Social Distancing Maine Coast-Style

I am currently writing a post but I need another day to work on it.  I don’t want to rush it and have it suck.

I also meant to write a Weekly Gratitude post but didn’t get around to it.  Work and home school is exhausting.  But I decided to do a gratitude post of sorts.

I am grateful to have been able to be socially distant in one of the prettiest places on Earth.  And due to the rural nature, we have been able to still go to beaches and to go hiking in the woods.  We are very lucky.  I thought I would share some pictures.

 

How quickly things can change

March 12.

That was a Thursday.  At that point there were no cases of COVID-19 in Maine.  We were the last state in New England standing.  If I remember correctly, there were cases in 30 states.  I was excited for Saturday as my town was having a Bean and Potluck Supper to celebrate Maine’s 200th birthday.  I had volunteered to make a cake and I was going to decorate with a blueberry theme as I had Maine blueberries in my freezer.  My daughter’s class was going to helping out at the supper.

I had been following the virus for the previous 6 weeks.  What can I say?  I’m a nerd who loves maps and I work in healthcare.

I had been slowly stocking up on food over the past couple weeks. No panic buying.  Just picking up a little extra on things my 5 year old would be pissed if we ran out of, so things like Dino-Nuggests and Cheez-Its with the Frozen characters on them.  The important things.  No TP Hoarding here.

I had an almost empty chest freezer that I was slowly filling.

I also did my Easter Bunny shopping early.  I figured there would be two outcomes.  If Easter products were hard to find, then the Easter Bunny would still come through.   If there was no shortage of Easter Products, I would still be happy to have that shopping done.  The latter was the outcome.

A little voice told me that morning to go to Wal-Mart and do another grocery trip.  Just one last trip.  So I went.  Got on extra box of Frozen Cheez Its and Two extra bags of Dino Nuggets.  And my intuition told me to buy an extra bag of flour.  I had no idea flour would become hard to find in the coming weeks.

I came home and put the Dino-Nuggets in the freezer.  Then I went to work.  (I work from home.)

That afternoon it was announced that Maine had it’s first case.

It was only a matter of time.

As expected, the first case was in Southern Maine which might as well still be in another state when you are from my part of Maine.  (I kid.  Well, I kid but there is some truth to that.)

Then a bunch of activities and events planned were postponed and cancelled, including the bean supper.

I picked my daughter up from school because there were T-ball sign ups.  Of course that season has been postponed.

I took my daughter to the beach that evening while everyone went to the supermarkets and bought all the hamburger and toilet paper.

 

We found a piece of sea glass.  This has become a new hobby.  Maybe I will write a post about our sea glass adventures.  (And it’s okay if you look at this piece of sea glass and think it looks like…something.  Or maybe I just have a dirty mind.)

You can also follow our adventures on Instagram at @kerryannmckim #shamelessplug

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The next morning I dropped my daughter off at school and things were different.  Instead of all the kids congregated together, the children went straight to their classrooms.  No panic.  It was sold to the kids “we’re doing something different today.”

It was announced that the teachers would be coming up with plans should school be cancelled.

Saturday morning my daughter sold cookies with her Girl Scout Troop.  People needed to get cookies before quarantine.

That weekend I went out for one of my best friends birthdays.  We were still cautious.  We had hand sanitizer.  Plus, alcohol kills germs…right?

Not going to lie.  Even with modern technology, I miss my friends.  I did drop off ice cream to them the following week but I miss seeing them.  One of my friends has a birthday in May and we were joking that we wouldn’t get to see each other until her birthday.

Now I don’t think that is going to happen.

That night we got notified that there would be no school for two weeks.  Which would later turn into 6 weeks and then turn into the rest of the school year.

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Sunday morning was my daughters dance class and then we stopped in at her troops last cookie booth so we could pick up and deliver some cookies we sold last minute.

And that was the last of life before the quarantine.

I’m trying not to complain.  While homeschooling my kid and denying my social nature is not easy…this still doesn’t compare to those 5 months that Bryon was hooked up to a ventilator.  But uncertainty is still never easy.  The only difference is that when Bryon was sick, it was only our world that was unstable….everything was going on as scheduled around us.  Right now, it is uncertain for everyone around us.

So while I can draw a lot of parallels between that crisis and this crisis, there are very big differences.

But remember….nothing ever lasts forever.

And everybody wants to rule the world.  But that is another whole issue.

 

 

A Fall Saturday in Maine

This past weekend was probably an unremarkable weekend for most.  I know here in the Northeast, many people went apple picking or visited a pumpkin patch.

I love fall activities but I know I was not going to enjoy last weekend because last Saturday would have been Bryon and my 6th wedding anniversary.

The truth is, as more anniversaries pass, the more alienated I feel.  Not just from other, happily married, living people (i.e. NORMS, a term created by fellow widow Michelle Miller) but also from myself.  As time goes back, I feel detached even from myself.  Because I am no longer a happily married, living person.

So what does a formerly happily married, living person do on their wedding anniversary, particularly when the other half of their former happy union is a dead person?

Well last year, our anniversary fell on a Friday.  So I took Kimmy Gibbler out for a steak lunch at Black and Blue Steak and Crab.  The food was amazing.

This year our anniversary was on a Saturday.  Taking Kimmy Gibbler out for steak wouldn’t have worked because our kids would be home from school.

I am kidding, of course.

The truth was, I didn’t want to be in town that day.  I didn’t feel like sitting around my house or staying in the town where every place has some memory of Bryon.

So I drove home to Maine for the weekend.

That day my father, my daughter and I went on a day trip.

Our first stop was the scenic lookout at  Caterpillar Hill in Sedgwick, Maine.


I don’t know what my hair was doing in that picture.  We were near the ocean so it was windy.

Then we crossed over the Deer Isle-Sedgwick Bridge.

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We passed the Little Deer Isle, Maine post office.  This was the post office that my father worked at when he first became postmaster.   This also was the promotion that brought my family to Maine from the Boston area.

We drove down to Pumpkin Island Light.

It felt so good to feel the fresh air of the ocean.  The ocean has always been my happy place.  There is something about it that re-centers my soul and reminds me just how insignificant we really are.

We drove around Deer Isle but I didn’t get any pictures.

On the way home, we stopped at The Fish Net in Blue Hill to get fried clams for lunch and a chicken fingers lunch for my daughter.  I went to the takeout window while my father stayed in the car with my daughter, who was napping.

Being home and being around the ocean always makes me reflective.

Lately I have been taking a step back socially to focus on my daughter, to reflect on my life, to take care of myself and to prepare for the next chapter in my life.  I admit, it makes me a little uneasy to look towards the future and not know what to expect.  I have always been a person who liked to have a two year, five year and ten year plan.

Currently, I don’t even have a two month plan.

At times, I feel lost.

A little over two and a half years ago, I still had a husband.  We had just returned from a Caribbean cruise and we had our whole lives ahead of us.

And then that was taken away.

I may have gotten over the basic shock and I have accepted that this happened.  But now I am working on letting go and redefining myself and my dreams.

Please trust me when I say that it’s a lot harder than it sounds.

I was thinking about this as I stood at that clam shack on the Maine Coast when I looked up and saw this:

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Bryon with a “yo”.

At that moment, I realized that no matter where I go or how my dreams change, Bryon will be there with me.

I mean, seriously, if he can find a way to be with me while waiting for my lunch at a clam shack on the Maine Coast, then he will find a way to be with me anywhere.

And that was the best anniversary present I could have gotten.

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