Most of us will remember the moment when we felt like we were starting to emerge from the pandemic. Maybe, when you dropped your dog at the kennel for the first time in over a year, you realized the significance of a weekend getaway. Maybe you went to a store and bought pants.
For me, it was burritos. It turns out that there’s a better way to fold a burrito than my method of folding up a flap from the bottom and then folding the left and right sides over each other toward the middle. This method allowed the rice and beans and everything else to slip out the top when browning the burrito in a pan.
After not seeing our daughter, Katie, and son-in-law, Nathan, for 10 months, we recently visited them, and upon inspecting their burritos, it became clear that they knew something I didn’t. My son-in-law loves to cook and, from him, I learned that it makes much more sense to fold in the sides of a burrito first and then roll from the bottom. They look better and everything stays in.
Before and during most of the pandemic, Katie and Nathan lived in Seattle, but mid-pandemic they moved to Buffalo and we all got vaccinated and, well, like the rest of the country, we are once again visiting family and friends. Since then, we’ve also seen Katie and Nathan at a family gathering in New Jersey and they’re coming to Cleveland to go to a Tribe game with us later this summer.
On our first visit to their new house in Buffalo, we helped them plant daffodils and lilies we dug up from our own yard, we tried their neighborhood ice cream shop (a winner!) and we visited Niagara Falls, which is about 20 minutes from their house. It was all so normal.
In the year preceding COVID-19, I drove my car 14,000 miles. In the year and a half of the pandemic, I drove 6,000 miles. Now that I am once again filling my tank more frequently than every couple months, this too, is a sign that things are more normal.
Before the pandemic, we had Indians and Cavs tickets for games that were ultimately canceled or held without fans. Stub Hub is letting us keep 120 percent of the price of those tickets until the end of 2022, but I’m sure it won’t take us that long to cash in our credit. Prior to the pandemic, I had gotten pretty good at making appearances on the Progressive Field jumbotron. My go-to banner said, “Lonnie Chisenhall Fan Club,” but since Lonnie’s departure from the team, it now says “Believeland.” I can’t wait to try it out.
We are also very happy that live music is a thing again. Our calendar is filling up with dates to take advantage of free community concerts and shows that require paid tickets. During the pandemic, the only earrings I wore were tiny studs since all my fun wire earrings tended to slip out while pulling a pandemic mask on and off. Now, I’ll be listening to music with dangly earrings tickling my neck in beat to the music.
So far, we have two weddings on the calendar for 2022. In both cases, the couples moved in together, adopted a puppy and got engaged, all during the pandemic.
We dusted off our airline credit vouchers that accumulated during the shut-down and bought tickets to Cancun for an extended-family vacation many years in the making. There will be 16 of us spanning three generations. We began taking these family trips to Cancun when my son – now 23 – was 10 months old. We’ve been many times with differing combinations of family members, but most of us haven’t been since 2014. This time, my 89-year-old dad, who recently finished chemo for lymphoma diagnosed during the pandemic, requested that we all go again. So we are going. This time, I’ll pay attention to how they fold their burritos.