Monday, August 16, 2021

Coping with COVID...

Well, it's been a while since I've been here.  A lot of major and life changing things have happened to me since my last blog post.  I lost both my parents after lengthy illnesses, two dear friends, one to cancer, another to a sudden heart attack.  But the news isn't all bad!  I got married 2 years ago to a wonderful man on the quiet beaches of the Gulf in Florida with only the sun, the sand and the waves as our witnesses.  We eloped and shocked everybody when they found out.

Of course, everyone's life has world wide has changed, and everyone has a story to tell.

Here's mine:

At the time of the first signs that something bad was coming, my hubby and I were at our home in Florida, and decided to head home after a month of being there and hanging out with our many friends.  The first lockdown happened mid-March, and after that, I got no calls for any type of service.  For a self-employed person to feel as if they've been fired, well, you get the point.

Not only was I fired from my own company, the sudden loss of income and something to do to feel like I was making a contribution to society disappeared as well.  My hubby and I were going to be building a home in Northeastern Ontario.  It was to be like a cottage, where we could go during warm summer months, visit with family who all live close by, and just get away from it all.  We lived in a beautiful condo in Toronto, where I was going to continue living so I could still work during the week.  Hubby was up north working on the house, which, at this point, was in a semi-completed state.

Just before the lockdown, we had returned from Florida.  Hubby went up north, I had a few tuning appointments to do, so I would join him once my schedule cleared.  I went up to see him for what was supposed to be the weekend.  I only packed 3 days worth of clothes because the plan was for me to go back to Toronto to work.

But, you know what they say about the best laid plans....

The first lockdown happened in Ontario.  Everything was closed except for grocery stores, gas stations and hospitals.  The same was true up north.  I had people cancelling appointments out of fear of catching the virus.  I was leary of going into anyone's home, almost a necessity in this line of work.  Both my hubby and I are seniors, and with no vaccine available, I was kind of relieved that I didn't have to work and put himself and myself at risk.

I remember thinking at the time, this will be resolved by May or June.  So we decided to take advantage of this sudden increased spare time that I found myself with, and dive deep into the build of our home up north.  We did our kitchen, bathrooms, drywall, painting and flooring as we had all the materials purchased before COVID,  It almost seemed like a blessing in disguise.  Almost...

We had planned to take a trip to Florida in April, and another one in June with 2 of our granddaughters right after they had finished school.  Both ideas were squashed as the Canada US land border were immediately closed.  Today as I write this, Canada is allowing US citizens in with proof of vaccination, but the US isn't allowing Canadians in just yet.  

The small town we live in up north has only 4200 residents, so it is quiet by most people's definition at the best of times.  It became like a ghost town, no cars, no traffic, no neighbourly chats, nothing.

It then became apparent that without my income, and no end in sight that things were ever going to be different, we made the difficult and heartbreaking decision to sell our home in Toronto.  Even our agent really didn't know how to price it for us, as this was an unprecedented situation for both of us and would be for any potential buyer.  We moved everything out of the house because I didn't want anyone touching our stuff, while at the same time, we knew it would likely sell faster with furniture in it.  Turns out, our agent picked the right amount because the place sold in 2 days for 99% of the asking price.  I then took up permanent residence in our partly constructed home, which is the kind of situation I don't advise anyone to do.  Living in a construction zone is, how shall I say it, difficult.

Summer became fall, and gradually parts of Ontario businesses were starting to open up.  I made myself available on a limited basis, as I had really missed work.  To work, I stayed an an airbnb, crammed as many appointments as I could, then would return up north for a few weeks, then book more appointments, go down to the GTA, work, then come home.  I did this for several months.

Fast forward to winter, December, my busiest month each year, and the province announced another lockdown for early January.  So I did what I could in December, and called as many people as I could to schedule times with them.  Got an airbnb, again, and returned home on the 23rd of December.

So we were locked down for about 2 months, then the government decided to try reopen everything, with certain restrictions.  So I went back to work in  March.  Then another lockdown this time in early April that lasted until late June, early July.

There is the threat of a wave of the virus with the Delta variant that could mean another shutdown is hanging in the air.  

We both got our 2 shots of the Pfizer vaccine, and the numbers in our area up north, continued to be low. It was certainly the safest place to be, and most residents of our sleepy little town were co-operative with restrictions, people were friendly and kind, and business almost seemed normal.

So here I go again, returning to work at the end of this month, with a slew of appointments in the GTA, scheduled for August - October, not knowing whether I'll actually make it there if there is another lockdown.

To top everything else off, we haven't been to our home in Florida since Feb 2020.  There has been some damage done to our home which we would have been able to fix if we had been there.  There was a tornado that ripped through our community and apparently our roof was on the verge of flying off.  We have water breaching our ceilings, our hot water heater is leaking, and the northern face of our home is covered in green stuff that is only getting worse with humidity. And with the current state of affairs in Florida (135,000 new covid cases last week), we're almost afraid to go down there.  It's like a death trap.

So why tell you this? Well, you can see I've had an overabundance of free time on my hand, so I decided to use this time to continue developing the program.  Let me tell you it is so much harder than anyone can imagine.  I create most of the images and the videos, and am trying to do it in a very structured manner and keep the interest levels high. This is something I couldn't have considered doing if I was still driving to the GTA to work.  I'd be too exhausted.

And there is now a sudden increase in interest in the course, as I, just today, posted my intention on a facebook group for women technicians to make others aware of the program, as there are none like it anywhere.  So far, I've received incredibly strong and helpful support from everyone.  Turns out, I'm not the only one who sees the need for the course, but I may be the only one who is addressing that need with a viable alternative for learning the craft.

Stay tuned.....sorry.....I can't help myself...

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