Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety, Lake Waccamaw

Lake Waccamaw, Ch. 2, Day 4

It feels like I have been here longer than four days. I had to work for a little while this morning – seems like something unexpected happens whenever I go on vacation – but that’s fine. At least I can do it from here!

Yesterday felt like somewhat of a waste because I went back into anxiety mode after being so relaxed on Monday. The painters came and painted the outside of the house a dark bluish grey. It looks so much better, although they didn’t do a great job. The front door will need another coat and a few touch-ups and trim fixes will have to be done. One of the guys did not wear a mask and the only time he made me nervous was when he painted the front door because he had it open. Also, I didn’t like it when he talked to my sister closer than six feet away. I pretty much holed up in my bedroom for most of the afternoon.

I am fascinated with these little burrows in the sand. My guess is that they are mollusks, but I have no idea.

I will take a photo of the house tomorrow morning when it is not in shadow so much.

Lisa came over late that morning and we sat by the lake for a little while when the breeze picked up. That evening I walked to her house where Tim grilled burgers and hot dogs and we sat together inside to eat. We went out to the end of the pier at twilight and visited in the cooler breeze over the water, Tim in the hammock and Lisa and I in rocking chairs. It is a lovely place to spend an evening.

Lisa just called and they are about to pick me up in the pontoon boat for a ride. It is super hot and humid so that will be a great way to get outside!

Hopefully I will be able to post photos of masks by tonight or tomorrow morning.

Coronavirus Chronicles, Lake Waccamaw

Lake Waccamaw, Ch. 2, Day 3

The painters are here today. My sister arranged to have the outside of the house painted, and my cousin’s wife picked the color, which will be quite dark. I am chipping in with the refund I got from my cancelled events in July. The above is a before photo of the house. It hasn’t been painted in thirty years, and will look different than I’ve ever seen it, since my cousin would not change anything about the house. He didn’t even like for you to rearrange the bar stools or change the radio station. It was comforting in a strange way.

I put the paint cans out on the porch, told the painters that I had to isolate because of my husband, and shut the door. Let them make of that what they will – I figure that it will make them cautious around me. Afterwards I saw one of them with a mask on.

Above are some shots from the living room. Along with the ceiling fan that fell apart during the last trip down here. This is what all the inside walls look like – plywood. I often see images in the wood grain.

Last night I cut out fabric pieces for masks. I don’t have elastic, but I am using fabric ties and hairbands and safety pins to fasten them. I found a bunch of pieced strips that I sewed together last year. The brown masks are batik fabrics with buffalo and grizzly bear designs that I bought at a quilt shop on the Blackfeet Reservation when we went to Glacier National Park in 2016.

Late yesterday a strong thunderstorm blew in. Thankfully it didn’t have much rain. We’ve had quite enough here. You could see breakers on the lake all the way out, and it cooled down enough that I was able to throw the doors and windows open for a while and sit on the porch.

Coronavirus Chronicles, Lake Waccamaw

Lake Waccamaw, Ch. 2, Day 2

Hallo!

From the (short) morning walk, I bring you flowers and gators.

I am working about half of the day, then I will take the rest of the week off as vacation time. Unless something crazy comes up, which is entirely possible these days.

Don’t worry, all the gator photos are cropped. One of the baby gators gave me a start when it splashed in, but I was not that close. Gators are fast, and although I am not afraid of walking along here any more, I am not stupid.

^^^The persistence of bald cypress tree knobs.

It is going to be a tough weather week. It was already dangerously hot and humid at 9:30 this morning. Right now at 11:30 it is 76% humidity and 102 degrees heat index, and no breeze.

Coronavirus Chronicles, Lake Waccamaw

Lake Waccamaw, Chapter Two, Day One

I was pretty exhausted today from restless legs syndrome last night. Funny how it seems to hit after a really hard day when you are so tired you’re sure that you will sleep. I was up and down until 4 a.m. this morning and got up at 10 a.m. So I decided to be kind to myself and not try to schedule my day as planned.

The morning revealed a dead gar fish on the beach and yes, I did retrieve a couple of those jawbones. I will have to boil them at home but right now I hope that they will lose their mild stink in the sun. Given my love of symbols of sharp objects, I think that they will go well in a collage or a weaving. I will be picking up pieces of plastic from fireworks off the beach for a while. There were a few okay pieces of driftwood. This is a nice one.

I spent most of the day inside in the air conditioning because the heat index was something like 110 degrees with no breeze for the first part of the day. So humid. The water is very warm. I organized and set up a studio. I watched a few samples of mixed media/journaling videos to see if I wanted to pay for the yearlong bundle, but I think that I will pass for now, considering how many online classes I never finish. I watched an episode of “How to Get Away with Murder” and the first episode of “Dead to Me,” and crocheted my weather scarf. Spent too much time on Facebook and reading the news and ate a tomato sandwich for dinner. My nerves were so shot yesterday that I barely ate anything.

My sister came by and we talked across the room to each other about eight feet apart. Talking inside was probably a mistake. We are both very careful but I felt exposed by my mechanic on Friday when he drove my car out of the garage without a mask on, and she and her husband met with their tax guy and she didn’t feel good about that. We agreed to not spend much time together until later in the week.

An old friend of mine who happens to be my brother’s brother-in-law is in ICU with Covid. His cousin told me that he has just been taken off a ventilator. The little sister of a guy I dated in high school died of Covid. She was in the hospital for shoulder surgery and they think she caught it there. I found out that a friend of mine who thought she had a rare form of shingles back in February actually had Covid. It’s moved into the personal realm.

Being alone here is a good thing. Even though I am already missing Sandy a bit, I need time alone, and I mean real time alone, when nobody is going to pop in or interrupt my train of thought. I think that it will go far in healing my nerves.

Later the evening breeze came along with the sunset and I sat on the beach beside the waves until dark. When it got very dark, I walked out on my neighbor’s pier (he isn’t there) and looked for the comet. I couldn’t find it, but the stars were bright. I read that it might be just under the Big Dipper, but unfortunately that is over the trees in Cove Swamp across the street, not over the lake. So it may be that the trees were in the way. It was still a lovely experience. This is a wonderful place to starwatch.

I will look at my work email in the morning, do some website and schedule work, and then probably opt to go on vacation for the rest of this week, other than a staff Zoom meeting that I am volunteered to host because I need to learn how to do it before graduate student orientation.

Now, please, Lord, let this melatonin work tonight.

Coronavirus Chronicles, Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina

Lake Waccamaw, Part V

One evening we were invited to sit on the pier of some friends on the bluff side of the lake for some socially distanced drinks. This is the side of the lake that didn’t get flooded, but most of the piers were ruined. My sister and brother-in-law rented a house up here while they repaired their house from Hurricane Florence, and they almost sold the house on the water and bought a house on this side, where the bluff protects the houses. It is nerve wracking to worry about every big storm that comes in off the coast.

The whole lake is part of Lake Waccamaw State Park. The marsh grasses moving with the waves were lovely.

Sandy had supposed to return for jury duty, but the state postponed jury trials again due to the pandemic. So we stayed another day.

My plan is to come back for a week or so in late July during the time that we had planned to go to Knoxville for Convergence and to Topsail Beach. The wifi is actually better at the lake house than it is here, so I could work from there if I wanted. Late July can be really hot down there if there is no breeze, and I prefer to keep the windows open instead of turning on the air conditioning, so I might play it by ear.

So today is the last day of my two week vacation. It’s been good to be able to turn off the work email, although I did weigh in a couple of times. If I had not taken this time off, I probably would have been tied to this laptop all day every day, because of all the preparations for returning the students to campus for fall semester. Of course, the administration came up with an incredibly complicated way to deal with it, and my personal feeling was that it would have been less confusing to leave it the way it was and let the faculty members handle dividing up the class lectures. Fortunately, my department head told them that I was off for two weeks and that someone in the registrar’s office would need to handle the schedule changes. I need a mental health break and he knew it. As I’ve said many times, I work with an incredible group of people.

Tomorrow I am going to go back to my office for at least a few hours a day, isolated. I need to get back into a routine. Luckily my home is a 15 minute walk away, so I think I can manage this without having to use the public spaces much, such as bathrooms. If I needed to, I could easily do my whole job from home, really. I hope that it doesn’t come to that.