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Day 33: Friday 4 Phase 1: First day off for Holiday

Today I had a rough start even without my usual early start for Nike working at home. I had an asthma attack at about 4AM. I had to get up and take my emergency inhalent. I forgot and breathed in deeply and held it in–mistake. I fell to my knees on purpose as I started to lose consciousness, but remember to quickly exhale. I did not want to crash into the hard floor and kitchen counters.

My cardiac doctor told me never to just breathe in but to breathe normally when taking my emergency inhalent. That was after I passed out a few years ago and got to enjoy multiple visits and near-endless tests to declare I am fine and stupid. Today I remembered I was doing it wrong as the world started tipping over.

Why stop there. I managed to have crushing leg cramps an hour later. Likely caused by previous events. I did not look into the sky and say, “Frogs next?” I managed to sleep once the pain and the ability to breathe all normalized.

I started up the laundry and then relaxed for a bit. It was a rough start, and I was not ready to really start anything complex. I made Mexican Fair Trade coffee. Nothing like the taste of border-crossing liberal Mexican coffee in the morning.

I worked on my science fiction writing and continued my Howard’s Lockdown story.

I did a bit of touch-up work on the Titanic model. I will be working on the smoke stacks and the lower decks on Saturday.

I then left for The Rock for pizza and a beer. They were not busy, but had very serious adherence to safety–I like that. I had not been back since the lockdown. I had to scan the barcode block to get to the menu. I ordered a house salad, pizza, and a red ale. The other bartender asked me where my newspaper was and my wife. I was writing on my Apple today and Susie was sleeping in I told him. It is funny to be remembered, he knew even my name. I used to bring in the New York Times.

I did notice that the staff chatted and ignored social distancing, and some times removed masks, but they took my safety very seriously.

I popped home bringing most of a large pizza back with me. I order a large pizza and have it for a day or so. Susie was up and had some pizza.

I went back to my normal chores. Dishes are done, laundry is in progress, and dinner was cheese, summer sausage (locally made), other meats (also locally made), and crackers. The pizza was late for lunch, so a lighter dinner.

I took Susie out on the street, and we saw the neighbors lighting mostly illegal fireworks. It is a tradition. We were the only ones with masks, and I kept Susie and myself more than six feet away from everyone. We are invited to the more explosive July 4th party with food. I told them we will come but will have to keep distances as we need to protect Susie and myself. They are happy to have us on Saturday.

So a hard start and a nice ending.

Despite reports that the death rate is lowering in the USA, more than six hundred Americans lost their fight with the virus. This witnessed by the health care workers.

I decided a Psalm was needed as we enter a weekend that will likely be full of anger: Psalm 23.

 

 

Day 32: Thursday 4 Phase 1: A Memory

For dinner today, I made pasta with pork chops. My mother told me the story that her mother used to make spaghetti with pork chops baked with pasta instead of meatballs or sausage. I made it before, and it is good, and so today I made Nadine’s Pork Chops Rigatoni. I cook the pasta and added Vodka sauce from a jar and then baked it all with pork chops that I first browned in a pan. I also drank a beer as Grandma drank a bit.

1985 Nadine

(A scan of a photo Grandma Nadine Bailey she sent me while I was in college, about 1987)

Yesterday I noticed that I still have the Marriott Hot Shoppe cookbook–five-six bucks for a used copy on Amazon delivered. There is a recipe for Bread Pudding that is exactly like the recipe that Grandma Wild loved. She asked me to make it for her when I was back from searching for a job in Washington, D.C. I will have to make this weekend. My sister would have me make two versions, Linda cannot eat raisins (someone convinced that they are like flies and she has never been able to eat them–don’t know who did that), so I would make one without raisins and one with.

Grandma Wild at church

(From one of the last times I saw Grandma Lee Wild in 2006)

This week food has brought back memories of cooking and Grandma’s. It is good sometimes to remember with food.

Work started as usual at about 6AM. Corwin was up this morning and had coffee made. We split a pot of coffee and then French Press after that. We are talking pretty fast by late morning!

I cleared the email and approvals and a few crises of the moment before getting a shower and cleaned up. I then did my first Zoom call at 8AM. I was triple booked. I did two of the meetings by leaving one early when they did not need my input.

After more email, Zoom meetings, messages, and a few more approvals, Corwin and I headed to the local Reedville Cafe. There I had halibut and chips, and Corwin had country fried steak, PNW comfort food! I noticed closer attention to masks and safety than last time. The customers appeared to take masks and cleaning more seriously this time. I felt safer.

I saw on a few suggestions that folks were binge-watching Foyle’s War from the BBC. I remember liking it, but I never had time for TV anymore. So I bought the first season from Apple and watched the first two episodes. It is really great and worth a watch if you like murder mysteries. These are set at the start of WW2 in Britain.

More than six-hundred, eighty Americans are reported to have died today from the virus. The infection rate continues to explode, but the New York Times is reporting that the death rate is stabilized or falling. As I suspected, they believe better treatments and the extreme lockdown for the elderly and immune system compromised people (no adventures for us) have prevented the death rate from again peeking. The first good news, I think, in a few weeks.

It is a favorite for me as I can sing this, and I found this newly produced version: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Vocal and Instrumental) – La Sierra University.

 

 

Day 31: Wednesday 4 Phase 1: Good numbers

Today started at 6ish with emails and Zoom meetings. Work was a bit confused as so many people are on vacation this week, and our project is in the middle of a restructuring and switching tracking tools. In other words, chaos. So I had some odd crises of the moment to resolve. I will likely have a day full of the same tomorrow before breaking for the holiday.

Mexican coffee, Fairtrade, for the start. I love the taste of boarder-crossing liberal coffee in the morning!

Oregon has strict anti-fireworks laws against mortars, rockets, roman candles, and putting on your own firework show. Also typical at this time is the breaking of all these laws and even some basic common sense thinking by my neighbors and well most of the neighborhood. Yes, explosions are going on starting just about sundown and will continue to about 1AM. I have not watched much tonight, but I suspect some are quite lovely. It is also worrying when a beautiful mortar explodes about ground-level! Those stars look better in the sky and not in our trees. It was damp today, and most of the week, so the chances of something unpleasant being started is unlikely by a stray shell.

Often my local street will be filled with people doing fireworks. I often take Susie out to see some of it. Usually, keeping her with some newly discovered neighbor girls that are too cool or not brave enough to light-off the show.

So starting about ten this morning, the explosions began.

I was called by the doctor’s office and asked to come in for some bloodwork—time to check my sugar levels again. So I agreed to give up my afternoon to see how I was doing. I put my Nike laptop in the car, just in case, and used my iPhone to follow the chaos.

I decided to try Panera Bread for lunch near the doctor’s office and then to do some writing and shopping before my appointment. I use to write there with my headphones. So I headed over there after clearing the emergencies and Zoom meetings of the morning.

The local Panera Bread now looks odd, with all the chairs just tipped for tables that cannot be used due to social distancing rules. I went to a table and ordered using the app on the phone. I heard my name called out, they don’t deliver to your table anymore, so I picked up my order and carried it back. The food is good. The bread is better than good.

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I did notice that the staff was meticulous cleaning and social distancing. All were wearing masks, and all were careful around customers, but they were chatting and hanging out and ignoring social distancing when working together.

I stayed for a few hours as I wanted to do some writing and to observe. I started back on my Howard’s Lockdown story I wanted to get going on. This is my version of a Lovecraft-styled story set now in Portland in the lockdown. I managed to add another page as I find my way with the story.

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After being at Panera for a few hours, I headed to Blick’s to get some supplies. I did forget to get a new painting tray. I did get some more basswood, pins, and straight razors that I need. I spoke to the cashier, and they are doing a brisk business. Apparently, art supplies are still needed, and the staff wore pronoun pins which helped me avoid a faux pas. This being the Portland area, you try to get your pronouns aligned to the wishes of the folks you are communicating with.

I then went to the doctor’s office. As usual, I was checked-in with questions about my exposure to Covid-19, none, and if I had any troubling symptoms, none, tempure checked touchless, normal, and given a written pass. After a short wait, you don’t want to be too early for medical appointments with the virus rates increasing, I was called in by the nurse. Blood was taken from my finger and was happy to learn I was still holding on my diabetes–again normal! Blood pressure was slightly elevated (reflexing my day at work).

Home, and making dinner and yes more crises of the moment online for Nike. I make tacos for dinner and serve them to Susie.

Corwin is with our friend Mariah. She is moving, and Corwin is helping her. I drive over to help shuffle some of the stuff and Mariah back to her new digs. While waiting for some folks to show up, we play the board game Skull. This, despite its name, is a friendly betting and guessing game made from coasters, or you can purchase a colorful premade game. I teach it to Mariah and her friend in a few minutes, and we play for a bit. Mariah wins.

We shuffle Mariah and various items to her new place, loading up Air Volvo.

No work on the model of the Titanic today.

The stock market went up and down. I am still seat belted in.

Today the reports show exponential growth in infections in the USA, but the death rate remaining about the same rate for the last three weeks, with over six-hundred people dying today of the disease. The death rate lags the increase by about two weeks. It is also possible that healthier people are getting the virus, and treatments have improved. It is also possible that death certificates are being filled out to name the secondary infection as the cause of death and not Corvid-19.

Martin Luther was right for today with the increasing infection rate: Out of the Depth I cry to You. This is Methodist Hymnal #515 from 1524.

Day 30: Tuesday 4 Phase 1: Back to work!

Today I started my day at 6 and rushed the morning as we had an all-employee meeting at 7AM. The CEO of Nike told us about their plans for running the company during the emergency and about the upcoming layoffs. It was hard to keep positive with such news as laying people-off during a pandemic.

I had many crises of the moment and had my annual review today. My boss, Brad, was happy with my work for the year and thanked me. Nike has already decided that all employees will get a zero percent raise and 100% of the bonus in August.

I finished the day with a call with Steve from the event people putting together an online convention to replace the one in Australia. I am asked to be in a panel to discuss how we built some of the applications and how they could now be built with new technology. It is a new format I have not used before, but I think it might be better than a recorded video of me reading slides and taking a few questions—the usual bread and butter of the conventions. Instead, Steve wants to have a short introduction and then a discussion with questions followed by a break-out session. This all done online. It just might be good!

We then headed out to Ceder Hills McMenamins for dinner and beers. We had a nice meal. The staff was quite careful except when they talked to each other and forgot to distance when at the bar waiting for drinks or the bartender. The food was delivered quickly and mostly correct (Susie’s burger came with veggies).

I found the new tile, “Kabab Shop” for Istanbul in the mail-box today; Caitlin from BoardGameGeek brought it by. I really like the change to the game and the look of the card. It is light cardboard, so we will have to set it over the “Fountain” tile. 

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Today it was reported that the death rate in the USA from the virus expanded to over seven-hundred sixty. The seven-day average of the death rate shows a reduction, but the three-day average shows a slight increasing pulse in the number. We will know if a few days if the death rate will jump with the growing infection rate.

I found this crazy video of Down By The Riverside.

Day 29: Monday 4 Phase 1: Last of Stay-cation

Sometimes it is a good writing trick to go backward.

The reports show that more than three-hundred forty Americans were taken by the virus today. Today I picked a flash mob in the center of Nuremberg to remember all that we lost and the good things in life like a flash mob.

The stock market went up. It is all over the place these two weeks! My 401K is showing a loss of more than three percent again. I have my seatbelt still on!

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End of the Stay-cation.

I took Susie, Corwin, and Evan to BJ’s Brewhouse for dinner. It is the first time we have been able to eat there in about four months. They opened again for dine-on only last week. The place looked odd with the tables and people, so spread-out and no sports crowd in the bar. Monday night football and well any sports were always well attended there. The food seemed better than I remembered it, and the beer was still good. The staff was careful.

Before that, Corwin and Evan were both proud to beat me in a game of Istanbul. I taught Evan the game. The game was close with Evan ending the game by attaining the fifth ruby, but Corwin was able to beat him by getting a fifth gem and more money. I was at four gems and was one move away from my fifth and thus lost.

As I was planning to play Istanbul I got a text from work. I had to approve some access to a server at Nike. The only other person who can approve the access is on vacation, so I handled it, always available. I sent them a text that their access should go-thru and they thanked me.

Before all of this, I decided to watch another opera on the Internet from the Metropolitan Opera, The Magic Flute. I have always wanted to see this opera live, but I can at least see it while I fold the laundry and have lunch. So that is what I did, I folded the laundry and ordered lunch from Gyro House to be delivered and watched and did laundry. This is from another opera house, Dark Queen, but from the same opera.

I discovered that there is an add-on for my newly purchased board game, Istanbul. This is the “Kabab Shop” tile. It replaces the “Fountain” tile and allows you to send your family member back to the “Jail” tile or to recall your assistants like the Fountain. In the normal game, only other players can send you family member pieces back to jail. I found one of the “Kabab Shop” tiles for sale at BoardGameGeeks and was surprised that the person lives in the area and will drop off my purchase tomorrow! The Internet enhances the gaming experience in so many ways.

And before that happened, I worked on the Titanic model and attached all the little buildings and deck houses to the boat deck. I also folded the etched-brass bridge area and attached it. If you remember the movie, the captain stays in the bridge area until it is submerged, and then the windows dramatically break–that area is what I built today. I remember reading in a wreckage account that the bridge roof was seen floating on the sea–it is gone in the wreck. On the model, all of this is glued in, and I should let it all dry before I try anything else, a lesson I was reminded of yesterday–I fixed one window today. I have three more to replace yet.

I started on the model after I finally recovered from and terrible asthma attack and slept in until 9ish. I had breakfast of some chocolate croissants. I was awake at 5:30AM with a nightmare of not being able to breathe and I awoke and it was not really a dream. I got up and took my medications and was better by 6:30AM.