The world doesn’t shut down for a grain of salt

A couple of friends of mine are still not on board with Covid19 veracity. Talking to them, they say, “You gotta take all this with a grain of salt. We don’t think this bigger than any other disease in the world.”

Insert: “more people die of the flu” claim.

Insert: “the media is blowing this out of proportion.”

Insert: “you’re falling for the hype.”

And, yet, the world has shut down. Not the USA. Not China. It’s easier to find where there are not cases than count the countries in lockdown.

As if it’s media hype that is triggering all the sheep to bury their heads in the sand. This information must be taken with a grain of salt?

Do all of my clients stop hiring me for grain of salt? How many of my friends are out of work or incredibly scaled back because of this grain of salt?

Do I apply for unemployment for the first time in 44 years for a grain of salt?

Grains of salt do not shut down country after country after country. I’d be remiss to claim a boulder of salt would do such a thing. But mountains of salt, yes.

This grain of salt conspiracy needs to end.

Risking my respiratory health is probably a bad idea

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As a way to pass the time and to be constructive, Tina and I have decided to paint our house in North Carolina.

One of the first stages of the process was to remove cracked window glazing and replace it with new. To remove the old, I sat by the windows with a hair blow dryer and softened the old glaze enough to scrape it off. Dust and debris would kick up. I didn’t realize I should have been wearing at least a regular mask.

The next day, I could feel it in my chest. It burned. And there was a brief period of worry that I had the coronavirus. But the following day, it subsided.

Then we started moving again with painting with paint sprayers. I am personally working on ceilings and the eaves around the house which sends paint everywhere and it falls all over my face. In the mirror, my nose collected a ton of white boogers.

The next day, I could feel my chest burning again. Not a significant burn, but enough to cause concern again about Covid19.

Although a google search rendered many respiratory issue results for people doing exactly what I’m doing, i.e. painting with a spray gun.

Earlier this week, when I was ignorant about the process, I saw two painters’ masks at Home Depot. Probably an oversight after the president asked businesses to donate their masks to the government for hospital use.

Yesterday, they were gone. I’m going to do my best to create a larger barrier between me and the paint using old t-shirts or even boxer shorts. I left cold weather running gear in Chicago that could have been helpful during this mask shortage. Damn.

I was thinking a bit more about my post yesterday. I hope it didn’t come off too harsh against my religious friends.

I wish deeply that science and religion weren’t such enemies.

Part of me was thinking about the idea that religious folks are turning to that mindless trope that this epidemic is punishment from God for LGBT sins or secularization of the world, or Godlessness, or any number of “return to God” scenarios.

But what if it’s actually a call from God to simplicity. To get out of the mindless drudgery of 40, 50, 60, 70 hour work weeks and spend more time at home with family.

Maybe it’s an opportunity by God to give us a break from thinking life centers around one’s job and more about one’s health and the health of others.

Maybe our emphasis is on the wrong life living. Maybe our priorities at church, school, and work need to be re-directed to something else. Politics need to take a back seat. Quiet the world around us to the birds chirping, and stop blasting the atmosphere with all of our pollution and superfluous industries that don’t matter in the long run … but our relationships with our loved ones do.

Even though I can’t see and touch my family, we’re talking almost every day. Tina and I get more time together.

Can’t any of us agree that that is bringing people closer to God?

I wish that the fire and brimstone, this is a punishment, return to God folks would reevaluate their messaging and look at this not as hurting their pocketbooks or their collection plates, but reimagining what is good, honest and loving.

 

a poem: small kindnesses

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.”

—”Small Kindnesses,” Danusha Laméris

Life in quaranTina-land. It’s the Jeremavirus!

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Tina-beans and I are doing our best to stay quarantined-ish. We drove down to North Carolina a week ago last Thursday and we’re hunkered down here until this whole Covid-19 thing blows over … if it ever does.

Our current goal is to paint the house. When we bought it a year ago, we concentrated our renovation efforts on the interior. We redid the kitchen, the bathrooms, painted throughout, ripped up the carpet and opened up the dining room into the living room.

Just before all of the shit hit the fan, we reached out to a painter for an estimate to paint the entire house. He was going to charge us $4500 minus materials. Continue reading “Life in quaranTina-land. It’s the Jeremavirus!”

practicing safe social distancing

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 11.35.37 AM.pngMy local watering hole was trying to have a last hurrah yesterday, to which I stopped by until more than 10 people showed up. Basically, I wanted to have a sort of sendoff to a bunch of folks I really don’t see very often anyway, as I’ve stopped frequenting bars in an effort to curb drinking and encourage non-drinking ceremonies.

The owner of the bar was super upset about everything that’s going on. And rightly so. When I mentioned our business, she even said, “Damn, I kind of have only been thinking of my business … that’s horrible.”

Everyone there was staying 6ft or more from each other (for the most part). I know it wasn’t the most responsible thing to do, but I feel like everyone else … this is a scary, uncertain time.

I also talked to a friend who said his brother has the coronavirus and for him, it’s been a living hell. He’s now to the phase of just a respiratory issue of shortness of breath, no more fever or other symptoms. But he doesn’t wish this on anybody.

Different people are reporting different experiences.

It was an all around awful and yet enlightening experience.

I came home, and gave my dog Talulah a bath. A HUGE scrub down and then myself. I threw all my clothes in the wash and put on all clean clothing.

I just watched the president’s press briefing, and I’m certainly hopeful that his response to the financial crises reaches little businesses like ours. There was a stock market ticker on the bottom part of the screen and it showed a certain rise in stock activity. Phew.

We had a meeting with our financial advisor yesterday. We’ve seen a $45,000 drop in our retirement plan since January.

I will take a look at it again.

He also, rather rudely and not very sensitively, told us we needed to give over our 2019 contributions. At first we were like, oh yeah. Right. We’ll do that right away.

Tina and I are rule followers. But then I was like, Wait, if we’re about to go through an indefinite amount of time where we have no income, contributing to my 401k is just not going to happen. IRS can come after me. I think our welfare is much more important …

Anyway, stay safe out there.

 

When the discussion arises that “this is just the flu,” I recommend this chart

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Case fatality rates: Covid-19 vs US Seasonal Flu.

Also, this thread is worth sharing: