Almost Back to Normal

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As hard as it is for me to imagine, it’s been more than a year since my last blog post! It’s not like I can blame it on the pandemic (Covid 19) (Corona virus) (‘Rona) (whatever), because that didn’t really grossly impact us more than any other event over the past year.

Okay, sure, maybe we didn’t dine out very much, and we certainly didn’t socialize as much as we normally would, but we’re both retired and it’s not like we had jobs to go to every day or little ones to raise. We just kind of kept on doing the things we do, but with masks on our faces at the times and occasions when we had to wear them.

As time went on, Sheila and I decided that we weren’t going to subject ourselves to the pandemic paranoia. We were both vaccinated in the early part of 2021 with no major blow-back or adverse reactions (not 100% true, Sheila felt a little yucky on the 2nd day after the 2nd shot), so we just started to do our normal routine again … sort of …

Some stuff was a huge change for the better, like ordering groceries online and having them brought out to you in the parking lot! Come on, what could be cooler than that? No more wandering through the store on an endless search for generic Frosted Mini-Shredded Wheats, or trying to second guess what happened to the Bisquick that used to be by the flour (well, Duh?) and is now by the syrup (??). I don’t stand in line behind some person writing a check and taking an unGodly amount of time to record it in the check register anymore.

Nope, that’s not the new me! I go online and make my selections, hit the “CheckOut” button, check off with impunity the “No Substitutions” box for our favorite stuff, and then confidently Await My Confirming Email advising that my order will be ready for pickup on Tuesday @ 8:00am! At the height of the viral invasion I used to be able to go at 7:00 am (“special hours set aside for those needing assistance and Seniors”). But once the vaccines started showing up the “special” hours disappeared.

But I’ll keep on with the online ordering, that’s a pandemic bonus for me!

A big part of the non-writing over the past year was directly related to working on one of Sheila’s investment properties. It was at that time in the cycle when things needed attention, so we figured since we couldn’t go anywhere, why not fix up some stuff?

Of course, that’s an issue for me, owing to a dazzling lack of “handy” skills. Hey, I’m a musician, not Norm Abrams … which Sheila found out way too quickly. When we got together, I told her I wasn’t very handy, but she assumed that meant I couldn’t replace a gas furnace or rebuild an engine, not that I couldn’t hammer a nail without bending it over to one side. I felt whatever was left of my virility quickly disappearing, and not coincidentally (in my opinion), saw Sheila routinely hanging out in front of Home Depot looking for someone, anyone, covered in sawdust.

So, I mustered up what few remaining memory cells I have left and reflected back to when I was a kid living with my Dad and 4 brothers, all of whom are either mechanics, electricians or builders. Yes, I was the family wuss …

To my massive surprise, changing out sink fixtures wasn’t so hard! And fixing doors that were hung poorly (usually a hinge problem, or so YouTube advised me) seemed to be a minuscule skill I could handle. Of course, carrying heavy stuff was something I could always do, even with my messed-up-but-almost-back-to-normal heart condition, and cleaning is, well, just cleaning. Sheila, for her part, is the handy type and handled a big chunk of the workload, especially the things that required precision and neatness, like painting or spackling (I hate painting!!!). She relied on me when it was a dangerous task, too, like using a chop saw (hey, I’m a retired musician, I really don’t need those finger anymore).

I had a little bit of redeemption in Sheila’s eyes, but she still had that look of longing anytime we ventured into any type of D-I-Y store. Clever aisle manipulation on my part kept her away from the “Contractors Only” area.

The music thing was deader than dead at the start of the ‘Rona and stayed that way through most of last year. But a pleasant surprise popped up when my very good drummer friend and his wife invited us to dinner (they weren’t scared of no ‘Rona either) and we met with a guitar player who was a near perfect match to my jazz sensibilities.

It was such a pleasure to play good music again with talented guys! Our connection was pretty much in sync, and we all decided to give it a shot and formed The Trio Jazz Band (the name was born out of a complete failure to think of anything original). There will be more about The Trio in future postings, but for now you can get some details @ … we look forward to seeing you at a performance someday!

We continued to see the kids & grands through it all. It surely helps that they live directly across the street from us, and for every real-life purpose, are within our immediate family. Even so, we were cautious in the beginning, maintained a reasonable distance between everyone and we avoided hugs/kisses until we all got past the first hurdle of vaccines. It’s a plus that the grands are home schooled and that James/Shauna have a home-based business … they weren’t exposed to the outside world too much, either, so we all felt pretty comfortable in our cocoon.

As I write this, most of north Georgia is back into the normal routines of everyday life. There are still certain public places masks are required, as well as having to follow any rules regarding the use of medical facilities. My band plays in public regularly, and we expect to continue doing that for the foreseeable future.

But I’ll keep on going online with Kroger to get our groceries, getting together with family and friends for home-spun dinners, hugging the grandkids every chance we get, and counting our blessings for the overall good health of everyone in our circle.

Now, if I could only figure out a way to stop Sheila from stalking the contractors door at the D-I-Y places …

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