So Long , March 2020, And Good Riddance

March is almost over -FINALLY! I can’t recall a worse month in my 56 years. September 2001 used to be the benchmark, but even that tragedy didn’t directly affect the entire nation like the Coronavirus has. Almost 75% of Americans are under some sort of stay-at-home restrictions right now, but we cannot bring ourselves to call it a quarantine.

It seems like each day in March became worse than the day before. Sadly, we appear to be on this awful downward slope wearing blindfolds because no one knows for sure how much longer this will last. We just hold on because we have no choice.

We have also witnessed the worst lack of leadership in our history during March. The Dumbshit Orange Nazi shows his incompetence and complete corruption and narcissism every day. Having him in charge will cost us so many more lives than otherwise. And yet, there are still sheep who willingly follow this Dumbshit Orange Nazi to their own doom.

I desperately want April to be better, but there’s no evidence that points in that direction yet. Even after we overcome the Coronavirus, and we will overcome it, we’ll still have the problems caused by the Dumbshit Orange Nazi to correct. If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that stupid people never admit they were wrong. The stupid people will follow the Dumbshit Orange Nazi right over the cliff. It is up to the rest of us to outlast these idiots and restore normalcy as soon as possible.

Let’s hope that April is the time when we start to overcome the Coronavirus pandemic, so we can then address the FUCKING STUPID pandemic caused by the Dumbshit Orange Nazi and his sycophant followers.

Achieving The Impossible

I was browsing through my newsfeed this morning when I saw a story about how the projected November election between Biden and trump has become a statistical tie. Let that sink in for a minute. With all of the disastrous things the Dumbshit Orange Nazi has done, the Democrats can’t manage to find a candidate that can beat this loser.

I blame the corporate Democrats who are determined to give us a repeat of 2016, which can best be compared to the South Park episode about an election between a giant douche and a turd sandwich. The American Nazi Party, or as they prefer to be called, republiKKKans, will nominate their Cheeto Mussolini again and the Democrats force us to settle for a bland, vanilla, weak ass loser like Biden.

With this giant douche vs turd sandwich choice we are facing, the only certain outcome is that we will be fucked once again.

Needing A Mental Health Day

I could really use a Mental Health Day right about now. The constant din and noise from the outside world is starting to wear me down. I haven’t had a day off in months because I want time on the books for our upcoming move that is supposed to happen early in April. I remain optimistic, but the chances seem to be growing that we will not be able to move at the appointed time due to the Coronavirus situation. If we had more flexibility, we would have arranged to move early, but we don’t have that luxury.

In the meantime, I just keep going through the daily grind, over and over, and feeling more exhausted at the end of each day. While I am not the most optimistic person in the world, I keep hoping for the best. I am a realist which, I know, is another word widely associated with pessimism, and I try to do the best I can. Some days that is much easier than others.

I don’t know what I would do if I took a Mental Health Day right now. The weather is miserable and going outside is not an option because of that. We are not under any “stay at home” quarantine orders here……..yet. That is why I am concerned about our move next week. Things could change at any moment.

Everything seems to be moving in slow motion this morning. The only thing missing is a migraine, and I don’t want one of those to appear to harass me today. I am amazed that I have made it through until lunchtime without throwing in the proverbial towel and taking the rest of the day off. Staying busy does make the time go by much faster, although it does make me more sluggish as the day goes on.

And, at approximately 1330 in the afternoon, the migraine announces its arrival with several sledgehammer blows right behind my eyes that completely threw me for a loop. I have taken some Aleve but the bell is still ringing inside my skull and probably will be for a few hours at least. There is one more meeting that I have to get through before quitting time, so I should survive.

Cooking To Pass The Time

Sunday was the day when I finally stepped into the kitchen, determined to cook something that I hadn’t tried before. I prepared pork chops with asparagus and mushrooms and egg noodles in cream of mushroom sauce. Here is how I went about it.

First, I cut up some asparagus and set I aside. Then I opened a package of mushrooms to have them ready as well.

Next, I drained four center-cut pork chops and coated them with my seasoning, which consists of:

  1. 1/2 tbsp salt
  2. 1/2 tbsp pepper
  3. 1/2 tbsp rosemary
  4. 1/2 tbsp onion powder

The next step was to prepare the Instant Pot by coating the bottom with a thin layer of avocado oil (you can use olive oil if preferred). Then I started the Instant Pot and set it to “Sauté”.

Once the Instant Pot heated up, I put the four pork chops in and let them cook for two minutes on each side.

After the pork chops were finished with the “Sauté” setting, I turned the Instant Pot off to get things ready.

I put the asparagus over the pork chops, followed by the mushrooms. Then I put in a bag of egg noodles, followed by 4 cans of cream of condensed mushroom soup, and about 2-2 1/2 soup cans of water.

The beauty of the Instant Pot is that the egg noodles go in right out of the bag without cooking them first.
I set the Instant Pot to cook “Meat/Stew” for 20 minutes, closed and secured the lid, making sure that the pressure release was closed.

That was it. It takes the Instant Pot a few minutes to pressure up and then start the countdown timer. Once it completed, I waited about 12 minutes before releasing the pressure. The timer counts up after the cooking cycle completes. This is called “slow release”.

After bleeding off the remaining pressure by opening the release on top of the Instant Pot, I stirred the awesome meal before putting it into a serving/storage container.

Et voila, it was finished. It came out delicious. And the best part was very little cleanup afterward.

Disgraceful

A12 EZ RE the washington post . sunday, march 22, 2020 the coronavirus outbreak
New sick leave law doesn’t help workers who need it most
BY ALYSSA FOWERS AND SHELLY TAN
The Families First Coronavirus Emergency Response Act passed the Senate on March 18 and was signed into law by President Trump.
The “phase 2” bill was one of the first moves by Congress in reaction to the coronavirus out- break and aimed at extending sick leave to vulnerable U.S. workers, along with other finan- cial benefits.
Nearly a quarter of U.S. work- ers don’t have access to paid sick leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For many of these workers, like waiters and waitresses, the federally mandat- ed leave comes too late, as layoffs from social distancing measures have spiked.
But many parts of the retail industry — such as grocery stores, pharmacies and gas sta- tions — will likely remain open, declared “essential” by such cit- ies as Philadelphia that have instituted shelter-in-place poli- cies.
Workers at these businesses will come into contact with the most people, and if they don’t already have paid sick leave, the
new law is unlikely to help.
The law extends paid sick leave to workers diagnosed with or in quarantine for covid-19, the dis- ease caused by the novel corona- virus. However, the guarantee only applies to employers with more than 50 and fewer than 500 employees. Many essential in- dustries have few companies of
that size.
Only 12 percent of workers in
essential industries work for companies that will be guaran- teed coverage by the bill. The problem is particularly acute for general merchandise companies, such as Target and Walmart. According to the latest estimates from the Census Bureau, 98 per- cent of workers in the general merchandise industry work for a business that is too large to be eligible for paid sick leave under the new law.
Many banks and grocery stores also employ millions of workers that won’t be affected by the new law.
Paid sick leave is nearly univer- sal in other industrialized coun- tries: In a review of 22 countries with high standards of living, only the United States and Japan did not guarantee paid sick days for short-term illness.
Most essential workers are at companies too big or too small to gain sick leave
Each figure represents about 100,000 employees at essential businesses
who work closely with customers do not have access to hand sani- tizer and may not be able to wash their hands.
“You have to go across a very large building to wash your hands in the bathroom.” she said, “and if you get a customer service call, you have to go back. There is only so long a customer can wait.”
Although Home Depot has shortened hours to allow for deep cleaning, Lowe’s is still open to customers from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Lowe’s does not plan to change its hours. “People are nervous,” Alayna said.
If a worker does fall ill, sick leave is only part of the story. Another benefit in the new law is free coronavirus testing for all Americans, even if uninsured. When an uninsured worker needs care though, they’d likely still be on the hook.
Sixteen million workers did not have health insurance at the time of the 2018 American Com- munity Survey, according to the Census Bureau. That’s 10 percent of all workers. This coverage gap is a critical difference between the U.S. health-care system and that of other industrialized coun- tries like Canada, which guaran- tees care for all its citizens.
Ten percent of American work- ers are uninsured, but some pub- lic-facing occupations have much higher uninsurance rates.
Forty percent of uninsured workers are in occupations that involve serving the general pub- lic and close physical contact with others, according to the Occupational Information Net- work. For instance, more than 1.7 million sales workers and 600,000 health-care support workers are uninsured.
For workers who have already been laid off, the most important aid is likely to come in “phase 3” of the government’s coronavirus response. That’s the proposal that could send direct payments of $1,000 or more to all Ameri- cans regardless of employment status. Until that becomes law, unemployed workers are doing what they can to get by.
“I’m hoping I can make it through on food stamps and hoping the city government will do something to address rent,” said Chad, a waiter who spoke to The Washington Post about be- ing laid off. “If the worst happens …Ican’tgothereyet.Ihaveto take it as it comes.”
alyssa.fowers@washpost.com shelly.tan@washpost.com
Workers that interact with the most people often don’t have sick leave
Each figure represents about 100,000 workers
Many essential employees are also uninsured
Grocery and general merchandise businesses too large for workers to gain sick leave
No paid sick Paid sick May be exempt from leave requirement leave required paid leave
No access to paid sick leave
Food and accommodations
63%
Nearly two in three do not have paid sick leave.
Retail trade
36%
More than one in three do not have paid sick leave.
Healthcare and social assistance
15%
Nearly one in six do not have paid sick leave.
Source: Census Bureau
Access to paid sick leave
7.2M workers
6.6M workers
3.2M workers
No health insurance coverage
Maids and housekeeping cleaners
29%
Nearly one in three
Cooks
27%
More than one in four
Waiters and waitresses
22%
More than one in five
Cashiers
16%
Nearly one in six
Child-care workers
13%
Nearly one in seven
Nursing assistants
11%
With health insurance coverage
No paid sick leave requirement Large companies with 500 or more employees
Paid sick leave required Companies with 50 to
499 employeees
May be exempt from paid sick leave Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees
7.4M workers
1.3M workers
2.2M workers
Note: Includes employees at privately owned businesses in the following industries: gas stations, general merchandise stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, day care, dry cleaning and laundry services, commercial banks, and veterinary services.
Source: Census Bureau
The broad aim of the sick leave law was to make sure that work- ers infected with the virus would stay home without losing their income. This was especially im- portant for workers in fields with lots of contact with customers or at-risk individuals.
Nationwide, 16 percent of pri- vate industry workers did not have paid sick leave in 2018. That
figure was much higher for cer- tain vulnerable industries.
However, even employees with paid sick leave worry about their exposure risks from customers. Alayna, an assistant manager at Lowe’s Home Improvement who asked that her last name be withheld to protect her job, said that the hardware stores are busier than ever, but employees
4.3M workers
11.8M workers
18.4M workers
446K workers
634K workers
477K workers
532K workers
172K workers
1.1M workers
1.7M workers
1.7M workers
2.7M workers
1.1M workers
Pharmacies
Ex: CVS, Walgreens
Gas stations
Ex: Shell, Exxon
Child day care
Commercial banks and credit unions Ex: Chase, Citibank
Grocery stores
Ex: Giant, Safeway
General merchandise Ex: Target, Walmart
Large companies with 500 or more employees
477K workers
383K workers
156K workers
1.4M workers
2.1M workers
2.7M workers
Companies with 50 to 499 employeees
30K workers
122K workers
238K workers
452K workers
310K workers
12K workers
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees
157K workers
439K workers
578K workers
116K workers
396K workers
32K workers
More than one in 10
156K 1.3M workers

Sometimes

Writing isn’t always easy. There is nothing more disheartening than staring at a white screen, wondering why the words just won’t appear is if my magic. An idea that seemed so brilliant suddenly appears terrible and you want to start all over again. These are a few of the things that curse writers and bloggers each and every day. It seems to effortless to the outsider to just sit and throw some words together and call it a blog post. Trying to weave those words and ideas into a story is much more complicated and requires more attention and effort.

Another pitfall is repeating oneself. Original ideas are hard to come by, and even harder to capture and write about coherently. The fear of sounding just like everyone else is enough to stop some bloggers for good. There is an entire cottage industry dedicated to telling other people how to write. Most of the ideas are good, but they are not enough to get someone motivated without real-world examples to go along with them.

Sometimes the words just flow out of me and I am amazed at how quickly the screen fills up with words. These are the wonderful days, no matter what else is happening, or how I feel, the words flowing out of me bring me nothing but joy. Even if I am sad as I write, I rejoice in the action and the effort because it makes me feel alive.

Crisis Doesn’t Change Some Things

There is an old saying that difficult times bring out the best in people. I believe this is true in the general sense, but for some people, a crisis like we are facing makes no difference at all to them. My extended family is a shining example of the latter scenario.

For most of my life, I’ve known that my extended family on my Mom’s side are some rather unpleasant pieces of work. Long story, but Mom was orphaned as a child and wasn’t found by her older siblings until she was well into adulthood. The result is that there has never been a true familial bond. Mom was always the “outsider” and my Dad and myself were shunned as well.

You cannot miss what you never had. This is true in regards to a close relationship with my extended family. There is no surprise at all when I naively attempted to reach out to them last week to see if they were doin ok with the Coronavirus situation. Not surprisingly, I’ve had no response from any of them. I officially give up on them. They have no regard for, nor interest in me. I’m done trying to be the nice one. I don’t wish them I’ll, I simply just don’t care anymore.

This decision wasn’t arrived at in a hurry, or with any rush to judgement. I hoped that facing this common adversary called Coronavirus might enable us to finally connect and start to build some bridges over the chasms that have separated us for our entire lives. We know that each other exists, but that will remain the extent of our contact from this day forward.

I say all of this calmly and without emotion because there has never been a time to feel bad about the situation, at least in my life. I can’t miss what I never had.