I hope everyone is holding up OK. Every day brings so many updates. I’m reading so much and there are hopeful signs that we are learning more and moving toward a more sustainable policy.
The last few weeks have been good for us: repetitive, strange, healthy, busy, and limiting. Here on Oahu, in one of the 3 safest states in the USA with the fewest cases of the virus, the governor banned walking on the beach. This is insane, especially since he is allowing walking in all state parks beginning tomorrow.
There is no explanation for these unequal rules. Meanwhile the Attorney General of HI decided to inject himself and say according to the Governor’s emergency decree, doing anything on the beach other than entering or exiting the water is illegal. We even had police officers on our out-of-the-way small beach issuing warnings.
At the same time, the new emergency health rules do not apply to the homeless encampment on the north end of our beach who have no sanitation at all. Time for my favorite emoji 🤦🏽♀️.
The good news today is that we are now allowed to walk on the beach although suntanning and other forms of lallygagging remain illegal, as are beach chairs and umbrellas. Accordingly, I’ve designed a beach couch made by digging a contoured hole in the sand to sit in and if the police show up I can start doing sit-ups as a cover because exercising on the beach has been made legal again.
Since I wrote you last, we celebrated Passover and Easter. Our Zeder (Zoom Seder) was truly wonderful. We used a new Haggadah this year that was available through Kindle and better for children: The Kveller’s Haggadah. Our Grandson James is 7 going on 10. He’s an exceptional reader and was able to participate fully. Watching him experience his first Passover “fully conscious” and engaged was so special. We wished we were all together in person, but our Zeder was the next best thing.
The worst part of being in isolation in Hawaii is not getting to see friends and family. I’ve decided to reread Harry Potter. James is on the 4th book and I’m quickly catching up. It gives me an opportunity to discuss it fresh with him. After finishing the Chamber of Secrets, I called him to discuss it and he asked me, “so what was your favorite part?” And although Robert isn’t a huge video conference fan we had a fun FaceTime with him this morning and he was showing us his reading program and how to use emoji masks.
The best part of being here in Hawaii is of course the sun and the warmth and we have our quarantine buddies Tom and Debbie to talk with and play pickleball. Luckily, we can still play almost every morning and we are in great shape. We also get fresh greens delivered from the local organic farm every Friday and therefore we are also eating very healthy. I discovered that the greens from the fresh carrot tops are great in our morning elixir and dinner salad. We also are blessed with fresh veggies from our friend Rose who lives nearby and is a master gardener.
As instructed we don’t go to the grocery store very often. However, we did recently run out of our favorite gin and so had to make a gin run to the local liquor store. Earlier in our trip we discovered a liquor store nearby in Ewa Beach that carries my favorite “Empress” gin. So masks and gloves at the ready, Jim drove me there and I bought the last 3 bottles. This liquor store looks like something out of Harry Potter Diagon Alley. Part small convenience store with tight rows of every imaginable “potion”. We are ready for anything now. FYI we are not putting bleach in our gin & tonics! We also drove through the local Wendy’s for a rare meal out. In our little town of Wainaiae restaurant choices are limited to fast food, poki and one Thai restaurant that is still open for take out. There are a few other restaurants, but none really worth bringing home.
Another great thing about the last few weeks has been some spectacular sunsets. The whales have all gone now. The last Humpbacks we saw were on Easter. A Mom and baby put on a great show and then they were gone. We will have to catch up with them in Canada when we head out on the True Love this summer, God willing.
Ok, time for a little ranting. So when will we begin to return to a more normal life? The Stanford, USC and NYC antibody studies all show that a much higher number of people have got the virus (although without any serious symptoms) which means that the virus has a much lower death rate than originally estimated. This was always likely, but until we knew it for sure, all of the “lock down” precautions were reasonable temporary measures to prevent a nightmare scenario. But now that we have more data, and a much clearer understanding of the real risk of serious illness and death for different segments of the population, we believe it is now time for those at high risk to remain isolated while young people without underlying health issues go back to work, school, and real life. We need to open up outdoor activities, stay smart, wash our hands, wear masks and keep physically distancing. But we can’t let fear keep us from moving forward. The news that hospitals are so empty they are laying off doctors and nurses is ridiculous. It’s time to let real data, not estimates, guide our actions. I don’t expect Hawaii or Washington State to lead in this area. But other states will and we will learn from them. Here are some good interviews:
In the sports world, were you one of the 55 million sports-starved people who watched the NFL draft? I know our son-in-law David did. We watched in the background while playing Bridge Base Online (BBO). Who knows if the Seahawks’ first round draft pick is any good, but we’ll see. I know David was disappointed with SF’s first round choice, but the pundits seem impressed.
One player that caught my eye, Tristan Wirfs, was picked by Bucs. He is a stud. It’s worth watching this video of him literally jumping OUT of the pool onto the deck. I told David he should work on this trick when he gets back to swimming.
As an aside, BBO has been swamped with all the closeted bridge players resorting to online games with friends and strangers from all over the world. The lack of table talk and the ability to compare how other people play has sometimes improved our play. Of course that depends if we are drinking gin and beer while playing. I have to say I truly miss eating the Rainier Club’s Chocolate Chip Cookies while playing bridge and of course visiting with our bridge friends. But it has been fun staying connected online and encouraging to see so many people playing bridge online.
Back to more physical sports. I think it is time for some sports without fans. I’m not sure it will work with football, but I’m all in for baseball to creatively start the season. After all there are many teams that play without fans. My two teams, the Mariners and the Mets are prime examples. They should create regional centers for each division. Let them stay in hotels. Do a lot of reality TV around the players. If some of them get sick, they can quarantine in one place and we can use it as an experiment for the rest of us. I’m sure they will have to negotiate with unions, but come on, lets get creative! We have also been watching the Pickleball channel on YouTube to become better players. Who knew there was a US Open of Pickleball? Debbie, Tom, Jim and I are in training for the 2021 US Open Seniors Division.
Last night we had a virtual dinner date with our friends Greg and Carolyn. We cooked together and enjoyed a lovely late afternoon for us, evening for them. I highly recommend getting together with friends this way.
Oh and we have had to do a couple of repairs. For those of you who follow our Adventures on the True Love, you know that we have become pretty handy out of necessity. This has rolled over to our lives here in Wainaiae. Last week we had a sink drain back up and had to take the pipes apart. It was a couple of hours of work including using a borrowed “snake” in the pipes all the way into the wall drain. With a little help from our friend Tom, and a brilliant last minute use of the plunger by Jim, we were able to fix our problem without the need of a plumber.
A few day later we replaced the outside closet door rollers so we can actually open and close them without the doors falling off the tracks. At first Jim thought they were falling off because I did not have enough skill to open and close them correctly. But after closer inspection, we discovered that the rollers were completely disintegrated. For those of you who have stayed here, you will be pleased with the repair.
Stay well, stay healthy, stay connected. I’ll finish with some star photography I took last night.