That Time…

I have been, as we all have been, on edge. Anxious. Off-kilter. I think that’s probably the best descriptor. Off-Kilter. When I get like this I go into a sort of desperate, though not too desperate (I’ve been there and know the difference), searching for something to ease my mind, settle my soul, calm me the fuck down. I feel as though I can curse because it’s my blog, but also it’s 2020. If you can’t curse any other time, cursing now seems appropriate. I digress…

I am anxious, off-kilter. So many things have happened in our lives it would almost be funny, but it isn’t. From large (the passing of K’s dad, our boy Weston, and a friend of ours who had breast cancer… also getting into a bad car accident and totaling our Jeep) to smaller things (having to get a new fridge because our old one quit working, having our sump pump pipe break, dealing with things breaking or needing to be replaced at our rentals, etc.) it’s been a year of things not going quite right. Add to that the pandemic, and well… you know what I mean.

I haven’t been able to read much. I usually read at night, in bed, after K goes to sleep during one of the many documentaries (we prefer true crime documentaries in bed… I think that’s funny, but it is what it is). After she goes to sleep I usually grab the iPad and open whatever book I’m reading. I have a habit, if the book is good, of reading too late, not getting enough sleep. Lately, I can’t seem to get into any library book I’ve tried. I don’t think I’m going to make my goal of reading 30 books this year. I’m only at 20 or something. Goodreads tells me I’m 4 books behind schedule. I’m a reader, who can’t seem to read right now. So instead I look at movie lists and play different games on my iPad. I like this one particular word search game, but it has ads, I hate the ads but am too cheap to pay the 1.99 or whatever it is to get rid of them.

… I just read a newsletter from a friend that inspired me to finish this blog post. It was languishing in the draft section…

We keep trying to do things that help our moods. Saturday we drove about 5 hours, to Indy and back, to try and buy a chair at IKEA. Of course, with it being 2020 and all, they had the chair but not the ottoman. We ended up with a doormat in our cart and when we got to the checkout area the lines were so long we abandoned the doormat along with our cart and walked out with nothing. We got back in our new truck (the replacement for the totaled Jeep), greeted the girlie who we’d taken with, got her out and walked her around the grassy areas surrounding IKEA, jumped back in the truck, and found a nearby park so we could pull in and eat the picnic lunch we’d made and brought with. Then we drove home. Two hours there, about an hour and a half to shop and then eat our picnic lunch, and two hours home. It wasn’t a pack of peanuts, but it fit that bill.

Confused by the pack of peanuts comment? Let me explain…

There is a family joke that my grandmother, who we all adored, would drive 100 miles just to get a package of peanuts. She had a big sense of adventure I think we all admire. So when K and I called my Mom from the road back from Indy, my Mom said, you are like your grandmother, driving 100 miles to get a package of peanuts. Only we got nothing because they didn’t have the ottoman and the lines were too long to just buy a sweet new doormat.

K just reminded me of the hail storm we had. She was laughing when she said it, but it was a doozy. So many people we know here said they’d never, in their lives, seen hail like that. It kept the roofing industry going here, that’s for sure. We had to get a new roof put on our rental house because of it. Our roof, which is fairly new, only sustained minor damage. Not enough to replace it. Just another 2020 thing.

I know people keep saying that… it’s 2020. As if that explains it all. Maybe it does. Maybe there are just years that are hard for everyone. If I listed all the things that have not quite gone right for us this year, and some things pretty wrong, we would just start laughing. I mean… we were listing things off the other day and it was like, whoa… whoa nelly!

K and I play a game once in a while, I may have talked about it here at some point, I’m almost sure I have. It’s the perhaps game… when we see something interesting, strange, odd, we try and guess what it is, what it means, etc. As in… perhaps it’s this, or perhaps they mean that… we go back and forth, getting more and more ridiculous, we always end up making each other laugh. This year has provided its own game… it’s called That Time… it goes like this… remember that time, or how about that time we, or that time that thing happened, etc. We go back and forth naming off things that have happened… we can’t believe it all. It gets ridiculous, but it’s all true.

We are heading into winter now. Colder temps are arriving. We’ve managed to stay at least a little sane by being outside a lot with the grandkids so we could keep seeing them. Our visits are now going to be shorter. It’s hard to spend tons of time in a mask. For us and for them. For everyone. This is going to be a challenging few months.

We will be fine. We’ll take drives, take walks, make more picnics to eat in the truck, meet friends for socially distanced coffee (outside if we can), try and find things to do with the grandkids like cold winter walks in parks, maybe some sledding when we get snow. We’ll get through it. Movies and music and books, when I can read, all help. Love helps. Love always helps.

Soon it will be 2021 and we’ll play the That Time game, referring back to 2020, and we’ll shake our heads in disbelief that so many things happened in one year…

Here are some things I (we) have done to ease the restlessness and that feeling of being off-kilter…

  • We participated (and still are) in the great pumpkin hunt. Our park districts in our twin cities have joined together, putting painted rocks in parks for people to find. It’s silly, but I kind of love it. It’s a treasure hunt of sorts, which is always right up my alley.
  • I got on Letterboxd and made various lists of films, tried to find all, or nearly all, the films I’ve seen, and categorized them. It’s fun times for a nerd like me.
  • Speaking of films, I used the updated 2007 AFI 100 list and watched all the films I hadn’t seen on that list. The next step is to get the list of Oscar Winners and see all the films on that list I have not yet seen.
  • We’ve played mini-golf with the kiddos a couple of times.
  • We played frisbee golf with the kiddos, and by ourselves, a few times.
  • We went bowling with the kiddos when we realized they had instituted covid precautions we were OK with at the bowling alley.
  • We’ve met friends in parks and outdoors at coffee shops for some socially distanced chat time.
  • We’ve done a few little projects here at home, like cleaning out all of our extra electronics (old laptops and iPads and phones and Apple Airports and cords, etc.) and recycled them through Apple’s recycling program. It’s a great program if you’ve never used it. You can recycle all sorts of electronics through it, they don’t have to be Apple.
  • We made a silly lip-sync video that made us laugh and laugh and still makes us laugh and laugh.
  • We’ve gone on a lot of walks.
  • We are playing fantasy football again this year, which is always fun.
  • We have watched our friend, Larry (and a one-time guest spot by his wife, Lindsey) perform on Instagram nearly every Friday since March. It’s always a bright spot in the week.
  • We’ve talked to neighbors over the fence and on the other side of the street many many times. The connection is good, our neighbors are great.
  • We’ve messaged and Skyped with the family to check in and commune.
  • I’ve made a playlist or two for friends and for myself.
  • We’ve tried to take solace in the normal things that always bring us solace… the sound of the wind chimes, the changing of the seasons, the beauty that is everywhere in nature, and the souls of the people we love.

I’m going to try a new game right now. I just thought of it. It’s also called That Time, but it goes like this… remember that time that friend said that thing that made me smile… remember that time the light was perfect through those trees… remember that time my Mom called me when I needed it and she didn’t even know I needed it… remember that time K smiled at me her little smile… remember that time that cup of coffee was perfect in the morning… remember that time when something was magical, seemed magical… remember that time when the grandkids laughed and laughed… remember that time the girlie snuggled up to me and pawed me to get some pets and it was so cute… remember that time when things went right… when things worked out… when love was all around us… remember that time…

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