Monday, November 30, 2020

A Social Bubble Adventure

The new 2020 rubric for family visits: 

1. Quarantine for two weeks 
2. Get negative Covid test 
3. Fly (masked) to San Jose 

Waiting for a ride to the airport
4. Spend two weeks in a social bubble with family members 
5. Put mask back on to fly home 
6. Plan on another two weeks of quarantine

Back before the world turned upside down Hubby Tony and I had planned on flying out to California in May to babysit the (then) three year old Jay and nine-month old twins Ell and Dee so Son Brian and DIL Nicole could celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary. Plane tickets were bought, but then cancelled and the idea of a trip turned into wishful thinking

Brian and Nicole are very careful to limit their interactions with the outside world, so I was surprised when Nicole broached the subject of a visit again in early September. Tony and I said we were comfortable with the idea if they were, so the tickets were re-booked. This time there would be no couple's getaway, just an extended visit.

The family had outgrown their small bungalow and last month purchased a larger four-bedroom ranch. They hadn't had time to furnish the guest room yet, so Tony and I stayed at an AirBnb a mile away. Using Brian's car, each day we would drive to their house after breakfast and stay until bath time at night. We figured out it was nice to have a quiet enclave to retreat to after a busy day.

The family hadn't been together since last Christmas, so the twins took a while to warm up to us. (As a matter of fact, the only people they'd seen on a regular basis since March was their parents and the nanny that comes in each day.)  However, on the third morning when Tony and I walked up to the front door they were both standing there waiting for us, and came running when we walked in.

What did we do in California? Not much, but everything. We helped out where we could with projects around the house, got down on the floor to play, mediated a few spats, and took morning and afternoon family walks,. While out walking, we taught the twins Grandma's favorite activity of crunching through leaves,

and for the rest of the visit they would do an adorable little dance in the piles with a smile on their face.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with Brian and Nicole for the first time since they moved out to California five years ago, and the day after helped them put up their Christmas tree.

 All good things have to come to an end, though, and today it was time to come home. After an extra-early breakfast we drove to the house and said our last goodbyes, then Brian drove us to the airport. Covid experts say we should quarantine for two weeks, so now we will hunker down to make sure we didn't bring the virus home with us along with our suitcases.

Five years ago today: Nothing But The Best Deals (Or So They Say)


  1. Sounds like a wonderful well planned trip, has it been 5 years since they moved away? Time flies.

  2. Good for you for going, and the protocols make little difference to the little we do these days.

  3. Visiting family takes a whole lot of effort, but well worth it. I'm so glad you went and you have these great memories and pictures. My son leaves in 3 days after having been here a month. It was worth everything we had to do just to have him here.

    1. It's great to see family, and SO hard to leave them!

  4. I’m so envious. I’m very glad you’ve taken all the precautions. It’s scary out there, but I can sure see it was worth the effort. I am dying to see my grandchildren but it’s too long a plane ride and the COVID cases in Illinois and Maryland are far worse than Hawaii so we will stay put.

    1. Everyone at the airport and on the plane. was masked and followed all of the basic instructions. We were also fortunate to fall within Southwest's window for not filling the plane's middle seat, which helped us feel safe.

  5. I finally sat down at my old Mac so I can comment on your adventure. Lots of effort but so worth it. The Bay Area had been such a safe place for so long, but that has all fallen apart now, probably due to the holidays so you got in and out in a window of relative calm.

    Our kids felt it best not to come for Thanksgiving and be an example for others, and we agreed. I have no idea what will transpire over Christmas holidays since California is looking, now, at a complete quarantine unless we can overcome the recent surge. Our hospitals are at capacity and I just read that over 300 health workers are out of commission due to either exposure to Covid or actual positive tests.

    One bright spot, the vaccine will be coming to California by late December if the FDA gives the the go-ahead. The Central Valley Children's Hospital, right here in Fresno, has been designated a storage facility for central California as it has the room for the Pfizer vaccine that needs the super cold temperature.

    1. I heard about California's latest restrictions this morning, and was thankful when we left when we did. The only interactions we had with anyone other than the kids were people we passed by on our walks. All seemed to be following the rules, and we did the same.

      Everyone has high expectations for the vaccines, but even after they're rolled out it will take months (or longer) for things to get back to normal.