It’s been about a year since COVID-19 started making itself felt here. Patient Zero landed in Everett on January 18. It took a while, but by late February we started sensing that this could impact our lives. Assisted living facilities started experiencing the terrible toll first. Soon schools began worrying about COVID cases. On March 4, 2020, I was working from home when Benji’s school called: Someone at the school had tested positive for COVID, and they were sending all the kids home for a few weeks.
Back in 2010, I made these wings to decorate helmet for some of the events I did for the Bicycle Alliance of Washington (now called WA Bikes, I believe). Turns out that the wings actually didn’t work well on the helmet — besides being heavy, they acted kind of like a rudder, which you don’t really need when riding. I took them off, but kept them.
At the same time, perhaps you recall that I had a pink fork custom-built for my bike. There was a bit of a saga around it, but in the end, I swapped that fork out for a lighter, more comfortable carbon fiber version. But again, I kept the pink fork, because it was beautiful and unique.
Gosh, this blog posting hiatus has lasted a little longer than normal. My initial thought was to recap what I’ve missed writing about in the last month, but honestly, in a way it’s been very little — much of the same, day in and day out. Work from home, school from home, see my parents in person, go for solo bike rides, watch movies, play games. Instead of a comprehensive review, let’s just skip straight to the highlights reel.
I trashed my parents’ car. Okay, that’s a bit strong, but in the middle of January, Dad and I took his car to go for a hike along a scenic but extremely narrow and windy road called Chuckanut Drive. He asked me to drive on the way home, and I agreed. We often trade off driving on daytrips like that. Not five minutes into the trip home, I misjudged where the passenger side of the car was and sideswiped the cement barrier. Nothing else happened; I kept the car under control and we proceeded home safely. Unfortunately, the brush with the cement barrier had deeply gouged both door panels. We paid the nearly nearly $4,000 to replace both doors. Ouch. Fortunately we’re good for it, but that’s certainly not how we intended to spend that money.
I’ve talked before about my life as a recovering anorexic and perfectionist. One huge step in overcoming perfectionist/anorexic thinking came when I began to view failures as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than reflections on my value as a human being. Since starting to think that way, I’ve had many such growth opportunities, but never so many as in 2020.
With all the unexpected challenges 2020 threw at us came an avalanche of failures on my part. Oh my gosh, it was — continues to be — is — the greatest number of failures per day, week, month, or year probably in my entire life. I don’t say this as a way of denigrating myself, but to realistically describe the situation. I thrive and succeed based on routine, but even the words “routine” and “2020” hardly fit in a sentence together. Toss me into a new situation, like pretty much every day of 2020, and I’m pretty certain to fail at something in it.
Very few days I remember exactly what I was doing when a certain thing happened. I remember what I was doing when I heard on 9/11 that an airplane had flown into the first of the two towers. The days and weeks that followed stand out more clearly in my mind than many others, indelibly etched there by those shocking, traumatic events.
Add today’s attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters to that short list.
Before everything blew up, I was having not my greatest work day — I already cried once — but eventually managed to get on track and start accomplishing some real work. Then one of my coworkers sent me a message saying that protesters had started attacking the Capitol. I turned on NPR.
Before COVID times, we got together with a group of friends every month to watch a movie, share snacks, and just chat and connect.
Of course, pandemic restrictions have completely shut that down. We initially couldn’t figure out how to get together with people, and we put movie nights on hold along with nearly everything else. But at Christmas, we always watch A Muppet Christmas Carol on our movie night. It’s usually such a joyful evening, with kids joining us as we watch this excellent and familiar movie, sing along, even quote along.
This year has taught me to expect very little. If it snows, expect a snowball thrown at the window to break the glass.
Even before the pandemic, I’d already accepted that I’m not that person who’s ready with a huge stack of Christmas cards, crispy sprinkle-covered cookies, seasonal decorations, or beautifully wrapped gifts. I’d describe myself as a functional Christmas person. I don’t send cards; I don’t bake cookies; I decorate minimally; and I wrap gifts, but never beautifully. We celebrate Christmas to commemorate the birth of Christ, and that doesn’t need a bunch of extra trappings. Which is good, because trappings aren’t happening.