Summertime 2020

Ok, so I realize it’s been a VERY long time since I’ve posted. For a little while there I seriously considered stopping for good, but I love sharing stories about my weird life living with a big pack of dogs (not to be confused with a pack of big dogs), so here I am again like it or not. I can hardly believe it’s already 4th of July weekend!

Yeah man, where have you been?

Let’s face it 2020 has been weird, unsettling, and just plain nutty, and as a result of some of the weirdness, I’ve been a bit busy sharing advice with family and friends about how to be more hermit-like. Who knew my choice to start a weird hermitish lifestyle would ever actually be considered anything other than weird. Guess it just goes to show, you never can tell.

Since my move here in 2012, and then a few years later my decision to retire and thus embrace a modified version of hermitude, I’ve had a lot of practice staying home, and have pretty much gotten it down to a science. In addition, my pre-retirement 20+ years working in veterinary clinics with sick animals afforded me valuable knowledge about how to avoid spreading nasty viruses, and effective methods of decontamination. Obsessive hand washing became a habit for me years ago at work, and naturally carried over at home because I’ve always lived with a bunch of dogs, so that part was a no-brainer for me.

I’ll admit, washing my groceries was new, but wearing a mask and gloves was another thing I was already used to. The only difference was wearing them out in public. When I was still working, I wore them daily in the surgical suite and lab. For me the “new normal” has been more of a process of adapting current routines and habits toward be even more cautious, as opposed to having to adopt an entirely different lifestyle.

Unlike most of my friends and family, my life hasn’t changed much. For the past several years I’ve ordered most anything, and everything I need on-line, including groceries. I avoid leaving home unless I really want or need to. Not because I have a fear of leaving home or because I am particularly antisocial, but because I just prefer to be home. I am quite content to spend my time at home, and alone (well as alone as one could be living with a houseful of critters). I have everything I need, and spend my time tending to my little non-human family, which takes up a lot of my day. In between my mopping, sweeping, laundry, poop duty, more laundry, and then a little more laundry, I spend my time reading, streaming movies and TV shows, baking bread, or dog treats (yes I’m one of those people), and relaxing outside on my deck with the dogs enjoying our quiet neighborhood, while they all sprawl out and sun themselves.

Besides, nowadays with the internet, social media, the good old fashioned telephone, and other cool things like Face Time and Zoom, I can visit with my human family and friends from the comfort of my home! An added plus is that my dogs don’t have to be left home alone while I socialize. I never get lonely because I have a houseful of living creatures to keep me company, talk to and laugh with (ok mostly at), and cuddle with if I need a hug.

Since March my only forays out of my home have been a few necessary trips to the veterinary clinic. Going to the vet is different now too – when I arrive in the parking lot, I call to let them know I’m there, a masked tech comes to the car to get the dog, and takes them into the clinic while I remain in the car. The vet does her exam, and calls me to discuss options. When the visit is finished, the receptionist calls for my credit card info, and the tech brings the dog back out to my car. It was different, but because I totally trust the staff at the animal hospital, I didn’t mind it at all, and if I’m being honest I kind of liked it. I was also assured that if necessary, I could accompany one of my dogs into the clinic. What more could I ask for?

“What more could you ask for? Food, yes, food would be nice. You could always ask for food.”

To give you an example of how truly little I was going anywhere involving driving my car, my battery died! This wasn’t the first time has this happened to me. It happened a few winters ago, when I was doing my winter hibernation hermit thing. After that incident I had a trickle charger installed on my battery, so this time it was just a matter of hooking it up. I did learn my lesson, and was reminded that considering how little I do drive, I should probably keep it hooked up to the trickle charger. The whole point is to prevent the battery from dying in the first place, and if the battery does die it takes a few days for the trickle charger to get it fully charged.

I hope everyone has a happy 4th, is feeling safe, finding whatever happiness they can, and remembering to appreciate whatever positive things they have in their lives no matter how small. We all know 2020 has been a challenge so far, but it’s half over. That’s something to be grateful for.