Monday, April 6, 2020

Losing Track of Time


It seems like I was just here posting, but I look at my calendar and it's been a week. Idaho currently has 1,170 confirmed cases of Covid-19. That number is just an illusion. We (our country) still don't have enough test kits, and we are still only testing people that check all the boxes as far as symptoms go. If someone dies of Covid-19 and they were never tested, they still do not get tested. Not tested means not reported. There's no comfort in that number. We know it's far worse than what is reported.

New York has 131,916 cases and 8,898 deaths now! It's terrifying.

Mostly I try not to dwell on our situation and how unprepared we are as a country. Being at home we have lost all track of time. Weekends do not feel like weekends, and weekdays do not feel like weekdays, despite the fact that we are all working or studying from home.

Spring has arrived and that is something to smile about. It's been rainy and gloomy, but the light is changing, and it's starting to green up outside. I love Spring.



The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that people wear homemade cloth masks when they have to leave their houses for essential supplies. This is so that people who have the disease and don't exhibit symptoms and/or don't know they are infected cannot infect others. It doesn't protect the person wearing the mask from catching the virus, but it is a good reminder not to touch your face.

I made masks like this for my family, and I'm continuing to make more for others until I run out of elastic and fusible interfacing.

Wearing an N95 mask can protect you from catching the virus they are in short supply and must only be used by health care workers and first responders. There isn't enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers and it's ugly.

Working at home is weird. After the first day I really struggled to stay focused. Today was better, but it's so isolating. I'm thankful for the home gym we set up in our basement last year, because sometimes I need to just get up and walk on the treadmill. It's also nice to be able to start a load of laundry and move it when it's ready for the dryer when I need a break from sitting. Staying up on the little chores like that is easy when you're working at home.

When we aren't working on work, we try to make a little progress on any one of our million projects we have going on at any given time. Whenever we can be outside, it's much easier to put the virus out of our minds.


Here is my dry creek bed. It was looking so much nicer in August, before we had to pull a large section up in order to dig a trench to run a propane line. Our oil furnace died so we took the opportunity to switch to a propane furnace. It was a lot of work, but we don't have the diesel smell when our heater is running now, and we're actually spending half of what we used to spend on heating because our new furnace is a high efficiency furnace and not 30 years old like the last one.

We got it all put back together before the snow flew, and then we had a crisis with our well at Christmas and had to dig another trench through the same general area. We were digging for a week solid starting Christmas Day. It was horrible, miserable, work. Over spring break we got that trench mostly filled in, and now we're starting to put it all back together again. If we get some nice weather this week, I should be able to right everything and move onto newer projects.


I'm very excited about this project that Peanut Head has been working on. These are new roosts for our chickens.


The best part is the tray that collects the droppings. It slides out in order for me to empty it. It will save me so much time when I clean the coop. 


Sadly our flock is down from 13 to two hens and one rooster. We lost five hens to a predator last spring when we were letting them free range. We even lost two babies. Then several weeks ago we lost another four hens to a predator, again when they were free ranging. Needless to say we aren't letting them free range anymore unless we are outside with them. We get one egg every other day now. Bad timing.

We recently bought three Rhode Island Reds and three Sapphire Gem chicks, but one of the Sapphire Gems died. 😥 We've also ordered six Brahmas that we are hoping to get this month. I love the Brahmas because they are big and they have hairy feet. Or maybe that's feathery feet. It will be fall before any of the new hens start laying.


We got out for a hike on Friday when the weather was just barely decent. We went to Menan Buttes and it was nice. It was a little over four miles with a lot of vertical incline and a lot of rocky terrain.


My family kicked my trash and I was sore the following day. Honestly, we haven't been hiking together since Zoe was a baby. It was a nice afternoon.


Baney was exhausted too. He's snoozing right behind me.


Here's a better picture. I love his sweet little crossy legs. His crossy legs are what made me fall in love with him. He's such a Delicate Flower.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The New Normal


Only businesses which provide essential services are allowed to remain open. That includes grocery stores, trucking companies, doctors and hospitals, etc. Hair and nail salons are, of course, not considered essential. That means Peanut Head wasn't able to get his monthly haircut at Great Clips, and as his hair grows out, he tends to look a little like a Q-tip. Thus, I was forced to start a little side hustle by giving Peanut Head the first hair cut at #CoronaCuts over the weekend. He will likely be my only customer as the girls aren't that desperate.

Today was my first day working at home. We expect to be under this Stay at Home order through the end of April, so this is going to be our new normal. Idaho currently has 423 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

I sat down at my desk at 8:00 a.m. this morning and got to work. I was actually pretty productive, which was a pleasant surprise. This was only day one though.

The girls were also busy with school and Peanut Head was working in his temporary office in the basement. When he turned to go downstairs this morning I said "Have a nice day at work, Honey." He thinks I'm whackadoodle.

I was happy to see that our internet supported the four of us working throughout the day, although only one of us at a time participated in video meetings.

I haven't been away from home since the middle of last week when I couldn't find flour anywhere, and my friend, John, surprised me with a 25 pound bag of flour. I have never had a 25 pound bag of flour before, and you can't just store it on a shelf.


I ended up dividing it into five one gallon freezer bags. I'm thankful for the flour.

Modeling by scientists tells us that the worst is yet to come. Two weeks from now New York will be at its peak of infections, which is insane because today they have 67,325 confirmed cases and 1,342 deaths. Governor Cuomo implored any available health professions to please come to New York to help. It gave me goosebumps.

The United States has 163,932 confirmed cases and 3,169 deaths. Worldwide there are 790,111 confirmed cases, and 37,896 deaths. It should be noted that we don't necessarily trust the numbers coming out of certain countries. China, for example.

It may sound corny, but we are living through history right now.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Waiting for Spring and Freedom


I feel like I'm in a dystopian novel. Idaho currently has 189 confirmed cases of Covid-19. More than double what we had two days ago. New York has 38,977 cases, and the United States as a whole has 85,476 cases. We have now surpassed China and Italy for the number of infections.  

Yesterday I went into town to get groceries, since I was going I planned to pick up more landscaping bricks at Home Depot since I have time on my hands this week. Well, one of the entrances was blocked off and they were controlling how many people could be in the store at a time. Their magic number was 100. While waiting to get in, customers were to stand the required six feet apart. X marks the spot.

While checking out, the cashier warned me that Winco was doing the same thing, except she thought their magic number was 200.


Here's Winco. I power walked to the entrance to claim my spot in line, but I still had to wait about ten minutes to get in on a Wednesday in the middle of the day. 

I wanted to get a bag of flour to keep my food storage stocked up, but there was zero flour. Also, no chicken noodle soup, ice cream, or decent hot dogs. I didn't need the ice cream anyway. I was just checking for a friend. Riiiight.

While I was in the store, I got a notification on my phone that Governor Little finally ordered a 21-day shelter in place. He took too ding dang long on that call, in my opinion.

Upon seeing the shortages, and then getting that notification, I think I panicked a little. I told the fam when I got home that we weren't going grocery shopping again for two weeks because I had just spent two weeks worth of budgeted grocery money in one trip.


Fred Meyer didn't have any flour either and now I know that there is a national shortage. I think it's because everyone is making cookies during quarantine. I know that I've been eating more than usual while on lockdown. I think it's the anxiety.


We're trying to be careful about not letting food go to waste. Here is Peanut Head making tortillas and quesadillas with leftover ingredients from tacos and other assorted items. They were pretty good.


Stinkerbell finally decided to do her chores. She either doesn't do her chores at all, which makes me lose my mind, or she does do them and goes a little overboard. I snapped this picture after she had moved all the family room furniture into the kitchen so she could vacuum. Then she dusted each piece with precision and returned them to their rightful place. Here she has just dumped everything out of the drawer of that side table so she can dust each item inside the drawer as well as the table itself. Items which she felt did not belong in the drawer, she deposited on my bed for me to figure out what to do with. She doesn't know this, but I just put it all back in the drawer when she wasn't looking. She didn't get her passive aggressive behavior from her Daddy, that's for sure.

My plan is to stay home and not go back to town until we desperately need something. Monday Peanut Head and I start telecommuting and the girls start online school. That's going to be interesting, for sure. Until next time, stay safe.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Aimless


This not knowing is making me crazy. How do you plan when there's so much uncertainty? As of this moment, Idaho has 81 confirmed cases of Covid-19. We are definitely seeing the exponential increase we were warned about.

This morning Peanut Head left to put in some time in the lab. I'm inside today because the weather is windy and cold, and I've realized that time passes a lot slower when I'm stuck inside. It's not like I don't have things I can be doing. What must this be like for all the people trapped inside in cities? I can't even imagine. New York is getting hammered right now. They have over 25,000 cases of the virus. We have a friend who lives in Brooklyn and I'm scared for her.

Being outside helps, although I'm always thinking about the virus and everyone and everything affected by it.

One of the outside projects which I've been working on is to put down these landscaping bricks for a mowing strip in the front yard. 


I love this kind of work, and I can happily work at it all day long, leaving the fam to eat cereal for dinner.


Peanut Head has projects of his own, and he just completed these Lincoln Log planting beds. I'm going to move my strawberries into these new beds. He has plans to make some type of netting cage to keep the birds from eating all my berries--like those turkeys you see eyeing it already!

That's what's going on with us. Stay safe out there.



Saturday, March 21, 2020

Social Distancing and Keeping Busy



I'm done with the Pandemic post titles. They're dumb. I'll just try to find something appropriate for each day I post.

Idaho is currently reporting 43 cases of Covid-19. I say "currently reporting" because those are the cases that have been tested and came out positive. We know that not all cases are being tested, and it has been difficult to even get a test, so that's a squishy number. Two days ago when I posted we had 11 cases, but later that day we were already up to 23. I didn't bother to update my post because why? We know the number is going up.

Social distancing is the new normal. Everybody is doing it. We could be contagious and not even know we are infected, so we have to go about our daily lives as if we are infected.

We moved Zoë out of her college dorm today. Last week Idaho State started their spring break a week early and they are preparing to move classes online for the remainder of the semester. Zoë is very sad and I can't blame her. She was looking forward to these last couple months with her friends and being on campus with all the freedom and her friends.


Even though it's spring break, both girls rearranged and cleaned their rooms in order to set up their online school study nooks. Of course Stinky's is complete with a bed for Dr. Lucinda Gooseberry.


Zoë made room for her iPad on her dresser so she can stream Netflix when she's taking notes. I think she's in for a big surprise when our crappy internet bogs down with everyone on it. For the most part Peanut Head and I will still be working at work, but we are prepared to work from home when we can.

Our snow has mostly melted and it's been relatively nice outside, so Peanut Head and I are outside working as much as we can. We got smart and started washing our rocks with the cement mixer and it is so much faster.


We have an endless supply of rocks at this place and I've been using them as much as possible in our landscaping. I'll post some pictures once things start turning green and we get some flowers. My tulips are just now starting to poke through the ground.


Baney is not happy about the nicer weather because he's an inside dog. He's making the best of it by sunbathing next to the last of the melting snow.


I just started on this landscaping project after dinner tonight. I made pretty good progress, but the light was pretty bad so I don't have a picture besides this one I snapped right after I started. I'm sure I'll be posting that sometime this week.

We've also been working on the trim in our master bedroom, and I'm hoping to be able to cross that project off my list soon and take pictures for a post. It's been a slow project. Crossing my fingers that you will be seeing that soon.

Be safe out there, and wash your hands.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Pandemic Entry #3


Hello again. I struggled with how to title these posts. My brain kept telling me to start out with "Captain's Log, Star Date blah, blah, blah," but I don't really know how star dates work so I would just be making it up, and I want this to be accurate. I'm sure that Peanut Head could have hooked me up with a proper star date, but so far I've been keeping these posts on the down low. My experience is just that, my experience. I'm doing this as a diary of sorts, so I don't forget how it all went down. I just hope that looking back I can laugh at how we all got through the toilet paper shortage of 2020. Please let me be able to look back and laugh.

As of this moment, Idaho has 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Community spread of COVID-19 has also been confirmed in one of those cases. That means the source of the infection is unknown and cannot be traced back to the source. I think this is where we're supposed to say "Sh*t's about to get real."

We have been following the website nCoV2019.liv for up-to-date stats on the virus. It's a cool website for nerds to geek out on. Well, as cool as a website about a pandemic can be.

Also in the news, gas prices fell below $2 a gallon in 12 states. Too bad nobody is going anywhere so they can't take advantage of it.

I'm worried about money. Everyone is supposed to stay home so we slow the spread of the virus and keep from overloading the hospitals. We're trying to flatten the curve.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SlowTheSpread.png

Restaurants and bars are closed to dine in traffic and restricted to take out only. Will businesses survive this? Will we?

China is just now recovering, although that's relative. Today is the first day that they don't have a new infection. That's good news, right? They took drastic measures to quarantine their population in order to get to this point, but it took them several months.

I am officially on an early spring break as of this afternoon. Last night I cancelled my plane tickets to visit my friend, Smashley, in Knoxville. It makes me so sad that I won't get to see her.

I go back to work on March 30, although that is subject to change. Exponential growth is no joke.

I've been obsessed with the news. I don't remember feeling like this since 9/11. As soon as I hit publish on this, I'm going to make myself a big To Do List and a schedule to stay busy and get some things done around here.

I'm also going to try to enjoy my family. If only they'd stop bickering . . . everyone's nerves are frayed. I wish I had a 1,000 piece puzzle for us to work on. No puzzles in the house though. There's still the list. I'm off to tackle that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Pandemic Entry #2

It's been two days since my last post. Idaho now has nine confirmed cases of Covid-19. Four more than Sunday.

We had school yesterday, Monday, although our attendance was way down. Many parents chose to keep their children home. I made Annie go. Last night the decision was made to close school beginning Wednesday. Parents were urged to keep their students at home today, but schools would be open to give them time to arrange child care. At the elementary school where my office is, there were only 14 students in attendance. The silence was palpable.

Teachers are working through Thursday to get their classes online. The plan is to return after spring break on March 30th, but if that is not possible we will hit the ground running with online school. Most likely. The situation is pretty fluid and flexibility is key.

Outside it's oddly quiet. I actually heard a small plane from my office today, and it was out of place. Eery.

My sister-in-law lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and she was sent home from work yesterday because six counties were told to shelter in place for the next three weeks. She will be alone in her little cottage and I worry about her. I am thankful that we don't live in a densely populated area.

Clark and I are both still at work, although his employer is strongly encouraging people to work from home. They are to use their Virtual Private Network (VPN) dongles to work remotely. We're not sure if dongle is the correct term, but it sure is a cool word, isn't it? Today the VPN crashed because so many people were on it. I think internet is going to be a big issue around the globe. I don't think we are equipped.

I worry about money. Not just for ourselves. I worry about the people who cannot work from home and are already struggling. I can't imagine how we are going to get through this as a country and a planet. I think we will be forever changed after all is said and done. I only hope it's for the better.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Pandemic Entry #1


I've been very sporadic with posting on this blog for the past several years, but the state of the world right now and the feeling that this is only the beginning, has prompted me to get on here to start documenting. I feel that if I don't, I won't be able to remember the sequence or the speed of events about to unfold. No one knows how long it will be before things are back to normal.

The Covid-19 virus is spreading around the world. It started in Wuhan, China in December 2019. We had our first confirmed case in Idaho two days ago, March 13, 2020. We stand at five today. Our city is grappling with the decision about whether or not to close schools. They are worried about people who still have to work but have no childcare. Also, there are students who are food insecure and can only count on regular meals at school. It's a lot of responsibility and I'm glad I don't have to make those decisions.

Zoe came home from college for spring break a week early. Idaho State University sent students home on Friday urging them not to return. Classes for the remainder of the year are online. The extra week of spring break is to give professors time to get their classes online and up and running. My heart goes out to teachers in classrooms. An already difficult job has become even more difficult.

After we picked Zoe up from ISU Friday evening, we stopped by the grocery store so I could pick up a roast for Sunday evening. I was thinking that since my whole family would be together we could have a nice dinner on Sunday. How naive I was.

We arrived at the store at 10:40 p.m. and an employee greeted us at the door and warned us that we had 20 minutes to get what we needed and be in a checkout line. The produce section was decimated. I was hoping for a bunch of bananas. Nope. No roasts either. No canned chicken noodle soup (in case one of us gets sick). I didn't need much, but most of what I wanted they did not have. Somehow we still ended up spending $85. It was surreal. I felt like I was in a movie, watching crazy people shopping, overflowing carts deserted at the checkout stands. People are losing their minds.

Annika is worried about her summer plans with Civil Air Patrol. She has been accepted into a Flight Academy and has been offered a scholarship. We don't know if that will still be happening. She is also waiting to hear if she has been accepted into the Summer Seminar at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Will that even still happen? Then there is Encampment. She has an important role in putting that on and has been planning and preparing for it all school year.

I have plans to visit a friend in Knoxville, Tennessee over spring break. I'm sure that is going to have to be postponed.

We are not alone. Everyone is affected by this. My hope is that we come through it unscathed and that we can all still look ourselves in the mirror without looking away. I want to remember to be kind. We are about to be tested.