The day after our 4th of July trip, I had my first day working with clients since March 13th. It had been almost 4 months. I had been really nervous about my work opening back up and whether or not I would feel comfortable about it. I felt like my work was being really responsible (we are a city municipality which helps) and actually felt pretty good about it.
I only had two client groups out of ten that felt comfortable coming back at this time. I was fine easing back into things especially since I was nervous about the school year and whether I would be teaching the kids at home. I trained one client outside (she felt more comfortable there and honestly, I did too) and one couple inside. I wore masks the whole time and gave at least 6 feet distance while clients could take their masks off while working out. It was really good to have a little bit of work to do and talk to clients I hadn’t seen in months.
The next day, we fed the missionaries. Up until that week, they weren’t allowed to eat at members homes. The rules just changed so they could eat in people’s yards from 6 feet away. We set up a separate table for them in the yard. One of the missionaries had been sent home at the beginning of the pandemic from his mission in Ecuador and then been reassigned to Colorado. (It happened to a lot of missionaries.) I knew he missed Ecuador, so I made some of our favorite things from Costa Rica. (I realize they’re different countries, but hoped there would be similar cuisine.) He was very excited about the chocoflan. We all were.
The next day, I rode my bike to the grocery store for the first time since probably last fall. I’ve started buying less groceries all at once, so it was more feasible. Some gem of a person lectured me through his truck window about rolling a stop sign. (For the record, my doing this in no way inhibited anything he was doing.) There are a lot more cyclists on the roads since quarantine and I’ve seen fights erupting on NextDoor between car drivers and cyclists and a neighbor told me she’s been yelled at and honked at more than ever the last few months. It seems everyone is wound a bit tight lately. I was a little rattled because I’m not a fan of contention, but think I actually handled it pretty well. I just kept biking and told him to have a lovely day.
The next day, Noel was in charge of a move for someone from church. (He’s the Elder’s Quorum president in our ward and has helped with 4 or 5 moves since the pandemic. I went along because we were having a hard time getting people to help. After the move, we chipped away at a stump we need to remove in the yard. It was hot and we were dripping in sweat. To cool off, we climbed into the kids pool, clothes and all.
Ellen’s hair is getting longer and she let me do it in a “Rey hairstyle” for at home church one Sunday.
Just before the weekend started, the city of Golden passed a mask ordinance. With this change, people were no required to wear masks when working out inside the Rec Center. The couple who had previously been okay working out inside now wanted to work outside. I spent the morning having the Rec Center cat (a cat that hangs out at the Rec Center and convinces people to pet her) follow me around.
Meanwhile, Ellen was at a special play date with two of her best friends. Her friend, Lena, couldn’t have a birthday party this year, but we decided we felt comfortable with these three girls playing outdoors for a few hours. They were all so excited.
Poor Cooper on the other hand, was bummed because I told him I was too tired to go to the park and launch his rocket like I said we could. (I feel like there was also something else we needed to do, but I can’t remember.)
We did make it to the park two days later though. We were all feeling a little bummed out so it was really therapeutic to laugh and scream. That day, a state mask mandate also took effect.
The next day, Noel got a call that his uncle had died. He didn’t die from COVID, but COVID very much affected our decision about whether or not to attend the funeral. Because the family was limited to how many people could attend the Mass and graveside service and we didn’t feel comfortable flying to Las Vegas, we made the tough decision not to go. We could have driven, but it’s a LONG drive and because they didn’t expect tons of out of town people to come, they proceeded very quickly with everything.
That weekend, Noel and I went for a run and then took down our current nemesis – the back yard stump. This is what I posted about it to Instagram:
“Are you missing hard core obstacle course races during this period of COVID-19? Well, I have an opportunity for you. Start the day with a run on trails in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Your heart rate will climb as you dodge cyclists and if you’re lucky, jump over rattlesnakes. Don’t forget to bring a mask as Colorado has a mask mandate. Once you’ve finished the trail run you will begin the feats of strength portion of this race where you will remove a tree stump from clay soil. Dirt will fly and sweat will drip as you wield your mattock. You “cross the finish line” when you pull your stump out of the ground and refill the hole. As a finishing trophy you can take the stump home to put on display and impress friends, family, and co-workers on all your virtual calls. Noel and I tested the course this morning and it’s a doozy. We’ve got three more spots (stumps) for any interested individuals or teams. And great news, we’ll let you race for free! #greatopportunity”
Surprisingly, no one has taken me up on it. We were really proud that it came out though. Stump removal is hard work.
Our Sunday that weekend was a pretty good one. Noel and I have been leading a Sunday School lesson over Google Meet each week. Before it happens, it sometimes seems like a burden, but the meetings are always so good. The scriptures we’ve been covering have been just what we’ve needed during this time. That evening, we went on a hike on the mesa near our house to try and see the comet Neowise. It was cloudy so we couldn’t see it for awhile. Cooper brought his binoculars and we kept looking as it got darker. I’d heard you could see it with the naked eye, but I don’t think we would have found it without the binoculars. It was cool to see. On the hike down, we saw a rattlesnake slither across the trail. I was impressed by how chill I was about it.
After finishing my Monday morning class, Cooper announced that he had made breakfast because he’s “trying to think of ways he can be nice.” I was super impressed. He’s becoming more and more interested in helping in the kitchen. On my way to work that day, I dodged a freshly dead snake (I was going too fast to tell if it was a rattle or a bull) on my bike.
The next day on our run, we saw a snake slithering across the trail.
On Wednesday I saw my 4th snake in four days on my bike ride home. That is more snakes than I had previously seen in 9 years of living in our house. Luckily I broke my snake streak the next day. That evening, we went and picked up a beautiful double oven with induction cook top. I feel like for most people, a double oven is sort of silly, but I have already used both ovens simultaneously multiple times. Our old gas stove had started to randomly not turn on and leak gas. It’s possible we could have fixed something or replaced a part, but we’d been eyeing this stove for awhile and had found a good deal on a floor model. Plus, now if we ever get solar panels and a battery, our house is fully electric. (See if you can guess which things were big selling points for Noel and which were big selling points for me.)
The next day when I went to the grocery store, my mask matched my outfit, so I logically had to take a picture. This is COVID fashion right here.
That Saturday, we went on a hike with the family. When we arrived at Plan A, people were already parking on the road outside the parking lot. We quickly came up with a Plan B and drove somewhere else. It was much quieter. Mask compliance was also really good. That afternoon, Noel helped with yet another move.
Sunday was a pretty good day. Noel and I both really felt like this quote from the manual spoke to us, “What did Alma do about what he saw and felt? He didn’t simply become discouraged or cynical about the state of the world. Instead, “he caused that his sons should be gathered together” and taught them “things pertaining unto righteousness” (Alma 35:16).” It was a good reminder to not just sink into discouragement and cynicism. The Cafe Rio near us has remained temporarily closed and Noel couldn’t take it much longer, so we made our own Cafe Rio salads. We also enjoyed Cherry Limeades. (You can find the recipe on our revived food blog.)
The next day, the kids did something amazing. At the end of the day, Ellen brought to our attention that they hardly fought all day. Being stuck with one another has made us all testy at times. And the kids, who get out less than Noel and I, have been especially testy with one another. It was so nice watch them play on the swings that evening that we let them stay out long past bed time.
The next few days various things happened – the kids and I worked hard at the school garden, Noel and I removed a 2nd stump from the back yard, and we officially decided to not physically send the kids to school in August. BUT, the biggest thing happening was cheesecake. I’d been super bummed about not being able to have a cheesecake party this year. Instead, we decided to drop cheesecake off at some of our good friends’ houses and maybe exchange some socially distanced pleasantries. It was worth all the hard work of baking and packaging the cheesecakes. We took way longer making our deliveries than anticipated and didn’t eat dinner until after 9pm, but my heart was so full. It was so good to see people. The cheesecake was also quite delicious. The hazelnut nutella one pictured above is a new one I’ve been working on. It should be debuting on the food blog soon.
I enjoy blogging every month as it’s sort of a practice in gratitude for me. Sometimes the days run into each other and this summer often feels like kind of a bummer, but when I look back I realize that some pretty awesome things also happened.