Surviving 2020

I am honestly so very tired. We are approaching the end of my older son’s visit to Oregon. He’s been here more than a month and what a month it has been. Having him home, or nearby, has been at times wonderful, and other times exasperating. He’s a very social young man. He and his girlfriend have basically used the beach house as their home base. They were in Portland at the beginning of their stay, and then for his birthday, but other than that, the beach house has been theirs. We have tried to come out to spend some time with them, but it never seemed to mesh. We needed to work, they had friends staying at the house, they went hiking with friends in the Olympics… did I mention he’s very very busy. Always has been.

So now they leave this weekend to head back to NY. We’re currently spending a couple days with just them at the beach house, which is good, but also stressful. It seems this entire year has been filled with stress.

I didn’t think things could get much more depressing than dealing emotionally with Covid-19 and the utter lack of decent leadership in our country, but they did. This has not been a fun year. My dad spending weeks in the ICU and then passing away hit me hard. Then the pandemic arrived and wreaked havoc. Work-wise, in the last three months I’ve spent more time in management meetings than ever before. We’re having growing pains and Covid has exacerbated the already challenging job of running a company, keeping employees happy and productive during Shelter in Place, not being able to travel ourselves (normally critical to our success… and to my peace of mind), and staying profitable.

Working in my yard this spring and summer has been my respite. The place I would go to feel vital, and invigorated, and experience joy. The place I would go, day after day, to feel the sun on my face, commune with nature, listen to the birds in the trees, and watch the chipmunks scamper through our rock wall garden. My dahlias flourished and put out dozens of blooms. All the plants, trees, shrubs, flowers in our garden were thriving and I was getting to a point where the pandemic was frustrating and in many ways emotionally challenging, but I had my happy place. As I weeded Blue Eyes’ meditation garden path, or we harvested the apples from our three trees, or The Peacemaker and I scoured the internet for ways to use our huge bounty of cucumbers and tomatoes, I felt somehow that sheltering in place was totally do-able, for as long as it took. It wasn’t just necessary, but actually fun in some ways.

But then about 9 days ago the Pacific Northwest of America was hit with a massive wind storm that raged for nearly three days. We watched as 75mph gusts slammed against everything in their path, including my vulnerable dahlia plants, felling them and then beating them over and over. We watched tree limbs crack and break and fall on cars and power lines. Trees toppled in the nearby park. Power flickered and flickered and then went out for more than a day. Not normal within the city of Portland, but there were so many fires to put out, literally. The storm included high temperatures and zero moisture. It was incredibly dry. Power was also out at the beach house. The winds blew smoke from the Spokane, Washington fire into our area. Serious smoke! Then smoke from closer fires blanketed our city, so many fires! We have been breathing hazardous air for almost a week now. “They” keep promising rain, and that it will help, but there is no moisture in Portland.

Rain has, on the other hand, arrived at the coast and helped somewhat with a fire burning to the south of us. I’m grateful that I can actually go outside for a few minutes in the “very unhealthy” air. Ironically it doesn’t smell like a campfire at the beach like it does in Portland. I have to return to the city tomorrow and they keep pushing off the day when we will be able to see again. My allergies are so bad, scratchy and sore throat, headache that won’t go away, itchy watery eyes that hurt. Not being able to see past our yard is driving me insane. Day after day of smoke filled skies. Day after day of this grayish yellow ick. It is so depressing. I want a glimpse of blue sky and a healthy breath of fresh air. I know I am in a far better situation than those living in evacuation zones, or those fighting the fires, but that doesn’t mean things are good.

And my garden, most everything survived the storms, but many plants and trees are struggling. The smoke cover is keeping the temperatures down, but some leaves have prematurely fallen and much of what is left is oddly shriveled. My dahlias, well, I am very happy to report that after spending about 8 hours out in the hazardous air (wearing a construction mask with filters), I was able to resurrect most of them and even found some plants with blooms that hadn’t previously flowered, hiding beneath bigger plants that had fallen. I lost many stems, a couple plants are struggling, and one is completely gone for this year, but the rest are okay. Unfortunately, the air quality is still so bad that I can’t really go out and enjoy them, and the rest of the yard needs a good clean up. I am looking forward to the day when I can safely work in the yard again, and a little blue sky would be nice too. Hopefully that day will happen soon.

It’s like they were trampled by the wind
“Crazy Legs” was hidden beneath Miss Delilah
Just a few of the survivors: Jenna, Bluetiful, Southern Belle, and Poppers
Dahlia cutting garden on a day that was forecast to be 88 and sunny, but was 66 and smoky

Meanwhile, I am planning a road trip to the southwest. I have been wanting to take a road trip through Montana and up into Canada, but I’m pretty sure Americans aren’t allowed in Canada right now. If I could, I would leave right now and just drive and drive until I found clear blue skies. Patience has never been a virtue of mine. I can say that of all the challenges the past few months have brought, worrying about my sex addict husband has not been one of them. He’s here, he’s sober, he’s managing and he’s keeping most of his promises. Now if I could just get him to load the dishwasher properly….

Today’s view, low tide

17 thoughts on “Surviving 2020

    • We are safe. My parents were in the first stage of evacuation, but didn’t have to leave their home. Such limited visibility and hazardous air quality really exacerbates everything that was already going on. It’s tiring, but we have a lot to be thankful for. If I don’t see blue sky by Monday, I’m getting in the car and driving until I get to blue sky… or maybe any sky. All we see is smoke and an eerie pink sun.

      Liked by 1 person

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