How I’m *Really* Doing

I get asked this question sometimes.

Just like you guys who are valiantly social distancing, still, I’m missing face-to-face conversations with friends. Yet I’m creating this depiction of myself through the blog—that’s neither a dynamic conversation with friends nor a personal, true revealing of my mental state.

So here’s how I’m really doing.

Pretty good, all things considering.

What are those all things?

The Pandemic

It’s of course still drastically affecting us, even though we’re traveling. No, especially because we’re traveling.

You may be stuck at home without your loved ones, or too close for too long with them, or without co-workers so with a more difficult job, or without a network of friends, or without a job, or without the release of ditching the day-to-day and just going out to eat.

I’m with you, if you can imagine. I haven’t been to a restaurant since early March. I’ve been inside a grocery store maybe five times. Our exception is outdoor breweries, which is a luxury, I know.

So, I just wrote and erased a description of why we’re more screwed than you might think if we were to get sick. But I’ve written about that before. And I wrote about why traveling like this in our home is nevertheless pretty damn safe, and it’s also nevertheless an adventure that’s keeping us mentally and physically healthy, but then you know that if you’ve read any of this.

I’m still sidestepping how I’m doing. As for the pandemic, I’m waiting. Waiting to be able to fly to visit friends and family, to have them fly to me. Waiting to be able to explore the towns we drive through. Waiting to be able to invite people inside our weird little home for the first time. Waiting to feel safe.

My Learning Curve

A big factor in my sanity in this new lifestyle is how much I struggle with learning all these new skills I need to help keep us going.

I’m doing better with things like water and waste tank awareness and the intricacies of hitching the trailer to the truck. I’m not looking forward to having to learn how to read and interpret the solar charging interface. I still haven’t really driven the truck and I certainly haven’t towed the trailer. This will all take more time, like the pandemic.

Being Retired

What a relief. And an adjustment. Hell, it’s all an adjustment. All at the same time.

I don’t know what day it is. And now that I’m in Florida in the winter, I even refer to the wrong season sometimes. I’m unmoored, literally.

My ability to turn this into a good thing depends so much on where we are and the vibe I’m getting from that place. Here I can feel deeply saddened by how far away I am from my son, but I get out of bed and go swimming in the heated pool and feel better. Who wouldn’t?

There’s a sense of isolation you get from life on the road that can be balanced with both routine and adventure, and I’m continuing to improve on those. A bike ride by myself gives me back a bit of independence. A Zoom ukulele workshop reminds me I’m not just the second fiddle in this complicated orchestra Tracy and I compose daily of planning, movement, maintenance, a very close relationship.

Sloppy Texting for the Win

More and more I need to actually talk to friends and family on the phone, hear their voices, hear their laughter. Not create so much room for misunderstanding with clipped texts. But this one time: texting ftw.

My friend Jacqui and I were texting one night while I was also playing cards with Tracy, so I was distracted-texting. She asked me about recent news stories about iguanas in unusually cold Florida right now who go torpid and fall from the trees. I simultaneously posted a photo to our shared photo stream of the campground luminaries. Then we had this conversation.

Are we talking about luminaries? Or iguanas? Jacqui seriously thought I was sitting there playing cards while watching iguanas fall from the sky. I was seriously considering her suggestion of going out in the morning and putting the spent luminaries in the trees.

Crossed wires through texting: Comedy or Tragedy? Comedy for us! (Not for the iguanas.)

Cooking in a Small Space

Another part of this life I’ve actually gotten better at is living in the trailer. Here in Florida we’ve gotten rid of a bunch of stuff we’ve been lugging around since we took off. We’re lighter, and I’m missing really nothing.

Well, except maybe food storage. Living with a small fridge and pantry ain’t easy, especially since we’re rarely indulging in take-out.

Here’s a story about cooking that my friend Susan insisted I post. Maybe this tells you more about how I’m really doing.

Hey Susan, I think you’d appreciate this.

I was going to make a pumpkin pecan pie today – basically a pumpkin pie with a topping of glazed pecans with cinnamon.  

Turns out I put the frozen pie crust in the wrong online shopping cart and now don’t have it.  So Tracy made a graham crust with leftover graham crackers from s’mores..

Turns out I also put in the wrong online shopping cart the can of pumpkin. So I decided to make it straight-up pecan pie.

Turns out I bought pre-glazed pecans coated in cinnamon.  So I decided to cut the sugar significantly plus some of the spices and just make it anyway.

Turns out I forgot to mix together the eggs and the bit of sugar and spices, and I poured just eggs over the pecans in the crust.

So I picked out the pecans and tried to pour the eggs out of the pie into a bowl.  I added another egg in the bowl to make up for what I couldn’t pour out, and then mixed in the sugar and spices and poured it all back over the pecans that I’d placed back on the crust.  

And I still need to compensate for my shoe-box oven.

What’s your bet this will be edible?

And yet it was!

So that’s how I’m doing. I’m still exercising every day. I’m still struggling with sleep (that’s the reason for this post). I’m still knitting weird things and playing ukulele badly. I still have a bit of anxiety every time I walk Banjo, because I hate the uncertainty of what happens when we run into other dogs maybe more than she does. But I’m getting the hang of creating routine, creating a small sense of independence, and connecting with friends more often, one way or another.

Does this give you a better idea?

How are you really doing?

9 thoughts to “How I’m *Really* Doing”

  1. Yes Shelly, it gives me a better idea. And I recognise what you write about being retired, as I am, too.
    This about how I’m really doing is interesting. First of all I’m doing good, but how do I know that? Like, what is feeling good? Like, what does the alternatives look like? Are the alternatives better or worse? So in a sense I sort out the worse and stick to what is (and try to improve it) and the better (whatever better I can come up with), which is a little bit like you Shelly, writing a book and try to sort out all my (worse) gramma errors.
    Love and Happy New Year,

  2. Ah that conversation still makes me laugh! Thanks For letting us know how you’re really doing. Sometimes I think I won’t know how I’m doing until it’s all over, it’s just too hard to put everything in context at the moment

  3. Terrific post. Thanks for taking the time to answer some of my my physic questions. I think that pie looks totally fine and I bet it was great with a nice cup of coffee. I just pulled a chocolate cake out of the oven and my house smells like Comfort and Joy. I wish you 3 a terrific 2021 full of curiosity, safe travels, secret beer gardens and innovative baking.