2020 Life Logs, Day 98: Happy 11th Birthday to Ziggy

2020 Life Logs, Day 98: Happy 11th Birthday to Ziggy
Date: Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Weather: Sunny, Breezy Afternoon; High 56 degrees, Low 44 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Happy, happy 11th birthday to Ziggy! For the first time ever, I sent a grandchild money for his birthday. It just seemed too difficult to order the things he wanted and get them to Puerto Rico in time with the adjusted Covid-19 delivery uncertainties. Thankfully the money gift worked out. I think he enjoyed getting money. But he also got lots of other presents. It seemed more like Christmas than a birthday. He got the coolest roller skates I’ve ever seen. The boots are red Converse sneakers. We had a Skype video call this afternoon and I got to see him skating around the living room as Coco zoomed about on her roller blades. Thankfully they have a really big living room that can accommodate such activity. I got to meet Opal and Pearl, the new baby goats. At birth they thought both were girls, but then they discovered that Pearl is a boy. Justin and Jo held them and then Justin brought them into the living room to run about. They are just too cute for words. But I think Justin’s favorite baby of the week is a little tan bunny. I didn’t get to see Hopi’s baby pony, Barnaby, as his pen is too far from house to have an internet connection. I hope to see photos of him as he grows. The Handley-Hunts in Puerto Rico seem to be doing just fine. And Ziggy really was a very happy birthday boy.

I spent the rest of my day writing, gardening, walking with Shadow, and fighting with Comcast, my internet and cable TV provider. I really enjoyed the writing, gardening, and walking, but the fight with Comcast has gone on too long. I have called many times since Monday and each time I get a cheery computer voice saying, “I see you are Judy. Am I correct?” Yes, yes, yes. I am Judy and my address is 2-3. And yes, your computer does show that I have a problem—major breakup or pixilation on my TV screen. And after six calls, I still have the problem. And yes, I have the break-up on all channels. And yes, I did try a different HDMI cord. And every time I have called I have gone through the same testing regime and have been told to watch the screen and report any changes to a person that will call me back in one hour. The problem is, no one has ever called back. When I finally got an agent this evening, I explained that I certainly understand that their service is overwhelmed due to the coronavirus. But I just wanted to find out what my next step should be. I tried to explain that as Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” This worked. They are sending me, via UPS, a new cable box with a new HDMI cable. I’ll install it and if that doesn’t solve the problem, then Comcast will send someone to check the outside connections. They are doing almost no work, maybe none, inside homes unless service has been totally cut-off. Hopefully we can avoid that here. I could live without the television, but I would have difficulty without my internet connection.

Today I had my first ever home delivery of beer and wine. Essentials, right? Someone in my wine group mentioned that they were getting deliveries from a liquor store in Cotuit, a little town between here and Hyannis. I got online to check it out and it is so easy. The prices are higher than going into Kappy’s, the major liquor store in Falmouth, but they don’t deliver. You still have to wipe down the boxes and bottles of wine, but you order online, pay by phone, and then just tape a tip to your door. They leave everything on your doorstep and you take it from there. No contact with people. A great service. My friend Detta Porat also called today. She is a second grade teacher in New Hampshire and is working 15 to 18 hour days providing online instruction and email support for students and families. Sure wish the Goldpebbles were in a school system working this hard to provide educational support during these times. If they are, I don’t see it. But I’ll not give up hope just yet. And the greatest news of the day was that Nilson, the contractor who does work for my land lady, Shirley, and has done work for me, was able to help out in response to an SOS text I sent to him this morning. I know how much stress Heather and Jed are under right now. When I went over to deliver some packing boxes last evening, they were outside scraping paint off the trim around the garage door. Part of their contract of sale is that the garage door and trim will be painted and that has to be done by the end of next week. I know they could have gotten it done, but it is just one more thing on their overflowing plate. So, this morning I sent the text to Nilson and this afternoon he was on the job. Since it is an outside job, Heather and Jed just had to direct the kids not to play on that side of the house to keep proper physical distancing. Nilson’s team actually got the paint scraped and the first coat of paint on today. Thanks and praises.

2020 Life Logs, Day 97: A Writing Day

2020 Life Logs, Day 97: A Writing Day
Date: Monday, April 6, 2020
Weather: Sunny and Warmer; High 56 degrees, Low 40 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

We finally had a sunny and warmish day, but I spent it indoors writing. I kept thinking I would come to a stopping place and go outside to ready the raised beds for planting. But I never reached that stopping place. I have written a book introduction and Chapter One for my book about the Voyage of Windbird and today I started Chapter Two. After thinking about writing this book for the eight years since Mark and I arrived back home, I find it amazing that I am now actually writing. Taking the Newcomers Memoir Writing class that started in late January got me started, but it took the slow down in life imposed by the coronavirus to actually get me to buckle down. The book introduction sets the stage. Chapter One is currently titled, “There He Was.” It is about meeting Mark. Chapter Two that I focused on today tackles the question of why and how we made the decision to sail around the world. It was great fun today to go back and try to reconstruct our first off-shore sail from the Chesapeake Bay to Maine in 1989. The fact that I survived that trip sets the stage for me thinking seriously about sailing around the world. Tomorrow and Wednesday I will continue writing and, hopefully, do a little gardening. Then on Thursday and Friday, writing will be put aside to focus on the Goldstone move from 60 Vidal to 43 Grasmere. I’m actually looking forward to that distraction. Today I saw a replay of a White House news briefing this weekend when Dr. Birx said that she thinks this week is most crucial in the battle against the coronavirus. She recommended that people not even go the grocery store or drug store during this week. I haven’t been in a grocery store since mid-March and don’t need to go now, but the tone in her voice chilled me. This is really scary, so maybe dropping everything and just working hard at moving is a good thing.

2020 Life Logs, Day 96: Random Thoughts and Observations

2020 Life Logs, Day 96: Random Thoughts and Observations
Date: Sunday, April 5, 2020
Weather: Mostly Cloudy; High 50 degrees, Low 41 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

The time in which we are currently living is certainly unprecedented. We are having a cold and cloudy spring with bits of color here and there and I have a puppy that is growing by leaps and bounds. Those things are normal. But living in the time of a worldwide pandemic that I never envisioned happening in my lifetime, not going to any kind of store but instead getting food delivered to my doorstep by my daughter or by an online company called Misfits, wearing a mask when out in public, keeping a physical distance from everyone and only having face to face contact over the internet, not touching my face and washing my hands constantly . . . these things are not normal. But hopefully we are all doing these things in the hopes of slowing down the coronavirus. I want to share the development of the spring colors and the details of ordering food from Misfits. But every night by the time I sit down to write my log, I am too tired to write about these things. I spent half of today overseeing the moving of boxes from the driveway of Heather and Jed’s new home to the basement. Ollie and I would strap a box on a small dolly and he would head down the hill with the loaded dolly to the basement. I would follow, carrying something manageable. We would get those things put away in the basement and then go back to make another delivery. By mid-afternoon we all needed to head home to have lunch. I then stayed home and did some cooking. I delivered salmon cakes to the Goldstones for their dinner and then came home to spend the evening with my Shadow. The Goldstones have to take the next three days off moving activities so that radon mitigation work can be done at the new house. On Wednesday, I will observe Passover at Heather and Jed’s current home. I guess we can call that the last supper as on Thursday we will start the moving of everything from the old house to the new. Thursday will be packing day and on Friday they will be renting a truck and doing the final move. I suppose this means they will be sleeping in the new house on Friday night. This move is a huge undertaking without the help of movers and contractors to do painting and flooring and moving, but H & J keep revising their plans and moving forward. From my point of view, things are moving along smoothly, considering the working conditions. And when things get hard, we just have to remind ourselves of how lucky we are to be healthy and have a steady income. So many people have neither. I am looking forward to a few days off and then the huge push to get this move done. I am also looking forward to the full moon on Tuesday. Tuesday is April 7 which is Ziggy’s 11th birthday. It is the Full Pink Moon. Pink used to be Ziggy’s favorite color. I am not sure that is still the case, but I think it is a good omen that he will have a full moon birthday this year.

2020 Life Logs, Day 95: Happy Anniversary to Justin and Jo

2020 Life Logs, Day 95: Happy Anniversary to Justin and Jo
Date: Saturday, April 4, 2020
Weather: Overcast with a Little Sunshine Late Day; High 43 degrees, Low 33 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Justin and Jo were married on this day in 2007. They met in Massachusetts, got married in California, moved to New Mexico where they had Ziggy and Coco, and then moved to Puerto Rico where they now live on their two acres they call Finca Maravilla. This week they celebrated spring with the arrival of a foal, twin goat kids, and baby bunnies. A beautiful abundance of life in these otherwise grim times. As we are here, and as Jo’s family is in England, Justin, Jo, Ziggy, and Coco are living under the threat of the coronavirus. My anniversary wish for them is that we all work as hard as we can to stay safe and healthy. I know they did not go out to celebrate, but I hope they had a wonderful day celebrating their wonderful life together.

Today was a work day here and I think it was a most productive one. There are still things to move out of the storage unit tomorrow morning, but it will be done. Heather cleaned out the big chest freezer this morning and left it to defrost while we moved things from storage. Then we returned to move it to the new house. As we all stood there looking at it, Jed said he really thought they needed a special dolly with a strap. I reminded them that my friends Peter and Karen Baranowski had offered the use of their dolly and suggested we call them to see if it might do the job. It sounded like just what we needed, so Jed and I went to get it. It made what seemed a very difficult task so much easier. Heather and Jed were able to get it out of the basement, into the van, out of the van at the new house, and down the hill to the entrance to basement. Thank you, thank you to Peter and Karen. While Heather and Jed moved the freezer, I stayed home with the boys and we worked together to get laundry that was on the couch folded. By the time Heather and Jed got home and announced their victorious feat, the boys had put their folded clothes away, the pizza for dinner was delivered, and they were ready for a movie night to celebrate a job well done. I came home to be with Shadow as I had to leave him at home today so we could get the work done. I did come home to have lunch with him and this evening we played outside and took a nice long walk. Tomorrow will be more of the same. Once the storage unit is emptied and everything is carried down to the basement, the work upstairs can begin. Right now it seems like the Never Ending Story, but in another couple of weeks, I think the Goldstones will be settled in their new home. We just have to move forward one day at a time.

2020 Life Logs, Day 94: Craziness

2020 Life Logs, Day 94: Craziness
Date: Friday, April 3, 2020
Weather: Stormy; High 44 degrees, Low 40 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Please tell me I’m not crazy. My good friends Olivia, Karen, and Jane spend their days sewing face masks for the local visiting nurses because they don’t have any. I’m very proud of the contribution they are making, but it makes me ask, “Is this the 21st century? Do we live in the most powerful country in the world?” I guess not. I hear our President say daily that we are under attack by an invisible enemy. I hear him say we are at war, that he is a war President. But if we were being attacked by a visible enemy, would the President of this great country be telling each state governor to wage the war however they want? I don’t think so. This is craziness.

Sorry. I just had to get that off my chest. But the craziness doesn’t end there. The fact that Heather and Jed are trying work full time from home, oversee some semblance of schooling for three boys at three different grade levels, while staging a move into a new house with no outside help all come with their craziness as well. These things are possible, but they are challenging. Why do they have to do the remodeling and the move all by themselves? Well, remodeling projects are non-essential so you can’t get that kind of work done with our current stay-at-home policy in place. And as for not hiring professional movers . . . who in their right mind would want people you don’t know touching everything you own and moving it into your new home in these times? It’s hard enough to wipe off all groceries that come into your home. But everything? No. Moving yourself is not easy, but it is certainly easier than taking a chance on getting Covid-19. So today, I went to the new house and cleaned the garage while Heather and Jed worked at home. While I was there, the dumpster they have rented was delivered and at some point, it will be filled with the carpeting and other things in the house that need to go. Tomorrow morning, I’ve offered to go to their current home and help clean out their freezer in the basement. It has to be defrosted and then moved to the basement of the new house and repacked. Add to that, the emptying of the storage unit they rented and filled with things from their current house to get it ready to show. That unit has be emptied by 2:30 pm on Sunday. Else, they have to pay for another month. Aye-yai-yai. I don’t know how they are keeping their sanity, but they are. One day at a time, things will get done. I’ll help as I can. But I certainly hope that with all these issues that at least the weather improves. Today we experienced a nor’easter with high winds and more rain from gray skies. Yes, April showers bring May flowers, but could we please have showers, not storms. And warmer weather . . . please.

During all of this, Shadow and I continue to enjoy our daily walks, even in the rain. And I spend a bit of time each day keeping in contact with family and friends. This evening I attended what has become a weekly Friday evening gathering of my Wine Group via Zoom. And I talked with Mark’s sister and brother-in-law, Mary Ellen and Lee, in Bonita Springs, Florida. They, and all the Florida Handley Clan, are all weathering the Covid-19 storm and staying healthy. Good to hear. And the big excitement today was that there was a front page article in the local weekly Falmouth Enterprise with the headline, “Circumnavigating the Globe Has Never a Dull Moment.” The article was the result of an interview I had with a local reporter a couple of weeks ago. I’m not convinced I said everything she put in quotes, but it was fun to read about the adventure!

2020 Life Logs, Day 93: Writing Day

2020 Life Logs, Day 93: Writing Day
Date: Thursday, April 2, 2020
Weather: Overcast and Rainy; High 46 degrees, Low 40 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Cottage, East Falmouth, MA

Electrical work was being done in the basement of Heather and Jed’s new house today, so we all stayed home and focused on other things. Things will start to ramp up tomorrow and if the current plan sticks, the big move will happen late next week. In the meantime, there is more cleaning, getting old carpeting out of the house, more stripping of wallpaper, painting, and moving things out of the temporary storage unit by Sunday at 2:30 pm in order to avoid paying for another whole month. No lack of things to do!

I had an afternoon Memoir Writing Class on Zoom this afternoon, so I took advantage of the day off and focused on writing. I spent my time continuing to edit my Book Introduction and Chapter 1, plus reading and making recommendations on another class member’s piece we were to focus on during class today. Those of us who are now meeting weekly via Zoom are finding this just as effective as meeting in person. Jerry Lanson is our fearless leader. As another class member said this afternoon, Jerry’s experience as a college writing teacher is invaluable. His experience, plus his gentle and caring manner, sets everyone at ease and makes it so easy to share. And his editing skills are amazing. After years of thinking about writing, Jerry’s encouragement has finally nudged me forward. Thank you, Jerry.