Update.

I’m reluctantly working on our wills. I’ve been “working” on it for almost a year now. It is like so painful to do. But I can do it! I want to put something in place when Edda is 18 and Vince is not yet ready to “take over”. He’ll be ready, but not right now. Right now, Vince and I are on hold for 2.5 hours trying to open a bank account for him. He doesn’t sense the urgency, but I do. Little steps.

I gave up Instagram and Facebook at about Thanksgiving time last year – the same time I got my new computer and didn’t enter the passwords for the websites and deleting it from my phone. I’ve tried many, many times before failing each time. This time I did it easily because I replaced it with Pokemon Go. Of course, everyone needs a “mindless” thing to do on their phone while waiting, bored, going to sleep or just tired of the world (which I am all the time). I just hated that it was facebook or Instagram, these always made me feel worse, like eating too many potato chips – delicious in the moment, ugh afterwards. I tried giving up Instagram and Facebook without this “mindless” crutch, kind of imploring myself to take those small bits of time to “read a book!” or “learn Spanish!” or whatever, but, really that was not sustainable. I do need a mindless thing that I didn’t mind doing. I got tired of doing tetris-like puzzles all the time which were repetitive. Pokemon Go is perfect in a way. It’s kind of really boring and mindless a lot of the time, but also entertaining. If you don’t cheat the GPS on your phone, you are suppose to walk a lot, so my running helps me level up in the game. It’s self limiting in a way that I like – if I run out of poke balls, I need to go on a walk to get more. I’ve discovered a few people (like 2-3 people) who are intense players who I’d like to get to know better, so there is a social element. I’m in this “battle” with Vince on leveling up, so that is fun. And the game actually is pretty complicated with many different ways to play and 10,000 pokemon to get to know (they all have different traits that perform differently in battle – I honestly have no idea.). And it’s ridiculous – I like telling people I play Pokemon Go. If I like it too much, I will have to give it up sometime. Hopefully not back to Instagram or Facebook.

Apocalypse.

I always thought the apocalypse would involve more running. Running away from zombies. Instead, we are stuck at home and waiting for things. All systems seem down. First, I was unable to open a new Vanguard account over Christmas break on their web site. I would enter all my information and hit return and the website would say – unable to continue, call customer service. Customer service hold was reportedly hours. Fine. They don’t want my money! They’ve had this problem on their web site for months (according to reddit) and no one has been able to fix it. Next, Vince and I were on the phone together for 2.5 hours trying to open a bank account for him – unsuccessful. Next #2, Jeremy spent almost an hour in line at the grocery store to check out. Next #3, I wanted to make a small change to our car insurance which should have originally taken 3 minutes on our phones, but took 3 days and 2 emails. Next #4, again, a small change on my bank account information which should have been able to be done online, and this also takes a 20 min wait on the phone. Next #5, Edda’s prescriptions needed to be filled by Monday afternoon. I put the order through on Saturday for Sunday afternoon pickup. They weren’t filled, I asked when they would be ready. I was told the delivery would be there by 4pm Monday. Six pm Monday, they weren’t ready – the delivery was running late. And then when I went in to pick up an emergency 15 pills for a 3 day supply, we ran into an insurance snafu in which the pharmacist apologized and said that he needs to call the insurance help line during business hours to straighten it out. I’m sure there is more. The apocalypse is a wearing away at your resilience and will – will any of us survive?

And now it’s January.

We’ve been enjoying cat sitting and dog sitting. They are becoming friends in a very entertaining way. It’s nice to watch an interspecies friendship develop. Emy came in last night from ABQ late last night, spent the night and took Ivy home with her this morning. We are reimplementing masking in the house – so we masked with her.

As last week was the first “normal” week since Alice’s death, it was the first time I’ve had time to myself without her. I probably spent 5 or 6 hours a week walking or talking with Alice during the last year of her life and now that she’s gone, I miss her terribly. I think I (personally) do a lot of preparatory, anticipatory grief (I know this isn’t what a lot of people do – Jeremy, for example – is optimistic, optimistic, optimistic until the known bad thing happens and then he’s a wreak) – I mean, we both knew what was going to inevitably happen – so I kind of prepared myself for it and I didn’t cry the whole time she was in hospice or the night that she passed away (which I can get angry at myself for), and then the holidays were stressful/busy and now I want to “get back to work” or whatever, but I am lost and slightly adrift and morose. And the pandemic is just hindering things – I haven’t invited Mike/Sofi over for dinner, we haven’t gathered her pals around for a service. Am I allowed to? So many neighbors are sick with covid but recovering well, I don’t know what to do.

We’ve also been keeping Edda home from school since we’ve gotten back. I’m not sure what I’m suppose to do about that. The first week was because after care was cancelled and we needed to readjust. The school system promised to publish numbers every night, but they got so high (some schools reaching 10%), they stopped doing that on Jan 7th. They said the threshold for closing was 5% or greater, but over 100 schools blew past that by Jan 6th. They are short staffed. I want Edda (and the rest of us) to stay well until the 19th. That’s when Jeremy has minor outpatient surgery scheduled.

Vince’s school went virtual for a month and they asked kids to stay on campus, but most people went home. So now Vince is in a situation common to the fall of 2020 where he’s in his apartment by himself – though now in his online classes, he knows people on the list, I guess. Now they are trying to reimplement in-person labs only, but this is confuses everyone.

I’m trying to choose hope and optimism. But it’s cold in January and we seem stuck at home. But I saw this full rainbow in the sky over the weekend – so that’s something. And maybe it was an ever so slight double rainbow now that I look at the photo.

And now we are home.

We made it back from ABQ fine. Vince had more trouble getting back to Davis. His flight got rerouted through LA and then that flight was delayed and then he had to take a really expensive UBER home very late at night (or in the morning). We made a mistake and scheduled everyone to fly on Monday, Jan 3 – when both kids had school! I don’t know what we were doing. UCDavis said the first week was going to be virtual before the break, so Vince did his first day at airports and made 2.5 of his three classes. They just announced last night that the first four weeks are converted to virtual which made Vince (and us) groan. We’ve been keeping Edda home from school – not really because I want to keep her free from illness, but to let her teachers have an easier student load (one of her three teachers is already out with covid). The public schools are having lots of call-outs, about 10% of the bus routes didn’t run this week. Every school is hovering around the 5-10% of the population out because of covid.

We came home to two pets requiring pet sitting. Ivy (Emy’s cat) and Scarlett (Ben’s dog). They are entertaining us as only pandemic pets can. They, I think, are becoming friends! Not like close, close friends who snuggle with each other. But they will tolerate being 2 feet apart and will cross paths without too much angst. Ivy usually hides under some low furniture, but at times, he will come out and hang out with Jeremy at work.

Scarlett is such a goofy dog. Goofy and good natured. Wants to be everyone’s friend.

Nat gave Edda this pullover sweatshirt for Edda for Christmas. Usually I don’t like pullover items for Edda because I think they are hard to put on and take off. But somehow, this sweatshirt seemed perfect for Edda – it’s from the Teen line at the Gap. So I slipped it on her earlier this week. She also got new AFO (foot braces) which are incredibly hard to put on and take off. This is difficult for diaper changes as we like the pull up kind and pants need to come on/off to use them and this usually includes taking on/off the shoes and braces. But then I remembered that I have a pair of Adidas track pants that have zippers along the side of the leg which allows them to be put on over shoes and I realized that this is Edda’s new teenage look. Honestly, I really like this style for Edda. We’ve been keeping her in too young of a look for too long.

OK. We must finish Christmas with this post.

There was a lot of biking. Jeremy, Seth and Emy (who eventually got a bike seat and pedals from Seth – but ended up getting 3 (!) flats over the course of the week) biked together and separately. Jeremy is KOM (king of the mountain) on a Strava segment that only 8 people have done – so hopefully he will keep it a while. Jeremy also went up a “famous” mountain race course in which he placed in the bottom 20% which never happens (he’s almost always top 10% (?)). It’s because it is the course of a “famous” race, but apparently not many amateurs travel to this remote spot to do the course. Anyways, I guess it’ll remind Jeremy that he is not a professional bike rider no matter how much he wants to be. Seth both bike and ran. I only ran. I have no bike, but all this bike talk over the vacation made me feel like buying a bike for myself.

There was hiking both locally and around the Renouf Ranch. Andy and Rita showed up for a few days in the middle there.

We also saw Hawk’s family.

The Swedes left for Chicago on the 30th and the vacation became a little quieter. We puzzled (but did not finish despite our best efforts).

We said goodbye to Seth and Emy on the 2nd when we headed to ABQ for our flight and they headed to ABQ to stay with Seth’s family for another week.

Noteworthy #1: I’m friends with Felix – my nephew-in-law. Felix can be a lot, but he’s a boy after my own heart. A techie in a family of historians.

Noteworthy #2: Edda and Vince, my beloveds, thank you for being such great travelers and such good sports. Letting us drag you here and there and making you sleep in a tent and/or outside and shower in unfamiliar places. Esp. Vince who is straddling the place between child and grownup and who doesn’t have to spend winter vacation in a rural spot with very little cell service with his crazy, crazy family. You both have my whole heart and all my love.

Christmas, part 4.

There were many hikes on this trip. Edda went on two. The first one was this bridge hike which seemed pretty paved.

But Edda ended up being carried in her wheelchair over some rough patches. Edda loved it.

At night, we played games – this cracker game with musical flutes with Bob conducting which was very fun. And then a very vulgar game called Joking Hazard which wasn’t a very good game, but we were laughing so much watching Bob say very vulgar things.

Christmas part 2.

Honestly, it’s hard to piece together the days because I’m rapidly losing track of them, but I will try. We got in late on the 23rd with U-haul and van and we settled into our abode, and slept. Kiki and Kappa went to their house and slept there. On the 24th, Jeremy and Emy put together their bikes:

And discovered that they had forgotten to pack Emy’s bike seat and pedals. Hmmm. There is always some bike-packing drama. Always. We set up Edda’s new bed/tent. Now that we are at the end of the trip, I can say with certainty that this tent was a win for us and Edda. Edda did not need minding at night and oftentimes, Jeremy would find me hiding out in the tent when I needed some alone time.

The Swedes came in on the 24th and we rejiggered the sleeping arrangements. We could have used a bit more room to have some more privacy at times, but we managed it. There are lots of personalities and we did get somewhat annoyed with each other, but we all were trying to do our best.

Christmas, part 1.

I have a moment of quiet here in New Mexico to document our Christmas vacation. As with all things this 2nd year of the pandemic, it is fraught, not only with the standard family joy/stress which is always dealt with at this time of the year, but also with the terrible (mostly anxiety) things that go along with this Omicron spike. The week before we left (we flew on the 23rd), we decided to keep Edda home from school and aftercare – which in retrospect was a good idea as the high school reported at least 40-50 cases from the 18th – 22nd (after reporting only a couple the entire year) and her after care (which is populated with about 30 people) also had a person test positive. But we did not insist that Vince stay home with us during that time and he went to an indoor music concert and various indoor eating restaurants with friends. And he got a tattoo which, honestly, was mostly (well kind of) fine for his mother. He did wear an n95 mask at the concert (one of the few people who did and it was incredible hard for him to breath). But he did end up (unsurprisingly) flying with loud sniffles and sneezes (we did covid rapid test him numerous times using up all our rapid tests – all negative), but it did not assuage his fellow Southwest airline seat companions (and me) who had to listen to him sniffle for hours. We were not sure even up to the day before if we were going to go on the trip, but the Swedes moved ahead and boarded their flight and we followed suit.

As these things happened, my uncle and his family flew in from Texas on the 22nd and we had originally scheduled a family dinner which would have included Bob, Katherine, Emy, Vince, Edda, us, my parents and Robert, Ying and Christopher, but this got cancelled and in its place, we had a short masked gathering (indoors) where Robert said he was astonished that we all took Covid “so seriously”. Christopher, a junior in HS, is on the lookout for prestigious schools on the east coast and this is his college tour trip. This was kind of fun as Robert (also a chem e) and I pulled out our old transport phenomenon textbooks (I have an old one of Robert’s) which were dated, inscribed and highlighted for Vince. Robert showed us some funny things Bird, Stewart and Lightfoot hid in their canonical textbook that I didn’t even know about.

I had to find care for two pets, neither of which are mine. Scarlett, the dog of Ben who is undergoing a bone marrow transplant, went to Mike and Sofi next door and Ivy, Emy’s diabetic cat, is boarding at our house with two catsitters (Isabella and Dara) who learned to give insulin shots to a very compliant cat. We took two cars to the airport as we were seven people and Jeremy had packed up two bikes – his and Emy’s and Edda’s wheelchair and bed. The flights were uneventful save for the sniffling from my son. Everyone mostly seemed mask compliant and the flights quiet – we made a stopover in Chicago and then to Albuquerque. In Albuquerque, we still had a 4.5 hour drive. We had too many people/luggage to fit in a single minivan, so Jeremy came up with a somewhat brilliant idea of renting a van and a U-Haul truck. Jeremy and I went to fetch the two vehicles leaving the rest of the party and luggage sitting at the airport.

But right as we drove off with the U-Haul truck from the gas station we picked it up from, the tire blew out. So Jeremy waited on the side of the road for the repair guy and I went to get dinner to bring back to the family.

Emy suggested a well reviewed burrito place close to the airport for dinner and I asked her to call the restaurant and place the order and I would pickup with the van and deliver burritos to both Jeremy (side of freeway) and the family (airport). How busy could a burrito place be at 3 pm on a Wed afternoon? Well, it was incredibly busy and confusing with a walk-up line, a full parking lot and also a line of cars waiting. Emy called and called and the line was busy, but finally placed the order and I finally found the person who took the order to pay and then I waited almost an hour for burritos. A person in line explained that this happened “every year” – apparently everyone was waiting for their Christmas tamales. The flat got fixed faster than the burritos! We all met back at the cell phone lot and devoured the burritos and settled into a 4.5 hour drive to Katherine’s house in Cliff, NM – Vince and Jeremy in the U-Haul and the rest of us in a minivan.