Last Dance with the VW

Or maybe it isn’t. Hubby, engineer that he is, wants to try a few more of those ubiquitous last things before he gives up on the VW altogether. He’s watched innumerable YouTube videos and visited VW forums and read and re-read the owner’s and repair shop manuals. In my opinion, he needs to read Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein as well for ideas on reanimation projects.

According to his research, the transmission, or a component of it called a “solenoid,” has gone kaput. When the car is warmed up, she still runs as well as ever. The problem is that warming it up took two minutes, then five, then ten, and almost twenty even in warmer weather. And even then the car didn’t shift properly, forcing me to pull over and warm it up some more.

Long time readers of this blog may remember that the (’93) Ford truck, the ’95 Corolla, and the VW (’03) created a suicide-murder pact in the summer of 2019. We’d spent six weeks running between dealers, independent auto repair shops, and automotive supply stores. That Labor Day weekend culminated in the VW’s electrical system cutting out on me in heavy traffic. And now it was trying to kill me again with the transmission problems.

So after a trip to the VW dealer’s to see what could be done (flushing and changing transmission fluid, replacing this bit, changing that part? They were concerned that any of those options make things worse), he called. Did I want to go ahead and get the Prius I’d had my eye on for the last two years?

Yes, please.

The Toyota dealer had three in my first color choice. It’s called sea glass pearl, a green-blue that shimmers in the sunlight as if coated in pearls. Test drive, paperwork, learn how to at least start it and turn it off from the sales rep dedicated to teaching we of a certain generation about new electronic features, and off I went.

Driving the Prius home was quite a Zen experience. The gas engine is very quiet, and the electric one doesn’t make a sound. It’s comfortable; the audio system is fabulous; and I have peace of mind knowing that I’m conserving gas while reducing emissions. And turning heads. This car is an instrument of grace and beauty. It’s bigger than the VW, but not awkwardly so. In time, we will learn to dance together.

The technology in the Prius is a quantum leap from the VW just as the VW was from the Nissan Pulsar that I drove before (the one who died of a broken timing belt while I was driving). There are beeps and a backup camera and lots of little things that I’ll be getting used to before it becomes as intuitive as driving the VW has been, but that will come with time.

As for Hubby, well…he’ll be taking it to a repair shop that specializes in German cars to discuss the solenoid (whatever that is) and if they can do it reasonably or get him the parts to do it himself. The engine and body are still in decent shape, and he needs a new-to-him ride for his trips to Detroit. If not, he will drive it until it really dies and we will donate it.

And if it gets stolen on one of the trips to his mom’s, as far as I’m concerned after this last round of issues, the thieves can help themself and I’ll throw in a kiss and six months of insurance.

Tea, Tears, and Tradition…or a Very Decent and British Event

Image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy https://thegraphicsfairy.com/wp-content/uploads/blogger/_CarNcodpCMA/TEeR88RjsyI/AAAAAAAAIgg/O-GeZUzm37Q/s1600/britishflag2.jpg

I spent the week between Prince Philip’s passage and the funeral watching unhealthy–well, some might judge it as such–amounts of videos about the British monarchy on YouTube. Check out the ones by Darren McGrady, former chef to the Queen, for some fun and non-toxic tidbits about the Royals, both two- and four-legged ones (like favorite foods, cooking for the Corgis, him getting chased down the hall by said Corgis, those sorts of things). In addition to the heavy days marking time between the passing and the funeral, that week also brought a round of automotive growth experiences*, the start of Hubby doing his yearly month of religious fasting, and another frantic run to the vets’ to get Oakley a refill on his IBS medication.

Maybe binge-watching royal gossip videos is not that unhealthy a choice if it kept me from stabbing anyone or away from mood-altering substances. Especially when the algorithms kindly toss in Monty Python clips, especially the ones of Graham Chapman in his Army uniform popping out of the woodwork to end skits with an announcement that it was getting too silly and to move on to something decent and British.

In a way, I had hoped that he would come out of nowhere and do the same in real life, but the Prince’s death was too real, and not silly at all. Nor were the plans as they unfolded.

So on the morning of 17/4/21 with mug in hand, scone on plate, and Oakley at my side, I watched Prince Philip’s funeral while seated on my comfy sofa. Like we who were in northern Illinois that day, the Mountbatten-Windsors had cold but sunny weather for the ceremony, making the short walk for the relatives following the coffin from the residence to St. George’s Chapel not too uncomfortable.

By royal standards, the service proved to be quite simple. The liturgy was the basic Anglican order for funerals. While they still had military units with some tie to him participating in the sendoff, HRH had requested that no eulogy or sermon be given, and had told the Queen to just chuck him in the back of a Land Rover (in this case, one tricked out with an EV motor) when the time came to send him off to the Great Beyond.

His wishes for a relatively austere sendoff were honored. Mostly because he’d planned them out in advance, like the EV Land Rover; a few were due to pandemic protocols. Only 30 family members could attend and had to follow distancing guidelines, leading to the attendees sitting in household bubbles. William and Kate here. Harry over there. Edward and Sophie and their kids there. Anne and Charles with their respective spouses as well. And the other grandchildren along with nephews from over on the Continent were there. I will save my judgmental rants about Andrew for another time.

That lead to the Queen sitting by herself. Couldn’t share the pew with anyone. Couldn’t even bring one of her dogs into St. George’s for support.

Alone. For the first time in 73 years without the man she’d described as “my strength and my stay.” I’d like to think Philip in spirit form was sitting with her. But in common reality she just looked so small (she’s not that tall to begin with, under 5’4**) and bowed by grief and alone in her huge black hat and dress seated by herself in that huge cavernous chapel where Harry and Meghan were married a couple of years ago.

I discreetly dabbed my eyes. I cannot imagine.

I hope that the Queen found a measure of comfort in the beauty of the music and knowing that she was in the hearts of many around the world.

NBC’s coverage kept the play-by-plays limited to before and after the service, and had the courtesy to cut to the bagpiper playing a traditional Scottish mourning song while Prince Philip’s coffin was lowered to the vault below the chapel. Then came the benediction, and the Queen departing in her car while the other mourners walked back to the residence.

The pictures of her sitting alone were all over the internet. One of my friends tagged me on a post with that picture and a beautiful poem about her really not being alone because Philip would always be with her. (Thank you, Claudia….)

So now comes a brief period of formal mourning for the family, until this coming Saturday (24/4/21), I think. At that time, they will pick up and carry on with royal duties. They already have done so, with Charles and the Queen and I think Anne making appearances at some low-key events.

And maybe I will quit expecting Graham Chapman’s uniformed alter ego to pop up and say “Now THAT was decent AND British!”

Indeed it was.

*We gave up and bought a new car. More on that later.

**Fun random fact: Because she’s on the small side, Her Majesty wears a lot of bright colors when she makes public appearances so her security detail can keep better tabs on her.

Premonitions and Princes: Au Revoir, Prince Philip

This past Thursday found me running an errand. As I waited for a light, an unbidden thought came into my mind: Prince Philip is not going to make it to the weekend.

I’d seen the pictures of him when he was on his way back to Windsor about three weeks ago after undergoing the heart procedure and treatment for the infection. The unbidden thought then: hospice.

Well, at 99 and getting discharged after a month in the hospital, no one can be expected to retain the glow of youth. But the bruising and drawn cheeks did not bode well.

Que sera sera. The light changed. I pressed on the gas and went home.

The next morning, Friday, I called Hubby. “Did you hear the news?” he asked.

“No…” I don’t turn on news until I’ve had a cup of tea and written my morning page.

“Prince Philip died.”

Despite my morning page lying there blankly, I turned on the TV. Not quite time for “Today.” This shooting; that vaccine story; yet another carjacking. Prince Philip finally appeared on the crawler. Died peacefully at Windsor at 99.

A small, thin chill ran through me.

I flipped back and forth between the three networks. Their morning shows lead with the story and the summaries of a long life. Not always the nicest person, a definite relic from a harder, more structured world invested in keeping it that way; yet his work for the World Wildlife Fund pointed to a progressive streak that I didn’t know about.

Friday and Saturday found me camped out on the BBC website. Details about the funeral were finally posted mid-afternoon yesterday: 17/4 at 3 pm BST (that’s April 17 at 10 AM eastern, 9 central). Very paired down due to COVID, but would be televised.

In between new postings on the BBC live blog, my thoughts went in two directions: 1. The Queen. She had just lost her husband of 70+ years. How will she cope with his absence? and 2. What is the future of the British Monarchy?

On the first count, I silently wished her and her children strength and comfort. If she’d been a neighbor I would have made a cake or some cookies and taken them over, but since I’m not, and don’t live anywhere near Windsor, and her pastry chef is likely better than me at cakes and whatnot anyway, that was out of the question. All I could do was spare some thoughts as I would for any other woman in her later years. And hope that when the funeral’s done and she can relax her upper lip a bit, go out into the woods near Balmoral with the Corgis, and wail like a banshee until the grief subsides.

My hope is that she’ll get the love and support she needs to carry on around the great gawping canyon of Philip’s absence and stick around a few more years. I’ve always seen them as the type of couple that literally would not be able to live without each other and the survivor would follow the first to slip this veil in a short amount of time. We’ll have to see.

The second one is a lot trickier. The Monarchy reaches back into the mists of time a thousand years ago. It’s been argued that it’s provided structure and continuity since then. There have been calls to abolish it, and after the current Queen passes into the next world, will Charles or William be able to keep it going?

I don’t know. Oh, it needs to be updated without a doubt. But to do away with it altogether…

Perish the thought. It wouldn’t be Great Britain without a monarch. Would it? I don’t know. I have several British friends in the world of social media who feel that it should have been done away with years ago due to costs, creating a more egalitarian society, and so on. However, the last time that happened, England endured years of civil war. I would hope that wouldn’t happen, but in these crazy times, who knows?

As this week plays out, there will be tea to steep and scone recipes to be researched for Saturday. Until then, there are visits to be made to the BBC to see if any new related stories have popped up while hoping for a few more years with Her Majesty before Charles takes charge.

Initiation

Throughout time, societies have held rites of passage to acknowledge passages into life stages or into service to the tribe or becoming a spiritual leader. In general, they have a community gathering, some kind of a ritual that may or may not involve mood altering substances or pain, and then emerging on the other side into the new role in the community.

Maybe I’m making too much of it, but it felt kind of like that when I had my COVID vaccine this past Thursday. The Johnson and Johnson one-and-done. Since I am the queen of all side effects (Hubby is too much the gentleman to tell you about the time I was on Vicodan after a procedure and it made me think that Jerry Springer explained everything, so I will), it was my vaccine of preference.

I arrived at the site about a half hour early. The health department had set up camp in an office building recently purchased as the new city hall. Park, follow the lines around the building. Follow the person directing foot traffic with her clipboard. “If you’re here for your second shot, please go to the second floor. First shot people, this way. You’re getting the Johnson and Johnson vaccine today!”

My relief and joy over finally getting the vaccine of my choice combined with everyone else’s made it feel a margarita machine and Lady Gaga playlist away from a party as the line snaked towards the check in station.

Show ID and email with QR code. Go this way. Go that way. Take a seat at the station with nurse in the bright purple top. Scan the code again; verify identity; swab arm, and poke! All done; here’s your card. Wait in your car for 15 minutes to make sure you don’t have a reaction and have a great day.

My arm felt tingly, but it was OK. I made phone calls, went home, ordered and picked up lunch from a local takeout place to celebrate.

The side effects crept up that afternoon. Mostly fatigue, a nagging slight headache. Later that night, I did have some minor chills. Friday I was fatigued and headachy, but it started dissipating late afternoon.

I slept the sleep of the just, the dead, or the just plain dead last night. Oakley began pacing and dramatically flopping onto the floor about 6:30 to let me know that it was breakfast o’clock, otherwise I would have slept longer.

And now I hang out in the liminal space while the vaccine does its job in the next two weeks. I will be protected, but will not be reckless–I’ll continue to to keep my distance from the maskless wonders and will mask up until Dr. Fauci says otherwise. I will continue to wash my hands like Lady Macbeth. And keep social distance.

But in two weeks, barring another surge, I can get my hair cut. I can go back to in-person yoga. I can go to the store without wondering if I’m going to die from it, even if I go directly after the time reserved for seniors and special concern shoppers.

I didn’t glean any insights from the dance with the side effects, but I do know that it will be great to mask up and join the world at large. And that it should never be taken for granted again.

Wind

Last time I looked at the National Weather Service website, we had a 23 MPH wind hooking around from the northeast with gusts up to 40. And a wind advisory until 7 P.M. Whee.

Well, we are on the brink of spring. There’s roughly 48 hours left of astronomical winter, and it’s making the most of it remaining time here in the northern hemisphere. After a week or so of warm weather, we had snow last weekend that melted quickly followed by a rainstorm that whipped against the windows.

The wind woke Oakley up about 5:30, a not too obscene hour. Pace, pace, flop. Pace, pace, flop. Pace, pace–OK, OK, I’m up. Took him out. Productive. Then we had a micro power failure, one that lasted long enough to knock the microwave and stove clocks off line before the lights came back on. Adjusted clocks. Settled for a few minutes, then had to go back out to stare at the things that only dogs can see in the dark wind. Dragged him back inside. Tend to the clocks again after another micro-failure, then another run to tend to more business.

Five minutes is not long enough to steep tea some mornings, like this blustery cold one. My mug may be fused to the palm of my left hand by the end of the day.

In the mean time, we stay inside and make the day the best possible one. Hubby hangs out in his office, learning a software program that enables him to design cabinets and other nifty things. Oakley perfects his starving orphan puppy act, trying to convince Hubby that I didn’t feed him and that no one gave him his half mini-bagel this morning while I start a fresh batch of dog food.

Me? I found a new recipe that we’ll try for dinner. It’s called harira, a Moroccan lentil and chickpea soup with plenty of warming spices, something we dearly need today. I found the recipe on https://www.themediterraneandish.com. If you haven’t checked out Suzy’s recipes, do so. Especially the cod with lemon and garlic.

Between looks out the window to see if the neighbor’s cows have started flying, we’re just quietly doing our own things, riding out the unstable weather, and looking forward to the calmer, warmer days ahead.

The Five Minute Activist

If we learned nothing else over the last four or five years, it’s that we still have a lot of work to do to make the world a better place. However, if everyone does their part in making their voices heard, we’ll get the job done a lot faster.

The good news is that you can get it done in five-minute chunks. That’s less time than it takes to drink a tall latte. Try these:

  1. Call or email your elected reps. At the federal level, the Capitol switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. Just follow the prompts to be connected to your senator’s or rep’s office. To email, visit https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm or https://www.house.gov/representatives and find their cyber-addresses there. For the state officials, go to https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/.
  2. If you choose to stop buying products or shopping at certain stores due to their support of things detrimental to the common good, don’t stop there. Shoot them an email and let them know why you are choosing to do so. Recently, we dumped our warehouse club due to their support of a certain pillow manufacturer. They needed to know why we were cutting ties with them, and when they decide to cut ties with that vendor, we’ll talk.
  3. Going back to 1…if you call an elected representative’s office and they give you the runaround or treat you rudely, let others know of your experience. There’s always Twitter. One of your local friendly news people might want to know about the incident. I am blessed and lucky to have Lauren Underwood for my rep right now. Before her, however…there was Randy Hultgren, ignorer of emails and purveyor of rude staffers. Like one named Brian who hung up on me. I wasn’t the only one. I heard other stories of the office door being locked and knocks going unanswered while staffers peeked through gaps in the blinds. I regret not sharing my experience with media contacts. Make sure you document time and names.
  4. Find alternatives for entertainment: used book stores, streaming services, good ol’ PBS, independent musicians, so on. So much of what’s portrayed on network TV in the US is poor quality or over the top violent.
  5. Make choices to support the environment. Buy whatever organic products you can afford (I know, pricy, but even a single tomato can help). Eat a few meatless meals a week, or if you can’t do veg food, do some sustainably raised fish or poultry.
  6. Be mindful of small things like water and energy consumption.
  7. Smile. You’re taking action, even in small ways. Be proud. You’re a drop of water in a river, a wave, and you’re doing your part to wash everything clean.

Reality Check

We didn’t get that much snow last night. We did, however, get enough wind to make it look as if a blizzard had landed and knock out the power for an hour. The roads are still slick and I’m sure the curve on the road that we take to the big park and day care has been blown in by the unrelenting west wind and snow traversing the open fields.

I decided not to take Oakley to day care. First and foremost, because of the weather and that the secondary roads we take are not that well tended. When I took Oakley out for his first potty run this morning, the majority of the drivers I saw on the main road were picking their way to their destinations with caution even though the roads looked plowed. It’s important that he sees his friends and teachers, yes, but I am not willing to have us risk hitting that one patch of black ice or snow and ending up in the middle of a field or a ditch.

The second reason was his hips. I’d taken him on Tuesday. I’d been home long enough to eat a bowl of soup for lunch when his teacher asked me to come pick him up. He was acting unhappy and having problems sitting and lying down. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he had diarrhea.

On my way.

What really amped up the suck factor was that this was the first session after Ms. L. had closed down day care for two weeks because two of the teachers had shown COVID symptoms. They’re both OK, thank the Mystery. I had hoped that the afternoon would give Oakley some fun and frolic and me some space to vacuum and tidy a bit, but that was not to be.

So I arrived. Oakley did not look as happy as he was when I had dropped him off. Ms. L. had videoed him struggling to sit.

I watched the video. I looked at Oakley as he leaned into my shins, his way of hugging me. And in the bright light of the reception area, I saw a lot of white hairs blending into the chestnut ones above his eyebrows.

Oh, my, God/dess.

Oakley is aging.

Just like me. It’s fine for me to get older, but Oakley, my companion, my guardian, my fur child? The bundle of legs and fur who’d put his head in the hollow of my neck and fallen into a snoring sleep on the way home from the adoption event where we’d found each other?

Yes. Him.

Oakley had been fine at home that morning, so it’s likely it was just one bad day caused by the weather. He’d torn it up with pups less than half his age at the last day care session. Well, some dogs age out of day care, and if it’s time to let the twice a week sessions go, it’s OK. No, it isn’t, but it is what it is as part of the aging process. Ms. L. reassured me that he will always be welcome on Ren Faire weekends or other occasions warranting a stay at sleepover camp.

OK, thank you. Go home. Give the homeopathic anti-inflammatory. Give the anti-diarrheal. No, baby. 1:30 is too early for dinner.

He went to his spot on the sofa and fell into a nap. I went on line and ordered more anti-inflammatory pills and another product by the same manufacturer specifically for arthritis. One of my friends had given it to her dogs with success, and I’m hoping for the same with Oakley.

If not, one of the vets at our clinic has experience in a couple of modalities that will help. We’ll figure out the best work arounds, like shorter but more frequent walks, herbs, cold laser treatments.

The arthritis pills will be here Monday, please Mystery.

Until then, short walks in the yard. Not a hard thing because of the wind chill. And anti-inflammatory pills every four hours.

And dream of warmer days ahead.O

The Work Ahead

February opens on a snowy note here in the soybean field. This last weekend’s storm dropped a bit under seven inches of the white stuff on us. We’re shoveled out and the roads are clear, so we’ll get out this afternoon when the wind chill dissipates a bits.

Until then, we have some things to check off the to-do list. Run the dishwasher; do a couple of five-minute organization blitzes; tweet, call and email Congress Rep. Underwood and Senators Duckworth and Durbin.

The last task is the most vital. I can always use paper plates and have no shame about eating out of pots. Piles of bank statements and magazines have been in their spaces this long and leaving them there a bit longer won’t harm anything. Those detract from the quality of my personal life, but those can be easily solved.

Preserving democracy, however, is another matter. It’s not just me or my cohort wave who would be impacted if the lines don’t get established in bold red strokes. It would mean that my nephew, my niece, their descendants, and generations to come would be in a struggle to survive under authoritarianism all because a large group of the gullible and the racist were pulled into a vortex of conspiracy theories, disinformation, and hate.

What, then, needs to be done to close the black hole?

One thing that would go a long way is reinstating the Fairness Doctrine and update it for the digital age. The Fairness Doctrine went on the books in 1949. It required broadcasters to present issues of public interest from different points of view. In 1987, the FCC repealed it. That lead to monopolizing of media outlets and a lack of diverse viewpoints, making it too easy for news to turn into propaganda. And making it too easy for right wing hate speech to take over the airwaves in some rural areas.

The other thing that needs doing is educating the public on critical thinking skills when it comes to media consumption. Finland (https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2019/05/europe/finland-fake-news-intl/ ) has a whole school curriculum that was developed in 2015 with the rise of trolls and bots to help students vet information presented on the internet. Could the same be done here for the current K-12 group, and could it be slipped into the adult population via PSAs?

Would it hurt to try? I don’t think so.

These are at the top of my personal list as well as bringing back civics classes so the populace actually understands how government works, and knows how the three branches of government function, and demand that they do so as intended.

And making sure that people get fed.

And housed, and…and…

It’s a long list. We’d better get started.

If you need me, I’ll be over here having my soup out of the pot.

If Only We’re Brave Enough To Be the Light: The Post-Inauguration Report

Oakley’s snores woke me up. He’d been at day care the afternoon before. That was Tuesday, so that meant that this was Wednesday. And not just any Wednesday.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

Inauguration Day. The inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Kamala D. Harris was finally here.

That realization made me fly out of bed like a sugared-up toddler on Christmas morning. After four excruciating years, we were getting a new president. Make tea. Tend to Oakley despite his judgmental stare as I danced around the kitchen island while I mixed up his breakfast. Scrawl a few lines in my journal while watching the apricot and gold sun rise in the space between the blinds over the family room window.

Turn on the TV. There was the minor distraction of shipping President Biden’s predecessor off to Florida in his last flights in Marine One and Air Force One after a ceremony designed to give his ego one last inflation before taking off with the strains of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” playing as the plane taxied down the runway and rose into the sky.

And then the networks returned us to the quiet but troop-lined streets of Washington, D.C. and video of the Bidens attending a church service before heading over to the Capitol for the ceremony. Scaled back due to COVID and still open wounds from the insurrection on January 6, but just like the country itself, going on in spite of it all. No balls planned for that evening, not much of a parade except the motorcade from the Capitol to the White House accompanied by the Howard University and University of Delaware marching bands, but the day would be marked to forge the link in the chain of history stretching back to George Washington and the other founders of the the republic.

And considering the circumstances, that was OK.

We had a couple of snacks, and I plied myself with tea as we watched the Bidens, the Harris-Emhoffs, and the Obamas, Bushes, and Clintons make their ways to where they needed to be. There was a cutaway offering visual proof that the predecessor had landed, but not a long one. They quickly refocused on the Capitol and the history unfolding there as well as the fun bits, such as Dr. Jill Biden’s and VP Harris’ dresses and Michelle Obama’s pantsuit (damn, I’d wear that) and coat, and this historical tidbit and that bite of trivia.

And then, finally, here we were. A Marine escorted Lady Gaga (speaking of outfits–hers needs to be enshrined at the Smithsonian both for the sheer Gaga-ness of it and its nod to the ladies of the past with the design harkening back to the early days of the country). Took the mic, and oh, did I get chills when she performed “The Star Spangled Banner.”

And when she pointed to the flag when she reached the line “that the flag was still there,” I choked up. I usually don’t have strong reactions to patriotic music, but the relief of surviving the last four years without nuclear weapons getting brought into play and the prior fourteen days with troops in the DC streets due to the ongoing threats of insurrection part two had to come out sometime.

And then the tears welled again when VP Harris took her Oath of Office. Finally, a woman, a woman of color, was at that level. After the debacle in 2016 and the repressive sexist tones of that regime I didn’t know if I would ever see a woman in that level of government in my lifetime. But there she was with a strong supportive man at her side.

And then, finally, President Biden took his oath. Would we get through this, or would his predecessor send a nasty distraction from Florida? No, nothing happened. He took his oath, and somewhere between the fading of the last line, “So help me God,” and taking his hand off his Bible, and the applause, the world became a much brighter place.

I collapsed like a limp rag for a few moments, then put a pizza in the oven for our inaugural celebration. I don’t know what the Bidens and Harris-Emhoffs had, but I doubt that fast food was involved.

The ceremony ended with Amanda Gorman reading her poem “The Hill We Climb.” For there is always light/If we’re brave enough to see it/If we’re brave enough to be it.

I whispered a prayer thanking the Mystery for all the people who had stood up to the predecessor and his minions. Prayed that in the light of things that need to be fixed that I could be a light down these pocked and pitted roads.

President Biden started righting the ship of state that afternoon by signing a stack of executive orders and issuing a mask mandate running concurrently with his first 100 days in office. And that night, Jen Psaki, the press secretary, gave a briefing about the first afternoon under this administration.

As the day wrapped up with a show of socially distanced performances that closed with President and Dr. Jill Biden walking out onto the balcony and looking towards the Washington Monument, I felt for the first time in oh, say, four years that things are going to be OK. There’s a lot of work ahead, but if everyone can grab a rope, a dust rag, a laptop and get busy doing their part, we’ll get the lights that make us a beacon of hope back on sooner rather than later.

Infamous Days

The last few days have seen me with tea in one hand and one device or a remote in the other as I watch history unfold around me. This event, that resignation, and oh, yeah, the little thing that happened last Wednesday some call an “insurrection.”

Hubby and I kept the TV on to monitor the results of the Georgia runoff and the last formalities involved with declaring Joe Biden and Kamala Harris President and Vice President Elect. Hubby watched for a few moments, mumbled an unflattering remark about the Republicans, and left for his dental appointment.

We expected the nonsense thrown in the road by the Republicans. What we didn’t expect was the angry mob overrunning the Capitol Police and desecrating the House and Senate chambers.

I texted Hubby. I knew that he would’t be able to respond right away, but it seemed the rational thing to do in the face of such irrationality. And it gave my hands something to do while I sat frozen to the sofa and staring at the tube in disbelief.

It was not unlike 9/11. Hubby had taken the day off so we could drop off refinancing paperwork at the bank and go out to lunch. I had walked Orion at the state park. When we drove home and I pulled into the garage, the TV blared though the insulated walls. Just as I was starting to tell him to turn it down, I saw the second tower collapse.

Oh. Well, I guess that a major landmark getting taken out by commercial airplanes is a good reason to crank it to 11.

This was in the days before cell phones, so he couldn’t have given me a heads-up anyway. But I used mine to alert him to the situation.

About an hour later, he strode into the house and greeted me with a hale and hearty “What the hell is going on?”

I gestured to the TV. That. I couldn’t find words for it.

I took Oakley out, made dinner for everyone. Listened to the commentary, witnessed events unfold. Wondered if the certification would be done that day.

Technically, it happened in the wee smalls of the next morning, but House and Senate got it done.

The fallout continues. Arrests, including 25 for domestic terrorism, have removed some of the insurrectionists from the street. The FBI is asking for help to identify more of them. Investigations into who and what and how unfold as I type. Two of the Capitol Police officers died as a result, one of head injuries, the other of suicide.

I had really hoped that 2021 would be calmer, but it’s not looking like it at all. Especially until we can get President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris sworn in safely on the 20th.

We have nine days to go at this writing. I hope that they will be a little less infamous than last Wednesday.