A self-isolating vacation

I finally took a little time off from work last week. This essentially meant that I didn’t walk into my home office to write on my work computer. Other than that, little changed in my day-to-day activities. Such is the mark of self-isolation.

I was a bit reluctant to take vacation time, seeing that I wasn’t planning to travel during this phase of the pandemic. However, my brain has been screaming for a break as I plow through my report writing — it’s so dry and such a slog. I hope that taking a break might help speed up my thought processes once I return. We will see how that goes tomorrow when I sit down at the computer again.

My plan was to get some work done on our growing list of backlogged home maintenance tasks. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as productive as I would have liked because I spent more time relaxing than tackling projects. Fingers-crossed that taking a more restful break will produce more productive writing.

I started my staycation with a 30-mile bike ride with a friend last Monday. I got pretty dehydrated with the heat and wind, even in the early part of the day. Under more normal times, we would plan our route around a coffee shop for refreshments. But not this time because coffee shops are much less inviting with a potential virus lurking. Nope, this ride was work the entire time. I didn’t have enough water, and the last 8 miles were pretty sluggish. I had no problem maintaining the requisite 6′ social distancing.

And then, the weather changed abruptly and we ended up with 6″ of wet, heavy snow by Tuesday (June 9th!) morning. The power went out several times during the night and the alarm on my computer battery backup woke us at about 1:30 am. I spent 20 minutes crawling around on the floor in pitch darkness, trying to get things shut down and the alarm silenced. Our big white dog was so distraught, and I had to negotiate with her for space under my desk.

The first day of vacation wasn’t going as planned. 

I had wanted to finish painting the trim on the house this past week, but the cold, wet, and wind following the snowstorm made that problematic. We instead decided to tackle the piles of accumulated stuff in the basement. Kids’ toys, old clothes, books, sports equipment, and tons of tools/boxes/clutter from our parents vacated homes. We didn’t know what to do with all of the stuff from the houses we inherited at the time, so we ended up moving most of it into our unfinished basement. My spouse has the packrat gene and wanted to go through it all — slowly — to get a better idea of what was there. Mind you, this was about 10 years, so the mountain of accumulated junk wasn’t about to move out of the house in a week.

None of it sparks joy for me. At this point, I’d prefer to get a dumpster and be done with it. If we haven’t needed it in 10 years, can’t we just get rid of it? 

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On the plus side, I did manage to get in some decent workouts during my staycation. A couple of bike rides, plus 3 swimming sessions. Not that I’m training for anything in particular — at least not for this year. We already have re-signed-up for several postponed events, and I’m hoping that the baseline workouts that I’m doing now will pay off in the future. I’m putting more effort into swimming these days because it’s one place that is likely safe from the coronavirus with all the disinfectants that they use. Unfortunately, the push to open businesses continues, and the facility is seeing increased use. That means more potential exposure to the virus.

Even though I continue to use the community rec center, I still think that some of the re-openings are premature and that there will be continued waves of COVID-19 as a result. I recently read about a survey of epidemiologists where over 80% would not use a fitness facility for at least 3 more months — and half of those responding wouldn’t use a facility for a year or more. That certainly gives me pause. These are people who study the spread of infectious disease, and they wouldn’t risk exposure over the short term.

I still question if it is really safe to go back to the pools.

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And now it’s Sunday and my precious break is nearly over. I don’t think it was long enough, but I should probably get back to finishing off the tasks at hand. I’ve written in previous posts that my planned fieldwork for this summer has been canceled with the travel restrictions. I’m in total wrap up mode from now until the final day before retirement.

I don’t know if I want it to go really fast or really slow.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

1 thought on “A self-isolating vacation

  1. Pingback: I quit the gym today | sandy bowe

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