Togetherness

Ah, carefree co-mingling, remember that? Friends clustered in the kitchen, respiring heavily, festive hugging, packin’ the ol’ pie-hole with cheese fondue, carrying on as if we were all immortal

Yesteryear, those were the days.

It’s been said we are social animals. Human contact is the salve for what ails us. More than that, absent the healing power of Togetherness, we’d all just as soon wither quietly, loneliness and despair our indifferent companions. Some say Togetherness is so critical for life you might as well take away air and water.

Then, out of nowhere, like an approaching tornado – “Everyone scatter! Hunker down! Shelter in place, save yourself!”

And just like that, Togetherness, at once a requirement for life is now the very thing that may lead to the end of yours.

Social Distancing AK Style

There are Humpbacks in the bay now. And a week ago our neighbor spotted a pod of Orcas out there. Sure, it’s awe inspiring – if not also humbling – to see whales from the cockpit of a Kayak, though also alarming if they come too close. Calm water today but I always feel a tingle of concern seeing Happy Wife out there all alone, save the Leviathans lurking beneath her. Let’s hope they all got the memo about social distancing.

Newest Sexagenarian!

A novel virus requires a novel defense. So Happy Wife thought to re-purpose B-cups from old bras into face masks

The cup goes on first, then over that she fastens an N95, slips on gloves and a full-length gown and only then does she enter the exam room to greet the patient. That’s on days when she must go into the office for the unavoidable physical exam. Other days she works from home (like I do), providing more impersonal health care via Telemedicine.

There are ~70 >100 cases in the state of Alaska, ~42 ~50 in Anchorage. 1 in Seward, where we are now, a ghost town like so many other places worldwide. The livelihood of many of our neighbors here relies on summer tourism. Today on our beach walk we saw Paul and Linda, our neighbors to the south who run a B’nB, walking their dogs. We chatted a while, keeping our distance. I asked how bad their cancellations are so far. Paul appeared crestfallen, turned the pockets of his Carharts inside out, “It’s like money falling out of my pockets.” All along their policy had been cancel 90 days or more in advance and get a full refund. “We didn’t make that policy for times like this,” Linda said.

Tomorrow is HW’s 60th birthday. Welcome to the most vulnerable class! Septuagenarians and older are really the most vulnerable ones, but technically speaking we’re both cardholders now. Am I concerned? Sure, but I’m not frightened, not yet anyway. But if anything were to happen to her… I don’t know, I don’t even want to think about that

Humbled

As a molecular biologist of sorts it astonishes me that this worldwide disruption to human affairs was caused by a measly virus 29K bases long. To put that in perspective, there are single genes in the human genome almost ten times that long.

Backup

Breathe deep the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room
Bedsitter people look back and lament
Another day’s useless energy is spent
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one;
Lonely man cries for love and has none
New mother picks up and suckles her son
Senior citizens wish they were young

                                      (The Moody Blues – Late Lament)

Right about then I wished I was young. I was on all fours beneath our Nest (it’s why it’s called a crawl space!) shoving a space heater before me as I crawled over dirt and gravel, through puddles of nearly frozen gray water, mindful to keep my head down to avoid banging it against a floor joist. (Why does banging your head make you so damn angry?). Anyhoo…my goal was to get the heater near where the septic line disappears into the ground where I thought maybe, just maybe, it was frozen. We’d arrived earlier in the day to find the tub and toilet had backed up. Worse, I had to remove the toilet because the overflow in the bathroom was oozing from the flange, where the seal had evidently failed. Which wasn’t all bad seeing as Happy Wife has wanted to replace that damn toilet for years (cracked bowl). She and I must’ve used every towel we had to sop up the gray water as it gurgled out of the poop drain (see photo) once we’d removed the toilet. By then it was dark outside, maybe 10ยบ with a 30+ mph north wind. That made the repeated trips under the house to pull back sodden floor insulation to assess the scope of the damage all the more fun. Nothing like gray water flash-frozen to your face to get the weekend started right!

Badass Eagle

Seen today on Lowell Point road when leaving our Nest to head back to Anchorage. I inched the car closer and closer fully expecting she’d fly off, but no, she would not surrender the rigatoni (or whatever) easily. Go find your own is what her look said to me. Only when the front wheel was in line with her did she fly off, but not far, and when I passed I saw in the rear view mirror she was back at it. Happy Wife was especially taken with her “leggings.”

Phone: Pixel 4 XL, Telephoto 2X.