Back in the US for Much Longer than Planned October 30, 2019-July 25, 2021

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July 25th 2021
Published: July 26th 2021
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Where do I start? How do you cover the amount of time we have been back in the US? Yes, we left Tsamaya in Turkey and flew back to the US on October 29, 2019. Yes, it is now July 2021 and we are still here. This is definitely not what was planned, but that seems to be the rule for all due to the outbreak of covid.

To start, when we first arrived back in the US, we found that we were definitely not too late to participate in the annual ritual of raking leaves. That was one of the first tasks we did as we are fortunate that our Village picks up the leaves each year if you get them out to road in time. This is so much better than bagging them all! Unfortunately, we do have a lovely Norwegian maple tree which is great for shade, but it usually doesn’t drop its leaves until after the Village stops picking up leaves. As we are in Upstate NY, we knew snow would be coming and our first dusting occurred on November 8, 2019. Fortunately, it was just a dusting, but it definitely gets you into the mind-set
From First Dusting of Snow in the FallFrom First Dusting of Snow in the FallFrom First Dusting of Snow in the Fall

to snow late in spring on the tulips
of the holidays to come.

One annual event in our village that as Bob says, tells you a lot about our area, is the Holiday Tractor Parade that is held in November. It is definitely a farming area and this parade only allows tractors in it with the rule that they must decorate with a minimum of 1,000 lights. The tractors range in size from what you see on the very large farms around here down to and including garden tractors – lots of fun for all – we haven’t missed one yet since moving here!

The holidays are a good time for getting together with family and friends as well as continue a few traditions. This includes the baking of lots of Christmas cookies to be given out to friends and of course leaving a few at home so we have some for Santa of course! The first Christmas back was more normal in being able to get together with everyone in person, but of course with covid this past Christmas was more limited in how many people could get together so much more subdued as I’m sure everyone can relate to.

With the snow that we get in winter of course there was shoveling needed, but fortunately Bob has a snowblower that does most of the work. Even so, we did have a couple of big storms that seemed to almost bury the snowblower and took Bob much longer to deal with. We used to say we never enjoyed winter much (did I say we aren’t into winter sports?) when we were working but we now realize that winter isn’t as bad when you are retired as you don’t “have” to go out early in the morning to get to work or drive on the roads that may not be completely plowed yet. With retirement you can just sit back, enjoy the view of the beautiful snow and have another cup of coffee or tea until things clear up more (or just wait to go for another day). Some of the benefits of retirement for any of you that aren’t there yet.

Our plan was to head back to Tsamaya near the end of March or beginning of April, 2020, but as you are all aware this is when covid hit with a vengeance so no flights back to Turkey. No one knew how long things would be “abnormal” but fortunately we bought our house back in 2015 so we had a base to stay.

When things don’t go as planned, then you need to come up with plan B (or are we on to C or D)? With having bought an old house there were plenty of projects to get completed. Bob was very productive over this time period with building cabinets for our back entrance way, putting a tile floor down on the side porch, putting slate on the porch wall (a very clever idea of his that worked out great), turning old doors into shutters, finishing up lots of window trim (not one of his favorites), making a few clocks as gifts, building a whole new sewing center for me, rebuilding our front porch and numerous other projects I’m sure I have left out. He definitely has been productive and enjoying being in his shop for a longer period of time. Hopefully he will be OK to give up the shop for a while when we head back to Tsamaya.

I on the other hand got back into quilting which I hadn’t done for years starting off with a
A Major Snowstorm in DecemberA Major Snowstorm in DecemberA Major Snowstorm in December

fortunately we have a snowblower to help out!
baby quilt for a friend we met on our travels. Made a fun lap quilt and am still working on finishing up a queen size quilt for us. I tried my hand in canning again which I hadn’t done for years and made pickles with the great cucumbers a friend gave us from her garden. I worked on expanding our flower gardens and other outdoor activities such as mowing, watering as well as sorting through our file cabinets that have needed it, and other long overdue projects around the house. I also took a couple of online courses – some in photography and a few cooking classes which were fun.

Whenever I get back to the US I typically do quite a bit of cooking for my mother to help cut down on either of my sisters doing it when I am gone, so that takes up quite a bit of time, but something I am very happy to do for Mom. One of the bonuses of being home longer has been the ability to spend more time with her. When the weather was good, we would take rides together, go out to lunch and she even once in
The Winter Ice Gives Everything a Great LookThe Winter Ice Gives Everything a Great LookThe Winter Ice Gives Everything a Great Look

but glad we don't to go to work in it anymore
a while would come over to the house to check out Bob’s woodshop and see what he was doing on the house. It was always great having her check it out as she would see the changes that we had even forgotten about since her last visit – made us feel like we accomplished even more! Unfortunately recently Mom had to move from an independent living situation to a nursing home due to a form of dementia. It has been sad to see this happen, but necessary. It has cut out the need for me to cook for her anymore, but sadly it has limited the amount of time I am able to spend visiting. The nursing home still test visitors for covid and limits the amount of visitors each day. My two sisters and I spread our visits out so Mom at least gets to see each of us on different days. It is very difficult to see the changes in our parents, but knew that this would come at some time. Fortunately Mom still knows us and we can still have enjoyable visits talking about current times as well as we enjoy talking about the many trips Mom
When We Left in 2010 We Traveled the Erie CanalWhen We Left in 2010 We Traveled the Erie CanalWhen We Left in 2010 We Traveled the Erie Canal

now we live near the Champlain Canal
has gone on with Bob and I over the years. I just am so thankful that we still have my Mom here at the age of 93 as know so many have lost their mothers much earlier. I do count my blessings that I can still spend time with Mom.

With knowing that we would more than likely not be getting back to the boat anytime soon, we decided to move ahead with getting solar panels installed on the roof of the garage (better known as Bob’s woodshop). When we built it, we always had in mind that we would put solar on the roof due to the perfect orientation to the sun that the roof is in. With the pandemic it took some time before we could make arrangements to have a couple of companies come by to look at it and give us quotes, but finally a decision was made and the installation was done. We have definitely been enjoying watching the solar gain on the app that we can use to monitor it as well as the minimal bill we now have to just pay for delivery from the grid. Another bonus of being back in
Enjoyed A Bike Ride at a Local ParkEnjoyed A Bike Ride at a Local ParkEnjoyed A Bike Ride at a Local Park

that is next to one of the locks on the canal
the US for this length of time was getting this accomplished after having the house for 6 years.

Part way through last year we decided that as long as it looked like we were not going to be able to make it back to Turkey any time soon, we needed to take time for some fun activities as well. We set aside some time to get our bikes out and enjoy some of the bike trails in the area. When we were getting to the point of feeling “house-bound” due to covid and not being able to see anyone we would also enjoy taking a drive around the area. We realized that even though we bought the house in 2015, we usually aren’t home that long and it was always in the winter so hadn’t taken time to explore the area. We really do live in a beautiful area with lots of farm land, rolling hills, lots of ponds, lakes and rivers, and the ability to see the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks without traveling very far.

As regulations started to change some, many of the local restaurants and businesses came up with some clever ideas to open
Picking Local Produce, Canning, Making PicklesPicking Local Produce, Canning, Making PicklesPicking Local Produce, Canning, Making Pickles

and enjoying trying new recipes while in the US
up some as well as give people a little bit of the feeling of “normalcy”. Some figured out a way to set up seating outside when they had never had it before. Others such as the food trucks that typically get their business from going to the various social events such as fairs that were now closed, got together and came to one location at the local fairgrounds where people could be outside and socially distant and still support their business. We tried as much as possible to get to some of these in order to provide some support to these businesses that were definitely being hurt by the pandemic.

This year I was having some problems with my hip so after some images, it was decided that I could use a new hip. As the surgeon said he could do it this year, or he could do it in 5 years – it was up to me, but that the decision should be decided based on my quality of life. At first, I thought it wasn’t that bad and I should put it off, but then when I thought it over, decided with the activities that we engage
Just a Lovely Hike Around Carter LakeJust a Lovely Hike Around Carter LakeJust a Lovely Hike Around Carter Lake

which is one we found very close to where we live
with on the boat and realizing some of the things that weren’t as easy to do even around the house, as long as we were here in the US due to covid, I should go ahead with the surgery. It was scheduled for the end of March 2021 and I started physical therapy prior to that to strengthen the area to help with my recovery. I have been very pleased with the result and most definitely with the physical therapist I worked with – she has been wonderful (as well as the others in her office that I have worked with on occasion). Not only does she know her stuff but she was great with coming up with ways to mimic some of the activities that we just do naturally on the sailboat (hopping on and off the boat, getting onto the stern ladder while at anchor from a moving dinghy, and many other “normal boat activities” and of course emphasis a sense of balance which will come in handy on the sailboat.

Bob had an abscess above his front tooth so had that was taken care of as well which necessitated one of his front teeth being removed in November. He knew that there was going to be a waiting period for the replacement, but unbelievably the replacement tooth wasn’t put in until May. In this case Bob was very happy to wear a mask when he went out in public as no one knew he was missing his front tooth – definitely a bonus for him!

Our anniversary is in August and by that time last year we were able to think of doing an overnight so we bought a couple of kayaks and headed up to the Adirondacks to try them out. We also took the time to go to the top of Whiteface which we had never done before and enjoyed our time on the water in our kayaks. We are glad we bought the kayaks as it has given us a chance to explore some water near us and it feels great to be on the water again (and the added bonus of exercise is good too!) Fortunately there are some nice places nearby that we can get on the water with them giving us some good exercise as well. We are coming up to another anniversary soon so figuring out another overnight
Love the Look of Ice on the Snow & TreesLove the Look of Ice on the Snow & TreesLove the Look of Ice on the Snow & Trees

just not driving when on the roads
to get use out of those kayaks and a “getaway” to celebrate.

Hard to believe that we are more than half way through 2021, but with some things getting back to a more normal feel we have been able to socialize a little more and have seen more family this summer with birthdays, graduations and 4th of July. Fortunately, all of the organizers of these events were still careful and took precautions to stay safe (and we were with vaccinated people outdoors!)

Our thought was to start planning to head back to Turkey in June or July, but our nephew is getting married in August so staying for that event. Then my high school reunion (50 years!) that should have been held last year was postponed and they scheduled it for September 9th. I was thinking we needed to get back to Turkey before that but Bob said we can wait a few more weeks as I have been helping out with finding classmates and it would be nice to catch up with many of those we haven’t seen in years.

So now plan D is to head back to Turkey right after the reunion
Another Project of Bob's - Putting Up a FenceAnother Project of Bob's - Putting Up a FenceAnother Project of Bob's - Putting Up a Fence

and building a gate - a nice addition I think!
and stay for 3 months as that is the amount of time the visa is good for unless you get an extension. We would normally apply for an extension but as it would be going into the winter season there as well, we would come back for the holidays and go back in the spring for the sailing season next year. Seems like a good plan, but within the last few days with the uptick from the Delta variant, we are starting to question if we do leave and stay in Turkey for a few months, will we be able to get back into the US when we want to. OR should plan E now be to go back to Turkey but for a minimum of time as we need to get the boat moved from its current location (no room for us for the winter) to another place where we wanted to go anyway to get the work done on Tsamaya. We also have to deal with some paperwork to keep Tsamaya legal for staying in Turkey longer – we had that done from a distance last year, but we were thinking we could do that ourselves if we
A Side View of the FenceA Side View of the FenceA Side View of the Fence

another place we need to do some planting now
got back there in time. Too many factors to consider and definitely a lot of unknowns. As a result, guess you will have to just watch for the next blog entry to see what we come up with. Wish us luck with making the right decision!

Additional photos below
Photos: 57, Displayed: 32


As Long As We Were Here LongerAs Long As We Were Here Longer
As Long As We Were Here Longer

time to rebuild the front porch!
Three New Cabinets Bob Built for Our Back EntranceThree New Cabinets Bob Built for Our Back Entrance
Three New Cabinets Bob Built for Our Back Entrance

more great storage and a lovely look
Solar Panels Put on Our Garage (Workshop)Solar Panels Put on Our Garage (Workshop)
Solar Panels Put on Our Garage (Workshop)

what a great addition for our energy needs
One of the "Events" We Took In LocallyOne of the "Events" We Took In Locally
One of the "Events" We Took In Locally

the food trucks at the local fairgrounds
Restaurants Being Creative With Outside DiningRestaurants Being Creative With Outside Dining
Restaurants Being Creative With Outside Dining

to start to get business during the pandemic
A Way to Create a "Safe" Place to Eat During the PandemicA Way to Create a "Safe" Place to Eat During the Pandemic
A Way to Create a "Safe" Place to Eat During the Pandemic

each eating area separated by a divider

29th July 2021

Life is for living
An extraordinary blog that reveals the myriad of skills and passions that you both have. How best to deal with lockdowns during Covid is evidenced. Can smell the cooking...feel the snow whipped up by the blower and admiring the building craftsmanship. Yet your baby is moored awaiting your return to Turkey. I raise my glass to you both.
29th July 2021

thanks as always for following along as well as for the comment. Yes, you are right - our baby is waiting for us and we are definitely looking forward to getting back to her
29th July 2021
A Couple of My Quilting Projects

29th July 2021
Everyone Was Out Hiking During the Pandemic

Follow that Road
I have posted this in our "Follow that Road" thread in the Photography Forum. Check it out.

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