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Posts Tagged ‘covid-19’

Anxiety.

I sit in my lawn chair, staring ahead at the “island”. It’s an ovate shape in our yard, a slight mound, where the peonies that came with the house are planted, as well as the other flowers I have added over the years, and the dwarf Hawthorne resides. There is a concrete birdbath, a shepherd’s hook holding a wire grate with sunflower seeds and dried mealworms, two more shepherd’s hooks with windchimes. The Camellia tree (or is i a bush?) lies beyond, the pink blossoms going mushy brown and scattering on the ground, and last year’s leaves turning yellow and sickly, New leaves are pushing outward, but the Camellia looks raggedy. A small green stepladder is off to the right: a board has been screwed to the top and peanuts are placed there as daily offerings to the neighborhood corvids (scrub jay and American crows).

I want the colors to sink into my brain, to leave an imprint I will never forget. I can smell lilacs on the air and apple blossoms. The curry plant (not the same as the herb sold in stores, but the aroma is very much the same), the Spanish lavender, and the wild branched of the rosemary, waft their scents into the air. The oregano has not grown back yet, but the grey-green furry leaves are poking out of the ground. My yellow-and-red tulips have faded; the purple tulips dance gently in the breeze. Blue-and-white blossoms cover the lithodora and small bumblebees buzz excitedly over the blossoms. The peonies are all getting ready to bloom, their leafy plumage ranging from deep red to brilliant green – I am always amazed at the variety of color in the foliage of peonies.

I am not okay. I am stressed. Anxious. Sad.

Twice this week, I have seen a meme purporting that there is already a vaccine for coronavirus. It has been posted by people I know and love who are tired of being in “lockdown”. The attached photo is of a vaccine for canine coronavirus. A click of the mouse and I am looking on a search engine. The only sites that come up are veterinary health sites. The vaccine is real. Dogs get *a* coronavirus. It is an intestinal disease specific to the canines. It does not affect other animals or humans. It is *not* the same as novel (new) coronavirus, which is an upper respiratory disease, affects multiple species (so far, cats ,humans, dogs, and possibly bats) and is SARS-CoV-2 virus.

It’s right there, in plain sight: this is NOT a vaccine for the disease and virus we are fighting.

I have been journaling. That’s not new: I’ve journaled since I was thirteen, more or less. I have a box in the attic full of old journals (I think I burned everything prior to 1980). I can tell you about weather patterns throughout my forty year marriage because I recorded those events as they happened. I know all about mild winters, cold winters, harsh winters, mild summers, rainy summers, and dry summers. I wrote it down. I can go back and look up the patterns, the times we planted gardens, when our children took their first steps.

Now I am writing about a novel virus that is changing our world and I still see people in denial of it’s ability to ravage the human (and cat/dog) body. People who are certain this is a Republican/Democrat war for the office of the President of the United States, regardless of the facts that it has ravaged nearly the entire civilized world. It has killed more people in the USA in three months than died during the 2018-2019 influenza season. It has killed more people in the USA than died in the 30 years we were fighting in Viet Nam.

Those numbers are fluid, but probably within a couple thousand either way. And either way, my statements above are true.

Those numbers do not include the numbers of survivors who will have permanent kidney, liver, or lung damage.

Where I live, the effects of the virus are minimal. We’ve had a total of 7 deaths in a large county, with just over a couple hundred infected.No one knows the true number of infected persons because you can’t get tested unless you are on death’s door or an “essential” employee. And if you do get tested, it will be two weeks before you get the results.

COVID-19 often kills within 10 days.

I am not okay. I am stressed. Anxious. I internalize everything because I am an introvert and HSP. I can’t imagine how my extrovert friends are holding out (the ones who believe). The ones who don’t believe – well, how they are coping is all over social media. It’s not good.

A bright blue and grey bird flashes into my peripheral vision. The scrub jay, come to take a peanut and hide it. He is followed by a black shadow – one of our crows has noticed the feeding table. A large bumblebee buzzes over the top of the lithodora. The hues of green burn into the back of my mind.

I am not okay, but life goes on. Breathe in. Breathe out. Listen. Absorb. Smell. Sense. Straight spine, feet planted firmly on warm green grass that tickles.. I know there are messages on my phone from one or the other of my granddaughters. I am loved and I love.

Thursday, we will buy new Venetian blinds for our dining/living rooms. We’re continuing to plant metaphorical trees despite the uncertainty of tomorrow.

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. ~ Martin Luther

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No, really, how is it going?

Are you stir crazy? Convinced the government is lying to us? Convinced the government has overstepped its boundaries? Hoarding guns yet?

How about allergies?

Are you planting your Victory garden?

Learning a new skill?

Is life the same old, same old, but with less going out?

Are your kids getting on your nerves? Your spouse?

Have you braved the line at Home Depot to get a project finished (or just to complete a job you’re getting paid for)?

Are you ready for this pandemic to be over already and can we just get back to normal?

Tired of playing games on Facebook that require you to list the things you might use as a password hint?

Are you creating a list of things to be thankful for instead of things to be angry about?

What are you thankful for?

I am thankful I can cook from scratch and bake from scratch (I can read a cookbook). I am thankful I have been dirt poor and know how to improvise and substitute. I am thankful for the internet and social media (although the latter is a questionable blessing). I am thankful I have books to read that I probably will never get to and an attic to clean out. I am thankful the weather has been nice. I am thankful for antihistamines. I am thankful for blogs I can follow and read. I am thankful that there are many news sources and you can fact check what is being reported or passed along on social media. I am thankful for Instagram which is more about artsy photographs and family memories.

I am thankful for an old and beat up washing machine (I have washed clothes in a wringer washer… and in the bathtub). I’ve washed dishes in the bathtub. I am thankful for nice weather and a clothesline. I am thankful that I lived in poverty and I learned how to cope and how to improvise.

I am thankful that I have been homeless.

I am thankful for cameras, art, paint, fabric, colors, and eyesight. I am thankful I have a little left over to give to someone else. I am thankful for online church and a decades old collection of Easter decorations i have to put away tomorrow.

I am thankful we are not under martial law where I live, with National Guardsmen having to enforce the new restrictions. I am thankful to have a governor (and this pains me to say this) who has put her constituents first and who has made painful decisions to collaborate with other nearby governors on how – and when – we will open back up for business. That really hurts me to say: I don’t like this governor and I would not vote for her, but she has unequivocally stepped up to the plate when other leaders have refused to. I am thankful she is our governor.

I am thankful for my children and their survivor’s sense of humor because they grew up poor and know how to survive. It’s a wicked sense of humor.

I am thankful for electricity, public water, garbage collection, recycling, natural gas, and the US Postal Service. I am thankful I am able to vote by mail in the upcoming primary and the upcoming general election.

I am thankful for creative friends who made cards for me so I could send them out randomly to cheer people who don’t have a thankful list.

Have a thankful list? Comment here or on FB.

 

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I went out on Monday. It was eerier than the last time I was out and about, but I did manage to score a pack of toilet paper and another box of tissue. Tissue is an essential in our home this time of year when pollen counts start to rise. It’s been rainy and cool, so the allergies have lessened considerably but I still have the nagging post-nasal drip. It’s my normal.

I also found some of those tuna packets my son likes. I was mailing him a care package so I grabbed a few to add to it. He’s deployed right now and far from family. I sent him a care package and one to my son-in-law who works on the North Slope of Alaska and is grounded for the foreseeable future (Alaska has closed her borders and he lives in Phoenix so would not be able to return to work if he went home). Both of my “girls” are single moms right now and it’s hard. You mothers out there doing that thing know what I mean: single motherhood is HARD. You love those little critters but they consume you. You make jokes about hating your kids on Facebook and people come out with all sorts of criticism about how you’re raising children to have no self esteem because you can’t stand your kids. they don’t understand that a sense of humor (albeit dark) is essential to your survival.

I get it – a dark sense of humor formed my childhood, my teen years, and my adulthood. My family doesn’t send sentimental cards – we send borderline cruel and hysterically funny cards. The funnier the card, the more you are loved.

One thing I learned when I went out on Monday is that there is a lot of debate (and I mean A LOT) about the wearing of face masks. WHO recommends one thing and the CDC recommends another. You can’t win for losing. WHO recommends that no one wear face masks unless they are actually ill, a First Responder, or caring for someone with COVID-19. CDC recommends that EVERYONE wear a mask when they go out.

I wear nitrile gloves, but most people don’t. And a lot of those who do, discard them in their grocery carts for the grocery people to dispose of. That latter part is rude. Wrong. Filthy. Dispose of them yourself in the safest way possible. I take mine off in such a way that I don’t touch the finger parts. then I still sanitize all the surfaces I touched during my outing. I hate the waste, but it is our new reality.

Here in Oregon, single-use plastic bags were banned across the board and stores were mandated to charge shoppers for paper bags. It’s all about using your reusable shopping bags Then: novel coronavirus. You can’t use reusable bags anywhere. You either carry your groceries out unbagged and bag them in the privacy of your car or you buy ANOTHER reusable bag at the store or you pay five cents per paper bag.

Another change that has 48 other states shaking their heads over: we have to pump out own gasoline now. New Jersey remains the sole hold out against self pump now. Oregon finally conceded because of the virus (and I fully expect self serve to remain the law when we are out of this because the pundits have been pushing for that for decades). I saw a lot of gas station employees standing around while people pumped their own gas. Okay. Change. *I know how to pump my own gas. I hate to. I used to work as a gas station attendant. I’ll miss that luxury.

I have to go out again tomorrow. Our Credit Union was acquired by another Credit Union. Tomorrow is the day we have to activate our new debit/credit cards. I have a lot of automatic payments that will be going through tomorrow – and have the wrong information. I have to order new checks. I can’t do it today (or couldn’t as it is now after ten PM). I have to stuff this all in on April First on top of the stress we’re all living under. And guess what: I DON”T WANT to go out. I’d be happy staying in isolation another week. But I have to so I can pay bills.

I feel like I have gotten a bit whiny on this post. Let me tell you something positive. There was this oak tree in my neighbor’s yard. Not a native oak, but some kind of oak they sell in tree nurseries as “decorative” and “approved” by whatever city or county regulations. I love the native oaks: tall, thick, many branched. The leaves fall early in Autumn. This other variety doesn’t have those heavy limbs and grows in an inverse “V” instead of the arc that native oak grows in (look at the horizon to understand). This tree also does not shed its leaves all at once. It sheds them – slowly – all winter. The shedding isn’t finished until the new leaves come in sometime in late May. All those leaves end up in MY flower beds. They don’t harbor insects – they harbor slugs. And slugs devour my flowers.

Well, today – HALLELUJAH! – the landlord cut the damn tree down. It was only 20 feet tall. It has ceased its reign of terror on my flower beds. And I am very happy about that.

These are just notes jotted from isolation. I don’t mean for this to be a post that follows through logically. There’s no plot, no climax or denouement. It’s just life in the suburbs during the novel coronavirus pandemic of 2020, 102 years after the 1918 Influenza pandemic. I keep track of county numbers; there were 17 cases in my county on March 25 and no deaths. There are 50 cases and 3 deaths today just 7 days later. That’s more than double the IDENTIFIED cases. No one gets tested unless they are on their death bed here.

And in other news, a 6.5 earthquake hit north central Idaho today. That’s big. It was felt as far away as Battle Mountain, Nevada. I trust you can all use Google Maps: Challis, Idaho to Battle Mountain. That’s not a small distance.

As a friend of mine says on our private email group: “We live in Interesting Times”

Buckle up. It’s only just beginning. And keep your sense of humor. That’s one way you survive.

 

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Not “post- apocalyptic” as we are in the middle of the pandemic, or maybe still in the beginning, but being out certainly had the ominous feel of a bad post-apocalyptic film (ever see Zombieland, only we don’t have a shortage of Twinkies. Or maybe we do; I didn’t look).

There were aisles of empty shelves in every store I had to go to: canned goods, pre-made meals, paper towels, tissue, toilet paper, baby wipes… I didn’t look for hand sanitizers because I already had enough of those weeks ago. I could have used a package of TP, but we still have a week’s supply. My allergy-riddled sinuses screamed for tissues and I did score two small boxes of the precious nose-blowing material.

I went into the stores with latex gloves on. I keep them handy for certain art projects. No face mask as those are really only useful if you already have the virus and you’re trying to stop it from spreading to the people around you. A lot of people have this backwards or I shopped in a store with a lot of infected cashiers wearing masks. I did not go through their lines. I did note that most store employees wore latex gloves but scarcely any shoppers did. I don’t know what that says about people.

I did not touch my face once the entire time. I managed to not sneeze inside a store (in my car, yes). Hay fever was gracious to me today.

Some interesting takeaways: at a smaller chain store, they are refusing to allow you to bring in your reusable bags. This is interesting only in that our governor banned the use of  ‘single use plastic bags’ and mandated a five-cent per bag surcharge for any paper bags you need at checkout. Basically, this small chain is forcing you to pay the five cents or to carry everything out in your arms, Oregon style.

bags

Shoppers at the same store were less likely to distance themselves from everyone else, crowding the entrance. I grabbed the two items I went in for (no TP or tissue!) and got outta there.

It’s weird to watch cashiers and baggers sanitize everything between every customer, even yourself. Remember cooties? It’s like you have the cooties.

Most people have a “well, this is our new world and we’re going to smile anyway” attitude, but there were the odd grouches. No doubt they were completely out of toilet paper, in which case they may have had more success at a Plaid Pantry-type store than any of the major chains.

My biggest takeaway is how utterly bizarre shopping is right now. this is The Land of Plenty. The U.S.A. where we have grossly over-supplied the consumer with toothpaste flavors, strengths, colors, and brands. Where we sell generic and name-brand products side-by-side. Ten choices of rice. Twenty flavors of yogurt and at least ten brands of yogurt. Soap – the kind that comes in a bar – is not sold out, yet that is the one thing we’ve been told to use the most (I purchased a lot of soap from a crafter last summer and have plenty left).

We are utterly, woefully, underprepared should this pandemic run the long haul (which I think it will). We are utterly incapable of making do with what we’ve got. There are apparently a lot of people out there who think liters of soda pop are an essential to their survival. (Hm. Maybe the Twinkies ARE sold out.)

My last stop was to pick up my asthma medication. ASTHMA. That puts me right up in the “most-likely-to-die-from” category, compounded with my “advanced” age (hey, when did being over 60 qualify me to be called “elderly”? I resemble that!). Asthma meds are essential to my survival (believe me, you do not want to experience the horror of not being able to breathe that this novel coronavirus can cause. Asthma has its own risks and not being able to breathe is right up there). Anyway, the reason I went shopping today is because I don’t want my husband to see how much a two-month supply of a stabilizer inhaler costs – with insurance. He’d die of sticker shock.

In the pharmacy line where the other customers aren’t practicing a cool six feet of distancing.

bubble

I like social distancing. My “personal bubble” is about six feet around. I want to throat punch people who crowd me when we’re not on a lock down. Imagine how I felt today with my latex gloves. Hi-YAH! (No wonder the pharmacist’s assistant was grouchy. Not only does she have an essential job, but she deals with idiots all day long.)

I am finally home and safe in my own little world. My husband ranted over the lack of toilet paper, but – honestly – we have 12 rolls left. It’s not the end of the world as we know it. Yet. There are alternatives and I don’t know why that bugs him: I do the laundry. He cooks, I do laundry.

I leave you with this by REM:

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