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Now there are two doors that have broken hinges in the kitchen. Maybe they’re not actually broken, but the hinge is no longer a connected whole, but a part on the door and a part on the cabinet. The island’s primary door now dangles by one hinge. Google is not leading to an obvious fix or a decent video. The real solution may be to unscrew the hinge, reconnect the pieces and rescrew. Assuming no metal parts have actually broken, which is apparently a real thing with this type of hinge. Another thing on the “if I’d only known” list.
With astonished amazement I watched the silly blonde in an SUV behind me not only pass me on a double yellow line, but while also going through a red light. Apparently my driving 5 miles above the speed limit was not fast enough. She must be a very important person late for a very important Monday meeting. Where the hell are the cops when you really want them? She then proceeded to ride the bumper of the car in front of me, which had two more cars in front of it, moving at the posted speed limit of 30 mph.
Will this retrograde never end? I so very tired of miscommunication and misinformation, and that’s not even including the globally spreading virus situation. There is nothing to do but wait out the retrograde, and trying to be patient, double check details, confirm in advance, etc. I’ve nothing to buy, no deals to negotiate, so there are no big risk snafus to worry about this time. Eight years ago the risk was buying this house…which hasn’t turned out to be a wrong decision as much as a not-optimal decision. I do think buying it was a better choice than doing nothing.
I've made the decision to drive. In March of 2020, the idea of getting on a plane to go anywhere for any reason is pretty much not worth it. The news from around the world and the spread of the coronavirus is very worrying. Not least because governments seem to be slow to respond, to be candid and provide good information to the public. We do understand that for those with heart or lung issues it presents elevated risk, so the only way for me to travel halfway across the country to be there for dad's procedure is to drive.
China and Italy may be somewhat totalitarian in their approach for quarantining their populations, but perhaps that is what it will take to shorten the worst of this rapidly approaching pandemic. If we can find a vaccine soon, great, but don’t count it in, that typically takes years. And I have no expectation of a “cure” that will help recovery. Let’s face it, if after all these years we don’t have medicine for the common cold or the annual flu in its many variation, I don't hold much hope for us getting something of a “cure” for this novel coronavirus.
Monogamous knitting is not truly my style however when there something that I want to finish I can focus and put in the time. I’ve been slogging through rows of stockinette on big fat needles, hoping to get to the finishing details. Tonight, I realized that the sweater I have I spent the month of February working on and have reknit the top twice already, isn’t going to fit. Again. I don’t have the heart to frog everything back and reknit a third time (at least not right now) so I am going to just ignore it for a bit.
When I see what needs to be done in the garden, I have a really hard time stopping until everything is done - like others are with housework: one thing leads to another which leads to another. I removed piles of leaves from where tulips are planted and sprayed deer repellent. Hopefully the tulips hold until I return, I planted many more bulbs than are currently visible. Hyacinths are already showing buds, but I have to wonder if the snow drops and other very early bulbs were done in by our early February thaw that was followed by a freeze.
Driving across country at highway speeds does not provide a lot of opportunity for enjoying the scenery. Mostly it’s the crappy commercial buildup of gas stations, car dealerships, box stores and fast food restaurants around exits, or incredibly boring farmland. Interesting architecture is such a rarity that a mid-century office building catches your eye from a distance. I have been in the company of hawks on this trip, and more than once I've seen more than two at a time across the sky. It was a beautiful day with bright sunshine, so all the little creatures are beginning to stir.
Arrival. Every time I write that word, I think of the first episode of The Prisoner. Being trapped in a bizarre village - that may be a little too close to my reality for the next week or so. Never mind, I am here, dad is still alive, and mom will hopefully be able to start conserving some of her energy. I can only hope that the Big Bad Virus will continue to be localized to larger metropolitan areas and the big cities, and not reach across Pennsylvania, Ohio and into Michigan by the time I am ready to return.
Grandma B made fruit cake? Really?! I have no memory of such a thing, and I don’t think I was ever offered a piece to try (Grandma could bake, but not cook, if you catch my drift). On the way to the hospital today, driving past what is now a building full of condominiums on Westnedge, I was overwhelmed with musty memories of visiting grandma’s older teachers friends (and I even remembered the names Francis Hungerford and Letitia and Francis Dixon). There was another surprising bit of family history was exchanged probably on Tuesday and I’ve once again forgotten it.
Driving home from the hospital, after a successful procedure (the doc is calling dad his “miracle patient”) I am distracted by the “big city” glow of Otsego and Plainwell. It must be all the big box stores on the M89 strip – and it can be seen on the drive north out of town? It seems oddly bright and out of proportion – and is really more indicative of the absolute darkness of the surrounding areas. A lack of streetlights, outdoor house lighting and overall traffic mean the sky is simply dark at night, unlike the surroundings that I normally call home.
The cardiologist pulled me aside this afternoon to tell me he’s already written the orders: barring some unforeseen, unexpected major setback, dad will be released tomorrow, regardless of how many or few times he walks outside of the room. To celebrate (if that’s somehow an appropriate word) on the way home, I stop at Bilbo’s for salad and a mini pizza. As I pour myself a small glass of wine, I look back: I can’t remember the last time I had Bilbo’s, although there was probably some consumed with Barb during a visit in the 1990s. So that’s twenty years.
I could view this as Friday the 13th. Or as the day Dad comes home. Either way, I’m just glad he’s out of the hospital. It appears to be perennially understaffed, and I don't quite understand how no one has even offered dad a bath or the opportunity to brush his teeth or any kind of cleaning -- after two days? Seriously? Do they assume that because mom is there she is taking care of him? What of other patients who don’t have someone there 24/7? At what point is it negligence? Do we say anything now that he’s released?
It was an interesting trip to the winter farmers market. I am still reeling from the concept of there being a winter farmers market, and from the variety of vendors. But there was still a run on foodstuffs: Mom’s regular egg guys were out completely of eggs – apparently, you can call and reserve a dozen or two. I got eggs from the Amish farmer – and some lard to take home to himself. The chicken place was sold out of most types, they only had boneless breasts, wings and drumsticks, so drumsticks it was. And let’s not even discuss the stores.
On a beautiful spring day, unseasonably warm, it is an unwritten tradition to go get ice cream. Kids in shorts are outside playing at the park. Plainwell Ice Cream is clearly flourishing, another story of small town American enterprise making good: there’s a whole new freezer room on the west side of the building. I enter just after someone else leaves, I’m the only customer. The young ones behind the counter are hopping to –one takes the order, someone else rings me up, a third brings the bag from the back. I’m in and out in less than 60 seconds.
At the big grocery store, one last time, to get a new prescription for Dad and a last load up on food and any other critical supplies I can find for my parents. There’s definitely more missing from the shelves, and many more people (men) shopping who have no idea where anything is in the store. But there is also a surprising (to me, as a New Yorker) generosity of spirit: employees working together to find stock that is misplaced on the shelves, and customers willing to fetch a newly re-stocked item for a stranger online and next at checkout.
A day of unexpected twists. The doctor’s called to cancel dad’s visit – they don’t want to expose him to the potential infection. Mom answered some questions and that was it. The cable company showed up with the right people –an experienced installation tech, and two supervisors!- and dad agreed to a small hole in the siding as the easiest/best way to get the cable inside. After dinner, with a bit of a struggle, the WiFi router was installed and secured. That completes the list of my tasks in Michigan, so I can (assuming I can get packed) head home tomorrow.
It was out of the Blues Brothers: a fast moving dark SUV behind me, coming out of nowhere followed by a very large contingent of police. As I pulled over to the side of I-69, it became clear somebody had seriously Dun Wrong: at least a dozen state troopers, some likely those I saw hiding” behind overpass pillars between the north and south roadways. I saw the drivers’ side front tire was gone, nothing but metal on the road surface. Approaching I-90, ambulances were headed north, cutting across to the south where the SUV had finally crashed, rolling several times.
Arriving home for the vernal equinox, I am so very, very relieved, even if I cannot yet relax. The drive across Pennsylvania was filled with foggy mountaintops that obscured everything from sight, and barricaded rest areas. I got lucky with my stop in Stroudsburg for gas, lunch and a bathroom, despite the closing of all restaurants. The drive across NJ was easy with empty roads, but Long Island roads –local and highway- were stupid busy. I want to live somewhere where people are more considerate and less fantastically self-centered. But I am thankful to be home with my other half.
Today was a mercy mission: retrieve my orchids from the office (and get other stuff needed to work from home for a month or more) and get essentials at a grocery store. The latter became a combat mission – just way too many people in the small store, all of them buying for doomsday, and none of them even trying to keep any distance from anyone. The conveyer belts had stopped and were filthy. In retrospect, I should have bought the small bags of King Arthur Flour. When I finally got home, I stripped, took a shower and washed my hair.
A day later than planned, I final have completed the first day of my voluntary quarantine. Himself has been home for more than a week already, out of an abundance of caution. The fear that I may have brought something home despite all my precautions is a solid, real thing. The curve is rising fast, particularly here, I’ve definitely gone from the frying pan to the fire. There are still no cases identified where my parents are. Will this be our future – counting cases, trying to control our fears? With the mantra of the future be “Fear is the mind-killer”?
There is something wonderful about working in the garden, particularly after being cooped up in a house, in a hospital, in a car, for what amounts to several weeks. It isn’t just the fresh air or the physical activity or sense of accomplishment. It is definitely one of those situations where end result is greater than the sum of its parts. With only ninety minutes of activity, I shook loose many cobwebs. I know I shall sleep well tonight. But I may be a bit stiff tomorrow or Tuesday. I need to get back in shape after the winter hibernation.
Temptation. It is slithering in from all sides. I have not succumbed, but the idea is forming. How not to buy yarn myself, but still support indie dyers who are losing business with every cancellation. The only problem is that the net result will still be adding yarn to my stash, not cold sheeping. Another problem: finding yarn that I want from a dyer who was actually going to events. Most of the yarn I want doesn’t fall into that category, is either direct distribution by a dyer or not hand dyed. Am I to be saved by a technicality?
So the doctor’s office agrees: skip the blood work at this time and get it done later when things have evened out. I’m glad that they think I wasn’t overreacting, and I’m likewise sad that they agreed the concern was warranted. I don’t like the phrase “the new normal”. This isn’t our new normal, this is a transition period that may last for several months, but it is definitely not the new normal. There is no corner of the globe to escape to. Which means we will find a new balance – although I’ve no idea what it will look like.
People are behaving badly these days, in all kinds of ways. Mostly it seems to center around various manifestations of absolute self-centered behaviors: it is all about their needs, their wants, everyone else be damned. Teachers demanding free access simply because they have to keep the kiddies entertained…really, would you steal a book from a bookstore’s shelves just because it’s there? College students going on student break or to virus parties. The wealthy leaving NYC for their “second homes”. And unless you or someone is actually critically ill, why are you crying for hours? So many things I don’t understand.
Catching up at work has proven surprisingly challenging. It often seems pointless, but given the current state of the world, it would appear I won’t quit by my birthday (health insurance and economic uncertainty being two very high barriers). So I am putting in my eight hours a day working from home. Which somehow seems to take longer and be more strenuous. Part of it is certainly the reality of our world at this time, and particularly here in NY, but the chair and I are not just sympatico at this time. Not sure I can afford to replace it.
The discussion of wills raised some interesting questions, of the “what if” variety. They are often the best kind to ponder, particularly if you don’t have to make decisions about them. That is not the case here, so serious consideration of future eventualities is warranted. I don’t mind contemplating the continuing world when I am no longer here, where I get stuck is the “me factor”. The idea of lights out! done! empty theater! is bit unsettling. I’ll return to contemplating what kind and scale of good can be achieved as a result of our exit, stage right or left.
It was a large virtual gathering, replete with technical difficulties in sound and audio, but we nevertheless had a good time. I think. Odd to realize I was one of the chattier in the group. There are some in this bunch that I really would like to have as part of my weekly IRL knit night. I could see the sparkling twinkle in Gil’s eyes, and Fee seems younger than she suggests. Aimee and Lisa, yep, we could sit around a table, and talk and laugh all night, maybe even knit a bit. If wishes were fishes, as they say.
Another day of rain, real rain this time, not just spatters. The saying is that April showers bring May flowers, so all this rain needs to stop now! All in all, this particular March has been a pretty dreary month, between the lack of sunshine and the state of the world. The weather really is putting a damper (and I mean that quite literally) on my ideas and plans. But we did tax prep paperwork today, so hurray?! Something that’s productive, necessary and behind us now, so we can be happy? Well, until we learn what the tax bill is.
Steady… steady… keep your head down and finish the shawl. Do not be distracted by shiny, shiny, new yarn or new patterns! Count the rows left in the last chart. Knit away. Pay attention, don’t muck up the lace by inventing your own mangled version! Finish! Finish! Then you can start something new, pick a new yarn and pattern. A happy color. A simple pattern – mindless knitting if you want. Yards of cashmere in stockinette. In the round, perfect for knit night or tv. Just finish the current project first, it’s one you will wear often. Steady… (is this working?)
Ending the month with a bit of concerted efforts to improve my mental health: a walk around the neighborhood in sunshine, a bit of tidying up to make a room habitable again, and a bit of dedicated knitting gets another work in progress finally off the needles. I don’t feel a rush of happiness this time: I’ve reknit a shawl killed by moths, one that was just perfect the first time around. The colors in these new skeins are not quite the same, and I think I’ve made it even larger, possibly too large (if there is such a thing).
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