Not Ready for the New Day

My state is lifting all pandemic restrictions and fully opening. A new day is dawning.

And I’m not ready.

Since the countdown began to things returning to normal, I’ve struggled on and off with waves of anxiety at the thought. Although today is the “big day” I’ve already seen the shift . A larger percentage of people have ditched their masks. On social media, I see ‘friends’ celebrating with large gatherings, trips, and no safety measures.

And it’s freaking me out.

I am fully vaccinated. People are being asked to use the honor system. If a person is not vaccinated, he is being asked to do the right thing and wear a mask. Unless the person has a medical reason for not being vaccinated (and would still be wearing a mask if that was the case), I am trying to understand why someone would not get the vaccine – not only for their own safety but the safety of others. Then again, I cannot help jumping to conclusions and assuming that a person who would not wear a mask unvaccinated is probably in that same group of people who did not take the pandemic seriously. I know that I should give people the benefit of the doubt and I’m trying sooooooo hard!

Then there’s the matter of my grandsons, who are too young to be vaccinated. They are still at risk. They have to wear masks. In our family, even if we were so inclined to not wear a mask, if the boys are with us masks are required. Especially with six year old Beej, who will not hesitate to point out that it’s not safe to go without a mask. He has been a rock star throughout the pandemic- spending a good part of the year in the company of adults only and remaining safe in all areas- mask, social distancing and hand-washing- with no complaints. And I will continue to keep him safe until he is no longer at risk.

Things aren’t going to be normal. Each state has different guidelines. Businesses have the right to require masks and exercise safety measures. Although it feels like the world is opening up and everything will be ‘normal’ again, the truth is that even normal will be a new normal and it will take time to adjust to it. The reality is other parts of the world are experiencing surges and lockdowns. New variants of the virus seems to be popping up daily.

It’s too soon to toss the masks and pretend that the last 14 or 15 months never happened. It’s still here. It’s just different.

I won’t be ditching my mask. I will be cautiously dipping my toe into the new normal to test the waters. And as we move forward, regardless of where you might fall on the pandemic spectrum in terms of belief or opinion, I hope you will continue to practice patience and kindness.

Peace and love,

-Kat

After One Year

I have found that as we passed the one year mark of pandemic togetherness that more than anything I crave my alone time. It’s a yearning so strong that it makes me ache. As Facebook memories show up reminding me of those early days of lockdown, they seem so distant. And really familiar. A year ago I wasn’t able to wrap my head around the possibility of what was happening. It was frightening. And stressful. One of the few comforts was knowing that it wasn’t only me. Everyone was struggling to find their footing in time when had found their life turned on its side.

I thought I did a fairly decent job of adapting to a new normal that included less contact with the outside world (which I embraced) and more contact within my safe bubble (which was good too until it began to get old). As time passed it became easier to see where people fell and anti-maskers and guideline breakers revealed themselves. It was disheartening to see who did not practice safety measures but were the first to complain often and loudly how things had to get back to normal. It still makes me angry. The numbers in our area (and probably many other areas as well) would have dropped drastically if people had just done what they were being asked. Instead the very people causing things to drag on were making life miserable for everyone else as well as themselves.

As the country and the world are attempting to open up, every location in a slightly different stage, I’m not looking forward to it. I’m finding that I’m more calm when I’m at home. And I can only re-charge when I have plenty of solitary time. After a year here with my bubble people, I find it difficult to block out the sound of them in the house. Usually this would be the opposite for me and I would be subconsciously redirecting their presence to background noise when needed. Now it feels as if I hear everything. I’ve come to realize that my bubble has become the outside world that I would come home to block out. There’s been a shift and while I struggle to deal with it, I find myself searching for patience that has been used up for far too long now. We are all in this together and I keep that thought in the forefront of my mind as I work through this latest realization.

I’m cautiously hopeful as I watch my Facebook feed fill with posts about first and second vaccinations. I’m happy for those who are vaccinated, especially because they seem to have a sort of lightheartedness and hopefulness that I have yet to feel. I am relieved and blessed that everyone in my family has either been fully vaccinated or have had their first dose with the second on the horizon. I’m the last person in my family standing – still unvaccinated for now. Being in the last group…the biggest group…. the everyone else in the world group, I know that my turn is coming and it’s coming sooner than originally projected.

We still have a ways to go before things will get back to a normal that feels anything like the old normal. And in our house, we won’t be rushing out to eat in restaurants or gather in large groups any time in the near future. We will be playing it safe for the time being. But we are hopeful for that time to come when we feel comfortable and until then, if you can’t find me, I’m probably hiding in some room with the door locked trying to find some down time.

Fandango’s One Word Challenge- Solitary

Stream of Consciousness Saturday- starts with “cal” CALM

Stay safe

-Kat

Don’t Mess With Me, Pork Chop!

Groundhog Day means only one thing to me- the movie starring Bill Murray where he wakes up to experience the same day over and over again. I’m sure many people are feeling this way, not just today but lots of days lately. Covid fatigue.

In the middle of my writing this post, and let me tell you- it was a doozy! I was on a roll like I haven’t been in months. I couldn’t type fast enough to keep up with the torrent of words that were pouring out of me. It was one glorious Covid bitch fest. Seriously.

I had a lengthy paragraph about vaccines. Vaccines and anti-maskers. It was something else. Masks worn under the nose. Check. Gathering in public in groups without masks. Check. Frequenting bars and restaurants that were violating the rules of indoor dining. Check.

Then suddenly in the background, I heard the door to our house open. My mind swiftly ran down who it could be. it took me exactly three seconds to determine the answer. NO ONE. My husband and son were home working. My other son was at an appointment. Other than my other son and my grandson, no one had been inside our house since last April. It was only after I heard Ari’s joyful welcome barks and the voice of a long time family friend did I know who had walked in. Just walked right in our house without warning or regard to the fact that we do still have the Covid thing happening in this country.

My keyboard tirade came to a screeching halt. I’m not going to lie. I was kind of mad. But in all fairness, this is someone we’ve known forever and if he lived next door he would be part of our bubble. I could understand why he might have thought it was okay to just drop in. That did not diminish my feelings.

But here’s the thing. Sitting in my office, hands hovering over the keyboard, listening to the conversation going on in the other room, I was unsettled. Very unsettled. Hearing a voice other than the four voices I’ve been hearing in my house felt very strange and foreign to me. I was anxious and upset. It didn’t feel right. He didn’t belong here.

If someone had told me a year ago that I would be so thrown off balance by an unannounced visit from a person who has been known to drop in unannounced for the past 30+ years, I would have shook my head and said ‘no way’.

And yet here I am, silently fuming. The nerve of him. Doesn’t he know that you can’t just walk into a person’s house like that? After he left and I came out of my office (I didn’t want to come out while he was there because I knew that in my current state my welcome wouldn’t have been as loving as Ari’s), dear sweet Ari filled me in on all I had missed. She pranced around the room, tail wagging, ears straight up, eyes bright and alert. She had seen one of her favorite people and life was good.

Sooooo, my Groundhog Day wasn’t quite a Groundhog Day after all. And I wonder how many other little “things” will pop up as a result of quarantining, social distancing and all the goodies that are part of the Covid life.

In the mean time, I would like to quote Bill Murray’s character, Phil, from the movie Groundhog Day

“Don’t mess with me, pork chop. What day is this?”

Stay safe!

-Kat

Finding Motivation

I’m doing a great job of ignoring the voice in my head that’s been screaming for months. What’s it saying? Ugh. I don’t even want to go there. But I’m the one bringing it up so I have no choice but to share it. “The only way to write is to write!!!” That’s what it says most of the time. But then lately it’s been interrupted by a louder, angrier voice yelling out in a booming voice that ricochets around my head- “COVER YOUR NOSE!!!” That annoying voice is my constant companion when I’m out in public. Luckily most of my face is covered by a mask so the only thing a person might see is my eyes expressing my displeasure at the voice…. and their nose being uncovered.

I’ve contemplated printing up flyers to hand to people or toss into their shopping carts politely showing them the correct way to wear their mask. I’ve considered writing in bold black sharpie “COVER YOUR F-ING NOSE” or “WEAR A MASK” on the back of my shopping list. My son, who sometimes accompanies me on these shopping trips, looks uneasy and almost anxious when I bring up my ideas. It might be the real reason he rarely comes with anymore.

But none of this has anything to do with my lack of motivation for writing. I have a bit to say but lately it’s more about the pandemic than anything else. I keep thinking that this is something I should be filling journals with and yet, I can’t write much at all.

I’m hoping this epic writer’s block hits the road soon. We are coming into the colder months and being cooped inside with my people and no motivation to write might get the best of me!!

Stream of Consciousness Saturday- -tion

Stay safe!

-Kat