I won’t lie — April was a difficult month, and that had mostly nothing to do with COVID-19. It’s not fun to write about, but I’m choosing to do so for the sake of continuity and recording our life during this pandemic.
Curtis returned on April 1, and was scheduled to be home for the entire month. However, one week after that we found out he’d be leaving again for a while. In a moment, the month that was supposed to be all about preparing our house to put on the market and get things in order for our move was turned upside down. Now we’re into May, Curtis is still gone, and we still don’t have orders for our move that was supposed to happen this summer.
I’m thankful for the time we did have together, though most of it was spent in our house. Curtis was able to make more progress on our kitchen project by installing new countertops, despite having weekend duty and working the night shift for a few days while he was home. We started taking Charlotte for walks after dark, when there was no one else out and we could enjoy the cool evening air. We were also able to celebrate Curtis’ 27th birthday together before he left.
The first few weeks of being alone were the hardest for me, mostly because my nearby park and trail were still closed and all I could really do was walk Charlotte around our neighborhood. Parks reopened on April 25 though, and I’ve been visiting my happy place every day since then, rain or shine.
As far as the pandemic situation on the island goes, the most ‘extreme’ measures I saw being taken were when they enforced a curfew from 11pm-5am each night for one weekend. It seemed unnecessary considering that bars and restaurants were closed, and essential stores were operating with limited hours, closing long before 11. For a few weeks, they also banned walking on the beach, saying we could only go in the ocean for swimming and exercise.
Hawaii’s Stay at Home orders were extended until May 31, then again until June 30, despite having only between 0-5 new cases throughout the islands each day. Things are starting to open up again though, so I suspect the orders are more to deter tourists from coming. So far, the islands have had a total of 643 cases, with 416 being on Oahu. There have been 17 deaths, but 578 recovered. Despite the negative feelings of being isolated and so far from my family and husband, I feel safe here, and thankful that I’m now able to walk on my nearby trail and enjoy the beautiful weather. The 14 day mandatory quarantine for all arrivals to the islands is currently still in affect until June 30, and that also applies to inter-island travel. I’m a little sad thinking that our island hopping adventures are likely over now. We had hoped one more spontaneous trip would work out, but between Curtis being gone, having so much to do at home, and now COVID-19, it doesn’t seem possible anymore.
Curtis, on the other hand, has been able to miss out on most of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was gone when it first became a pandemic in March and people were first asked to self quarantine, and part of the reason they left in April was to mitigate the risk of personnel getting sick. Things would be pretty bad if the whole boat got sick. Personnel on shore duty are working every other day, but the boat still works full time while in port (and while at sea of course).
While he tells me he’s often bored and ready to be done, this underway hasn’t been all bad for him. They were able to surface around Maui, Lanai, and Kaho’olawe and do a swim call: Have burgers and hotdogs on deck and jump off the fairwater planes. Beautiful weather, calm seas, and sunburns; he probably got more sun than me that day than I did those first couple weeks before my park and trail opened back up.
After a while, they also don’t wear masks since being underway already quarantines them. He says that it is like being underway normally and the only way they would know that COVID was happening is because of the emails people would get.
I’m hoping and praying that this is the last spontaneous underway he’ll have during our time here, and that we’ll finally receive orders soon. But this is still the military we’re dealing with and all that seems up in the air. I’ve heard many people talk about how the uncertainty of the situation is affecting them — how they’re unable to plan for the future without knowing what’s coming next and when things will start to return to ‘normal.’ These feelings aren’t new for us at all — this is literally our every day reality in the military: always making plans only to have the government change those plans. This move isn’t even official, and it’s already turning out to be the most stressful yet. Without orders, we can’t schedule a move or have a sure date of when we can safely put our house on the market.
I’m constantly reminding myself about our move to Hawaii. Everything seemed so stressful and uncertain upfront, but God worked out every little detail and we ended up here, in a cute little house with Charlotte, all our belongings, and were able to make the most of island life. I trust that He’ll do the same here, using these extreme circumstances to bring even more glory to His name and expand my trust in Him even more.
That’s all I’ve got for now — Hopefully next month will bring about more exciting news. God bless you all, stay safe & healthy friends!