Day 23-Quarantine-Group Meetings

This week I had opportunity to participate in three group meetings by phone. All three were different and I learned a lot from each, mostly how to operate an online video meeting. This afternoon was probably the most interesting because it was the most attended with eighteen participants, and because it was a support group for the visually impaired, not everyone had video. The service is called ZOOM. I have to admit it is a far cry better than the one I used when I was still working twenty years ago. I guess there has been some advancement in the past two decades.

Why am I attending a support group for the visually impaired? Several reasons: 1.) I am a Lion and we are Knights of the Blind as commissioned by Helen Keller (blind, deaf, and mute) in nineteen twenty-five. 2.) As a Lion, I want to understand the hardships that visually impaired people encounter.

There are many things that sighted people take for granted. Like being able to get into a car and to drive someplace, read a menu at a restaurant, or social isolation. What I was surprised to learn from this group is that they all sound as frustrated as I am about having the stay in place. One would think that blind people would be stuck at home most of the time, but they are not. Many spoke about not being able to get out to the store, or to church. Vision impaired people have trouble finding transportation, but somehow manage to find rides when they want them or need them. Most have recruited support systems for themselves.

This meeting was semi-formal in that the leader opened with an uplifting prayer and started the conversation. After that it became a friendly banter between people just as any group of friends would have. The group leader announced that they will hold a ZOOM meeting every week at the same time until such time as the COVID-19 is dead.

The second meeting I attended was a Lions Club Board meeting. I recommend we do this on a continuum since we finished a pretty complete agenda in thirty-five minutes. The third meeting was a Lions training session. The leader conducted a Power Point slide show with lecture while the attendees all showed at the side of the screen. During the question answer period attendees clicked on a icon of a raised hand so the moderator could give him the floor. This also worked good because it cut out people talking over one another. This meeting also lasted forty minutes.

One great thing that COVID-19 is doing is forcing us to use the technology that is available to us. This evening, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday, parishes all across the country will conduct video services.

I plan on opening a personal ZOOM account for my own use so I can gather all my grandkids together from three states for a face time phone chat on Easter Sunday.

Easter was always a huge celebration for my family. I have fond memories of my mother cooking and baking for the Easter morning breakfast, and the family gathering that followed. My wives Barbara, and Peggy celebrated the holy day similarly even though one was of Polish descent and the other Irish. Only the foods varied. My daughter and daughters-in-law have continued the tradition within our family. Now that we are a thousand miles apart it is difficult if not impossible to carry on the tradition as a combined family. That is why I am hoping the ZOOM service can allow us to gather as a group once again.

 

Day 22-Quarantine-Too Many Bad Memories

Today, I woke up and told myself that this day is dedicated to Uncle Sam. Yes, it is the day I finally do my income taxes. Over the years I have whittled down the amount of time it takes me, but I still spend eight to ten hours compiling data for the dreaded IRS 1040. I will say one thing, I didn’t think or obsess about the COVID-19 virus. Instead, I sorted receipts, credit card statements, doctor visits, drug purchases, charity giving, anything deductible that I could find, big or small, to reduce the amount of tax I have to pay.

The Tax Man Cometh

Thanks to COVID-19 and the accompanying market crash my fixed income is drawing from a much smaller pool. The thought of draining the pool before death is not comforting. Instead it brings on thoughts of how the virus might be an advantage. Catch virus and die, then leave something for the kids. The opposite is catch the virus, don’t die, and run out of money to live on. The kids will visit you living in a tent city under an overpass. Morose. Of course, I should feel guilty about my high taxes in light of the fact that the government just threw two-trillion ($2,000,000,000,000) dollars at the economy to save it from obliteration. I should feel patriotic and happy to be donating to the cause.

Uncle Sam brought me an unexpected benefit today, grief. As I sorted records, each one brought back memories of life over the past year. Most of the expenditures were for health-care items bought to bring Peg some comfort. As I reviewed them, my mind returned to the situation that incurred the expense. Most were not happy times. Like the last visit of the podiatrist who trimmed Peg’s toenails and inadvertently irritated one of her toes into a wound that we could not heal. Or the rental for her pneumatic mattress that was designed to keep her from getting bed sores. Her skin was so broken down that it was too little too late. These are all the kinds of memories I can do without. I am afraid they will haunt me in my dreams. My prayers will be to never see another pressure sore for the remainder of my life.

Tomorrow, I will wrap up the details of my data and send the pile to my tax man. He basically pumps the numbers into a neat program and it spits out the results. He’ll have it completed within four hours. There is something wrong with that picture, I spend ten hours compiling data so it is nice and neat and he spends less than half that time entering the data, and he gets paid. This is the last time I can claim Peg as a dependent and next year my taxes will be much higher, I can hardly wait.

The weather was fabulous today, but the only time I set foot outside was to gather the mail. Tomorrow, I will spend time in a ZOOM meeting with the support group for sight impaired. All I can vision is a bunch of blind people staring at a computer screen waiting for something to happen. It’ll be interesting for sure.

In the meantime, I found a grocery store that actually gave me a delivery date, get this, it is the local grocer that I go to all the time. My previous attempts were with huge stores like Walmart, Meijers, Shipt, and Target. I don’t even get an acknowledgement from them, but my local gave me a date for next Monday a full week out. The company called Shipt is an online delivery service that will shop for you from any of the major stores and bring it to your door. Their problem is they can’t deliver either. Wow, I wouldn’t want my brainstorm of an idea to blow up on me like that. I guess I can live on my crumbs until then. The downside is the selection of items is about one quarter of what it was in the big box stores. It is a famous trick for companies to sell what you want at a very low price when they don’t have any stock.

It is time to turn on Homeland and fill my brain with violence and terrorism before I retire to have nightmares about Peg’s bed sores and her death.

Day 21-Quarantine-Dependency

Five ways to beat the Corona Virus

Twenty-one days since I enter this life of near solitary confinement. I say near because I still get out and walk and when I do I see people. I rarely speak to them, but I do speak to friends on the phone. My biggest adventure was to break out the car yesterday for a quick trip to the drug store. I used the drive through for the very first tie in ten years. My prescription met the minimum requirements and I didn’t even have to pay this keeping my hands away form the tube. Once at home, I washed my hands according to the protocol.

My day was somewhat strange because I was extremely tired and decided the cure was to nap, I did. The nap didn’t really work well, but I forced myself to prepare a supper and after some wine I felt great. Could it be that I am hung-over most of the day? Could it be that my system requires a bit of alcohol to tune me up? Dependency would kill me for sure. The idea of needing something so badly that my body sends messages is scary.

While fighting the blahs I also forced myself to the shop to glue some pieces together and to begin the second of three main elements in my new creation. Oh my God! the last phrase of my sentence jumped to the paragraph above. Have this ever occurred to you? I am typing on a laptop with a touch pad, and if I touch or drag a finger over the pad while typing the text suddenly skips to another part of the page. Annoying to say the least.  Sometimes I will go on for entire sentence before I discover the I am typing in the middle of the first paragraph.

After I complete this post I will leave the confines of the house to the confines of my garden. I have one more area that needs a spring clean up. If I wait longer the new foliage will pop up through all the dead leaves and last year’s detritus. It doesn’t make for a pretty garden. Gardeners are funny that way, besides like colorful flowers and unusual horticultural matter planted in artistic beds they love neat and clean beds. That means not old rotting foliage, neatly tilled soil surrounding flowers, and healthy corona free plant matter. I wonder if the corona virus can attach itself to living plants the same as it does to humans? Wouldn’t that be a trip?

Later this evening I am attending my first ever Zoom board meeting. It is the first Tuesday of the month and that is the scheduled day for the Lions Club board of directors to meet. Zoom is an app and service that we download to our computers and then register for a meeting with a Zoom generated code. It allows those who register to conduct a conference call with the added pleasure of seeing the attendees by way of their cameras. It is a giant face time phone call. Anyway, this service will allow us to discuss how on earth we will serve the needs of our community while remaining socially distant.

The garden beckons me. It is 64 degrees F out, the warmest it has been this spring. I can’t waste the opportunity to feel some warmth after a long winter.

Day 20-Quarantine-Here Goes Anyway

My heart isn’t in this post today, but I’ll give it a try. For some dumb reason I feel punk today (do I have COVID?). I haven’t taken my walk, I haven’t cooked anything, and now I’m not writing anything. I dreamed all night about Homeland and got myself into some pretty confusing scenarios. I wish the studio would put me on their payroll. Actually, I don’t think I could come up with all the stuff the writers of that program think of. I have to admit, they have hooked me good. I watch several episodes everyday and the plot just gets more and more complicated. I have to keep telling myself this is not true, it is only a story, or is it? The story in season four takes place in Pakistan and I love the countryside scenes, and the crowded village (city) shots. Those pictures are real and very eye opening about how people live there. It reminds me of the days that I travelled to Singapore for work and took side trips to places in Malasia and Indonesia. People really do live like they do in the Homeland scenes. I even travelled to the now evil China, but saw only one day of their rural areas and one government picked village. Most of my time was spent in Hong Kong where it is crowded but the people speak english, are friendly, and try to live like westerners. Now I see videos of the Chinese cities like Wuhan and am amazed at the modernity of the buildings. The city is an architects dream.

When I see those modern buildings I wonder if their construction was as good as their appearance. I remember walking through shopping center buildings where the floors between sections had a two inch mismatch between them or the stairs were uneven. Construction was shoddy at best, and the building scaffolds were made from bamboo lashed together with rope. Construction coolies lived in makeshift apartments on the job sites. They were bamboo structures with screened walls sectioned into four by four foot by no more than six feet long cubby-holes. Each worker lived in one of those compartments. They used bamboo ladders to get from floor to floor. Those were interesting times.

COVID-19 is turning me off, and I feel I must turn my attention to activities that are a thousand miles in space rather than at home with corona. The only corona I would love to spend time with comes in a clear glass bottle of rich yellow golden beer.

The tone of the emails I am receiving definitely suggest that the country(and world) is preoccupied with COVID-19. Just for fun I will include some of the content I got today. Some of it is cute, some is hilarious and some is downright awful.

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Ready To Go Poop

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  • I used to spin that toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I’m cracking a safe

  *   I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator.

  *   Still haven’t decided where to go for Easter —– The Living Room or The Bedroom

  *   PSA: every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.

  *   Homeschooling is going well. 2 students suspended for fighting and 1 teacher fired for drinking on the job.

  *   I don’t think anyone expected that when we changed the clocks we’d go from Standard Time to the Twilight Zone

  *   This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house, told my dog….. we laughed a lot.

  *   So, after this quarantine…..will the producers of My 600 Pound Life just find me or do I find them?

  *   Quarantine Day 5: Went to this restaurant called THE KITCHEN. You have to gather all the ingredients and make your own meal. I have no clue how this place is still in business.

  *   My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet.

  *   Day 5 of Homeschooling: One of these little monsters called in a bomb threat.

  *   I’m so excited — it’s time to take out the garbage. What should I wear?

  *   I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to Puerto Backyarda. I’m getting tired of Los Livingroom.

  *   Classified Ad: Single man with toilet paper seeks woman with hand sanitizer for good clean fun.

  *   Day 6 of Homeschooling: My child just said “I hope I don’t have the same teacher next year”…. I’m offended

Subject: [EXTERNAL] Poem to share
The earth whispered but you did not hear. 
The earth spoke but you did not listen
The earth screamed but you turned her off.
And so I was born…
I was not born to punish you.. 
I was born to awaken you..
The earth cried out for help…
Massive flooding. But you didn’t listen. 
Burning fires. But you didn’t listen. 
Strong hurricanes. But you didn’t listen. 
Terrifying Tornadoes. But you didn’t listen.
You still don’t listen to the earth when. 
Ocean animals are dying due to pollutants in the waters. 
Glaciers melting at an alarming rate. 
Severe drought.
You didn’t listen to how much negativity the earth is receiving.
Non-stop wars. 
Non-stop greed.
You just kept going on with your life..
No matter how much hate there was.. 
No matter how many killings daily.. 
It was more important to get that latest iPhone then worry about what the earth was trying to tell you..
But now I am here.
And I’ve made the world stop on its tracks. 
I’ve made YOU finally listen. 
I’ve made you take refuge. 
I’ve made you stop thinking about materialistic things..
Now you are like the earth… 
You are only worried about YOUR survival.
How does that feel?
I give you fever.. as the fires burn on earth. 
I give you respiratory issues.. has pollution fill the earth air. 
I give you weakness as the earth weakens every day.
I took away your comforts.. 
Your outings. 
The things you would use to forget about the planet and its pain.
And I made the world stop…
And now… 
China has better air quality.. Skys are clear blue because factories are not spewing pollution unto the earth’s air. 
The water in Venice is clean and dolphins are being seen. Because the gondola boats that pollute the water are not being used.
YOU are having to take time to reflect on what is important in your life.
Again I am not here to punish you.. I am here to Awaken you…
When all this is over and I am gone… Please remember these moments..
Listen to the earth. 
Listen to your soul. 
Stop Polluting the earth. 
Stop Fighting among each other. 
Stop caring about materialistic things. 
And start loving your neighbors. 
Start caring about the earth and all its creatures. 
Start believing in a Creator.
Because next time I may come back even stronger….

Signed, 
Coronavirus

Written by: Vivienne

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Published March 24, 2020 | By Giacomino Nicolazzo, Montecalvo, Lombardy, Italy.

As I sit here in my involuntary isolation, it was just reported that overnight 743 more people died and 5.249 new cases have been reported. This brings the total cases of infection to 69,176 and the body count to 6,820. We take relief in knowing that 8,326 people have recovered so far. (Numbers as of 3/24, 8:30pm in Italy.)

Most towns here in Italy, from the upper reaches of the Alps to the ancient shores of Sicilia and Sardenia, while not deserted, are closer to being ghost towns than the bustling centers of tourism, business and daily life they were just a few weeks ago. Stores and shops have been shuttered. Restaurants and coffee shops no longer serve customers. Schools, universities, sporting arenas…even our museums and theaters…all closed. Even the Vatican City has closed its gates and armed patrols monitor the 20 foot tall walls that protect it! Streets and roads are now empty for as far as the eye can see. Normally they would be filled with crazed Italian drivers in tiny cars and scooters (the ones that sound like demonic insects) darting here and there, reaching the limits of centrifugal force on our roundabouts. In the piazze of our towns and cities, there are now officially more pigeons than people.

Many of us know someone who has been infected and recovered. Some of us know someone who did not recover…now they are dead. But everyone knows someone who has been affected by this microscopic monster in one way or another.

Sixty million of us are in lockdown…it is like a war zone here. We are being held prisoner in our own homes by an unseen enemy that sneaked in unnoticed…by most of us. As you will read in just a few more minutes, there were those who knew something like this was coming…or at least they should have.

So who is to blame? With all this craziness swirling like a whirlpool at our feet, I just had to find the blame answer. And so I have spent my free time (of which I have a lot in these days) digging and researching. I was literally shocked to discover how this has come to be. I am not going to bore you with talk of Patient ‘0’ who spread it to Patient ‘1’ and how mathematics efficiently explains the rapid expansion of infection. No…I am going to tell you how (as I see it) the virus came to Italy.

It has everything to do with communists. Allow me to explain. Beginning in about 2014, Matteo Renzi, the imbecile ex-mayor of Firenze (Florence) acting as the leader of the Partito Democratico (synonymous with the Italian Communist party), somehow managed to get himself elected as Italy’s Prime Minister. To give you a proper frame of reference, Matteo Renzi was so far left, he would make Barack Obama look like Barry Goldwater!

At the same time that Renzi was leading Italy into oblivion, strange things were happening in Italy’s economy. Banks were failing…but not closing. Retirement ages were being extended…for some reason the pension funds were dwindling or disappearing. The national sales tax we call IVA (Value Added Tax) rose from 18% to 20%, then to 21% and again to 22%.And in the midst of all this financial chicanery, the Chinese began furiously buying up Italian real estate and businesses in the North.

Now the reason I mention Renzi and the Chinese together is that strange things were also going on between the governments of Italy and China. A blind eye was being turned to the way the Chinese were buying businesses in the financial, telecommunication, industrial and fashion sectors of Italy’s economy, all of which take place in Milano.

To be brief…China was getting away with purchases and acquisitions in violation of Italian law and EU Trade Agreements with the US and the UK…and no one in either of those countries (not Obama in the US or Cameron in the UK) said a thing in their country’s defense. As a matter of fact, much of it was hidden from the public in all three countries.

In 2014, China infused the Italian economy with €5 billion through purchases of companies costing less than €100 million each. By the time Renzi left office (in disgrace) in 2016, Chinese acquisitions had exceeded €52 billion. When the dust settled, China owned more than 300 companies…representing 27% of the major Italian corporations.

The Bank of China now owns five major banks in Italy…all of which had been secretly (and illegally) propped up by Renzi using pilfered pension funds! Soon after, the China Milano Equity Exchange was opened and much of Italy’s wealth was being funneled back to the Chinese mainland. Chinese state entities own Italy’s major telecommunication corporation (Telecom) as well as its major utilities (ENI and ENEL). Upon entry into the telecommunication market, Huawei established a facility in Serrate, a suburb of Milano. It launched is first research center there and worked on the study of microwaves which has resulted in the possibly-dangerous technology we call 5G.

China also now owns controlling interest in Fiat-Chrysler, Prysmian and Terna. You will be surprised to know that when you put a set of Pirelli tires on your car, the profits are going to China. Yep…the Chinese colossus of ChemChina, a chemical industry titan, bought that company too! Last but not least is Ferretti yachts…the most prestigious yacht builder in Europe. Incredibly, it is no longer owned by the Ferretti family. But the sector in which Chinese companies invested most was Italy’s Profitable fashion industry. The Pinco Pallino, Miss Sixty, Sergio Tacchini, Roberta di Camerino and Mariella Burani brands have been acquired by 100%. Designer Salvatore Ferragamo sold 16% and Caruso sold 35%. The most famous case is Krizia, purchased in 2014 by Shenzhen Marisfrolg Fashion Company, one of the leaders of high-priced, ready-to-wear fashions in Asia.

Throughout all of these purchases and acquisitions, Renzi’s government afforded the Chinese unrestricted and unfettered access to Italy and its financial markets, many coming through without customs inspections. Quite literally, tens of thousands of Chinese came in through Milano (illegally) and went back out carrying money, technology and corporate secrets. Thousands more were allowed to enter and disappeared into shadows of Milano and other manufacturing cities of Lombardy, only to surface in illegal sewing shops, producing knock-off designer clothes and slapping ‘Made In Italy’ labels on them All with the tacit approval of the Renzi government.  It was not until there was a change in the governing party in Italy that the sweatshops and the illegal entry and departure of Chinese nationals was stopped. Matteo Salvini, representing the Lega Nord party, closed Italy’s ports to immigrants and systematically began disassembling the sweatshops and deporting those in Italy illegally.

But his rise to power was short-lived. Italy is a communist country…socialism is in the national DNA. Ways were found to remove Salvini, after which the communist party, under the direction of Giuseppe Conte, reopened the ports. Immediately, thousands of unvetted, undocumented Refugees from the Middle East and East Africa began pouring in again .Access was again provided to the Chinese, under the old terms, and as a consequence thousands of Chinese, the majority from Wuhan, began arriving in Milano.

In December of last year, the first inklings of a coronavirus were noticed in Lombardy…in the Chinese neighborhoods. There is no doubt amongst senior medical officials that the virus was brought here from China. By the end of January 2020 cases were being reported left and right. By mid-February the virus was beginning to seriously overload the Lombardy hospitals and medical clinics. They are now in a state of collapse.

The Far-Left politicians sold out and betrayed the Italian people with open border policies and social justice programs. One of the reasons the health care system collapsed so quickly is because the Renzi government (and now continued under the Conte government) redirected funds meant to sustain the medical system, to pay for the tens of thousands of immigrants brought in to Italy against the will of the Italian people.

If you remember the horrible earthquake that decimated the villages around Amatricia, in the mountains east of Rome in 2015, you would also remember how the world responded by sending millions of dollars to help those affected. But there is a law in Italy that prevents private donations to charitable Italian organizations. All money and donations received must be turned over to a government agency, who in turn is to appropriate the funds as needed. But that agency is corrupt just as are all the others.

Most of the money never reached a single victim in the mountains. The Renzi government redirected the vast majority of those funds to pay for the growing immigrant and refugee costs. As the economy worsened under the burden of illegal immigration, compounded by gross government spending and incompetence, unemployment rose quickly…especially among young people. The unemployment rate for men and women under age 35 is close to 40%. So more money was diverted from the health care system and used to pay what is known here as guaranteed income. Whether you work or not you are paid here, especially if you belong to the PD! The government simply raises taxes on those who do work.

Let me give you a quick example of the height of insanity to which Italian taxation has risen. If you live in a building that has a balcony or balconies…and any of those balconies cast a shadow on the ground, you must pay a public shadow tax! I will say no more!

The point I am trying to make here is that not only did the Chinese bring the virus to Italy (and the rest of the world) it was far-Left politics and policies that facilitated it. This should hopefully be a warning to Americans that while they work to rid themselves of the China Virus, they should just as vehemently endeavor to rid their government of any politician that circumvents the Constitution and ignores the laws of the land…plain and simple.

Nothing was ever done by the EU who knew about it at the start.

Giacomino Nicolazzo is one of Italy’s most beloved writers.  Born and raised in Central Pennsylvania, he lives in a small village in Lombardy where he writes his books.

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Watch this moving graph and be startled

 

 

Day 19-Quarantine-Alone and Weary

While eating my KETO breakfast of cheese, bacon, a hard boiled egg and some green grapes from Chile I watched New York Governor Cuomo’s press conference on COVID-19. I was mildly surprised to hear him speak with intelligence for once. I have only heard him speak politically, and when he does that he speaks through his progressive ass.

He basically explained exactly what President Trump has been telling us about how it is necessary to understand the needs at each hospital and to direct resources to those in dire need and not to those that are merely asking. His explanation seemed to me to be much cleaner than that of Trump’s. Perhaps because he heard Trump’s explanation before. Cuomo’s problems are basically limited to those of New York City, and then the rest of the state. Trump’s problem covers all fifty states and every big city within them. Cuomo admitted that the problem is hard and not one he likes to be involved with.

While this is going on, I switched to a Sunday morning news panel and heard socialist panelists criticizing Trump’s handling of everything. “He lies all the time,” no, he changes the message based on new evidence. “He should have stopped traffic from China sooner.” Yes maybe he should have and you Mr/Ms reporter should have put your brain in gear sooner while learning to become a communist. It is no different on any other liberal news broadcast station, they are all spewing hate and negativity to convince the population that he is the wrong guy for the job, and anyone could do it better.

At the end, Cuomo spoke about the effect the Stay in Place policy is having on people. He rightly referred to it as Cabin Fever. Listing all the emotional and physical effects upon people who are being forced to live with their families full time. If this were a hundred years ago we wouldn’t have that problem because everyone in the family would be too busy working around the farm to keep things going, not playing video games or surfing the net for dumb stuff.

I never completed a course in statistics, but I learned enough about stats to know they are important. During Cuomo’s talk he explained a graph indicating that NY may’ve reached a peak of the deaths. The first question out of a reporter’s mouth was “can you predict when this will be over?” No, dummy, the next point may still be higher. Those who know a little bit about statistics may remember that the mathematicians will only call something a trend if there are seven points in a row that are all in the same direction. So even if Cuomo’s peak was at the pinnacle, no statistician would stick his neck out and make a prediction based on one point. The answer is we will know in a few days, seven to know for sure if this is a trend. If in two or  three days another point goes higher the answer is no we don’t know. What bothers me is the number of genius college educated people in this country who cannot understand the concept.

One thing I learned about data is that without statistics to interpret all you have are numbers. If you think you can predict the outcome of something based on one, two, or three numbers you are ill informed. I know from experience because I was  using a limited number testing process in my work and made wrong predictions daily. It wasn’t until I began to understand how statistics works did I have a Chinaman’s chance in hell to make progress in product development. When the light bulb finally went on above my head it occurred  to me that medical cures, drug efficacy, and medical procedures cannot be proven effective unless tested in sufficient numbers to be able to predict outcomes.

Politicians are not trained to understand the world of statistical proofs as an idea, nor is the American public. Therefore, when the reporter who barely knows how to wipe his ass asks a loaded question the politician deflects the response with a verbacious dialog intended to change the subject and confuse the question to end the discussion.

As far as cabin fever is concerned, I agree with Cuomo. We all suffer from it. While I folded my wash yesterday I began thinking about living alone. It is something I miss, but after being alone for ten months I am questioning whether I would ever be able to withstand living with someone again. I don’t mind visiting or visitors, but after the conversation is ended I want to go about my way again, alone. One day I miss being with a partner, and the next I cannot even think of it. Call it grief, call it being introverted, call it stupid, but the emotion exists as a real thing. Ask  yourself what you would do if the war was conventional and the enemy was shooting and dropping bombs? Would you risk going outside for a run, or a trip to the grocer? Most likely you would hunker down in the safest place you could find sit with your head between your knees, and your hands over your head and pray for it to end.

Day 18-Quarantine, or Stay In Place?

When I began this journey to chronicle my experience with COVID-19 I decided to title the essay as ‘Quarantine.” Webster defines quarantine like this:

“a state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to infectious or contagious disease are placed: many animals die in quarantine.”

Our President and Governor call it ‘Stay In Place.’

The difference as I see it is that in a quarantine a contagious person is kept in a place of isolation until such person is no longer contagious. While ‘Stay in Place’ means I get to remain where I live, and as long as I follow the guidelines as directed until such a time as the order is removed. Another difference is that under quarantine the individual is known to be infected, and can pass the disease to another. Under ‘Stay in Place’ it is unknown if I am infected, and I might pass it on if I am infected.

Under quarantine, there is no way in hell I would be allowed to walk my dog or go to the store for groceries. If you have been diagnosed positive it wouldn’t matter if you were an essential worker, you would not leave the quarantine area for anything.

Why are we under stay in place and not in quarantine? Probably because it would be impractical, if not impossible, to manage millions of people in quarantine. Picture it like being sent to prison. We don’t have the resources nor the infra-structure to house millions of sick people. So our leaders chose to invent ‘Stay In Place’ as a mitigation effort.

Today is Saturday and the are fewer people out for walks. Of course the temperature is in the thirties as compared to yesterday’s fifties. All of my friends are taking the stay in place order seriously and none want to come over and play, nor do they suggest I come to them. We do phone each other to learn how we are doing.

I don’t feel like cooking today so I’ll dip into my reserves of TV dinners and cook for all of five minutes in the micro-wave. I don’t even feel up to a salad today. Too much effort is required to assemble the ingredients and pour dressing.

Tonight, I will go onto a movie marathon. I am skipping Homeland today, because I have watched so much of it that I am dreaming in Homeland. Last night I found myself in a dream situation that required escape, and I was paralyzed. I couldn’t move any of my limbs and it freaked me out to the point of waking up struggling to whip the covers off. I was so wrapped up in the sheet that I was totally confined and unable to get our without a fight.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, and it is the first time in my history that the churches are shut down. I am glad they are substituting video masses during Holy Week. I plan on attending them at my computer. I will also attend a Lions Board meeting by video conference, and also an Oasis meeting for the visually impaired by video conference. This should be interesting.

Getting groceries delivered is not working yet, and I don’t think it will. They need people to do the work but no one is looking for work at the moment. I vision two or three trucks arriving at my house one day with the groceries I ordered, and me shouting no, no, no. What would I you with those fresh vegetables and fruit all at the same time. Make stew and juice I suppose.

 

 

 

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.

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