Anyone need a COVID Vacay?

Weekend getawayMy most intense brush with disasters was the 2017 Harvey flood. Water filled our house and rocked our world. We were stuck in the upstairs of our house for a couple of days and part of that was without power, but we felt bizarrely upbeat about things. In retrospect, I’m sure we were just in shock.

For the next four months, we turned all our energies and attention to the task of fixing the problem. It was obvious what the problem was. A peek in the downstairs of our house served as a ready reminder in case we lost sight of what we were doing! Even though it was our first time down this road, there was ample experience and expertise out there to guide us.

At the end of the day, it was just another project. Plan the plan, then work the plan and you’ll get there.

When we couldn’t stand the inconveniences of the camping-style living upstairs any longer, or the daily grind of decision-making, or the chaotic multi-contractor scheduling, we could escape. We could take a break from it.

We could go out for dinner and eat with real cutlery and real plates on real dining tables at noisy restaurants and pretend life was normal. We could go visit friends and talk about their non-flooded lives, as if we belonged to that group too. We could spend Thanksgiving and Christmas in the homes of our extended families, decorated for the holidays, where we could lose ourselves in a world that wasn’t interrupted by a flood.

The escape to an alternate reality made it bearable. It offered a relief valve. A few hours of pretending things were different was food for the soul.

Today, I’m in need of some COVID-19 relief. I’d love a brief getaway, an escape.

Not in another “check-in” Zoom call. Not in another Netflix show. Not on another walk. Not in another Facebook Live exercise class. Not in another meditation session. Not on another phone call with a dear friend. Not at another pseudo happy hour online. And certainly not in another furtive trip to the Blue Bell container in the freezer. 

It’s a dissatisfaction that feels like an unscratchable itch. Like when you were bored as a kid and all the suggestions your mom made sounded terrible.

Some days I’m up for living in this time warp. And other days, I just want a weekend getaway to a place where nobody has heard about, or cares about COVID-19. Also … where any thoughts of pandemics are erased from our brains … the thoughts are wiped out instantaneously with the first sip of an exquisite top-shelf G&T!

Just the thought of this is perking me up again 🙂




Where’s my escape hatch? The Tiger King?

escape-hatch-decal-IIHIHIn 2017 Hurricane Harvey gifted us with 12 inches of water in our house and turned our home-life upside down. This was as unexpected as winning the Mega Millions lottery. These things happen to other people we read about in the news. We felt secure in our preparedness and trusting in our house built up out of the flood plain. Even as the water began rising rapidly in the street, we weren’t overly worried. Our risk-averse life was carefully structured to avoid these kinds of disasters. 

Ha-ha-ha … guess what … turns out we were wrong — nature had the last laugh.

How did we cope? Of course we did all the things you might expect, and just got on with it. Tore out sheet rock, called insurance adjusters, hired contractors, etc. etc. That was more how we managed it rather than how we coped with it.

We coped with it by having a wide network of support from people who were spared by Hurricane Harvey. They invited us into their homes for a home-cooked meal that didn’t come from a microwave in our upstairs bathroom. They offered us a quiet bedroom where we could escape from the industrial dryers running 24×7 in our downstairs. They opened up their kitchen to let us cook all our weird vegetarian food, leave stuff in their fridge, and even bravely joined us in eating it. They created bright spots on our calendar by hosting birthday celebrations and family dinners.

They gave us an escape hatch from the worry, exhaustion and all consuming drain on our energies during this rebuild period. We had a place to go to where life was normal. Where people talked about normal things, handed out Halloween candy on October 31st, decorated for Thanksgiving in November, followed by Christmas in December. It was an oasis we treasured and for which we will always be grateful.

As I wake up on this colder than expected rainy morning, I’m looking for an escape hatch from the virus dominated reality we’re living in today. I can’t go anywhere, look at anything online or talk to anyone without the virus intruding. Unlike Harvey, we’ve all been hit, across the globe. Friends on all continents are facing the same intrusions.

I long to go somewhere, or at least think that somewhere might exist, where life is carrying on as normal. Where people are planning family Easter brunches and Easter egg hunts. Where high school seniors are worrying their parents about after-prom parties. Where engaged couples are addressing their invitations for summer weddings. Where families are booking vacation trips when school lets out. Where the April 15th tax deadline is looming large and the Leisure section of the paper is full of spring festival announcements.  I cannot escape to any of these places. They’ve all been suspended until we don’t know when.

I did however visit a crazy world this week where nothing reminded me of the pandemic. For the duration of a mini-series episode, I was pulled so far away from anything I could imagine possible, that I temporarily suspended all consciousness of our current reality.

This show is ridiculous, whacky and nothing I would ever waste my time watching under normal circumstances. It includes exotic animals, polygamy, murder-for-hire, revenge, wanna-be country singer, suicide, and more. However, these are not normal circumstances. This show is not even close to what the Netflix algorithm would ever recommend to me — not by a long shot. 

Yes, I know it’s shocking, but I watched a couple of episodes of the Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, at the prompting of my daughter this week. This new Netflix series has exploded into the streaming world just as the “Stay At Home” orders were issued in the US. Is this being seen outside the US too? If so, I apologize for also polluting your internet experience. But it does seem as if there is an appetite for it right now. Maybe you’re already secretly watching it?

In the last episode, the gay big cat breeder marries two guys in a 3-way ceremony and it turns out the two guys he marries are straight. You get the idea. It’s bad. I’m embarrassed, but it definitely qualifies as a temporary escape hatch. It’s a place I can go to and forget everything. 

I’m even looking forward to the next episode tonight. What am I going to do when I get to the last one? I will think less of myself, I’m sure of that, but it will have been worth it for the reprieve. I might even have to reconsider my snobbish stance on “The Bachelor” or my boycott of the British Bakeoff (or whatever it’s called).

Advice most welcome…