An All Too Brief Pandemic Pause

 

on the road

What a sight it was a week ago Friday.

Six hours of driving (almost) nonstop. Highways to city streets to country roads. Following the GPS lady’s directions – every minute bringing us closer to our CovidCation. The weather was beautiful – almost too good to be true.

Faster and faster we drove (well I did…my husband’s foot is not as leaden as mine).

We were out-running a virus after all.

Get my lunch out of the backseat please! The car was packed with 2 coolers, 2 suitcases and laundry baskets full of necessities. My gluten free toaster in one of them. As we learned bringing our kids to college, laundry baskets work out well for car trips…as they can nest when they’re empty for the trip home.

It occurred to me that travel by car meant I could bring Full Size Bottles of whatever I wanted. So I did.

My laptop and our cameras…carefully packed. We remembered the tripod for a group photo. Paw Patrol bubbles (but of course). Decks of cards. Guitar.

We arrived at the lake house in the Pocono Mountains around 6:30 pm.

Within a minute a short blonde 4 year old came running out…Grandma! And somehow he was up in my arms with his arms wrapped around my neck, legs encircling my waist. I don’t know how I picked him up but I must have. The first full on leap into my arms hug since February. Far too long.

After that, my daughter and I shared a good long hug. Face to face for the first time in 6 months. Then hugs for my son-in-law, my son and his girlfriend. We had tested and quarantined and stayed safe. Carefully planned and orchestrated.

All those hugs felt so good.

Of course we were joined by the two family dogs: Lutra and Taco (who have been featured in this blog before). They enjoyed themselves immensely as well.

We were in our own little bubble.

bubbles

A four day pause from virus fears.

firepit

What a sight to see.

No masks.

No social distancing…except from the family swimming across the lake.
(Grandma which one is the dada and which one is the mama? Grandma I think the bigger one is the dada….)

ducks

It was glorious.

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V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #109: What a Sight
Ragtag Daily Prompt: Pause
SixWordSaturday

Never mind…

 

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June 2019

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Never mind that my husband and I spent our 42nd(!) wedding anniversary Wednesday in our condo garage…wearing our finest face masks & work clothes. Emptying out our 2 storage units for hours. Yeah, we still have too much stuff, but oh well.

The Mold Remediation Company was scheduled for Thursday to clean all 32 units plus the entire garage.

It took hours to move all of our crap stuff into our parking spaces. We were joined by our fellow masked condo dwellers…many initially embarrassed by the exposure of hidden “treasures.” I can’t believe I still have so much stuff. The thing is, there used to be SO much more before we downsized. So, don’t worry about it.

Talk about lousy timing. But that’s 2020 for you.

garage

[Never mind that I alerted the Condo Board to this issue 3 years ago and they didn’t listen to me. I told you so.]

Never mind that even after 4 repair attempts, the refrigerator’s lights still don’t work…and is limping towards its last days.

Never mind all of that.

Why?

On Tuesday we braved the local hospital’s outpatient lab to get Covid-19 tests, so we could be sure we weren’t infected (we aren’t). Even though we have no symptoms.

waiting room

Why?

Because we are going on a CovidCation.

Today we are driving to the middle of nowhere in the mountains of Pennsylvania to a house by a lake. We will enter a Covid tested bubble of love…to spend a quarantined 4 days with our “kids,” their spouse/partners, grandson and 2 dogs…most of whom we haven’t seen in 6 months or more.

My 4 year old grandson has been asking me on facetime…

Grandma are you excited to go to the lake house?

facetime

I sure am!

Never mind that we spent the better part of yesterday (Thursday, right?) moving our crap stuff back into the cleaned storage units. Followed by packing up clothing, supplies (so many supplies when you are older), and food. Hoping we made enough lists and remembered everything. The option of “we can buy it when we get there” is no longer okay…to stay safe.

If the stars align and health prevails, we will soon be on the road today: Friday. Six hour car trips are a huge challenge physically – and I haven’t attempted one in 3 years, but…

I’m excited to go to the lake house!

My daughter made a spreadsheet of the menu and I am also excited about that. We might even make s’mores – and I’ve been told they will be GF (Gluten Free aka Grandma Friendly).

So I may be absent from my blog until next week.

CovidCation here I come.

Paradise Found

Inspired by Lens-Artists Challenge #65: Pick a Place

We’d like you to capture the spirit of a place that is vivid in your memory. What was it that drew you in and why did it capture YOUR heart?

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You have to go to Coronado!
Stop at the Del for dessert since it’s cheaper than getting a meal!

My friend Barbara was adamant. My husband and I were planning a week’s vacation in San Diego (this was 1996…before the internet…back when you talked to friends and read travel books to prepare for a trip). I had always wanted to explore southern California – specifically San Diego – and Barbara insisted we include a trip to nearby Coronado.

She grew up in California, so I figured her advice was solid.

We dutifully signed up for one of those trolley tours you can take when visiting a popular tourist destination. Coronado (often referred to as an island, but as we were informed many times – it’s a peninsula – NOT an island) is just across the bridge from San Diego. Lucky for us…it was a stop on the route.

When the trolley let us off on Coronado’s Orange Avenue….we fell in love with what we saw. Palm tree lined streets, friendly locals, an amazing ice cream shop, a restaurant advertising the world’s best margarita, thriving community theater…and the best part: the Beach. Sparkly sand like I’d never seen before. Or since.

Yes, we also drank tea and enjoyed a snack at the “Del” (aka: The Hotel Del Coronado…the iconic location of the classic film Some Like It Hot). Thank you Barbara.

We discovered that Coronado Beach goes on for what seems like forever. Dotted with people of all ages, shapes and sizes. Tourists and townspeople alike. Kids building sand castles. Teenagers tossing beachballs. Runners pounding footprints into the sand. Even a section for dogs and their humans to play.

It’s also a perfect beach for walking, even at high tide. An ideal spot for stretching out on a rented chair or towel. Reading. Writing. Listening to music. Staring at the horizon. Quenching one’s thirst. Unwinding.

We returned to my favorite place a half dozen times and found something new to do every visit.

My last visit was a solo trip in 2006 for a week’s R&R.

No need to rent a car. Walking or riding a bicycle was enough.

From a walk by the pier…to the shops…to the beach.

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Coronado Beach

 

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Dog Beach

 

After dinner…perhaps a concert at the bandstand.

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And back to the beach for a sunset goodnight.

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Just perfect.

 

 

 

Photo a Week: Timing is Everything

Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week Challenge this week: Timing is Everything

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO FEATURING PERFECT TIMING.

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When you are a 9 year old girl with a 3 ½ year old brother…on a family vacation…enjoying a lake swim…chances are there will be shenanigans.

You might even be minding your own business…practicing your crawl stroke. Watch Me! Watch Me! Or just hanging out and relaxing in the shallow water.

After a busy year in third grade, a kid needs some down time. That’s what vacations are for.

And then along comes the little trickster. The one with the ready grin, giggles and surprises up his sleeve. Even when there are no sleeves.

Up he sneaks…at just the right moment…perfectly timed…for a well aimed splash.

GPC 1991 splash
Lake Winnipesaukee, NH
August, 1991
35mm film

Let the games begin!

Dream Vacation

Inspired by Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #55: Dreamy

 

Living in the northeastern United States, I have endured many snowstorms, blizzards and variations on the theme of freezing rain and sleet. Along with gloomy cloudy skies for days on end – with matching sub freezing temperatures.

I know there are people who enjoy the sitting-by-a-roaring-fire aspect of that time of year…known as late fall, winter and early spring where I live. They enjoy wearing multiple layers of cozy flannel shirts, wool socks and thick sweaters. Before venturing outdoors. To navigate the front steps. Which are icy.

Not me.

I dream of warm…and sunny…and relaxing.

Destination?

San Diego – more specifically Coronado, California.

I was lucky enough to vacation there 6 or 7 times. Just my husband and me. Our two children came along twice. They loved it too.

In 2006 – my last visit there – it was me, myself and I.  Back when I could travel easily. Hustling through an airport with several suitcases…not a problem. Eating whatever and wherever I wanted to. Enjoying local cuisine…with no worries or restrictions.

And most importantly: the energy to walk and explore for hours.

I’m so glad I didn’t wait.

 

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Coronado Beach 2006
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Sunset Cliffs, San Diego 1999
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Coronado Beach 2006

 

 

 

Festive

This post inspired by April photo a day Challenge

Today’s prompt: Festive

San Diego, California is one of my favorite places to visit. Especially in March, when it is cold (and often snowy) at home…in New England.
Too often…by that time of year…enough is enough.

Although I haven’t returned since 2006, I think of my own little festive piece of paradise often.

Warm sun. Sandy beaches. Friendly people. Delicious food. A true vacation.
In fact, we loved it so much, we visited twice one year.

In June, 2000 we went with our two children. Ages 18 and 12 at the time. It was one of our last family vacations…for just the four of us.

One of the highlights of our week away was a day trip to the Del Mar Fair…now called the San Diego County Fair. The longest midway I’d ever seen. Games of chance. Farm animal exhibits. Pig races. Carnival rides. Crafts. Dozens of commercial vendors selling everything from license plate holders to tomato slicers to “Smart Nails.” Everything As Seen On TV and more.

Entertainment was nonstop throughout the day…including an evening Little Richard concert. And the food? Oh my goodness – my first taste of sweet potato fries with a ranch dressing dip. Who knew?

Views from the ferris wheel…

del mar fair 2000

del mar fair 2005 copy 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo a Week – The Great Outdoors

Nancy Merrill is hosting a photo challenge. The theme this week: A Photo a Week Challenge – The Great Outdoors

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO OF NATURE.
For twenty years my young family and I packed up the station wagon to travel 90 minutes north for our annual week-long summer vacation…

…to the Great Outdoors.
A conference center/family camp on Lake Winnipesaukee. A fairly rustic setup, we roomed together in a small bedroom (until we outgrew it & also needed the room across the hall), ate together at a communal dining hall and spent the better part of every day playing together. The 2 of us. Then the 3 of us. Then the 4 of us.

No television. No phones. Long before the internet and cellular phones. No distractions.
And no cooking. No cleaning. No dishes to wash.

It was eat, sit, talk, explore, swim, dig in the sand, play cards, games, read, sing, sleep.
Repeat.

Lots of walking…especially through the woods surrounding us. Sometimes via the walking trails or sometimes blazing our own…collecting “natures” as in…leaves, acorns, pine cones, twigs, pebbles….

Several times each day we made the trek down the path to the lake…our feet crunching over the layer of finely crushed gravel. Breathing in the damp mossy air. Spotting little critters dashing through the brush on the forest floor. Looking up, squinting in the bright sun, trees standing high above our heads…branches spread as if protecting us, little and big alike. Slapping a few buzzing mosquitoes.

Eerily quiet. Peaceful.

When our children were small, the walking time depended on the amount of equipment we needed to bring with us. And how fast little feet could walk. Or needed to stop and rest from the weight of pails, shovels and sand toys. But it didn’t matter. We were in no hurry.

With just one 3 year old…it was only a swimming tube, towel and a chair for mom & dad.
A ten minute walk.

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Let’s go to the lake, oh daddy, let’s go to the lake (35mm film)