August was a roller coaster.
The last day of July I started to feel a little under the weather. By Saturday, I was feeling pretty lousy. Really low energy, headache, sore throat, and chills. No fever though. I did a chat with a doctor and based on my symptoms, they recommended I get tested for COVID. I was (and still am) puzzled as to how I got sick at all. I’m pretty careful (the most dangerous place I go is the grocery store). The test was scheduled for Monday afternoon. I spent the rest of the day bundled up on the couch watching an entire season of Indian Matchmatching on Netflix. By Monday afternoon, the chills were gone and my throat mostly felt better but I was just so gassed. Anytime I would do anything I’d have to stop halfway through and sit down for awhile. This is very unlike me. I’d cancelled all my clients just in case it was COVID. Monday afternoon I got my COVID test. Within 24 hours, I had results back that I didn’t have Coronavirus. I went through a lot of thoughts while I waited for the test and results. Part of me hoped it was COVID because it would be nice to get it over with and maybe feel more comfortable traveling and such. Part of me was really nervous because I had just delivered cheesecake days before to some of my favorite people, including a family with high-risk household members that has basically quarantined since March. I also work with older clients and the thought of potentially giving Coronavirus to any of those people was heart wrenching. I guess overall, I’m glad it wasn’t COVID, but am still mystified as to how I got sick at all. No one else in the house came down with anything.
With all that downtime, I did manage to wallpaper the fronts of the basement stairs which was the final piece of the basement remodel.
Meanwhile, the kids created a really cool Lego beach house that I wish I could visit.
The days of summer were waning and we were trying to use our time to finish as many projects as possible while also doing as many fun things as possible.
I ordered a few Date Night In Boxes over the summer and Noel and I finally got around to doing the second one which involved a Virtual reality experience of a trip to Hawaii. It was cool, but also made me a little sad because I would rather just go to Hawaii. The Date Night boxes were fun, but not something I would make a regular habit.
That weekend, my brother and his wife had their graduation. They were supposed to graduate in April and we were going to go, but that all changed with the pandemic. I think watching on Youtube was better for the kids anyway.
Sunday, we had a decent at home church lesson, played the board game Pandemic, and went on a lovely sunset hike.
The next few days I was kind of in a funk. Sad about the state of the world, sad about summer ending soon, etc. The kids and I had a dentist appointment. The kids were supposed to go in March, but obviously that didn’t happen. It was the first time the kids had entered an establishment since school went remote in the spring. The dentist had enhanced protocol like a temperature check and sneeze guards, but mostly felt normal since dentists usually wear masks. After the dentist, I dropped by our local running store to pick up a few things including a new pair of Goodrs. All Goodrs have cheeky names and this pair, “See You in Hell” really spoke to me that day and actually put a little bounce in my step.
The next few days, my morale was better. We knocked out a few summer bucket list items like tie dying.
The Perseid meteor shower was peaking that week, and we decided to take two days off to see it at Great Sand Dunes which is a Dark Sky park. We got up at 4am so we could drive down to Sand Dunes and be there when the back country office opened to get permits. After securing the permits, we headed over to the dunes to try some sand sledding. We brought an old sled and slicked it up with car wax. A more rigid sled would have been faster, but for our crew it was perfect.
As the morning began to heat up, we headed to a nearby waterfall for a short hike and a reprieve from the heat.
There was a day use area that we used for a picnic and then just hung out in hammocks during the heat of the afternoon. We so rarely just chill, so this was a glorious vacation treat.
As evening drew near, we packed up and headed back to the dunes. The dunes can get really hot during the day so wanted to avoid that as much as possible. We’d seen other people heading out to set up camp in the morning and I imagine they just baked at their campsites. Hiking in sand is difficult and we had to climb up and over the dunes to get into the areas where camping is allowed. The distance wasn’t long, just 1.5 miles, but it felt much harder. We set up camp and saw the most beautiful sunset. The forecast said there would be clouds in the evening, but they’d clear up towards the middle of the night. We were really tired from our early wake-up, so we decided to set an alarm for 3am and get some rest.
At 3am, everyone except Ellen woke up and witnessed one of nature’s light shows. It was gorgeous. The picture isn’t, you’ll just have to take my word for it. I have lots of memories of watching meteor showers with my family growing up and hope these can be positive memories for the kids.
In the morning, we ate breakfast, packed up camp, and began hiking out before it became too hot. It was a quick trip, but it was also really great.
That weekend, we spent Saturday doing prep work for the shed we’re building.
Sunday, we went to church for the first time since March. Things are obviously very different. Right now, they’re splitting the ward in half and each half goes one Sunday a month. (We share the building with another ward and they split their ward the other two Sundays.) There wasn’t any singing, we wore masks, and closed off every other pew. Still, it was nice to be back in some form. It was also super smoky that day due to four big fires in our state. It’s awful, but does make for gorgeous sunsets/sunrises.
The next week was the last week before school started. Ellen had a play date where she and her friend filled ALL the water balloons. We went on a family bike ride where we picked up takeout and had a picnic. I also broke my phone on that ride, ugh. We also did some school prep, which looked much different this year. We ordered mulch to spiff up the playground and the kids helped me cart it to the backyard and spread it out.
That Saturday, Noel and I went on a bike ride. Everything was so smoky and apocalyptic looking. Then, we made a tiny bit more progress on the shed and took care of a few more school prep things.
Sunday, we had our first Zoom Primary for the kids. I’m in the Primary presidency so I got to join. Noel also had his first virtual Elder’s Quorum meeting (he’s the Elder’s quorum president) and dressed accordingly. We chilled a bit in the afternoon and then made a fancy dinner of Chicken Tikka Masala, naan, and strawberry lassies. Cooper’s desk for school had arrived and he and Noel set it up while I made (and burnt) S’mores molten cakes. The kids also had Father’s blessings which is always special.
It was an unusual first day of school, but it’s also an unusual school year. The whole district started online for the first two weeks. We opted to continue remote for at least the first semester. We made this decision for a lot of reasons – stability (no having to switch gears if someone in the class tests positive for Coronavirus), less anxiety for me, and a more relaxed environment for the kids. Ellen is doing a pod with a few other kids. The two moms that set it up hired a retired school teacher to help the kids in the mornings. They meet at our house two times a week and at another house the other three. The choice goes against my personal principles as I hate how inequitable this is knowing other families can’t make the same decision, but I also think it’s the best choice for our extroverted Ellen. Cooper is doing regular remote with Noel and I to support him.
Those pics are just random things from the week.
To reward ourselves for surviving the first week of school, we went on a camping trip. We picked up some food truck food in Buena Vista that was pretty tasty. It was another low-key trip. It rained in the evening, so we hung out in the tent reading Harry Potter. On the way out, we took the route that looked shortest on the map and found ourselves on some roads that were a pushed the Subaru’s abilities. We ended up having to turn around because it became too much at one point. We were going to go on a substantial hike, but the skies were looking menacing. Instead, we did a short hike to an overlook at the continental divide. It began to rain as we drove away reinforcing to us what a smart decision we had made.
Generally, we’d do some big trip in August to cap off summer. I missed that, but feel like we did a pretty good job of substituting closer to home fun. Now we’re fully entrenched in school which has already had a fair amount of drama. With that cliff-hanger, I’ll leave you until next month.