Day 17-Quarantine-Sad Scams and Love

I just completed reading a book titled ‘I Love You, Send Money.’ It involves online dating sites. Why would an eighty something be interested in dating sites? As crazy as it sounds I still long for companionship. Being locked up isn’t helping me one bit.

Recently, while on a soul searching session with myself I began to list all the things I missed the most since Peg left me. Most of them involved physical comfort like: sleeping in the same bed together, hugging, holding hands, kissing, cuddling, sex. A phrase came into mind ‘sexual grief.’ It sounded strange, but I googled it anyway. Bingo, the search yielded several hits under sexual bereavement. It is a very real emotion experienced by both men and women, but it is little talked about because of embarrassment. One cannot spend 20, 30, 40, 50 years with a partner sharing intimate relations and not miss it after God turns off the life switch and leaves a partner alone. The suddeness, and finality  of the change is too dramatic to not take notice. I have experienced this twice now, and I am here to tell you that sexual grief is a real thing. After Barb died my emotions went crazy, and never settled until I married Peg two years later. Peg and I were very happy together and now that she died the same damned emotion has kicked in. This time, however, I was waiting for it, and my body is also seventeen years older, so raging hormones with the intensity of a flame thrower have diminished to a flickering candle.

Getting back to ‘I Love You, Send Money,’ A few weeks ago, I experienced an online scam for which I fell hard. This time it was an email from a friend who purportedly was traveling and not able to buy a her niece a birthday present. She asked me to buy an iTunes gift card and to send her the pass key via email. This friend had lost a brother and a sister within a week of each other in different cities, and I thought she may be traveling between. I emailed back using the address in her message asking for how much she would like on the card. It sounded plausible so I took the bait and rushed out to buy a fifty dollar gift card without waiting for her reply. I scratched the coating off the passkey, took a picture and sent it via email. I called her and left a message as to what I did.

Hours later, she called me to tell me I had been scammed. How can that be, it was from your address? She hadn’t gotten my email. I looked at the original message I got and discovered that her address in the header was correct, but the address in the body was not exactly the same. He address was her name, but the scammer added an additional vowel at the end to make it different, and the service provider was different. Damn! I got fooled.  What can I do now? Gift cards are not returnable, so that was out. I asked my self, I wonder if this scammer has had time to redeem this card? I went to the iTunes store, logged in and found the section where you can enter gift card numbers. I did and iTunes accepted my card and I have a credit with them. I got lucky by outsmarting the perp, but it doesn’t change the embarrassment.

When I spotted this book I was searching of free e-books to read while my library is closed. The title tingled a nerve and told me to read it. The story is about people who are using online dating sites. These particular people are in their late forties/early fifties. One a widower, the other a divorced mom of two lookin’ for love. Supposedly they are both using the site for the first time. They begin messaging. The guy, I thought started talking about love a bit earlier than I would be in this situation. I wondered. The girl was very tentative at first but slowly opened up. They agreed to meet in Hawaii months later for their first date. The guy is an engineer who has a business helping railroads. To make along story short, his latest client is in Sri Lanka and while he is there he needs money to finish the job. His bank for some reason will not free up his funds so he asks his online friend  to help him out. He needs fifty thousand dollars, and she agrees to send it to him. I was right this was a scam. She never gets her money back, he never made it to Hawaii for their first date, and she goes bankrupt.

Between this corny online love story scam and the third season of Homeland I am ready for COVID-19 to die and go to hell.

In the meantime, I am experimenting with online grocery shopping and keep striking out. The grocers provide the service, but they can’t handle the volume of business. A third store has now put me on hold waiting for a delivery date.

Day 16- Quarantine-Random Thoughts

I wrote the last three posts in the morning. This one is coming in late afternoon. That means I have more personal stuff to write about. No matter, it is the same stuff today as it was for the past few days. I live in a pattern. Get up, clean up, make breakfast, eat breakfast, read email, work in my shop, take a walk, and pray. Come back, eat lunch, then read a book, then after my lap top battery runs down I watch some videos on the desk-top, and  finally I am writing. I could end it at this point, but there are some things on my mind that have to be explored.

I am still fascinated by the dumb questions people ask of President Trump at his daily press conference on the COVID-19 problem. I have concluded that most of them are asked in an attempt to trap him into contradicting himself  or changing his answer. I am amazed at the level of patience he has with the reporters. Here they are trying to trap him into a situation that they can take hm down, and he politely answers. He knows what they are doing but remains strong to avoid the traps.

One of the situations that particularly befuddles me is the one where they try to get him to say he should have shut the country down sooner so the number of corona deaths would be reduced. Any ass hole who has a brain could answer that for himself, but that same a-hole would not be able to write an accusing news bit to tear down the Commander in Chief.

Another thing that amazes me is the level of detail Trump has on all of the subjects that come up. He speaks with authority on all of them. He is also smart enough to know that some questions are best answered by experts. He then passes the question to one of the doctors or bureaucratic heads to spout details.

The President and the task force are not afraid to change predictions based on new data obtained since yesterday. Scientists love data, and the more they have the better they can prognosticate the spread of the disease.

I am also impressed by the level of leadership being shown by the Vice President and all the heads of departments on the team. It gives me confidence to know that VP Pence can take over for Trump if the time ever arrives.

Trump is always positive, and he hates negativity. He sees successful solutions to problems rather than failure. That is a positive thinking technique called ‘visioning’. It happens to be a technique I myself use in my life and it worked very well for me in my career.

Yesterday, Trump announced what is going on in the war against Mexican drug cartels, and with Iran’s mischief. That tells me he is capable of handling many problems simultaneously not by himself but by directing his heads of office and his generals to assess and report conditions, so he can brainstorm with them. Once he makes a decision to go, he lets them do the job, and they do.

Trump is often criticized for declaring bankruptcy often. Yet, data shows that a typical entrepreneur business man fails three to six times before he succeeds. He doesn’t see failure as a negative, only as a learning experience.

After supper, I continue to binge watch ‘Homeland’ a TV series. It is based on the CIA effort to thwart terrorist attacks toward America. If only 10% of this story is true, it scares the crap out of me that this kind of stuff goes on. Since it involves Muslim Extremists I am completely engrossed in the story. So much so, that I ma dreaming up conspiracy theories of my own that can explain some of what is going on today. For instance, what if, the corona virus was intentionally released by a sleeper cell as revenge for China moving millions of muslims into concentration camps to keep them away from the general population? Who knows, my theory can be as feasible as any other. The Wuhuan area is known for its biological lab industry. It wouldn’t take much for one person to sneak out a vial of the corona virus and disperse it within the population. They are not afraid of dying in these missions when they are brainwashed into believing it is for the glory Allah.

I’ve made my points, and its time make supper, and listen to some of the daily press conference.

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.

15-Online-Shopping-Statistics-Ftrd32.jpg

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 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.

Day 10- Quarantine-Dredging the Pond

This morning was perfect for a day in the garden. The temperature was mild and the wind was calm. After of winter of catching wind blown leaves it was time to clean the pond. Where in the world these leaves come from is a mystery. Each fall I hire Mexicans to clear my garden of leaves, but I pulled oak, maple, ginkgo, pear, apple, and poplar from around the yard this spring. Pond cleaning is a job I dread for a couple of reasons: one, it tires me out too fast, and two, because it is a super-dirty, and smelly task. All the while I raked through the water with my fifty-year old leaf rake I kept wondering if I would awaken a new COVID-19. There are so many pathogens released from decaying matter it is entirely possible. One year, I had a pond filled with Ichthyophthirius multifiliis protozoan more commonly referred to as “ich”. The cure was not easy, but effective.

Two years ago in June, my Son-in-law gifted me with some fish, two Koi, and a dozen comet goldfish; one Koi was white the other gold, they were two inches long, the comets were one inch, and their color varied from solid gold, and some had variations of white and black. By the end of that first summer they had tripled in size and I took special care to maintain them over the winter, and happily they survived. This is the first batch of fish to have done so in over five years. The trick I used was to keep my pump running through the winter which kept the water moving and aerated. The pump failed this January, and the fish were dead by February. It was sad because last summer these fish experienced explosive growth. The two Koi grew to over twelve inches long and the comets were easily six inches. It helped that I fed them all season. Oh well, so much for my attempt to sustain life in the pond.

 

Needless to say, I didn’t see, or come near any living people to catch or to spread the COVID-19 virus. I listened to the Mayor of Chicago chastising the population for not heeding her warning to stay in place. Too many people are out running, walking, skating, skate boarding along the lake front bike path. She fired a shot over our heads and threatened to fine people who don’t heed the advice.

On the Federal level, the scare is wearing down. I can tell by the amount political finger-pointing going on between the parties. Political badminton disappeared for the last couple of weeks and now it is returning. If President Trump  could cure everyone that is sick, raise those who died, restored the economy to its pre-virus status, and eradicate the virus the Never-Trumpers and Democrats would accuse him of some wrong doing. In my history of listening to politics through the terms of thirteen presidents I have never witnessed anything as bad as the hate and resentment against Trump. The country is clearly divided and has been for twenty years. There is no more partisanship where the parties debate and vote for what is right. In today’s world they don’t debate but rather denigrate each other, and vote along party lines. It has become a “them versus us” system whichever party has the most representatives in office are the winners. Thank God the framers were genius in setting up the system with checks and balances. We all cringe when nothing gets done because of the constant blocking of legislation by one party or another, but the system is working as designed.

I was not a fan of President Obama. In my eyes he was a communist whose goal was to destroy America. When he asked for stimulus packages of a trillion dollars I was his biggest critic and voiced my opinion on this blog daily with sarcastic essays and cartoons to make my point. It didn’t matter. Today, when I see them arguing over how to spend two trillion dollars to save the economy I cringe again. How in the hell will we pay that bill? We don’t need Bernie Sanders to steal the Treasury to attempt to pay for his communist policies we are stealing his thunder by doing it in the name of “saving the economy.”

I don’t know how I would handle things if I were in Trump’s shoes, but I believe in the man and his performance so far. Therefore, I will play the game and be a good soldier to save my fellow citizens.

Day 9-Of Self Imposed Quarantine

It occurred to me today that this quarantine has not changed my life pattern much at all. Living alone is basically a quarantine. The only things I have given up are meeting my friends on Tuesday evenings at a bar for drinks, and going to the library. Instead a couple of us just have a virtual happy hour. We text and drink together. In some ways it is more fun than sitting within arms reach of someone at the bar. Because we are not face to face, the double entendres can fly back and forth without any fear of being smacked. Other than that my life is the same.

On my daily walk I encountered several couples walking dogs or running. We gave each other plenty of space as we passed, and now I am back in the sterility of my home enjoying quiet. In about an hour, I will descend to my shop and make some noise with my grinders. I am ensconced with my three roses. Each one is a new project. I learned what not to do, or how not to do, on the first and changed my methodology for the second and learned some more. Now I am using a totally new process on number three. On each rose the amount of effort and time has decreased.  I am also answering a question I asked myself awhile ago , i.e. why don’t I try making miniature intarsia? The answer, small pieces take extreme effort to hold and shape with machines. These roses have the smallest pieces I have ever cut for intarsia art work. That doesn’t mean, however, that I will not give up on making miniatures, it just means I have to undertake a lot of training and and develop new skills to do so.

 

I am also taking these quiet moments to teach myself new cooking skills. Being on a KETO diet means giving up many of the comfort foods I love so much. Yesterday I learned to make a cauliflower mash as a substitute for mashed potatoes. Believe it or not, it was good. I have eaten pre-made cauliflower mash in frozen dinners and I rated it a minus ten on a zero to ten scale. I never had runny mashed potatoes, and the watery cauliflower mash I experienced in some frozen dinners is a total turnoff.

YouTube is my teacher for cooking. There are thousands of people making videos of their favorite recipes. Finding KETO versions of favorite dishes is easy. Today, I researched KETO Stroganoff and found five videos by five different cooks and five different ways to make stroganoff. All of them were composed of the same ingredients. Only the spices were different. Saturday, I will make KETO Stroganoff.

On the COVID-19 front, I am watching fewer news programs about the disease. I don’t need anymore panic news to upset me. It is what it is and we have to be serious about staying away from each other to keep from getting it passed down. I keep asking myself, what would I do if a beautiful mature woman hit on me? Would I risk the virus, or resist the temptation? At my age the only  option is to resist the temptation. Who can we trust? Even folks living together have risk. All it would take is for one of them to leave the confines of the quarantine to go some place and come back with the bug. If we could see the enemy maybe it would be more simple to move around, but none of us can see where it lurks and we can’t see it coming at us. At this time isolation is the best protection we have.

In the meantime, I have learned to download a book from the internet and am reading from my lap-top. So my excuse of not being able to got to he library has been eliminated.

 

Days 2 & 3 Of My Quarantine

As luck has it something strange always happens when you schedule a large home improvement project. Making breakfast was an adventure because all the cabinets  were sealed off with plastic sheeting. I wound up poking holes through the sheeting in front of cabinet doors and drawers to get stuff I needed. I was stuck in my home quarantined by the floor refinishers. After a breakfast eaten in my bedroom I descended into my shop to get away from the noise and dust.

I was in my shop grinding on a piece of padauk wood forming a rose while the Rumanian floor refinisher was grinding the floors above me. I was attired in  face mask, heavy apron, and shop-hat turned backwards to protect me from the dangers of padauk-dust when I heard someone shouting at me. It was Johnny, the Rumanian. He told me I had until 12:30 p.m. to vacate the house, it was 11:30. He had begun to apply the stain on the floor where the refrigerator and stove sit. He would finish the final sanding while that stain set.

I hustled to pack a bag to get out and headed for a hotel. Thankfully, I thought about it for a few minutes when they first told me I would have to vacate for a day. I picked the hotel where Peggy and I spent our first nite of wedded bliss together. It is six miles from our house. Last night was not even close to that night.

Checking in was not a problem because they had many vacancies. In fact, I think I was one of a dozen people who stayed. The hotel bar and cafe were both closed by government edict which left me to fend for myself. Usually, when I check into a new hotel room, the first thing I check is the condiment bar for goodies. They had one of those new Keurig coffee machines. I followed the instructions and pushed “BREW” the light went on and I proceeded to check out the bathroom. Nice shower and lots of towels, I liked it. I expected a fresh cup of coffee but got nothing. I tried three more times to make it happen, but nothing. I left the room to buy some lunch. On the way out I stopped at the desk to report the Keurig wasn’t working and that someone should come up and check it out and/or teach me how to use it.

It is election day and I wanted to vote for someone who would not win so I drove to the high school which is where I voted the last time. It was a ghost town. I went to the library which is within sight of my house. It was the wrong place, but the nice ladies there looked up my precinct and found the church. Afterwards, I moved to the super-market next to the church and bought a pre-made sub-sandwich and a couple cans of soup. It was enough for lunch and supper. Back in the room a maintenance guy showed up to look at the coffee maker. He also had trouble, but solved the problem by unplugging the unit and replugging it into the adjacent outlet. After breaking my KETO diet with the sub-sandwich I spent a few hours reading until it was time for the soup.

I fully intended to write this diary every day, but I experienced too much trouble getting onto Word Press on my lap top last night. Its been five years since I used the laptop for posting. In those years the world has gone slap-happy with the need for user names and passwords. I tried my best to find the right combination but failed. I could have written a post in Word and then posted it today on my Mac, but I chose to play Solitaire instead. I used up my battery, and my charger was on my desk at home, so I was stuck watching TV. I spent the evening watching a new episode of Life Below Zero about a totally new region of Alaska. I will watch the program religiously again.

Day three(today) my internal clock got me up at seven and I sat on the bed watching the traffic move by. Normally, there are hundreds of cars speeding through that section, but this morning it was relatively empty. I dressed and went to the lobby hoping to find some food, but first I decided to use the Keurig again. It took me three tries, but I finally mastered the combination of latch closing, water addition, and proper button pushing before the damn thing started to drip coffee. The morning food service was suspended as advertised, but the manager left baggies with an orange, cupcake, and a granola bar for departing residents. They also had a pot of coffee available. I picked up the USA Today and the Wall Street Journal for the room.

I spent reading and watching President Trump’s press conference on Covid-19. I thought he is doing everything right and he reacts with new action as new facts emerge. He doesn’t wait to cogitate with his advisors before acting because they discuss and brainstorm together and decide on the next course of action. He doesn’t need any more thought about what to do. He reminds me of the man I worked for. When he wanted a problem solved he called his experts and we discussed and brainstormed together. We never left the room without a plan. His only course afterwards was to follow up on our actions. Many times he was following up and looking for results before I arrived back at my office.

Another can of soup and a coffee later I cleaned my debris and packed my pajamas to leave. On the way home I stopped at the bank to deposit a check and then went to Mickey’s for a hot dog to go. Mickey’s is allowed to stay open because it is mainly a carry-out place. The bank doors were locked, and I had to use the drive through window. Traffic seemed normal for the day.

By the time I arrived home there was not sign of Johnny or his partner. My plan was to enter the house through the garage into the laundry room where I would sit on the ceramic tile floor and watch the varnish dry while I ate my hot dog. I touched the floor, it was dry and not sticky, so I took off my shoes and said, “what the heck” go for it.

I stepped on the beautiful newly refinished floor, and was able to negotiate the house. Everything is white with dust. I thought the plastic covering everything and blocking doors would keep things clean, but it didn’t so I spent an hour doing my most favorite housecleaning chore, dusting. I couldn’t sit anywhere looking at all the dusty surfaces. I stopped after I hit all the spots I would be looking at today, and this computer desk was one of the targets. I went for a haircut and now I am at this moment in time thinking what adventure I will undertake next while I sit in isolation waiting for the Covid-19 bug to come out of somewhere to attack me. It is raining and cold, so I will avoid my daily walk to nowhere which usually lifts my spirits. I will restart my KETO diet with my next meal. Darn that sub-sandwich, muffin, and hot dog and tasted good.

 

 

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