Can you remember back when life was normal?

April 27, 2022

When crowds didn’t make us nervous.

If life were normal

we would have taken a bunch of exotic trips in 2020 and 2021. We would’ve seen the fjords in Norway, enjoyed the Hebrides and Shetland, probably visited London for the umpteenth time. We would’ve been to Maui a few times and also been to our new second home in western New York a few more times.

If life were normal

we would be hugging our friends and family. We’re still not doing much of that. I would’ve had a big party celebrating my milestone birthday. And I’d be in physical therapy for this thing on my right side that won’t go away.

Since life isn’t normal,

here’s what we are doing at our house:

Once or twice a week we have our closest friends over for a meal on our patio. We cook, they bring a dish and we maintain Covid protocols.

When we can, we mask up and go to a farmer’s market we like . It’s small and we get there almost before it opens when hardly anyone else is around. We know the farmer stands we like and we shop them efficiently. We are there and gone in 10 minutes.

A few times a month or so, we have sushi at an isolated outdoor restaurant patio. We go super-early so no one else is on the patio. Sushi and beer all by ourselves in the sunshine at 4pm is more fun than you’d think. Because it’s relaxing. No worries since we are the sole patrons at that hour.

Thanks to unvaccinated ignoramuses, this Covid thing could be with us a very long time. We’re fully vaccinated and boosted, but still, we do not want to get sick, especially since my husband has comorbidities. So with that in mind, we decided to expand our patio significantly. It’s always been too small for dining outdoors, and now it’s large enough to host a (small) dance party. If ever we can.

We also put in a retractable awning, since we get the afternoon sun in a big way every day. Lots of sun here. The shade will help cool that side of the house this summer, saving some energy at a time when we really need to be cutting back power needs.

And we are looking for a fire table for our seating area. And a dining set.

California life is pretty outdoorsy anyway, and the weather is cooperative most of the year, so we know we’ll get a lot of use out of the new patio. And as a bonus, we removed quite a bit of grass– maybe 50% of our irrigation needs have disappeared. This is a good thing, given the strain on water resources here right now.

I’m not sure we would’ve done this if Covid hadn’t forced us to amp up patio entertaining. But once we made the decision to age in place in our California home, (and visit our second home in our hometown of Rochester, NY), it just made sense to invest in these upgrades.

Our suitcases used to be always packed and ready to go. This was, no question, a lifestyle change for us. But, we’re certainly not suffering. Like so many Americans, we are making the best of the situation. And starting to inch out a bit, planning big travel for next year.

How about you, what are you doing to help keep connected during this strange period of time?

5 comments on “Can you remember back when life was normal?
  1. Diane says:

    Normal. Sigh.
    This sounds inspired! I love patio living! (Pictures?)
    Our life has done a 180 over Covid. No travel, except very close to home. I’m actually enjoying it!

  2. Laurie Stone says:

    Carol, I remember how much you used to travel. It must be a big change. I must add, I love early dinners in restaurants. As soon as it gets too noisy and crowded, we’re out of there.

  3. Alana says:

    I think about the last two years as being shuttled onto another train track for a journey I never would have planned for. I’m lucky. Its worked out. For example, I was due to retire April of 2020. I had some plans to work part time while snowbirding in Florida. The Florida plans are shelved. I’ve spent the last two winters here in New York. Work from home became a way to stay connected (fortunately I was able to work from home) and, well, two years later, I’m still working part time. We traveled less than planned, but took trips we never would have taken. Husband is a great cook and we rarely ate out unless we were traveling,so that wasn’t a loss. At the house, got a backyard bird feeder (then two, then three….)and husband is big into watching the birds. Without lockdown, who knows? Because I’m an introvert, I rarely had large gatherings anyway. I can disappear into a good book (or the Internet) for hours, so was fortunate in that respect, too. The one downside – not seeing out of town people. Finally, in the last month, we saw three we hadn’t seen since 2019. The rest will come. I’m optimistic, although I live in a part of New York that has been trending in the wrong direction with COVID for several weeks now.

  4. Nancy Hill says:

    walking with a friend, taking online classes, organizing an accountability co-working group, face-timing family

  5. Lauren says:

    I’m getting back to life. I have modified the way I do things a bit but I no longer live in fear. It was exhausting. I can breathe now. Will I go to a concert? Not yet, but planning to this summer. But I am seeing friends and going out again.

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