This year has been one where we have had to be introspective and appreciate the little things. It’s a small silver lining given the tragedy of Covid-19 but perhaps it will give us new coping skills for the future. Teddy and I used to go out to lunch at least once a week. We knew all the wait staff and enjoyed the banter along with the food. It was my only reason to get dressed up as I wore a uniform, of sorts, at work. Like most of us I have cleared out the closets but the pretty dresses flutter sadly in the closet. Recently I bought two new nightdresses because that’s what I wear most. On the plus side, I found nightdresses with pockets – wow!
Teddy was pushed to his limit last week when Hurricane Laura blew through. It missed the large centers of population but it tore down large parts of our electricity grid to our east. The next day the power went out unexpectedly for about 8 hours. That seems perfectly reasonable to me but it was 100 degrees outside and 84 degrees in the house. Teddy had to stop work and paced the house like a tiger. He tested the generator (it works), he hunted for batteries and torches (which are all in the hurricane box which Kerry packs each year) and generally drove me crazy. After many hours, I shouted at him, gave him a beer and told him to sit his ass down. To his horror I said, “Look at the flowers” which is a line from Walking Dead before one of the characters was dispatched. I reassured him that it was a Freudian slip… Then nature sent us a little precious moment to calm him down. Two little squirrel siblings who had been running crazy along the fences and trees, suddenly stopped and started grooming each other. They snuggled and licked each other and our hearts melted.
Like everyone else, our vacation plans have disappeared. We had planned something special for my 60th birthday/38th anniversary in July but instead I made Teddy his favorite meal. He loves potato gratin – so simple but I rarely make it. For dessert I made him something he had been hankering over for 30+ years. Many years ago I made a very decadent Pashka (Russian Easter cake) for a dinner party that we were hosting. I searched the internet for a slightly lighter version of my original recipe and then altered it a little. The main ingredients are butter, sugar, toasted almonds, crystallized ginger and vanilla. Teddy was so excited!!! I think it might have been the nicest anniversary meal we have ever had. Our expectations were low and I was not stressed.
Then there are the lizards. As you know, we have been without pets for over a year now. We rarely sat out in our back yard because Toffee was sadly sitting inside but now we can happily sit in our rockers looking at nature. We noticed that spotted Anoles would come running when we came out. Perhaps it was coincidence but now we have them named. Lorenzo has a regrown tail and Leo likes to sit on the prow of the deck. When we call them, they run out from under the deck and start displaying in front of us. Sometimes it is little handstands or head nods but if we are lucky they show us their red dewlap. They let us go within an inch of them to admire their chameleon coloring. We have one sweet little green Anole, Gerry, who is a native Texan. The spotted Anoles are invasive from Cuba and they are feisty. I Googled “snacks for lizards’ and they like live crickets and meal worms. They will have to eat what’s in the backyard…
Covid-19 has made me less obsessive about the usual bugs and germs. Teddy dispatched a giant tree roach in the house and I didn’t bat an eyelid or get out the bleach. We are in semi-drought here so insects are coming in, looking for water. In the middle of the night, I went sleepily to the bathroom. Through drowsy eyes, I saw what looked like a scorpion walking in while I was trapped on the toilet. It was big, brown and not a cockroach. Ruthlessly, I took a magazine and squashed it. Later, I discovered that it was a mole cricket and I have been grieving ever since. It was a harmless wee thing and I wish I had taken it out to the garden.
Another day the lizards were agitated and when we investigated, they were chasing a velvet ant away from their babies – beautiful creature but with a deadly sting. Red throated hummingbirds have visited the Mexican Fire Bush en route back to Latin America. Finally, there are the babies. We have two nests of red tailed hawks behind our house. The baby hawks screech, “Mom, I need a mouse!”, then the Blue Jays start squawking and lastly the squirrels bark. What a racket!