We are into our fourth week of semi-isolation here on the left coast. Each of us have slowly slipped into a somewhat regular daily routine that now feels as familiar as an old dressing gown and slippers. I wake, and make my with through my morning toiletries, glasses, washing hands and face, fresh shirt and underwear. Fill and turn on the kettle and set up my coffee press. Light the fire in the grate to warm the house. Back to the bedroom, we make the bed, shut the window and open the shades. It has been chilly in the mornings. by then the kettle is finished and I can use this Aeropress to make my morning americano. Two shots. Then a bowl of instant porridge with raisins added and sometimes fresh fruit or dregs of some bag of cereal. Once the bowl cools from the microwave, breakfast can be completed. A banana or an orange complete the morning.
None of that is much different from the past three years of mornings here in retirement. What comes next is.
I no longer ready my cycling kit for a days riding across the heat of the day. Where I used to sometimes, even enough times to make it usual, wander as far as 65 miles in a day. Those parks, restrooms and water fountains are all closed now. The crowds who used to fill the beaches are sheltering, home-schooling or wandering the paths. Traffic on the roads is light, but traffic on the paths that remain open is crowded. Our beaches have been closed. First it was parking, now the beaches themselves.
We have each attended to various delayed projects. I’ve whittled my list down to nearly nothing. And have made up new tasks I can complete with what materials, hardware or supplies I already have on hand. There is a short list of items I’ll need from the local hardware store once that much is open and safe again.
Shelves and cabinets have been organized and reorganized. Clutter on the bench has been cleared, decluttered and cleared again. I’ve found stickers and stuck them. I’ve found wood and cut it for use or set it aside for later use when more materials are available or found for the next project on the list. I’ve swept the driveways only to have rain and wind make it appear to never have been attended to. I’ve begun to clear out a rolling tool chest to re-finish for the kids garage. But, have run out of sorting to storage and space for a bit here. Once I get that done, I’ll be waiting on paint. I think I have enough sand paper I can at least prepare the surface. There are still shelves that can do with more organization. There is likely a box or crate here and there I can clean up and repurpose to that end.
I’m now down to cleaning and detailing my motorcycle. I figure by the time I’m done, or run out of cleaning supplies, the bike will be far too clean to ride anywhere.
I’m about a third of the way through this first side. I’m to the point where I now need to disassemble some of it to get at the deep and complete cleaning. That will require moving some more stuff around and space to set the tank half outside while I work inside.
Working in the shop gets me out from in front of screens and out from under my wife’s feet. Our oldest daughter works from home in her room, so with my wife in the main room upstairs, daughter in her room and me in the shop we are separated together and safe here at home.
Our groceries are ordered online and delivered, moved to the shop for a bit of a rest, then put away after a wipe down. We have managed to arrange one Zoom meeting with much of the family scattered across the country. We will do more of those with more of the family. The hardest separation for us all down here is from little Ogden.
We’ve managed a few FaceTimes with him. He is used to seeing himself in short videos on the television or iPad or phones. This more interactive thing is new to him. He is warming to it. The other evening we played some of his favorite dance music and played with him making faces like we did when physically together. He played along and laughed. The rocking chair is one his aunt found for ten dollars and I repaired and refinished. It now sits in his room. Mommy and daddy tell us he often runs back to his room, grabs a favorite book and settles into the chair to mimmic reading the book to himself. A fun age of discovery for a small boy. And for mommy and daddy. And us grandparents as we recall the wonder of our children’s discovery of new things and experiences, now with their child. That makes for a wonderful connection of experience through the years.
So, for my projects so far, I’ve built two shelves, assembled two more. Fixed some trim. Installed an under cabinet light that was repurposed from an under shelf desk lamp. I tightened up the hinge mounts to three doors to the house. And I’ve rearranged and organized cabinets and shelves in the garage. More stuff was set aside for charity once those businesses reopen. I’ve replaced the cables and housings on my bicycle, replaced the bar tape and adjusted the seat. I’ve measured and documented the position of the saddle, stem and bars. I changed out the rear tire after 3,100 miles and finding the cord was showing. Cleaning up has its benefits. I fine tuned the position of the cleats on my new bicycle shoes. And completely cleaned, detailed and waxed my bicycle. The motorcycle has had the tires swapped out for used knobbies. I converted the rear wheel to tubeless. And I’m in two days into cleaning and detailing and adjusting the motorcycle. There is more than a week’s work left.
And finally at some point I’ll get myself pointed back to the history I began and wandered away from some time ago when I got distracted by the evolution of my gear choices.
Stay safe out there, and stay home. Cheer’s,