All of us noted Mom is physically less frail on her 89th, she feels solid in shoulders and upper arms. Her hair was freshly done up curly, she spoke often.
There’s an awareness that, #BoomerwithAttitude aside, there’s going to be less of such moments in the future. Taking the Universal balance POV, my nephew Ian successfully proposed to Nicki, grand-nephew? Trace is fully three, nephew Spencer will defend his PhD thesis (and turns 30!) this spring, and so things go forward. Just sayin’…
Brother Mike and dogs is in town from FL for birthday , and attended the St. Gabriel Men’s Club meeting Fri. This week (10th) is annual Lenten Fish Fry Dinner for parish and beyond, I’m sure Mike will get some glory for his kitchen efforts in past, while enjoying the camaraderie again.
The club did it exceptionally well for thirty years straight, stopped since COVID, so 600+ this Friday would look a lot like #NewNormal. I had no insurance coverage the first year of the pandemic – I’m 4x vaxxed now, good to hug my Mom, and willing to shake hands again.
Spring has Sprung? Three weeks to desired product
A $4,290 Friday proved that our suits at Nordstrom are gaining destination shopping status. Being up 58% over last year is a fact. I worked Wed-Thurs.-Fri. (1-8:30 = 22 hrs.), and manager essentially gave me weekend off because of funeral service and ‘life celebration’ for a buddy Saturday a.m. (More on that later)
That I ‘paid for myself’ in micro-economy vs. draw with big Friday finish is how it can roll this time of year. FYI – I picked up where I left off on Monday, a broad-shouldered, shorter guy, who jammed in a Hugo Boss Blue, which keeps my streak going.
Friday wasn’t a typical three-suit day, but I did an outstanding job delivering my personal #best practices to three customers who really needed it. Saying customer count is at a premium Wed.-Friday during week is true.
Mr. Skeen – Older gentleman, hasn’t needed a suit in years, grand-daughters wedding is event. We didn’t have to discuss any of the slim cut lines, and everyone (including wife), agreed the charcoal gray with white hatching Peter Millar was a great match with his hair.
Totally painless, minimal alterations, and he appreciated that we could ship the finished suit to Cornelius home (no cost). His wife did not find the kind of dress she wanted.
The Whole Family Event
The other designers we carry (Hugo Boss, Ted Baker, Jack Victor, Peter Millar) are between $795-$995 for suits, Canali is a definite jump in price – $1,600 sports coats, $2,400 suits – so its great to hear a potential client ‘really likes the fit of Canalis’ right off the bat.
Client and wife had two youngsters in a stacked stroller, and I eventually put all of them in the largest dressing room. Wife and I were both strong on a beautiful silvery-charcoal, with a subdued blue stripe that showed when closer. The dark blue suit he checked early didn’t have a chance.
— Short-armed client needed sleeve alterations on shirts, and he asked about picking up by 1:00pm Saturday for flight to Vegas. Got it expedited. Few buyers sweat fees for bang-zoom! great service.
A Man with Yikes! Suit Needs
Sales-wise, its always been part of my methodology to impart a decent amount of information to someone quickly. First job out of college, twenty cold calls a day, I projected a fairly simple idea, why TIME, Inc. titles, especially People magazine, should be around their registers. With #suit-sizing, there’s nothing like putting a 42 Regular or 38 Short on just to learn some basics, how it hangs.
The final person Friday really needed a fully fitted suit. His neck-shoulder muscles filled an area well short of the shoulder seam, causing a handful of nothing. Eventually he fit well in a 48 Hugo Boss, which is a champion in giving shoulder-space, and its a slim cut jacket on the sides. People usually think about the pants after there’s interest in overall fit. In gentleman’s case, basic math of ‘chest size minus 6’ wouldn’t work (48-6=42″ pants).
If standard pants with suit are 42″ and guy is no more than 36″ waist, that can’t be hemmed. Next part would have been whether ‘thunder thighs’ could’ve fit in the slim cut pants, but…
At start of March, I feel fine about imparting ‘sizing’ information people can take forward in looking for suits overall. As long as we’ve got product, I expect very similar micro-economy results, now that weddings and proms are very consistently the deal.
My Contribution to a ‘Life Celebration’
(Three previous speakers bloviating overrode possibility of nice looking sandwiches/snacks at Legion Brewing, so I had a beer in the man’s honor and skedaddled. My story would have been like this, and relevant to the upcoming Fish Fry)
We couldn’t sell it because didn’t liquor license, but people often dropped off contributions. We did it forever, donated (and up-sized) those $$$ donations for places, like a parish we had a connection with in Houston during massive flooding, but mostly its about good works in Charlotte.
So, Armen is selling fish fry tickets down at the Diocese, and tells a couple ladies, “…and you don’t have to worry about beverages, your beer and wine is free,” which caused a nearby lawyer to quickly jerk and say, “What?!”
While we’d done it openly all those years, *apparently* the Diocese owns the school and its cafeteria, and dispensing alcohol, free or not, on the premises, got the lawyers involved. No more guys filling up a couple pitchers for the workers in back (and never the Boy Scouts or workers from middle school and HS aged, doing community hours of course), everything done by licensed bartenders. BIG game changer.
I’m sure the look I would have put on my face the moment of “What?!” would have livened up that life celebration considerably. That’s also #NewNormal, we get to celebrate and grieve our loved ones again. Still can’t understand taking chances with elderly family along the way by so many. Feeling Mom’s 89-year old good shoulder under my hand, that counts for something.
While still wondering why I’m surprised people don’t recognize salespeople are on commission, I was exceedingly glad to have that quite amiable COO-level, English gentleman appear last Wednesday evening. Late January-early February isn’t the greatest time in retail, so his Boss tuxedo ($995) and Peter Millar midnight blue suit ($795) double-bubble put my reputation back in place. I’m alone Mondays and Wednesdays, but it’d been ten days since I’d gone through the whole process…
We were both well-pleased with the minimal tailoring necessary to achieve final product, and fact he’d be able to report the two-for-one effort as accomplishment to his wife, whose apparently spoken of his ‘hour of hard labor’ at such times. Of course, he was wearing proper shoes for tux-hunting, found the waist (surprisingly?) well-fitted at 34 with the Millar, a remark heard often in these post-pandemic times.
We were both pleased with the minimal tailoring necessary to achieve final product, and fact he’d be able to report the two-for-one effort as a significant accomplishment to his wife.
–Me, Monday after Super Bowl, tested positive, and in office with keyboard
Now is my brush with pandemic times?
I had to call out Friday because I was draining massively. Friend suggested that, while Nature was kind of busting loose with 66 degree days, I might want to get ahold of a COVID test kit. I didn’t do the swab – very good directions all the way – until Saturday a.m., and now will be out of work for whatever period of time.
I admit not being as diligent with mask as several others in department, and very infrequent user of available sanitizer. A general feeling of fatalism – more a sooner or later deal – has prevailed. When I finally blew my nose enough to call out, I got four free boxes of tests at Walgreens no problem. I watched the Super Bowl alone, and the ratatouille I made instead of just chili, it laid on my guts like lead.
That friend at Pfizer said, “It was in the list of options of what might happen,” so I’ll accept that constipation is why I’ve been grouchy about tummy tenderness.
Yeah, yeah, there’s paperwork to be done regarding self-identfying after testing positive. I’ll fill that out shortly. Friend at Pfizer says she can’t be around someone who tested positive, so killing post-Valentine’s Day hockey date is second casualty of COVID.
How Close to Being a Bad Person?
How about a reality check of ‘bad person’? I ran out of gas a couple blocks from home Monday, so visited Mom at Carmel Hills of Tuesday, when my temperature at check in was 97.8, oxygen level 99. It was a good talking session, at least she was engaged, and the fur hat she wore was worthy of comment.
I definitely started draining nasally on Wednesday. On Thursday night, I went to a basketball game at Queens (84-80 loss to Eastern KY) with brother Steve. Both times I wound up with a maskful of liquid, not a great feeling. There weren’t many people around us at game, it was pretty good stuff to get out for whats a solid neighborhood event.
I had mask on while trying to figure out scanning their Qcode to get into game (I failed, but got in anyway) with two students, was right next to brother, but walked there and back alone.
I’m particularly worried about time with Mom so close to kaboom! descent of symptoms on Wednesday, and while its out of my hands, I’m going to wipe down my keyboard once in a while. I used the test kit because there was no difference in ignoring the answer it could provide – testing positive – than what I thought so stupid in others who wouldn’t acknowledge how ignorance might kill their aged Moms, friends, or family back in the bad pandemic days.
Three Weeks into 66
Five years ago today, the slaughter at Parkland was the biggest news of the day. That’s also the day Mom got out of the hospital after a-fib troubles, and I became her primary care for next six months. Getting her to nephew Paul and Caitlyn’s marriage in Raleigh was a Biggie, possibly the greatest thing I’m ever responsible for, and it makes me aware of how we all have to take care of ourselves as we take care of others.
Its a good-looking day out for #gshorkonsharonroadseam. I’ve made an appointment to get a full physical, which I haven’t had in two years.
I’m still a Boomer with Attitude -I made it to the very end of COVID before I invariably got it. I finally read a full book, which I got from one of those stick libraries around my neighborhood. ‘The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest’ was 561 pages, and it was worth reading. I didn’t read to Mom last time there, when she’s relatively up for chatting, I take 3-4 min. videos for rest of family.
I also went to regular church for first time since Christmas or a funeral, since NC locked down in March, 2020.
It was a very worthwhile Super Bowl, one we can hold up as an example of teamwork and, because you’ll hear it forever more, “You don’t bet against guys like Mahomes in the clutch.”
Did I allow myself to get a bit blase about ordinary healthcare concerns at the end? Are you still as observant of the rules, especially where eldercare is concerned?
Having sent congrats! to several military people I know (especially you Malitzia) about the Kabul airlift, RESPECT should be the byword for all Americans. By all reasonable standards, a massive – over 120,000 person success versus any ‘debacle’ or stain on our military’s record – should be lauded. Hats off for all who served, in the air, on the ground, or logistically.
As Marine Corp General Kenneth McKenzie said at the time of an ISIS suicide bombing, when you’re in such a defensive posture, you KNOW you are going to be attacked – it’s only a question of when, and how well prepared for it you are. Noting that searching for body bombs like what killed some 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. service people is “a breath on breath,” intimate operation that was a threat every moment of the 17 days it lasted, one ‘successful’ attack was exceptional.
General McKenzie was also willing to credit the Taliban, which constituted the initial defensive perimeter, as being helpful and abiding by what had been agreed regarding the US departure.
That ISIS took advantage of the situation – very possibly using a female bomber that Sharia law prevented Taliban people from touching in the way necessary to detect a personal bomb – was probably a factor. It was detonated when faced with US personnel not restricted in that way is a simple fact, not the overwhelming fault that some Congressional (GOP) naysayers want to paint President Biden with.
The last American out was Major General Chris Donahue, 82nd Airborne, XVIII Corp. (hope that’s correctly delineated). It was NOT the frantic desperation of the last helicopter out of Vietnam when I was a HS senior, more the always messy end of a 20 year mission.
Mask-vax negatives are not a gov’t flaw
Nine months into the deployment of several 95-97% effective vaccines AFTER trump left office – most know the why of that – the United States has yet to reach group immunity (generally pegged at 70%), and the delta variation is overwhelming our health care system.
CHILDREN have not proven in any way immune to COVID-19, especially the delta variant, and mandates from GOP governors that school districts cannot protect them by masking is criminal. Many school districts will fight such mandate restrictions with civil disobedience, but at the individual level, there seems to a YUGE lack of respect for extra caution (see Martin Luther, above).
When I walked into a Novant clinic on March 18th, while still a Category 5 person in North Carolina, I felt I’d been given as close a guarantee to *living* as was possible. After hunkering down for a year, two weeks after a 2nd shot (Pfizer) I was allowed into Carmel Hills Senior Center, where I got to hug my 87 year old mother.
As a bottom line philosophy, I’d considered “thinning out the gene pool” a matter of choice – until it was very probable that ‘those people’ who wanted to deny or spit in the eye of the death-dealing ferocity of COVID could easily take me with them.
That my landlord decided THIS WEEK – his house, apparently he felt no need to consult three bill-paying tenants – to allow two homeless people to ‘temporarily’ camp in the living room, is a direct affront to the idea of respecting others. I wear a cloth mask when I leave my room now – it makes no sense to let my previous caution allow delta a gotcha! moment.
Having shown the two NYC-Jersey refugees my vax card, I have NO REASON to believe “Oh, I threw that piece of paper away,” is anything but a lie. The female denied the clog of hair left in shower was her’s (kee-RIST!), why believe something considerably more important to my health is okay, just because the guy would ditch such a document during a pandemic? Moron, right?
RESPECT has always been earned
RESPECT has always been earned, and both landlord – for many reasons – and these people have given me plenty of reason to doubt they’re working with societal norms. Millions of others have their own reasons for lying, but in situations this up close and personal, protecting myself is Job One.
For that, and many other reasons, I’m looking to get out of this living arrangement a.s.a.p. Landlord has a heart condition, another resident isn’t vaxxed either, not a problem to be a pisser about this IMHO.
Telling me to put my car on the street instead of in driveway so newbies can park there, that’s a minor disrespect, more an inconvenience. I talked to ‘the kids’ (22 y/olds) straight up about it, because good communication should always be top of the list. They seemed to understand, but like many aspects of life right now, about half the people in the house aren’t hearing it. Even if he’s “being a good Christian” re: homeless, I’ve been there. (Update 9/20/21 – He’s not that good, charging pair of 22 year olds $550 a month) https://cdtalententerprises.com/2021/06/22/america-truly-on-move-sheltered-homeless-challenge-millions/
Three sturdy HS football players who helped with a recent furniture drive said they wouldn’t get vaccinated, and I guess we’ll see how badly this continues to go on, based on lack of RESPECT for COVID.
“We know the difference with good umpires”
Brother David gave me this nugget, and yes, the scheduler for the organization I work for has it as a mantra – “You have to be consistent, especially high-low.” Last week I umped five games of 9 year olds on Saturday, then three games of 15 year olds Sunday.
After a first game that took 2:30 hours (scheduled for 1:45), I was told to loosen up my strike zone, from probably two ball widths off the plate to three. Realistically, this was the first time the 9 yr. olds weren’t getting ‘coach pitch,’ and you can’t hit anything that far off the plate, but with a heat index of 105 degrees, getting done sooner was a matter of survival.
I thanked the spectators that offered water and Gatorade, especially the frozen bottle I drizzled on my neck between innings. That several every game understood how physically brutal that heat was kind of counted, 15 minutes between games in the air-conditioned clubhouse counted even more.
The games with 15 year olds was quite different
Even 10 year olds have curve balls now, despite evidence that its not good for them to be throwing curves, and I’m aware of that ‘hook’ at the end when calling the games. At the beginning of 15s I made it clear, 3 balls wide yesterday wouldn’t be the deal – the 17″ of plate is all anyone was going to get.
I should add the fact that 10-11 year old catchers learn to frame pitches early, and 15s are willing to pull a pitch from *anywhere* into a spot that’s close to strike zone.
After one particular pitcher kept signaling he didn’t know why he wasn’t getting calls, I went to the manager between innings and told him the catcher was set up on outer third of the plate, and if pitcher missed at all, it was going to be a ball. Turned out that catcher had that habit previously, and manager couldn’t see difference from dugout I could at plate. He had catcher reposition himself directly behind the plate and offered thanks for the input.
As someone interested in athletics beyond the win-loss aspect, I feel its my professional duty to offer a comment when I see an obvious situation deserving of one.
I’ve done it multiple times, and when a center-fielder crashed into the chain link fence Sunday (GREAT catch!), I went to both dugouts and reminded them such things happened in sports. That kid had a helluva egg on his forehead, and didn’t look all there at the end of game, even after they’d taken him for x-rays to check for a concussion.
Coach said “Thanks for the input, Blue” even though I was sure he’d probably told his players the same thing. RESPECT comes in a lot of different packages, and there’s noooo doubt we could use a lot more of it in the current climate of ‘Us-them’ on something as basic as health safety during a pandemic.
RESPECT a virus? You betcha. If you want to hug your Mom, living in a community that’s tougher on who gets in than you want, do something smart about it – get the shot. If you don’t want your kids to come back from school loaded with a virus they can unknowingly pass to you, and you to unsuspecting others – get the shot.
If you’d like to offer a positive response about how you’re handling safety or issues of RESPECT, comments are open. I label this in ‘Leadership Thought’ category, one of my favorite word-smithing abilities, available for hire.
Panther Coach Matt Rhule resting his first line players as “already having two tough days of practice last week,” and giving a number of others extended looks instead, was rewarded with pro-quality contributions right off the bat in Indianapolis.
Marquis Haynes, LB Out of Mississippi, is in a contract year. He’s good on putting a speed rush on QBs, and also at setting an edge. (I didn’t realize he’d gotten 4 sack in part-time role last year.) With Shaq sitting, he was the veteran making calls.
Tommy Tremble (Notre Dame, TE) 3 catches/19 yards, TD. He is blocking better, knows how to run routes well. Dan Arnold is #1 TE, but there’s every expectation Temble gets aspot on to roster. First TDs are always a grin-fest.
Absolutely, a 21-18 loss on a field goal in the final seconds, where projected second line personnel started earning their professional spurs, its no coincidence Rhule’s path to the Panthers head job last year always includes major second year improvement at earlier stops.
This is already a younger but veteran team, and watching videos of Coach Rhule answering questions here in camp, his giving complete and straight-up answers to reporters has to filter through to his daily interaction with players.
He commented that they just missed a couple long throws in practices, smiled while stating Sam threw nice long ball, a factor missing in Charlotte for years.
After being franchise-tagged (avg. top 5 in league, $13-14MM), Moton signed a 4 year/$72MM extension, including a $15MM signing bonus. He’s been a Panther since 2017, going into year two, he was considered under-achieving. Panthers have historically rolled their O-line people around, Moton has been a solid constant.
There’s been some busy-body comments they “only” paid him *right* tackle money, and they might want him on the left, guarding Darnold’s back. Easy analysis: The position has been tried by several the last three years, backside safety gives Darnold the best chance to lead. If Moton’s the best at that, Rhule will make it happen, and Taylor won’t be thinking he got stiffed, he’ll be a professional.
When hasn’t $15MM of bonus cash bought you a decent amount of good will and cooperation?
Coach can call it a successful week
There was some disappointment regarding “fire in the belly” in the first practice against Colts, but everyone agrees Panthers righted the situation on Day Two.
PJ Walker is the 5th player who Rhule coached at Temple, Robbie Anderson is obviously in that crew.
The turf in Indianapolis was essentially the same beaded turf now in BOA Stadium, Anderson doesn’t like it as ‘fake.’ Could be some negatives associated with that stuff in NY. RE-LAX, Robbie.
I think my brother gave up his PSLs. Charlotte was the first stadium built with Personal Seating Licenses, apparently Mr. Tepper is planning something along those lines for a soccer stadium.GM Scott Fitterer is indeed doing a fine job.
Heat dome or not, we recognize its the end of July, and at least there’s no massive firestorms raging here to go with that heat, which actually counts as A Good Sign by me. We had some unfavorable air quality here, but until now, often a breeze instead of just sweltering. Nothing like that 157 negativity NYC had to put up with.
That a specific part of Government directly affecting me – my first Social Security check – happened as expected on the 28th, is good. My personal economics of bills, rent, food are mostly covered.
More events register as positives now, not always hurdles to overcome. Wearing a mask while shopping or getting gas is just one small thing I always do because it can’t hurt. Do I notice Hispanic ninos wearing masks now? Thankfully, yes. Out and enjoying live music at Camp North End? Bueno!
It’s a positive, kinda Boomer process
I’ve completed my video Q&A for a tutoring operation, and continue getting feelers about DICE resume.
I’m back to cycling, there’s a wide-open municipal course ($32 senior, nine holes w/ cart) a mile away. In a great pocket park out front, there’s two glass backboards, well marked lanes and 3-pt. distance I’ve already shot at four times already.
The checks not in the mail, it’s in my bank account. It’s not an entitlement, it’s the payoff, that safety net we – American workers – were told would be there when FICA took a chunk of every paycheck, starting with that first $1.65/hour job at McDonald’s.
8 Elements as positive considerations
Besides the Social Security check – this is what ‘not homeless’ looks like after three relatively settled weeks for me.
Getting vaccinated in mid-March was an elemental start on things moving righter. Politics aside, it almost guaranteed I’d live, and mentally I’d been figuring on a shot mid-May. After being hunkered down for a year, its an un-good difference, knowing necessary move (house sold) will include contact with many “out there” who will never get vaxxed.
Having a nephew offer a place to stay – when moving last month was required and my new space wasn’t vacated yet – kept plans on a good path. Being technically homeless – not knowing where I might be sleeping or storing my ‘stuff’ – was a concern, and like many, my need was CONSISTENCY, starting ASAP.
Mask-vax question (3 of 4 here at house) is a factor in any housing. Next two weekends I have major BBQs scheduled (yay! social and MEAT!) where there’s no reason to think I can’t trust my hosts and others from previous meetings. I smirk – their being primarily Democrats, few deniers and liars should mar things. Knowing the statistics in some parts of the country, I question how tough finding a safe living space like I did, will be.
A place to land, with wifi, was a BIG #2, worth a liter of Tito’s in thanks at the end. There wasn’t an Option B either. You can say lucky, I’ll say ‘family.’
Without a background, credit check, or heavy deposit, I more than lucked out, getting into the process for this room on a days notice successfully – I might have even benefited from ‘white privilege.’ Other two residents are young Black man working long hours at a senior center, and a 40-year old female, both of them here for over a year, so maybe owner had a spot for this older white guy.
Hint or Fact
Time pressures force more bad decisions than anything. Signing a lease with terms you KNOW will be a concern in short term – with loss of deposits probable – is just a flat out don’t do it.
Don’t expect a lot of cooperation from online sources. As a hangover from pandemic, not everyone wants to show a stranger around. I only saw two places, the other I drove by had razor wire around it.
I’m also glad my rental amount is split, on 10th and 25th. As family, my brother was beyond reasonable for nearly five years, but I doubt many renters get even twice a month flexibility.
As a hangover from pandemic, not everyone wants to show a stranger around. I only saw two places, the other I drove by had razor wire around it.
Early warning about moving
It shouldn’t be a surprise if the previous tenant has often been a louse. My first look at that room Saturday was an ugly surprise, getting it immediately Oxy-cleaned was a major positive. I took a three hour lunch half-way into edging and came back, SUPER glad how he’d undersold expectations of what the final terrific result turned out to be.
While the painting and cleaning to visual and health standards involved my effort too, owner gave me $50 credit towards deposit for painting job. I don’t feel weird about going barefoot in any of the rooms, a small but definite element in having landed well.
Vacuuming a half-inch thick layer of gray off the ceiling fan and tossing cruddy blinds are taking care of personal standards in what’s now My Space, and the owner is redoing the flooring in central room, with new furniture as well. Lump all that together, its a reasonable #4 Positive.
I appreciate signs that the owner takes care of situations quickly. If you’ve rented bad before, you know what ‘situations’ means – everything is a hassle.
The house is nicely landscaped – I cut the significant yard, front and back this week, because it needed it – the AC is set at 76, and the decking out back is plentiful, A-1 condition, has a late sunfield, and is a worthwhile place to dine. I sat outside while a storm tried to organize Tuesday, lots to look at in other people’s places, too. Depending which direction you go, the range of houses in the locale varies greatly. Yes, its a good neighborhood.
Get living right, America
The first view of refrigerator was far from inspiring, but progress has been made. That third drawer of fridge still needs attention, and I eat less in the room, plus I found enough of my cooking stuff to survive with, cooking knives, spaghetti pots, plates and glasses, even containers for leftovers. It makes a difference to me.
Health concerns about stuff lying around, including recycling situation, brings out my “enlightened self-interest.” There are usually cleaning supplies available after cooking – use them. At my brother’s, stuff often wound up in sink. You can’t do that living with strangers – load and run a dishwasher, preferably without bitchin’.
If you are hesitant about using the kitchen facilities where you wind up living, you are destined for a miserable time. –Me, 7/18/21
In real estate, we encouraged clients to keep a Top 5 sheet of what they liked about a certain property, otherwise searching through 10-12 rentals or houses over 2 weeks gets confusing. Reality: Last month was a time when decisiveness was mandatory. Everyone takes care of their own TP here, the kitchen is fine, the shared bathroom, communal areas are solid. Shower especially is hot and strong, the laundry equipment new and high quality, a definite 6th positive sign – clean facilities – toward feelin’ fine.
Several of the others use TV to doze off, all are what is now referred to as ‘420 friendly.’ Late TV is something to discuss and get acted on. Being the last entry into house doesn’t mean you have to be awakened at 3 a.m.
Do I feel safe?
My ‘Seven factors and a check’ standards aren’t stack-ranked, so being safe as a single adult male, has always been a hell of lot different than relocating even a small family will soon be. There are sketchy looking types every place you might get out of your car and they can approach you nearby, but the house is in a Neighborhood Watch area. I’ve cycled and walked around quite a bit, just like in Tampa, FL and Schenectady, NY, and no reason to feel threatened.
We had three break-ins at brother Mike’s over 27 years, and a violent home invasion across the street in Charlotte; several times cops with dogs tried finding people between the fences with us and apartments, including helicopters circling. Yes, I feel safe here.
I look down into a neighbor’s active yard, with a large trailer in side yard, and weekends there has been musica musica, but nothing like the regular 3:30-4 a.m. still-going, loud outside music parties from the C-level apartment complex, 100 feet from my bedroom window for three aggravating years.
A new police station was built on Independence at the corner of brother’s street in the last year, but this is a neighborhood, 11:30 on weekends is all you get, and I’d rate that positive overall.
A lack of shoulder or bike lane once you start using back roads compared to years on greenway is physically less safe, but that’s always kind of a choice.
Five Man Electrical Band ends with the character finding peace in church, and when asked to contribute, to put something in the hat, he expresses gratitude.
For all the negativity being projected these often difficult times, I’ll hold up my own little sign, ‘cuz that first Social Security check and seven other positives are legitimate signs that early stress of moving has worked out okay. Best of thoughts on that for the many in need.
Having finished re-editing Chapter 18 of ‘With Platinum Fury Focus,’ Swiffer-ed and vacuumed most of the house, gotten current with ACA (Stim. #2 finally arrived), raking and branch-trimming yardwork, started the spaghetti sauce, had three cups of coffee, walked the dog, put on a favorite striped dress shirt/suit pants, AND SHAVED – I proclaim Thursday’s one year anniversary of COVID-19 lousiness and ennui an official rebooting of “Life More Like It Should Be,” maybe within sight of normalcy.
As of the 18th, I became part of a terrific statistic, arms stuck.
The karma of Asking.
Yes, America, WE made it an entire year with this declared pandemic. It’s still difficult to deal with a ‘previous prez’ knowing how bad it was *really* going to be – and telling a well-known journalist, who recorded it for posterity – early on and then lying about it. There are hundreds of millions of vaccine shots available to help the process now – Donnie J. actually got one, and Mr. Snake Snot didn’t tell the world, which juuuust might have made a difference.
The Karma of Asking
At 64, I was still a Category-5 outsider in North Carolina when I decided to take a chance on the way back from grocery shopping. The Novant clinic is across Independence, barely a block away, it wouldn’t be a killer waste of time, to check out the possibility of a ‘Freedom Shot’ if you will.
In late 2017, “checking things out” about timing when getting an x-ray resulted in an immediate (five days) appointment for a knee replacement had been my standard for good karma. That a supervisor appeared immediately as I’d gotten a temperature check and started chatting with a laptop person (among MANY staff/volunteers) about 64 and around the corner, so why not? Her response was, “Sure, let’s get you stuck.” From parking lot to post-15 minute stay period and leaving, 25 minutes.
I will be heading to Mom’s place at Carmel Hills for a couple hugs. We got to hang with her a little for her birthday, March 1, but it wasn’t one of her better days. Even though masks are still a good idea for a while longer, if your Mom’s been vaccinated (like mine), and so are you, hugging her a bunch of times is a start on what they’ve suffered without so long.
‘March Madness’ Hits Full-on Stardom
The fact of genuine ‘March Madness’ arrival, after being denied that annual basketball bachanal in 2020, means leaving behind any “coulda-shouldas.” Fill out a bracket or three, quaff a quantity of cold ones with variously seasoned wings, invite – righteously vaxxed, no masks? – a couple buddies to watch your big screen, because that *IS* about normalcy.
Those with Ohio State or Purdue in Final Four, oh that Madness thing!
If you gotta go on Spring Break instead of camping on a couch to watch, see if you can plant a big ol’ kiss on Gov. DeSantis, just for the sake of freaking him out. Most of those wild ‘n crazy hombres you’ll be hanging with are still two months from a shot in the arm, but (bleep) it, you only live once (as far as we know).
A nephew and a bunch of buddies drove an RV around the Midwest parks, fishing for two weeks last May because post-college jobs were on hold, my NY brother’s entire family helped move another nephew from Kentucky to the Pacific Northwest, so why shouldn’t you celebrate some in 2021?
The simple fact this administration carefully counts FULLY VACCINATED and ‘sticks’ as two statistic shows an understanding and accounting, right? but who isn’t aware there are multiple bad-ass variants of COVID-19 out there?
Worse case, saying “If it’s good enough for those governors from Texas to the Keys,” nobody over thirty *really* expects you to be the responsible people,” y’know? Sure, its a numbers thing, but also a ‘shoulda learned year,’ too.
I didn’t go to Pennsylvania for a three day car show last July with a brother I’ve been hunkered down with, but he came back without problems. (tongue in cheek) I needed to be ready for that bicycle accident I was going to have in August. Maybe you can get to that age/mileage marker (64) I have no matter what you do…
Truth is, given a year’s perspective – especially the party line vote, zero Repub Yes votes, 100% willing to stiff their non-Washington, DC people – 75% of the country favoring that $1.9T COVID bill *has* to include some ‘regular’ Repubs in favor of sending checks. If that COVID bill is supposedly the easiest one Dems will have, that doesn’t bode well for the future of Repubs helping their constituents.
This coming week, President Biden and Vice-President Harris will work on the public relations aspect of what they have maintained all along, that Americans can overcome any obstacle if they put their collective minds to it. ‘100 million shots in 100 days’ has gone from an attitude to fact.
Setting new, familiar and desirable goals, like 4th of July cookouts, that’s legit. Do you have to invite everyone, including recent non-maskers? The ones who never bring meat (or beer), just those plastic containers of ten cookies? Naaah. Maybe next time.
Was slipping into that 100 million category as significant a milestone as John F. Kennedy’s goal of putting the USA flag on the moon “before the end of this (1960s) decade”?Personally, guaranteed survival during a pandemic is at least as important. I didn’t expect to get vaccinated until almost Memorial Day, which seemed like forever.
While the entire WORLD was doing that collaboration thing on an all-important COVID-19 vaccine, having four different U.S. manufacturers produce highly effective ones in less than a year surpassed even the miracle of the sugar-cube polio vaccine. (Wikipedia ref. – a weakened oral polio vaccine (OPV) developed by Dr. Albert Sabin, the sugar cube was first used in 1961.)
Dr. Jonas Salk’s inactivated (‘dead,’ IPV), first used in 1955, is still considered a gold standard of scientific achievement.
I was a “sugar-cube kid,” would’ve trusted any of the current vaccines, but I have no worries about Tuckaseegee, circa 1932. My Dad survived polio in the 1930’s when lots of kids died, and while his left leg was always visibly thinner, he served his country in the Navy. That some would risk death instead of taking a proven “You won’t die or wind up on a ventilator” shot makes me sad.
That a certain former president has made several attempts to claim credit for that vaccine success speaks to political gas-lighting. His denial of the pandemic’s (world-wide) deadliness, and his administration’s brutal mishandling of the health crisis enrages many. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/
Since ‘politics’ were part of everything this past year, it was surprising that tens of millions of protesters taking to the streets during the Black Lives Matter uprisings across the country didn’t cause the level of “super-spreader” infections that certain indoor events during his campaign did. (Sorry, facts are just part of my journalist background)
And now, ‘Selection Sunday’
Having watched my share – and perhaps the shares of several others, with three days of quadruple-headers – I’m ready to put my sportswriter expertise on the line by picking at least a few brackets worth. Gonzaga looks strong to me, Illinois has a HUGE center and guards like crazy, that’s my finals. Most experts are calling this a year for ‘chalk,’ meaning favorites.
Of course, during this messed up year, MILLIONS of others will be doing multiple sheets, which again, counts as normalcy. Will there be a chance to pick a perfect one, maybe win that $1 billion prize that’s been dangled the last couple years? (Not if the first two days of wreckage continues through weekend.)
Nahh, but winning cash, that’s not really the point. Most of the world is looking forward to the Olympics, which were delayed from 2020 because of the pandemic. Some will hold their fervor for the World Cup, scheduled for 2022 in Qatar. For Americans though, there is truly nothing like ‘March Madness,’ school ties and buzzer-beaters to cheer insanely for.
Because playing abbreviated seasons in ‘bubbles’ last Fall (ie- Edmonton and Toronto for the NHL) worked so well to reduce COVID infections for the high-priced talent in NBA, NHL, and MLB (baseball) leagues, this year’s three-weekend NCAA tournament will all be held in Indiana venues this year.
Being a righteously dragged-out fan from watching late West Coast games in 2019 will be mitigated by that fact, and even having gotten first Pfizer shot, I’m still not hanging out in bars in 2021. (Well, one two blocks away is mostly outdoors…)
As a WFH (work from home) content writer, it’s very possible I can grab a cup of java and be ready to start a workday by 8:15 anyway, but that’s the *only* thing COVID-19 has done for the viewer experience.
Congratulations America, with a special extra nod and two thumbs up of appreciation for the healthcare people and essential workers who got us through a truly terrible time. For every baller – male and female – who plays their guts out for our enjoyment, NOBODY laid it on the line more than you did. Amen.
As part of that Boomer Generation that turns sixty-four this year (Really? Friday? Huh…), where most haven’t got their retirement funds at millionaire level and ready for that sunsets-and-RV travel-the-country deal, its kind of ‘put up or shut up’ time. For once I concur with Snoop Dogg, “Down the rabbit hole we ALLLL go!” and almost nobody is guaranteed anything.
A Small History for Boomers
The Generation that survived Vietnam, and how that conflict split families across America, death totals every night on the news, that was us. There were REAL protests of 500,000 people at a time, hippies, dads, black/white, well before the miracle of instant communication arose. Civil rights got some air time, and the environment improved because we paid attention to it.
Robert Kennedy, speaking to an almost all Black gathering in Indianapolis as news was finally arriving about the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. is the ballsiest human-political speech I believe I’ll ever see. It was the only time he invoked his own brothers death, and from his heart and guts, he spoke of Truth AND peace, no filters or spin.
Indianapolis was the only major city in America that didn’t explode in violence that night. No sports analogy for that. We Boomers will always own the Moon landing, and EVERYBODY cared about Apollo 13 – saw it again last night – and in Sr. Mary Anthony’s class, we prayed for those guys.
That so many people of every stripe stepped up during the BLM protests, which jives with our collective Boomer regardfor doing ‘right,’ wasn’t this all straightened out back then?
I’m sure there was at least one environmental SuperFund site (thank you GE) in Schenectady, NY. Our journalism program at Linton HS actually followed socio-political news, and Highlights-“you journalism guys,” with our magic yellow hall passes – has been an identity at reunions. Ahhh, Karen Korniak and the majorettes… A bunch of us became the huge wave of journalism majors in post-Watergate times.
SOUTH Vietnam was overrun the spring of my senior year, 1975.
I never regret missing any part of the meat-grinder Vietnam was for my generation. 2020 was supposed to be our 45th reunion, because waiting for a 50th – who knows what could happen to even the Forever Young Generation by then?
Cripes, we thought Tricky Dicky was a menace to democracy! Turns out America has over 150 people in Congress – and a mob of angry white people with truth and rule of law wiped from their collective minds – who did worse than Nixon ever considered doing to the U.S. of A. as a country. Kow-towing to a RUSSIAN like trump? The idea of a Black President actually worked…
America, still a place to try whatever
I started a real estate class the week after 40th reunion, 79 hours of class time, LOTS of studying and taking chapter tests on line that were a very real part of qualifying for State exam, which I passed first time, a good ending to 2015. https://wordpress.com/post/cdtalententerprises.com/968
Coming out of The Great Recession, I went from reunion to first sale in 100 days, but it wasn’t quite the economic turnaround I needed. While I’ve come inside with a couple operations, since 2019, CDTalent Enterprises has provided skills working in collaboration situations.
I’m taking a philosophical mulligan on last year being Year Three of my transition to ‘long-term copywriting resource.’
For everything that’s going on in American politics and healthcare in a pandemic, Vietnam becoming a non-factor made college just part of a regular life – I was part of a two year blind spot that never registered. Whether ‘white privilege’ or just Boomer Lifestyle, a four-year double major (journalism and marketing) away from home, then first job as a road man regional rep ($14,000) for TIME, Inc., with company station wagon, twenty cold calls a day, improving retail displays.
“You’re a pretty good talker, you should be in sales,” was the thinking, and I learned plenty, then quit to move to Tampa and become a poorly-paid freelancer.
Yes, that was road-muscle building time, sports and city-magazine writing was a great entree in early ’80s. Comparatively speaking, there are an incredible array of ways to monetize writing skills and content now, when everyone has a website and blogs, and corporate voice material. “Long-form informational content” is the essential journalism of storytelling.
My mantra about best practices is giving the reader “content worth knowing about, considering and using.” Getting an acknowledgment of information being conveyed is okay – always the point with copywriting – even if it doesn’t entirely convince. I did it for a fire-fighter niche while a realtor – their professional aid response had given me another Christmas with Dad – so giving my best effort counted.
The Miracle on Ice, Al Michaels “Do you believe…!” 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, second month on the job, every Sports Illustrated, TIME, LIFE, and People magazine in my territory sold 95%-plus. That constituted a HUGE, real, shared, cultural event.
I’ve been a WFH (work from home) content writing-long form blogger for over two years, and I don’t fit easily in economic or pandemic vaccination criteria . Except for shooting hoops and greenway bike riding, I’m masked. Yes, pandemic is Job One, and as a Cat 5 person, I will get a shot aaaaany time they tell me its a possibility.
I come to vaccines from the anti-polio sugar cube kids experience, and for smallpox (I think I had chicken pox). My Dad survived polio as a child, his left leg was always thinner, but he (Navy) and three brothers, Donnie (USAF), Howard (USMC), and Harold (Navy) all served their country. My favorite nephew – parents have to love everyone the same, uncles and grandparents are allowed favs – Curtiss, is an Army Captain, wife Stephanie just delivered a baby girl. The Mom is ex-military (USAF), yes, we love our military people. (Smile – you too Malitzia.)
OF COURSE Grandma Donna was there, because especially in these very trying times, FAMILY COUNTS.
Life goes on isn’t political, its lifestyle
Another nephew and wife delivered Trace (Stephen Paul, III) last June, but first appearance in Charlotte (from Boston) was Thanksgiving. Surprisingly, even the hour of socially distanced family, with a little Tin Cup and a take-it-with-you cigar when leaving with a deep-fried bird, was ‘Enough’ to feel right on family. Mom has flowers and her senior community was vaccinated the end of December, good by me.
Life goes on, right? We Boomers learned that from experiences, not all of them good. I’ve had two bicycle crashes during lockdown, the August one with some substantial injuries, from toes to shoulder on right side. In North Carolina-speak, “I was tore up.” I did a couple blogs about it, but at no time was putting bike away part of any solution. I mentioned that in connection with voting at the time, like in keep doing it, not losing it.
In both cases, I recognized that always wearing a helmet saved me from tremendous negatives, same as seat belts and face masks, because I *heard* the thunk of helmet on concrete both times. Having a front wheel torque off and being DOWN in a heartbeat, and then being literally, physically saved from infection by a chance encounter with a PA while doing furniture pickups for a church operation – that sounds like karma coming around in a good way.
As a Boomer, I credit 35 years of regular bike riding as the core of being an active sixty-four. In real estate, we learned you never talked about age or retirement with Boomers. As I mention in a thought leadership piece about nonpandemic healthcare, all I needed during my last visit was blood pressure meds – physically I’m right, extra thanks for the new knee from ACA in late 2017 – Gimp no more!
Boomers were also early adopters of CBD, because good hemp *does* make a difference. While doing several months of content writing and loads of research for a CBD manufacturer, I learned those cannabinoids worked, I even helped convince a Type-A brother to use several after sampling. Yes, from me on focus (JMHO), yes for ‘anxiety’ by many, yes for topical cream doing an amazing job on Mom’s legs, a bit of service we Boomers probably won’t get down the line.
Crisis of Confidence, trying to keep good ‘tude
I self-published a romance novel with bonus money working in retail during the Great Recession. https://www.wattpad.com/story/216172684-cards-consequences-return-of-marlena-the Its true how having actual books in your hands makes an author-writer feel, but compared to my Dad as a kid… The distributor made a Coca Cola wagon for him, he brought iced Cokes around the Watervliet Arsenal, across the street from his home, returning with the amazing amount of $5 a DAY during the Depression, that is truly humbling.
Right now, with full knowledge of what happened in our democracy on January 6th, dammit, I still have to replant my personal flag.
I affirm as an American, Boomer, and content writing professional – whose been there and done that, maybe more than once – that I continue to get better with age, because us Gigger-Boomers are about that, picking up Zoom skills, reviewing keywords with clients, getting that corporate voice deal righteous.
Yes, plenty of opportunity to click on in 2021, even if being 64 on Friday leaves me wondering about what old is, because I still cycle and shoot hoops regularly and don’t groan getting out of bed. One serious thought for Mr. Azar, telling us in U.S. that there reeeallllly isn’t any vaccine sitting around in reserve – how long before that important shot in the arm makes my day as a Category 5 person?
Memorial Day will be 26 years in Charlotte – there might be some parties to get social at by then. Perhaps someplace where few contrary opinions about trump’s departure are the norm again. Wearing masks? We’ll see. That ’70s phrase “Always question authority” isn’t in vogue with COVID-19.
‘Normal’ isn’t what Boomers are about
‘Normal’ isn’t really what Boomers are about though. We jogged, played tennis, drank green stuff from blenders, probably burned a quantity of green stuff not from a blender, cheered for bratty McEnroe, remember the 444 days of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the kerfuffle of Reagan-Ollie North and guns for contras. My now a Democrat brother railed about “How else could they get guns?” (Answer – not THAT way if Congress didn’t fund it). Lakers-Celtics in the Finals every year, Clinton as President – THAT’S how to move an economy (and yes, Hillary got schtupped) – the millineum and then agony of 9/11 and where the World has devolved to since.
Thirty-five years since Challenger exploded.
I’m good about online collaboration, but also looking forward to seeing a friendly smile from across the room this year. Its not the same to nod at someone as you’re rolling past on the greenway.
Clients still need what I have an endless supply of, words arranged rightly. Gotta add ‘truthfully’ in there too, we can’t overstate that facts are still an essence in the process, not optional extras.
I obviously and truly admire the extreme dedication of news bringers who kept a bright, hot light on trump admistration thuggery, constantly connecting us with facts that counted on this long, long road back to within sight of Real again, The Washington Post people… To think I have similar writing DNA, yeah, that’s ego – like saying Tom Cruise and I both have blue eyes, two arms and legs, and same height. True, but…
Michael Beschloss paused on 11th Hour last night to give Brian Williams a sincere thanks for how he’s handled last four years, steering information consistently, productively, an unimpeachable and comforting resource, an accolade Williams certainly wears well. He knows and owns his singular fumble with Truth, but hey, the Pope wanted him to do the interview. His good humor and humanity works for me – Mom says she raised four gentlemen, and I’ll claim any quality in common like that. Your service and Truth is noted, an honor to stay up late with you, sir.
After a shout out to the FDA for allowing emergency use for a second COVID vaccine, I’ll also offer a definite thumbs up to the Re-cyclery here in Charlotte. On a shiny, pre-Christmas, Carolina-blue day in America, I don’t care if my front wheel is orange and the fork red while rest of bike is dark gray, physically getting my 30-year old Miyata back on the road constitutes my ‘essential worker’ for these coming, button-down times.
I am safe this Christmas week, as is Mom at Carmel Hills, and the New York brother expressed no discomfort in getting out from under a legendary 34″ snowfall, while I ride Clyde a couple miles on a cool, just 50-ish afternoon.
After nine months of being hunkered down with brother Mike, we know its just us for Christmas, although we’ll get to visit Mom on Sunday. They only allow one visit a week, and Steve said she talked strong and well in 30-minutes with her yesterday, as Joyful a message we can have and give thanks for this season.
I’ll start the sauce, a killer meat sauce instead of meatballs, for using on my first lasagna-making in a while. Turkey, ham have been good, I think Mike wants lasagna before he starts dieting – he mentioned needing to use current freezer space.
That’s going to be our Reality Christmas 2020, classic lasagna, maybe bump some elbows at church Thursday night, where I’ll be on lot patrol, but mostly watching football, knocking out a blog with a terrific slab of leftover lasagna Friday-Saturday afternoon, but I won’t be traveling.
There can’t be anything ‘more smarter’ for Americans to swallow hard on and change, because what so many on the move from now till New Year’s will statistically become, is part of some serious negatives, even as we hear the first million people have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Brian Williams, Snow day, Campbell’s Soup
At the end of a challenging 2020, that massive, classic snowstorm working its way https://www.cbsnews.com/news/snow-storm-weather-blizzard-northeast-noreaster/ through New England last week didn’t seem to cause much bitchin’ and moanin’. That’s because in Schenectady, NY and beyond, we’ve all lived through similar poundings before. Nothing crazy, no Hugo Chavez accusations, no Flynn reappearing on the radar, just snow, lots of it.
Got just the thing for it, say people with teenagers, or who do this often every year. Doesn’t happen that often, say Charlotteans and others not living in the mountains.
Snow isn’t an unseen COVID-19 virus, its dealing with something known and handled before, like clearing the porch 4-5 times instead of trying to walk the dog.
The highlight to what some might grumble was more bad news was totally offset by Brian Williams at the end of 11th Hour, when he read Dr. Bondy Shay Gibson’s official snow day letter to the Jefferson County School Dist., and saluted every person who makes decisions in favor of family memory making. An official snow day included no remote learning, and making a snowperson as suggestions.
I was moved to send a note to a Campbell’s soup spokesperson who liked my comment about the good-good thinking of every person to make such a declaration in favor of kid-ness. I sure dipped a LOT of grilled cheese sandwiches in Campbells tomato after a couple hours working a shovel, or watching ‘Wild Kingdom.’
Snowstorm memories include $$$
While the saucering and tobogganning and snowman-making from that story were legitimate, our family going to the golf course after church or many a cold night, spending hours going up and down always got better later, after lots of people got it packed down for better speed.
That Dad tossed brother David away from our full toboggan just before a couple college guys t-boned into us is a memory that’s obviously never gone away. College days, where I was one of only two guys who could steer a ‘boggan among Nu Yawk-types brings a smile.
Snow shoveling was the best thing for young muscles and money during all those years, always beginning with Dad – doing his impression of Sgt. Schultz on ‘Hogans Heroes’ – rousting us at 6 a.m. if necessary, to shovel at least a path on 150 feet of driveway so he could go to work.
Whatever else we did for our regular customers, that driveway, sidewalks, and walking into house had to be fully cleared when he returned at five.
Dad telling us to disengage the propeller and TURN OFF the machine before attempting to clear the chute when we finally got a decent sized snowblower, was never less than gospel, but apparently some guys I know didn’t get the same safety talk.
The optimal snowfall was like ten inches of the powder that nor’easter showed up with last week – easy to move out, significant enough to charge a premium. A corner house became a $12 job for a ‘regular,’ those people who knew you’d come.
Driveways were a test of strength to shovel, a definite kick upwards in economics of more-faster when you had the snowblower. If there was ice to be chopped, it was a point of pride to clear a place *real well*. Customer service was prized, and no problem negotiating, but we learned early that “Whatever its worth to you” and relying on kindness wasn’t a good business model.
That the city changed fairly quickly from older, maybe 10-foot concrete street lights to much taller green metal ones, came as a result of piling more plentiful than usual snow on the islands in many streets. That put inquiring youngsters within easy reach of globes, and the possibility of someone sliding off that snow and into the path of a vehicle on a main thoroughfare, or perhaps passing through many neighborhoods, became a factor.
The optimal snowfall was like ten inches of the powder that nor’easter showed up with last week –
easy to move out, significant enough to charge a premium.
The problem isn’t that lots of people just dug in, took that big nor’easter in stride during a challenging 2020. The fact we are going to have a truly terrible winter of death, that goes directly to seeing just how many people in America are on the move, poised to possibly infect or be infected by our closest, most huggable loved ones.
The snow and time of year memories, these will need to suffice this dark winter of extra intense hunkering down.
Its my fondest hope that the single day I sold Christmas trees for a church – our’s didn’t do it for first time in 34 years – and saw all those young families, searching in Chamber of Commerce weather that Saturday after Thanksgiving, if they remember that tree as any part of a great Christmas 2020 together, that’s *still* the good stuff. It was also THE best all-masked, people enjoying talking to others event I could have asked for after eight months. ‘Uplifting’ is the word I’d use.
Beyond the fact that $100 day was within reach during a 14-year olds snow day, circa 1971– compared to $1.65/hr. working at McDonalds at 16 (and who is FICA?), I’m still humbled by the fact my Dad made the princely sum of $5 a DAY during the Depression with his red Coca-Cola wagon, selling beaucoup drinks in the Watervliet Arsenal across the street from his house during the summer. Dad had polio as a kid, always had a smaller left leg, but served in the Navy, and I’m going to use his drink wagon story somewhere in my writing career.
I wonder how many kids like me still roam the streets, willing to put their backs into making their own spending money in this economy?
If all 85 million people on the move this holiday are as absolutely SURE of *nothing* negative happening as I was selling trees…well, they’re not.
Christmas – Of course ‘We want!’
One year, when the folks flew up from Tampa, there was actually enough snow in Charlotte to mostly cover the grass. Mom was thrilled at their first white Christmas in over twenty years, Dad stayed wrapped in a Panther blanket I got him for Christmas and said, “I’m cold, I’m cold.”
That’s also the year I arrived with my date just in time to stop Mom from hacking the meat off a drumstick. Dad was resisting, because he knew it was a tradition for me. Turns out Mom hated me chewing a drumstick since the early days, strange stuff to overhear after almost fifty years.
The two feet of snow, actually Thanksgiving weekend, which I recall coming the year Nebraska and Oklahoma met in a huge football battle, was the start of my mother and Mrs. Kline alternating making dinner for major holidays. I’m still not sure how Mom let us watch it during dinner – with her, dinner on-TV off was almost always the deal.
That I went back to school over semester break in ’77-’78, when it snowed *every*single*day,* and Buffalo eventually sent a VERY long trainload of snow to Charlotte is a little foggy, but the Khohtetec Blizzard, which was supposed to be the worst of the century, never showed up in Rochester.
Hearing it was coming – “Overthree feet and 60+ mph winds, with drifts to 9 feet, you should have three days of groceries” – set off panic buying in Wegman’s, people with carts front and behind. You get that kind of reaction in Charlotte for the THREAT of snow.
We brought more beers, bread, and burger meat in the last hour before that was supposed to hit, but those high winds blew the entire lake effect snow belt significantly north, clobbering Oswego. We had a great party after work called to tell me stay home, nobody was going to be moving.
The Khohtetec reference was a comet that came by around then, one particular cult thought it was their ‘ship’ to elsewhere, and like 26 people killed themselves when it didn’t mean a pickup for them.
Lessons learned in 2020?
Those comet-people and Jonestown used to be the standard for well, stupidity, for us Boomers. For any bloggers and/or trolls, accusing someone of “drinking the koo-laid” is a reference to about 960 people drinking cyanide-laced kool-aid in a mass suicide for a churchy-type ego-maniac name of Jim Jones.
Way back, way-way crazy, but compared to trumpies unwilling to mask-up when all applicable metrics are pinned in the red of overload, getting together enmasse and in close quarters? With the Spanish Flu pandemic of 100 years ago as a graphic case history? Wear a mask or die? Hmmm…
The dinosaurs didn’t die from stupidity, like continuing to smoke three packs a day – they didn’t have a choice about an asteroid that kicked up massive planetary dust, etcetra. A house-sized asteroid missed us around election time, just a 400-mile miss across the vastness of space, but staying hunkered down during a pandemic, that’s a smart, even if not happy, choice.
Dr. Fauci got out the word that he made sure Santa Claus got the vaccine.If that’s the best-reasoned lie I hear from anyone in trump’s realm of nutso about *everything,* we thankfully didn’t have to rely on any 2020 public relations from those lacking that humanity gene.
If you think, “It could be worse” while shoveling out from a nor-easter, people will share your estimation if they got extorted on the price for milk and bread at the only store they could reach back in the Blizzard of ’77, which was more a blizzard that just kept coming. Like hitting 100 degrees here in Charlotte, taking weather in stride is part of what makes us strong, and its hard to imagine worse for the thousands who lost all to rampaging fires out west, AND had to deal with COVID-19 and unemployment.
Okay, there’s something to be said for the smarts and survival instincts of the many State Dept. personnel who skipped Mr. Pompeo’s Christmas gathering. 900 invited, a couple dozen attended, that’s a lot of speaking with your feet. I’ve heard he and the wifey know how to entertain well, especially when somebody’s tax dollars are footing the bill.
With safety (maybe some luck), Christmas again in 2021
Christmas only comes once a year, but if you’re lucky, it comes again the next year is a lesson I hold dearly.
It wasn’t the same year as snow, but Dad wasn’t doing well (congestive heart), walking around at 5:30 am, my nephews were up, nurse friend they called said if Grandpa didn’t look good, call the paramedics. They came and packed Dad up; he spent three days in a hospital. Years later, when I was a realtor, as a more solid ‘Thank you’ than stopping by #14- Cotswold periodically, I served two fire stations my great spaghetti sauce and meatballs once a month for three months (to get all the shifts).
If once is Good, twice is Better, three times you’ve accomplished something, but those guys doing whatever meant that Christmas and another in 2012 with Dad, that’s all the motivation anyone should need. I saw paramedics work on a marginal homeless patient while doing an overnight for Room in the Inn – 20 full minutes in the truck, almost 3 a.m. – and she didn’t make it. It should be impossible not to think of protecting our loved ones to the max – and NOT hugging them now actually counts.
“It ain’t over till its over” is a well-honored athletic point of fact, and given the puke-worthy level of self-serving bastardization of prez power, meant for the righting of certain situations, but which trump has slopped around on a day to day basis, don’t expect relief until 12:01 on January 20, 2021.
Democracy took a whack with all this horses**t lawyering by GOP to invalidate 10 million votes, but both bike and the greater body politic are still sound vehicles, even if they’re being driven with a bit more caution.
The snow thing, we got that.
– Me. December, 2020.
I appreciate how smoothly my bike handles, it *feels* like a new bike, although I do go across bridges MUCH more carefully now. Safety comes more naturally when you’ve taken some bad injuries, but even “getting tore up” in August crash, if a ventilator becomes a reality, it won’t be because I sucked in the wrong air, traveling with millions of others. Amen.
‘Non-pandemic healthcare’ puts COVID concerns “over there” for a little while, because while all metrics show we’re leaning into another wave, https://carolinapublicpress.org/29967/coronavirus-in-north-carolina-daily-status-updates/ life goes on. Beyond ‘low grade depression,’ ‘cabin fever,’ or ‘just sick of it,’ concerns for elderly others, taking care of one’s own meds, and how an uninsured person pays for what’s necessary still constitutes healthcare .
“I have to leave here with meds” was the point of a recent office visit, and the essential question was, beyond a $75 office visit, how necessary was anything else to get those blood pressure pills? Recalling a 2019 appointment, when ACA coverage had a $740 tag for bloodwork and whatever (I paid $20 for office visit), I appreciated a helpful worker taking care of my “no insurance but a long time client” situation when I showed up.
While getting my meds from my regular doctor as a walk-in was relatively easy, the customer service skills of Loretta, a listener and ‘pleaser’ type, is worth mentioning. It turned out I didn’t need a physical at all, just to be SEEN by a doctor, to allow a prescription to renew. It was a small revelation to learn I could’ve been seen in July, I’d assumed everything stopped with COVID-19.
I used to think I was doing great when talking with senior center personnel; its as much their training to listen completely to seniors, who often can’t get straight to the point. Still, yay! for smart helpers like Loretta to make situations like mine just a regular thing.
After 16 months without being physically seen, an online service ($19) I tried could only renew my previous prescription for thirty days – its usually 90 day supply plus refills. While I got decent telephone support (and some sympathy), and the online version had only been up four months, there was a frustrating number of screens to view without seeing a choice close to my blood pressure priority.
There were more expensive options, where video connection replaced lower cost version, but it was an ungood surprise at pickup to learn all the effort only gave me a month supply.
It turned out I didn’t need a physical, just to be SEEN by a doctor, for my prescription to renew.Two hours and one blood test (kidney function check vs. med) later, Loretta rang up a satisfied patient for $115.
(Still way) Healthier than most
This was the first time I’ve been beeped for temperature (97.2) during the pandemic, and I’ve been hunkered down for seven months. I’m 63, 193 lbs. (same weight forever), and until an August bicycle accident, was riding thirty miles a week.
My BP was 132/82 that day, higher than normal by 15 pts., and I blame the first front person, at a different, earlier clinic operation I tried before Loretta (Novant).
Person #1 was right in suggesting I could go elsewhere if the pricing ($99) answer she’d given for my visit – instead of Prescription Refill ($89) function from their web site – wasn’t satisfactory. If she’d done as good a job explaining the difference, I’d have gladly given her my card without griping about it while driving seven miles and getting Loretta.
ACA coverage – better than I knew
Because its a big deal in the news, and will shortly be a case in the Supreme Court, I’ve appreciated having ACA coverage since it became mandatory, especially it handling most of a $6,900 bicycle accident and a knee replacement that rejuvenated my lifestyle at sixty.
I never needed to compare how much a $250,000 a year dentist covering a couple kids paid, but I lost my coverage in January because – after hoping a particular deadline falling on Sunday would work out – being a day late meant I needed to pay $970 for the first month of coverage. As for many Americans, having a large unexpected bill was a real problem, and the economics of food and rent overruled insurance.
That old “When you’ve got your health…” bromide still works, and millions are ‘skating,’ trying to make it through these crazy and stressful times. Seeing the worst kind of communicable health hazard appear without any coverage is a yikes! experience.
The “better than I knew” aspect was getting a check ($13 and change) from Blue Cross/Blue Shield because ACA had only used 79.1% (instead of mandated 80%) of premiums in 2019, so they split the difference among the masses. That’s got to change your attitude about all government programs as screwed up.
I’ve been “hunkered down” for seven months now, and had two bicycle crashes, one with actual injuries. That I paid a mere $8 for an anti-bacterial that a PA indicated I should get to handle what was a bit of infection in leg, doesn’t encompass how ugly the possibilites could have gotten.
People hear bike accident, they ask if you were wearing a helmet.
Yes, always, same for mask wearing, except when I’m moving 15 mph.
Ask questions, get answers
Things are more than a little confusing and scary right now, but there SHOULDN’T be any confusion about wearing a mask as worthy of doing for the good of all, and taking care of regular, non-pandemic stuff counts just as much. For many, that includes a loved one who needs extra attention, and speaking with people – ie. Loretta and my Mom’s doctor – who have specific information about specific situations, is still the best way to learn things.
Medical and nursing personnel know what’s going on, but they won’t just start providing a lot of “then this and then that” if you don’t ask. The people caring for Mom know she’s a ‘fiesty sundowner,’ but there’s no reason to think an elderly parent knows how they’ve reacted to a change of any kind.
Elementally, this is what my sales and journalistic training makes me good at, becoming a subject matter expert (SME) to the extent I can ask, “What about A, B, or C situations?”
When two brothers and I had 15 minutes of discussion with the doctor regarding the course of my mother’s medications, the reason for reducing or adding particular ones, and his most recent – that morning – meeting with her, we all got the facts at same time. BIG chunk of good intell there, even if events since then haven’t been as positive.
According to her doctor, she was admitted with a bladder infection – UTIs happen more than it should, she just won’t drink enough fluids – and antibiotics in seniors often change personalities. Though she’d only changed meds four days to that point, “her lab work was good, and she’s still a little bossy, but not physical” was legitimate. They’re aware of not ‘bombing her out,’ and she’d probably need most of two weeks to adjust to what her body was getting.
trump says he was low-keying things (“its like flu”) to avoid panic about COVID. In real life, most of us want the straight up information.
There won’t be any visits where she is, although two of us can have an hour together at her senior community after she comes back. Only one vendor reported to have broken protection there, which I trust. I relayed things to brother #4 in upstate NY, and particularly at this point, knowing what you can’t see or affect is being handled the best way possible, makes a solid difference in stress levels for others.
A quickie story
Although it represents very different circumstances, before she moved to assisted living side three years ago, she was in the hospital with afibulation problems. Four oncology doctors (that’s cancer arena) told me that, after a “sugar scan” they’d waited three days to take hadn’t shown anything “we’d still like to get a snip from inside the lobe.” What seemed like an unnecessary step – with a rubber-hosed scope the size of my pinkie going down her throat – had me smiling though.
“Thanks for the explanation, I think I have enough information here to accurately pass it along to everyone else. I’m not sure I’d go for anything invasive like that, especially involving anesthesia, but Steve is the one you’re really going to have to convince.” (FYI – No.)
Legally and operationally, someone has the final say on higher order senior healthcare. Voting at times of high stress rarely satisfies everyone involved.
Long, short, immediate COVID considerations (for me) start with keeping as close to home and always being masked for the last seven months (and yes, maskless clowns still tick me off), but I’ve decided to take care of what I can. They won’t go away after any election, but thus far, my steering clear of others has been successful.
We’ll see how that works out when I’m a poll worker for 15 hours next Tuesday.
Our church-related (St. Gabriel Men’s Club) community group had its first gathering since March in early October, a bring-your-own-chair with beers and brots, fire pit and comaraderie for a couple hours in the parking lot. We have a significant mix of much older fellows, so everyone wore masks.
We won’t have a Christmas tree sale (a 34 year tradition), the overnight Room in the Inn program (rated for 20 beds) for homeless is off, but we’ve still managed our furniture pickups for another ministry. It’s always done with masks on, and without doing the usual cooking and prep work once a month, paying for food at the Mens Shelter is the best we can do.
More immediate is my brother’s three days in South Carolina with his Mustang group this weekend – how many people can you trust when mothers send kids who have been exposed to school? I’ve been lax about wiping surfaces, but how many people might he be exposed to, was there a “less careful moment?”
With ZERO chance of attending a ‘super-spreader’ like trump’s Rose Garden events, and minimizing the moments here and there that become exposure, I’m doing the best I can.
The CDC changed ‘exposure’ from 15 minutes with same (tested or not) positive person to TOTAL 15 minutes in a day. That’s a legit piece of information, not to be discarded like trump’s continuing to hark back to “Dr. Fauci said no mask, now he says wear mask” like its sooo confusing. ‘Don’t’ was in March, not last week. As a current PSA points out, “This is a mask, not a political statement,” but we all wind up being at risk with non-maskers.
Being a good patient counts
Having $115 in checking account to pay for the office visit and a single blood test (checking for any kidney change) was a solid investment in my health. I didn’t have that available the week in August, when my bicycle tire torqued loose on a greenway ride, and as they say here in North Carolina, “I got tore up.”
A ‘skaters’ example of healthcare economics – A week after the accident, while doing a furniture pickup for that church group, a PA (physicians assistant) who pointed to a gouged-up leg and told me what I needed as an anti-bacterial to fight infection, THAT is a reason to use something. Within four applications, you could see results. Healthcare investment – $8, and thankfully, she was wrong about a possible torn ligament in my swollen ankle.
Having worn a helmet since (luckily) just before the first time I truly needed it years ago, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is still a good way to look at things like COVID and masks.
That long-promised stimulus check is finally in the bank, and that’s an economic situation working out. I feel for the millions who don’t have even that much control over what’s coming next. I’ve worked from a depleted refrigerator and cupboards along the way, but I *could have* gone to get groceries; it hasn’t been a choice between the food and medicine, or rent. No insurance, I sure dodged a bullet on that score.
A primary personal healthcare habit
Two bike accidents since end of March lock down aside, I consider cycling a primary personal healthcare habit – it gets a major share of credit for my continuing good body maintenance. Regular shooting of baskets is a habit from way before any pandemic made solitary activities the rule, and after a week of lousy productivity, I recognized-rectified fact the CBD oil I neglected to order (300 mg) made a difference with ‘anxiety’ levels and focus.
‘A dark winter ahead’
Right now, the fact of 100,000-plus reported COVID infections daily should create some awareness among non-maskers that attitudes and actions need to be changed. The sheer math of projected 100,000 a day over 78 days from elections to when Biden (please God, give us a chance!) can put something in place instead of “herd immunity” nonsense, is going to be necessary for survival.
Healthwise, the entire Midwest – actually 41 states – are statistically on fire, and our healthcare front liners are already exhausted. Those aren’t resources we can replace like another box of wine in the fridge.
I have three brothers and a mother with underlying factors that make COVID exposure a real threat. Yesterday I brought flowers with a chocolate bar (cookies and cream) and a nice note to her senior community nurses. I don’t know if she still reads the paper regularly, but the note said she wasn’t going to get let loose for trick or treating, chew on this. Also, chocolate brings a similar reaction to being hugged, and this was best I could do because I couldn’t see her.
For any changes on COVID to begin will require many, many more people doing things they may not want to.
The only perfect healthcare solution available is petting the dogs or other pets. That’s always a freebie, an organic anti-stresser.
Lately a “Be safe!” wish seems related to continued success dodging anything COVID-related, but I didn’t “fall off my bike” ten days ago, I had a solid accident. Just making a distinction guy-wise, nothing silly like falling. I’ll get to that shortly, but some dings from this most recent one look like they’ve got potenial to be long-term problems.
This country has been battered by a constant series of similar “bike accidents” in 2020, and having recovered from several incidents in the past, when someone asks if this will be the end of my cycling days, I’m sure both this country and I will survive. Bike riding has kept me in shape for over 35 years, and like our democratic roots, its a deep positive I won’t give up.
I couldn’t have been the only American who heard Michelle Obama’s “low grade depression” in describing current events that gave her a draggy feeling and immediately said, “I feel like that too!” Pretty much everything that’s come down the pike in 2020 has been like that, including unreceived stimulus checks, which brings a legitimate sense of pissed-sad.
That the protests regarding George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer set off weeks of people in the streets across the country was inspiring. Anything important enough to do that during a pandemic already causing huge amounts of suffering and death (171k) should get appropriate attention.
Like my bike accident, we can be thankful that protesting apparently didn’t become the super (spreader) negative it could have been. If I said the same about trump’s Tulsa rally, that would be snarky though, right? (I hear even Putin was swearing about that non-“super-spreader” fiasco…)
Of course, now we’re on to situation with USPS and voting, also reeeealll important, but Ms. Obama was absolutely right about how daily crushing of spirit seems to be integral to this administration’s operation. It takes discipline to produce if you’re one of 40 million? 50 million? who don’t have a specific (PAYING!) job, and Tuesdays look almost exactly like every other day.
For me, riding a keyboard, re-editing two online books on wattpad, without even touching my bike, is a driving force in making today count.
How my bike crash is like the U.S. mess
Whatever small change from the usual angle of my tire landing after ‘humping’ it over an inch high ledge of concrete was, it made a (BAM!) BIG difference in my ride. If trump’s EO extends unemployment at $400/wk. instead of previous $600 – but states have to kick in $100 of that – that’s $50 million/wk. that can’t be used elsewhere, according to Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. $100 won’t pay the rent, but its a small, tough difference to deal with.
While several body parts – shoulder, shin, calf, head, ankle – took impact, if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet, it could’ve been seriously worse. Bad as things seem now, if people hadn’t left work and school to fearfully hunker down at home in March-April-May, yes, the healthcare system would have broken. Front line workers are still short on PPE and reagents for testing, and exhaustion before the expected second wave this Fall is a very real possibility.
Does luck have anything to do with it? After suffering some wicked ‘gouges’ in leg from accident, I got to talk with a physican’s assistant (PA) during furniture pickups for a church organization Saturday. While she commented on a swollen ankle as possibly torn ligaments, that she suggested a salve – Bacitraycin – for possible infection from those bad scratches means they’ve healed remarkably in just four applications. Trump’s valet and his son’s girlfriend both tested positive for COVID, but nothing actually happened to him, Junior, or the girlfriend. (He didn’t catch it, I got better fast.)
Shoulder took a helluva crunch, because I went straight down when wheel popped off from (I assume) torque of landing. I’ve never done much weight work, just curls for arms and pullups, but fact it didn’t totally come apart makes me feel that years of bicep work was like hydroxychloroquine. Experts say that doesn’t do anything for COVID, but if you did it and nothing bad happened at clutch time, just take the non-event as a stray blessing and say thank you. On other hand, that Bacitraycin worked gratifyingly well on what it was MEANT to – infection.
Cycling has always been good for my body in the Big Picture. At sixty-three, I’m less than five pounds from best (188) rugby weight in 1986. If you’re active, things happen, and wearing that helmet doesn’t help with face plants, but wearing a mask everywhere except house, riding, or shooting hoops is NOT something I take for granted. If it only really helps one specific time – say, when you wind up with several non-maskers in an elevator – you’re more willing to continue wearing it.
There was nobody around to blame when I crashed. I sure didn’t see that wheel popping off when I’ve done that ‘up Simba!’ move hundreds of times over obstacles since I was a kid. Its obvious LOTS of Americans didn’t see asymptomatic people coming, and many didn’t know better themselves. I was the only person affected – quite directly – but non-maskers can pull off their particular mistake an untold number of times.
‘Social distancing’ is a cinch at 15 mph. Walking the neighborhood has its benefits on the calming front, but stretching it out physically, passing families who are getting through this together on greenway rides, its a good thing. Saying “We’re all in this together” is simplistic, but the mental health people say its worth the effort to move our endorphins vs. just moaning in isolation.
On a bottom line, I look and feel (minus or despite current dings) physically better in cycling gear than *anybody* does on a ventilator.
Worth the effort against depression
“Low grade depression” America? Yep, see it, understand it, know that drinking cheap wine won’t change anything for the positive. Can I get back on the bike any time I want and cycle safely again soon? Sure, but I’ll need to tighten up that front fork that allowed my wheel to pop loose and dump me so dramatically and painfully.
For years I rode in the streets, ignoring the potential dangers of swerving around potholes and dead possums and expecting drivers behind me would not clip me with a fender. You can’t take all the danger out of riding, I know that – when you’re active, things happen. I also know I can be a little more careful on specific things, like ‘humping’ over small obstacles.
Oh, and my vote WILL be counted, because I’ll safely *walk* it right to the Board of Elections office, and I look forward to a 64th birthday, when the cause of todays depression is removed from office. Just sayin’.