Sunday, March 29, 2020

tales from a COVID-19 self-quarantine, part 2


Bill the plumber showed up to connect the water lines to the sink with a new helper. “Where's Gunnar?” I asked. “Gunnar's sick today,” he says. I'm on the phone to Gunnar's mom. Sore throat, she says. OK, that's good, if having a sore throat can be good. Sore throats are not symptoms of this virus. The clinic wouldn't let him in...not a symptom, go home, if you get symptoms on this list, call people on this list.

Got a text from my daughter (I had teased her with jigsaw puzzles last week).

Got my dirt and a quick foray to the grocery store for butter, bread, and oats. Got the butter and oats but no bread. Well, they had bread but not the kind we eat (Orowheat Jewish Rye), plenty of wheat bread though which we don't eat. Last Monday when I went besides only having one door open it was pretty much as usual. Today the door on the right end of the building was for entering, the door on the left end was for leaving. The entrance was cordoned off so as to create a line with an attendant at the door handing you a cart and controlling how many people could enter. The checkout stations had red squares with white footprints on the floor every six feet to show people the correct social distancing and there was a clear plastic shield between the customer and the checker. She wouldn't let me hand her the money. I had to put it on the little shelf and then she picked it up. This was probably my last outing until the next trip to the grocery store.

GroupMe text from Abby re yoga tonight...anybody interested in a FB Live class? Respondents say yes so no more in person classes for a couple of weeks or whenever. I guess we're all a little more nervous. So we're doing yoga together and yet we are apart.

The library, open with reduced hours last week, is closed this week.



I wonder if the younger people getting seriously sick are ones who vape. Harris County, in which is Houston, is going into lock down today. Three more confirmed cases in my county, all in El Campo and vicinity 12 miles away.

Chatted with my (not crazy) neighbor (though I may have to amend that) today. He doesn't believe the coronavirus is real (do you know anybody who has it he asked me), doesn't believe global warming is real either. Apparently what he does believe is every crackpot conspiracy theory out there. I asked him where his tinfoil hat was.

Dug up some woodland petal pinks, baby blue eyes, easter lilies, purple coneflower, rocket larkspur, love-in-a-mist, and a banana tree for my neighbor who speaks about as much English as I do Spanish which is hardly any. I wrote down all the info for her so her son could translate it.

Texas' Lt. Governor Dan Patrick is all for everyone going back to work now because all the grandparents will be willing to die for the economy for their grandchildren. Many Republicans are on board with that. I should be surprised. I'm not. No, sorry Dan, I would die for my grandchildren if it would save their lives. I will not offer to die to save a millionaire a few bucks.

Trump, who has the attention span of a gnat, is bored. COVID-19 is a bore. People keep saying mean things about him. Someone posted a video of him getting a current pandemic briefing and he couldn't even keep his eyes open much less pretend like he was paying attention. He's ready to move on and declare it all done. He wants his beautiful stock market back. He wants his beautiful rallies back and to be showered with adoration. He wants his golf weekends back. He's picked Easter Sunday to relieve all restrictions because he thinks it's a 'beautiful day' to start the resurrection of the economy. Yeah, go pack those churches; get breathed on, coughed on, and sung on by all the people around you. Good thing I'm not a believer.



Out of bread.

Saw this tweet which is why the husband made a trip into Houston yesterday before it was locked down to get something we consider essential to our working and living together 24/7 for 44 years.

Thank the powers that be that the Democrats regained control of the House. The Republican stimulus bill was all about bailing out industry with little to no oversight and little to no provisions for the working class including a secret $500B slush fund for them to dole out to their cronies with recipients' names being withheld for 6 months and Trump refusing to promise that he and his family would not be a recipient. Doesn't matter because even if he had promised, it would have been a lie.

Quiet day. Got some things out of pots and in the ground. Had our FB Live yoga class, walked the dog. There's a mountain of dishes in the kitchen that aren't getting washed today either. Finished my book.



Had to call the plumber back today as the p-trap was leaking I noticed last night. There was a puddle on the shelf under the sink. Rocky showed up and fixed it. We think.

Well, hooray! Some news outlets are finally going to stop airing Trump's daily news briefing re-election rally since all he does is give out false information lie, whine about how badly he's being treated, and brag on himself.

Spending more time than I should on FB and Twitter but less time every day as I'm reaching overload on the incompetence of the people at the top, reading blog posts about what people are doing, how they are coping. For me it's still pretty much my regular life. I'm a bit amused by some of the extreme lengths people are going to to protect themselves, wiping down everything before they touch it, wiping down everything before it comes into their house that someone might have, mail, shoes, packages, money, phone, car, any and everything...but then I don't live in a heavily infected area, only four confirmed cases in my county.

And I did manage to do the dishes and clean the kitchen just in time for Marc to mess it up again.



Today the US has the most confirmed cases in the world and rising thanks to Trump's inaction and incompetence. Worldwide today the death rate is about 5%. Some people keep trying to poo poo the severity of this pandemic comparing it to things like annual deaths from flu, annual deaths from car accidents, annual deaths from suicides, all improper analogies. Suicides are unpreventable as long as people have easy access to guns, flu isn't nearly as contagious or lethal and most people have some immunity to various strains, and if 5% of people on our roads at any one time died I'm pretty sure we'd be shutting down the roads. No one has any immunity to COVID-19, it is highly contagious with a high death rate. For instance, worldwide (according to this article and I'm rounding these figures up) as of two days ago 500,000 (half a million) cases and 21,000 deaths. Seasonal flu in the US alone sickens 38,000,000 (that's 38 million) people with 23,000 deaths. Currently in the US we have 85,762 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1,306 deaths which is more than 1.5%. The older you are the higher the death rate which is why Italy with it's aged population has had so many deaths. The over 80s haven't got much of a chance though young people are dying too and by young I mean 40 and under.

And nope, p-trap is still seeping.

Wharton County now has 5 confirmed cases, four in El Campo and surrounding area, one in the rural area around Wharton. Getting closer.

Feeling listless today. Went outside to do some more work in the yard. Did I really want to do that work in the sun I asked myself. No, no I do not. I did manage to bathe the dog and clean the filter to the turtle pond, a nasty icky job if ever there was one, and watered the front yard.



You know,” he added from the White House, “we don’t like to see the complaints.”

^ This from the president of the United States as the country struggles to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic as this country now has the most confirmed cases in the world. He also said he told Pence, who leads the coronavirus response team, to ignore governors in hard hit areas if they are 'not appreciative' (in other words the first words out of their mouths isn't praise for Trump). And this...Michigan Governor Whitmer who has been vocal about the horrible job Trump has and is doing says that vendors were told not to send stuff to Michigan, that supplies she has ordered are being sent to the federal government instead. Trump also has decided that New York doesn't need all the ventilators it's asking for because...? I'll tell you why, because Governor Cuomo has publicly criticized Trump. More proof that for Trump his ego is more important than the lives of everyday Americans. He doesn't give a rat's ass how many people die. 

Well, Trump has finally signed an order to compel General Motors to manufacture ventilators (why GM?), something he should have done back in January, and practically in the next breath harangued them for not being able to make 40,000 overnight.

A worker for a national company with an outlet in Texas has reported that employees received a letter stating that their paychecks would be preemptively cut by 100% of the amount they receive from the stimulus package just passed by Congress and not just once but every time the government decides to send the common people a check. Preemptively. In other words, the company will decide how much they think the government is sending their employees and deduct that about from their paycheck before the employee even gets the money. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE!!!

Cooler out today and overcast. Did a little more putzing around in the yard. Finally sat down determined to do a drawing or a watercolor. Maybe both.



I read two articles today, one in the NYT and the other in the WAPO, about the likelihood of contracting the virus by touching a surface that an infected person touched like a package delivered or a container at the grocery store. While the virus can be detected on surfaces like glass, plastic, paper, cardboard (the longest), steel, clothing hours later; it is highly unlikely that you will get the virus from those surfaces for several reasons those being the infected person showing symptoms (fever, coughing, sneezing) would probably not be working, the infected person would have to have recently coughed or sneezed directly on the surface, and you would have to touch the exact spot the infected person coughed on and then immediately touch your face or mouth.

Current statistics as of today 3/29/20, 14:55 GMT (last Sunday's totals in parenthesis): cases – 123,958 (38,757); deaths – 2,231 (400); recoveries – 3,238 (178).

The next two weeks are going to be horrific.


  1. Leon County, one mile from us and where all of my kids live and where we shop now has 17 confirmed cases but of course, testing is slow and hard to get. They are saying that Florida is going to become the new epicenter of the disease and our governor (Republican) is not doing nearly enough and that's all there is to it. I just read that the president of a community hospital in S. Florida, surrounded by retirement homes has taken out a $380,000 personal loan on his own house to purchase 1000 test kits. Dear god! It has come to this. We do NOT live in the greatest country in the world under any circumstances and the circumstances now, with that man in the White House, are far and away about as bad as they could get.
    Well. You know all of this.
    Meanwhile, I'm in my little bubble in Lloyd with everything I need and a person I love by my side. I wouldn't be nearly as stressed as I am if my kids were able to stay home but not all of them can.
    I haven't talked to my Trump-loving neighbors but I have a feeling that if I did, it would not be a pleasant experience. I sort of want to yell at them "HAPPY NOW?!"
    They probably are.
    Let's carry on. Let's stay safe as possible. Let's get through this.

  2. ellen, my God, life feels normal but so not normal, too. Please please share the name of the company that is cutting its workers paychecks by the amount they receive from the stimulus package. If they're a national company want to make sure I dont do business with them ever, even though, sadly that may well hurt the workers more than the SOB managers. Another thing: sore throat is definitely one of the covid symptoms. It can come on in many ways, but the three main symptoms are fever, sore throat, tightness in the chest. I hope Gunnar is ok. Hang in there. It helps to be in a place with fields around you. Stay safe.

    1. yes, I have since learned that sore throat is a symptom but I'm sure Gunnar's mom would have let me know if that's what he had. The name of the company is unknown as the employee who shared the letter didn't want to publicize it. It could be fake. I haven't seen the story show up anywhere besides Austin but I did see the supposed letter in one of the news reports. yes, I'm lucky to be where I am. stay safe yourself.

  3. Good start on the watercolor. I laughed at you confronting your neighbor about his tinfoil hat -- good for you. What was his reaction?! People are so weird.

    My tolerance for Trump and his babyish shenanigans is even lower now than it used to be. (I wouldn't have thought it possible.) My tolerance for our government here in the UK isn't much better, but the fact that Boris and several other top officials all have the virus may help focus them.

    1. he sort of laughed. when I told him AG Barr wanted to do away with the 1st amendment and jail people indefinitely without a trial he started going on about the 1st amendment was there to protect the second amendment (you'd think the order would be reversed in that case) and his guns protected him. I told him no way could he stand up to the army. not the gov't he says. then who I asked looking around. you see it all the time in the movies he said. I laughed, dude, that's fiction. he politely excused himself saying he was busy and needed to go. he's a really nice guy, just believes crazy shit.

  4. Oy! Like that was my week but missing aches and pains.

  5. I'm shut up in a hospital. Bringing one of my en and ink pieces here free's me up.
    Yes, I pray every day we vote him out.

  6. I'm not claiming bragging rights, please, it's just that we've had five deaths in my county, and it's one of the smaller counties. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time. I am going grocery shopping tomorrow. I need a look around.

    1. And I forgot to mention, Orange face insinuates nurses are stealing masks to sell on the black market, or to Italy. Nurses are dying, you son of a bastard.

    2. he is so foul he makes the word despicable a compliment.

  7. He is so evil, but yet, his approval rating is up. I think people are so scared and desperate, that they want to believe him.

  8. I really hope you're right about the craziness of wiping everything down because I am doing a TERRIBLE job of that. This is when I wish I was a bit more of a germophobe. Instead I'm a 5 second rule kind of person, and if it's chocolate I'll be lenient on the 5 seconds.

    I love your conversation with your neighbor. I would NEVER be able to do that, but I like hearing about it when you do :)

  9. No matter where the reported cases show up, we need to remember that the virus is in our community.
    I found this video (it's long but worthwhile) explains it quite well and without doom and gloom drama about what we need to do to protect ourselves and our family:

    Basically: wash your hands, don't touch your face, keep a distance.

  10. We are completely shut down in 24 hours. We get fined if we are out and not doing something that is necessary...such a getting medicine, food shopping or going to an essential job. I am glad...hubby is struggling.

    1. my sister's granddaughter lives in San Antonio which is under an essential travel only order and she reported that a neighbor and her husband were out in their car and were stopped by the police wanting to know where they were going, was it an essential outing. They told him they were going to the grocery store when in fact they were going to pick up a take out meal from a restaurant. the cop followed them and gave them a ticket. I think getting take out is still considered essential so we think they got the fine because they lied to the cop.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.