Quarantinis and other Pandemic

Day two… three… of quarantine. Not a bad place to be under house arrest, except for the minus ten and snowing part. But it is beautiful, and I’ve always said the lake is my happy place.

We have neighbours who, even if we can’t see them in person, are there for us in spirit and available if we run out of something.

Our son is with us, and he did the provisioning before we arrived. Then he decided to hang out with us here as there is no job to go home to. Makes sense. But also means he is now in lockdown too. He did one last shop and is now hunkered down with us for the two weeks. Which is fine – we can send him out to shovel snow if it comes to that.

Imagine – tomorrow is April 1, spring is already here, and there are still snowmobiles and ice fishermen on our lake. Long cold winter indeed!

We had a fairly good trip home… better than driving which we could have done if it came to that. At least we had an alternative but it wasn’t one I wanted to take. I am unsure about our ability to cross borders…. at least our flight on Air Canada was non stop and we are, after all, Canadians.

We arrived at the airport in Cabo after our almost three hour drive from the boat. I wore my homemade mask, Lawrence did not.

feeling relatively safe and no, I am not on a cruise ship!feeling relatively safe and no, I am not on a cruise ship!

Hopefully the driver (who was wonderful!) didn’t mind. Lawrence donned his when we got to the airport, which was as empty as we have ever seen it. We had to fill out a form (“do you feel sick?”) and apparently at some point we also went through a heat-sensing camera.. I didn’t see that, Lawrence did.

the masked duothe masked duo

We had splurged for business class just because we wanted to have more room and no one beside us… turned out the flights now aren’t serving beverages or food so my dream of champagne and a hot meal was dashed, but luckily the restaurant at the airport was open. They were keeping everyone they seated at a good distance apart and we weren’t the only ones with masks. A few glasses of wine and some shrimp tacos and we were good to go.

The woman seated in front of us on the airplane saw our masks and asked if we were sick – otherwise why wear masks? Well that’s a good question and there are definitely two camps or more on that one. But really … I made them so we aren’t stealing masks from worthy front line workers, it reminded me not to touch my face ( which I do all the time) and if someone happened to hack and cough near me I felt more comfortable about not inhaling their spit.

But to each his or her own. I also had ziplock bags with alcohol soaked clothes and the flight attendants handed out a lot of wipes and bottles of water so we were prepared.

We were given a cold chicken wrap and snack pack but neither of us wanted food, so we kept it for the long drive we had ahead of us.

At the Vancouver airport we were again surprised but pleased at how empty it was, but we were the only flight coming in so it made sense. A quick trot to the customs hall, where we were asked several times to take off our masks (at the automated passport kiosk and when we actually had to talk to a human) which kind of annoyed us… then off to pick up our luggage (first off! Quick) and out to the parking lot after one more cursory “do you feel sick” inquiry ( really? That’s it? The honour system?) where our son and his fiance had parked with his car that they were lending to us.

Rather than rent a car and deal with more humans, Andrew had offered to lend us his car for the two weeks because he is now working from home and not going anywhere. Also it saved us worrying about having to take the car to Kamloops airport where the rental company asks to to drop off their vehicles, which really isn’t allowed under the quarantine policy. We were thrilled to borrow the car and also thrilled to get a quick hi! How Are you! We love you! From where they sat in her car.

And then we were out into the night. Yuck. I kept thinking of the irony – we escape a potential tsunami of issues if we had stayed in Mexico in the boat, only to infect ourselves on our travels home or worse yet, die in a car crash! We don’t drive our canyon highway at night if we can help it, and doing it at midnight in driving rain, snow, and fog… just plain crazy. But our captain commandeered the car admirably and we ate the soggy chicken sandwiches and kit-kat bars to keep ourselves awake, arriving home to two feet or more of snow and a frozen lake at around 0230. Said hi to son number one who had stayed awake to make sure we made it… and stumbled to bed, glad to be home but sad too.

Day 11… time flies, and I have been keeping myself busy making masks for others now that the rest of the world has decided it’s not just a good idea, it’s an imperative! With help from other seamstress friends I found the best pattern that also utilizes something any good boater or handy person has in their arsenal – blue shop towels! And apparently they increase the efficacy of the mask so much, a well made mask is almost as efficient as one of the 95 masks. (It’s called the Olson Mask and can be found online)

So our dining room is now the sewing room, as I plough through sewing masks as well as work on a couple of quilt projects. Between that and coming up with new improved recipes that I can use based on what is in my fridge and pantry, time does indeed fly!

Chris our son helps out when he can, and he also spends time outside building and riding on his own personal lakeside snowboard park. Good thing it’s not summer, he’d be digging and building and rearranging our yard for a bike park… at least the snow will melt…eventually.

Some mornings it has been below minus 20 C..

and when the wind blows , no way I am going walkabout in the yard, let alone across the lake. Ice fishermen and their colourful huts dot the ice, cross country skiers get a good workout in splendid isolation, and atv’ers race around with gay abandon, hopefully practicing safe distancing. Not sure when we are going to warm up, as mornings are still minus 10 or lower, and it doesn’t generally get much over plus 6 or 7…. but the trend is for warmer weather slowly so hopefully when I can go outside and walkabout, I won’t have to don the full-on winter gear! My friends and family post pictures of their gardens and the flowering trees in our old neighbourhood…spring in Steveston, BC and in fact all of the lower mainland is gorgeous, but I know my day will come. Just a little later than others!

Our neighbours have indeed come to the rescue when we have run low on supplies. I am used to cooking for two and having enough leftovers for another meal… now I cook for three and generally there is nothing much left, just maybe enough for someone’s lunch. So we have had wonderful meals but ploughed through the first batch of fresh veg and fruit in a week. We are replenished now and hey! We only now have 4 days left… so we are going to survive!

I am pretty amazed at how much life has changed and how readily most of us have accepted it. Without close contact humans tend to feel deprived, whether it’s friends, lovers, grand- children, or just the grocery clerk handing you your change with a big smile.

Now we can’t hug, the only people we see are the immediate family or occupants of our home, and when we can go out it’s to see others at a distance and usually with a mask on so who knows if they are smiling or not? I’m tempted to paint a smiley face on my masks just so people know I’m ok…

One of the greatest things I have noticed is how people, the good ones anyway, use humour as a release and as a sign that “hey, we’re good, this is shite but we are going to survive”. The internet has always provided me with unlimited entertainment, usually in the form of cute cat videos, and bonehead boater moves, but now the world is laughing at Australia’s bin isolation outing days, where people are going above and beyond to provide a giggle for the rest of us. Other talented individuals are rewriting songs and creating videos, some of them hilarious and some which bring tears to my eyes (Chris Mann so far is my fave). (Although everyone seems to get a kick out of Pluto the talking dog)

And as someone who hates the phone, let alone facetime ( really, do I look that old? Get me my mask….) I have become quite fond of teleconferencing with friends and family we cannot visit…imagine a Zoom party with Australian, American, and Canadian boating friends… how cool is that? Except the northern hemisphere participants get to have a drink because it’s 5 pm and the Aussies have to drink tea because it’s 10 in the morning! Or not… who’s to know??)

trawlerfesters from two continents!trawlerfesters from two continents!

And what does the other half do? Well, when we arrived home Lawrence had been working on the long-term shut-down checklist for the boat, partly for himself and partly on behalf of friends who, due to the virus, had to unexpectedly leave their boat in La Paz. If you’ve never shut down the boat for an extended period of time… say, 6 months or more… and you don’t know really when you will return… it’s a daunting task. Add in the vagaries of Mexican weather when you are used to good old Pacific Northwest (hurricanes, hundred degrees-plus days that wreak havoc with headliners, and cockroach infestations vs temperate weather, rain, and maybe the occasional otter invading your space).

We have left Northern Ranger in La Paz for the summer season now for five years so we have a good idea about how it works, but unlike all the other procedures checklists on the boat, this one was all in his head. And mine. So he was putting the finishing touches on it when we arrived, having sent our friends a copy before they had to leave for their home in the US.

After that, what better thing to do than to explore Mexican cocktails because hey, if you can’t be in Mexico and you have a cupboard full of tequila, there’s got to be more to a cocktail than a margarita. Not in my estimation but it kept him busy for a few days. And I have to say, I had a sip of the one he made last night and hey, it tasted pretty good!

quarantini...no olives? Then how about a gerkin pickle?quarantini…no olives? Then how about a gerkin pickle?
Mexican Caesar with hot and spicy covid 19 maskMexican Caesar with hot and spicy covid 19 mask

After that was finished, it seemed appropriate to create a play list for the pandemic. That’s actually already been done so he ploughed through lists and cherry-picked the ones he thought worked, added his own spin to it, and after several more days a rather extensive list was created. It is somewhat eclectic, if by eclectic you mean it had everything from Jimmy Buffet to Weird Al Jankovich with some Smashing Pumpkins, David Bowie, and Def Lepard ..Einherjer? Kelly Clarkson??? between. Looking forward to the time he actually downloads all the songs and plays them….

Not sure what his next task is. I’m waiting with bated breath…

Meanwhile we worry about friends who are still out of the country trying to come up with a plan to exit with or without their boat. Not having a crystal ball I can’t say what will become of the countries they are in, but I am firm in my belief that we got out at a good time and it was the right move. Not everyone has the benefit of a sticks and bricks home, or their sticks and bricks being next to a lake in the middle of the province, and although I am not physically close to my family and my home-town friends, this is home now and we have the best neighbours. And when we are out of our isolation quarantine, and the weather smartens up and the lake melts… there is nothing to stop us from having visits lakeside (keeping our distance of course – with the covid quarantine playlist blasting in the background!) and I can get out and about in my kayak and start fishing again ….

quilt top done, now for the fun partquilt top done, now for the fun part

Until then I am sewing, cooking, reading the news, and binging on our favourite shows (finished Grace and Frankie. Now into the first few seasons of The Crown, and when I can get away with it, Below Deck …. just because….it’s a boat thing, after all)