Spending More Time Alone, Together

Day number… y’know, I’m not sure it’s healthy to keep track of these things

Spending time home alone with my best friend during the Trump Pandemic is working out pretty well, all things considered. In some ways it’s just the same thing, continued from the previous week; in other ways, it’s retirement, only with fewer opportunities for travel¹ than we’d originally planned.

So putting events into a coherent narrative is tough. Not gonna try. Sorry about that.²

One of my brothers-in-law retired about the same time Deb & I did. He went to work, part-time, for an escort service, something he’d looked forward to when he was planning on retiring. You might think there would be less need for escorts, but fortunately, Scott’s background and expertise meant that he was ready to go with only some basic training. So he gets calls for his (government-certified essential) services, even during the quarantine, which gets him out of the house and helps break up the routine. His wife worries a little bit, times being what they are, but she trusts her husband to be careful out there. So if you are on a highway in the northeast United States, and you happen to pass a truck with an oversize load, wave to the driver of the escort vehicle in front — that might be Scott.³

I just count to twenty when I wash my hands, rather than sing “Happy Birthday” twice, or whatever. For one thing, I’m pretty good at counting seconds, even when I’m thinking about something else. Also, when I get distracted, if I listen to myself and I’m thinking “…twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one…” then I know I’ve gone too far, whereas I have no clue what stupid verse I’m on if I lose track while mentally singing.

Years ago we decided to invest part of our retirement funds into a four-season porch and a landscaped backyard with a waterfall/stream. We knew that “some day” we’d be able to take the time to fully enjoy it; initially, we thought we were getting immediate payback, as we enjoyed breakfasts in the porch during the work week (and then got home after or close to dark) and nice weekends (when we didn’t have something going on, or it wasn’t raining, or we didn’t have to catch up on household tasks we couldn’t get done during the week). But day by day, being able to watch the spring settle in, the plants and trees come alive, the birds and other creatures go about their lives… it’s been a wonderful experience, being stuck in our house.

Water. Rocks. Plants. Simple yet… not complex.
Lilacs in bloom and pink blossoms on our red bud tree
Lunch on our “terrace.” Cheese and crackers on plastic plates but hey, it’s not the food, it’s the ambience, am I right?
(clockwise from top left) Cherry blossoms; cherry tree as seen through porch window (behind squirrel); red bud tree in bloom; red bud petals post-bloom, but still adding color to the rocks, if only until the next storm.
We have flowers in the front of the house, and inside. And we can take time to admire and enjoy them. Iris (just the first batch, more coming); tulips (mostly red, even though I planted a variety of colors years ago); orchids at a front window.

So for right now, for us, our life is good. After dark, yes, we can worry about family members (who takes care of our grand-niece when businesses restart but day-care facilities don’t? Hey, Aunt Debbie!), and imploding retirement investments in a bear market, and a state pension in a state going broke, and Social Security payments from a system into which fewer and fewer people are paying… but right now, right here, Life Is Good.

We know that life is not good for everyone — or even most people, some days, it feels like — so we hope you and yours are doing the best you can with what you have. We hope you can stay safe and stay well until things get better.

¹Even if we expand “travel” to include trips to the liquor store (all closed) or to see our three-month-old grand-nephew. 😢

²“Wait… is he saying his other stories were supposed to be coherent narratives? Seriously?” I know what you were thinking, out there! <insert emoji peering judgmentally over top of glasses>

³What? Why are you looking at me like that? 😬



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Jack Herlocker

Jack Herlocker

Husband & retiree. Developer, tech writer, & IT geek. I fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches. Occasionally do weird & goofy things.