Wednesday, May 27, 2020

How Wee Roll During COVID and Beyond?

Friday 5/22/2020

I am sitting in the quiet at the dinning room table.  I am bent over a large plate of salad with a big glob of re-fried beans and a couple handfuls of Fritos.

My cell phone rings. The display tells me the call is from Rhinelander, WI, but it doesn't identify the caller.  I decide to pick it up because my sister lives in Rhinelander.

Do you hear what I hear???  Available Now!

It is Karen from Housekeeping at Holiday Acres.  This is the resort where I had applied to be a "Towel Girl".  Guests of the resort would bring their dirty towels to the Towel Girl (me) and I would give them fresh towels.   A job as Towel Girl was supposed to be my part-time job this summer.  A time filler, a way to meet folks, a couple bucks in my pocket, I was looking forward to it.

But then the pandemic happened and everything is up in the air.

Karen said she just met with the managers of the resort.  They decided that they are not doing Towel Service due to COVID protocols.  She told me that Saturdays and Sundays they need staff for cleaning the cabins.  Would I be interested in that?

Yes, I would do that.  When does she need me?

She said when I get there to just come look her up and fill out an application.  Even if I arrive mid-July.

Cool, some motivation to get my Weeroll rolling!

Actually I already have a date set for trying out the Weeroll.









I had contacted Lois who had shared a room with me on a boat in the Netherlands a year ago.  We got along well and have since met up a few times.  I asked her if she would like to go camping with me.


She said, "Yes!"

She has a tent.  She named several campgrounds.  I guess I got lucky because the first place I looked up was Little Talbot Island State Park (which is by Jacksonville and quite popular) had three spots and I booked one for June 1st.

Immediately I let Debra know in case she would be ready to test out her new Weeroll too.  She tried to book a spot and all the spots were taken.  She won't be able to join me!  I hope we get another opportunity to try out our trailers together.

So I have a camping date for June 1st.  Cool.  Now I have a deadline for getting my Weeroll ready to go.

The curtains are done thanks to my friend, Cindy.  She made them out of old sheets and they turned out great!  I am very pleased.  Light and airy, and a hint of grandma...

Today I added some items and figured out some more ways to keep stuff from jumping around.








I installed a screen across the back door so I can get a nice cross breeze and look out at the stars from my bed if I feel safe leaving the doors open.

I have to tweek it because the bottom of the screen blows out when I close the shower curtain I hung in case I need some privacy.  I either need weights or I need to mount a steel bar to the threshold and then insert more magnets in the bottom hem of the screen.


Naming the Camper


What should I name it??  The gals in Sisters on the Fly name their trailers.  Debra called her first trailer Gator.  I think she is calling her Weeroll Itsy... or is it Bitsy?  Another Sister called her yellow and white trailer, Banana Split.

I was thinking Howwee Roll.  Howie is a male name, but it is better than some of the other stupid names that have come to me.

WOW Weeroll
Waywee Roll
Eye Roll
Trippin' House
Rollin' Home

The thing is, "WEEROLL" is in big block letters on the front of the trailer.

So why not just call it WeerollMy Weeroll?  I don't know, this decorating and naming stuff isn't where my talents lay ...

Yearning

I wonder if this symptom of wanting something, missing something, yearning for something is a symptom of social distancing?

I didn't put a name to the feeling, but then my sister mentioned she had some social time and some nature time and she still felt a yearning.  For what?

Sometimes I fill the yearning with food... and more food.

I reach out a bit to others, but not enough.

When George passed two years ago I told myself to reach out and hug someone every day.  I was doing pretty well with that until this pandemic.  No hugs... since mid March.  Wa wa wa... what a baby I am!

5/27/2020 Wednesday


Well I sat down and started making reservations for my trip to Wisconsin.  Yep, I am going.

Ok, I was the first to wonder why the snowbirds were returning home, they should just stay put!  But that was back when staying put was going on for only two weeks or a month.  Now it is time to figure out how to live and survive without spreading the disease.

If I have my house with me, what will be different?

I will be getting gas more.
I will probably be shopping for groceries more often (storage is smaller).
I will be sometimes using public restrooms more often.
And some campgrounds will not have no-touch check-in, so I will have to interact with them.
And then, there is always the risk, when anyone leaves their home, especially in a car, that there might be an accident or incident.

So, ya, it seems riskier to travel.  I will need to be extra careful disinfecting my hands and wearing a face mask.  And even so...

On the other-hand, I am 66 and not getting any younger.   My sister is about my age too.  We are  both in good shape, but that could change.

Though my back and hip problem that haunted me last year have really eased because of exercises and stretches I have been doing, I know that some day that pain or another pain will come.  I will someday be less able to hike and bike and drive and camp.

At first I just started to map my journey and find a campground every 300 - 600 miles.  That filled me with fear and dread.  I didn't want to get caught somewhere I didn't feel safe or worse, I felt super lonely and alone.

Then I remembered a few people I have biked with that invited me to contact them if ever I was traveling their way.  So then I started mapping my trip from friend to friend, trail to trail.  And guess what!  I will be meeting up with someone every place I stop to stay!

First I am doing a Sisters on the Fly event near Cheifland, FL along the Suwanee River.  Then from there I launch over to ride with a friend by Milford, Florida.  Then onto trike with Jean in Mississippi.

In Southern Illinios I will be riding the Tunnel Hill Trail with folks I found through a recumbent Trikes group on Facebook.  I will be there over the 4th of July.  No toilet facilities open, I will use a bucket and sponge bathe.

Near East Peoria, Illinois I ride with Peggy, whom I re-connected with at the trike rally early this year.

On to Madison, Wisconsin stay for several days and meet up with my friend Kathi, my son and his wife, and other friends.

Finally by mid July I will arrive in Rhinelander where the campground that I have a seasonal site at will not have open showers or bathrooms.  We will figure it out.  Anytime Fitness Gyms are opening, so maybe I will be able to use their showers...  Or not.  It's ok.

When I was a kid we visited my grandmother's farm.  We hauled water in buckets and heated some water on the stove.  Then we would bathe in a washtub.  I am experienced and blessed with clean water.

Great audio narration by Voice Actor Robin Seigerman


Other Happenings

Thanks to Jeremy and Mel that sent me this cute blouse for Mother's Day.  It is purple and matches my glasses and my new style.  Love it!

 One afternoon some birds came banging on my door.  I would shoo them away and then they would bang it again.  One time a little bird knocked himself out.  I watched while his eyes slowly became more alert.  I got tired of watching him and went inside.  Later he was gone.


COVID Continues to Infect


I am venturing out a bit more.  The Florida Governor and our county board is urging businesses to re-open if they can after being shut down for two months.  Some small businesses just aren't going to be able to make it.

Some restaurants seem to be packed (which isn't good if any of the staff or guests are infected and they don't know it).  But some restaurants are struggling with less customers than before.

I have not sat down in a restaurant yet.  There is a case where on restaurant customer was infected with COVID-19.  And that one customer managed to infect almost everyone at their table of 7 or so and half the people at the next table.   They even infected one person that was up-wind from them.  The conclusion is that poorly ventilated small spaces with prolonged exposure (1-2 hours in a restaurant) is where infections are transmitted.  Of course it is prisons, care homes, public transportation and hospitals that are also places where transmission is likely.  Hopefully most of us can stay out of those places.

Distance
Outdoors

That is how I try to do my visiting.

I went to Donna's again for a happy hour.  She was the one that told me if you can't hug a friend, hug a tree.  So when I left her screen porch, I made a point to hug her tree.  She took my picture and I look pretty happy hugging a tree.  I need to do that more often!

My granddaughter graduated from High School.  Due to COVID they didn't have an in-person ceremony.  Instead they had a video of the ceremony and the valedictorian and other speakers.  I got to thinking that I hope this is a tradition that they keep even if they have an in-person graduation ceremony in the future.  It was nice being able to attend while drinking coffee.  To cheer when my granddaughter's name was called.

When my son graduated he was only allowed to invite a few people to the ceremony.  With the video there is no limit on the size of the audience.  You can invite family and neighbors and extended family.  I like that.

I also like that after my granddaughter's name was called, I didn't have to sit through the endless list of names following hers.

Congratulations to graduates of 2020.  Abby I am proud of you!

Go Trippin' and Trikin' with us - Available Now.


Monday, May 11, 2020

Perspective Adjustment - Nature Heals Us

Friday, May 8, 2020


I am grateful for nature.  There are few things that raise my spririt up more than seeing something rare in nature and soaking up a beautiful day.   Especially if I have someone with whom to share the experience.

So I am going to tell you all about my totally awesome day I had recently.

I am also grateful for wonderful neighbors and friends that lift my spirits and sometimes they help me move heavy furniture, loan a tool or volunteer to assist with something.

I will tell you all about THAT too.  But first I need to talk a bit to those folks in the future who will be reading this and wondering what is going on in the world at this time.

We Are Living at the Beginning of COVID-19

Historical Perspective 2020

It is easy for us baby-boomers who have lived most of our lives with freedom of movement and freedom to express our opinions to fall into a self-pity party during this time.  We have lived in a period of economic growth for most of our lives.

When I feel my four-year old inner self start to whine, I think of these facts that were shared on Facebook recently.

We have been into the shutter-in-place only a few months.  
Japanese internment -- 1 year
Holocaust -- 4 years
Great Depression -- 10 years
American Slavery -- 246 years


Skip this section if you are currently living through this COVID-19 thing.  I am writing this section to give the future readers of this blog a look into what is happening around me.

This COVID-19 lock-down, shutter-in-place, safer-at-home isn't so hard on me because I am retired and in Florida where I can get outside everyday.  I can chat with neighbors and friends outside at a distance.   My income (for now) is safe.  I understand the stock market goes up and down and as long as I don't have to sell right now, I am fine.

I am very grateful to be where I am at.

For those in rural or colder climates it isn't so easy.   It isn't as easy to socialize at a distance.  Though people are using the phone and internet to have conversations and keep in touch.  In the colder climates it isn't as easy to get out in nature.

For those in urban areas without nature and with more strict lock-downs it has got to be incredibly hard.  Imagine being without work and locked up in an apartment for weeks, months! Not as bad as Ann Frank and the many Jews and others forced into hiding for years during the Holocaust.  Not as bad as slaves who were forced to hide in fear for their lives. 

We really don't have it so bad.  It is just taking some adjustment... and we like to complain.

And we worry about those that didn't have any savings to cushion them when this hit.

There are many, many workers and business owners that were struggling before this all hit.  I know of a coffee shop and a restaurant that had just opened in Inverness a few weeks before the shutdown.  All that initial investment and planning and work.  Now they may not be able to open their business again.   Some restaurants may not be able to make it with the new spacing requirements of six feet between customers.  Things are going to be different for a while.

And will the spacing be enough?  This article explains that indoors even at six feet for long periods of time can be enough to spread the disease.


Millions of American workers who have lost their jobs or fallen even further behind in their bills.   Even with the states slowly opening their economies again, so many of us will be afraid to go to restaurants and bars due to the threat of infection.  Then of course many won't be shopping like we were because of the unpredictable nature of the economy.  Which isn't all bad.

Sometimes I think that even with all that it wouldn't be so dang stressful if we didn't have social media making it easy to toss around conspiracy theories and fuel the us-vs-them mentality.  People are protesting the closing of the businesses and schools.  Some say the virus is a hoax and they don't practice social distancing, they don't wear face masks.


My neighbor told me she went to the grocery store and even with all the signs and the precautions and the education there were so many people not wearing masks, not kind enough to care if they were unknowingly spreading the disease.  When my neighbor was done shopping, she went into her car and cried.  (You see when you catch the disease you may not have any symptoms but will be spreading it through the air when you talk, breath, laugh, cough, sneeze, and even fart.  If you have pants on, it is like wearing a mask on your butt.  Or you could think of a mask as wearing pants on your face so all the crap doesn't spill out and get on other people.)

They say that the numbers aren't as bad as they predicted. Of course the numbers aren't as bad as originally projected, because we are staying home, social distancing, and shutting down.  They would be so much worse if we weren't doing that.


And now, wearing of a mask is being politicized.  This virus doesn't care if you are Democrat or Republican, Socialist, or Skin Head, old or young.  But some don't believe the virus is real, or don't believe they or anyone they know and love can get it, or they just want to say, "screw you" to the world.

Supplies for keeping our hands and surfaces clean went out of stock in early March.  I have been hunting for rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer on line and every time I enter a store.  I had heard that this flea-market style store had some.  So I stopped there on one of my bike rides.

They had a big bottle of 80% alcohol for sanitizing. 

When I went to check out, the clerk told me the price was $28.  Wow.  A small bottle (maybe 8 oz) used to be around one dollar.  Now, with the shortage....  She said that a brewery made the stuff.  And it wasn't so much a shortage of the alcohol but there was a shortage of the plastic bottles which used to come from China.  Now we aren't letting stuff come from China because the disease started in Wuhan, China and for other political reasons.

So this is what my kitchen counter looks like with all my sanitation supplies.






The bottle with the black label is the 80% alcohol that I bought for $28.  It doesn't smell like rubbing alcohol.  It smells like... high proof, low quality booze.  It makes me nautious to use it.  Fortunately it evaporates quickly.  I hope I don't smell like an alcoholic.

I rinse out the wipes and put them in a container and pour the alcohol on them to get wipes that work fast on germs.  I also have a container with wipes and bleach water.  When I got out I either take a baggie of alcohol wipes or the bottle of hand sanitizer.


It is hard to believe we are at the beginning of this COVID pandemic.  Those of us living in it just keep thinking it will be over soon.  Certainly we can't keep the economy closed for much longer.  There are some promising things on the horizon for vaccines and treatments. Maybe this won't take the full 18 months to two years that the disease experts first predicted.

I hope you skipped this section if you are currently living through this Pandemic.  You didn't need to be reminded of all that.  It didn't tell you anything new and added to your stress.  Sorry!  I warned you, didn't I?


But hang in there, because the next sections are more up-beat.  I promise you.

New Beginnings and Hope

Amsterdam has announced that they are planning to rebuild after COVID in a different way.  Instead of measuring themselves by their GDP they are going to use other measurements that include health, well-being, the environment, and more.  They call it the donut.  Trying to balance between economic well-being and human and environmental wellness.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have many people and countries learn from this time and re-adjust?   

Speaking of hope and changes that could come from this down-time...  There is a cute video out by TomFoolery of a man reading a story book to his son THE GREAT REALIZATION: Hind-site 2020.

Yesterday was a beautiful day and I biked down to feed the goats on my own.  On my way back I got a call from my friend, Kathi.  She had just traveled from her Florida home to her Wisconsin home in her sister's RV.  She said she had very little if any exposure to the outside world on their trip except to get gas and walk around outside.

I was telling her that some rural communities that usually are full of tourists in the summer in Northern Wisconsin are asking people to stay away this year.  I told her I was hesitating about going to Northern Wisconsin for the summer in my WeeRoll.   I don't want to be the one to drag COVID up through the country.

Kathi listened to my reasons why I wanted to go and she advised me to go.  Time with my sister is important and especially if I follow the guidelines for social distancing and cleaning my hands often, I should be OK to go.

It Has Been Two Years Since George


I was riding with friends when one of them asked me if it was two years ago in May that George passed.  I had to think about it.  Sure enough, he died May 20, 2018. 

That thought got me thinking.  My house-mate, Carolyn, left to go to her home in South Dakota and the master bedroom was free.  I should be ready to move back into the room.  I had moved out because the only place for the queen bed was the same place it was when George died.  Since it takes energy to keep my brain from ruminating on those last days, I have just avoided spending a lot of time in the room.

Instead of changing to a smaller bed and rearranging the room, I was using the excuse that I didn't want to buy a new bed and get rid of a perfectly fine queen bed. So I would just keep the room in that arrangement and not sleep there.  Instead I was sleeping upstairs.

But now it is two years and my neighbor, Jerry, offered to help me move the bed out. (I don't think he comprehended how heavy it was.) 

That very evening that he made the offer to help, I disassembled the bed.

I moved the cot in that I had purchased for the Weeroll camper.




 

I tried sleeping on the cot that night.  And I slept well!!!

The next day Jerry came and helped me move the big bed into the garage.  Then we took the couch from the den and moved it into the master.  After he left I pushed the couch to different locations.


The whole process wasn't without shedding a few tears, but now I am back in the Master bedroom and I am liking the extra floor space and the simplicity of the space.



In fact, moving the couch out of the den gave me more space in there too.  It is cleaner, less cluttered, I like it!




Preparing the WeeRoll

When I started this post, I mentioned being blessed with neighbors and friends that continue to help me out.

One day I arranged for neighbors Dave and Craig to help me move the mini fridge from my kitchen into the Weeroll.  I was proud of myself for backing up the Weeroll into my driveway without taking out any bushes or buildings.


 It took two minutes for Dave and Craig to get the fridge into the trailer.  Then I proceeded to set up my cot and use the D-rings and some straps to hold things in place.


Cindy and Regis stopped by while the Weeroll was in the driveway.  Cindy had volunteered to sew curtains for the trailer before I bought it.   She wanted to look at it and measure the windows again.

She had volunteered to make the curtains when I was debating about buying the trailer. 

I was whining over the work I would have to do after I got the trailer.  Making curtains seemed overwhelming to me.  Cindy took away that pressure by saying she would make them.   I don't think she really expected me to take her up on the offer.  Ha ha.   Thank you, Cindy! 

We are not allowed to keep our trailers parked in our driveways.  So that evening I was driving the Weeroll back to the storage area when I encountered a neighbor who had questions about the Weeroll.  Somewhere in the conversation I told him I was planning on removing the back seat in my minivan.  It has the stow-n-go seats so if I remove the seats I will be removing weight and have a nice pocket for storing things when I travel. 

The dilemma, I told him, was I needed to cover the pocket with something so I can roll my trike in and out.  He offered his experience doing that same thing with his van and his table saw!  Cool! 

Sometimes I think it might be all of you readers saying prayers for me and sending love and good thoughts that brings all these wonderful blessings my way.  Thank you!

Stuffing the Weeroll


I should be at an age where I don't need more STUFF.  In fact I am trying to get rid of stuff.  (I am happy to announce that I put the queen bed up on Facebook Marketplace and sold it in a day... for $80.) 

But it seems the more I get for the Weeroll the more I seem to need for the Weeroll.  It was time to get a mini microwave that I would place on top of the fridge when camping.

During this time of shuttering in place I shouldn't be going out shopping.  But ... well, the article on risks says that it isn't the brief encounters during shopping that will spread the virus (as long as you wash your hands and don't touch your face and no one sneezes or coughs on you and you wear a mask in case you cough or sneeze...).

On a Sunday morning early, I drove to Walmart.

I wore my mask and took my wipes.  The Walmart greeter presented me with a rose... and said, "Happy Mother's Day".  Oh!  "It's Mother's Day!". 

The rose was kind of orange... George's color, perfect.  My sister said later, "Awww, that was George sending you a sign and wishing you a Happy Mother's Day."


The shelf with the small microwaves was empty.  The clerk said the parts are made in China and so the supplier is tooling up elsewhere.  It will be about seven weeks before the microwaves start arriving again.

As I shopped for other items, I kept encountering a robot used to sweep the floors.  I don't think it can completely replace humans.... it doesn't get into the edges or the corners.



I tried to think of somewhere else in town I could check for a microwave.  But they were all big-box stores. 

Later I ordered one from Amazon.  Sigh.  So much for supporting the local economy!

A Totally Awesome Day

We have had a few cooler days here in May.  I decided I wanted to go do the Van Fleet Trail.  That trail can be really hot since it goes through the Green Swamp and has areas without tree cover.   Thank goodness that Debra said she would go to.  It is so much more fun to share with a friend.

We left Inverness in our separate cars at 7:30 a.m.   By the time we got there we were already having an awesome day.  While traveling down Hwy 48 we had to stop three times for animals in the road.

  1. A family of sandhill cranes
  2. A peacock
  3. Two brown cows that started kicking when I honked my horn.
When we started our ride it was even cool enough to wear a light jacket.

We road from Mabel (the northern terminus) to Green Pond Road.  It was almost 40 miles round trip.

There is a section on the trail with three bridges.  We stop at the bridges to see if we can see any gator or turtles in the water below.

As we approached the second bridge I saw a lot of large white birds.  When I stopped to look I saw the water was boiling with fish. 

There was Ibis and Woodstorks and Egrets wading in the waters and up in the trees and bushes.





And there was a huge gator just laying there among them.

Debra and I stayed there a long time watching.

At one point I looked down and saw the bushes were white below me.  Then plop!  I said, "Shit!". 

Debra and I kept saying that the weather was perfect, the sky so blue.  We had a lovely time and did almost 40 miles. 

And the experience was so much more because I got to share it with someone.  Thank you, Debra!

When I started heading home I went through a love-bug storm.  These bugs seem to always be mating in flight.  Their guts are acidic and it will eat the paint off your car.


I finished off my totally awesome day by washing my car.

Madison, Wisconsin, Bicycle Trails Everywhere

July 9, 2020 Hi there!  I made it safely to Madison, Wisconsin. I am sitting writing this in Kathi's den.  She has a separate window...