We received a call from our friend in Oregon, telling us that his wife had traveled to China in hopes of bringing her mother back to California. He told us a weird and frightening story about a deadly virus coming our way. We listened intently as we held our breath.
My husband quickly went online researching; it was true.
Kathleen who lives in Half Moon Bay texted me with the same alarming concern. Her neighbor is from Russia and had heard warnings from his mother back home about this deadly virus. “Stock up your freezer with food,” she told me.
This global pandemic would change our lives and at our senior age, the change may be forever.
Due to COVID my birthday was celebrated differently; my girlfriend brought over a small chocolate cake and quickly left without our usual hugs. My neighbors, Brian and Maureen left a dozen long stem yellow roses on our front deck. They refused to come inside for a birthday song. We understood and threw virtual kisses at them.
We held on to our usual Tuesday nights at the HMB Brewery as long as we could, until it was declared CLOSED. Our circle of friends sadly said goodbye half heartily. We did not believe our separation would be long. A few of us agreed to keep meeting at Sam’s on Friday nights, only to experience the sadness all over again. The same went for our Sunday night dinners at Meza Luna.
We were bombarded with warnings not to gather in large groups: not to hug, to stand six feet apart, always wear masks and gloves. Our church was shuttered; no services until the Federal or State governments gave us the “all clear signal.”
My husband and I for the most part have stayed in place (SIP) for several months now.
Sometimes I reluctantly venture out to the grocery store. I go early to avoid as many people as possible. Wear a mask, leave purse at home; carry only debit card, driver license in a plastic bag; small enough to fit in my pocket. I obey signs that read, “follow the arrows, left or right,” “only a few customers at a time,” “obey the six feet apart floor markings,” on and on. It’s a very stressful chore. Placing gasoline in our car is even worse; mask, gloves, sanitizing wipes used to open gas station door, distant standing, another wipe to hold gas nozzle and wiping car door handles when finished.
With no place to go; hotels, restaurants, parks, beaches, movie theaters, salons and other entertaining venues closed. We now Skype our families and friends, (those who are savvy enough or have a computer or ipad).
Our doctor’s appointments are on ZOOM or Stanfordmyhealth. We have to take each other’s temperature, blood pressure, pulse before our appointments. I always ask our doctors, “What do you do?”
Dr. Susie our optometrist met us outside in a parking lot behind her practice to fit us with new glasses.
Coastside Lutheran Church service is held on their Facebook or ZOOM. I was asked to read the CREED in Spanish for one of our services. Figuring out ZOOM and recording my reading took several efforts before I was satisfied with my performance. Pastor Sue is a very patient Pastor.
Emailing stories of our activities or lack of them are done by Gmail. My dear friend Darlene who lives in Santa Rose and I exchange current events of our communities. That’s entertaining.
Pam, my neighbor on Kilmore Street has offered her jigsaw puzzles as part of our daily routine. Most of her puzzles are vintage and are wooden pieces with embedded figures of animals, trees, Christmas ornaments. They are wonderful and enjoyable. I have placed a puzzle on our dining table conveniently under the table cloth. Great fun to just stop and place a few. Last night I told my husband Danny, “Look, I’m getting really good in placing these difficult pieces.” Danny replied, “My dear, this is the same puzzle we did last week.”
Submitted by Sandra Barocio, San Mateo County – Moss Beach.