Tale From Another

Have a friend who has tested positive for COVID-19.

She the first friend that has confirmed she’s tested positive. I have third hand tales that a group of friends I sometimes hang out with had two people test positive.

My friend is traveler, visiting Africa, Europe, Japan, and other parts of the U.S. this year. Retired, she enjoys being active and seeing the world. After returning from her latest trip (to Arizona), she experienced symptoms that were listed as possible signs of COVID-19; besides that, she’d been with someone else before that exhibiting the signs.

So, she decided to go into isolation and get tested.

Deciding to get tested was one thing; actually getting tested required days of telephone calls and insistence that she be tested. After being tested at a drive through testing center, she remained in isolation while awaiting the results. Receiving the results took more days of telephone calls and emails. Ten days later, they confirmed what she suspected.

Although she’s over seventy, her symptoms weren’t too severe. The worse part was the dry cough, she said. It felt like her ribs were being torn apart on some days. Mended now, eight weeks later, she considers herself lucky.

Meanwhile, as nobody else seemed interested, she conducted her own tracing program and notified others she’d been with. Of the seven that she notified, six tested positive for COVID-19. The seventh didn’t want to be tested. He was showing numerous symptoms but refused to be tested. Coincidentally — and it must only be a coincidence — he’s a Republican and Trump supporter.

And that first person? Yes, he tested positive for COVID-19. Like her, the worse that he experienced was the dry, hard cough.

That is all.

Annual Week in Review

Yes, it’s Sunday, and time again for my recurring segment, the Annual Week in Review.

In politics, shit storms continue around the world. This week, the POTUS tweeted about Obamagate, an expression never heard or seen until the POTUS’ tweets, leaving everyone baffled about WTF he was talking about.

Arguments abound about whether social-distancing, masking up, and sheltering-in-place are worthwhile. A lot of false information is being spread. Vetting everything takes time.

My 401(k) is down about six percent (fifty-five thousand) but my personal brokerage account stayed up, as I have a big chunk of Costco in it that I bought a decade ago. My wife’s 401(k) is down about twenty-five thousand. All those accounts are investments, and aren’t needed right now, so it’s an annoyance more than anything, for which we’re fortunate. I’ve checked with family to ensure they don’t need any financial help, and have given to some charities.

Personally, I’ve been painting the inside of the house. My wife has always complained that the house is too dark. Three years ago, we painted one bathroom and the guest room with Homestead Resort Parlor Taupe. It looks nothing like taupe to me, but ecru, but, you know, marketing. Pleased with the result after three years of study, we (I’m employing the couple we here) are painting more areas.

That paint color had been discontinued, so getting more of it required having the color analyzed and mixed. It worked, though, thanks to modern technology.

I began with the foyer and progressed through one hallway, usually painting three hours a day. Much of the time was spent taping the baseboards and door jambs (which are both brilliant white) to keep it all neat. (There were seven doors in the foyer and hall, including the front door) As it looks great, two more gallons of paint were ordered on Monday and picked up yesterday (which required a masked visit to Lowe’s, known locally as thunderdome). I’ll be continuing with more rooms.

Besides painting, we acquired more plants.  My wife’s initial efforts with arugula, leaf lettuce, and basil went spectacularly well. I’d already weeded, turned and fertilized the raised beds, so last Saturday, we masked up and headed to our local Grange Co-op for more plants. They were well-organized there, and over ninety percent of the people we encountered were socially respectful and distanced themselves. (Somehow, I expected that from gardeners.)

Three tomato plants (of different varieties), lemon cucumbers, and zucchini were planted in the raised bed, leaving space for us to add more. More lettuce (including our fave, Romaine) was planted in our ‘green beds’ and positioned in the sun on the patio.

I’ve also been doing yard work, trimming the trees and bushes, conducting the annual battle against blackberry brambles, weeding, and cutting the grass.

Haven’t been blogging much, because I’ve been writing a lot. With or without a global pandemic, fiction writing is my escape. I’m having fun writing like crazy each day. I often don’t know WTF I’m doing, other than following the main character’s leads. I often cringe because I don’t know where it’ll all take me, and I’m constantly learning about him. Sometimes he seems like the Hulk to me (without the green skin, and he doesn’t return to being Bruce Banner). His Qiqz addiction informs his thinking and behavior; I’m still understanding Qiqz and his origins.

Meanwhile, other surprising directions include understanding the Plies (who are people who accept a specific role in society) and the egg people (who I’m just starting to explore). Did I mention this is dystopian? Yeah, I’m drawn to dystopian fiction; to me, it offers the same large canvas of mystery and exploration that murder offers crime victims, or love offers romance writers.

I usually write three to four hours a day (although goofing off (to shift into the mood) is included in that time).

My wife cooks dinner for us six out of seven nights. I cook on the other night, and sometimes try to help in the kitchen, depending on what we’re making. I have grilled us plant-based burgers a few times, and grilled chicken for myself (she’s a vegetarian). We’re each responsible for making our own breakfast and lunch. She’s also baked for us a few times.

Exercising has been more challenging. Walking is my primary source of exercise. Before COVID-19 arose in March in our area, I was walking about ten miles a day, with eleven or twelve reached a few times a week.

I now go out walking once or twice a week, going up the southern hills where people are rarely encountered (I have a mask on when I’m doing this), but otherwise run in place in the house, or use the Stairmaster. Inspired by my cats and interested in increasing my pulse each day, I’ll do a few minutes of mad dashes, racing around the house like a crazy cat. I usually pretend that fast zombies are after me or that I’m running football pass routes. Whatever works, right? But I’m only getting about seven and a half miles per day.

I’ve had three beers to date since we began sheltering-in-place nine weeks ago, and no wine or other alcohol. Not a deliberate choice, so much as I’m not interested in drinking.

I do have a cuppa coffee each day, though.

My wife has been Zooming with others. She takes a morning exercise class three times a week and a belly dance class twice a week. She has Zoom tea with friends with one group every other week, does book club once a month with Zoom, and visits with friends catching and giving support to one another via Zoom once a week. Yeah, she’s the social side of our couplehood.

Beyond all that, I kill time. I’m working on another jigsaw puzzle, fifteen hundred pieces, featuring a Corvette. Time is spent on social media and reading blogs. I feed, groom, and play with the cats (and clean their litter box and clean up their gaks), play computer games, read books, and stream television. Streaming is down; we finished “Counterpart”, which I enjoyed, and began “Upload”. I’ve been watching “The Last Kingdom Again”, building back up to the new episodes released this year, and watched the new season of “Bosch”, and a few movies and documentaries. I read a lot of news, though. Of course, I call and chat with Mom and Dad.

We have gone on two shopping expeditions, one day to local stores, and yesterday to Costco and Trader Joe’s. Since we’re over sixty, we could have gone in during the early ‘protected’ hours; we didn’t, because we were advised otherwise. It was bad intel. If we go out again, it will be during the protected time.

Oh, yes, and we voted, by mail. By mail is the Oregon standard; it is the only way that it’s done.

That’s all from my niche of existence. I know this all sounds pretty self-congratulatory. We are damn lucky, in multiple ways that I often take for granted. Hope you’re all doing well out there in cyberland. Stay well.

That is all.


Sheltering-With-Floof (floofinition) – Staying with pets or animals, often associated with not leaving the house.

In use: “Sheltering-in-place (SIP) was ordered in many communities as the novel coronavirus swept the planet, and many people’s experience was changed by sheltering-with-floof (SWF – pronounced swiff) (although some claimed that cats weren’t pleased with the increased time together).”


Profloofstinate (floofinition) – Delaying activity or thinking in order to appease, support, or favor an animal.

In use: “Many people hesitate to use vacuum cleaners or power sweepers, profloofinating because a pet is happily in slumber.”

Simply Floof

Simply Floof (floofinition) – British floof pop (floop) and soul band formed in the 1980s, primarily known for soulful ballads.

In use: “Songs like “Holding Back the Bites” and “If You Don’t Pet Me by Now” highlights Simply Floof’s smooth sound.”

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Went out shopping yesterday, Trader Joe’s and Costco in Medford, OR. We were masked up. We heard it wasn’t bad…

They were wrong.

Costco won’t allow entrance unless you have a mask ‘on’. Everyone wore a mask, but not properly. Several had the mask down below their nose and/or mouths. The store has signs up about keeping social distance, and people around with signs. Signs won’t ever deter the ignorant or self-absorbed. Those who ‘know better’ don’t give a shit about signs. Frustrating Costco experience.

It was bliss compared to Trader Joe’s.

TJ’s controlled entrance; one shopping unit out, one group in. Separation was begun on the sidewalk outside. Tape marked off six feet segments.

Most folks outside were not wearing a mask. Why wear a mask? They’re outside. The man in front of us was eating a sandwich. That seems safe.

Inside the store, about three-quarters were masked. Not all of them practiced six-feet of SD; either they didn’t care, were self-absorbed and didn’t notice, or thought all of this was trumpshit (you could see that by their actions).

Yeah, it pissed me off, but I remembered people. Doing the right thing is hard. It requires mindfulness, practice, and patience. Few U.S. citizens are ever accused of being those three things.

Finally, worse though, in both stores, were the employees. Focused on work, they frequently blew through the idea of being six feet apart.

I can only imagine the shit that they’re saying about me at home. I was a senior NCO in the military. My eyes can express a great deal of anger and contempt when it finds its way in me. Yeah, I’m not a patient and tolerant person, especially when I think someone is being stupid.

As an addendum to the whole thing, groups are organizing together in freedom rallies. What cracked me up is that they said, “a military mindset” must be used. A ‘military mindset’ to me means order, structure, discipline. It means listening to your intelligence in the sense of the experts who gather and analyze data. It does not mean asserting your will to do something else in the face of the intell provided.

From all of this, a fave song by The Offspring jumped into the stream. From 1994, here’s “Come Out and Play”. Obviously, it’s chosen for the line repeatedly employed, “You gotta keep them separated.”

By the way, our county had been steadily reporting no new cases. We went ten days, I think. But guess what? New cases of testing positive are being reported. 

Gosh, I wonder why?


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