Shopping (Mis)Adventures on Days 15 & 16 ESD

Good morning, everyone! Not quite 7:00 AM on an overcast Thursday, and one of my big projects is this, since once again I’m combining two days for a post. With all the new closures, I’m wondering – and concerned a bit – about being able to leave the compound in a meaningful way, and being able to report anything but “We watched TV all day then went to bed”. I hope not!

Tuesday was mostly odds and ends day. We had gotten our taxes back a few days earlier from our tax preparer, and decided to get brave enough to open them. We were so happy to see that we owed about half as much as the year before, and we had done well in setting funds aside to cover them. Yay! Put them in the mail, checked that off the list. Then a little banking. Isn’t online banking great! The one serious drawback is you can’t deposit or get cash using the app or website … they need to work on that.

I had been thinking about our meal situation, and decided to once again make up a menu, then a  grocery list, then order the ingredients online, and try to get our routine back there. I got the first two done Tuesday. One drawback to getting our groceries online is that they don’t deliver any adult beverages. My Facebook feed has been inundated with companies selling wine and liquor, but I am pretty reluctant to go there. So, I remembered a small wine and cheese shop in Anacortes, got in touch with them, and he put together an order for us with lots of things to try. It was a nice drive there, he brought it out to the car, I fully extended my arm to hand him a check as he extended his arm to get it, so we maintained good social distance. Nice drive, helpful service from Salt and Vine in Anacortes, and helped a small local business!

Soon enough it was time to join Lauren and John, Terri’s sister and brother-in-law for Happy Hour. So great to see them, share a glass of wine and fun conversation. Of course, it would have been even better if we had been together instead of Facetiming, but still, it was a lot of fun! Just one more way we – and so many others – are adapting to the new normal.

Wednesday, March 25 did not look promising when I got up, so jumped on the trusty elliptical again, got all that over with. Since I had not actually placed the order for the meals I had planned out Tuesday, I figured I’d better get on that, since the last time the soonest delivery date was five days out. Got it done fairly quickly, submitted it; once again, no spots in the three day window to be able to pick them up at the store, so I changed it to Delivery ….. and it said “Your order will be delivered in the next 5 hours!” What??? A bit later I get a text, saying it will be delivered by about 10:30, only two hours after I ordered it. Soon enough they were on the porch; we put the bags  in some plastic bins to bring them in, then started unpacking with our safety protocols. It started out fine, but then item after item was something we never ordered. What the heck was going on? Then the doorbell rang; it was our delivery person. They had realized their mistake, and picked up the wrong items. 

All this prompted me to go online and check my orders and what a mess! First it looked like the order we had just gotten, but there were seven items there we would NEVER order, and two from the order that had been scheduled for this upcoming Friday. So I called customer service, waited on hold for over 20 minutes, then spent the next 20 minutes trying to sort things out. Trying being the operative word. The Customer Service Rep is actually getting permission to call ME today so it can be fixed. Not a perfect process!

Next! My garage had gotten pretty junked up recently, with painting supplies that need to be taken care of, finding a new, temporary home for some large 1970’s era speakers I was going to take to Goodwill, and organizing our pantry to make a bit more room for some staples. Nice little project, kept me busy, and looked so much better when I was done.

Deserted streets as we head to Burlington Hill

With all our projects, we decided to keep our walk local, so we headed to Burlington Hill. The clouds had all fled, it was bright and sunny, if only about 53 degrees. Always lifts the spirits to get outside and see the blue sky, see the new life in the world as Spring makes its return. The earth continues to spin on its axis, the sun continues to rise, and this, too, shall pass.

Soon enough it was time to make dinner with all the ingredients we had gotten from our grocery delivery – Sumac Chicken with Roasted Vegetables. So good! Another place where we find stability and comfort.

Well, we turned on the news last night. Overall, we try to limit our consumption of news, but it was time to check in with reality. We were a bit stunned to see that all state parks and all DNR (Department of Natural Resources) lands will be closed. Get out and walk, but not on any trails in Washington. I guess too many areas were experiencing crowding. I get it, but this is a huge blow to us as these are the places that have been our refuge. This will make getting out and finding places where we can relax, get our Nature fix, maintain social distancing and walk or hike very challenging. (Deep breath). We will figure it out, try and be creative. Please share YOUR ideas for getting out and about while staying safe!

Walking and Talking

Paradoxical. Yeah, that’s me. I admit I check my Facebook account a couple of times a day, I post photos onto Instagram, play Words with Friends, read the news, text and FaceTime, and even – when necessary – write emails. Oh yeah, and I’m working on this blog. So I may be over-connected, just me and my little digital bubble.

At the top of Burlington Hill

But I also enjoy people – whether it’s in Five Minute Friendships, chatting to the cashier at the grocery store, you name it. But while it seems simple, it’s really become apparent how conducive walking is to conversation. We live about 10 minutes away from Burlington Hill. It’s only 450’ at the top, but we like to park about a quarter mile away and walk to the top and back, just short of an hour. Our primary objective is to get some exercise, but invariably we find ourselves discussing – life. What did you think about xxx? How do you feel about xxx? How did yesterday go? What do you want to do today? So, about that trip to xxx, should we xxx? I always look forward to these walks with my wife. I feel we have pretty good communication skills, but it just seems so natural to walk and talk.

On the trail to Hannegan Pass

One of my retirement goals this year was to get in as much hiking in my beloved North Cascades as possible. I’ve often hiked these mountains solo, but at this point in my life, it feels more prudent to have a hiking companion when my wife can’t join me. Rick, newly retired to this area, is a member of our local Sierra Club, as am I. We talked a bit about hiking, and headed out on the trails. It has been fun and interesting to walk and talk with him, and to show him some of my favorite places up in the mountains. And the more we walk and talk, the better we get to know each other, and connect as fellow travelers on this adventure we call life. 

I think of others I have walked and talked with. Multi-day backpacks in the Utah red rock wilderness with my brother-in-law John; backpacks and canoe trips with my great childhood friend John; a difficult conversation with a close family member while we walked and talked; walks in beautiful parks with visiting friends, walks with my wife’s sister and her husband around their adopted town of Port Townsend, and so many more. 

Find someone to walk with

In this most interesting and introspective stage in my life, connections and relationships mean more than ever before. I think we all feel a loss of deep, true and meaningful connections in these days of instant, impersonal digital communications. It feels like our entire social fabric is coming unraveled as we become more and more dependent on our devices, and we become an isolated island of loneliness and quiet desperation. I think we would all do well to find someone and take a walk – and talk. You may not only improve your physical health, but your emotional health as well. Let’s get walking!

Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Many people agree that my middle name should be ‘Trouble,” although it was often “Mud” when I was growing up, but I’m thinking it should have been “Faster.” I always tried to walk faster to school, and even faster on my way home (it was only uphill one way, and most often in the rain, not snow). I always wanted to be the fastest reader in class, but Candy always was able to beat me. When I finally got a bike, I needed to be faster than all my friends, especially racing down Rocky  Butte in Portland. Once I started driving, I went through cars the way most people go through a box of Kleenex. Then I got a job working for Western Electric in Vancouver, and getting to work was always a race against the clock. I swear to this day that eventually other commuters recognized my big old Chrysler, and pulled into the slow lane when they saw me coming. I actually used to track my time hiking trails in the North Cascades, and tried to beat my previous time the next time I was on the same trail. And I never thought I talked too fast, but that other people listened too slow.

I’m not sure when the change actually took place, but I recently realized things have changed. Sure, I’m still over the speed limit a bit on the freeway, but I pull into the slow lane when I see someone behind me who wants to set a new land speed record coming up behind. And I rarely even use bad words as they barrel past. I find myself timing trips into the megalopolis to avoid traffic stress, and even intentionally take back roads that will take longer so I don’t have to deal with the speeders and crazies on the freeway. I slow my steps when I’m walking to take in more of my surroundings. I stop for a photo op of some leaves dappled by sun and shade beside a trail. I definitely get passed on the trail more than I pass people these days.

I’m consciously slowing down to take the time to check in with my friends and family, and trying to talk less and listen more. I stand in a much longer line at the grocery store (*cough* Kroeger/Fred Meyer) to be helped by a real person, rather than trying to speed through a self-checkout line. I shelved my dreams for a fast sports car, and am more than content with my little four cylinder basic small Toyota SUV. We took the time to engage tablemates at a Yelp dinner event in good conversation, and came away enriched by the experience. 

Nearing age 70, maybe it’s that I’m almost able to see the final grains of sand running out in the hourglass of my life that makes me want to savor each and every one as they pass by. After rushing through my life, I look back and sense how much I missed with my focus on speed. Speed is always about Self, almost always at the expense of relationships. Now that I’ve identified the Speed Demon, I can call him out, put him behind me, and focus on living life to the full. (Warning – cliche’ ahead) “Better late than never” to learn to savor each precious passing moment. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch some sloth videos for inspiration.