It's so quiet around here....



Ready to make peace with moose and bear, Hans and Max climbed into Jacob's fire engine red Jeep pickup and set off for the North Maine Woods, leaving me, alone, at home. I wasn't sure what to do first. I honestly could not remember the last time I was home alone for 2 full days. Now, the only question was, what should I do with all of my free time? Without a thought, I pulled the sheets off both beds and dropped the load into the washer. At least the entire weekend won't seem wasted if I change the sheets.


With my household chores completed, I sat down at the kitchen island and started to make a list. First item – drinks with friends. I sent a text and within minutes I had plans to meet a group of ladies at Ferns for drinks at 5pm. Check.


Weeding, mowing, post office, walk dogs, yoga, update my website, sweep the porch, buy a couple of plants—not a very exciting list, but these are all things that I needed to get done at some point. I added "watch a movie" and "work on a craft," but those were the only things I was SURE I would do over the weekend. If we were not in the middle of a pandemic, I might have planned to visit my family or drop in at my brother's house on the Cape, but those things required too much forethought to bother. I could drive to New Jersey to see Abby, but then I'd have to get another COVID test or quarantine for 14 days, so I decided to wait for her to visit us.


I stayed close to the kitchen island and my laptop for a while, waiting for emails on a job that needed to go out today. I threw a couple of mushy tomatoes and a handful of dry string beans into the compost heap, then took stock of the rations for the weekend. Hans took pretty much everything in the refrigerator so, unless I wanted to break my streak of not stepping foot in Market Basket since March, I had to make do with what I could find. I had eggs, a few slices of deli turkey, several kinds of cheese, and some tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini from my garden. Toss any of those with some pasta from the pantry and I was set for the weekend. Check.


Those work emails started to come in, so I made edits and exchanged drafts for a couple of hours. In between notes I was able to surf the web on all my usual haunts: Zillow, for that dream vacation house; Wall Street. Journal, for a brief news update; Facebook, to see what I may have missed, then on to Facebook Marketplace to look for a bargain, any bargain. Recently I've been dwelling on how I will make it through the winter without regular cocktail nights on the screen porch, so I have been hunting spin bikes and looms to keep me fit and busy. I listened to a couple of new Zoom performances from friends around the world, then buckled down to continue edits that were now streaming in.


At 4:45pm I realized that any hope of meeting my friends for a drink was dashed as my project, a COVID guide for school families, needed to go out tonight and there was a good amount of work remaining. I sent the sad text that I wouldn't be joining them around 5:30pm, then continued on only to wrap up final edits around 9:30pm. I wanted to feel sorry for myself, but I felt worse for my client who was alone in her office at school trying to get the guide out the door. I know it was a grueling process to compile the content from all of her contributors, and I think we both knew that there would be many more changes ahead as the school put it COVID plan into action. I was glad that there was a half bottle of wine left over and waiting for me when the final file was sent, and I settled into my chair to watch Peanut Butter Falcon. I had been suggesting this movie to my family for weeks but no one was interested, so I took full advantage of having command of the remote to finally enjoy it all by myself. Check.


Day 2

It rained....


I knew it was going to rain, and we definitely needed it, but I thought it might be light enough to do some work outside. Not prepared to slough around in boots and a rain coat, I laid in bed and reorganized my day. I decided last night at 10:30pm to begin intermittent fasting, which meant I couldn't have anything other than coffee until at least 10:30am, so breakfast was off the list. I took the dogs out, then retrieved the camping pad that Hans left behind (it must have been hard sleeping on the ground), and flipped on a morning yoga program. I made it to the end, and think I may have gained a half inch on the morning. Add "buy a real yoga mat" to my list of errands. Check.


After brunch I decided to tackle my loom. I took a weaving class with some friends a few years ago and was intrigued by the idea of creating my own cloth to sew projects. True to form, I dove in with two feet and bought 2 looms and a lifetime supply of yarn, but have only produced a few short scarves and a couple of yards of fabric that turned into a few pillows. There have been plenty of failures, though—ugly ones where yarn breaks or gets tangled and ends up as a dense twisted cat toy under the chair.


The first few classes we took were fairly simple where we learned to read patterns and basic terminology. The shop loaned us each a tabletop loom to work at home, and I was so excited the day I got to bring home my yarn and try to thread the loom in advance of the next class. I completely forgot everything the teacher told us some place on Route 2, and recall returning my homework to class with a tangled mess knots dangling from the bottom of the loom. The teacher was visibly disappointed, but patiently helped me sort through the mired web until all of the strings assumed their correct position in line.


In order to avoid a repeat disaster, I consulted Google for professional guidance. Thankfully Google has no FaceTime capabilities, so he couldn't see my progress. It was hours later before I did eventually get all strings where they needed to go, and I might even be able to finish my "petite placemats" in a few days (pattern sizing must be the next Google lesson).


After a lovely socially distant dinner with friends, I headed home to my menagerie. I don't sleep well when I'm alone, but knowing that I have two noisy dogs who bark at every creek of the house, I can usually fall asleep to the television. I put on a movie and tried to get some sleep. One dog sleeps at the end of the bed, the other on the bathroom mat, and one cat curls up right next to me so that I have to turn on the fan to keep cool. The other cat sleeps on the screen porch and only feigns interest in me when she's hungry. For a fleeting moment around 3am I realized what a sad existence it would be if Hans and Max were to be trampled by moose and never return, but I pushed the cat to the other side of the bed and closed my eyes until the sun came up.


Day 3

The sun was shining when I finally cracked opened my eye lids, and I thought briefly about trying to find my TO DO list from Friday afternoon to check off a few more items before my travelers returned. I knew they were not on the way yet since neither of them registered a dot on my phone, so I made a pot of coffee, took a shower, then headed to the nursery to see what was on sale in the bargain tent.


I picked up a couple of healthy rose bushes, some colorful gardening gloves marked down on the bargain table, and headed home to plant my purchases. When I pulled up, I remembered that our contractor had asked me to trim a bush that was rubbing against our front porch. He had recently put up a new roof on the porch and was planning to finish the stairs next week. Not feeling particularly motivated to set up extension cords and risk loss of limb when there was no one home to rush me to the hospital, I traded power tools for a hand clipper and took out frustrations on the bush.


Google was inside on my laptop, too far to consult about how best to trim this evergreen monster, so I took a little off the top and sides, then did a major thinning on the bottom until my robust ball of a shrub resembled a scrawny green ice cream cone. Satisfied that the builder will notice my handiwork, and fairly confident that I left enough of the shrub intact for it to survive, I unloaded my car and went inside for a drink.


I made a delicious margarita for dinner Saturday night from watermelon juice, blueberries, lime, and mint. I still don't have any tequila in the house (sadly discovered on Cinco de Mayo), soI brought the fruit juice in a covered jar to add the tequila on site. My friend sent me home with the leftovers, so I filled a pint glass with ice and filled it with juice from the jar in the refrigerator then settled down to read email.


About 15 minutes later I had an overwhelming urge to take a nap. As I was laying on the couch with remote in hand its occurred to me that we had added the tequila to the jar last night, so I had just hastily finished a 16oz margarita! I closed my eyes and didn't open them again until I heard my phone ping from the island. Hans and Max were back on the grid—cold, wet, but full of stories and happy to have spotted a pair of moose on their journey. A few hours later they were safely home, and the familiar drone of Major League Baseball and trombone etudes hummed through the house.


At the end of the weekend, I had only a handful of check marks on my TO DO list. I was a little disappointed, mostly knowing that I was going to have to mow the lawn on Monday. Maybe you were a little disappointed, too. This story had a lot of potential on Friday afternoon, but by Sunday it was pretty clear that this weekend was about as average as they come. And while I was excited to have some private time to take an afternoon nap, watch more movies than I should, and eat breakfast for dinner, none of it was as satisfying as sitting with the boys on the couch and listening to their tales of wilderness in the North Maine Woods. Overall my story is pretty boring, my life uneventful, and safe...and truly wonderful. Check.







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