Corona Craziness

Day XX of pandemic social distancing. Days run together. I seriously have to look at the calendar to see what day it is.

The big news of course, remains Coronavirus. Corona craziness. COVID-19. Pandemic. Armageddon.

Politicians individually trying to outdo one another with urgency and empathy; while collectively they do nothing of importance. Senate passed a $2T stimulus recovery package today. House is voting tomorrow. Usual corporate handouts along with a few crumbs for the workers.

Cooking, baking , reading, writing, hiking, refinishing a table, working on a business plan for camper business and trying to get a fucking job. Those are my daily routines now. Oh, because Cleveland Clinic terminated my position. Fuckers. So I am cut loose in a world where 3M people filed for unemployment this week. A record.

And more records. A $2T recovery stimulus–biggest in US history. Latest news is that there are around 82,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,000 dead in US. These numbers are expected to dramatically increase as the virus spreads.

Restaurants, gyms, sporting events, concerts, schools—all closed. Directive is no groups of more than 10. Most businesses are working from home. Hotels and restaurants are closed and most are laying off employees. Shit’s getting real in a hurry.

I’m still getting my long walks in each morning. There are 4 older ladies I tend to pass on my walks. All have big dogs and all the dogs are trained to defend and/or attack. These ladies, when they see me coming, get off the sidewalk with their dog and the dogs then strain the leash, barking and slobbering and eating me with their eyes. It seems only a matter of time until the leash slips through the fingers and I have to throw down with a pissed off lab. I’m sure I could take em’, one at a time, but probably would not be pleasant. If they ganged up on me, it might get ugly.

Seems my two current most likely ways of dying are COVID-19 or dog attack.

Friends and family keep calling to check on me, but I am fine. I am a loner at heart. I am okay with companionship, if it is the right tone and tenor, but okay if not too. Funny that some people that seem to be struggling the most are married people who are not used to being together 24 x 7. My good friend in Idaho is about to go fucking crazy. She is in a loveless marriage and is only staying because she doesn’t want to give up 1/2 of her 401(k). Now they are locked down together. At least they have a big house and can distance even within their home.

News is 100% about Coronavirus. Nothing else really matters. Economic impact will be devastating and likely to last well into the summer. I need to see if there is anything more I can do to help. I sent a little extra to Namibia to help with childcare as they have also cancelled schools. I dropped off a little cash at my local today to help out a bit with servers and bartenders who I am sure are struggling. Hard to know how to help more than that.

Had a terrific weekend with the family last weekend. Dinner at Melissa’s on Friday night and Terri’s on Saturday night.

Terri and I sat and chatted after everyone left her house. John Denver came on with ‘this old guitar’ and we both cried a little listening to the beauty of those lyrics.

We played a game where we named a line from a movie and everyone else had to guess the movie. For dinner on Saturday we had coq au vin with mushroom and shallot galette, salad, aspargus and French onion soup. Friday night chicken tetrazzini with stuffed mushrooms and a bunch of lovely cheeses. For brunch we had shrimp and scallops and grits.

My fucking family is the best. More loving and smart and compassionate than most people I’ve ever met. We drank whiskey and wine and vodka and gin and beer and just fucking laughed our asses off. Who is luckier than us? What we are not good at, absolutely terrible at as a matter of fact, is social distancing.

I am thankful that I’m a killer cook. Tonight, I got in a 5-mile hike and then made shrimp and chorizo burritos which I had with black beans that I made Monday and had been marinating in the refrigerator. Also made lots of other good meals this week—been cooking up a storm.

Tonight I wrestled my big 7’ office desk downstairs and into the garage and started stripping it. I am going to re-finish it. I’ve had that desk for at least 20 years. I had it at my house on the hill in Pocatello, then on top of the mountain with September, then I took it to the office at Sundance, then to our house in Victor, then to my home in Columbus and now here. It’s a workhorse and I need to show it some love. Today I stripped off the old stain. Tomorrow I will sand it down and on the weekend try to finish it up.

Abel Ramos died a few days ago. He was a good friend. Abel was the first person I met when I moved to Pocatello in 1986. I went to the Pressbox sports bar to ask if they knew someone from the rugby team I could call to find out where and when they practiced. It happened that Abel was sitting in the bar and the bartender (Willie), pointed him out to me. I sat and we had a beer and became friends. I joined the team a few days later. Abel and I played together for 6 or 8 years before he tailed off. He was older than me and nearing the end of his rugby career.

Abel was rock solid. A gentle spirit. He had seen some shit in this time. He grew up in pretty tough circumstances. He went to ISU and became a social worker, but when I knew him he was working at the Kraft food processing facility in Pocatello. For years, Abel and I played rugby on Saturday, partied like hell Saturday night, and then on Sundays, met for beer and breakfast at the Pressbox and from there we would drive all over town—drinking at the bars that were open on Sundays back in those days. The Chief Lounge, Corner Pocket, Rimrock, and a few other dives downtown. We drank hard in those days. Abel had a crush on a bartender who worked at The Chief. Her name was Katie, but Katie had a boyfriend named Bardell. About once a month or so, when we were there having beers, Abel and Bardell would go outside and fight for a few minutes—rolling around on the ground and throwing a few weak punches at each other. There was never much danger of anyone getting hurt. After a bit, we’d go back in and have some more drinks. Bardell would leave and Abel would resume hitting on Katie.

Once, playing in Pocatello, we scored a great try together. I made a break down the sideline and dished off to Abel inside just as I got tackled. I got back in the play and he passed back to me just as he got tackled. We repeated that two more times. But then I was over and touched it down. It was crazy how it went down. We always told that story. Over and over again.

Whenever Abel had a date, he would joke about making his ‘pantydropper chicken’. That was his go-to dish.

He was a good guy. Troubled. Damaged, as we all are. But always a good man. Abel drank hard—and never really learned how to quit. It was a problem.

Onah’s sister died in Holland. S&O could not go to the funeral because of the disease. The cremation was today. Very sad. Both Sjoerd and Onah have buried a lot of family these past few years.

A couple or final random thoughts. Little Aneeka has to go to the office with Naazneen in Namibia because school is out—so there is a cute picture of her sleeping on the floor at the office. And, a co-worker (former) sent me a picture of her dogs riding in the car. Everyone knows how I feel about dogs and so they send me pictures. The black dog is cookie and she is sweet as can be.

No other news of note.

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