A year on hold . . .

It’s been well over a year since my last post and “what a long, strange ‘trip’ it’s been.” The Covid-19 virus brought the whole world to its knees. There isn’t one person who has not been affected in some way — so much sadness. Through the darkness, however, we have also witnessed many rays of light — so much resiliency and resourcefulness and countless acts of selflessness, thoughtfulness and kindness. It’s given many of us time to step back and reflect on what’s important (and what isn’t) and realize how truly fragile our lives and relationships are.

Of course, we haven’t traveled. Frank and I were fortunate to have a safe, comfortable pandemic home close to our Milwaukee family and friends — even if we couldn’t see them in person. I wrote letters, relived past adventures by putting together travel books and joined a virtual book club. I connected with people I truly cared about and consciously let go of one-sided and unhealthy relationships. Of course, I also outlined some future travel plans! As I look back on our “year+ on hold,” it’s surprising how much has happened.

Stay Home Orders were issued by the Governor in March.
Restaurants, bars, movie theaters and malls are closed.

Even before the Stay Home Order was issued, panic shopping cleared grocery shelves. Cleaning products and toilet paper were the first in short supply, followed by many food products.

Another concerning shortage was lack of PPE (personal protective equipment). A few were fortunate in securing masks early on but most weren’t. We joined in mass mask-making for those who needed but couldn’t get them.

Healthcare workers were lauded as heroes as they worked endless hours to treat and manage the mounting number of Covid patients. My friend Shannon, a nurse on the East coast, contracted the virus from a patient. I sent her one of our thermometers because she couldn’t get one to monitor her own vitals!

New York was hit bad and there were many deaths. Each night for months, residents would go out on their balcony or open a window to honor the doctors and nurses.

New York City
Milwaukee
Milwaukee
Milwaukee
Milwaukee

Frank’s friend Ed, who visited us in San Diego in 2019, was one of our country’s earliest Covid victims. While he and his girlfriend took precautions on an Australia-New Zealand cruise, the Aussie government turned their ship around, tested everyone and dispersed the travelers to their respective countries. A few days later back in California, they were informed by email that 30 on the ship tested positive. A follow-up email said it was 400. A few days later Ed was in the hospital, saying his final goodbyes to his grandkids over a computer. This made the virus really hit home for us and we had little patience for fools proclaiming Covid wasn’t real and precautions were infringing on their “rights.”

Politicization of a virus?!!
Wisconsin became a national embarrassment.
On the positive side, businesses and individuals made adjustments. Schools went to online instruction. Many businesses allowed their employees to work from home. Restaurants transitioned to carry-out only.

Grocery stores offered online ordering with delivery or hands-free pickup options. Special hours were available for seniors and the vulnerable. Everyone had to get used to cooking at home again.

Haircuts and hair-coloring were sacrificed for the time being.
Bank lobbies closed and our local drive-up became a popular “walk-up.”
Computers became a lifeline. Frank “attended” daily mass.
Special free concerts were held for everyone stuck at home.

“Zoom” became the go-to for family and friends to stay connected.

Zoom also allowed us to celebrate special birthdays. Jenny had Sienna’s friends do a drive-by to decorate their driveway for a special sweet 16 surprise!

Covid did not get in the way of romance!

We couldn’t hug but we eventually drifted toward some socially-distanced visiting.

Social-distanced treat drop off.
“Meet our new pandemic puppy Penny!”
Social-distanced party in Juneau Park.
Summer festivals were cancelled.
Baseball season was delayed but later improvised to include cut-out fans.
Frank could safely cheer on his Dodgers!

In the midst of the pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests

Our hero makes the papers.
Come late summer, social-distanced visits became the norm.
Social-distanced funerals and celebrations of life for the many who had passed began to take place.
Unfortunately, people weren’t careful enough.
Precautions were reinstated as many started to get sloppy or simply choose to ignore them.

It was a very strange election cycle as candidates avoided large rallies (unless you were a covid-denying Trumpster). Unique fundraisers popped up and televised debates reached record audiences.

Talk about a brilliant burst of light breaking through the darkness!!!

Meanwhile, milestone birthdays were celebrated with Zoom parties.

A quiet but wonderful birthday celebration.

I can’t tell you how happy I am that I went to the Macy’s Parade last year instead of waiting for my 60th as originally planned!

Christmas comes no matter what.
Christmas was a little different this year.
2020 is over!
2021: a new, hope-filled beginning
Incomprehensible.
More positive developments!!!
Haha

An unexpected turn of events: A month after receiving his second dose of the vaccine, Frank ended up in the hospital with Covid! Other than some aches and fever spikes, his symptoms weren’t real bad and he was home four days later. Still, pretty scary.

Our second Zoom Easter but as more people are getting vaccinated, things are starting to open up.
Weddings that were delayed are finally being held.
Proms, graduations and milestone birthdays can now be shared with small, unmasked groups of vaxed family and friends.
How we’ve missed you all!

Best of all, warm hugs and smiles we can finally see!

As the world begins to open up, Frank and I will carefully venture back out, chronicling our adventures in our next chapter, Waltzing Wanderers 5. Please click and join us!

One thought on “A year on hold . . .

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