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Archive for March, 2020

Another Day

March 31st, 2020 at 12:27 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 12:57 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 12:18 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.

A Raise!

March 19th, 2020 at 12:07 pm

I got a notice from TIAA that my interest-only payment from my retirement fund will rise by $5. That surprises me, since I was expecting it would be lowered, given what's happening. I'll take it. The fund that is invested in the stock market has fallen by 19% YTD.

My booties and the backpack arrived yesterday. The backpack is great, and the booties are cute, but too small. I have to exchange them. I knew that ordering footwear online would be difficult. I boxed them up and my son is going to pick up the package from my landing today and take it to FedEx. At the same time he is going to drop off some butter, which I'm running low on.

The scarf arrived the other day. No problems with that.

One of our suburbs has ordered a shutdown. There are diagnosed cases in mine, so I think a shutdown here is not far away. I guess I'm going to be experimenting with Instacart soon. I've never ordered groceries online.

I got a call from the Kia service center that they have my radiator cap. I guess I'll have to have my son pick that up, too.

Self-isolation continues. I have another week to go, but I honestly don't know what will happen then.

Pay Day

March 18th, 2020 at 12:31 pm

Well, it's reassuring to have a pay day, and to be able to pay my bills. I am concerned for all those affected by the shutdown of restaurant services. I am also concerned about DIL's business, which is event planning. When are people going to want to plan events again? I'm very worried about how the business will survive the next few months. It's so weird; she went from dreading a very busy weekend, to cancellations, to a dire outlook. My son is the main breadwinner, but DIL is invested in the business and it would be a sad loss.

I hear my grandsons are doing okay with their online instruction, but need constant supervision to get it done.

GS2 sent me a link to download emojis to cheer me up.

I went for a walk in the sunshine yesterday, keeping far away from others. I mainly saw people walking their dogs. I also did a makeshift fitness routine, trying to replicate my strength training with dumbbells, a yoga strap and pillows. Not the same, but better than nothing.

Have to Be Content Not Knowing

March 17th, 2020 at 01:58 pm

I've tried every avenue that is "open" -- I put that in quotes because nothing is open -- to get tested. I have given up. Thank goodness I am not very sick. There must be people who are going to die because they can't get through the barricades to get real help.

All I can get from my doctor is the phone number for a hotline. The hotline refers me to a FAQ website. Another option is to do an "evisit." It costs $35 and is not covered by insurance. If I were sicker I would do it, but I suspect that with my mild symptoms all I will get is another referral to the same stupid website. It is just bloody impossible to even talk to a person, much less get a test.

If I do get sicker, I'm going to the ER, and the hell with them. I've tried to jump through the hoops.

That said, I am really not very sick, and I think I just have to be content with honoring the 14-day quarantine without ever knowing if I even have the virus. After that, I don't know. I guess I'll go out then, but sparingly, and practicing social distancing.

Tomorrow is pay day, and it will be a fun diversion to pay my bills.

I checked my retirement fund yesterday, and of course it is down. My net worth is now lower than it's been since 2013. Other factors are involved in that, but it's discouraging all the same.

Another Day on Quarantine

March 16th, 2020 at 02:17 pm

I felt almost normal yesterday but in the evening the symptoms came back. I messaged my doctor about my case for getting tested, but it still seems a remote possibility.

I am thinking about food. I am very accustomed to stretching food, so I'm not panicked, but before I sequestered myself, I just did a normal grocery shop so I don't have especially large stores. Here are meals I have available:

Pizza (2 meals)
Loaded Potato Soup (at least 2 meals)
Eggs (more than a dozen, so 6-7 meals)
Tuna Patties (2 meals)
Tuna Salad (2 meals)
(this is what I figure I can get out of one large can of albacore tuna)
French Onion Soup (about 3 meals)
Mac & Cheese (at least 3-4 meals; have yet to make this)
Chicken Burritos (5-6 meals)
Oatmeal (at least 8 meals)
Pancakes & Bacon (3 meals)
Peanut Soup (2 meals)
Peanut Butter Sandwiches (limited by one loaf of bread)
Homemade Hot Pockets (2 meals)
Trail Mix (Peanuts, Dried Fruit) (5 meals)
Granola w/Almond Milk (1 meal)

I also have full bags of frozen green beans, asparagus and cauliflower for veggie meals or sides. And a full jar of applesauce.

Clearly I'm going to be okay through my self-quarantine, but I'll need to shop after it's over and stock up a bit more.

As Rob reported yesterday, Illinois restaurants are closed till the end of the month. I feel sorry for the workers, and I hope they get compensation, but their closure is not going to be any hardship for me.

BFF, in Indiana, is going to take care of her granddaughters while their schools are closed. She isn't sick, but I did tell her that around here the advice is, "Don't send the kids to Grandma!" Indiana is not as hard hit as Illinois, so she doesn't seem to take the situation as seriously as I do. I hope this doesn't backfire on her.

Meanwhile, I'm reading, watching TV shows on Netflix, working my way through my paper pile, cooking and cleaning and generally staying busy.

Curiously Peaceful

March 15th, 2020 at 01:53 pm

I guess it's because I was so upset beforehand, but my self-quarantine has been curiously peaceful, almost the feeling you get on a retreat. I am enjoying being at home.

I did go out yesterday and went through the Walgreens drive-thru to pick up a $3 prescription. Later I thought I could have asked my son to do it, but I didn't have any contact with anyone, so I think it was okay to do.

My symptoms continue to lessen. My chest has opened up and my fever is history. I still have a cough, but not nearly as bad. Nevertheless, I will honor the two-week self-isolation, in hopes that it will contribute to "flattening the curve."

I tackled my stack of papers yesterday. It is my worst fault; I let papers pile up. I filed some of them; then I uncovered some AARP magazines in the stack I hadn't read, so I stopped to read through them. I found one good article that listed some money-saving sites for seniors. I am going to check them out today. There is which offers the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (coupons for authorized farm stands and farmers' markets). This is only for low-income seniors, 60 and older with an income under $23K.

Then there is which lists restaurants where kids eat free. That would help with the Tuesday dinners, once I start doing that again.

GoBanking has an article on things hotels give away free. And there is which helps low-income people with their cell-phone service.

Before I got sick, I was planning to go to DSW to get some black booties, now that they are most likely on sale. Well, yesterday I got an email from DSW that offered a free backpack for a $49 purchase. I went through their clearance section and found some booties for $40, and then I added a blanket scarf for $15. I need that for a dress coat I don't often wear because it has such a wide-open neckline. I made the order in time to get one of the backpacks, so I got all three for $58. It is my splurge for the month.

I have never ordered footwear online before, so I am cautiously hopeful that the booties will be comfortable.

I'll be working on the papers again today, and who knows what I will find?

Doing Well

March 14th, 2020 at 11:11 am

I actually feel better now that I have canceled travel plans and working at the election. I still have my symptoms but losing the stress has been very beneficial.

Our governor closed all schools for the next two weeks, and all the museums, etc. are closing, too. No crowds above 1000 are allowed. So it's like everyone is in quarantine with me.

I believe that many voting sites may not be able to open due to the lack of judges, but I hear that the early voting site, which is already set up and running, may stay open through Election Day in order to compensate. Thank goodness I voted early! I hope many did, and that many took advantage of voting by mail.

I will get tested when they get the mobile sites going. As for now, my symptoms are light, and I don't feel any urgency to know exactly what it is. I know I'm not going anywhere. It's easy for me, being retired, to adapt to a self-quarantine.

I made a batch of chicken burrito filling yesterday. I ate one serving and froze the rest in individual containers. I still have French onion soup in the freezer, and about half of a large pizza. I have veggies, tuna, cheese, oatmeal, bread, English muffins, bacon, eggs, almond milk -- I think I'm set! My son will get anything I need, but I don't really anticipate needing anything.

I have two books on hand to read after I finish my current book. But I read a lot, so I have it in the back of my mind that if I do indeed run out, I will buy something from Amazon. Can't give up the reading.

I did run down to the laundry room yesterday and did one load of laundry. No one was there and I washed my hands before and after.

I won't see my grandchildren or the rest of my family for the next few weeks, but I am getting lots of calls and texts and I am feeling connected and cared for.

Got my census invite yesterday and I filled out the online questionnaire this morning. It was very easy and quick.

What a Mess!

March 13th, 2020 at 01:00 pm

I had to start admitting to myself yesterday that I was getting sick. I have a mild fever, a cough, wooziness and constriction in my chest. I took the night to make sure and then this morning I resigned from the election. I am the second person on the team to cancel and one other is on the fence; yet another has never responded to any message or voicemail. I have no idea what is going to happen with the election, but I do know that I need to self-isolate. I canceled my weekend trip and I turned down dinner at my ex's house tonight. Since I'm already in the high-risk group, actually coming down with possible symptoms made it clear that this is what I must do.

I'll get in touch with my doctor's office today, but I doubt that I will get an appointment, since I have not traveled nor had any contact with a documented COVID-19 sufferer. Our testing system is nuts. It's obvious, with those kinds of rigid rules in place, that hundreds of people are walking around with the virus and no way to verify it.

Before I came to this decision, I was out yesterday -- I had my car emission-tested (passed!) and then got an oil change ($36) and bought a few groceries at Jewel ($15).

I was going to go to Sam's today and get tp, but instead I will have to make my nine rolls last. There's probably no tp anywhere in the whole city.

I believe I have enough food on hand to get through two weeks without shopping. My son has offered to pick up anything I might need. I will miss going to the gym, but it is apparently okay to walk outside in open spaces, so I will do that for the duration, in small doses.

This morning I bought a gift card online for a local hamburger shop. They hire people who are marginalized in some way and asked for support in this way so they could keep paying them. I will be able to use the card later on for dinner with the grandsons, whenever that can resume.

I guess that's it. I'm quarantined!


March 12th, 2020 at 01:29 pm

Did I say shopping would be so much fun? I forgot -- I hate shopping! But it is a relief to have some needed stuff at home now.

I spent $51 at Aldi, $37 at PetSmart, and $19 at the vet for specialty food. I did not see empty shelves or any evidence of panic. But I wasn't looking for coveted items like sanitizer or tp.

I also spent $5 for cookies for a fundraiser.

Today I'm planning to get an oil change, with free car wash, and I will probably stop at a Jewel store to get some items I can't get at Aldi. I'm also going to take my car through the emissions-testing facility.

I got an email from one of my election team members -- the youngest one -- asking about precautions we might be taking at the election. Her parents are worried. I suspect she is going to drop out, even though I sent her the most reassuring message I could. The news keeps saying that hand sanitizer will be on hand, but no one from the clerk's office has notified the judges of that, or explained how we will get it. I have a purse-size bottle that I will bring for personal use, and of course I will wash my hands frequently.

I'm planning on a Sam's trip on Friday, for tp (it's on my list, I'm not hoarding) and paper towels, and I will look for sanitizer but don't expect to find it.

It's Wednesday!

March 11th, 2020 at 01:06 pm

Today I'm going to get some groceries at Aldi and some supplies from PetSmart. I've made it through the money crunch; now I need to restore my provisions. Hope I don't find empty shelves. Smile

Last night I took the boys to Steak N Shake, and spent $24 out of cash. Variables are at 26%.

I have been hearing from other members of the election team, and we have been making plans for setup, pre-setup, etc. Only one member has not checked in; I hope she shows up on election day. So from that you know that I have decided to go ahead with doing the election work despite my hesitation yesterday. I will just be careful. I'll have hand sanitizer in my purse, and I'll wash my hands every chance I get. And I'll be mindful about passing documents back and forth. For instance, the voters themselves can put their ID's in the reader and scan their completed ballots. I don't have to do it for them, as I have in the past.

I am doing well on the manual. Just have to read up on closing the polls now. Almost done.

This weekend I am going up to Michigan -- not to visit my brother this time, as he is still at his second home in Florida, but to have lunch and catch up with my friend P, whom I haven't seen since Thanksgiving. I'll stay at my brother's house overnight (my nephew is there, holding down the fort) and then I'll have breakfast with P on Sunday morning and head home. On Sunday night after I get home I'll do pre-setup with our election team's technician, so it will be a big day.

Bagel Day -- Not

March 10th, 2020 at 03:18 pm

Just came home from the gym -- it was supposed to be Bagel Day, but they did not order the bagels. Supposedly because they are in the process of remodeling, but I think they just didn't want to do it. I wonder if there will be some pushback. The place is run by a bunch of kids who are probably short on judgment.

Anyway, I did my workout and then came home and made pancakes, using up the last of the applesauce in the batter. Tomorrow I can shop again. I will try to control myself.

Yesterday it was cool and rainy, so I decided to go to a nearby mall to walk rather than try and dodge the raindrops. I haven't done this in quite a while, and I was surprised by some of the changes. Retail is definitely ailing. It is sad.

But I did find a dime -- and six cents the day before!

Today I need to get back to studying my manual, but it is in the back of my mind that I don't really have to work the polls. I can still bow out. It worries me a little that there will be so many people coming and going, touching equipment, and here I am, an older person with an underlying medical condition. Is it foolish to do this? Or foolish not to? There are a lot more cases diagnosed in my county, and it looks like it will only get worse.

And the stock market is not making me happy, either. I am glad that only about 20% of my nest egg is invested in the stock market.

Lakeside Walk

March 9th, 2020 at 12:29 pm

Yesterday was a warm and windy day. I walked the lakeshore up to the tennis courts, which earned me 7,000 steps. I had to shed my coat! It was so warm and sunny, it was like a holiday. I saw at least three kites, many bikes, and an opera-singing rollerskater.

But today is going to be much cooler.

After my walk I went out with the fam to Steak N Shake for dinner, and got treated. But no leftovers this time!

I made the Spanish rice yesterday -- just a mixture of rice and salsa, but it will make a good side dish. It made a lot; I will probably freeze some of it.

Today I'll wash the sheets and towels, and try to get in another walk.

I am close to the finish line on this non-spending diet. Tomorrow I'm taking the boys to music lessons, and will use my cash for dinner afterwards. On Wednesday, I can use my Discover card again (I always pay in full; I'm not incurring debt!)

I talked briefly to my Oregon son and learned that he is planning to buy an investment property! Apparently, this house has come on the market, completely furnished and decorated in a Western theme. He thinks it will make a perfect AirBNB; or, if not that, a rental. His town has a dearth of rentals and he thinks he can make a go of it, especially with Amazon expanding in his town. Well, I wish him the best. I know he wants to reinvest his profit from selling the Florida house, and maybe this is the way, though it wouldn't be my way!

Applesauce Spice Bread

March 8th, 2020 at 02:30 pm

I had a lot of applesauce after cooking down the apples, so I used some of it to make applesauce spice bread. It's pretty good, and it will help get me through these last few frugal days. There are walnuts in it, so it is pretty hardy in addition to being tasty.

I'm doing another load of laundry today. That will make lights, darks, and colors in three days, and tomorrow I'm going to wash sheets and towels. That's everything! I should be done for a while after that.

I went to the gym yesterday and then afterwards I walked around the the plaza in order to get in my 5,000 steps. I actually came close to 7,000. I'm feeling pretty good -- however, I did have a terrible night's sleep last night. First one in a while. I had thought the walking was helping with my sleep, but not last night it didn't. Iggy, of course, did not let me sleep in.

Iggy, by the way, is doing fine health-wise. It's hard to believe I was so worried about him such a short time ago. Fingers crossed.

It's supposed to be warm today, but when I stepped out with the laundry I was about blown away. I won't walk today till the wind has died down. (Hope it does!) It really bothers my ears.

Should report that my variables are at 23%, and that's mostly because of the membership fee. There will be a bump when I can spend again, because I am out of so many things....


March 7th, 2020 at 01:43 pm

The crown is in! It looks and feels great, and the process was so easy and fast. I'm so glad this episode is over.

Otherwise yesterday was a quiet day. I took a walk and did some laundry. I am watching "The Walking Dead," and I am now on Season 3. It was recommended by others, and I have gotten used to the zombies. I'm hooked on the story.

Today is a gym day; I'll be leaving soon.

It is a temptation to buy some bread and butter, but since I have only four days to go, I'm going to try to stick it out without spending anything on groceries. The butter will be the hardest part, but I do have oil. I'm also out of creamer, so I'll be drinking my coffee black.

I am thawing a couple of chicken thighs for future meals. I have rice, potatoes and vegetables for sides. I have salsa to use up, so I may make Spanish rice.

It's going to be unseasonably warm today. Woo-hoo!


March 6th, 2020 at 01:34 pm

My subscription hit my Discover card yesterday. I knew it was coming in March, but I guess I assumed it wouldn't hit within this credit card cycle. So my spending balance is cut down to $115. Still no problem; I won't need to spend nearly that much during the next five days. Unless I get another surprise!

I had some aging apples in the fridge, so I made applesauce yesterday. I'm going to have some for breakfast this morning, along with biscuits from the freezer. I finished up some veggie beef soup from the freezer yesterday, and I am now thawing what looks like chicken noodle soup. I really should start labeling -- I always think I'm going to know what the food is, but it's surprising how quickly I forget.

I took a longish walk yesterday by the lakeshore, even going onto the sandy area and walking right by the water. I was looking for sea glass, but I didn't find any. My step count for the day exceeded 7,000.

Today I'm getting my new crown -- I've been using a temporary all this time. I've had good luck with it -- with other temporary crowns I've had much trouble with breaking and dislodging them. It'll be nice to get this all over with.

It's going to be cold today, but I plan to walk to the dentist's office. It's a good way to get in some steps.

I didn't do laundry yesterday -- after looking over the hampers I decided it wasn't necessary -- but I'll have to do a load today.

I got an email that walk-in practice sessions for using the new election equipment are being offered at various times next week in Cicero. I think I will take advantage of that. It is about an hour away, but what else am I doing, anyway? I want to feel prepared. I had the training, but the training is so hit-or-miss; that's why I'm so determined about studying my manual.

A Simple Day

March 5th, 2020 at 02:26 pm

Not much on my plate today. I'm planning to take a walk, make applesauce, and do a load of laundry. And of course keep studying my election manual.

I texted the election technician yesterday and he did not answer, so I'll call him today. I assumed he would be a techie who was always texting, but apparently not. I need to nail down when he plans to set up and how much help he needs. It's quite a process, and at least one other judge is needed, if only to co-sign the forms that have to be filled out.

Only six more days to hold out without spending. At the beginning of this period, I thought that I would be lucky to stay under $300. I can hardly believe that so far, I have not touched it! I have only used the cash and change in my purse, which was not a lot.

Next month should be so much better, and I will have an extra $260 (thereabouts) from my election work.

Parking Fee

March 4th, 2020 at 01:29 pm

Yesterday I spent .50 on parking, but it came from my coin purse, so I still haven't spent any of the $304 designated for the coming week. I drove my grandson to a branch library so he could check out a book for his book club. In this particular area, there is no free parking. But we found the book!

Today I'm going to go to the gym and then I'll come home and study my manual. I haven't contacted the election team yet; may start today with the technician. The team still seems to be somewhat fluid. I've heard that election judges are dropping out because of fears about the coronavirus.

The ugly bread I made a few days ago is not too bad when toasted and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. It's been my go-to breakfast.

Most supplies are holding up well. I am low in cat food, both dry and wet, as well as the probiotic my cat is taking. But it is possible I will get through the week. If not, I have a gift card for PetSmart, so I won't have to spend anything.

Meanwhile, my grocery list is growing, but so far everything can be deferred for a week.

Can't wait to get back to "normal!" Whatever normal is these days.

No-Spend Day and Election Stuff

March 3rd, 2020 at 01:04 pm

I did my Monday laundry, but other than that it was a no-spend day. I had to be bright and early with the laundry, because the water was turned off at 9 am, and it didn't come back on until mid-afternoon. Some kind of work being done.

I did my early voting, and was surprised and pleased to check in with one of the guys I worked with at the previous election. We caught up a bit, and talked about the new machines. They had numerous voting booths set up with the touchscreens inside, but only a few of them were turned on. They were ready for a crowd, but the crowd wasn't there yet. He said the new machines were posing no problems.

Then I went to the community center where I will be working on election day. I wanted to talk about parking. The person at the front desk told me that the lot wouldn't be monitored on election day, but she gave me a permit anyway. She told me she would be the one to open the building at 5 am, so one chore is done already -- making contact with the door opener at the site.

I have been selected as the administrative judge, as I thought would happen. Also, another judge has been added. She is a little older than I am, and I am not sure what her experience level is. But everyone who is assigned has had training and passed the test.

As the administrative judge, I have responsibility but not power. In other words, I don't decide things, I just make sure that procedures are followed and that everyone is in contact with one another. I am going to send text messages to the others, to begin with, since no one seems to answer phones these days. Whoever doesn't answer the text will get a phone call and a voicemail message.

My next order of business is to arrange to get set up the day before election day with the technician and anyone else who is willing. Otherwise we will have to get it all done before the polls open at 6, and that can be hard to do.

I started reading and reviewing the manual yesterday, and I will keep doing this every day.

This is a lot of work for $235!

Today there is nothing on tap, so it should be relaxing. Only 8 days to go and my $304 is still intact.

Free Dinner

March 2nd, 2020 at 12:29 pm

Went out to dinner last night with the kids, grandkids, and my ex and his wife. I was treated, so it was no cost to me. I ordered a plate of barbecued chicken and brought home two untouched pieces, as well as some cole slaw. It will make a great lunch today.

Early voting starts today in Illinois, and I will probably get that done today or tomorrow. It will be good to take a peek at how the new machines are working in real time. I'm curious about the setup, too, because at training it looked like we will no longer use the collapsible private booths. It looks like the expectation is that most people will use the touchscreen and not fill out a paper ballot. I want to see if that's how it will really play out.

When I did my February recap yesterday, I forgot to report on my variables. I spent 72% of the available funds. But that doesn't count items over $200 and there were several of those, unfortunately. So it's kind of meaningless.

I hope Wall Street starts to recover today, but it doesn't affect me too much except for the ripple effect. Most of my retirement funds are invested in bonds and only about 10% is in the stock market. Still, I am watching it with interest.

Only nine days to go and I still have more than $300 available to spend if I must. I'm going to try to make it as little as possible.

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