Physically I’m fine and Dan is fine, but the uncertainty of the future is starting to wear on me. My friends and family know that I like to have a “plan” and I like to have some structure. I know the latter seems impossible with our wandering lifestyle but I’ve so far been successful finding wonderful house sits in wonderful places. And I’ve been able to keep us booked up with housesits far in advance. But now it’s different.
Today feels different.
And tomorrow? Well, everything will be different tomorrow if the past couple of weeks are any indication. As I read of housesitters being stranded all over the globe, as their scheduled housesits cancel one by one and yet, they are unable to return to their home country due to travel restrictions.
We are very fortunate to have completed our final housesit of the season and made it back to Canada before the restrictions prevented us from returning. But even our return was chaotic and changed day by day and even hour by hour.
One day we were packing up from our favorite place in Laguna Beach, a cottage owned by our friends and heading towards Arizona with plans to spend some time with our friends in Tucson, family in Sedona, and potentially a stop near Scottsdale to visit the Brusally Ranch which had been owned by a great-uncle who raised prized Arabian horses.
We made it to Tucson on a Saturday but after a phone call with my sister on Sunday night regarding the border situation, we realized we needed to change plans. At 6:30AM on Monday, we were in the truck heading northeast. My brother-in-law suggested that we head straight north to get into Canada as quickly as possible. But we had doctor’s appointments in Minnesota and I needed to get my driver’s license renewed. That was Monday, when we still felt like we had some “time”.
Another day, another change of plans
We had made it into the Oklahoma panhandle on Monday and on Tuesday morning we made the decision that we needed to make it to Minneapolis that day. There was a lot of traffic as we continued north but it was all moving fast, even the semi-trucks. At least 10mph over the speed limit. This was not a trip to enjoy the scenery and stop to explore. And to hell with conserving gas, we were on a mission. If we were getting passed, we weren’t driving fast enough!
Our friends in Tucson (Bob and Ilona) had graciously given us a bottle of hand sanitizer which we faithfully used each time we touched a foreign object. And as we raced across the Kansas countryside, we did our best to focus on an audio book rather than zone out or dwell on the troubles of the world.
By Tuesday afternoon, as rumors of the border closing increased, we realized that our weeklong stay in Minneapolis was not to be. By the time we arrived in Minneapolis, it was clear that if we didn’t cancel our doctor’s appointments, they would be cancelled for us. No doctor was seeing patients for routine check-ups.
Wednesday – Plan C – Eastbound
By Wednesday our plans had changed so many times that it became pointless to plan. With that, we went into robot mode. While I waited in a very controlled line (that maintained a minimum distance of six feet) to get my driver’s license, Dan went to the bank and dropped off our California wine purchases with a friend. Taking no chances on bringing extra liquor into Canada!
With our critical errands completed, we headed East to Port Huron. Normally, Dan would be the one to drive around Chicago. Even though we hit at what would’ve been peak rush hour the traffic was reasonable, I stayed at the helm (wheel). We arrived in Port Huron just after midnight, completely exhausted.
Three days of pushing too hard, worrying, and not sleeping well took its toll and we both slept through our morning alarm.
Throughout our time on the road, the people we encountered were polite and kept their distance. It seemed as though everyone was taking the pandemic seriously. Until the hotel in Port Huron. As we tried to step off the elevator with our overnight bags, a family with a bundle of kids were standing right in front of the elevator door. I politely asked if they could step back, and with that received an earful from the mother. And rather than get on the elevator, they proceeded into the breakfast area and she continued to rant and swear loudly enough to make sure I heard every word.
I generally think of my fellow humans in a positive light. But in this case, I’ll I could hope for was a little justice by Karma.
With a quick stop at the Great Lakes Cruising Club office to pick up numerous packages, we headed across the Blue Water Bridge. Canada and the US had announced the night before that the border was going to close to all recreational visitors. Not knowing whether we fell into that category, we approached the empty Nexus lane with our fingers crossed. I gave the border agent our two Nexus cards to which she asked whether we knew what was going on. I guess we looked so tired that she must have thought we crawled out from under a rock!
We usually fly right through but this time, we got a serious drill and it wasn’t until I showed my Canadian passport that the border agent gave us the green light. Along with instructions for the 14-day self-quarantine.
Today – it’s different.
And that brings us to today, just over a week into our self-quarantine. We order our groceries online and pick them up at a designated time without going into the store. We get maybe 60% of what we order including some substitutions that are not quite “right”.
And we are quite accustomed to being isolated – from being on our sailboat in remote areas or housesitting in areas where we do not know other people.
But this is different. It is not knowing how this pandemic will play out or when. Not knowing whether we will be able to get back to our “home”, the sailboat. Not knowing whether we will be able to sail this summer and in which country. Not knowing when things will get back to normal. For those of us who need structure and control in our lives, this current state is unnerving.
And slowly the impact of Covid-19 gets a little bit closer with each day. From people we know being stuck on a quarantined cruise ship to friends who have family members who are critically ill from the virus. And my niece who is a nurse in Toronto worried about her patients and keeping her parents on lock down. I hope they know I’m sending positive thoughts and hugs from afar. It seems so inadequate.
Dan and I are physically fine, but we are not sleeping well and then end up sleeping late into the morning. We go for walks but the skies here in Goderich have been mostly overcast since we arrived, which does not help for motivation. We have lots to do but staying focused is a challenge.
I finished the final row of my knitting project and have been building a new website. And of course, we are both updating GLCC Harbor Reports and dreaming about the places we have yet to explore.
Tomorrow, or some tomorrow, Spring will start to warm us up and the flowers will pop through the soil to bring smiles to our faces. And sunshine will prevail giving us all a much-needed dose of Vitamin D. And yet, we all know tomorrow will be different. Normal will be different.
And our plans? Well, they will reveal themselves in due course and until then, stay well my friends.
March 30, 2020 Goderich Ontario