Hello everyone. This is covering the last two weeks.
March 14-25, 2020
History will record this as the first weeks of the Covid19 Pandemic of 2020. First you want to know that we’re doing OK, and we don’t think we’ve been exposed*. I’d love to hear how you are doing. I’ve asked my Facebook friends to send me their surface mail addresses, you know, just in case the internet goes down for some reason. I like the idea of knowing where my friends are and how they’re doing. Nineteen of 1088 sent them, but then, we only see a tiny amount of the posts our friends make. I probably only see posts from the 40 or so “friends” I interact with most.
Spring is just around the corner, and true to form, St Patricks Day we got a dusting of snow (didn’t last all day, but it gave it a shot). Then the following Thursday- the day of the Spring Equinox, we actually got a couple of inches (which went away again; the temperature went back to the 60ºs, then it snowed again and the last few days have been in the 30ºs and 40ºs again.). It’s a rare year that we don’t get snow on the daffodils, so snow on the crocus isn’t that bad. I expect the daffs to bloom any day now. Willow’s brought her potted rose, Buddy, up from the cellar and he’s already got a bud. We put it out on the porch when it’s warm enough. The cats have also “pointed out” that the fleas and ticks are back early this year.
Meanwhile, during the warm days I decided to go out and rake the leaves off, and I worry that I’ve taken the winter blankets off the poor little sprouting crocus and daffodils and hyacinths.
With the cold nights and warm days, I expect the syrup is running, or maybe the trees are getting past that time, but we’ve had days in the 70s and it’s been close to freezing at night. Lots of different temperatures. One meme dared their state that it couldn’t do all four seasons in one day, and it took that bet. I bet that would work for a lot of states.
Annoyingly, when the couple of inches of snow started melting I heard a familiar tick tick sort of sound and the living room ceiling was leaking. Where the N/S and E/W roofs come together have problems. This one comes down through the linen closet (so for the last year or so, we have been keeping the sheets in plastic bins), and down into the living room. It doesn’t happen too often, but I wish it wouldn’t happen sat all. It only lasted for a few hours while the north facing roof melted off. When we get some free money, we need to work on the roof.
I think I’m just getting old and cranky. I’ve been a bit dehydrated lately so my lips are peeling, and I pulled one bit of dry skin off that was still firmly attached further along, and managed to make it sore. I’m really not used to healing immediately as I did when I was younger. Also, I have a toothache, and as Shakespere pointed out “There was never a philosopher with a toothache!” When I’m not hurting I don’t think about it, but when I do, I fear I may be surly or whiney. I guess I mentioned it last week. Since it felt swollen and hot, I got a run of antibiotics from my local dentist. Tufts shut down until April 1st, then this week, they’ve extended that and will let us know when it starts again. In theory, Kat and I had appointments on the first, I rather expected that they would extend the shutdown. I finished up the antibiotics Tuesday. Some days it’s painful and somedays it isn’t, so I’ve decided that broken teeth just hurt.
I looked up the little “on a scale of one to ten” how much pain you are in, and found one chart with suggested “Labor is an 8, and a fractured tooth is a four” plugged into it. I’ve been running six or seven (not able to function very well) when it’s hurting, and not noticing it when it isn’t. Clearly it’s one that HASN’T had root canal work. I think it’s #29 (lower right bicuspid). One night I couldn’t get to sleep until five in the morning, then slept through until five in the afternoon. Needless to say, my sleep schedule has been thrown WAY off. I have mostly gotten back to a night time sleeping schedule again, but I have to say that I’m not feeling terribly motivated to do much. I’m reading a lot. I’m reading a LOT of articles about the pandemic. I’m also reading Robin Cooks fictional book Pandemic. It’s a good read, but I’m more than halfway through, and it looks like there isn’t going to be a pandemic. In the book. Oh well.
So what have we done recently?
Well, we had corned beef and cabbage on Saint Patrick’s Day. Thinking that she was going to be going to Keene, she took out a small flat cut corned beef to take over there, but that was the day Avi decided that sheltering in place includes not having Willow coming over, so we ate that one. We’ve got a nice fatty point cut waiting to have when we are ready for another boiled dinner. I completely forgot the green food coloring I’ve traditionally put in it. I won’t say that it isn’t more appealing without the food coloring. I think I can only get away with it once a year is because I buy several in March to have around the year.
I wasn’t able to wear something green, although the kids did well. Willow looked great in 4 layers of green, and a perverse orange turtleneck. She opted to be behind the camera. I don’t seem to have any green garments any more. So I put on my tiara with green stones, and called it good enough. (You can see the snow behind us in the window.)
The spring Equinox has come and gone. Usually I make Ostara eggs, which I forgot, and we try to get one new garment to wear on the first day of Spring each, which we also forgot. Oops. I know that I was paying more attention to the holidays I post. Lots of holidays are attached to the spring equinox. Usually I spend an hour or two checking on the holidays, I spent many hours on the days clustered around the equinox doing 30 or more holidays, usually there are about a dozen a day. Looking back it seems funny to me that I missed celebrating Spring because I was writing about it.
One amusing story was that I have been proclaimed “not allowed to” cook with hot peppers any more. I had a bunch of jalapeños, which I put in a stir fry, but then I saw another red one, and thought it would add color. Sadly, it was NOT a jalapeño and was rather too hot for this white American. A few days ago I clinched it by making some spaghetti sauce, and put another red pepper in- once again it was too hot. (Look, Kat puts them in her lunches!) I added more sauce and meat, but it was still on the edge of uncomfortable. So I added beans and chili powder, and made the rest into chili, which was pretty good.
We continue the experiment with the nutritional teas- the other day Kat downed her Nettle Tea and banged it firmly onto the table announcing “I feel like I just licked a toad!”.
I watched a introductory free class on Etruscan history. It was fascinating, but now I’m getting ads for “don’t you want to take the full $200 course?” The thing that most interested me was this familiar tomb was reconstructed from over 400 fragments. I had assumed it had been found like that. Well done archeologists!
John and I have habitually gone over to Mark’s once a week, and Friday the 13th was the last time we did that. Steve opted for one last visit before we might possibly be at risk to each other. The previous month was the most social I’ve been in a long time- I spent almost every weekend at some event or other, but that’s going ending now. When I drove Mark to the hospital Monday I waited in the car; I think both they and I were more comfortable with that, and when I stopped at the grocery store, I kept my gloves on and I’d borrowed one of Kat’s washable masks. No, I don’t think they will filter out viruses. She has them to filter cigarette smoke. I figure they will keep out the worst of cough and sneeze particulate.
I guess I’ve gotten to the point where I am talking about the pandemic. (It’s not like if I don’t talk about it, it won’t be there!) Biggest deal is that Willow isn’t going to Keene twice a week. We aren’t going to events. No more visitors for a while. I understand, as I fear too few do, how not interacting will “lower the curve” (new phrase of the week), as I’ve been watching the news from China and Italy and the rest of the world. No one wants the government stomping on our rights, but we don’t really have the right to act in a dangerous manner, whether yelling fire in a theatre, driving drunk, or partying with friends when people with no symptoms are contagious. I am appalled that the Administration has treated this like a public relations problem. They should have had people making more respirators and masks, building extra facilities, using computer programs to get ideas of where to stage them for quick response. The way to stop a contagion is testing, finding the people who have it an isolating them. We didn’t do that, and now we’re playing catch up. And it looks like the government is playing against us, telling the states to buy their own, bidding against them so they can’t get any, then “generously” doling out a tiny percentage of what’s needed. They keep delaying to try to make money off the epidemic (as Trump did when trying to poach the German scientists working on a vaccine). I am appalled at how “penny wise, pound foolish” they are. They keep functioning on the assumption that just because they’ve always been able to force people to do what they want, they will always be able to. History has shown that the elite can only push the masses so far before the masses stop putting up with it. Look, for example, at the period after the Black Death- with half the work force gone, the workers were able to demand whatever pay they wanted, because land (capital) means nothing without someone who will work it for you. They see people as machines to be used interchangeably then thrown away; I fear they are about to learn better. (Recently rants come to mind- and keyboard- almost constantly.)
My email is full of letters from various businesses explaining the steps they are taking to sanitize, and expressions that it will be sufficient. Market Basket has always had sanitizing wipes by their carts, but people are using them now. They also added a trash can by the door out of the restrooms, to toss away the paper towels so many of us are using to open the doors. I thought that was clever. Sununu (NH governor) has made it illegal to bring reusable bags into stores. It’s supposed to protect the baggers from us, but I hope we can let that go soon. As I already mentioned, we are now waiting to find out when Tufts Dental will be opening again for students and their guinea pigs (us). It wouldn’t bother me except for the toothache. I figure mid-May depending on how the curve flattens. So much depends on how many idiots there are out there going to church services etc.
We noticed back at the beginning of the month that people were buying out the TP. I have always said that in the case of a “zombie apocalypse” TP would become currency. I am a couple of months ahead- not as much as I’d like to be, but we’ll get by. I’m sure my old fashioned pantry-oriented ways leave us in better shape than many. I must admit that I am annoyed. Since I noticed I was down to four pounds of organic pasta, I went to buy another case, and discovered that they are out (no doubt due to others suddenly deciding to stock up). I expect they will restock. They say that the virus can live for 24 hours on cardboard, so I figure, open the boxes, burn them, then wash my hands. No big deal. Buying online is wonderful when you’re out in the boonies.
“You can’t really “panic buy” if you’re ready for six months of disruption or a year of disruption,” Harlan said. “There’s no amount of tomato sauce that will get you that far.” Washington Post
The library has gone digital too. I already habitually used the website to reserve books. Now, there’s a string tied to the outer door handle with a sign directing you to pull it. That rings a bell inside, and they come out and hand you your books. I wonder if they set them aside for a day just to make sure. I love the combination of high and low tech solutions!
The SCA is doing a lot of virtual activities on line, Pennsic is saying that they are continuing to move forward on the assumption that it will happen. If they don’t do everything they need to do during these upcoming months, it wouldn’t be able to happen if the virus suddenly evaporated, so that’s to be expected. I’m more concerned with Panteria- which is Memorial Day Weekend. That’s a lot closer and it is a fairly large event. I expect if it happens a lot of people will be wearing veils. CTCW discussed skipping a year, but Maryalyce has a line on a hotel that would be willing to roll over the event to next year if the pandemic made it impossible this year, so we decided to go with that. Mithracon was in March, so it cancelled, as did Fertile Ground- May Day. Maybe next year, depending on how the curve goes.
One thing for sure, I keep thinking back to when the doctors kept telling me to take it one day at a time (about this time 18 years ago when Ælfwine developed Guillame-Barre). I could see that whatever was happening was progressive, but they “didn’t want me to panic”. But it was around the time of the Boston Marathon, so I was thinking in those terms, and you don’t use the same strategy for a marathon that you do for a sprint. But feeding people whatever he thinks they want to hear, Trump is misleading them dangerously. I have so much respect for the poor doctors who keep having to correct him for sticking there to get the truth out, as much as he’ll let them. I keep thinking that the stupid and cruel things he’s doing will finally break through his glamour and his followers will realize they’ve been snowed. But humans twist their brains into pretzels to avoid unpleasant truths, especially when it makes them feel stupid. I’m afraid that if things go badly enough he’ll generate some sort of foreign enemy to have a war to make him “look good” to get re-elected. After all, it was war that got us out of the Great Depression. He may figure that he would end up looking heroic and could keep it down to a mini-war to get us out of this mini-depression. Except that there is no such thing as a mini-war at this point, and adding it to the pandemic would simply add another horseman to the apocalypse. I hope for a better outcome.
Whatever happens, once America has worked out how to do working from home, schooling from home, home births and video doctor visits, etc. I think that there’s going to be a lot more of it for other reasons- like spending less, using less gas, being able to have workers from farther away. I figure this may be the end of Summer Vacations. If we can school from home, we can have split shifts and year round schools, which would be great for the working parents.
I am rather irate at America’s system of “testing by 2 week self isolation”. Rather than using real tests to follow contacts of the early cases and containing them, they just suggest anyone with headache, fever, or sniffles, stay at home, and if they don’t come down with it, then they’re in the clear. Until the next time they go out to work, or shop, then they might be exposed again, and the next symptom starts the whole thing over again. It’s so stupid! No wonder they figure that most of the people at home are not infected. They probably aren’t! If they did this properly, if they weren’t trying to monetize the disease to maximize profit for Trump’s buddies, we could just test and impose appropriate measures. This whole “get everyone out again by Easter” is BS! That’s 18 days from now, and by April 4th, a week before that, New Orleans will already be out of beds. (OK, Mardi Gras did give them a push in the wrong direction.)
I like it when sources admit that we are still learning about the new virus. Of course we are, it’s NEW! We will understand it better in a few years and a lot more (difficult) learning experiences. While Trump seems to listen with half an ear for anything he can parrot that sounds like good news (like drugs that will take care of it immediately), social media shares anything it finds potentially useful. There is apparently SOME indication that ibuprofen and other Non Steroidal Anti-Inflamatory drugs (NSAIDS) may be not beneficial when you have Covid19. (Sadly you might use it before you know what you’ve got.) So far this seems in the category of Needs more Research. I’d take that as a ‘use something else’ until the results come in motive. Another advice was that in the lab, the virus seems to collapse on itself (melt) over 140º, which has let to the suggestion that when you come in from being in public, you blow your hairdryer in. Your face for 15 minutes, which should kill them. I am reminded of when we were younger, folks would put their faces over a bowl of steaming water with a towel over it all to treat a cold. Colds are virus based. I wonder if that actually was based on the same concept. Oh, a bit of black humor: they say the Pope saw his Shadow, so there will be six more weeks of Lent. When Trump started calling it “the Chinese Virus”, I started calling it ”Captain Trumps”, a take-off from Captain Tripps in King’s epic The Stand. I haven’t decided whether to re-read that. On the other hand, I have started re-watching Saint Elsewhere’s on Hulu, and (starting with season one) M*A*S*H from the library.
I also spent a day listening to old favorite Kenny Rogers songs when the news came out that he died. How wonderful to live in a world where a performers art can go on after he’s died! Sadly, I had planned to chat more about what I’ve been watching and reading, but it’s late, and I want to get my sleep schedule back on track. Since it’s late my throat is tickling, and we can’t have that. We know SO MANY wonderful people who have the various “invisible illnesses”, not to mention immune risks, in the group who are going to find it very hard to tell if they are getting symptoms because aching, low fevers, and headaches are how they live every day. They have to get to the point of coughing up blood before they are sure it’s not their usual misery. It’s sad. I suppose it might be sadder to be isolated in a public facility away from your family- IF it turned out you didn’t have it. It would probably be worth it if you did.
I can’t get past the thought that, given how badly this has been managed, then country is going to be in really horrible shape in a couple of weeks. You may not know someone yet who’s gotten it, but it’s pretty sure that you will. It’s pretty sure that we all know someone who will die in the next month. Take this month and reach out to your friends and family and tell them that you love them while you can. And if by luck we all survive, even better, we can get together and hug again. But we aren’t invulnerable. It can happen here. It IS happening here. We need to make things as much better as we can. I think we will. I think we will come out the other end of this with a better perspective, I hope a kinder society, and knowing that we are all in this together. Ack, I sound like a motivational poster. But I do think this is a wake-up call. If you do end up dead, I probably won’t make your funeral, but know I’ll be feeling really badly we haven’t talked more recently.
(Here’s my round up of who we’ve been exposed to in the last two weeks. Try it for yourself, it’s harder than it looks!)
*This is our family’s exposure over the last two weeks, although some suggest that perhaps there is a three week incubation option, most seem to show symptoms about a week after exposure, and realize they need to go get tested when the cold turns nasty, and then some days later the test comes back often after they’ve been hospitalized. So I’m going to accept the “if you haven’t shown symptoms in two weeks, you’re probably fine for now” theory.
I’ve been out to Market Basket on the 10th, and 11th, when I went back out to the pharmacy (drive up window). I did gas the car,
Monday,the 23rd I drove Mark to St. Josephs, and stopped at Costco for Kat’s prescription, and the library on the way home. By then I was keeping my gloves on in the store, and borrowed one of Kat’s face masks.
Willow went to Keene to Avi’s twice the week of the 8th, and to Costco the 16th, for food and drugs. She, Kat and I went to the recycling center on Saturday, the 14th, and Market Basket after.Tuesday (St Patricks) Avi decided that Willow shouldn’t risk coming, since then she’s only done a milk run over to Fitch’s farmstead the 18th (it’s self service).
John went with me to Mark’s on Friday the 13th, and we went to T-Bones (restaurants were still open then), and MB on the way home
Kat went with me on the 10th to grocery, pharmacy, and Wendy’s window.
Sunday the 22nd, Steve came up. He’s been working from home, having take out or delivered meals, so we hope he’s low risk.
This is us, doing our part to “lower the curve”.
From the Cowardice that dare not face new truth
From the Laziness that is contented with half truth
From the Arrogance that thinks it knows all truth
Good Lord deliver me.
Upcoming holidays for the rest of the month
March 19 Thurs: Spring Equinox, Chocolate Caramel Day, Poultry Day, World Storytelling Day,
March 20 Fri: Flour Day, Ravioli Day, Day of Happiness, Spring Equinox, Frog Day, French Language Day, Alien Abduction Day
March 21 Sat: Crunchy Taco Day, Quilting Day, Poetry Day, Puppetry Day, Walk In The Sand Day, Play The Recorder Day, Fragrance Day, Common Courtesy Day, Colour Day (Corn Dog Day was cancelled along with the basketball season Madness)
March 22 Sun: Water Day, National Goof-off Day, Talk Like William Shatner Day
March 23 Mon: Chips and Dip Day, Tamale Day, Puppy Day, OK Day
March 24 Tues: Chocolate Covered Raisins Day
March 25 Wed: Waffle Day, Pecan Day, Tolkien Reading Day, Manatee Appreciation Day
March 26 Thurs: Nougat Day, Spinach Day, Make Up your Own Holiday Day, Live Long And Prosper Day
March 27 Fri: World Whisky Day, Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day, National Scribble Day
March 28 Sat: Black Forest Cake Day, Weed Appreciation Day,Earth Hour, Be Mad Day
March 29 Sun: Chiffon Cake Day, Pencil Day, Virtual Vacation Day, National Mom & Pop Business Owner’s Day
March 30 Mon: Hot Chicken Day, Turkey Neck Soup Day, International Hug A Medielvalist Day (bump elbows w/?)
March 31 Tues: Clams/ Oysters on the Half Shell Day, Back up Day,