COFFEE TALK 05.24.20 ☕️

Good morning. I hope you all are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend, unconventional though it may be.

Ours has been pretty gloomy so far, but we did get a short reprieve yesterday afternoon, when the sun decided to shine for a bit. We took full advantage and spent a few hours in our backyard pool. It’s grey and foggy again this morning, but it should clear up later today and be nice for the rest of the weekend.

We don’t have any grand plans for the day beyond a Zoom church service this morning, but I’m sure we’ll end up in the backyard again. I’ve got a book I’ve been trying to read, but I haven’t been able to get into it yet. I’m planning to pull that out again and give it another go.

Some of you are in places where churches are opening up. What does that look like?

I mentioned in last week’s Coffee Talk that it’s been a rough few weeks for our family for several reasons, and I talked about losing Paul’s dad rather suddenly, although he had been declining for some time.

In addition to that, it became evident about three weeks ago that I’m allergic to our new puppy, which brought a different type of grief into our household.

I consulted with our allergist and tried several medications and made changes to our environment in attempts to keep him, but nothing was working. A few sniffles are one thing, but asthma is entirely another, especially with a novel coronavirus raging all around us. (And yes, I was tested for COVID-19, just to be sure that wasn’t the culprit.)

I’ve been through this before — many years ago, with a cat. I kept him longer than I should have, and I ended up with multiple bronchial infections. I could see this situation going in the same direction, and we finally came to the conclusion that for the sake of my health, we would need to find a new home for Ozzy.

Needless to say, this has been devastating to Becca, who was his primary care giver. She worked so hard to get him sleeping through the night and obeying commands, and she spent all of her waking hours watching him and caring for him. She was completely and hopelessly in love — we all were.

The only type of dog I’ve had allergies to in the past were pugs. I hadn’t even considered that a goldendoodle would be an issue, and we envisioned him being part of our family for many years.

The point of getting a puppy during this quarantine was to brighten our days, not make the situation even more grim, and this whole turn of events has been an incredible disappointment for all of us.

It’s absolutely gut-wrenching to weigh your own health and quality of life against the happiness of your children and well-being of a beloved pet. We debated keeping him for a while longer to give us more time with him, but delaying the inevitable was only making our home life more sad and stressful.

Several people offered to take him when they heard of our predicament, but one couple seemed to be the perfect fit. She’s retired, and they recently lost their golden retriever of 15 years. They have a large yard and plenty of time to spend with a puppy, and they only live 20 minutes away and invited us to visit him anytime.

All that to say, Becca and I took Ozzy to his new home on Thursday.

It was the single hardest thing I’ve ever had to do as a parent. It’s one thing to give up your own pet when he’s making you sick; it’s entirely another to ask your child to give up hers.

Caroline is trying to be strong for us, but she misses him too. She had already taught him some tricks, and she was looking forward to spending more time with him after her school year is over in a couple of weeks. The house just feels deflated and empty without him.

Now that we are on the other side and the worst couple days are behind us, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but man, those were some excruciating days.

Besides missing our sweet puppy, I was racked with guilt and second-thoughts, and Becca was utterly heart-broken. Despite that, she was very mature about it all. Not once has she blamed me or taken out any of her grief on the rest of us.

After spending most of Thursday and Friday in bed, she finally perked up a bit yesterday. We went to Target to get some new pool floats, and she enjoyed hanging out in the pool with Paul and Caroline and playing with sidewalk chalk without being on puppy duty. It was a balm to my frazzled nerves to see her laughing and smiling again.

Ozzy was a large part of our life, but for a relatively short period of time. While we’re still sad, and we certainly miss him, we’re already adjusting back to our old normal.

Please know, this is not a decision we took lightly by any means. I have been physically ill over it — and I’m not talking about the asthma.

I really wasn’t ready to talk about it yet, but it’s hard to prattle on about the weather and a few more weeks on stay-at-home orders with all this going on behind the scenes.

And of course, this was all happening the same time Paul’s dad got sick, so it’s just been one big emotional roller coaster around here.

Fortunately, every day gets a little bit easier, and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.

I’m eager to return to some of our normal activities, but it looks like that will still be awhile around here.

Our county is supposed to move to the yellow phase of reopening by June 5th, but our yellow phase doesn’t look a whole lot different than our red phase.

When a county moves to the yellow phase in Pennsylvania, the stay-at-home order is lifted, but gatherings are limited to 25 people, with social distancing measures in place. This means small graduation parties will be allowed, which is nice.

The yellow phase also allows some businesses previously classified as non-life sustaining to reopen — manufacturers, pet groomers, and small retailers being the most notable. However, restaurants and bars remain open for takeout and delivery only; and gyms, salons, malls, and movie theaters are to remain closed.

I’m most excited about the dog groomers being allowed to operate. Given a choice, I think I’d pick that over my own hair salon opening. Our Savannah is beyond overdue.

Caroline occasionally trims her face and cuts out the worst of her knots, but we stopped short of ordering clippers and giving her a complete haircut, and she is in desperate need. At this point, we could mop the floor with her.

The other thing we are watching closely is the guidelines for summer camps. Evidently day camps may open in the yellow phase, but overnight camps don’t open until we move to green. This directly affects David’s summer plans, and we’re holding out hope for his overnight camp to open so he can be a counselor again this year.

Right before we were shut down, he had also lined up a job at the YMCA, helping with the kids’ camps and sports programs. The overnight camp is only for a few weeks, and they were willing to work around that. I encouraged him to reach out to his contact at the Y and see if his job is still available, but he hasn’t done that yet.

Beyond that, the other benefit of moving to the yellow phase will be feeling more free to hang out with friends. This is the time of year when I enjoy entertaining the most, and we need that distraction now more than ever.  I’d also like to have a small 8th grade graduation pool party for Becca. Right now she’s not feeling much like socializing, but hopefully she will by then.

And that brings us right back to where we started, doesn’t it?

All I can say is, 2020 is a year for the record books and one I do not care to repeat. I will happily bid adieu to the month of May, and I have high hopes for June and July.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your Memorial Day Weekend, and let us not forget the real reason for the holiday.

Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them. – Franklin D. Roosevelt