Tag Archives: quarantine

COVID-19 Chronicles: Days 57 – 68

Things are about the same.  I spent some time in Bradenton last weekend and walked the full extent of their Riverwalk.  That really is a pretty place – and it certainly has a better view than the path that I normally walk.  I also fell off of a stool and unintentionally forced my knee to bend in a way that it hasn’t for over two years.  Not abnormally, mind you… in fact, the fact that I could not bend it that way was abnormal.  Anyway it popped a little but I managed to walk four miles after that so I am sure it’s not injured.  If I did anything, I probably pulled a ligament a little and stretched a muscle that likely needed to be stretched out anyway, so it probably wasn’t all bad.

I can still walk.  That’s a good thing.  Further, I can still balance well enough to walk on the beach – went there to watch the sunset as well, then got some ice cream afterward at the Shake Pit (which is ridiculously good, if you’ve never had it… I really like hot fudge sundaes with extra fudge and the chocolate/vanilla swirl ice cream instead of plan vanilla).

My three-year-old niece broke her leg a few days ago.  She’s handling it like a champ and should be recovered in about three weeks.  I sent her massive amounts of new toys (apparently a lot of other people did too) and that was the defining moment that caused my mother to break quarantine.  My father, who has asthma, is still sheltering at their house out of caution (but it is killing him).

I feel like the last couple of weeks have flown by and have been pretty uneventful.  Ormsby has yet to see a penny from unemployment (his status for the claim is still Pending, Submitted) but if you have been following the news about Florida’s unemployment system at all, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that.  He did find a job at a retirement community, though it is part time, and is looking for full time work.  I don’t have much else to report on that front.

Apparently I can expect to go back to the office near the first of July, at the earliest, but even then it will be one week in the office, two weeks at home, on a rotating basis, indefinitely.  This is fine with me.  My whole life I have wanted to work from home, in a quiet, controlled, quarantined environment, and it looks like I’m going to get that.  That’s worth celebrating.

Memorial Day is this weekend.  I got to log off of work a little after noon, since I hit 40 hours then and I don’t feel right about working overtime on non-urgent things I could easily complete on regular time on Monday.  I don’t have any radical, exciting plans except to deep clean my house and make peanut butter bread (the Reddit recipe), but I am looking forward to just staying in.  I figure the beaches and everything else that’s actually open will be ridiculously crowded and I am not interested in mingling with any of that.  I wouldn’t be even if COVID wasn’t a thing.  I can wait for a non-holiday weekend to do my mingling.

OH!!  So I did manage to catch an online reading of a play hosted by the Red Rose Chain theatre in Ipswich online the other day called “Fallen in Love: The Secret Heart of Anne Boleyn.”  I didn’t know what to expect, but I was so impressed – both by the actors ability to pull that off through Zoom while quarantined in their own respective homes, and just the idea of watching something live when I’m not physically in the audience, but it was incredible.

I spend a lot of time here talking about how much I like the new world that is much more amiable to introversion, but you know what I do miss?  Auditioning.  And being onstage.  I realized that the other day – now that my knee is (mostly) better and I can certainly move again, I want to get back OUT there.  Ironically, now that the time has come and I’m ready to do that again, I can’t.  Or, at least, it’s a lot harder to do when you consider how many people I’d be exposed to… (though probably less so onstage than actually in the audience, and certainly fewer when just in front of a camera).

Maybe it’s nearly time to give it a try… see what happens…

COVID-19 Chronicles: Days 47-56

I’ve spent the last week with Ormsby (or, well, he’s spent the last week with me), trying to get him situated.  We filed for unemployment for him (status is still pending… that could last a while) and applied for some things.  It was important to me that he not be on his own for the first week, so that he didn’t constantly have to look outside his window and see the place he used to work.  I don’t know if that helped, or if it prolonged the inevitable, because I did have to take him back yesterday.

Sometimes I wonder if he’d have been better off if I’d just left him in Louisville.  Possibly for the short term…at least he wouldn’t have had to have struggled for the first 2.5 years in a job hunt that he always seemed destined to lose.  But in the long term? I mean, this happened in Louisville too.  He’d have been in the same boat there as he now is here… there’s that.  I just wouldn’t feel so… responsible.

Even though I am not responsible.  I have to learn to stop taking all of this on myself. It’s going to kill me when it’s all said and done.  I have to keep telling myself I’ve done all that I can do.  And I have.  And then some.  More than many ever would.  That has to be enough… even when I don’t feel like it’s enough.  I cannot save the world.  I cannot, really, save him either.

The only person that can save Ormsby, is Ormsby.  That’s it.  I can help.  I can prolong what is, perhaps, the inevitable.  But I cannot be the only thing that keeps it at bay.

That is, after all, why we are living separately – so that I could stop being that wall.

It’s Mothers Day… I sent my mom and gift and then followed up with a card that I’d apparently had in my house for a really long time and had forgotten to send (or probably just found another one I liked better).  At any rate the gift arrived on time (because I ordered it 2 weeks ahead).  The card did not – but I also dropped it in the box on Wednesday afternoon.  So she’ll have that to look forward to.

I don’t usually go back up to Kentucky on Mothers Day, but that’s usually because I have plans to go up there at a later time – when I can stay longer.  There are no such plans this time, because I have no idea when I will be able to go back up there.  That makes this one harder.  I did talk to her (and to my dad) for a very long time.  It was nice.

They’re doing well… still social distancing.  I think their church is going to try to open soon, but I don’t think they will go in person for a while.  I don’t begrudge them going (even if I don’t) when it’s safe, but I don’t want them to take the chance that someone they know has it but doesn’t show symptoms and then one of them catches it that way.  That would be awful.

P.S. – This stupid disease is also why the ringer on my phone stays on at all times.

Florida has started opening back up.  I am not partaking yet.  I want to see what the case counts look like 2-4 weeks from now.  We did go to the beach one late afternoon down in Bradenton and we ate at Tibby’s on Friday (but it was empty).  But I am staying the hell away from everyone… like if there’s a human there, I walk the other way.

(This isn’t really that unusual… I do that even when there is no COVID.)

Good Stuff:

  • My mom LOVED her gift.  It was a wind chime that had a birds nest on top with a mother bird feeding her baby birds.  What’s funny is that I ordered it for her about a day before she called to tell me there was a nest of robins near their house that they were watching.  I smiled about that, because it was appropriate.
  • They started furloughing people at my office last Friday.  I was not furloughed.  I consider that a win.  For now.  I’m still not cracking into that stimulus money until either this pandemic has passed us, or until I absolutely have to for a personal emergency.
  • My sister and brother-in-law brought my nieces over to see my parents (from six feet away and with masks).  That was the first time they’d seen them in almost two months.  You couldn’t see anyone’s expressions, but you could seem my parents glowing in the photos.  I am glad that got to happen at least.
  • Aaaaand… finally… Ormsby and I turned my apartment into a photo studio while he was here and got some shots in.  I got back in heels for the first time in two years (paid for it a little later, but not too bad), and we got a few good shots.  I’m posting them below.

© IMJZ Photo

© IMJZ Photo

COVID-19 Chronicles: Day 26

Today was eventful and worth writing about on its own…

I woke up with the goal of completing three projects:
1. Bread baking.
2. Fixing my garden gnome (his hat had a big hole in it that I wanted to seal).
3. Taking my trash out to the dumpster (I pay for valet trash here but since the virus got started, they’ve been skimping on pickup a lot – even though I still pay for it – and I don’t like for it to just sit in there).

I started the bread with a new recipe this morning that actually said not to add any additional yeast – that the starter would take care of everything. So I took it at its word and put it together, let it sit in the pan to rise, but honestly it had a weird look to it and I didn’t have a good feeling about it from the beginning, but I’ll try anything once (and I didn’t want to waste all the flour I’d used).

Sure enough, though, an hour and a half later, it was the same size it was when I put it in the bowl. I separated it into loaves (like that would make a difference) and thought I’d see if it would do better that way… left it… started on the next project.

The trash part was easy. I had to double bag it because it had been sitting in the can for so long that it was leaking, but that wasn’t a problem. The weather was decent and it was a nice little walk (and probably the furthest that I’ve walked in flip flops since I hurt my knee back in 2018). I stopped by the Beetle to get the supplies I’d purchased at Lowes for the gnome and brought them up – checked on the bread… nothing.

I was feeling pretty defeated by this point, but I didn’t want to toss it all and start over (logistically, I couldn’t have anyway, since the starter needs to rebuild itself) so I made a separate mixture of dough with a little bit of yeast dissolved in warm water and flour, with the intent of adding that to the dough I already had to see if it would give it a boost (the same concept as adding a little bit of water and cornstarch to a broth or something to thicken it).

Then I went out on the patio to work on the gnome. This is where things got sticky. Literally. I bought a can of Great Stuff from Lowes (the stuff you use to seal up cracks and shit). I sprayed some in the gnome but apparently went overboard because it just kept… growing… out of its head. At first I tried blotting it with a paper towel (which is also stupid, given the general shortage of those), but ended up getting it all over my hands. Again… stupid… it is incredibly sticky… and it did NOT wipe off like I thought it would.

So while the gnome’s head was erupting like some sticky, yellow-ish volcano, I got up and decided I probably needed to wash my hands as soon as possible… except that it’d already started to dry… and my hands were sticky. Like so sticky that they got stuck to the doorknob.

Finally wrenched them off the doorknob and got to the bathroom (again, another sticky doorknob), tried to clean it off with soap and water (nope), Dawn (nope), elbow grease (nope), and by this time I’m really panicking because it is ALL. OVER. MY. HANDS. And I wear contacts that HAVE to be taken out at night, and I don’t want to do that with glue-like shit all over them.

At this point it’s all dry. Some of it will peel off, but most of it is just… like a second set of skin… so I pray that my iPhone will still recognize my fingerprint to unlock (it did) and I start frantically looking up stuff to take this off with. The internet suggests Goof Off… I don’t have any and don’t want to drive anywhere to get any because I didn’t want any of this shit to get on my Bug’s steering wheel. It then suggests… well… using a three-blade razor to gently shave your fingers.

Surprisingly… that worked… at least enough so that I think I’ll be able to take my contacts out later.  The gnome looks like it’s grown out some fancy Madonna-quality ponytail… but I can chop that off tomorrow. 

 

 

gnomeBut there was still the bread to tangle with – I dumped the new dough into a bowl with the old dough and let it sit for another hour. Finally, got some action… it rose enough to split it and put it back into the loaf pans.

At this point there’s no recipe for this bread anymore, I’ve added so much shit to it that wasn’t originally in the written version, so I had to really guess as to how long to let it rise in the loaf pans, then how long to bake it.

At any rate, about eight hours after I mixed the dough, I finally have two loaves cooling on the stove. I have no idea if they will do what I wanted them to do (I was going for a softer loaf that retained the sourdough flavor but that was pliable enough to make sandwiches with and was less crumbly)… but I’ll find out tomorrow when I slice into it.

 

 

 

 

IMG_3090

COVID-19 Chronicles: Days 4-6

On Friday, I drove down to Bradenton to see Lord Ormsby. We practiced social distancing from within his apartment, except for when we used my car to go get him some supplies so that he doesn’t have to take his motorcycle for multiple trips to the grocery store (since it doesn’t haul as much as my bug does).

What’s nice about Ormsby’s place is that it is right next to Bradenton’s Riverwalk so, while the beaches were closed, we could still get outside and take a walk and enjoy some of the sunshine. I had no idea how nice that strip of walkway was… water on one side, landscaping and benches on the other, a marina so that you can look at all of the yachts that you’ll never be able to afford (and think how effective it must be to social distance on one of those things). We also discovered that he lives super close to an ice cream/smoothie place. We didn’t get any that day, but it’d a nice little tidbit of information to have in your back pocket for a later time.

The grocery stores are civil – some are more crowded than others – and depending on what time you go, different things are available (but not toilet paper). I finally found the rice I was looking for today when I went on a whim. Also got some deli ham (they’re putting it in regular ziploc bags now because they are out of their other ones) and some salad mix. The ham and cheese sandwich I had today hit the spot.

Tampa’s mayor was reported to have said that she is considered a lockdown of our county if the governor doesn’t lock down the state first. I expect that will likely be announced sometime tomorrow afternoon at the earliest. I told Ormsby that if there is a state lockdown and if he is not expected to work, then he is welcome to come here for the duration – since it will be a LONG quarantine for him to be stuck in a place with no internet or cable and a handful of dvds. I also told him to bring his own toilet paper.

Lots of domestic disturbances at my complex today… and I live in a nice area of town. People haven’t been stuck inside for even a week and they’re already starting to lose their shit. I can’t imagine what this is going to be like if things really do lock down, and sincerely hope this does not become some new nationwide rendition of “The Shining.”

At any rate, I got one more (large) bag of cat food today – they aren’t going to need food for another five months at this rate (which is fine with me… better safe than sorry, since I can’t get their food at a normal grocery store), and there’s not much else that I can do to be prepared at this point, so I guess whatever happens, happens.

Back in my good old Kentucky home, my parents’ church suspended its services for the first time in living memory. Their minister apparently delivered his sermon (like so many others have) via Facebook – this was a big deal, though, because their congregation is older and slower to change (though I think by now even the oldest ones have a Facebook account).

Daily Developments:

  • Ohio and Louisiana are the latest two states to enact the stay-at-home orders, joining a handful of other states.
  • Many of the Florida beaches are finally closed.
  • Miami Beach hotels are supposed to close on Monday.
  • The Hard Rock Hotel and Casinos here in Tampa finally made the decision to close – that’s the biggest deal because they probably had the most traffic now that Disney and Universal have been closed for so long.
  • Grocery store shelves are still pretty picked over when you go there, but they are better in the morning.

Things I’m Happy About:

  • I am playing a ton of World of Warcraft – more than I’ve played in years. The servers are getting populated again, now that no one has anything else to do, and I’m getting achievements that I’ve “not had time” to try for in a while… also I’m unlocking all the flying that I said I’d never actually do on principle because it was too difficult (but you know… now I have time… so…)
  • I have rice.
  • The book I’ve been wanting to read since the summer (“The Phantom Prince” by Elizabeth Kendall, about Ted Bundy) finally came off hold for me today… I’ve been on a list for freaking ever to read this one. This could not have come at a better time, since I am now stuck home for the foreseeable future.
Bradenton Riverwalk – Butterfly Garden
Bradenton Riverwalk
Bradenton Riverwalk

COVID-19 Chronicles: Day 1

I realize that COVID has been a thing for months now… but it’s affected me, personally, very little, except that I decided early on that this could be really bad and that I should probably go out and make sure my stock of cold medicines and tissues was stable.  I bought one package of toilet paper then (but because I was basically out) and a little bit of food, but left it at that because things hadn’t blown up in the US yet and I wanted to see what would happen.

As the news got worse, and it made its way over here, I’ve spent the last four weeks stocking up on non-perishable food items (they’ll also last through hurricane season), stuff I’ll want if I do get sick, and food and litter for the cats.  I was comfortably prepared for this thing before it got ridiculous.  I am proud of that.

Two weeks ago, at work, the order came for us to start preparing to work from home – there was no word on whether we actually would, but they wanted us to test our connections and apps to make sure we could if we had to.  Yesterday the order came for us to begin remote-working today, so this is it.

Working from home is not so bad.  I made the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made in my life on Saturday night, with some left over to snack on (and they need to be – their shelf life is only about 5 days).  I get up and log in at my normal time (around 6:45), but I do it in my fuzzy socks and with one of the cats in my lap periodically.  I miss my work friends, but I am also really digging getting to hang out with the cats all day, so I guess it’s the ultimate trade off.

Social isolation is not difficult for a lifelong introvert… I guess you could say that, in a way, I’ve been rehearsing for this my whole life.  Granted, I’ve gotten better about my introversion over the years, but I also have absolutely no qualms about binge watching an entire television series or playing four straight hours of World of Warcraft and getting achievements that I just don’t have time to go for during normal periods of my life.

I am, of course, worried about my family – but, most of them live in a very small town in a rural area.  They are pretty social within the confines of that town, however, people in that town don’t travel much and it’s not a bustling tourist destination.  You could argue that they practice a less extreme form of social isolation all the time.  And I call them pretty much daily now so I know they’re ok.

At any rate, because I find myself with more “downtime” than I am accustomed to and because I am a historian (seriously, I have a degree in this) with a fascination for social history and change – and in a weirdly twisted way, I am flattered to be living in the middle of it – I’ve decided to chronicle this all here.

I’m not doing this because I’m anticipating getting a lot of hits… I would imagine WordPress (among other sites) is FULL of posts like mine right now… (probably from people that are a whole lot worse off and, by proxy, more interesting) but because I really want to be able to come back to this someday and read about it all. If you do decide to join me for this series, please note that I’m not going to be getting engaged in scientific discussions (I am not qualified), nor political ones (not qualified for that either).  I think the best thing we can do for ourselves now, and for each other, is to remain as positive as we can.  And that’s what I’ll be doing.

With any luck, I’ll be able to post daily (or semi-daily).

Daily Developments:

  • Florida’s Primary elections are still taking place.  This is a big deal because other states have changed the date of theirs.
  • Tampa’s bars and clubs are closed. Restaurants are limited to 50% capacity (and are urging takeout).
  • People are still coming down here for Spring Break, which I find odd, but y’all also help ensure we don’t pay state income tax, so thanks.
  • The Clearwater Pier was recently closed (but the beach is still open)… South Beach, I hear, is closed, though.

Things I’m happy about:

  • I have food… enough to last through hurricane season if I’m careful.
  • Milo spent a good half of the day in my lap. He spent part of it watching a webinar.  If this is my new “normal” for work, I’ll take it.
  • Grocery stores here are still pretty much stocked with everything (except toilet paper and hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soap)… so I can easily replace what I consume. This is what I plan to do until this either ends or I get sick and have to quarantine myself.  If I have to quarantine myself, I have enough supplies to get by on until that quarantine period ends.
  • I still have a job – seriously… I’ve already seen one major recession in my adult life, and I was unemployed and basically homeless during that one. I am thankful, THANKFUL that I have work, and that my employer lets me work from home instead of forcing me on furlough, and also that my rent is reasonable since I moved to another area of town.

— ‘Till tomorrow.