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Archive for March, 2020

Another Day

March 31st, 2020 at 01:27 pm

My DIL went to the ER yesterday but they could not detect water in her lungs, so they sent her home. She is pretty miserable. I think she will be okay, but I am anxious for these days to pass. DS is almost back to full health, so that is encouraging.

I did some laundry yesterday. Other than that, not much. I am reading, watching Broadchurch, playing computer games -- anything to distract me.

I had biscuits and blueberries for breakfast and there is French onion soup and chicken burritos on tap for lunch and dinner. So no cooking today; those foods are already prepared. I did think I might make some granola, as I have all the ingredients.

Another whole month of this is going to be hard. But it will be easier if I am not worrying about a loved one.

Life in a Hot Spot

March 30th, 2020 at 01:57 pm

Well, I guess we are officially a hot spot now, though I thought we were already. Every day the number of cases and deaths goes up. No relief in site. I just stay inside.

My only "outings" are to put garbage in the dumpster and going to the laundry room. I wash my hands well before and after each excursion, and I wear gloves.

With the President expanding voluntary quarantine to April 30, I am sure that our governor will expand our mandatory quarantine to that date, also. I can't imagine that schools will be reopened until Fall.

I will only go to the store for necessities. And I am more focused on just what is a necessity. I am almost out of mayonnaise, which I thought was a necessity because I need it to make tuna salad, but then I rethought it, and realized that I can make tuna patties instead. I have plenty of bread crumbs and eggs.

It will probably be toilet paper that eventually drives me to to the store, and that is what I am least likely to find.

I've been getting little things done. I sorted through all my plastic containers and threw out a lot of them, then reorganized the cabinet. I replaced some light bulbs, which involved getting on a ladder. I'm working through a pile of papers that need to be filed or tossed. I do a lot more daily cleaning. I am cooking with eye toward stretching everything to create more meals.

As for my DIL in Oregon, yesterday she seemed to be no better and no worse. I'll check in today with hopes that I will hear about improvement.

Up and Down

March 29th, 2020 at 01:18 pm

Well, my son continues to improve but his wife has gone downhill. Now it's her I'm worried about. I won't rest easy until they are both free of symptoms.

My son's boss sent them a huge care package with food, groceries, toys, etc. They are over the moon. That was really very nice, and it lifted their spirits so. The kids especially were extremely excited.

I wondered how my son ever got infected in the first place, but my ex reminded me that he did a lot of training in Seattle. That's where his boss is.

I'm planning to make blueberry pancakes for breakfast today. I have leftover meatloaf, chicken burrito, and French onion soup for lunch and dinner the next few days.

I had a long conversation with my cousin yesterday. She is well, but she had bad news about her sister, who is experiencing heart failure. There are some procedures that can be done that might help, but she is reluctant to go to the doctor or hospital with things as they are now. I am so tired of bad news!

I also learned that my nephew was laid off from a job he had just gotten a few weeks before this all came down. His parents will see to it that he is okay, but I'm sure this is spiritually draining for him.

The curve -- here, anyway -- continues to shoot straight up. No flattening yet. I think people are being pretty compliant, and it's just going to be a while before we see improvement. Of course there isn't compliance everywhere. My BFF texted me last night that her next door neighbors -- college kids -- had a party on their deck. She went out and yelled at them in her best teacher voice. They slunk inside but the damage was done. Are they unaware or just so arrogant that they think they can flaunt the rules? I'm flummoxed.

This has been a time of low spending, that's one good thing. With the month almost over I've spent 71% of my variables and haven't made any draws from savings. The next couple days should be no-spenders. My overall net worth has only gone down by $3K because most of my money is invested in bonds. So I continue to be one of the lucky ones who has not really been hurt by this crisis.

He's Better!

March 28th, 2020 at 11:20 am

I talked to my son yesterday and he was feeling better. He had had a better night with only one episode of night sweats. In the morning, he had no fever. His chest is still constricted but overall he feels like he has turned a corner. I hope that continues today. I know this is a weird disease that goes up and down before it resolves. His wife and children are less affected than he is and they are doing well.

Thank you to all who expressed kindness and concern. I do so appreciate my friends here. I am feeling quite relieved!

My son's bosses have let up on him about getting tested. They seem to have finally understood that it's not something you can just order up. Their concern has been that they wanted to have proof of his condition before making decisions about what to do about the co-workers he has been in contact with. But those guys wouldn't be able to get tests, either, so they should just be released from work, in my opinion, till this is over. They will probably all get sick, as they work closely together when they are indoors.

On the home front, I am ironically wishing I had less social interaction! A neighbor is trying to pull me into an argument that she had no business starting. An distant acquaintance is trying to save my soul. I love to have contact with others while I am quarantined, but not as a pawn, or a recruit!

But I am also having a lot of good conversations with real friends, so I'm not really complaining.

I made a hamburger yesterday and froze most of the ground beef. There is still a chunk of it I did not freeze, and I'm going to make a small meatloaf out of that today. My hamburger was a little odd because I didn't have any buns, so used sourdough bread as a bun, and I used ranch dressing as a sauce. I thought it would be delicious, and it was fine, but not as good as I thought it would be. I'm going to have to continue to be creative in meal-making. There are some holes in my pantry and fridge, but I still hope to put off grocery shopping for two weeks.

I have no particular plans for today, other than making the meatloaf. What an odd feeling that is. I saw a public service announcement that said "Our parents were called to war. We are called to sit on the couch. We can do this." How true.

Edit: After reading this over, I want to make clear my conversations are by phone/text.


March 27th, 2020 at 01:34 pm

I checked in with my son yesterday and he was no better. In fact, he was worse, because his breathing was getting worse. The fever has not abated. My ex advised him to go back the ER. Apparently, he spoke by phone to the ER doctor who treated him a few days ago, and he said not to come unless he felt like he had just run a marathon. He was not that bad, so he didn't. I don't know what to think. I'm scared.

Also, his bosses are pressuring him to get tested, even though he has told them there are no tests in rural Oregon. They apparently think he should drive around for hours with his 103 fever and find some random hospital that might possibly give him a test. I am so mad I am just about spitting nails. Do these Bozo's ever watch the news? THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH FRIGGIN TESTS! THERE ARE NOT NEARLY ENOUGH. THE NUMBERS ARE FRIGGIN BOGUS BECAUSE PEOPLE CANNOT GET TESTED!!!!!! We are doing fine at counting deaths but we get a giant F for counting cases. I can't even imagine how many thousands there are in the country who are sick with this thing and can't even get diagnosed.

I haven't called my son yet this morning to see what this day brings. I pray that he is better.

But on to other things -- I did go to the Kia dealer to get the radiator cap. This is a whole story in itself. The cap didn't fit, because my radiator is an aftermarket part which was installed by a previous owner. They advised me to go to a body shop who might have knowledge of aftermarket brands. I went to the body shop I had previously worked with, and the very kind person there looked it over and finally told me what I needed to know. It isn't even the radiator cap that's missing. It is the cap to the overflow reservoir attached to the radiator. (I don't know if I'm using the right terms.) He couldn't advise me on how to get a replacement without removing the whole thing, in order to see the serial number, but he said I didn't need one. He said it was extremely unlikely that the overflow level would ever rise that high. He said I could perhaps find a plastic lid in my kitchen that would cover the opening and keep the debris out. Even a plastic bag would work.

Joe -- does this sound right? He seemed to know what he was talking about.

After that, I went to Sam's to get gas ($17) and I couldn't resist going in to check for toilet paper. The parking lot showed that it wasn't busy, so I felt safe. Of course there was none. While I was there, I picked up bread, fruit, and ground beef for $38.

I practiced social distancing the whole time, wore gloves, and washed up well when I came home. I plan to stay strictly at home for the next two weeks.

My other son told me that he has been unable to get anything delivered from local businesses like restaurants. There is high demand and not enough drivers. That makes me wonder if Instacart can actually come through in this climate.

I'll do the best I can stretching the food I have. At least it's something I'm good at.

Beside Myself

March 26th, 2020 at 12:07 pm

Last night I learned that my Oregon son and his whole family are sick, with symptoms in line with COVID-19. He is very sick, with high fever and shortness of breath. They went to an ER but were sent home to recover. They were not tested because rural Oregon does not have any test kits.

I'm worried because of how sick my son is, and also because my DIL is dealing with low immunity already, due to a series of surgeries she had before they moved to Oregon. Factor in all the stress they had of being laid off, moving across the country, buying and selling a house -- well, it's no wonder they are sick.

I keep repeating to myself that 80% of cases self-resolve. They are young. But I'm so worried because they are alone out there without any support system. I can't do anything, and I am beside myself.

I talked to my other son last night, and we decided between the two of us that I should continue to stay at home when at all possible, so I am not going grocery shopping today. I still have enough supplies. I can go when I am out of something I truly need. I did walk to Walgreens yesterday (before this conversation) to buy some Tylenol, because that's a real need. I tried to keep six feet away from everyone, but didn't always accomplish it.

I investigated Instacart and signed up, but when I started entering items on my list, the cost climbed quickly, and I thought it was just crazy expensive. So I emptied the cart. I will consider using it for one-off items that I really need, but not for a whole grocery order. Of course toilet paper was the one thing not available. It really burns me that there never was a shortage, and that people are hoarding it when others, who didn't run out and buy everything off the shelves, are really needing it. That said, I have been careful and I do have 7 rolls left.

Today I'm going to drive to the Kia dealer and get my radiator cap, because not having one could lead to a breakdown down the road. I called yesterday to make sure they are open and then asked if they could bring it out to the car, so I wouldn't have to go in, and they agreed. I don't remember if I ever discussed this, but just before I went into self-quarantine, I got my oil changed at Kia, and they told me my radiator cap was missing. Because I had had my car serviced there in December, they felt they were in error and ordered the cap for me free of charge. (I have since recalled that I was serviced at Midas also, but that was for tire and brakes, so they probably did not remove my radiator cap.) Anyway, while I was in quarantine Kia called to say the cap was in, and I asked them to hold onto it for a week. Now I'm going to get it, so I won't have to worry about car trouble. Not that I'm driving much! Since I am down to a quarter tank, I will fill up, too. And then hurry home.

I borrowed an ebook using the Libby app yesterday. I'm still reading another book, but I have 14 days on my checkout.

I was glad to hear that the bailout passed, more for the sake of my kids than for me. They will each get $3,000; I will get $1,200, which I will put into savings, but I may use it to help out DIL's business, if it is needed. Since I am impacted very little, financially, by the virus, I think this is the right thing to do.

New Normal

March 25th, 2020 at 11:44 am

I'm so much better. I do have a lingering cough. I don't know if it's a leftover from the virus (if I had the virus) or if it's just my allergies acting up.

So this is the new normal. Just because my 14 days of self-quarantine are wrapping up, I don't plan to do anything much different. But I will go to the grocery store tomorrow, during early senior hours, to try and get 20 items on my list. We'll see how many I get! While I am out I will also get gas. I am also supposed to pick up a radiator cap from the Kia dealer, so I will call to see if they are open -- I think dealerships with service departments are considered essential businesses. Then I will hunker down again.

As of yesterday, there were 30 diagnosed cases in my small city. Of course, being right next to Chicago, we are in a hot spot. It really makes you take notice.

Edit: 41 cases reported as of today.


March 24th, 2020 at 11:08 am

Yesterday was a good day. I did a lot of socializing via texting. I took a walk in the sunshine, and I visited two little libraries along the way and got three more books. Don't worry, I sanitized the books and washed my hands. I looked up online how to sanitize the books. Some people microwave them, but I chose to wipe them down with antiseptic wipes. If you microwave books, you may melt the glue, or there may be staples inside that kill your microwave.

I will let them sit for several days now before I touch them again.

I ordered a book from Amazon I especially want to read, "The Mirror & the Light" by Hilary Mantel. It won't arrive till the middle of next month, but that's okay. It cost $20. Since libraries are closed -- and who knows for how long -- I'll have to be creative to support my reading habit.

I washed my bed pillows yesterday, in addition to my towels.

The City sent me a text to move my car for street cleaning. I don't know if that's really going to happen, or if they just didn't turn off the mass text. I moved the car anyway, but with everyone staying at home, there's no way all the cars are going to fit on one side of the street.

All the bills are paid this month, except for my gas bill, which should be about $30.

I started watching "Broadchurch" on Netflix. There are 24 episodes, so it should keep me busy for a while. I really like it so far.

Nothing Much

March 23rd, 2020 at 12:42 pm

Nothing much to report today. I did some laundry yesterday, wearing gloves, and I took a walk, keeping away from people. I doctored my mac & cheese with vanilla almond milk (by mistake) and got a rather odd result. I'll try to fix it again today by adding mustard to counteract the weird sweetness.

Our state is hard hit by the virus, with more than 1,000 cases now. And that doesn't count all the people like me, who aren't sick enough to get tested, so we don't know. It does seem that people are heeding the stay-at-home order, mostly. I see shots of empty streets on the news. The people I see walking outside are mostly singletons, many of them walking their dogs.

My girlfriend trip, scheduled for April or May, has been cancelled till next year.

I don't know when I'll see my Oregon son again.

All I can do is carry on.

Hanging On

March 22nd, 2020 at 11:27 am

Still struggling with the vestiges of this disease, whatever it is that I have -- the cough hangs on. My chest is clearer. My fever has never amounted to much.

I got on Amazon to order a book I was interested in, and found that it is not available in the near future. Then I thought, well, I'll order some Tylenol while I'm here, and it was out of stock! I understand that they are inundated, but it did surprise me. I added Tylenol to my grocery list and I hope I can get it come Thursday morning.

I finally finished "A Storm of Swords" and I'm going to take a break from living in Westeros for a while. I have a light Sophie Kinsella book on hand, and after I finish that I have a thriller by Lynda LePlante. I know there are some e-books downloaded to my phone that I have never gotten around to. If I don't like those I will explore Libby, though I'm guessing it's overloaded, too.

I watched "The Farewell" yesterday on Amazon Prime -- good movie! I've taken a break from "The Walking Dead" because it's just too dark for right now.

Financially, I've lost more than $4K this month in my retirement fund. I know that's nothing compared to others, but it's big for me. The good news is that I have no immediate need for it, and I trust that in future it will recover.

We're getting snow this afternoon -- a wet one that won't stay, but still! I'm going to do my strength training routine today. When the weather moderates, I'll get back to walking. At least it is getting out of the house.

Have to figure out how to revitalize the baked mac & cheese I made the other day. I heated up a serving in the microwave and it was dry, dry, dry. Maybe add milk and cheese and bake it again? It was so good the first day!


March 21st, 2020 at 11:15 am

My big expenditure yesterday was to order "Emma" on Amazon Prime. It was $20, but worth every penny to me. It was just what I needed. Frothy and delightful. The best distraction I've had.

I trimmed my bangs, since I won't be getting a haircut any time soon. Maybe I will let it grow out a little.

I made the mac & cheese, the old-fashioned way -- baked in the oven with bread crumbs on top. It was delicious. Today I'm making the oatmeal cookies. It seems in the new reality, I can only cook/bake one thing per day. I get tired so quickly.

My neighbor called me yesterday and left a message asking me if I was going to Trader Joe's, because she needed eucalyptus for a wreath. She was not at home, so I don't know what the back story was, but it didn't sound like an emergency to me. She didn't know I was sick, of course. When I told her, she sent me links for getting tested, all the stuff I've already tried. People who aren't sick still believe that everyone who needs it can get tested. I didn't argue with her but just told her that I was getting better and probably past the point where I needed it.

That was just about the time that it was announced that our state was issued a stay-at-home order, so maybe that woke her up.

It's turned very cold today, so I probably won't be going out for a walk. I'll do my at-home exercises.

I'm planning to go to the grocery store next Thursday when my 14 days are up (trusting that all symptoms will be gone by then). I've got 13 things on my list, but two of them are toilet paper and paper towels, so I hope the hoarders will have left something for me. A package each would make me happy. (Grocery shopping is not forbidden, nor is going to the bank, the gas station, the pharmacy, the doctor, or the restaurant for a take-out order. Basically it is gatherings which are denied.)

Past the Halfway Point

March 20th, 2020 at 11:30 am

I've surpassed one week at home and I have five more days to go before I can leave the house. I am feeling better, though I do have a lingering cough. Of course, I still don't know if I have the virus and I guess I'll never know. This cough may be something else entirely. Happily, I have never had much of a fever so I've been relatively comfortable.

My first order of business when I reach day 14 is to go to the local grocery store during senior hours and get a few things, and then run right home. I do hope toilet paper will be available by then. I have a list of about ten other things, just normal things I keep in stock. I'm going to stick with the rules of sheltering in place, just going out for food and necessities. I want to smash this virus and I want to do my part.

My food is holding up well. I still haven't made the mac & cheese, and I'm planning to do that today. I'm also planning to make oatmeal cookies with raisins and walnuts, to lift my spirits.

Today the movie "Emma" will be available on demand and I'm going to watch it, if I can find it. It will be expensive -- about $20, I've read -- but I'm a Jane-ite and I'm going to treat myself to this.