Around the Island

Richard’s Almanac: Halfway through

I don’t think I’m unlike other retired Island seniors heading into the second year of our pandemic and its restrictions.

I keep hoping that it will be over soon. I’m tired of wearing a mask. I find that for some reason, the face mask impairs my vision since it sometimes rises up close to my eyes. But we have to wear the masks. They’re necessary for everyone’s safety.

Perhaps it will be over soon, once the vaccines are adequately distributed and everyone’s inoculated. But it looks like that day may be a long way off.

I was very discouraged reading the most recent issue of the AARP Bulletin. The cover story, “How we will beat COVID,” by Mike Zimmerman answers questions about overcoming the disease. Some of the news is not encouraging.

One of the questions that stood out to me was, “Once I’m fully vaccinated, can I go back to normal life?”

The answer is a definitive “No.”

“Everyone-vaccinated or not will need to continue all current recommendations regarding social distancing, wearing a mask and avoiding travel. This is because up to 10% of vaccinated individuals will not be protected from getting COVID-19 and because reinfection, while uncommon, can still occur. And the vaccine itself doesn’t prevent you from contracting the virus; it simply prepares your body to mount a vigorous defense so that if you do become infected, the resulting illness is far less likely to be life-threatening.”

The story goes on to say that, “That’s why the key here is to reach the point where 80% of the population has been inoculated.”

That’s what is referred to as herd immunity — when there are enough people with antibodies that won’t perpetuate the disease.

According to the story, the fall may be the time that we’ll be able to remove masks and get back to normal.

So we plod along spending our last years behind masks and away from people.

I decided to come up with a project to make me feel that I am accomplishing something. That project is painting and remodeling an unused room in the house.

The room in question is the one used by my daughter when she was growing up here. It had a futon and was painted purple — walls and ceiling. It’s been screaming for some time to be renovated.

I began this task last Wednesday and I’m not yet halfway through. I believe that the older we get, all of our physical tasks take longer to complete. Not to mention the attendant physical pain that comes from using muscles that have been dormant for a while.

Putting two to three coats of ceiling white over purple brings with it a stiff neck and sore arms. And just when it seems that the purple is covered, an onlooker will notice a “holiday.” Those are the places not fully covered where it appears the painter took a “holiday” or where some purple just decides to bleed through.

I did employ drop cloths but somehow drops of white paint seem to know how to find those spaces that let them stain the floor. A lot of cleanup later on.

I had to seek help moving a large bookcase. I thought I could slide it but I almost broke it and my back in the process.

And when you take multiple days to complete a painting project, you must clean brushes and rollers at the end of each day. It all takes time.

But the reward will come when new curtains are put up, a new headboard on a king size bed takes over the center of the room, and everything else is put back where it belongs.

Now, it’s a beautiful guest room waiting for visitors who won’t come for probably another year.

I still have another unused room that needs restoration and I just might take it on after my  daughter’s is finished.

And it is not even purple.