As I prepare to start Tuesday here at home, there are several things that I want to take care of. First of all, I want to walk this morning for exercise. I’m going to try and get back into shape as safely as possible. I’m going to browse for some new comfortable walking shoes later today. I don’t have a lot to spend, but I do want to take care of my feet.
I am not working today because I’m fighting the system to get approval for short-term disability. If I go back to work now, I’ll look be surrendering my chances to qualify for short-term disability unless I am hospitalized again. I definitely don’t want that. Therefore, I’m not returning to work this week as I go through o all of my follow-up medical appointments. I’ll submit all the paperwork after those visits and hope for the best.
I don’t miss work yet. I’m not sure when I will, honestly. I just know that I do need time to recover from all that I’ve gone through recently. I also know that work stress doesn’t help at all.
I decided against shopping for shoes today because that would violate my deliberate plan to avoid crowds of people. I can always order some shoes online and return them if they don’t work out for me. I just want some comfortable hiking shoes so I can start exercising again.
One last thing that is sort of related involves our new method for getting groceries. Placing an order and then picking things up curbside at the store is working out better than planned because it makes us plan more deliberately for what we need rather than just run into the store without a clue. Definitely a win for us.
Every day, we read more about how the glorification if ignorance, in fact, pride in ignorance, is killing us. The refusal to acknowledge that we are still in the midst of a pandemic seems an alien idea to so many people. I fine it impossible how leaders and everyday people can simply ignore the facts and try to pretend that nothing is going on. They want to believe that the pandemic is over, and that everything can go back to normal. The tragic mistake is that this pandemic is far from over. In some frantic rush to “reopen” everything, elected leaders, mostly republiKKKans, have thrown public health, scientific data, and common sense out of the window. Even the proven preventative measures of social distancing and wearing a mask are now seen as political issues rather than public health issues. The number of COVID cases continues to rise, especially in the more socially and politically conservative areas of the nation, but there is no alarm among those people. In fact, they will grab their guns (as if a gun will protect them from the virus) and demand that their “rights” supersede those of everyone else. They feel that wearing a mask is an affront to their liberty, when in fact, it is a proven means of protecting their lives, and the lives of those around them. Every time that Hal and I go to the grocery store, we are amazed at how many people simply do not wear masks at all. Especially disturbing are the parents who refuse to wear masks and also do not have their children wear them. As an adult, the parent has the “right” to gamble with their own health, but these people are willing to play with the children’s health as well. There is a total lack of leadership in this country as the #DumbShitOrangeNazi prepares to hold more of his Nazi rallies, blatantly ignoring the advice of public health experts, but at the same time, forcing his sycophantic followers to sign away their own rights to legal recourse should they contract COVID-19 as a result of attending these rallies and inhaling the aroma of hate and ignorance. Public health experts try to alert us that this pandemic is only in its early phase right now, but too many people simply don’t want to listen. As a result, the predicted of fatalities continues to rise. In other countries where science is the leading factor, rather than succumbing to ignorance, there is real progress in reducing the pandemic among their populations. Sadly, we are ruled by people who worship ignorance, and it is killing us.
Life has gotten out of control here over the last two weeks, and I have been struggling to find a way to get things back under control. Thankfully, these problems aren’t related to the COVID-19 pandemic, both Hal (person) and I are well. OK, not completely true for Hal since he is undergoing some extensive dental work, but that wasn’t totally unexpected.
Hal has been understandably cranky at times as he waits for new dentures to be fitted because he isn’t able to eat solid food and I’m making anything and everything that he thinks he can comfortably eat with extracted teeth and a sore mouth. Hopefully this will all be over with in a week, two weeks at the most. This must be awful for him, and I want everything else to be as perfect as possible for him.
This whole situation has worn me out. My yoga has lapsed, and I feel terrible about that. I am working several projects on the job, so I’m busier than normal there, but there aren’t enough hours in the day right now to get everything done and still have enough time to rest. The holiday weekend couldn’t have come at a better time for me, I have tried to deliberately detach myself from the distractions, my success rate is almost 50% I suppose.
We did get an air fryer this weekend, something we’ve wanted for awhile and now we have the room in our kitchen for it.
Because the air fryer made by the Instant Pot company, it should be very high quality and last for a long time.
Monday is dreary and cool. Exactly the type of day that matches staying at home. Only a trip to the grocery store will get me out today. My sinuses are giving me fits again today, with a severe headache. Hal (person) is resting and still recovering from dental surgery last Friday. I want to rest as much as possible today and try to start a productive short week tomorrow.
After writing my last post about Irresponsible Behavior, I began thinking about other things that have caused me concern recently related to the pandemic. By far, the thing I have seen that upsets and bothers me the most is parents out in public, not wearing a mask while having their kids with them, and the kids also aren’t wearing masks!
I don’t have children, so keep that in mind as you read on. I can’t understand how a parent, or in a few cases, an expectant mother, can willingly expose their children to this pandemic without any concern at all.
The parent, as an adult, has the right to make stupid decisions, but their children depend on them for guidance. I hope that none of the people I’ve seen contracts COVID-19, especially the children.
Hal and I decided to grab dinner last night from the drive-thru at one of our favorite restaurants. We knew that the restaurant wasn’t open, but their drive-thru made it possible for us to grab dinner and bring it home. This is one of the repercussions of the pandemic. The important thing is to stay safe and to not put anyone else at unnecessary risk.
The line at the restaurant for the drive-thru was unbelievable. There must have been 20 cars in line ahead of us. We relaxed and eventually ordered, got our food, and then drove home. Our experience wasn’t bad at all, but we saw something that was rather disturbing while we were there.
Apparently, today marks the irresponsible attempt to reopen businesses other than drive-thru or delivery. Next to the restaurant we were waiting at was another restaurant where people were crowded at outside tables. Social distancing was obviously not being practiced, and neither was the wearing of masks except for the restaurant staff. The relaxation of rules states that outdoor dining is allowed. I personally don’t know what the capacity percentage or protective mask rules are
Honestly, seeing those people made me nervous. Were any of them carriers of COVID-19? Would someone contract the disease by being in a large unprotected group? While Hal and I take every precaution to limit contact to protect ourselves and people we have to interact with, such as the drive-thru workers, or the employees at the grocery store and pharmacy. What about the restaurant staff who had to interact with the people ignoring rules and protection?
I can’t see anything that justifies relaxing the rules so quickly while the number of cases and deaths are still rising. I see nothing to celebrate now. The celebration comes when we finally have the pandemic under control, and not before. It is irresponsible to treat some political stunt like “reopening” prematurely as something worth celebrating.
Everyone misses what we all took for granted before the pandemic, but we cannot wish reality away because it doesn’t fit with our desire for convenience. The experts are trying to warn us about this, but political pressure is driving the decision when science should be guiding us. I am afraid that these irresponsible actions will produce more cases and deaths, and will just prolong the pandemic.
It sounds strange, but in the midst of all the chaos and turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, I seem to be closer than ever to my own Private Idaho of Inner Peace. For whatever reason, things are falling into place with my life. There are still struggles, there always will be, but they no longer seem as insurmountable as they used to.
We moved on the first of April and have settled into our new place. As quiet as the last apartment was, this one puts it to shame. We are basically in the country in a medium size apartment complex, but without a major airport within 10 miles like the last place. Planes flew over all day and into the evening until 2300 or so each night. I don’t remember seeing vapor trails here in the sky since we arrived.
My sinuses acted up immediately after we arrived here. There were several days when I began to think that we must have moved to the worst place in the world for my sinus problems. But after starting Yoga on a daily basis, I have gotten better rather quickly, and I am sleeping better at night as well. I cannot describe how much better I feel.
Hal and I have not had any problems with the new neighbors. Everyone here is in the same situation as us with regards to the world situation, and that gives us all common ground to stand on.
We will save money by living here. I am relaxing with the knowledge that I can pay things off without as much stress every pay period. Things got too damned expensive at the last apartment, we just couldn’t stay there.
So there you have it. My personal story although a brief one, about how I have found my own Private Idaho and Inner Peace.
I found myself thinking about the long-term affects of the Coronavirus pandemic. My mind wandered back to a classic sci-fi film from the 1930s called “Thins To Come”, a British film about how a tragedy causes both pain and progress.
What will the long-term affects of social distancing be? This is a question that we will all have to consider and answer, both for ourselves and society, in the near future. Will we attempt to return to the same environment that existed immediately before the pandemic struck?
I suspect that our behavior will modify itself quite visibly. I can easily see the adoption of wearing fade masks as a widespread result of this pandemic. I remember seeing pictures of people from Japan wearing face masks in years past, and thinking that it must be something in their culture that made wearing masks acceptable. The people seemed so crowded together that common sense would dictate a measure of self-isolation, even as small as wearing a mask.
I remember reading that the Japanese were also averse to body contact with strangers. The story I remember was about the common practice of handing someone a business card. In America, we just pull the card from our wallet and hand it to another person. The story I read stated quite clearly that in Japan, the proper way to give a business card was to remove it from a wallet or more preferably a card case, and then set it on a table in front of the person and then withdraw your hand.
I suppose that theoretically this practice allowed the card to lose some of your “essence” so it would be cleaner when the recipient chose to pick it up. A small act of social distancing that I can see happening here, even though it will seem rude at first to ask the person to place their card on the table so we can then pick it up ourself.
Handshakes will probably become less common in the future because it will produce the impression that the instigator if the handshake attempt isn’t that concerned with my health, or their own. I don’t see the elbow bump being the answer. Personally, I prefer the simple Vulcan hand gestures from Star Trek.
I find it virtually impossible to imagine going to dinner in a crowded restaurant, or sitting in a movie theater full of strangers after this pandemic ends. I don’t mean to sound like an alarmist, but these things will affect my own personal behavior going forward.
The latest concern is for our food supplies. I believe that everyone will demand more stringent inspections and much better working conditions in our food preparation facilities. A food shortage will definitely cause long-lasting social effects on society. Will we consume less meat in the future? I can very easily see a short-term decrease in meat consumption as a result of both shortages and the apparent lack of quality control and concern for the workers in those facilities.
On the “bright” side, I see more people working remotely in the future as well as less crowded commutes for those who must return to traditional workplaces and offices. Technology will continue to allow for more virtual meetings and less business travel. Again, some of these changes will be gradual, but they will happen more quickly due to the pandemic.
My image for today sums up how I try to approach life, especially in difficult times like these. I try to remember how lucky I am to be accustomed to working from home after years of doing so while everyone else is struggling to make the adjustment, or worse yet, is out of work due to the Coronavirus situation. I feel for those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own because I fear that the capitalist owners of those businesses will land on their own feet, but will let their employees go with no concern at all.
I try to remember to be thankful for Hal (person) and The Stooges because they are the family that I have. I would not want anyone else to share my life with, honestly. It took far too many years to find Hal and then The Stooges, so there is no way I am ever letting go of them.
I try to remember to be thankful for all the little things in life each day. Yesterday at the new pharmacy, they refilled one of my prescriptions and told me that they had found a coupon and applied it to the cost, so it came out to $0.00 and I was stunned. That was something that they did not have to do, but it was appreciated and I will try to play that favor forward to someone in the near future. I believe that far too often we get so caught up in our own problems that we forget to think of others. It feels good to do something nice for someone else.
I try to remember to get some exercise in each day after all the sitting around at work on the computer. Taking a walk around the new neighborhood, even with social distancing, is a great way to get some exercise and to get more familiar with where we now live. We have met some of the neighbors, from 6 feet away or greater naturally, but it still is nice to find new friends.
I try to remember to write something each day. Obviously, there are days when this is easier than others. One of the joys and frustrations of writing is overcoming writers block and seeing a post take shape on the screen in front of me. I feel so much more at ease when I write.
And last of all, I try to remember that when I write, I should be grateful for those of you who read these posts. They ramble on incoherently most of the time, but hopefully you enjoy the ride.
Moving is never easy, no matter how many times you’ve moved, things always go wrong. Always the little things like where did I put that thing I want to find right away? Hal and I have been chopping our way through the jungle of boxes since Thursday and the place is really looking good now. At least we can say that about the rooms we’ve focused our attention on.
The next battle will be the closest. Always overlooked, but we don’t want to put boxes in there and never see them again until our next move, whenever that will be. We are going to sift through every box and every cable. Everything will either have a home with us, or it will have a home in the dumpster. There’s no middle ground or compromise anymore.
We love the new place, but it takes some getting used to. The one unpleasant constant is the fucked-up situation in the world right now. It’s difficult to strictly observe the “keep your ass at home” policy when we have to stock the pantry and the refrigerator after the move. We do have a great store not too far from here, but the same old problems persist. “Who in the ever loving FUCK bought all the GODDAMN toilet paper?” Luckily, Hal and I each bought our regular bi-monthly package of 20 rolls almost a month ago before the TP mysteriously vanished.
Hal and also bought matching neck gaiters from a local sporting good store to comply with the any mask is better than none requirement from the CDC. Even those items are becoming scarce now. I ordered a few more, but it will be nearly a month before they arrive. Strangely, I won’t be surprised if people continue wearing them for a long time.
Breathing through a gaiter definitely takes some getting used to. We’re washing them every day to keep them as clean as possible. We wear these to the grocery store, we’ll, at least when we’re inside.
Another item I purchased before the move was cleaning supplies from BlueLand.
I like the idea that these don’t contain any harsh chemicals and that the refill tablets mixed with water save waste by reusing the bottle as well. The hand soap works very well and the multi-purpose cleaner is outstanding. The refill tablets are only $2 and that’s much cheaper than buying a new bottle of the harsh chemicals.
The last several days have been exhausting and exciting at the same time. As things get more organized and under control, I hope to be writing more.
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
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.”
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
Nearly two in three do not have paid sick leave.
More than one in three do not have paid sick leave.
Healthcare and social assistance
Nearly one in six do not have paid sick leave.
Source: Census Bureau
Access to paid sick leave
No health insurance coverage
Maids and housekeeping cleaners
Nearly one in three
More than one in four
Waiters and waitresses
More than one in five
Nearly one in six
Nearly one in seven
With health insurance coverage
No paid sick leave requirement Large companies with 500 or more employees
Paid sick leave required Companies with 50 to
May be exempt from paid sick leave Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees
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
Ex: CVS, Walgreens
Ex: Shell, Exxon
Child day care
Commercial banks and credit unions Ex: Chase, Citibank
Ex: Giant, Safeway
General merchandise Ex: Target, Walmart
Large companies with 500 or more employees
Companies with 50 to 499 employeees
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees
More than one in 10
156K 1.3M workers