much to ask

Four nights in the most beautiful city in the world and we spent most of it in our Vancouver hotel room. No fancy restaurants with friends or dinners out with our family. Just room service delivered to our door in cardboard boxes.

Covid protocols were strict at the four star hotel across from the hospital where E had to have his annual testing. Only two people allowed on an elevator at one time. Masks worn at all times everywhere in the hotel but our room. Cleaning staff never came into our room. We would bundle up garbage or linen as necessary and leave it in the hall outside our door. A call to room service and it was picked up immediately. Things have changed out there in the world and it has been easy to forget, living on this island.

Normally, I would go into the hospital and wait with E during his annual testing. Not this year. I waited in our hotel room and, when he needed company to walk back safely, I was given a fresh mask at the door to the hospital before I entered. St. Paul’s is notorious for their slow, over crowded elevators. Not this week, the halls and the elevators in the hospital were empty.

The foyer of the hotel was empty. In fact the hotel itself was mostly empty. Most of the lights were out in the common areas and the escalators at a stand-still to save energy. It was spooky. Four in the afternoon and it was like walking through a hotel at four in the morning.

I realize everyone else living in the world for the last year has been going through this, and now it is common, but living on this island our life has pretty much continued as normal. Sure, we haven’t had any guests or visited with friends as we normally would do, but we have been able to live our days relatively unaffected.

We did have lots of time to drive around the city and visit our old haunts. Alberni Street where we first lived together, Stanley Park seawall where we walked on Sunday mornings. Spanish Banks West where I misspent the summers of my youth drinking on the beach. Locarno beach where E did the same. Spanish Banks to remember my Mom. UBC to see our daughter-in-law’s gorgeous banners, which are currently hanging down Main Mall.

Dunbar to see the neighbourhood where E grew up, although his house is long gone. Kerrisdale and Maple Grove Park where I grew up. My house is also gone. Drove down the secret lane that no one remembers. It was a gorgeous sunny day.

We quite enjoyed ourselves and, bonus, when your normal time to get up in the morning is the crack of dawn, you get Stanley Park all to yourselves. We had long walks around downtown and I was reminded of the countless lunches I ate on the courthouse steps, in my days working for the Big Blue company at the centre of town. After work I would meet my friend at the Old Bailiff at Robson Square for stuffed mushroom caps. mmmmmmm

So back to the island last week and we brought our granddaughter with us. Her parents were able to assure that it would be safe to have her visit. We have her for two weeks and we consider ourselves so fortunate that she loves it here so much. She is no trouble at all. The usual work isn’t accomplished with her here but that is quite fine by us as time spent reading books to her or walking down the lane holding her hand is way more fun.

When E isn’t reading children’s stories he is still working on the greenhouse. I have moved most of my seed starts and cuttings inside the greenhouse and although it isn’t as warm as it will be when we are finished, they seem happy. Our granddaughter has helped me pot up the tomato seedlings and we are currently sitting at eighty four tomatoes. Whether they all thrive or not, I won’t know for a bit, but they are looking good.

The weather has not been the best. Frankly, I am sick of the wind. It can be sunny outside but if the wind is blowing right at us, it is friggin’ cold and, honestly, I am done with it. I want endless days of 20 degrees, and no wind, so that I can enjoy my garden. Is that so

much to ask?

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