Friday, April 3, 2020
Finally, it’s Tequila Friday – even during the virus
We enjoy a longstanding ritual in our house of celebrating and memorialization of Finally it’s Friday with tequila. Good tequila. Sipping, savoring, lingering tequila. Not that you can’t enjoy tequila on any other day, but, what better way to set the tone that the weekend is here? And, for all of you folks reading this that are still working, yes, the weekends mean something even to retirees. It’s those two days when all our working friends are available to play with us. The approach of Friday still creates a building feeling of excitement.
Maintaining rituals that give you joy during this time of coronavirus is very important. So, whatever might bring you joy that Friday has, indeed, arrived, is cause for celebration. In this time of the virus, finding small reasons for celebration is really important to give us a bit of a release valve.
We may not wait as late in the day to crack the bottle as per usual, but crack it we will.
Cheers to you and your joy. But first…
Finally, our Governor learned what the world knew for weeks, if not months.
Governor Brian Kemp announced on Wednesday that he was going to sign an order on Thursday that would put the whole state of Georgia on a “Stay at Home” order on Friday because, well, he just learned in the last 24 hours (that would have been on Tuesday) that, uh, people who don’t even know that they have been infected with the virus can actually spread the virus. I mean, he’s in charge of the whole of Georgia. He has people to advise him. He could watch the news and see that all of the scientists in the land have been warning us about that fact. Not only could some person we don’t know have and spread the virus before they even knew they had it, but, actually, each of us could be infected, not know it, and spread it to people we know and love…and to people we’ll never know.
Sorry to go political on you here for a moment, but there’s a direct connection between Kemp and Trump. And Kemp fell in line with Trump’s position of denial as did many other Republican governors across America. That includes the dolt in Florida who allowed the beaches to remain open for Spring Break. Yes, the mayors and county managers played a role in that, but the governor could have used his power to protect the citizens of Florida, and those crazy citizens from out of state who flocked to what they turned into an incubation site.
I am left without words to describe this stupidity.
The Virus and Senior Citizens Communities
My mom lives in a pretty large retirement community in Durham that opened 20 years ago. They have been on lockdown for over a week, and had put social distancing practices into place prior to that. And, get this, they went into lockdown without one case of COVID-19! They chose a preemptive measure to protect these highly social and highly vulnerable charges.
With the lockdown, no one passes through except for employees, all of whose temperatures are checked before they can pass. Even relatives are not admitted.
All deliveries are intercepted at the gate, taken in by the “command center,” then delivered to the residents.
Almost all residents are on some kind of meal plan which generally is served in the dining hall. Now, residents order all meals a day in advance which are delivered to their home or apartment the following day. Residents cannot gather or visit one another. Weekly housekeeping has ceased for fear that the cleaning crew could inadvertently spread the virus from home to home while they were, ironically, cleaning.
This isn’t the Home’s first rodeo. They went into lockdown in 2010 when they were hit by the Norovirus. The management team has institutional knowledge built by experience and best practices.
When news of the novel coronavirus began to service in January and February, the team started making preparations. I know because I personally spoke with the executive director. They had calls with the CDC and members of the Durham board of health along with advisors in the medical community at large. And what they learned was that this virus was coming and it was time to get ready.
They began ordering supplies in advance, reviewing with their associated medical staff from Duke University Hospital. They trained their staff, preparing them for the safety practices necessary. And, they prepared to handle the anxiety, fear and occasional anger and frustration from residents that could come with any kind of quarantining restrictions.
Beginning in mid-March, the executive director began holding a closed circuit talk every day which is transcribed and emailed out to all residents. He has different members of his staff join him on days, sometimes to review the health side, sometimes reviewing the meals system, sometimes their director of physical fitness…you get the picture. And I receive it every day and forward to our family.
The team has been working, adapting and improving their plan along the way.
This is how our federal and state government should have been acting on our behalf. Organizing, communicating and leading us through a planned response based on the best science supported by a prepared medical system and using military precision.
Happily (so far) for my mother’s community, that has been the case. And, to date, not one case of coronavirus or the flu has been reported. Zero. Now that can and probably will change. But early action gives them more of a fighting chance for the most vulnerable among us.
Sadly for our country, that has not been the case. And the results have been fatal. Need I say more?
The irony of this the Spring of Coronavirus
My goodness, the weather couldn’t be more beautiful. To quote my former boss, “It’s why we live in Atlanta.” Yes, every place enjoys Spring in its own way. I know that my friends in Pittsburgh do. They just have to wait another month or so for it to creep up there. Here, it just explodes. Sometimes, a little ahead of the last frost and we lose our pear and cherry blossoms, and maybe the japanese maples get stung and have to rebud. But not this year. The daffodils popped in late January and foretold a beautiful embarking into Spring.
Beautiful until…something else blew in with it. Something else the likes of which we had never experienced, the results of which we’d never seen.
And now it’s upon us. But unlike the signs of Spring, we cannot see it. We have to avoid it “like the plague with an abundance of caution which means we are highly restricted in our outward enjoyment of the great weather. Parks are closed. Beltlines and trails are out of bounds.
If you have a yard, enjoy it to the max. Make it your private park. Julie and I have planted bulbs this year for the first time in a long time. We’re digging a little bit almost every day. Seeds are next. Flats of flowers for some of our beds are in the queue too. Only this year, we won’t be wandering through Pikes, our local garden shop. We’ll call in an order, have them put it together, and we’ll go pick it up. Not as much fun but the results are the same. Blooms that bring us joy and beauty.
Update on playing games
Well, I told you a few updates ago that Julie and I had dusted off the Backgammon game, reviewed the rules, and now we’re playing the best out of three. Here’s the problem. It’s only taking two games each night for Julie to defeat me. She’s won four straight. Not that I’m counting. A couple have come down to her being just one roll ahead of me. Last night she emptied her board leaving me with one checker left right at the off rail.
I’ve got to improve my strategy.
Clark and Blair joined with their cousins, Peyton and Russell, are playing board games online. Clark is in Portland, Russell in Raleigh, Peyton in Knoxville and Blair in Atlanta. They are all big time board gamers.
Playing video games online certainly isn’t new, but playing board games online is. They played 7 Wonders.
Stay the f**k home!
If you are lonely, and many of us are. Do something about it. Call someone you haven’t talked with in far too long. Take advantage of the extra time you may have – since you don’t have to commute to work. The info on the myriad number of things that you can do with this time on our hands – which may feel like not doing anything but is actually doing the MOST IMPORTANT action we can each take. In the words of Samuel L. Jackson, “Stay the F**K home!” It’s hilariously serious. Here’s the full interview of Jimmy Kimmell with SLJ. The poem is six minutes in if you need to get to the meat of it.
Stay healthy. Stay informed. Stay out of the parks! And stay the f**k home!