Lather, Rinse, Repeat Ad Infinitum

So about six weeks ago, we were waiting for something good to happen.

My husband David is in between bullet points on his resume – it’s set up like a very long leave of absence and we are fine, but it’s a frustrating and confusing process in the Trumpizoic-COVID19 Era. You may find out more about him at Geeky Ramblings.

If you look at my Twitter timeline, you’ll see a really long pinned thread that documents my day-to-day (or minute-to-minute) experience of the Coronavirus Crisis.

The most helpful link I could offer is the Illinois Department of Public Health page that updates daily with Gov. Pritzker’s updates on the state response. As of 5pm yesterday the state is on “shelter at home” status.

As of yesterday, Saturday March 21:

As of today, Sunday March 22:

Yikes. This week is going to be rough.

You should check your state’s health department page, or the CDC page. Pay no attention to the orange shitgibbon flinging dung from the White House press podium. He has nothing useful, let alone accurate, to say.

As the numbers increase, it’s important to keep track of how quickly the DEATH numbers DOUBLE. Research on your own, but the rule of thumb seems to be that doubling every 3 days or less is BAD and will steepen the curve of mortality. The goal of staying home, and sheltering in place, is to slow the rate of infection and increase the number of days it takes before the mortality rate doubles. This will help to #FlattenTheCurve and keep our health care system from being flooded out and overwhelmed.

We as a country are trying not to lose our shit, and there are signs that people are responding in creative and positive ways – online singalongs, sharing recipes for bread and making simple masks to donate to hospitals to save the medical-grade respirator masks for the front lines in this war. I read where shuttered Broadway show casts have offered spontaneous performances before the state of New York locked down, and some of the costume and fashion community is gearing up to make masks (hospitals have requested donations but they’re aimed more at the worried well for now, though they are washable and compliant with CDC guidelines).

I went out yesterday just to get out of the house, before the state-mandate to shelter in place took effect, and visited the local ALDI, which was interesting, along with da Jewel. No paper products, no bread, very little in the way of cleaning supplies. No flour, either (about that, see below). Who ARE these profiteering assholes? We were already set for at least a week, but I did get some “nice to have” nonessentials: honey, popcorn, CLIF nutrition bars, deli meats and cheese. We’re ordering takeout tonight (and will tip generously, a welcome trend).

I’m thinking about doing a vegetable garden for the first time in about 5 years, but would have to plan carefully to choose stuff that I could possibly can – like tomatoes. Or cucumbers? David LOVES “new” pickles. Maybe onions again. Carrots? Haven’t touched the compost bin, it’s probably a horror show.

Apparently, we’re on a war footing, as Trump can’t function without an adversary to deflect on. He delayed invoking the Defense Protection Act for requiring manufacturers to switch to making medical supplies? Why? And then when Trump finally invoked it, he declined to actually exercise the powers. WHY? Meanwhile, it appears that the feds are outbidding state procurement agencies as they make new bulk orders, while distributing expired equipment to states in lower amounts than requested. Except for red state Florida, which got everything it requested. WHY? The Washington Post and other papers are covering this, and more.

This Twitter thread has the timeline of the Trump administration’s inaction dating from when the Chinese government notified our CDC leadership on JANUARY 3.

The US Government, via the CDC and the National Security Council and the HHS, had the heads up on the “novel coronavirus” in early January, and could have passed the alert to the greater medical community, the various federal AND STATE emergency response entities, manufacturers of PPE (personal protective equipment) and manufacturers of equipment like ventilators and other breathing apparatus. Did it raise the alarm? #ItDidNot

Meanwhile, the entire country is trying to figure out new ways to work, struggling to find activities for children at home after school closures, struggling with sudden unemployment, and coping with illness of themselves or loved ones. It’s going to get unbelievably harder to handle this, with such an erratic and unstable “commander” in control of the ship of state. People feel isolated and are looking to find some kind of community.

At the time of writing, 10am Sunday 22MAR, it’s supposed to be Sunday Eucharist at Holy Moly. We would be singing the first hymn (though to be honest we usually start late). But we’re all home on our own, coping with the oddity of a Sunday “off” in the normally busy season of Lent. According to the official announcement from the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, all in-person worship is suspended through Easter,

Later, Bishop Lee added a short personal video:

And last night, just before the official statewide order took effect, Father Manny offered a short prayer service via Facebook Live on the church Facebook page.

I managed to attend this along with about 16 others. It seemed to go well but I was admonished by my choir buddy Mike for not doing social distancing properly.

Earlier this morning I texted choir leader Mary to check in, as I knew she’d be listening to “With Heart and Voice” on WFMT:

Suddenly my entire social set has lit up every communication channel – my cycling friends are fretting at the thought of no group rides just as better weather is coming, but also brainstorming how to help a friend move next week, and noting that riding a bike solo is specifically allowed along with walking, hiking, and running outside. And we also reassured each other that bike shops are essential services and are remaining open (though maybe with reduced hours).

My friend who’s moving next Saturday is in a panic, because she thinks that she’ll get us all in trouble if we’re driving to her apartment next week. She’s Brazilian-American, so when she called me yesterday I greeted her with a cheery “Bom dia, my friend, what can I do for you?” The relief and delight in her voice was evident; everyone that can be there will be, with dollies and handtrucks – no more than 10 people. We even had someone check with a lawyer to ensure that helping a friend who’s moving is probably covered. Realistically, I don’t think any of us will be stopped by the STFH brigade. And it’s not going to take long: it’s from one part of the complex to another, though we may move big batches of stuff via car as it’s evidently a sprawling place.

After a long, long hiatus, I returned to Facebook just to share important and vetted news items, and then yesterday started reconnecting with friends and family all over. Suddenly, everyone is baking bread because of certain idiotic panic stockpilers, so I reviewed a couple of new recipes that were being passed around in the Highlander fan pages because Elizabeth Gracen, a former star of the series (and of a spinoff series, The Raven) passed this along:

This “Jenny Can Cook” is so fun to watch – and she adds some hilarious asides. I have ALL the equipment she uses and more – this looks incredibly easy and uses dry yeast (have a jar full in the fridge). Meanwhile, I brought my months-neglected sourdough starter back from the dead.

And since we have bread on hand (it freezes well) I will wait to use this until next week, or keep it fed weekly if I make Jenny’s recipe instead. And yes, that’s former talk show host Jenny Jones – who notes “This dough is very forgiving…unlike some people.” It’s worth subscribing just for that excellent content alone.

If anyone of my local friends wants some sourdough starter, hit me up. I have more inactive starter in reserve and can pass it along.

What else? In family news – everyone as far as I know is doing okay and dealing with the lockdown here in IL. I had some frustration with several someones, who shall remain nameless, who didn’t see the value in voluntarily limiting interaction and practicing social distancing. But now that the Guv has made the terms clear, it’s good. I’m a little concerned about family in other states who’s governors have been slower to adopt the notion of containment by staying put, but they seem to be alright. At least one family member is on the front lines, though, so I need to check in.

I found out that the public library was closed when I went to drop off the books I had borrowed. Sometime on the 12MAR, a patron or employee was there who was later tested positive for COVID-19. They closed the next day (probably unaware of the exposure the previous day, but the last time I visited was well before that.

I’ve been listening to A METRIC SHIT-TON of podcasts, streaming radio like WFMT and WBEZ and KUNC and WBUR, and watching live things on Twitter. Here are a couple of things that really got me through the day yesterday.

  • NPR’s Scott Simon hosted an effective, and very affecting, live video reading a children’s book, and his friend Rick Bayless called in on another phone via FaceTime or something, and became part of the show. Honestly, it was so life affirming.
  • Pod Save America is always good, but another of their podcasts, Lovett or Leave It hosted by Jon Lovett, was AMAZING as he was joined by his spouse, author and investigative journalist Ronan Farrow. It was so, so funny as he now calls people who leave messages about problems in a feature called “Love in the Time of Corona.” The video version should be archived as a classic.

In other entertaining entertainment news – we’re hooked on Picard, and got Dad hooked, but now we feel like we shouldn’t go over and bring the Apple TV and takeout along because we don’t want to risk bringing them the equivalent of the Romulan flu. It’s starting to emerge that many, many people are asymptomatic for a long time, or the whole time, when infected with COVID-19 so we don’t want to risk it. Until we can test, and they can test, clear of the virus, we’re hunkering down. My father-in-law Shel will just have to settle for the 1 free week with CBS Discovery and binge it after the last new episode airs Thursday. Thank God it’s been renewed.

I may haul out a really horrific Puzz-3D puzzle later if things get d//esperate. I used to enjoy doing 2D puzzles, but honestly I don’t think we have the patience or skill right now to put the Millennium Falcon together.

In the meantime, please follow the rules of social distancing, washing hands with full lather for 20 seconds, and trying not to touch face/mouth/eyes. Stay safe and be as healthy as you can manage. Think good thoughts for the sick, and be kind and generous. We will get through this as long as we stay strong and #FlattenTheCurve.

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