Looking Back on Two Months of Quarantine

It’s been nearly two months now since Bill and I began working at home exclusively, and over a month since Washington state initially gave residents a stay at home order. As of yesterday, the stay at home order will last until May 31st and then things will begin to reopen slowly in a four-phase process, with an estimated three weeks spent in each phase. Our company is taking a particularly conservative approach to having employees return to the office to work, and right now the earliest we would be going back is September.

Bill and I are incredibly lucky and I am grateful for that every day. Our lives are different of course, but our situation is about as ideal as I think anyone could hope for given the circumstances. Unlike so many, we are able to comfortably work from home and we aren’t worried about money during this time. Our local grocery store offers curbside pickup and so every week I can go online, fill out an order, and then pick a time to go retrieve it. My groceries are loaded into the back of my car for me and I don’t have to worry about walking through stores among people who either aren’t paying attention to or don’t care about social distancing precautions. And since we don’t have kids, we’re able to focus on our busy professional lives and spend our weekends unwinding, without worrying about entertaining (or educating!) small people of our own creation. I’ve seen people online joking about divorce rates going up post-quarantine, but for us the additional time together has brought us closer and strengthened our bond.

I know not everyone I work with is happy to be working remotely full-time, but I have to confess that I’ve come to really appreciate it. I love being able to sleep later, I don’t miss that 5am alarm or the hour or more each way I’d spend in traffic driving back and forth to the office five days a week. Now, instead of getting up before dawn and rushing to get a shower and get on the road before traffic hits its peak, I wake up to the sun and spend the first half hour of my morning working out before I take my shower and log into work for the day. There’s a moment in the mornings, when I’m fresh out of the shower and making my coffee before I check emails, when I always feel calm and accomplished and ready to take on the day. September feels like a long ways away, but I know time will fly by and I know I’ll be sad when I don’t have that moment in the mornings anymore.

Like a lot of people, we are home a lot more than usual now and we’ve been trying to put that extra time to good use. We’ve enjoyed watching movies and discovering new shows together, and we’ve been doing some projects around our condo that we’d intended to get to for ages but never seemed to have the time for. We replaced the light in our dining room, and Bill has been going through the house and changing out all of the outdated-looking brass fixtures for more modern matte black ones. We now have new doorknobs, hinges, and door handles, and it’s amazing how much of a difference those changes make in how the house looks. I love our condo. I’ve lived in some houses I liked a lot, but this place is by far my favorite.

I’ve always loved baking, but I just never seemed to find the time and motivation after a long work week. Now though, I’ve been having a great time trying out different recipes and experiments every weekend, and have produced (and consumed) far more cookies than any person probably should. Thank goodness for those morning workouts!

For the most part I feel like I’m in a really good place mentally amid the chaos of this pandemic. I’ve accepted that it’s a wait-and-see situation and the only thing I can do to be helpful is to follow the stay-at-home orders, so I’m taking that very seriously. I’m trying to stay focused on doing a good job at work, keeping our house clean and comfortable, and enjoying all the good things I have that I’m so grateful for.

Gratitude

Standing at the sink in the kitchen of our new home, I can gaze out across the living room as I wash dishes. One weekend morning not long ago I did so as usual, cleaning up the dishes after enjoying the breakfast my sweet husband cooked for us. As I began cleaning up he had moved to the couch and the sight of him relaxing on a sunny weekend morning made me smile.

As I looked out at our living room, my husband on the couch and my cats stretched out in patches of morning sun, I felt so much gratitude for everything I was seeing. Life is short and ever-changing; my view from the kitchen won’t always look this way. The cats are getting older – hell, Bill and I are getting older – and with growing older I understand so much more that every moment is one to be cherished because it won’t be like this forever.

I don’t say this to be ominous. Life is the best it’s ever been and I am so incredibly grateful for these quiet and happy moments. I’ve had so many of them, especially since moving into our new home in April. We are both so in love with our new place and we spend more time at home now than we ever did when we lived in our rental. Our old apartment didn’t have a place for a table, so we never owned one, and the living room was only big enough for a love seat and an armchair. The apartment complex was on a major street, so it was nearly always loud when we ventured onto our back patio. Now, in our new home, we can do things that we couldn’t  before. We enjoy meals together sitting at the dining room table, we relax on our back deck on nice days, and we stretch out together on our giant, cozy new couch and watch movies together.

The happiness we feel doesn’t come from just the possession of the house itself, but from what it represents: an accomplishment we achieved together and can now enjoy together. Bill and I have shared so many adventures over the last four years, and home ownership is the newest but by no means the last one we’ll have together. There is no single item I have ever owned in my life that has given me the kind of peace and happiness that this life together brings me.

I admit that at times I lose sight of that feeling of gratitude and fall into the rut of just going through the motions of everyday life. Even though I generally can find joy in most things, there are definitely moments when I can’t find my shoes and leave late for work, or spill my coffee all over my car, and I catch myself getting way too riled up by these annoyances. Of course once that moment of self-awareness hits and I see how silly I’m being, then I regret allowing such small problems to make me fall short of being the person I want to be. Usually the things that frustrate me the most are the ones that I feel are rooted in my own shortcomings: running late makes me worry that I am not truly dependable, spilling things shows that I’m disorganized and klutzy.

In those moments where I’m falling short of my own standards, I’m learning to take a step back and imagine myself standing at the kitchen sink, looking out at my beautiful living room at my wonderful family. This image in my mind is soothing and grounding; it puts it in perspective to me how truly rich I am in this life and reminds me that small frustrations are such small and insignificant parts of such a great existence.

 

3.11.17

The last month has been delightfully busy and fun and life-changing. Surrounded by family and friends, Bill and I tied the knot on March 11th. The ceremony was perfect. Our dear friend Jamie officiated, and even though I had practiced the vows she so beautifully wrote over and over I still found myself emotional and a little teary-eyed (thankfully, she knows me well enough to inject well-placed humor just as I needed to laugh!). Our wedding was followed by a reception that was so perfect I can hardly believe it was a day in my life.

In short? Our wedding day really was our Best Day Ever. I loved every second, would not change a thing. Our wonderful venue, Urban Light Studios, captured highlights of the day here on their blog (the pictures are stunning!).

We enjoyed a six-day honeymoon in beautiful Cabo San Lucas, soaking up the sun and warm weather. We fell into a comfortable routine of lounging on our balcony before strolling downstairs for breakfast, then returning to our room to relax for awhile until we were ready to make our way to the pool. We spent warm afternoons poolside, protected by the shade of umbrellas and refreshed with mojitos. In the evenings, more often than not we elected to order room service and eat our dinner on our balcony, watching the ocean and feeling the evening breeze on our faces. It was bliss.

We are back in Seattle now, and though it is far from warm and sunny here, it always feels good to get home. We’ve settled back into a routine, getting up early to work out before rushing off to work, catching up with friends, carving out time on the weekends to relax and enjoy each other and our kitties.

I knew that I would love being married to Bill, but I honestly didn’t expect our relationship to feel any different. It does, though; we’ve entered this new phase of our journey through life together and it has strengthened our bond even more. Using the word “husband” to describe him is still foreign and exciting to me. I’m in awe that I found this loving, selfless, smart, and sweet human who sees the very best and worst in me and loves all of it. I’m grateful every day for this beautiful life we have together and for all we have planned for our future.

 

A Mushy Kind of Post

In my post yesterday I mentioned that October holds a couple of very special anniversaries for me. Today is one of those – it’s the one-year anniversary of Bill and I’s engagement!

A year ago it was a beautiful October today, sunny and unseasonably warm, perfect for a long drive around the Olympic Peninsula. I was expecting to spend the afternoon enjoying a relaxing drive and taking in beautiful scenery, and I was not disappointed. What I was definitely NOT expecting was a proposal!

My very favorite place on the Peninsula (and in all of Washington) is Ruby Beach. I hadn’t been there in years, so of course I wanted to stop there and walk around. Bill and I had a wonderful time taking in the scenery and building cairns on top of pieces of driftwood.

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Ruby Beach on the day we got engaged

I always loved this beautiful place, and now that it’s also the spot Bill picked to ask me to marry him, it is even more special. I will never again visit that beach without remembering the perfect afternoon we spent there, and the moment when he asked me to share the rest of our lives together.

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Sharing a just-engaged kiss

Our wedding is planned for March, just five months away. Although it seems like a long time, the last year has flown by so fast that I know the next five months will pass in the blink of an eye. I am so excited to marry this man who is everything I ever dreamed of and more.

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