It was a dark and gloomy day, Thursday March 26th, when I got up. But since there was a chance it was going to clear up later in the day so we could walk, I skipped my workout, and instead went right to work writing my blog post. The days just seem to slip by with little differentiation, and memory fades into the gray mist so quickly and easily. It will be interesting to look back at posts a year from now, and recall the odd mixture of intensity as we consume the horrifying news, and the mundaneness of isolating ourselves in our homes.
Anyhow, I “went to work” after the blog was finished. Last year I was a benefit fair representative for Vision Service Plan (VSP) at several businesses in my general area. It was a lot of fun, right up my alley, and I made a few dollars to have some fun with! Since then, California, where VSP is headquartered, tightened up the rules on who actually is, and who is not, a contract employee. From what I understand, it’s very difficult to prove anyone who works for you is not a standard employee, and subject to all the rules regarding breaks, vacation, etc etc etc. So, VSP has contracted out benefit fairs reps to a company called VOLT, and I had to do the onboarding process. Twenty-five forms later, and I was done! Of course, who knows if companies will be having their employees gathering that close together again come this fall when they are usually held. We will see!
Terri and I headed out to walk midafternoon, but as soon as I stepped outside, it started raining again. In fact, upriver (where we were headed) looked like it was being put through a power rinse cycle, so we decided to head west and hope for a respite. Made it to Anacortes where we like to walk around the harbor area, and it’s easy to maintain social distance, but it was still sprinkling, and not warm at all. This was a non-starter, so we opted to just go for a drive instead.
I mentioned the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival before, so I decided to head out that direction. It’s a pleasant drive among all the varied farms in this valley with the beautiful mountain frame, relaxing and nourishing to the soul. I spotted a field tinted a bright yellow, and headed that way. No tulips yet (may be a bit early), but a whole field full of radiant daffodils. We sat and drank in the beauty, then reconnoitered, and headed back out on the hunt. I was delighted to find an old farm outbuilding that is feeling the call to return to nature. There is beauty in aging gracefully!
Soon we spotted another field, half glowing white, and half the vibrant yellow – narcissus along with daffodils! Normally we would be in stop-and-go traffic here, with no parking and no way to get out and take a photo, but today – staying several car lengths apart – we were able to get out and snap a couple of shots. The lofty Chuckanut Mountains were dark blue in the background, and the sky was putting on a surreal show with grey cloud formations. I was wishing I had a real camera with me instead of my phone, but at least I could capture a sense of what we saw.
Remember the huge issue with the Fred Meyer online order? Well, they DID call me back, and only 30 minutes later figured it out, and gave me a store credit to use on my next purchase. “Just put a note on your next order to use it” she said. Yeah, well, there is no place for notes, except on individual items. I guess we will see – that order is due here in minutes.
My grandson Kenny tried to Facetime me while I was on the phone, so I checked back in with them once I was done with my shopping ordeal. He loves being out of school, but hates being away from his friends. I got to see grandson Charlie’s new Bearded Lizard, and see the results of some of the work they, along with their dad, have accomplished in their backyard. My daughter is working from home; a task that has gotten a little easier since they closed the mall where her husband works. It was good to see them, touch bases, and be reassured that they are doing okay.
Terri and I looked at our list of friends and family we want to make sure we stay in contact with, so she called her sister Karen, which was a very positive thing for both of them. I called my daughters father-in-law … he lost his wife to cancer not that long ago, then moved out to Portland so he could be closer to Frank, Kalise and the twins. Normally he gets to watch the boys after school, but since there is no school, and since he has another health issue, he is wisely social distancing right now.
So, there it is, another pandemical day full of mundainish activities. Staying safe, staying healthy, and hope you are as well!
Terri and I are very aspirational. Our goal, though, is to be more inspirational. It’s been our desire, for example, to have a daily devotional time together every day. The good news is that our time of self isolation is helping us work on that aspiration, and make it more of a reality. Friday morning, we got our coffee, sat down, and devoted ourselves. Pastor Kip at Cornwall Church has started posting a resource, encouraging people to fast and pray during this season as we approach Easter, and we’ve been using that as a framework. As we sat in our recliner in our living room, eyes open, coffee in hand, praying for friends, family, healthcare workers and our poor nation, it came to me that if Jesus were here, he’d join us with a cup of coffee and conversation. It was like a light bulb came on, and I visualized Him sitting across from us, engaged in this conversation of love and care for others, and it subtly changed the way I talked with Him. So my new aspiration is to start each day with Coffee with Jesus.
More misadventures in online grocery shopping! I had another delivery scheduled today from an order I placed five days ago. I went in early AM and updated it, then waited. I signed up for text alerts on my order, and soon enough … Madison refunded toilet tissue … Madison replaced disinfecting cleaner … Madison replaced Elderberry syrup … Madison refunded Organic Diced tomatoes … Madison refunded dry yeast … Madison refunded Dave’s Killer Bread … Madison refunded Sodastream CO2 cartridge … Fred Meyer is on the way! Yay! Without more than half my order! And no, they did NOT apply the store credit as I asked for. Still and all, I am very grateful that we don’t have to expose ourselves by going into the store to shop. I just heard that our little county ranked 8th in the world per captita for COVID-19. Probably because 45 of 60 people that attended a practice session for the Skagit Chorale before the lockdown became infected. Anyhow, I REALLY appreciate the grocery store workers, the personal shoppers, and the delivery people for all their work during this tough time. Thank-you!
I don’t know about you, but I have this character flaw – if somebody or something tells me I can’t, it often creates a desire to do just that thing. Now, 99.5% of the time, I don’t follow up on that desire, because there is generally wisdom behind the admonition – “Stay back, dangerous cliff”, “Speed Limit 70 MPH”, “Keep feet from under mower deck”. “Don’t go shopping or to church or out to eat or meet up with friends”. Oh boy, I want, I want, I want! So, as I endeavour to exercise wisdom, there are a bunch of holes in my life. Sometimes I can find satisfying ways to fill those holes; sometimes someone steps in and helps. Our friend Jamie is a perfect example. He’s been giving me great advice on how to do a professional job painting our kitchen cupboards. Friday he went to the paint store, picked up the paint he recommended and we needed, plus some other supplies, and delivered them right to our house. That is love in action right there, people.
Once again we shared our Happy Hour with friends Don and Trish. It is always a time we treasure as we swap stories and offer each other encouragement. Later on that evening I was able to talk with David, a good friend down in the Dallas area. Their situation is a bit different from ours as they have no medical situations that compromise their survivability potential, so they are able to connect with their grandkids, and get out and do food deliveries for Uber Eats and Doordash. This year has been one of challenge after challenge for them, a year that should have been nothing but full of joy as he and Jodi celebrate 50 years of marriage.
How do I wrap this up? I guess I really can’t, because for everyone everywhere this is a brand-new world we are living in. Every day will bring fresh challenges and opportunities. God bless us all as we make our way during this crazy time.