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On the Road Again: Febrero 23, 2022

After a long hard stop, we are travelling internationally once again. The last time that I wrote on this blog was March 18, 2020. I thought about chronicling each day of the COVID lockdown but it would be a lot like your days…waiting. That being said, here is a quick synopsis:

March-May 2020: We stayed with our daughter, Amy, in her one bedroom apartment for two months. We were homeless and carless and all our things were in storage. I am sure that we cramped her style as a single woman living in downtown Cincinnati…but then again, COVID can take credit for most of that…and it cramped our style as well. We went from going anywhere in the world to being homebound. However, we managed to get outside and walked about two miles every day. The neighborhood was deserted. Watch this video that we made:

Where’d You Go Ohio?

We listened every day to Ohio Governor DeWine at 2:00pm for COVID updates. Some people renamed it “Wine with DeWine”. Rob renamed it “Whine with DeWine” as he was recalling days gone by.

Amy let us use her car. It was fun as neither Rob nor I had driven a stick shift since we were in our 30s. It’s like riding a bike. You never forget. (We got a Honda Pilot (automatic) in late May which sounds easy but many auto dealers were closed. We are now a one car couple.)

We would drive to West Chester where my dad was staying at an assisted living facility. He was on the first floor so I could see him through the window. He had misplaced his hearing aids so I had to yell. I am sure that the whole place knew when I was there. That was the hardest. He didn’t understand why I couldn’t come in!!

My father broke his hip for a second time in 2020. (The first time was in January while we were gone. This time was April. ) We could not get into the hospital to see him and he doesn’t hear well enough on the phone. He asked me to come see him!!! I got a hard “COVID” NO.

The hospital kept asking me about a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order. I would never agree to that unless I could see him and speak to him. No one looks good when they arrive at the hospital no matter what the age. Dad wants to make 100 and beyond.

June 2020-May 2021: I sprung Dad out of his assisted living facility. We all moved to a handicapped apartment at an outdoor mall near our old neighborhood. When it was being built, I wondered who would live at a mall but it was so much fun. Everything was a step outside such as restaurants, shopping, green spaces, and even a cinema.

There was lots of walking to the nearby grocery store and at night along the neon lit streets. The only time that we left the mall was for my Dad’s doctors appointments-a frequent flyer!!! He had several heart surgeries, urology appointments, and gall bladder removal during our time there.

Rob spent his days reading and listening to books, going to the grocery store, retrieving things at our four storage units, following the election, walking and dreaming about the next trip.

I spent my time caring for Dad. He had nurses, PT, OT, Speech and even a woman who came in to give him a weekly shower. I organized all my Dad’s poems and songs. We laughed a lot and watched every episode of The Honeymooners. I have seen “The Bensonhurst Bomber” so many times. Dad has it memorized and I still laugh every time. Without COVID, I would have not had this opportunity to spend so much time with Dad. It was a blessing for me.

For myself, I put all my recipes on Google docs in order to share them with family. I had inherited all my mother’s and grandmother’s recipes and it was time to do something with them. Dad and Rob were my guinea pigs.

Once Dad was medically cleared, Rob called the movers and the three of us drove to Virginia Beach.

May 2021-Feb 2022

Rob and I live in an apartment near the Virginia Beach oceanfront. Now we walk on the boardwalk everyday. Everything that we need is within walking distance-groceries, bank, post office, cinema, restaurants, and THE BEACH- God’s playground!! I am enjoying putting down some roots.

Rob spends a lot of time each day learning to speak Spanish via Duolingo. He is quite dedicated.

Dad is staying at an assisted living facility that is ten minutes away from our apartment. I visit him most every day. Rob is ready to travel and I need to make sure that Dad is well taken care of in my absence. (Also, our daughter, Elle, and her husband, William, are staying at our place at the beach and checking on my Dad while we are away.)

We were able to do some domestic travel:

July 2021: Colorado Springs

A visit with our daughter, Donna, Nathan and our granddaughter, Lucy.

August 2021: Las Vegas and Utah

Flew to Las Vegas with Dad to visit my brother. They hit the casinos while Rob and I headed to the Utah National Parks for hiking.

September 2021: Alaska

North to Alaska to watch the University of Indianapolis Volleyball where our daughter is the assistant coach.

October 2021: Chicago and Indianapolis

More volleyball matches.

November/December: Indianapolis and Cincinnati

Trips to Indianapolis and Cincinnati for wedding planning, vendor meetings, couples shower, THE TASTING. Yum!

January: Cincinnati

Our baby girl, Julie, married Luke Schwarz. It was a beautiful wedding. (Dad, Rob and I got COVID the week before. )

February 16: Yorktown,VA

Back on July 4, 1984, Rob and I fell in love while on a date at Yorktown. We decided to go to a charming Bed and Breakfast in Yorktown for our 37th anniversary. BRRRR!

After all that, Rob says,”We need to start traveling.” Hmmm.

“Isn’t that what we have been doing?”

“That doesn’t count.” So…

Rob and I will spend 10 days in Mexico- five days in Mexico City and practice speaking Spanish and a five day tour to the monarch butterfly sanctuaries. In Ohio, I planted milkweed and attracted these beautiful butterflies.

They are not endangered but their migration path involving Canada, USA and Mexico is endangered due to the loss of habitat, mainly the decline of milkweed, the only food source for the caterpillars.

We are on our way to Mexico to see where they amass in the millions. Rob is giddy with excitement!!

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