultural background, as equals in the world. I can only continue to expose her to a variety of humans and hope we are doing this right. History will be the judge. 

Other than that, our daily life has an ever evolving routine. This is what we've been up to - 

It's fun to learn directions and letters and know your numbers when you're out on a trail. We learn the number markers every time we pass one, in case of an emergency, it would help the services find us. Trails are still pretty empty during the week, which makes hiking an easy afternoon choice. There are LOTS of places we are just starting to explore. (Though at about 1 mile/hour, I'm not sure I would call it a work out. More like a 'walk n' talk' time.) 

We play dress up and play with Disney characters and dinosaurs. A LOT. A dinosaur makes an apperance pretty much every day. Usual a T-Rex. 

We occasionally meet up with friends for park dates. A soccer ball is a great way to play without encouraging hugs or touching. 

Occasionally Odin gets in on our super hero pretend games. 

One day, we had a car appointment, so we stopped off at Greens On Your Way  to pick up some lunch. Knowing the park would be open, but the lobby for the car would be tiny, we dropped the car off and walked over to the park to eat our lunch and kill some time. 

We met up with one of The Impossible Girl's teachers at a beach park nearly under Narrows Bridge! It was a cool location and always nice to say hi. 

And I've been doing a LOT of landscaping work. 
But while I'm doing that, the housework gets behind...It really makes me appreciate all my grandmother did for us. As a kid, both of my parents worked for most of my older childhood, and my grandmother moved in with us in 1985. She opted to help out around the house (laundry, weeding, etc.) to stay busy and man, do I appreciate that on a whole new level with 2 big dogs, a 4 year old, and My Sailor's unpredictable schedule. 

But I actually really enjoy working outside. The more sweat equity and effort I put into the house, the more I feel relaxed when we're safely within its walls. Today I was planning on tearing down and rebuilding the 3 sections of fencing that are in desperate need, but thunderstorms have been rolling in and out all day. I don't really want to be holding an electric drill with thunder close at hand. I like the outcome of working with my hands - even though it's a big frustrating to note that it's fleeting. Within a few years/seasons, Washington blackberry will reclaim parts of the yard again. 

So today, we did something we NEVER do - in fact, it's something we haven't done since Covid-19 changed our lives (or perhaps even before). I let the Impossible Girl stay in her PJs ALL DAY LONG and basically do whatever she wanted (that was safe). Her choices were to watch some PJ Masks while I did Kettlebells and Coffee via Zoom. Afterwards we ate together and then she wanted to make a fort. So we built a fort. Then she asked to watch her tablet in there. Disney +! And then she asked for me to go away, so I did.

I cleaned both bathrooms, checking back in on her (and fulfilling her request for hot chocolate - homemade but in the Dutch Brother's cup for ease of delivery. She made a little movie theater, putting her tablet inside of it to watch. When I came back to check on her after my cleaning was done, she was fast asleep. She doesn't ever get this much screen time, nor does she stay in her PJs all day, but the weather was perfect for hanging out inside. 

We ended the day popping some popcorn, ordering in sushi, and watching Small Foot together. 

Sometimes we all need a down time day.

In a couple weeks, we're looking forward to a possible Great Wolf Lodge overnight and maybe camping with the cousins. (Camping may be harder to pull off in social distancing, but some outside time would be awesome.)