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  • Writer's pictureJo Page

See You in September?.....Not.

For the past two summers and not quite by design, I have taken vacations by myself. It's not awful, but I decided that for summer 2020 I didn't want another solo voyage. Well, summer 2020 took away that option entirely.

So as of right now I am embarking on that most underwhelming of holiday plans, the "staycation. " I even hate the word.

For the past few years, I've worked from home. My study is kitted out perfectly for that. I have a corner office that looks out on my yard. There's no AC to trigger my Reynaud Syndrome. (I've been told I don't really have it, but tell that to my numb, blue fingers.) My yoga mat is spread out next to my old harvest table, which is actually my desk. It's a good set-up.

On the other hand, these past months, instead of heading off to a meeting, I Zoom. Instead of meeting a friend for drinks, we Zoom. Instead of leading the church service in person on Sunday, I tape it on Thursday so it's ready to drop on Sunday at 9:15. (I never talked about church services "dropping" before in my life!)

On Sunday morning itself, I read the New York Times, like a true New Yorker, but without the lox and bagels. (Note to self: look up "making bagels at home.")

You see? DIY has become de rigueur. And product-branded as adventure.

Since March, I and other hale folks, have been doing our best to demonstrate what we learned from the dog-earred Laura Ingalls Wilder books of childhood. I've been soaking the beans, growing the vege, pickling the Kirbys, rolling the pasta and bench-resting the sourdough.

But if we're still homebound by blizzard, I am not stringing a rope to get from cabin to barn for milking--oh, wait, I don't have cows. Or barn.

I'm fine, mostly, with all this. I've got a loaf of spelt bread in the oven even as we speak.

But for staycation? More bread-baking, bean-soaking, bench-resting, bagel-boiling?

Say it isn't so! Say there is a way to have fun. You know--fun.

Well, it seems that is DIY now, too. If I want to have a rip-roaring, no-contact, go-nowhere, two-week staycation, ingenuity is in order.

I'm thinking of taking a livestream tour of a haunted castle. Loftus Hall on Ireland's Hook Peninsula--Ireland's most haunted castle--is actually for sale for a mere €2.5 million. Too rich for my blood. But the after dark livestream is free and who doesn't want to boldly go into the haunted Chapel and haunted Devil's Room--plus Room No. 10 on the Top Floor?

I found the recipe for chili sauce that my dad used to make from his tomatoes. I've got my own tomatoes this year, too. And since he died when I was a little kid, I might make up a few jars in homage. (Spread on spelt bread, no less.)

And I'm thinking about language courses--deepen my serviceable French or stop being the only Lutheran pastor who doesn't speak a word of German? Decisions, decisions....

Oh, and I'll do like we do now--and hike, like there's no tomorrow, because, who knows?

And I'll read. Maybe I'll read Daniel DeFoe's A Journal of the Plague Year. Or Robert Kelly's The Great Mortality. Again. Or Camus' The Plague. Again. All for fun.

And if none of this sounds like all that much fun to you, it doesn't to me, either.

So if you have cracked the DIY Staycation Fun Code, let me know. I'll be by my sister's pool, holding a salt-rimmed glass and reading about germ theory.

A vôtre santé!

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