a few months ago, I felt like I needed to write a back to school-esque essay about what I did over the summer. a lot has changed this year, and I never would have guessed that this is what my summer would have looked like.
my last “normal” day was Monday, March 16th. it wasn’t really normal though, because the St. Patrick’s Day parade that was supposed to take place that weekend was cancelled and we all knew that things were changing rapidly and soon the state of Wisconsin would be on safer at home orders. the day before, I told our coordinator at church that it would be our last children’s liturgy for a while. I don’t think I even stayed for the whole Mass.
I got up on Monday morning like usual to get to my tumbling class at the Y. I left a few minutes early to go out of my way to drop off all of the library books that I had at home. I talked to some of the parents and grandparents after class, with none of us knowing when we would be back together.
my manager at the hotel told me that I should make sure to go grocery shopping that day, so I headed off to Pick N Save. the thing that really stood out to me was that there were no bananas left. I’m not necessarily a hoarder, but I also like to get a back up of things as I’m getting low, so I wasn’t one of those people scrambling to buy toilet paper, and I am grateful for that.
I wandered down the frozen food aisles trying to figure out what to buy since we were supposed to be stocking up for fourteen days. I doubt I had a list, and I had my headphones in. I ran into the woman I usually teach children’s liturgy with - I don’t think I had seen her in a week or two - and we briefly chatted about how weird everything was. she had already been to Wal-Mart that day looking for laundry detergent, and she said that they had bananas.
so it was off to my least favorite store, where I bought bananas, eggs that weren’t super expensive like the only ones left at the grocery store, and hot cocoa mix. I headed back home for lunch while watching story time on Instagram Live with my favorite children’s author and illustrator, Oliver Jeffers. he kept doing these for a stretch of weeks and they made my days brighter.
that afternoon was my last normal shift at the hotel. I’m not sure what I did, but I’m sure it included laundry and laughing with pat in the diner while I made coffee. melanie (and Toad) and I sat in the lobby for a while that evening and talked before I left.
I returned home to find a package from Grove. I had ordered some cleaning supplies and peppermint essential oil, and as I put things away, I realized that the last box in the box was too large to contain the peppermint oil. I opened it up and laughed to discover toilet paper instead.
I have been listening to Stephen Fry’s narration of the Harry Potter series overnight since that evening.
the next couple weeks involved a lot of staying home, finally caving and getting Netflix to go with my Hulu (I watched The Office for the first time!), and visiting cemeteries. I did a few projects at home, like cleaning out the lint trap in my dryer, hanging a giant print on my bedroom wall, and some weeding. I drank many smoothies with the NutriBullet that I bought myself five years ago, tackled a few sewing (mending) projects, and sent out some mail. it was my first spring in my house, and I enjoyed watching the flowers bloom. I found a few tomato knives stuck in the garden, which is a different story. there were a couple grocery trips to Green Bay in April that I was scolded for, but we all make choices in life. I spent many hours at home reading, listening to podcasts, and coloring. I also finally took the time to put together a couple photo books that I’ve been putting off - one for months and the other for a year.
in early May, my grandpa called me up to enlist me to do some wood staining for their new house. this evolved into varnishing, vacuuming, helping lay floating floors in about half of the house (they did the rest without me), and other odd jobs. that was a big learning experience.
I took Maggie on many walks and watched her at my house some evenings, and I played a small part in pulling off a virtual songwriting festival in June. I did some baking too, which included using the rhubarb from my garden. there were also some desserts from my grandma.
the motel was closed for three months. I came back to help out a little bit with some evening cleaning and laundry a few times, but occupancy is being kept at about 30%, so there aren’t enough hours for me yet. and so, as the end of July came nearer with the end of the extra funds for people on unemployment, I had to figure out where I was going to be working.
July also brought with it a few hikes with my best friend and helping my dad move some cars around for his business. I also knew that I would be covering a few days of Y camp for someone who was on paternity leave.
as it does, everything happens at the same time. I started working at my stepmom’s coffeehouse at the end of July, and a couple days later, the baby was born so I was at the Y in the mornings instead, and I also covered a few hours at the hotel, did some filing for my aunt, and helped finish up a few things for my grandpa.
a birthday somehow slipped in there too, along with a little family time, and August wrapped up with a surprise visit from a friend I hadn’t seen in years.
the past six months have been such an odd time, with lots of hard moments, but there were some really beautiful moments that I never saw coming either. things will probably never return to the way they had been before, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t great things ahead.
a photographer with the desire to hide behind the camera a little less and let the light shine through.