Friday, December 31, 2021

Because COVID

New Year's Eve can be a sort of introspective time, but all I can think tonight is WTH were those last two years about? Was that even real

Susie's having some friends over for a sleepover, which was my counteroffer to her suggestion that I drive her to the high school homeschoolers' superspreader NYE party that is 45 minutes away. Larry and David are already asleep, as they have to get up at 3:30 to drive David to the airport. He was supposed to have left at 6 this evening, but there was a cancelled flight and all that. Because COVID.

Rockin' that interfaith vibe, as usual

All the kids were here for Christmas (David missed last year, because COVID). It was really nice, especially since everyone is old enough not to be crying all the time. (That's a low bar, I guess, but that's what having a bunch of kids will do to you.) We just sat around and traded presents and ate things and argued over whether the snickerdoodles tasted funny (they did - rancid flour). We're sort of a boring family, I guess.

This year I asked Larry (AGAIN) if he'd be willing to try an artificial tree so I wouldn't worry about the house burning down, and again he looked sad, so I said never mind, a real tree it is. 

But THEN I happened to score a 7.5-foot prelit artificial tree on our local Buy Nothing Group and set it up (all by myself, because it's EASY) and reassured Larry that if he didn't like it, we would go out and buy a real tree and give this one away.

Reader, the tree stayed. It makes me so happy, because I don't lie in bed envisioning its going up like a torch while we sleep. Also, we don't have to turn it this way and that to hide its bad side. And we don't have to string lights on it. It's awesome.

And free! Did I mention free?

The only thing we missed was that magical pine smell, so I ordered something called Scentsicles from Amazon. I was out when they arrived, so Susie followed the directions and hung all 6 on the tree. When - an hour later - I walked into the living room, it smelled as if a balsam bomb had detonated. Poor Larry was lying on the couch, looking somewhat dazed. "Get up!" I yelled, shaking him. "Get some air!" 

He threw open some windows while I focused on removing the skinny green scent bombs from the tree. I couldn't find them at first (skinny, and green) and had to throw on the KN95 mask I happened to have handy (because COVID) to continue searching. I found 3, which we sealed back up in their container and then in a Ziploc bag and threw outside, to be dealt with later (preferably by a professional in a hazmat suit).

It only helped a little, and it took the rest of the week to locate the remaining balsam bombs and dispose of them. Larry ended up buying a little wreath to put near the tree that would impart some (nonlethal) pine scent into the air.

Better than a Scentsicle, and YES the snowman is still there

Everyone but David was here for Chanukah, and Thanksgiving, too. It's all a blur. There were latkes and soofganyot (doughnuts) fried by Theo, and a guest at Thanksgiving (friend of Anna's) who was into Trivial Pursuit, so we were briefly a fun family that actually plays games when we gather. Miracles do happen. 

But the big news was earlier in November, when Larry and I welcomed our new bouncing baby camper van. Oh, yes, we did!

Small enough to fit in a townhouse parking space (and drive around town)

Big enough to camp in

I present to you Midlife Crisis (MC for short). Something about the past 2 years (hmmm, could it be...COVID?) brought home the fact that life is short and unpredictable and maybe we should get something like this now, instead of waiting until we were old and doddering or, uh, dead. It didn't help that while I was working the handicapped section of the vax centers earlier this year, I kept noting that the birth years of many of the people hobbling in with canes or walkers weren't all that far behind mine. I'm closing in on 60, people.

Absolutely no idea how that happened. 

So I won't get a remodeled kitchen (hey, the 1969 cabinets are old enough to qualify as chic vintage now, anyway), and there will be no new car (this will replace the 12-year-old minivan once it gives up the ghost). We thought long and hard before we ordered this thing earlier this year, but I was still shaking when I took delivery of it and drove it to our local garage for its inspection sticker. Should we have spent this much? Had we lost our COVID-addled minds?

The (habitually jaded) mechanics at the garage absolutely flipped out over this van. Every few minutes, another one would come up front and ask, "Is that yours? It's a camper?" The look in their eyes reminded me of the music critic who reviewed Bruce Springsteen back in the 70s by saying, "I have seen the future of rock and roll!" The jaded old guys at the desk went back to see it, too, and returned with the same look. So that was reassuring, I guess.

The kids still think we are crazy, though. But we don't care. Because COVID.


  1. I loved absolutely ever line of this post.

    And what kind of camper van is that!? We're taking bets on which of our ancient cars will die first, and I am intrigued with the idea of something like this as a replacement.

    Happy New Year! (Stupid Covid.)

  2. I love your camper van. I want your camper van. I also want to know what type it is,

  3. Ok, that is cool! I'm not a happy camper in a tent but I'm pretty I'd be happy with a van.

    Happy New Year!

  4. So glad all the kids were home and that van! Good for you!!

  5. Coach really wants a fake tree. I resist. The scentsicles in the tree - hilarious. So glad you were all able to gather. I died that you acted like a fun family that plays games when a friend was over. Ha. Love the car. We've been trying to replace the 12 seater van so we have a newer version to take to Yellowstone. Been trying to locate a car like that for over a year AND my son works at a car dealership. Thanks, covid.

    Happy New Year! Happy to hear the goings-on at your house.

  6. This post was a delight to read. The scentsicles - omg, that sounds awful but also hilarious. And hooray for a tree that won't burn the house down! Happy New Year!

  7. Your (FREE!) tree is gorgeous! Yes, I think we have determined that we will always have an artificial, pre-lit tree forevermore. It really is a game changer. I had a feeling the scentsicles would be an issue...

    We are not camping people - like, AT ALL - but even so, I have to admit, that IS a cool camper!

    Happy New Year!

  8. I also want to know more about the camper van. Please give us more details (brand, MPG) and a review once you have gone camping in it. what’s it like on the inside?

  9. I splurged on a Balsam Hill tree a few years back after Christmas at 70% off. Best money I have spent on a holiday, ever. I usually grab a bag of scented pinecones from the craft store and put one or two in the tree stand. I'm more of a cinnamon and apple Christmas than a pine smell kind of girl. I prefer the fake because I can set it up on my time. And lord knows, finding a real one was brutal this year.

    Looks like a good time was had by all over there though, despite the rancid flour. :)

  10. I think "because COVID" is right up there with "supply chain issues" as a full sentence. Yup.

    The tree is gorgeous! Do you think one scentsicle would have been pleasant, or were you too overwhelmed by the attack to face even one?

    1. Just one might have worked? We were too sensitized to it by the end to find out! I'm up for trying that next year, but Larry still wants to drive a stake through the bag of Scentsicles and bury them at midnight under a full moon.

  11. Happy 2022! I dig your camper van--and I appreciate the lesson of attempting faux nature smells. Been there, done that for lilacs once and never again.
    Hope your new decade is full of excellent adventures!

  12. Me-oh what a fun camper van I should look into one of those
    Also me-oh wait my husband freaks out when he drives and snores really loud.

  13. The low bar of everyone being Old enough not to be Crying would work for me too after having Raised Two Generations of Kiddos. *LOL* That Tree is beautiful, I used those Scentsicles one year too and they are pretty potent! Happy New Year.

  14. Good to hear everyone could get together. For each of our last 3 family holidays, we have had a COVID-infected absentee. We have referred to him or her as the designated survivor, which is pretty funny as long as they survive.Which all 3 have.

    1. Crossed another level of survival with Covid. Personal. No hospital, so it was a mild case.

      May all my enemies have a mild case of Covid just like I had.

    2. Oh, glad you are okay! And now you are superimmune, so there's that...

    3. Thanks.

      I hope superimmunity works.My whole family has apparently been exposed, gotten sick and survived.

      Including me, with symptoms that said - you may not survive. but those symptoms are gone.

      And I hope you and yours are all OK.

      And I hope