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.

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.

 

 

Day One Of My Corona Quarantine

Never in my lifetime has the government been so worried about a virus threat. Today, begins a shutdown of many public spaces. My Lions Club activities are shut down, the library is closed, all bars and restaurants are closed, only drive through windows will be open. For the first time in my life I missed a Sunday mass because the church was closed. Food suppliers will remain open. Hopefully, they will have stock to sell. I’m not sure about banks.

Back in the nineteen forties during World War Two we experienced shortages, and blackouts, but I don’t recall shutdowns of any sort. My parents were issued a ration booklet with coupons. The coupons were for food items, gasoline, etc. I know my Mom used them to barter food with friends. Dad did the same with his gasoline coupons. Back then we were fighting Germans and Japanese not an invisible microscopic virus. The Civil Air Patrol watched the skies for enemy airplanes and the Coast Guard patrolled our shores to ward off enemy ships. I remember when we traveled by car to see my grandfather in Michigan we raced PT boats along Lake Michigan shores. Every car trip involved fixing flat tires on the roadside because tires were not available and our car had some pretty bald tires. When we reached the bridge over the St. Joe river there was always a huge navy ship tied up there.

In the nineteen fifties we did have a serious virus attack, Polio was the enemy. It was headlines everyday in all the newspapers, and on radio news. Because we didn’t have TV’s we didn’t have 24 hr news programs spreading panic all about the world. The pictures of people in iron lungs were enough to get our attention. The government recommendation was to stay away from crowded beaches and from mosquitoes. It was August, and I just turned fifteen, I was invincible. That morning I played golf at Jackson Park GC with my buddies, in the afternoon I delivered groceries for a grocery store that was several miles from home. I rode my bicycle to get there. After work, I hung out with the neighborhood gang until ten. The following morning I couldn’t wake up, I had a headache that felt like my skull would blow up, my throat was on fire, and my neck was so stiff I couldn’t bend my head. Mom took my temperature and called our family doctor. He came by at five o’clock after his office hours. An ambulance arrived within two hours to haul my sorry ass to the Contagious Disease Hospital on 26th and California. That is where I existed until October. It wasn’t fun, and I am one lucky man because I recovered with a minimum of paralysis. I thank God for that everyday. The vaccine for polio came a couple of years after I recovered from it. I still think about all the kids I met along the way that didn’t make it. I laugh when reporters question medical authorities for how quickly will a vaccine be available. During polio the vaccine took years to develop. In fact it didn’t happen until the electron microscope was invented and researchers could finally see the virus. President Roosevelt started a private enterprise called the March of Dimes to raise money for research and help for victims. He did that because he had first hand experience with the disease having been paralyzed from the waist down from polio.

At this moment I have two workers in my house sanding my wood floors to refinish them I am sealed off, and by myself in self quarantine. This time I believe the warnings are valid and pertain to me. I am in the primary age group for this bug. I must do everything in my power to stay healthy and away from contagion, or face the music. At the end of February, a close friend of mine died. I went into shock when I learned of it. She got sick suddenly with a lung infection that took her out.  Her family swears it wasn’t Corona, but in my heart I believe it was.

Pray, pray, pray that we will stop this virus in its tracks.

F = Failure

londonplaguepits

Sixty to seventy years ago we had a better pandemic control system in place than we do now. The difference between then and now is several trillion dollars spent by a very liberal government on drugs and systems that only serve to line the pockets of their political friends. I have personal experience with the system of sixty years ago. At the time polio was the scourge that swept the country. There was no cure, there was no vaccine, and the virus spread like wildfire. The government did have some guidance for places to avoid, like crowds, public beaches, and people with the disease. In spite of offering that wisdom, people still go the disease. I was one of them. Polio was not new when I got it. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, one of our most popular presidents got polio in the thirties. The government did have time to react in ways it knew how. Because of FDR’s  affliction the public had an awareness of the virus and the consequences.

One day in August of nineteen fifty-three I couldn’t get out of bed because I was sick with a high fever, my throat was on fire, and my neck was stiff and hurt too. Mom did the best she could, she called the family doctor. He came to the house in the late afternoon. Yes folks, he came to the house. That was long before people had Obama Care and even longer before there was such a thing as medical insurance. Doctor Horner examined me and told my mom that I had polio. He didn’t ask, he went to the phone and called for an ambulance. He shipped my sorry ass to a special place for quarantine. You see, folks, back then people had something called common sense. They figured that if a person had a catchy disease keep him away from other people. My family was also under quarantine within the house. Thankfully, my baby sister, or my parents did not come down with it.

The place where I served my time was the Cook County Contagious Disease Hospital at 26th and California in Chicago, right across the street from the County Jail. They designed the building specifically to treat and quarantine people with highly contagious diseases. The staff who cared for us were highly trained in basic hygienic techniques of the time. Patients who were still contagious had private cells. Parents and friends were not allowed direct contact with me. Outsiders came into a space walled off from the patient space with walls and glass. I won’t bore you with more of the sordid details of my illness, but if you  search this blog for polio you will find a series of about eight stories I wrote to describe my experience.

When I watch the news about the Ebola debacle I get a chill up my spine that tells me to dig a hole and go hide inside. I watched an interview with the head of the Center for Disease Control and lost all faith in his ability to use modern medicine to stop this credible bio-terror from taking out a tenth of the population (one tenth is thirty-three million people).  The President, who has taken a solemn oath to protect the United States from harm acts as though this is a take an aspirin and drink lots of fluids kind of problem. So far, he has not shown any concern for allowing this scourge to reach our country. It is within his power to deny VISA’s to anyone who is from or has been in the source countries. Wouldn’t the simplest control be to keep the virus out, and not to have to quarantine and treat millions? I read an article this week about how a private company called Firestone Tire handles Ebola.  This famous tire company is in Liberia and employs up to eighty thousand people to harvest rubber. If a single person gets the virus they quarantine the person and treat him in a caring way. The workers who treat the victim follow strict rules to prevent the spread from themselves and others. Firestone has a very good record of stopping the spread while they continue business in the middle of the affected area. They don’t have a PhD in awful disease control, nor a trillion dollars for development of staff and control measures. They use common sense.

Here is what I believe will happen. There will be a pandemic in the United States, and the outcome will be this: we will learn that the money designated to the CDC got channeled to crony companies who spent it, pocketed it, banked it, and then declared bankruptcy. Remember Solyndra? If you do just think of it happening all over again only this time with money designated to take care of you.

Today, there is a great article about the machinations of the Ebola Czar within the system in The Federalist. Go there and read, then ask yourself if you are safer  from bio-terror than you were ten years ago?

I have never called the White House before, but this is different. If we want the Ebola virus stopped in its tracks we have to wake up the main  resident living there. I’ll have one word of advice for the guy in the sporty outfit, baseball cap, and golf shoes: QUARANTINE.

 

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