Sunday, September 19, 2021

America...You've Become Such A Habit With Me


We have a daughter that has been in the Air Force for about the last 11 years. Since joining, she has been stationed in a variety of places such as Texas, California (where she met her Marine husband), Okinawa,(where our grand-daughter was born), Arizona and as of right now, Spokane Washington. We have been fortunate to visit her at all her locations, except Okinawa.That was just a little farther than we could go. Over the years we have made several trips to visit her and her family. 

Over the past 3 years we have made attempts to go visit them and several things have gotten in the way. Things that are totally out of our control, such as transfers from Tucson to Spokane, and our biggest hurdle, Covid. Covid-19 confined us to our house for the most part of 2020, if not our home, our state. There was no travel advised or allowed. When we got our vaccinations we had high hopes of traveling again. And for the most part traveling is allowed again. We just carry masks whenever we leave the vehicle. Especially since it has been over 6 months since the vaccine happened and the effectiveness may be wearing out, I am more cautious. As for my Best Half, he wound up with Covid after his vacination and his antibodies are pretty efficient now, so he is feeling fearless, but still cautious.

But finally it has happened. We packed up the van, and set out for Washington state to see the family. Our grand-daughter has doubled in age since last seeing her in person. While Skype and FaceTime are great for keeping in touch, there is nothing that compares to a “hold you tight in my arms while tearing up at how big you are” grandma hug to my grand-daughter. For 4 days we can focus all our attention on her and her parents until we leave to head home. 

The drive out to Spokane was for the most part uneventful, driving all day and part of the night just to get there so we could spend time together before school started and the parents had to go back to work. We drove from sunrise until dark, which now is about 8 PM. At that point it got too hard to watch out for deer and other critters that go bump in the night. That is one of the things a Minnesotan is well aware of, animals on the highway. Every Minnesotan either has hit a deer or racoon on the road, or knows someone who has. It is typical to see several piles of roadkill on the highway by our house. Now picture the open range of North Dakota or Montana and you can see why we stopped driving in the dark. We pulled into rest areas on the way out. Our goal was to drive like crazy to get to Spokane and then take our time heading back home by way of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.

Every time we travel, I am always made aware of how incredibly vast and different our country is. And I am humbled at how small I am in the greater scheme of things. To my grandkids I am “Grandma who can do about anything and is really smart”. But looking out on the prairie watching the speck of a deer grazing off in the distance gives me pause to reflect on how small and insignificant I am in comparison to this vastness.

Along the 3400 mile journey, I watched as the woodlands turned to prairie and plains, and after some rolling hills along the rivers it turned into the Badlands which made me wonder if that was what the landscape of the moon may be like with the deep craters spanning the land. As we drove on, I could see the snow capped mountains and again I was just a speck in the greater scheme of this incredible creation. Each mile that we traveled changed in shape and form and color. I just sat there in the van speechless and in awe of the beauty and variety we have in our country. We can go from woodlands to prairie to craters and desert, and then to mountains and the ocean all in a few days' drive. I mean how cool is that. And it is no wonder I felt like such a speck within this incredible creation.

With the ever changing and diverse landscape we found along the journey, so are the people who live in the US. We met many people and had conversations about the price of gas, the changes in our culture since Covid hit, and just friendly conversations about life in general. What did I learn from that? Mostly that although as different as the landscape where we all live, we are all a part of this place called the United States of America. We are all survivors of all we have been through over the years: wars, gas prices, droughts, floods, hurricanes and Covid-19. 

I am reminded of an old Waylon Jennings song called “America          

  AMERICA

“Some have said down through history

 If you last, it’s a mystery.

But I guess they don’t know what they’re talking about.

From the mountains, down to the sea

You’ve become such a habit with me.

America...America"


Stay Safe Everyone

Sunday, September 12, 2021

End Times for the "Guzzler"

 


   The past 2-3 months have been spent trying to get road ready for when my Best Half retires this winter. Our plan is to take a few weeks every so often throughout the year and do some cross country travel. It maybe will even be a matter of throwing down a dart at a map to see where to go. 

For traveling from one place to another, such as the kids’ homes, we can pretty much take the minivan or conversion van and just drive straight through to get where we are going. Cheaper, faster and less fuss with packing. But when retirement happens, we will have time to stop and see things along the way and maybe even take some detours along the way if we see something interesting. With that plan, we want some type of RV. And so the dilemma continues.

A month or so ago we bought a Class A motorhome that we thought was the ticket to our extended travels. But after driving it 300 miles and spending $200 in gas we both finally realized that with “The Guzzler” as it became known, we couldn’t even make it to the Iowa border for less than about $350. As beautiful as that RV was, it just wasn’t going to work. As one person put it to us regarding driving a motorhome, “ If you have to ask what kind of mileage an RV gets, you can’t afford one”. That person was wise.

The decision was made to sell “the Guzzler'' even before we had the title back from the DMV. So I put an ad in Marketplace and on CraigsList to sell it. The goal was to try to get at least what we paid for it and possibly the cost of the fuel pump repair we had invested into it. There was nothing mechanically wrong with it that we knew and it was in great shape inside and everything worked so hopefully the RV would sell itself. 

I went around and took outside pictures and inside pictures of every corner, nook and cranny from various angles. I was honest about everything and why we were selling it when I put the ad in with the pictures. There is nothing worse than people who leave out or don’t tell the truth about stuff they are selling. But I knew there would be the doubters and just had to accept that there would be those that weren’t really even interested in buying the RV, but just wanting to come “kick the tires”. Anytime you put an ad to sell something, you may as well plan to spend a lot of time answering questions with people messaging you and giving up your time because people want to come out and see it. 

The ad was in about an hour when the requests for more information and pictures were wanted, and there were numerous people wanting to come look at “The Guzzler”. There were the usual ones saying they would buy it sight unseen if I would do paypal or whatever else way to buy online. But I had been specific in the ad that no holds, and cash only was how this worked in my world.

A few days went by and I got about 20 messages a day with interested people wanting to see the RV. But in actuality only about 4 out of the 15 that said they were coming really came out to look at it and test drive it. Because it was a weekend when I listed it, no one had the immediate cash on them. So many said they’d call the following Monday after going to the bank. Of course I have to say, I took all of those people saying they were coming back with a grain of salt. Rarely does that happen in the greater scheme of selling stuff on Marketplace. 

When after the weekend, no one showed up like they said they would, I deleted all my messages and decided to start over fresh on Monday. Meanwhile, my Best Half had a message and people were coming out that evening to look at the RV. Sure I thought, just more tire kickers to ruin my evening waiting for them to not show up.

Right at 7 PM a car drove up the driveway and it was the couple that had said they were coming out to look. So far so good I thought. They are actually here and even on time. They probably will look for 10 minutes and drive away. I’ll maybe even have time to watch the baseball game...even if they are bound to lose again. 

They went through and looked at every possible thing they could find, fired it up and took it for a drive and came back. I was all set to head into the house when they actually made an offer on the RV. A ridiculously low offer, but nonetheless an in person offer. I kind of smiled and gave them a price that we could sell it at which was nowhere near their offer. But the Minnesota nice negotiations had begun. They talked about the generator needing fixing and I countered that was why it was priced lower than most in the first place. They wanted to see the awning and while we opened it and they were looking at it from the underside, they started saying it was almost worn out. Being that the awning was only a year old, I knew they were just trying to find anything to bargain with. I invited them to look at the top side of the awning to see it wasn’t even faded. They said’ “Ope, I guess that was water dripping, we thought it was worn spots”. I finally had had enough of their shenanigans and did the most “Un-Minnesotan” thing a person can do. I up front asked them ,” Do you want to buy it for the price we are asking or not?”. I figured I had a list of people interested and someone eventually would take it. I may have surprised them a bit, but the next thing I knew they were counting out multiple 100 dollar bills into my Best Half’s hand. And off they drove into the sunset with “The Guzzler”. 

And on to our next attempt for an RV for us. We found a small ultra-light camper we can pull with about any vehicle. While it is a pull behind camper, we both agree it looks more like a small Minnesota cabin in its style. It has a bed, a kitchenette, a booth and table and bathroom with a shower. It is just all that we really need. Small, easier on gas and looks like a Minnesota cabin. It’s maybe not what we set out originally to look at, but it is exactly what we need. Not sure what we will name this little beauty...maybe the Jagger (from the Rolling Stones song…”You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find...you get what you need”). Here’s hoping.


Sunday, September 5, 2021

Our 6 MIles to the Gallon Home on Wheels


 Well it has been a few weeks since getting the used Class A RV. We drove it home 140 miles and parked it for a few days while I shampooed the carpet, with the intent to replace it with laminate flooring next year.


The other night we headed up to see our daughter and the little ones while the rest of her family was playing softball for their church league. As we were getting ready to head to their house, I suggested we take the RV. We were going to drop off the minivan for them to use for a few days while their big van was being fixed. So off My Best Half went in the RV and I left in the minivan to first pick up some tacos to bring up to the little guys. 


We arrived about the same time and proceeded to show our daughter and her 3 little boys the RV. They were all amazed at the size and layout of it. The little guys took turns in the driver’s seat pretending to drive it, while my daughter and I were sitting on the couch talking about the anticipated trips we would be taking. Meanwhile the owner of the rare beauty was walking around the exterior looking at it and finding more things it had, like an outside shower and more storage.


We ate tacos and visited for a bit and then decided to head home. I left the van keys with our daughter as I hopped in the passenger seat of the RV and gazed out the massive window. I was excited to drive home and get a feel for the RV. Afterall, I only got to ride in it during our “test drive” before we bought it.


We drove down the mile of bumpy driveway from their place and got on to the gravel road which led us finally to the paved county road. I was just starting to settle in for the half hour drive home when the RV started sputtering and chugging and losing power. We limped to the side of the road just as it chugged one last time. Oh great, already a problem. We just looked at each other, and could read each other's mind…”well here we go, so much for any fun plans with this beast”. It was really hot and humid out and we just sat there a few minutes in silence, an anguished silence.


Trying to restart it was a futile attempt to admit the obvious. Realizing, too late, the gas gauge was not accurate we were out of gas. So I called our daughter and asked if she could bring a gas can and meet us up on the road. She had just gotten the 3 little guys in the tub so it would be a few minutes. That was fine, it gave us more time to dwell on the RV being on the side of the road broken down.


She came charging up in the minivan with the 3 little guys in tow all excited to rescue their grandpa and grandma from any sort of danger that may happen on the side of the road. They all climbed in the dead RV while my Better Half went the 3 miles to the gas station to fill the 4 gallon gas can. 


He made it back and put the gas in, but of course it wasn’t enough for a 60 gallon tank, so went back for another round of gas to put in the RV. Fingers crossed we got in and went to start it. Nope it wasn’t going to start. By now we were thinking the fuel pump was shot. Our daughter, having gone through a bad fuel pump on their truck, told us that banging on it while someone started it would get it going. At least according to her mechanic when they broke down. So she went under the RV with the only thing we had to tap it with...the fire extinguisher. Sure enough the RV sputtered and then started. She rolled away from underneath and hopped in, meanwhile I was in the van with the boys. The RV roared briefly and went about 100 feet before it died again. This time there was no pounding that was going to revive it. From trying to start it the battery was now dead.


It was time to call AAA and get it towed into our mechanic to get a new fuel pump. Out of the wallet came the AAA card and they were called. There was no talking to a real live human, everything with AAA is now automated. So after many directions to push this number for that and press the # button for this, we finally got the call finished with a text back they were on their way. So I drove our daughter and kids back and came back to the RV to wait for the tow truck. It was about 8:00 pm. And so we waited, and waited and a text came that the truck would be there around 10:30. I decided I would take the van home and meet up down the road from our house once it was being towed. I could pick up my Best Half at the shop. Off I went 35 miles home.


More time passed and AAA still showed on the computer that the tow was coming at 10:30. It was now 11:30 and no it wasn’t there yet. I got a text from my not so patient anymore partner. He had finally got in touch with a real person at AAA and was told there would be no tow truck coming, he was “on his own” to find his way out of the mess we were in. It was now after midnight and over 4 hours waiting for a tow that would never show up. To say we were angry is an understatement. We have had AAA for over 30 years and have never been let down. Some choice thoughts were rambling through my brain as I went back up the 35 miles North to pick up my stranded counterpart.


When I got about ½ mile from the RV, I saw the flashing lights and high beamed search light on the Pine County Sheriff’s car parked behind the RV. Could this night get any worse? I was sure we were now going to get told we had to get the RV moved ASAP or we would get fined. I pulled up behind the sheriff’s car and then couldn’t figure out if I should stay in my Jeep or walk out there and stand with the two of them. Doing so would mean approaching the deputy from his back side. I was afraid he would think I was ambushing him. Yes me, all 5’ 4” of me. There has just been so much in the news lately around here about people approaching law enforcement and getting taken down. 


I watched the body language of the 2 guys and it looked pretty relaxed and engaging so I started yelling “Hi I came to pick you up” all the while with my hands up and out beside me. We have had enough trouble in Minnesota the past couple years, that even me, a 60+ year old short white woman could be seen as a threat out of the corner of the deputy’s eye.


I got within 6 feet of them and the deputy was chatting with my Best Half and telling him it would be ok, he wasn’t in trouble, and things happen. He was on patrol overnight and would drive by the RV over the night to make sure it was ok. He gave us his disatcher’s number and his name and told us to call when it got towed so he knew it was us doing the moving of the RV. All we could do was say thank you to this guy for looking out for us and putting us at ease to be able to go home and deal with it in the morning.


We got home, slept fast and got up early in the morning to go back up to the RV on the side of the road. All was ok, so Deputy Sell must have stuck by his word to us to watch it and make sure the other deputies coming on duty didn’t ticket us. We would be giving a shout out to Pine County Deputy Sell when we got back home. And we would be giving a not so good shout at AAA for leaving us stranded.


We discovered that finding a tow for a Class A RV is not easy. It requires heavy duty trucks, even though it is a pretty small RV in the greater scheme of the RV’s out there on the roads. Ours could fit inside most of the ones we pass by. We finally called a place that said they could tow us and they were AAA approved. The only catch was that AAA had to approve it first. We thought no problem, we will call AAA and have them call and get it approved. We will be on our way in no time. While we were on the phone with AAA, they called the towing place. A few minutes later the person from AAA was denying the tow. The only thing we could figure is the cost was out of what AAA wanted to pay, even though we have their RV gold plan that tows everything. Well now we were, let’s just say, ticked off even more with AAA. I was fuming.


We finally found a place to tow us and we would have to pay out of our own pocket…$600! With no alternative we waited for the tow truck and off it went to the mechanic. Once there, our diagnosis was confirmed. It needed a new fuel pump, costing $1000. With no alternative we got the repair done and picked it up. The trip home would mean a stop at the gas station so off my Best Half went to Fleet Farm to get gas, and I went to Menard’s for some supplies. I walked out of Menard’s and got a text from Fleet Farm across the street…”the drift shaft is lying on the ground underneath the RV”. The towing company had disconnected it. We were 3 miles from the repair shop and they came over and crawled underneath and put it back together. Really? We don’t even have 100 miles on it, I thought. 


With everything fixed and $100 worth of gas in the tank we decided the next morning to go for a drive and make sure it handled well. It did...at 6 mpg, our house on wheels runs just fine. After a lively discussion about how cool the RV is and how we will go broke just driving it around the state...we may be selling it. We will decide when cooler heads prevail...mostly mine. 


Sunday, August 29, 2021

Thou Shalt Not Steal




Years ago my brother and his family and me and my family were up at the cabin for a few days of fun with the kids and some fishing. It hadn’t been too many years before that our parents had died and the cabin was kind of a place to go that felt like coming home. Our dad had built the one room cabin many years before we were born and my brother had added two more rooms to it so it was plenty big for our two families to stay. Many of our relatives still lived in the tiny town of Grey Eagle, population 368, of which half were probably related to us. To this day 40 years later, the minute I see that water tower in Grey Eagle, I feel like I have come home.

One night after the kids were sleeping we got to talking and reminiscing about all the adventures and times we had been at the cabin when we were kids. Looking around there were many items that had been there since the cabin was built. The old pot-belly wood stove from my great-grandma’s farm, her huge round cast iron  griddle where stacks of pancakes were made, and my favorite cereal bowl and spoon. The bowl was a transparent cobalt blue bowl with a picture of Shirley Temple at the bottom. These were given away in sacks of flour at one time according to my mom. The spoon was a heavy wood handled and painted one from probably the 40’s  or 50’s.There was a whole set of silverware like that. As we were talking, my brother started talking about our great-grandma’s house a few miles down the road. I was only about 6 months old when she died, so I have no memories of her, but my brother’s always had stories about her. She lived in a tiny one bedroom place with an outhouse and a hand pump outside her house. The house had had other people living in it years ago after she died, but it was now empty and the land was owned and farmed by the neighbor next to it. My brother had heard that the house was going to be leveled by a bulldozer and the land farmed.

It was about midnight when we started talking about how sad it was that the place would no longer be around. We drove by it on the way in and out of town. And then it happened. My brother had the brilliant idea that we should go to the old homestead and take the pump that was in the yard. Afterall, it was going to be plowed under shortly, along with the house.

So we got into my old ‘64 hand-painted blue Plymouth Valiant and headed out to the highway and to the house. We had a big heavy pipe wrench in tow and the plan was to take the pump and run. We had reasoned that it was going to get demolished anyway so it wasn’t like we were stealing or anything, right? It wasn’t really trespassing because it once was our great-grandma’s land right?

We got to the driveway of the property and parked the car kind of behind some bushes. There were a few cars on the road at that time of night. Most were those coming home from the local bars. We had a flashlight with us, so before taking the pump we went into the already almost demolished house. The windows were punched out, no doors going into the house. The inside was pretty much filled with furniture and debris and even a few trees starting to take root inside. The house had been left and abandoned with someone’s possessions still in it. There even was a compost toilet in dire need of being plowed over. We went back outside and headed in the direction of the pump. 

The grass and weeds were almost waist high and it was a challenge to locate the pump at first. The mosquitoes were buzzing all around us and sucking the blood right out of us. Our arms and legs were covered with them biting us. One of us had forgotten to bring the bug spray. To this day it is still in debate whose job that had been.

My brother made his way to the pump and decided the only way to get to it was to lay down and begin dismantling it. I stood above him and swatted mosquitoes as they landed on him and me. Just then a car drove by slowed down by the driveway. The flashlight was turned off and we stayed there not moving at all. The car then sped up and headed back towards town. While we couldn’t be seen, the old blue car was probably pretty visible from the highway.

It was decided that my brother would stay there and continue to dismantle the pump and I would just take the car and drive up and down the highway until he was done and met me in the driveway with the pump.

Off I went through the tall grass to the car. Me and at least 10,000 mosquitoes sticking their stingers into my flesh. At that moment I made a mental note to myself. If there were ever any more midnight thievery, I would wear long pants, long sleeves and not leave it up to my brother to bring bug spray.

I must have drove up and down that stretch of highway over a dozen times waiting for my brother to appear in the driveway with the pump. I would get close to the driveway, slow down and look for him, and keep on going down the road to a  place to turn around and do it all over again. I figured it was a good sign not seeing him, it must mean he is getting the pump off.

Finally about the 15th time I came back to the driveway I saw him in the shadows. But there was a car behind me so I kept going past him. The bars must have closed and everyone was headed home, because all at once there was a line of cars behind me and coming towards me in the oncoming lane. I just kept driving until I was almost into town and could turn around.

After making my way back to the driveway, there were still cars coming back into town. I finally found a place to turn around discreetly and headed towards my brother to pick him up. There he was hunkered down in the ditch flashing his light at me to stop. I turned in and he hopped into the car. Off we went to find a place to turn around and go back to the cabin.

When I asked where the pump was, he explained it was pretty rusted on and he couldn’t loosen it to get it off. And he had a skunk near him the whole time he was working on it. He said he had almost hopped out onto the highway when he saw a car coming, but realized that my car had a headlight out so it was easy to recognize. He was just hunkered down in the bushes until he saw the Valiant with the one headlight.

When we got back to the cabin and were telling the story of what had happened, it was decided we never ever were to tell our Grandma about our plan to steal the pump. We figured she would be upset with our antics and potential thievery 

As luck would have it word did get out about that night and our midnight adventures. My niece was singing like a canary to grandma all about how we went to steal the pump to bring to her as a remembrance of her mom. Grandma sat quietly as we explained our rationale for trying to “re-allocate” the pump. She listened carefully, not saying a word. And when we were all done and feeling a little guilty for what we had attempted, grandma looked at both of us right in the eyes and said…”Haven't you two ever heard of a Hacksaw?”.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Selling the "Damn Camper"




A few weeks ago, we wound up going to Wisconsin to look at a Class A motorhome. After much discussion, we agreed that an RV was our best bet for traveling once my Best Half retires. And that is coming soon, hopefully in just a few months or so.Our plan is to load up the dogs, hop in the RV and leisurely do some traveling cross country. For the past two years we have had a travel trailer that was fine and yet I just couldn’t bond with it and make it feel homey. In fact I nicknamed it the “Damn Camper”, not because anything was terribly wrong with it, but because I just didn’t like towing a travel trailer for a vacation. Just hitching it up to the van caused friction in the marriage, not to mention any backing up with it that had to happen. And worst of all, important things get left behind when you tow a trailer, such as the boat for fishing.

With getting the RV, the time has come to sell the “Damn Camper”. We got home with the new RV and parked it next to the old trailer and proceeded to empty out the contents into the new RV.The kitchen supplies and tool box and such were put in their new spots in the RV. It was now time to sell the “Damn Camper”

I put an ad in Marketplace on Facebook on Saturday night. And within about an hour of posting messages started charging in. The standard, “Is this still available” to more specific ones like “Does the toilet really work”. And my favorite from a man asking for the fridge measurements. When I messaged back what the dimensions were, he then messaged me back, “No that’s not right. It looks way bigger in the picture”. I then asked him to bring his special tape measure and he could check my work. I never heard back.

One by one, I answered multiple questions and set up times for people to come look at the “Damn Camper” I soon realized that listing something expensive on a weekend is kind of dumb, because most people don’t have that kind of cash lying around their house. And due to so many people messaging me, I decided to not hold the camper, or take any down payments  to hold it. It just seemed that full cash and drive it away immediately  was the way to go in order to not have people showing up just to “kick the tires”. While I am no bull rider or rodeo queen, this isn’t my first rodeo and I have had people promise to come back if I hold an item, only to never hear from them again. 

Even though I put in the ad that there would be no holds and it had to be full cash payment, people still messaged me requesting I take their downpayment and keep it if they didn’t return. I hate selling expensive things online. There is just no good way to do it where you don’t have people angry. There just isn’t a good way for people to message you, and set up a time to see it. I mean what if a person says they will come at 5 and you agree, but then another can come earlier. What if the first person buys it and the second person is on their way to look. Marketplace and Craig’s List are set up for the perfect storm. Eventually it will happen that you will have several people angry because you won’t accommodate them and sell to them.

By Sunday night we had several people that said they were going to go to the bank and stop by and pick up the “Damn Camper”. They were all advised that whoever had the money in hand for the full price and was at the house would drive away with it. As much as I wanted to accommodate people it has never worked out to my benefit when I do...at least with selling stuff online. Yeah as much as I hate shopping for stuff, I think I hate selling stuff even worse.

Monday morning came and once again the messages started coming in fast and furiously. There were the “tire kickers”, but there were ones who had the money and wanted to look at it. Again I stuck to the “first come, first served” strategy. Just as I was about to message back a time of 5 pm for a few that were wanting to come, I got a message “I can be there in an hour to look at your camper. I have the full amount of cash if I decide I want it”. I gladly responded to him to come as soon as he could. I said a silent prayer that this person would want the “Damn Camper”.

He showed up within the hour and looked around at everything. All the while he was looking, he was on his phone conducting business. We chatted between his calls and finally after taking a ladder to look at the roof he came down, called his wife, and said he would buy it. All the while my phone was actually overheating with all the messages coming in. I was so overjoyed when the guy handed me the cash and I was able to mark it SOLD.

As the guy hooked up the trailer to his big truck, I took one last look at the “Damn Camper” trying to muster up some type of bittersweet feeling as I watched the tail lights flicker down the driveway. And yep there it was...nothing but the joy of being able to mark it sold. Good-bye “Damn Camper”, hello new RV.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Operation: Go to Your Room!

 


About a week ago, my Best Half had a little tickle in his throat and a dry hacky cough. Figuring it was his allergies flaring up, he took an antihistamine and went about his day. During the night the cough turned into some congestion and a little wheezing which was not unusual for Allergy Man. He woke up the next day congested and sneezing. We figured he had the start of a cold he was dealing with. By Sunday night, it had been 3 days of him coughing, sneezing and congestion. I suggested to him that when he got to work in the morning he should see about getting a Covid test. Not thinking he really had Covid, but figuring if he got tested he could get another 2 days off work and rest up. He had been dragging the day before with feeling run down and fatigued. So what the heck, he has 4 months or more of sick leave that he won’t get compensated for when he retires, so he may as well take a couple days and use it. At least that was my reasoning.


Monday morning came and he went to work. He still had the cough and when his co-workers heard him they sent him away to get tested for Covid. The plan was working just like I had hoped it would. He would be home until the results came in and then he would be back to work mid-week. It was all going just the way I had hoped it would. And then he got the results.


Tuesday morning he checked his email and there were the results from his Covid test. He had tested positive for Covid. Stupid Covid had hit our house. Fortunately we both were vaccinated last Spring. His symptoms are mild like a cold with a little more fatigue, but manageable. 


While he was on the phone with his Employee Health person going over time frames of being off, she had instructed him to make sure I get checked also, even if I didn’t really have any symptoms. I was very tired, but that comes with the territory of sleeping next to a person who is coughing, sneezing and snoring like a freight train all night. But off I went down the 35 miles to the clinic for a Covid test.


On my way down, I started thinking about all the scenarios that could happen. I finally came to the conclusion the easiest thing would be if I tested positive too. At least then we could quarantine together and just keep away from everyone else. Way easier than me isolating from my Best Half in the house and both of us quarantining from everyone outside the house. I started thinking we could even find a spot in the remote national forest for a week and go camping. I was getting excited to get my test back.


The results came back late Tuesday night and I was negative. Along with the results came a large email file with instructions on what to do and how to isolate and quarantine. I have to say that the instructions from the CDC/clinic were about as clear as an algae filled lake during the dog days of summer. The instructions discussed the amount of time needed for quarantining. After faithfully reading the first 3 pages of instructions, at the very bottom, was the one sentence that read: “if you have been completely vaccinated, you do not need to be quarantined.”. Huh? 


So there it was, the confusion setting in this nurse brain of mine. Am I free to not quarantine since I am fully vaccinated? Do I still need to be quarantined from the public as I am still surrounded by the “Big Walking Germ”? Do we need to isolate my Best Half from me and I still need to quarantine myself from going out in public? It was late when I was reading the directions, so I set it aside until morning when I was more rested and my brain was functioning better.


Morning came and I re-read it. Still I had uncertainties of what to do. I am vaccinated, no symptoms, but still surrounded by the love of my life carrying around the Covid germs. Try as he may, he isn’t the best at quarantining. And even if he did put his hearing aids in,I still would need to come close to him so he could  lip read or hear me if we needed to communicate. I needed to come up with a game plan we both could live with the next week or so.


After re-reading the guidelines for the 4th time I finally figured out that if I am no longer in contact with the person with the virus then I wouldn't need to quarantine at all since I had a negative test. But since the covid virus is living and taking up residence all over my roommate’s body, I would need to quarantine and somehow isolate him from me. 


I can remember when Covid first was coming into the mix of all of our lives, we came up with a game plan. That was close to 2 years ago. We had talked about how we would separate ourselves from each other in the house if one of us got Covid. While back then it was a real and scary reality, I have to say, I thought by now we were over all that drama. Afterall we did our due diligence and got vaccinated. But as the virus mutates and more people come in contact with it, the numbers of positive cases and even deaths have risen dramatically the past month or so. Covid is once again rearing its ugly horns at us and laughing.


During the beginning of the pandemic, we had come up with the plan that if one of us got Covid we would separate and the sick one would stay in the “Damn Camper” to ride out the quarantine days. The healthy one would keep the house running and deliver meals to the sick one. It was a great plan until the temperature dove below zero. So then we decided that we would block off the family room, laundry and small bathroom from the rest of the house. That was our plan almost 2 years ago and now we are needing to put it into play.


It has been a week since we started “Operation: go to your room”. At best it will last another 4-5 days and we can crawl out of our hole to live another day. It has been an experience I hope to never have to repeat. I have washed and sanitized everything that the Covid germ may have come in contact with. There are disinfectant wipes strategically located throughout the house, and bottles and bottles of hand sanitizer all over the house on every table possible.


We are doing the best we can to be responsible Covid positive people. The last thing we would want to do is give it to someone else. Daily we are grateful that we made the choice to get the complete vaccinations, because looking at the statistics it could have wound up so much worse. For right now we are content to look out our separate windows on opposite ends of the house and watch the corn grow in the field.


Stay safe everyone in the best way you know how!


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

VOTE VOTE VOTE! Bumper Sticker Contest

Hi this is Sue from Solid Rock Minnesota. I’d like to take a moment to thank you once again for listening to our podcast and reading our Blog. As always it is fun to see where all the listeners are tuning in from. We now have listeners and readers in all 50 states, along with Washington DC and 31 countries around the world! Along with the written Blog, our group is growing larger every day. 

I am hoping all of you listeners will go over to the Solid Rock Minnesota FaceBook group and vote this week for the best bumper sticker photo. Just go into the announcement with the bumper sticker pictures and pick a picture and comment on it or hit the like button. It is as simple as that. The person who took the winning picture will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. The winner will be announced Sunday August 15th. 

Thanks so much again for joining us! Many Blessings to all of you!