Sheltering (Resentfully) in Place

It’s been a crazy long time since my last posting, and like everyone else, my life has been turned upside down because of, well, events.

Paper towels
Paper towels!

A lot of my plans were cut off because of the COVID-19 “Sheltering in place” directives that were in effect in nearly every state. California and Nevada were no exception. I was going to spend an entire week in Paso Robles for fun and study. Not only because I’d made AND PAID FOR a vacation house, rental car, kitty sitting, and had designated a credit card for ridiculous spending, but also because I had scheduled my WSET3 exam in Buellton. That would mean taking a day to drive to Buellton and back, but that was okay.

Unwinding an entire paid-for vacation is never fun. I was resentful, angry, and more than a little concerned. However, I went along with the guidelines and stayed home. A bunch of my wine friends and I formed a “texting circle” and have stayed in contact daily. No one, knock on wood, has contracted the virus. Despite the resentment of having to stay at home, we’ve soldiered through the mess.

TOB™ News

Unfortunately, what was a very bad situation turned infinitely worse for me. Trying to stay in contact with Mom, the Tough Old Broad™, was impossible, because her medical facility was on the strictest of lockdowns. Although lucid, Mom didn’t understand why she couldn’t see me, no matter how many times I told her that I wasn’t allowed to visit.

She passed on April 16, and only then was I able to see her. Of course, Aunt Joyce and I had to go through a bunch of screenings to even get through the front door.

Mom's Box Urn
Mom’s Box Urn

If you’ve ever lost a parent, then you know how hard it can hit you, even if not totally unexpected. Mom was, after all, close to the century mark, and had several health issues that may have killed a less tough person. And I didn’t come up with the moniker “Tough Old Broad” just because it was cute. It was an accurate description!

Toward the end, I stayed in daily contact with her caretakers, and just a few days before her passing was told that she had grown very cranky and gave her opinion on how she really felt about the food there.

On April 16, after “giving her opinion” about the breakfast, she took a nap, and, as the John Gillespie Magee, Jr., poem says, “slipped the surly bonds of earth…and touched the face of God.”  I received the phone call midway during my online Zoom Toastmasters meeting, and have been dealing with the after-effects, which surprised me. Expected or not, you still feel the emotional impact.

Mom is now resting quietly on a bookcase shelf in my living room. And, finally, all is well and she, and I, are at peace. The only part that’s missing is that I can’t have the memorial service that I wanted because of the COVID rules, but even if I never do, the family really doesn’t need closure.

HGTV on Steroids

During this whole sheltering period, I’ve been busy with projects around Casa Wineaux. I’ve painted walls, hung shelves, changed out lights, rearranged furniture, redid both bathrooms, and the list goes on. I’ve also learned the wisdom of a nap. It’s a very valuable habit that I don’t think I completely appreciated until now. In fact, the Wineaux Guy™ and I exchange nap stories.

I just reread that last sentence. How pathetic is that? Ha!

When the weather finally is decent – that is, when it doesn’t feel like surface of the sun temperatures – I will be making changes in what passes as a garden here. Yeah. It’s kind of pitiful.

What About Vegas?

On April 16, after “giving her opinion” about the breakfast, she took a nap, and, as the John Gillespie Magee, Jr., poem says, “slipped the surly bonds of earth…and touched the face of God.”

I had an appointment south of town and instead of taking the freeway home, I decided to drive up the Strip. This was about mid-May, and I wanted to see what the casinos looked like.


Each casino was closed, and each one had a police presence at every entrance. There were barriers in place. Many of the neons were either dark or were flashing words of encouragement – “We’re In This Together” – or others. The DOT was taking advantage of the lockdown to work on the street surface of Las Vegas Blvd and there were construction barriers everywhere. Most of which are still there, but that’s fine.

Pre-COVID View from Strat
Pre-COVID View from the Strat

FWIW, Vegas is chomping at the bit to open fully and safely, and I predict that there will be stops and starts until things finally get back to normal. New normal or not, people are ready.

What’s Next?


Naturally, with the wine scene more or less shut down, I haven’t had a lot to report. Because, well, “life.” But, I’ve been working on the Great American (Romance) Novel that’s been bubbling inside for years. So I’ve been writing and it’s been a great release and distraction during this whole COVID and loss situation. Will I ever get published? Who knows! But I’m happy with the results so far, and can only hope that publishers like what I do with my characters and plot. And yes, it’s based in Vegas. I mean, why not?

That said, I hope to be returning to regular updates. I’m thinking about once a week until the gears start meshing again. Meanwhile, if you’ve stayed with me this long, then thanks. I appreciate your loyalty and patience, and you can be sure that my next posting won’t be FIVE FRICKING MONTHS from now.

Stay tuned.


The featured photo at the top of the post was when I took Mom out for her 90th birthday downtown about ten months before her accident. Naturally, she had to flirt with the performers! She wanted a boyfriend almost up to the very end. 


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