June 9, 2020

Groundhog Day


In early March I began keeping a daily journal, not of emotions, or plans, or working toward goals. Rather, I was beginning to feel that every day had begun to unfold just like the day before: the same chores, practicing of guitar and painting, working on various projects, going to the gym...pretty much routine. I thought if I kept a record of what I did I would realize how varied each day really is.



Well, guess how that has worked out for the last several months. I imagine you have seen the movie, Groundhog Day. Bill Murray plays a reporter who is doomed to repeat the same day over and over and over. Each morning, at 6:00 AM, his alarm rings and he begins again, stuck in an endless loop. As his character said, "Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today."

I can appreciate how he must have felt. 

I decided to continue the daily list as various parts of my life shut down, and everything outside my door went quiet. Having never experienced anything quite like the pandemic lockdown, I figured it would be instructive to look back at what days were like when the outside world I knew had ceased to exist. What kept me busy and engaged? 

After 6 weeks of dutifully making note of what i did on that particular day, I stopped. There seemed to be no point in writing down the same five or six things every day. The turn of a page just brought more of the same. Frankly, I was getting bummed out just keeping track. Groundhog Day had me in its grasp.

As things slowly begin to normalize, I have made journal entries of the baby steps back to a regular existence: curbside pickup at a sushi place, the opening of the gym near my home, the library allowing pickup of books on hold, then opening up the main building for wandering the stacks (one way only). The grocery store not stripped bare, but being close to fully stocked again. 

Restaurants are now allowed to offer inside dining, but bars, movie theaters, and larger public gathering remain closed in Arizona, and that is fine with me. Our church is opening, at half capacity, but we will not attend. I would not feel comfortable going to any of these places now. 

Local park facilities have reopened, which makes our dog happy. There is a section of one of them that she loves to roam, smell, do her business, and hunt for lizards. Most of the park restrooms remain closed, so a little foresight on her humans' part is required. Otherwise, we see plenty of joggers, folks on bikes, and dogs being walked, but social distancing is being followed by everyone we have seen.

The number of Covid-19 cases has increased in Arizona since things began to open up. If that trend continues the Governor might have to move back to a more restrictive situation.The possibility of a second virus wave caused by a too-quick return to more normal conditions concerns us and will keep us cautious probably through summer and early fall.  One of the blessings of being retired at this time, is there are very few places we must go. Our house is our safe place and we have control over our environment. 

How about you? Are you staying busy and loving all the time without pressures? Or, are you rewatching Groundhog Day, at least metaphorically, and wishing that you could snap your fingers and return to whatever the real world will look like?

Have you begun to step back into the world? If so, how far are you venturing past your front door?


48 comments:

  1. I have no burning desire to get out. I do the grocery shopping and he stays in the car. We are in no hurry to go out to eat or to eat or anywhere in public. We both get ss, so no jobs or need for money making. I just want not to get the coronavirus. I can stand the monotony. I am actually quite content except for the need of a vacuum cleaner which I can buy online.

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    1. We are feeling about the same. Being naturally introverts Betty and I are doing well. Most restaurants are now open for inside dining, but we will not be going.

      You mentioned needing a vacuum cleaner: we need a new mattress but that is the kind of thing one should only buy after lying on several and testing the feel. So, I guess we are stuck with our 12 year old one for awhile until it is safe to go to a store and test some out!

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  2. All okay in Montreux. I stay very busy and have a long list of things I want to get done. Feels good when I get to cross one off, but then somehow 2-3 new things get on the list. My new e-bike will show up in about a week, so I can't wait to get out and up and down the hills on that to explore the area more widely. Am working on home swaps with people in other parts of Switzerland, which should work out, as many people want to 'stay home' in the country this year. Switzerland was just cited as the safest country in the world during Covid, which is hard to believe as we were heavily impacted during the thick of it in March, but it seems things have turned around and very few cases and no deaths these days.

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    1. I know New Zealand is a very safe destination; glad to add Switzerland to the list!

      This will be a very close to home vacation period for many. After our big trips were cancelled, we are substituting a few two day trips into the mountains, but otherwise, will start planning for a major trip next Spring and hope it happens.

      RV sales have skyrocketed in the States, since that is one of the safer alternatives. And, trying to buy a bike is sort of like toilet paper three months ago...very difficult. Enjoy your e-bike when it arrives, Lynn.

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  3. PS: I guess New Zealand should be the safest, in fact, so maybe that study was pre-NZ announcement.

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    1. Yep..NZ tops the list, but a big shout out for the Swiss for making big strides in the last few months.

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  4. I am still 2 years away from full-benefits retirement & have been working remotely since the middle of March. That's also the last time I was in a store. As an introvert, I am loving this. We used to eat out several times a week but adjusted well to being home all the time. It has saved us quite a bit of money. However, I am starting to feel a desire to go to the Dollar Store but I don't want to wear a mask; they make me feel claustrophobic & I'm thinking it isn't worth going out really. I do feel sorry for extroverts and those who live alone.

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    1. We will go to three places: supermarket, pharmacy, and a Home Depot-type place. Betty does venture into the local Dollar Store to get inexpensive art supplies for the grandkids. Otherwise, we are staying safe but are so disappointed in the lack of mask wearing by so many. No wonder Arizona's infection rate is spiking again.

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  5. I started a Covid-19 journal too and recently abandon it for the same reason you did. All my days were, and still are to some extent, the same. You wouldn't think staying in a lovely house would be stressful, but it has been for me. When this year ends it's going to be worth celebrating.

    I was channel sulfuring yesterday and happen to land on and watch a Sci-Fi movie with a 'Ground Hog' theme. They even referenced that movie when one of the characters was trying to explain what was happening to him. The IMDb movie index actually lists 36 movies with the time loop theme which I suppose it a little off topic to discussion question but I thought it was interesting. Counting the one I watched yesterday I've only seen three time loop movies and that's giving me an idea for blog post.

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    1. I don't know this for a fact, but I would guess that Groundhog Day and similar flicks are getting lots of views these days.

      2020 is going to be a year for the (history) books. Just think, we still have an election to suffer through and the ugliness of that is just starting.

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  6. We cleaned out closets, had multiple home improvements completed, decided to build a new house in a 55+ active adult community, prepared our current house for sale, and as things reopened in Texas, we went to eat in person at a few restaurants and this last weekend went into a bar for the first time in 3 months. We also went to an outdoor summer concert last Thursday night. Around where we live and are going to move to, most things are back to some resemblance of pre-Covid conditions. What were categorized as non-essential businesses can now have 50% occupancy, bars are at 50%, this Friday restaurants can jump to 75% occupancy, no occupancy limits on outdoor patios at bars and restaurants, and rec sporting events and leagues are back in business. Pro sports are cleared to restart once plans for safety are presented to and approved by the state. Once away from the metro areas, hardly anyone is wearing masks and life in the more rural areas is almost back to what it was pre-Covid. I see more people wearing masks in the metro areas, but even then it is about 35-50%, especially after our governments encouraged thousands of people to protest and pretty much ignored their own social distancing guidelines. Our church is holding off on in person attendance through the end of July which I support as it is their right to make those decisions. It has pretty much changed here to be a practice of what makes each person feel most comfortable doing. If people choose to isolate, they are encouraged to do so. If people feel inclined to socialize and go out, they are encouraged to practice social distancing and wear masks if they so choose, but overall, the choice is up to them. We have flattened the curve as was the intent of the lock downs and have plenty of critical care hospital capacity and excess ventilators at the local and state level so we are opening just like what was originally told to us we would do albeit 2 months later than was the original promise by our elected officials. Other than cancelled concerts and cancelled travel plans, our lives are pretty much as they were pre-Covid with an added house sale and upcoming move now in the mix. Not boring at all and full of change. We decided early on to make the best of this bad situation and that we did. I pray each of you have been able to make the best of the situations you find yourselves in and may God bless each and every one of you.

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    1. Thanks for such a detailed overview, Dan. Each state is approaching this differently; it is interesting to get an inside look at Texas. That state has always had a very strong independent streak. You are ahead of what most places are allowing at this time. It will be important to keep tracking the curve.

      The very best to you and your family. We are happy and content, though the cruise to New Zealand would have been a blast!

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  7. We are still sticking close to home although my husband has returned to work. I haven’t set foot in our grocery store since February which feels strange. I need to go there tomorrow for a couple of things which will be interesting. All in all, I’ve found this to be a peaceful time. I loved being home before this started. I do miss a few of my social activities and would probably reach out to more people if I were living alone. This life is easy for me and except for the struggles with my aging parents, I haven’t found it challenging at all. It definitely helps to be an introvert!!

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    1. I miss monthly board meetings for our Friends of the Library organization. City budget cuts are being proposed which will probably impact the library system to some degree. We will just have to wait to find out how bad it may be.

      We missed a Phoenix Symphony concert, a play, and a baseball game so far, plus movies on the big screen. Otherwise, we are content, happy, and so thankful our family is disease-free and close by.

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  8. So funny -- I just watched Groundhog Day recently for the first time. Definitely watching more movies during this stay at home period.

    Like you, taking baby steps back to more activities. Going to the beach for the day today with my daughter and her kids. My martial arts school is planning to open back up next week, but with certain precautions in place. Haven't been to a restaurant yet. Just enjoying being outside a lot in the good weather we've been having (although today will likely be a rainy day at the beach -- oh well.)

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    1. Groundhog Day for the first time? You are really quite a sheltered lady! Actually, I am not a big Bill Murray fan. but this one just so fits us at the moment.

      Our 44th anniversary is in two weeks. Instead of something fancy, it is likely to be a two day trip to Flagstaff and its much cooler weather. Oh well...just another 6 years until our 50th!

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  9. I'm simply chugging along day after day. I retired last July and was ready for "a slow life" free of demanding scheduled calendar. So, I've been practicing for this I suppose ;-) Venturing out? We selected 1 restaurant that is practicing really good re-opening. We've eaten there twice. Other than that? Only essential grocery store trips for me and a few "need items for home repair" trips for hubster to the nearest store for those. I hate to shop so I'm not missing retail at all.

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    1. Like you, I have always viewed shopping as a necessary evil, one to be avoided whenever possible. These last three months have really solidified my satisfaction in the online shopping experience. Except for the mattress need i mentioned above, there is very little I can't get delivered. Shopping as a hobby? I don't get it.

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  10. This is week 13. There have been 3 confirmed positives in the rural county I live in. I've commented often that it's easy to practice social distancing in these river hills. As one rancher said early on in the pandemic response - Social distancing? We call that calving season. I've been encouraged by the seasonal demands. Spring is a busy time and I'm yet to finish the spring yard/garden work. The anticipation of the warmer temps, snow melting, the first robin/bluebird got me through the early days of the pandemic response. I am concerned for the financial fall-out of this pandemic added to the down turn in this province's economy with the decline in the oil industry. My son finally got a job after 2 months without. We'll see how it all turns out. My friends from England would have been visiting at this time and plans have been made for a year from now. We'll see how that pans out. Many of the activities I usually attend have been cancelled - rodeos, chuckwagon races, festivals, concerts. Those activities and the socialization that go with them are the things I miss. Visits to my mom who lives in a lodge can be done by appointment, outside with social distancing, with masks. My mom said don't bother so I haven't laid eyes on her for 3 months. Phone calls sustain us. I was glad to get a haircut when that service finally opened up but would have resorted to cutting my own if need be. And I've grown accustomed to the "chromed" feature of my pandemic hair. Truly, hair cuts/color, dining out, the risk management measures are small potatoes compared to a pandemic. There are many factors that contribute to a person's ability to manage these times. I realize that I can make do and cope. So far.

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    1. Social distancing = calving season. That is a first for me. Since we are already into the 100s, any planting I would do is over. I envy you a different weather environment.

      The oil situation is going to be rather fluid for the foreseeable future. Texas, Montana, and the Western provinces of Canada could be in for a rough time. The best of luck to your son.

      Simple pleasures: a haircut. I know how much I needed one 5 weeks ago!

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  11. I would be lying if I said I did not miss church and social life. Having said that I have a lot of things to do at home and while some things are repetitive many are not. Every day I exercise spend time outside, and do the things. On the other hand I have been sewing, knitting. Quilting, working in family history, downnsizing and organizing, reading, tv watching,online class taking, inline Bible study doing, and about ten other things. So I am in the place where my days are varied and mainly active and yet I still miss the people- while not being bored.

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    1. Our grandkids are keeping us very busy. This morning they can over for a few hours. Betty worked with them on a type of art called Dutch Pour art. It results in very abstract shapes and designs. One of my granddaughters and I painted her first oil painting together. Meanwhile, my grandson announced he wanted to play another virtual chess game with me and write a children's book together.

      So, yes, our days can be quite busy and filled with great family times, all of which keeps us safe and together. I do miss seeing and hugging church friends, but that is going to have to wait.

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  12. I have been enjoying your posts since I retired early from teaching at 52, four years ago, in Edinburgh. I love the pieces of advice and interesting anecdotes. My daughter and I are also fortunate enough to have been on 4 road trips in USA over recent years, including a wonderful trip around Arizona.

    I’m also very interested in your social and political comments. We have lots of similar issues in the UK. In particular, I appreciate many of your comments on values and emotional aspects to life.

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    1. Thanks, Jenny, for your comment. Edinburgh is one of our favorite cities to explore by just wandering the streets in the old section. There is a beautiful park at the base of the Castle that is a perfect spot for a sunny afternoon.

      I'd love to have you add some thoughts about the UK situation. Between Brexit, possible independence for Scotland, the impact of the virus, and racial and religious tensions, there is a lot going on in your part of the world.

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    2. The lockdown seems to still be stricter here in Edinburgh. Only grocery shops are open, though we can now go out for exercise or to picnic in parks, several times a day.
      I find it most difficult not being able to visit my Dad, who has dementia, in his care home.

      However, there have been some unexpected good parts to lockdown: I have set up a WhatsApp group with extended family that I hadn’t seen for 30 years and have been learning bridge and playing online with friends.

      The future with Brexit and potential independence for Scotland are clouds on the horizon. They are both very divisive. There is a minor political truce whilst politicians are trying to sort out the response to the Covid situation. I just hope that there will be some good that comes out of this current situation. I hope that people in general will be kinder and more respectful.

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    3. Thanks so much for your follow up. I had no sense for Edinburgh's status, though I know Mr. Johnson in England is getting a fair amount of grief for his back-and-forth on the issue.

      Scotland almost voted for independence not too long ago, but before Brexit. My understanding is many in your country want to stay in the EU, even at the cost of leaving the UK. Tough decisions, indeed.

      Like you, I sincerely hope we emerge from this experience with a better understanding of how interconnected we all are.

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  13. Week 12 of the lockdown for us. A very few things have opened, stores with street entrances only (so nothing you have to enter from inside a mall), gardeners and window washers (outside stuff like that) and parks have reopened but the playground equipment is off limits for children. Pickup only for restaurants. Next week more in Ontario Canada will open except for a few "hotspot" areas - one of which we happen to live in. Even in the hotspots the daily number of new cases is stable but they aren't going down as the authorities would like to see.

    We have formed a 2 family bubble with one of our daughters. With both of them working from home now they did need occasional childcare when they had overlapping video meetings so we've had the grandchildren over about once a week for the last 3 weeks. To see the grandchildren again has been a real boost to our morale!

    From the beginning of the lockdown in mid-March until mid-May we were extremely bored, Groundhog Day became much more our life than even the movie showed. However, by mid-may the spring weather had improved enough that we were able to get out of the house and work in the garden which has given us another outlet over and above our daily neighbourhood walks. It seems as if it's taking forever for even a partial return to whatever normal will turn out to be.

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    1. Your part of Canada is being more cautious, something I tend to agree with. I understand people wanting to get back to life the way it was, but the virus is not even remotely done with us yet.

      Since our grandkids live 5 minutes away we see them at least once a week, often more. With them being home from school for three months, both mom and the kids needs a break from each other, too. Their dad works from home, so he enjoys the peace and quiet on occasion.

      Betty and I were not bored at all for the first two months. But, by the middle of last month the walls were closing in a bit. We haven't ventured out much yet, but feel OK about a road trip or two around Arizona in the next month or so. Still, we are homebodies content to enjoy hobbies, reading, TV shows, and meals made from something at the bottom of the pantry.

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  14. As you I know, here in Arizona our numbers are dramatically on the rise and as of today no more ICU beds left in MAricopa County or in Tucson. We’ve been mostly home since March 3, except for very early morning excursions to local parks for a walk and also a 30 minute drive to Salt Rive for a swim and sit with a book by the river for 2 hours. I’m good some days, and despondent other days. I miss the small things that weaved a happy lifestyle: my social time with card playing friends..we loved to analyze politics (all of us democrats) and my art group in person meetups— and pot lucks—I LOVE to cook for pot lucks.. but two of my groups meet via Zoom, andI am trying to make the best of things. I miss the mental and spiritual stimulation of browsing the stacks of books in the library,going to a show at Hale Theater, or rummaging around my favorite thrift stores. We will not go into public places at all except we have started making a once every two week trip to Trader Joe for food and flowers..they are doing a good job of managing people and I feel almost safe. Our local restaurants like the Sandbar in Gilbert are PACKED EVERY NIGHT with no distancing, no masks.. it makes us ever more afraid to go out there.. so many people still spreading it around!!!! Ken has had to close his part time chiro practice, we do not fee safe having people into a small office, and of course, it is up close and personal, just no can do.I don’t know if he will ever be able to open back up. Our son has started coming up for dinner once every other week. OUR bubble is.. strong but he does see a girlfriend weekly, and her bubble is bigger than his..so it is not the MOST safe thing to do, but I need to do some things for mental health and seeing family is important for me.. we do not hug, we eat at opposite ends of large dining table and in the living room I arrange chairs so we can watch a movie and not be too close. I am wondering for just how long all this will go on.. it’s hard to imagine a life that will be like this for..?? A year?? More?? I am not sleeping as soundly as I used to.I meditate and pray daily. I read a lot. Watching a lot more TV than usual, series,movies,etc. Swimming in our pool. Having to sink into the simple life, really simple. I prefer to have a bit more going on than this... And i miss volunteering with the kitties.

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    1. I know social you are, how much people feed your soul and creativity, so i can feel your pain and frustration in your words. Playing cards, making art, or just having in-person discussions really can't be duplicated on Zoom. I hope Ken is keeping up with his guitar playing!

      You mentioned thrift stores - I like to browse through places like that, or antique consignment outlets looking for old vinyl records to add to my collection. It has been almost 4 months since I have done so, and I miss it.

      I do miss my interaction with my library organization; our last meeting was in February. We have so much catching up to do.

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  15. I have been mostly content and happy with life here in the mountains of North Carolina since the pandemic started. With the onset of Spring, there has been so much beauty to see in the flowering trees, shrubs and plants as well as the greening up of mountains in general. The birds are busy and quite busy building nests and hearing their calls is nice.

    Restaurants are opening up but are only allowed 50% capacity; it takes 75% to break even in that business so not sure how that’s going to work long-term. Bars are closed but breweries are allowed to open. I haven’t been anywhere except the grocery store, pharmacy, hardware stores and one trip to Charlotte to visit family.

    We have happy hours with social distancing down by the neighborhood gazebo or in friends driveways. And, we are having some friends visit us from Georgia for the weekend- probably not a good idea, but they have been practicing social distancing. I do miss the face-to-face social interaction with friends and family.

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    1. There really is no way to replace the special feelings that come from spending time with friends and family. I understand you bending the "rules" for your Georgia visitors. Sometimes we just need to trust and go for it.

      I find it interesting how different areas open. Indoor restuarants at 50%, but full outside patios are OK here, while bars are not. Not only each state, but regions within a state can have different interpretations of what qualifies as essential or safe. As ddavidson noted above, his part of Canada is still more restrictive than most parts of the States.

      Frankly, none of us knows what the right mix of openness is. I am afraid Covid-19 might tell us if we get too far ahead of the safe place.

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    2. Here is Gilbert, most of the “bars” like the large Sandbar down the street and a few LARGE venues in downtown Gilbert are classified as restaurants since they also serve food.Their patios have been PACKED with no masks,and no social distancing. Our Gov. opened us up way too fast.

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  16. Let me chime in on the list making activity since I am a professional at it (ha). I have been doing it for at least 50 years. There is a misconception of list making like there is one for wearing a mask during the pandemic. The mask is not to protect you (unless you use a N95 one), it is to protect others from you in case you are a carrier and don't know it.

    List making in not to just record the same things you do over and over, it is to help you NOT do the same thing over and over. That is called a rut and list making helps to prevent that. Every week I look over what I have done and evaluate if that what I did is really what I wanted to do. It forces me to add things to next week's list that are important to me but going unaccomplished.

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    1. That is a great point about using lists of activities to spot a rut developing. My daily journal clearly showed a deep rut. Instead of working to move forward I just stopped keeping track of the problem....no way to solve it. DSort of the head in the sand approach.

      Thanks, RJ. I can always count on you to point out the obvious that too many of us miss.

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  17. Our survival strategy during the first eight weeks of the pandemic, when pretty much every public parking lot was closed, was to walk miles and miles each day from our home. We often would pack a lunch at eat it while looking at something scenic before walking back home. That wore us out enough to make it through the rest of the day. We repeated that almost every single day, and it helped us deal with what felt incredibly monotonous otherwise.

    Now, with public parking lots reopened for the most part, our options of what to do each day while still socially distancing has zoomed. We are out and active six days out of seven still, but now we have been able to add bicycling, kayaking and SUP'ing to our list. And enjoying dinner outside and away from our home, either at a park, our harbor, or one of our beaches. We either pack our meal, or pick up to go. We've also been joined by friends, one couple at a time, sitting six feet apart. It has been GREAT.

    We belong to two local wineries, which both offer outdoor seating, so that has been a lovely addition as well. And we are seeing our immediate family.

    I read a NY Times article that asked 500+ epidemiologists what they would wait a full year before doing again. Top of their list was going anywhere where they would be indoors for a prolonged period of time with other people (from churches to restaurants to concert halls), and stop wearing a mask. So that's where I'll be taking my cue - wear a mask, wash my hands, and stay away from indoor public spaces.

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    1. You might have read that Arizona now tops the list for new infections and hospital ICUs too full to take on new patients. The governor started loosened up right after a visit by Trump a month ago. Very few people wear a mask, and social distancing is a suggestion not a rule, so we are paying the price. Back into lock down or enforced mask wearing are likely in our future.

      Your slow moves to get back your social life sound delightful. it helps that you live so close to beaches, lots of trails, and water, and your state is more conservative in opening things up.

      We tend to agree with the waiting for quite a long time before church, concerts, or other places that might attract a crowd. There is just no reason to risk our lives over something that trivial.

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  18. I also started a journal in early March just as a record of the times we were living in. It also became the same old every day so I stopped a couple of weeks ago when the restrictions here eased up.
    We started our social isolating with a lot of work in our suburban garden, making a new vegetable patch and a new flower garden. That worked well for a few weeks until the weather started to cool down. Luckily my husband likes blacksmithing and has a shed set up so he kept himself busy in the warm shed, and I watercolour paint and do crafty things so that was good for the next few weeks, then we started to miss our days out with friends and family. I found I have spent more time doing housework, might be because I am getting slower, but the house is cleaner, tidier and more organised than ever. In the last few weeks we have done short drives to various botanic gardens and have enjoyed being out and about but still social distancing, mainly because we both are in the age group that are at more risk and I have an auto immune disease. Things here are almost back to normal, children back at school and restaurants open with some restrictions. I think our life has not changed a great deal and I think those that live alone would find it more difficult. I have been phoning my friends that live alone and they seem to be struggling more especially the ones that don't have any hobbies or interests. I have almost stopped watching the news reports as I have found them very upsetting both here and overseas.

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    1. Betty also has several auto immune diseases so we have to be extra careful, on top of the age risk.

      With summer temperatures already here, our time outside is pretty much over until October. We will start our vegetable garden up again in the fall and have fresh produce by January.

      One of our daughters is single and lost her job. She had a bit of a meltdown a few days ago. Loneliness, worry about paying the bills, and missing her work (which involves lots of International Travel) got to her.

      I laugh at the clean house comment. We let our housecleaning service go in March but continued paying them through April in the hopes we could call them back. That didn't happen so now the two of us clean. It is easy to see the difference between a professional job and ours!

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  19. Since we are in the middle of moving, I'm spending a lot of time packing. But mostly we have been inside with the exception of grocery shopping, a trip or two to Home Depot and DH has been playing golf since they reopened the courses. And now more of the state is reopening with restrictions. But overall, it's just Groundhog Day here, too.

    Today I had a dental cleaning, and what an experience it is now. You have to call from the parking lot, get checked in, fill out forms in your car, confirm your insurance via phone, and then they call you on your cell when they're ready for you. They let you in, take your temp and you go back to the treatment room. Of course, I took off my mask at that point, but the hygienist and the dentist looked like they were suited up for space. I really don't envy them living in that get up all day. Otherwise, the experience was the same. LOL.

    We close on the sale of our house tomorrow, and next week we close on our new condo. We've already been told no extra people at tomorrow's closing, and next week the closing will be done in the parking lot with the paperwork brought out to us, taken inside for their side of it, and then brought back out to us in the parking lot. I am not complaining...we really don't want a new spike in Michigan.

    Most people seem to be wearing masks in public, but there are a solid 10% at least that don't wear them and seem unconcerned. It's sad that people are disregarding this and see it as a politic issue. I fear it will keep all of us locked up longer than need be and I really hope we don't see another spike here in my area.

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    1. Michigan had a rough first round, so you certainly don't need another. Arizona is now suffering a large spike in cases, just as things open up even more.

      I'd say less than 40% wear masks in public. The younger the person, the less likely they are using one to protect others.

      Betty and I had our teeth cleaned about a week before everything went crazy, thank goodness.

      Good luck with the closing. That can be stressful even in "normal" times.

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  20. Alan and I are both introverted homebodies with a long list of projects, big and small, so I think we've been able to ride out the isolation better than many people. What is frustrating to me has been our inability to travel or even just to head to a local State Park to camp for a few days. Yesterday, we were supposed to begin a cruise through Alaska's Inside Passage. Now I wonder if it will ever happen. I love my husband and our home in the mountains, but I miss traveling, and I'm frustrated by having to re-work the travel calendar that I had spent so much time on. All that being said, I know that our family is in a much better position to ride out the pandemic than many. Alan and I are both retired and not dependent on employment for income. Our young adult daughter still lives at home, so her temporary unemployment was not the financial disaster it could have been. Both our son and his girlfriend have worked through the pandemic but in jobs that do not put them at too much of a risk - he works outdoors with a small crew and she works remotely for a school district. Plus, they live only ten minutes away, so we've seen them regularly as we've considered them immediate family since the beginning of the crisis. To me, there are some risks that are worth taking, and that was one of them. So, while I am in no way complaining about our situation, I admit that I'll be quite happy when we can hitch up the travel trailer and head to our favorite lake to refresh our spirits and enjoy some family time and the activities we love.

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    1. Since your blog is travel-oriented, I completely understand your desire to hit the road again. I keep reading about the increase in RV sales. Packed campgrounds and newbies that need to learn the difference between black and grey water may be in your future.

      We lost all our travel plans for this year. So, we have started on next year. The cruise will not happen, but some time in Hawaii and New Zealand will (we hope!). Plus, we rented a large house in the mountains north of Flagstaff for a 5 day family gathering just before Christmas. Sometimes, travel plans just evolve.

      Your situation sounds perfect for getting through the pandemic with family ties and tightness intact.

      BTW, with your recent blog posts about previous trips to various Disney properties, you might be interested to know my daughter's family is off to the Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios in mid July. They are total Disney fanatics and have been going crazy with the lockdown. A Disney cruise in June was cancelled, so this is their fix for the year. Betty and I are understandably nervous about the flights and crowds, but we know that sometimes you have to go for it. They will self quarantine for 14 days after their return, which will be the toughest part for the grandparents...us!

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    2. I think our attitudes and actions related to COVID-19 are similar to our attitudes and actions related to financial investments. They run from ultra conservative (I know several people who have not left their homes in three months) to exceptionally risky (I'm thinking of all of the reports I've seen of packed beaches with no one wearing a mask). With this health crisis, as with our investments, we're willing to accept a certain amount of risk to achieve our goals, but the acceptable level of risk will vary from person to person. I have no doubt that your daughter and her family have given serious thought to their trip, and have planned to minimize their risks in as many ways as possible. Much can be said for facing your fears, mitigating them and moving forward toward your goals and with your life. Although the Disney experience will be different, I trust that the company will handle it's reopening properly, plus I imagine your family will benefit from smaller crowds and exceptional attention. I know this won't relieve your anxiety and Betty's; unfortunately, I've come to learn that, as parents, we never stop worrying about our kids - no matter how old they get or how responsible they are!

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  21. Here in NYC we are only just beginning to open up. I went to my first doctor's appointment of 2020 on Monday. It was the first time I saw his office so empty and his whole body was covered except for his eyes.
    I learned something about myself during this whole pandemic experience which I did not know. My mother always kept the refrigerator full because in her childhood she went hungry. As soon as there was a space in the refrigerator she would get more food. All these years I have been doing this. When it started and there were long lines at the supermarket I decided to just eat the food I already had. As soon as I saw a space in the fridge I was afraid I would go hungry. The fear was real, but I've never gone hungry. I even began rationing my food. I started worrying that the truck drivers would get sick and not be able to deliver the food. Also in my neighborhood most of the food stores closed because the workers were afraid to come to work. It wasn't rational and I had lots of food. I got over it, especially when the food stores started to reopen.
    Besides that, my days are pretty pleasant-pilates,yoga and meditation in the morning. Take a walk every afternoon. I live alone, but usually meet someone that I know when I'm out. Miss seeing my friends but talk to them on the phone. Looking forward to eating out again. Want to support the local restaurants if they manage to reopen. Hopefully we can stay safe if we reopen carefully.

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    1. I can certainly relate to the food insecurity situation you experienced. My wife had some of the same fears. We ended up with an overflowing pantry and a refrigerator and freezer almost too full to close. Only in the last few weeks, has she (and I, to a degree) felt better about the state of supplies in local supermarkets. Incredibly, though, disinfectant wipes are still very hard to find some three months later.

      NYC suffered horribly with the virus. At least from my perspective it seems your governor has been appropriately cautious. One thing we should have learned, however, that this virus is not gone and is not tamed. I keep my fingers crossed that you and other New Yorkers do not suffer a second deadly wave.

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  22. Hi Bob, I know I’m writing this nearly a month after you posted this article, and that things change weekly. Here in BC, we are entering phase three of re-opening. Most retail stores have now re-opened with physical distancing guidelines in place. Personal services such as hair salons, massage, and dentists are re-opening. Restaurants have been open for a while now, and pubs are starting to re-open. The film industry will be starting up again in July. Masks are not required in BC, but people are encouraged to wear them in situations indoors where it is not possible to maintain a six-foot (2 meter) distance. BC has done a great job of flattening the curve; there have less than 3000 cases here in total, and only 132 on Vancouver Island.

    That said, Rob and I are being fairly cautious. We haven’t gone for haircuts, or to the dentist, or to any indoor gatherings. We’ve scarcely stepped into any stores aside from grocery stores, the pharmacy, the pet store, and the hardware store (Rob for his woodworking projects). We have recently started going to restaurants again, and are planning a short camping trip this week. And we’ve formed a bubble with our three adult kids, son-in-law, and 2 grandkids who live locally.

    Jude

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    1. As you have probably read, Arizona closed down too late and started to reopen too early. The completely predictable result is one of the highest number of infections in the country (and the world, for that matter). Now, the governor has had to close down again things like gyms and bars. It will be a long summer.

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