The weirdest birthday week

posted by Jeff | Sunday, July 5, 2020, 11:00 AM | comments: 0

I don't take a week off around my birthday every year, but I've tried to make it mostly a habit. It's good to be deliberate about taking time for yourself. This year, because of the pandemic, was exceptionally weird.

A number of times in the last few years, we've done five-night cruises around this time. Disney does a thing where in the summer they have a number of these that stop at their private island two days, with other days at Nassau and at sea. It's the ultimate turn-your-brain-off and be taken care of trip. We weren't planning to do that, but we were planning to visit Seattle and then Vancouver to sail to Alaska, the latter part of which would not include Simon. That obviously didn't happen. A weekend cruise in March was cancelled as well. Other than a conference I did in January, we haven't traveled since November. We needed to create some change in scenery.

Initially, I thought about booking a super nice hotel in Clearwater or something, but watching the web cameras in the area, that seemed like a bad idea because of the volume of people and lack of mask wearing. Instead I found a little privately owned place in Cocoa that had a dozen units, so we did that for two nights. It was relatively clean, but not particularly nice. We were paying for exclusivity, for sure. It achieved what we hoped for though, some time to just turn off and enjoy the beach. There were people there, but not a ton. People mostly kept their distance. We noticed driving through Cocoa Beach proper that this was not the case, so getting the more private location was a good idea in a state where the outbreak is getting exponentially worse.

Diana surprised me, agreeing with the idea that I've put out there before about retiring on a beach somewhere. That's a tricky proposition, because as you would expect, those places are expensive, and stand-alone houses are really expensive. But the idea that you can stroll out of your kitchen to see and hear the ocean every single day sure sounds like an appealing way to go out.

The rest of the week involved some concentration on doing things that I like to do. I did some reading, I wrote some code, I did some writing, and I even started to inventory some of my outlines and script fragments that I've written over the years, wondering if there's a story there. That was helped along by watching the MasterClasses from Spike Lee and Judd Apatow. Hearing those guys talk about their process, it's clear that I need to write more really terrible stuff, and even try to make something terrible, and be OK with its terribleness.

I watched a lot of movies. The queue of things I wanted to watch really got away from me. I finally saw BombshellKnives OutThe HustleDo The Right Thing, a bunch of comedy specials and probably other things I'm forgetting. Friday was the day that Hamilton dropped, and of course we watched that twice at full volume. They mixed it so well, taking full advantage of the subwoofer. "Hurricane" sounded like we were in the Richard Rodgers. It's so good.

I spent some time obsessing about video and cameras as well, but I covered that.

We did see family a few times via video calls, since we can't see them in person. I'm still thinking about buying an electric gokart. With all of this time at home, we're fantasizing about expanding the patio. I managed to go a week without thinking about what happens if the economy gets worse and I'm out of work. I had two HOA board meetings. I treated eating like a sport, and Diana made her amazing Cajun chicken pasta. I built two Lego sets. I drank too much one night. I played a computer game. There were some epic thunderstorms. Maybe most importantly, I spent quality time doing nothing but staring at the sky.

Not being able to travel was a drag, but I do feel like I made the week count. I'll take a week off in another three months or so, but try to get some long weekend in between.


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