My Quasi~Quadriplegic New Normal Life

It’s been quite a good long while since I’ve popped in here to share my thoughts. We made it through the viral Covid, and now Omicron storm physically unscathed, thanks to our vaccinations, boosters and luck of the genetic draw.

We spent our pre-vaccination months hunkered down at home, taking advantage of the benefits and privileges of technology and the front line workers that enabled us to obtain food, goods, care and entertainment from our comfortable confines. We didn’t see our local young grandchildren for several months. That was the hardest part of being here on our own.

During the first six months of Covid-19 my darling self employed wife was able to take some well deserved time off work, which made our empty house warmer. At first it felt like a sci-fi staycation, tackling projects and enjoying our respective hobbies of music and gardening. After the last frost I planted seeds of my favorite flowers and made many masked trips to the nursery to add to our growing need for more soil, pots and related green thumb paraphernalia. That last bit is pretty funny coming from a gardener on wheels without opposable thumbs!

We had the irrigation system revamped to help conserve our energy and resources, which made tending the new plants much more enjoyable. The wheelchair keeps me off the grass, so we placed the pots on cinderblocks all along the edges of the 50 foot patio area to bring them within a safer and more comfortable arm’s reach.

In the lockdowns we added a colorful secret garden to our redwood laced sanctuary. The now towering Aptos Blue Redwoods were planted by family and friends back in 2009 after a big storm took out 5 deciduous trees and 60 feet of fencing on the southern side. The presence of the new little trees helped return my spirit to the peaceful tranquility of my once lifelong central coast homeland,… embraced by the mountains, trees and ocean I missed so much since moving here in 2000.

Today, I’m looking out through my windows at the majestic 70 foot trees and their agile boughs dancing in the record breaking drought quenching rain. It brings an even deeper joy to my soul. The flowers of summer and fall have wilted, with stems and stalks browned in welcoming relief from the hellish last season of 2021. Gone are the weeks of 110F degree heatwaves and weeks indoors to escape the smoke from the wildfires attributed to climate change. I wait, in hopes of a better New Year, albeit in suspense and awe of Mother Earth and her fight to save her homeland.

The viruses are mutating exponentially, glaciers and icecaps are melting at breakneck speeds. Record floods and the hottest wildfires ever recorded have finally brought humans to a reality check, the one many of us knew we have been charted for, at full throttle, in the midst of a movement of unbridled capitalism on steroids.

We marched in small groups in the streets and by the thousands at the state Capital in Sacramento to bring awareness and change to the centuries old tightly clenched death grip that inequality and racism has had on the breath of humanity. Sadly, in the new age of lockdowns, corporate profits and carefully curated division, we now live in an Authoritarian Democracy. Whilst gun toting people hellbent on perpetuating a Civil War era Freedom, violence is ravaging our streets, schools, homes and gathering places. Human rights, voter rights and reproductive rights are being gutted by traitors to our people and our Constitution. Left without impunity, I see a very dark future for the people and planet we temporarily call home.

There have been bright spots in the darkness of the last few years and for those I am eternally grateful. My adult daughter, a single mom of 2 homeschooled young children, lost her position at a local private Montessori school during the lockdowns and needed to make major changes to get through these difficult times. We offered to open our home to her precious little family and help with childcare while she started a home based business out of our 3 car garage.

Two years prior to the arrival of the Coronavirus we had turned the southern side of our home into an efficiency apartment where we housed traveling nurses during their 8 to 12 week contracts at local hospitals. All but one were assigned to emergency departments, so when Covid-19 reared it’s ugly head we decided it best to stop hosting and take advantage of the extra rooms again. We missed the supplemental income, but enjoyed the privacy and legroom to live a little larger!

Six months ago my daughter took us up on our offer to move her family in to our lovingly monikered, Serendipity House. We quickly consolidated furnishings we wanted to keep and donated a plethora of furniture and accessories to people in need. We had welcomed them to their new home, inside our home. That little apartment was a real lifesaver in so many ways! Earlier this month we converted our den into a family room, furnished with their own sectional couch, craft area and a new television. The extra breathing room was a positive change for all of us, especially the children who were still adapting to living in tighter quarters.

The grandchildren, who had previously enjoyed a veggie garden at their old home were now using their endless energy in our collective garden. Together this year we joyfully planted seeds, and potted plants in scores!

Yes, it’s all been a huge adjustment, going from two sexagenarian dancing queens living music addicted lives, to chilling for days, binging on endless streams of distanced entertainment and research, and now very active grandparents. We are honored and privileged to have the opportunity to live together and keep close to the things in life that make it all worthwhile. After all, aren’t we all just children learning to grow from the cradle to the grave.

My not-so-secret companion that became a beautiful wind beneath my wings!

This Brugmancia was just a 12 inch cutting in the spring of this year. As of this writing it is over 6 feet tall and has bloomed 2 twice.
First blossom on the Brugmancia!
Sunflowers moved from their seed trays to grow a bit stronger to stand tall in the valley winds, before transplanting them to their large planters.
A new Clematis (right) to change it up!
Getting set up for wheelchair gardening…
More sunflower transplants…
Not your typical suburban landscaping…
Following the sun…
Cosmos reaching new heights,
Lavender…
Rose of Sharon…
Doves in Love…
Patient Impatiens…
My late mother’s favorite… Vincas!
Marigolds!
Alyssum..
African Daisies…
A rescued Boston Fern!
My natural antidepressants!
More sprit lifters!
A frequent visitor..
Pansies.. by far my biggest challenge to grow.
Can one have too many plants?
Easy to grow Zinnias, in so many lovely colors!
Zinnias, Primroses, and a volunteer Sunflower…
More Vincas…
A symphony of color on the front walk…
Another rescue plant from a vacant home… donated to me by a Realtor, along with about 20 other plants not pictured in this post.

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