May 30, 2021
Thanks to vaccines, Mr. Karen and I were able to finally go visit his mom and other family and friends in western Washington for the first time in months and months. I carefully selected a sock monkey to join us, and we drove over on Monday, stopping for Jamba Juice along the way. Jamba Juice is one of many big city things we don’t have in the little city we live in, so we enjoy it when we’re on the road. Probably just as well we don’t have one in town so I’m not tempted to have a 500 calorie snack every time I leave the mountain.
The next day, Mr. Karen and I headed over to visit with his mom in her apartment in the assisted living home. She is allowed two guests at a time in her space now, which is better than the outdoor visits the only other time we saw her during the pandemic. To get in, Mr. Karen and I had to fill out a health questionnaire and sign a waiver (and get our temperature taken for all the good that does). While he worked with her on going through her stacks and stacks of mail looking for tax forms, I worked on untangling the two necklaces she’d managed to snarl together somehow. At the point I took this photo, I’d freed one of the necklaces from the other by opening up one of the links then reattaching it once I had it free and untangled. That made the project easier, but it still took me nearly two hours to get them both back in working order.
The day after that, we made another visit to Mr. K’s mom (filling out the same form and signing the same waiver again to get into the building). After we left her, we joined my sister in law and her husband for dinner with a friend of theirs that lived close to us for a several years. I was happy to see the friend and very happy to see her dog, shown here with her favorite squeaky fish toy.
On the third day of our visit, there was much driving around to accomplish tasks before we headed home the next day, like getting a document notarized, stopping by the tax preparer (we’d also been the day before), and trying to run down a form needed for an health insurance reimbursement worth tens of thousands of dollars. We did take a break to eat lunch with his mom, and I got this fun blue drink with shark gummies in it. We were happy his mom agreed to come out with us, as she’s often not wanted to leave her facility even after it was allowed again. She ended up enjoying herself so much she went back with us to my sister in law’s house and stayed out so late the facility called to check on her!
We took care of a couple more errands on the last day of our triop then headed home. It’s about an eight hour drive, not too bad especially in the longer days of late spring. This stop was at one of my favorite rest areas with a view. It was breezy enough to mess up the monkey’s hair.
It was good to get out of the house for more than an afternoon. It was somewhat disconcerting to eat indoors at a restaurant again, which we did several times while we were away. I felt safer doing it there, in a county where over half of the residents have gotten at least one dose of vaccine, than at home, where not even a third of the population has. Mask wearing was much more prevalent there, too. As Mr. Karen and I start to think about what the next phase of our retirement will be, factors like that will be part of our decision making in a way that they weren’t when we bought our little ski condo, well before Trump and Qanon and COVID-19.
Edited to add a link to this gallery of photos from the trip. (Please be patient while waiting for the photos to load; I haven’t figured out how to optimize that part yet.)