Day 15-Quarantine-Assess How Lucky One Can Be

Today, I must make a giant decision relative to going to shop for needed groceries. I promised family that I would not leave my home. They offered to shop for me. Why should I put young people at risk for me? I am closer to end of life than I hope they are so it just makes sense to keep them out of harms way.  I will practice social distancing and avoid crowded spaces so my risk is reduced.

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Yesterday I tried using a shop on line program using Wal Mart service. The program is easy to use and they offer just about their entire inventory of groceries. Where it fails is in the delivery part. I recognize that there are just so many people employed to run around the aisles with a customer shopping list to collect items for a specific customer. Then, there are also too few employees driving those orders to customers. I failed yesterday to get in the que, and this morning I tried earlier with the same result. I will try again in the middle of the night. Meanwhile I will scrape my coolers for available goodies to feed my fat ass. I’m sure I will survive.

Today’s agenda includes cooking, reading, killing grass near the pond, walking, shaping my rose project, and watching a series on TV. Oh, and avoiding coming in contact with COVID-19.

Day 14- Quarantine-Is It Really Going To Be That Bad?

In guess the answer to the title question is it depends on what age group you are in. If you are in my class the answer is “it is terrible.”  I can  only wrap my head around the projected death figures by comparing what happened during the various wars we were fought. The war I remember the best is WW II. I was only 0-7 years old during that time, but the impression made on me was lasting. Most of what I remember were the sacrifices my parents experienced to keep us fed and safe. The impressions of casualty were made by people who lost loved ones. As a kid, I hated to see adults cry, and I saw too many who did. I also remember seeing families who hung stars in their windows indicating they had a dead soldier. In some neighborhoods it seemed like every house had at least one star hanging. There is no question war is hell. During WW II 480,000 US men were lost or declared missing in action. Even worse than that is the world wide figure of sixty-five million deaths. That is a whole lot of bodies to bury.

The doctors of disease are telling us the COVID-19 virus can leave us with a casualty rate similar to those of WW II. WW I was not much different. The US lost 116,000 men and more than half were to the Spanish flu. I shudder when I hear reporters sarcastically deridide an official because he/she referred to Covid-19 as an invisible enemy who is at war with the world.

What would be really cool is if we the people could use all the guns and ammo we own to blast this enemy out of existence. This enemy is smarter and sneakier than those we are familiar with. Muslims like to sneak up on their enemies with bombs strapped to their chest and push a button. This new enemy likes to sneak up on us with weapons that need an electron microscope to find. We don’t stand a chance until we have a bio-weapon to fight back with. In the meantime we have to hide and stay away from sources of infection. Since we don’t know who is carrying we need to stay away from everybody.

Today, I completed my spring clean up in the backyard garden. I uncovered a stone tablet that one of my wife Barb’s girlfriends gave me after Barb died. It has a short poem on it and at first I thought what a nice idea. Then I read it again, and thought that no christian would ever want this to happen. Here is what the stone reads:

If Tears Could Build a Stairway,

and Memories a Lane,

I’d Walk Right Up to Heaven

and Bring You Home Again.

Here is what I think it should say:

If Tears Could Build a Stairway,

and Memories a Lane,

I’d Walk Right Up to Heaven

and Be Home With You  Again.

Why would anyone want to go to heaven to bring a loved one back to this miserable planet? That is stinkin’ thinkin’.

That’s All Folks!

 

Day 13-Self Imposed Quarantine-On the Seventh Day God Rested

Today is Sunday. I have to remind myself of that. Last week I lost a day and celebrated Friday on Thursday. That means I didn’t eat meat at any meal before I realized my mistake, and then had to abstain again the next day. Not that fish is bad for me it is because I don’t have a stock pile of it my freezer. I have peanut butter, but my KETO diet keeps me from eating bread, and I love peanut butter sandwiches. Does that make sense?

After posting my rant about the stupidity of car companies offering to make medical devices I finally got underway filling the day with more productive activities. By then I developed enough courage to go outside and attack another flower bed clean up. I must have slept through some heavy rain because the leaves were soaking and the soil muddy. I wound up cleaning mud off my heavy shoes several times. I completed another one hour baby step toward a burgeoning upcoming floral season. I photographed the first blooms of spring to make my heart leap with joy. The next project was to strip naked in front of the washing machine to wash my muddy clothes.

After a quick shower and clean clothes I proceeded to cook a batch of KETO stroganoff. Actually, it is the same as regular stroganoff but without any flour as gravy thickener. When it was finished I thought the gravy a mite too runny, so I added some Xanthan gum to thicken it, and it worked. I didn’t have a zucchini to make zucchini noodles, so I decided KETO go to hell for this meal, and cooked up some wide egg noodles. I am not sorry I did that because the stroganoff was great! Today, I’ll have left overs, except I’ll substitute leftover cauliflower mash for the noodles and be totally KETO compliant.

After supper, I went to the TV and found a stupid movie called “Thirteen Going On Thirty”.  It starred Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffallo, since they were in it I thought it would be good. I endured it to the end. I’d give it about a half star. The plot grants a thirteen year old girl’s wish to be thirty. The overnight transition from a thirteen year old to a thirty year old was too much to believe.

There was still an hour and a half before my usual bedtime so I turned to watch episodes of my latest series “Homeland.”  Three episodes later and long after my bedtime I shut the TV off and forced myself to sleep. There is so much action in this series that my mind continues processing throughout the night. The sleep is not restful and I find  myself dragging in the morning. My dreams are all wild with people from the series running and shooting and plotting.  The Homeland series is several years old and there are over ninety episodes, and I have watched only thirteen. Either I slow down, watch in the daytime, or ration my watching to one episode per week. As tired as I was from the yard work, which usually makes me sleep like a baby, I woke up with my blanket bunched up and twisted in a roll. I was rockin’ and rollin’ all night long.

Day 12-Quarantine-Respirators by GM?

This post will not be a reflection of my day, rather an opinion on President Trump’s latest effort to move the country through the COVID-19 virus. This morning I listened to a news bit about Trump’s direction to General Motors to make respirators by the thousands and in a hurry. GM offered to help the country, but is moving slowly so the president being a typical impatient CEO has taken over and is using the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to force them into action. My comment on that is “Good Luck Pres.”

At one time GM was the largest car maker in the world and they let the Japs take it away from them. If any company will work like government i.e. slow, sluggish, takes forever, gets lost in its own bureaucracy General Motors is it. One of their largest problems has been with dealing in downsizing in order to increase profit. They have not learned how to make more with less, and that is after thirty years of trying. One anchor around their corporate neck is the UAW union.

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GM knows how to make cars, that is their business and that is what they can do best. How in the world will they be able to translate car manufacturing into respirators is a wish. Unfortunately, wishes don’t get things done. I give them credit for trying.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a disgruntled former GM employee. I started at GM in 1963 working for the Electromotive Division. At that time GM had over 90% of the world market share for diesel locomotives. What is their market share today? Who knows, but they lost the bulk of it to competitor’s because of two reasons; 1. They didn’t listen to their customers, and 2. They continued to kiss the ass of the UAW. GM finally gave up making locomotives in 2005 after converting the world from steam to diesel.

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I can not picture the kind of respirator that GM will build. It will most likely have four wheels and great styling, and they will all look like a Chevy or Cadillac . . .  SUV’s.

Another problem is that GM produces cars from components made in countries around the world. They only assemble them in the US. An internet search reports that 55 percent of GM car parts are from the United States and Canada, 20 percent from Japan, 15 percent from China,…

Any car company would be better off starting a new factory in an available warehouse with all new CNC machines installed for making parts. They would also buy ready made high volume components like pumps from companies that make pumps for a living. Put a team of engineers on this project and challenge them to get the problem solved, and respirators made in record time. I wouldn’t use GM engineers, because their culture is not to do things fast. The guys at Ford would be better suited for this type of project.

In my day as Chief Engineer, I would have had a field day managing this kind of work, and could easily have respirators in production quickly. The only requirement being that we don’t have to design the device from scratch.

Companies that make equipment like respirators for hospitals.

  • Resmed (USA)
  • Weinmann (Germany)
  • Philips Healthcare (Netherlands)
  • Carefusion (USA)
  • GE Healthcare (USA)
  • Medtronic (USA)
  • Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (New Zealand)
  • Teijin Pharma (Japan)
  • MEKICS (South Korea)
  • Dräger Medical (Germany)
  • DeVilbiss (USA)
  • Apex Medical (Taiwan)
  • Air Liquide (France)
  • Hamilton Medical (Switzerland)
  • SLE Ltd (United Kingdom)
  • eVent Medical (USA)
  • Maquet (Germany)
  • Siare Engineering (Italy)

I don’t see General Motors on this list anywhere. I would use these companies to make respirators en masse, not GM.

Another thing, I would demand a realistic estimate of the quantity needed. There is at least one report I read that stated we need seven billion respirators. Really? That is one for every citizen on the planet Earth. That is panic reporting and stupid. Not all seven billion people on this planet are sick today. The panic sellers conclude that this pandemic has the potential for infecting the entire Earth. Even if that happened only a small percentage would need respirators. And if we all needed them who would be healthy enough to hook us up to them? Calm down folks, there comes a time when we have to let nature take it’s course.

People who worry about death from pandemics also worry that the population of the Earth is too large thus causing all kinds of pollution and global warming.  Wars reduce population too, so does terrorism, and humans love to kill each other. A good purge might be healthy for Earth.

My prediction is that we will get through this pandemic in good condition because the virus will disappear for reasons we don’t understand. That will give us some time to finish and proof the vaccines in process, and that will happen long before GM can tool up to make seven billion respirators.

 

Day 11-Another Day in the Garden

I woke up this morning to another cloudy day with a promise of a warm temperature. My KETO breakfast consisted of egg salad loaded with chopped scallions, onions, celery, and green pepper. Lunch was some very old freezer burned Groton fish sticks with cheese and a few green grapes. Supper will be fried Tilapia, cauliflower mash, and a mixed vegetable medley of brussel sprouts, green beens, and onions. I weighed this morning and I have not lost any weight for a couple of weeks now. That’s what I get for falling off the diet and overdosing on carbohydrates. I am about ten pounds away from my goal which is to weigh what I did when I was in the prime of life. Not that this isn’t the prime, but at the point when I was a serious bicycle rider, overly horny, and had energy to spare. Some of those prime qualities are beginning to reappear since my weight loss and I don’t have the carb sluggishness. But none of this has anything to do with what I began to write about.

I have just a few more days remaining before I completely clean my gardens from winter detritus. By then more plants will be pushing their way through the ground and buds will begin to appear on shrubs and trees. That is when I begin the Monet Vision 2020 overhaul. My goal this year is to minimize the amount of work I do ever year to create a new vision. Instead large spreads of colorful annuals I want to use existing perennials to turn the garden into a lower maintenance picture. I also intend to do better at vegetables by adding a salad garden. Big dreams, not really, but that is what day-eleven of self imposed exile is doing to keep my mind occupied.

Yesterday, I dredged the pond and removed about six cubic feet of heavy decayed leaves. It took an hour and a half to wear me out. Today, I attacked the backside of the pond and cleaned it out, but I only lasted for forty-five minutes. At least I now have the entire garden encircling the pond cleared. Next, will be the north garden defining the the property line between neighbors. After that, is the garden that provides the background for the pond. Eventually, I’ll get to the frontside of the house. I take a philosophical view of the front side. I don’t look at the front, but I spend a lot of time looking at the back garden. Sorry, folks, but I have the Italian approach to my gardens, i.e. why should I expend effort on making things look good for strangers. I learned from my friend Marco with whom I spent a whole day in Italy at our manufacturing plant. We went to lunch at a deli which looked like a dive from the outside, but once inside it was magnificent; paneled in mahogany, with granite countertops, sparkling glass show cases, chandeliers, mirrors, and tons of delicious foods to please our palates. I commented on the surprise of seeing such a dump externally, but at the beauty of the interior. Marco then told me the Italian custom to spend money living elegantly inside your home, and not spending money to show off to your neighbors. Made sense to me.

 

 

 

 

I am also hooked on watching mini-series TV programs, the latest is “Homeland.”  First I watch regular TV if any of my favorite shows are on, if no regular tv I watch a movie from On Demand, and if the movie ends early I will switch to a series.  A typical series consists of six to twelve episodes of a continuous story, each episode is one hour long without commercials. So far, I have completed “The Marvelous Mrs Maisel,” three-seasons, “Jack Ryan”, two-seasons and now  I’m nearly finished with”Homeland” season one. I love watching spy movies and both Homeland and Jack Ryan are based on CIA type plots. All I can say is if only ten percent of what I am watching is true I can understand why the world hates the USA and the CIA. We do a lot of bad things in the name of protecting our country from bad guys. Bad things happen both ways. The atrocities committed by our enemies are worse than those we commit against them. Two of the series have been about Muslim terrorist plots and nothing in the stories has convinced me that the muslims are poor good-guys that we are picking on.

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