My Quarantine Life: Week 50

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Simon is sleeping all nice and warm.

Wow. It’s been almost a year since I’ve been in quarantine. I’m not allowed to be indoors with any other people. I am not allowed to go to the grocery store or pharmacy. I have had one in person doctor appointment where someone touched me for a blood draw. All my other appointments have been virtual.

The pandemic has been challenging on so many levels. We are still experiencing food and supply shortages. Right now, I am having difficulty getting cat litter. It has been a year since I have been able to get retail toilet bowl cleaner, so I have just been using baking soda to clean my bathroom. 

Prices on everything have increased significantly. This year, effective January 1, 2021, my municipality decided to raise my property taxes by 20%. Yup, you read that right, 20%. My mortgage increased to cover the escrow and I am now paying thousands of dollars a year more in taxes. 

I am now paying 3-4x more per month for food and supplies. I am doing everything I can to try to keep my expenses down. I am using a lot of cloth items and drastically reduced my use of disposable paper products such as paper towels, toilet paper, and tissues. 

I have also been concerned about my utility bills. My idea was to reduce my utility bills by turning my heat down. This was a great idea in theory, but did not work well in practice. Here’s why:

There is at least a 5 degree difference between the upstairs and the downstairs in this house. When I turned the heat down, the downstairs was tolerable, but the upstairs temperature dropped into the 50s. This made me concerned due to plumbing. I did not want pipes to freeze with indoor temps in the 50s. I get squeamish about pipes if the temp dips below 60. So I had to turn the heat up enough so that the upstairs would be at least 60 degrees.

Second, I am home all the time now. Last year, there was a huge difference in working all day in a 68 degree office and then coming home at night to a slightly cool house. It did not bother me one bit. But now that I am in the slightly cool house 24/7, it’s chilly. 

Being chilly also makes me feel guilty about the cats. I had the office to go to last year and only came home to a cool house at night. For the cats, this is their entire world. I feel so bad I left them a bit chilly. Now that I am home all the time, I understand more what life is like for an indoor cat.

I turned the heat back up to 68 degrees. That’s where it’s going to stay.

I have no idea how I’m going to afford the utility bills when my heat is on 68 degrees, but we have to be here all the time, so we need to be comfortable. I also have to keep the heat in the house at a reasonable temperature for maintenance reasons.

It helps a little that student loan payments have been suspended right now. Since my mortgage, food and utilities have all gone up, not having a student loan payment takes a little bit of pressure off. Not much, but a little. When student loan payments resume, then we will definitely have to take more drastic measures to reduce our utilities somehow.

So the lesson for this week is that our thermostat is staying on 68 degrees. We just couldn’t stand having it on 63, especially with the upstairs piping being much colder. 

With all of the power outages and everything else going on in the country right now, we are very thankful to have power and heat. 

Pandemic Finance

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All 3 cats sleeping on me while watching a DVD. My reason for life.

If you are one of the people who are lucky enough to still have a job in America, that does not make you immune to pandemic financial devastation. Not only are people losing their lives and their jobs, but those who are still working are losing savings and spending unprecedented amounts for just the basic necessities.

I am one of the fortunate ones that still has a job. Even though I’m working, the pandemic has completely drained my savings, caused me to go into debt, and make drastic changes to my behavior to try to reduce expenses. 

Why? Well, first look at food shortages. If you can obtain food, we are often paying 3-4x more for the same item compared to before the pandemic. Second, any item you obtain means that someone literally risked their life to either obtain it for you or make it for you. It’s time we started paying our essential workers for what they are – essential. That means tipping well for any services you may be receiving in the pandemic when other people are risking their life to keep you safe.

Some people (and I am one of them) are privileged enough to work from home to reduce exposure to the virus. It’s a great thing, especially for those of us in the high risk group. However, that does not mean that people should sit at home aimlessly clicking and buying things from the internet. You may think that internet shopping is just a few clicks, but think of how many people are putting their life at risk just so you can have that new gadget or toy right now.

Given the current situation, I know that I need a major overhaul of my finances if I am going to survive this pandemic. I went from living paycheck to paycheck to living on a shoestring. Now that President Biden has been elected, there is hope that America is going to actually survive the pandemic instead of just being a country of dead people. It’s time to make a plan for how to survive this time.

Here is my 5 point pandemic finance plan to try to survive until this is all over (whenever that may be). 

  1. Decrease spending. I will be instituting a No Spend 2021. There is more to come on that later in a future post. Basically, a no spend plan is an experiment that people typically do short term. Some people try a no spend week or a no spend month. For me, 2021 is going to be a no spend year. I’m hoping that it will help me to reach my financial goals of getting some money saved to cover emergencies.
  1. Increase savings. The goal is that by decreasing spending, I will increase the amount of money that I have to save. In order to increase savings, it means making behavioral changes to lower monthly bills so that more money can be saved. Pinch a penny until it screams. It’s only for one year. Increase savings also means any type of windfalls – if we get any more government stimuli – gets saved. 
  1. No more alcohol. I don’t think I drink a whole lot. I have had two, maybe three bottles of wine since my birthday in March (about the past 8 months). Alcohol is extremely difficult to obtain during the pandemic. A bottle of wine is $15-$25 that can be saved to spend on other things. If you figure I spend $100 on 4 bottles of wine a year, that is $100 that can go to something else (like my 2021 race season – more on that later too). There are plenty of more affordable treats that can be substituted for wine. I have been getting a 2-liter bottle of ginger ale every once in a while during the pandemic and putting cherries in it like a shirley temple. Spending $2 on a bottle of ginger ale saves money over a $25 bottle of wine.
  1. One grocery treat per month. In decreasing spending, some people see spending increase in other areas, such as groceries. We all have to find some way to treat yourself, right? I am instituting a one grocery treat per month rule. That way my grocery order does not end up being all Enjoy Life bars and ginger ale. For the record, many of my food treats are unavailable right now anyway due to the food shortages. So this rule is pretty easy to stick to. I have been living in a state of food deprivation for 8 months now waiting for the supply chain to recover.
  1. Speaking of groceries and paying essential workers like what they are – essential. While the Instacart fees are quite low (they have been averaging $2-$3 with my membership), I do tip my Instacart shopper like the essential worker they are. I am happy that the money is going to a local person who needs the job to provide for their family. I am grateful that they are risking their life to keep me safe. However, I cannot afford to support another person. I am limiting my Instacart orders to two per month, which pretty much mimicks my grocery shopping pattern prior to the pandemic when I was able to go to the store myself. I did have one month recently where I had 3 Instacart orders. This was mostly because I was trying to readjust my weeks so that I was not sending an Instacart shopper to the store at the beginning of the month, when the store is more crowded and there is more risk. 

When I Instacart, all of my groceries come from Aldi. This is a change to my pre-pandemic shopping habits, and it is saving me loads of money. Prior to the pandemic, when I was doing my own in-person shopping, I would have to get groceries at three different stores due to my food allergies and because I had some (unfounded) prejudices against certain items at Aldi. Using Aldi 100% as the only store at which I shop is saving me so much money, I wish I had made the switch sooner. I will talk more about one-stop shopping at Aldi in a seperate post. 

There is much uncertainty for the future of this country in the pandemic. While the election of President Biden gives us hope, that does not mean that 100% of the people in this country will be spared. We are still experiencing hardships. The hope is that by having someone calm and intelligent in charge, that America will be able to minimize deaths and financial devastation from the pandemic. While we now have hope for the future, that does not mean we can sit around and wait for a government bailout. It’s time to make changes now in our individual lives so that we can survive the pandemic.

For me, that means trying to get more money saved so it is there for the uncertainty of our future. This house is what is keeping the cats and I together. This house is home. I am a single person with one income, and the economy is highly unstable right now. We all need to be making the best choices possible to try to survive this time.

What pandemic finance tips do you have?

Be on the lookout for future posts on:

  • No Spend 2021
  • One-Stop Shopping at Aldi
  • Running Through A Pandemic
  • My Biggest Life Change for 2021

My Quarantine Life: Week 22

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Simon is taking a nap.

Dear God, Thank You for hot dogs, pineapple and marshmallows. Thank you for the people who literally risked their lives in making my food and the ones who risked their lives in obtaining the food for me. Amen. It sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? It sounds like something a child would say? In the midst of enduring, widespread and prolonged food shortages, this is my reality this week. Welcome to America, where we are going hungry. 

Someone dropped off hot dogs for me. It was the first time since May I have been able to obtain hot dogs. I almost cried. I received 5 packages of hot dogs. Some of them are in my freezer. We will see how long they last. I have been making my Depression-era “Poor man’s meal” of potatoes and hot dogs almost every day since I received the hot dogs. I am currently defrosting a second package of hot dogs.

I also received several cans of pineapple this week. If you remember from one of my early pandemic posts, I have not had pineapple since February. It has been 6 months since I have been able to obtain pineapple. The last time I was at a grocery store in person was the first week in March. I remember posting how (at the time) the only hole in the grocery store was pineapple. 

Of all the things to hoard, people are hoarding pineapple. I still do not understand why. But for the first time in 6 months, I now have about 4 cans of pineapple. I am going to enjoy them as much as I can. In fact, now that I have pineapple again, I am kind of saving them. I don’t know what I am saving them for. I just know that receiving pineapple right now feels so precious and rare. I have an entire list of ways I want to eat pineapple. 

I have a bag of marshmallows I am hiding. You could call it hoarding. But would you really call it hoarding if I only have one bag of marshmallows? Well, I have a bag of marshmallows that I am saving. I am saving the marshmallows for this fall when the weather finally cools down enough for me to use my fire pit. As soon as the temperatures drop from the current 100 degree weather into more manageable 50 degree weather, I am going to have a fire in my fire pit and roast marshmallows. It will be the closest thing to camping I get to experience this year. 

Depending on how the pandemic goes this fall, I could even theoretically invite a friend over and share the marshmallows. I have been, after all, approved for “outdoor socialization.” This would be as long as we are masked and distanced and no one goes in the house, of course. That “no indoors with people” is the hard part. Dear COVID: You are a buzzkill. This pandemic even makes it difficult for me to share my marshmallows.

I am still grateful I have a bag of marshmallows and cannot wait to toast them outside. I know that marshmallows are a luxury item and not a necessity. No person can survive on marshmallows. I wouldn’t want to. I just like roasting them a few times a year. 

I still say that when this is all over, I want pizza. Of course, the special pizza that accommodates my food allergies is not available right now. That’s because this is America, the land of food shortages. It’s ok. I can dream. I will wish for allergy-friendly pizza for Christmas. If the food factories are still closed by the pandemic, I will wish for allergy-friendly pizza for my birthday. If the food factories are still closed then, well, I just wish to be able to eat an allergy-friendly pizza once more before I die.

Have you obtained any hard to get foods among the food shortages that you have been so happy to have?

My Quarantine Life: Week 19

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This bird visited our feeder recently. The front part is primarily all red, and the back is black and white.

Cases of COVID-19 have doubled in my county in the past 2 weeks. We now have more COVID cases this month than we had in the 3 months we were in “lockdown” combined. People continue to just go where they want and do what they want and no one wears a mask. I have yet to see a single person wearing a mask on the rare times I get to leave my house.

A few weeks ago, I said that my goal was to live until my next birthday in March. Given the current circumstances, my goal is to live long enough to see Christmas. We are all either going to end up dead or unemployed.

This week, a 6th person I know has died. I have now known 6 people who have died since April. I have never had 6 people I know die in one year before, let alone in a 4 month time frame.

People I know who can go to stores tell me that shelves are still empty in places and that there are limits on certain items. For me, nothing has changed. There are still food shortages in the allergy community. Many items I cannot get at all because they are not there. When I am able to get food, I am paying 3x or 4x more than before the pandemic.

I am very happy that I get this time to be home with my cats. I try to keep things as normal for them as possible so that they do not know we are in the middle of a global crisis. The only thing that is different for them is that I am pretty much home all the time. I am not sure if that is setting off alarm bells for them or if they are just enjoying it. 

I can say that if I do die, these months home with my cats are the happiest of my life. I love spending time with them. 

That said, I am so sick of this pandemic and wish it would just end. 

I am hoping to be able to get some relaxation this weekend. I have now been working 14+ days straight without a day off because people seem to think “working from home” means “available all the time.” Even when I tell people it is my day off, they say “but I just need …” and continue talking. If anyone calls me this weekend, I am going to hang up on them. Fair warning. 

I am extremely grateful to still have a job, but I am really over this “working from home” shit. 

Being in quarantine when everyone else is running around makes me feel forgotten. Instead of calling me for work and yelling at me about pandemic related issues I cannot control, it would be nice if someone would just call to ask “how are you?”

The hard part is, I do not have much to talk about right now since I am still in quarantine. My big excitement of the day is when a new, unknown bird visits my bird feeder.

We are all living in our private hells right now.

Stay safe, be kind, and please wear a mask. 

My Quarantine Life: Week 18

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This was at my doctor’s appointment yesterday. It was my first human contact in over 120 days.

Isolation Log was supposed to be a fun Star Trek spoof. Except isolation isn’t fun. This entire COVID-19 situation is not fun. 

Yesterday, I saw my primary doctor for a check-up on my “health conditions.” It was the first time in over 120 days I had been touched by another human. Due to the virus and my health conditions, my quarantine has been extended until at least January 2021. Quarantine is my new normal. It’s time to adjust.

There was a TV commercial long ago about buying the world a coke (as in coca-cola soda pop). We are beyond that now. What the world needs is a hug. Even if the world doesn’t need a hug, I do. I may ask the doctor to hug me at my appointment in January. 

Quarantine is the new normal for the foreseeable future, so instead of isolation logs, we can chronicle my quarantine life. I am still not supposed to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, or pretty much anyplace where there are other humans in the same building as me. This is mostly because there are cases locally of COVID-19 travelling through HVAC systems and infecting people even when they are “distanced” from each other. 

I am not supposed to ride in a vehicle with another person I have not quarantined with (actually that piece of advice applies to everyone, not just me) the doctor told me. 

The good news is, in addition to curbside “touchless” pickup being okay for me, I am now also “approved” for outdoor socializing. I actually have already done this twice prior to the doctor giving me the okay because it seemed safe to me. I can socialize with other people outdoors as long as everyone wears a mask and maintains the 6 feet of distance. I have not been approved for “indoor” socializing yet. Anyone who comes near me anywhere is supposed to wear a mask.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around all of this. Even though I am okay at home and very happy to be home, I still really want a hug. I miss humans. 

The goal is to take one day at a time and to remain as safe as possible. My biggest challenges are food and work. As long as I can take care of those two things, then I am fine. 

Speaking of food, we still have huge food shortages in the food allergy community. There is also price gouging. I used to spend $4 for my allergy friendly flour. The same package is now $21. I have lost almost 10 pounds due to the food shortages because it has been hard trying to get food when all of the shelves are bare. Since I weigh less than 100, I don’t really have 10 pounds to spare.

Hopefully someone somewhere will figure out the problems with the food supply so that the food shortages end. If I am able to live long enough to see my next birthday (in March), I really want pizza. We will see if that happens. Pizza is one of the things I have not been able to get due to the food shortages. 

So, my quarantine has been extended and it is time to adjust to life with this as the new normal. Quarantine life is not a temporary thing. Even if the virus ends and my quarantine ends in January, I will have lived this life for almost a year by that point. It is time to get used to it. 

Welcome to my quarantine life. 

 

Old Habits Die Hard

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Simon in the window enjoying fresh air.

In times of stress, it is common to fall back on our coping skills. Some coping skills are positive and some coping skills are negative. As we age, we gradually replace negative coping skills with positive coping skills. When you know better, you do better.

Some coping skills are not necessarily negative, but there comes a point when a particular coping skill is no longer needed because you have overcome the problem. Either the life situation has changed so that you do not have that problem anymore to require a coping skill, or you have adapted to the situation in such a way that it is no longer a crisis which prompts coping skills.

This coronavirus pandemic is unlike anything we have ever lived through before. It is prompting all types of coping skills in people, myself included. 

I keep trying to find something to equate to our current situation. After all, the beauty of coping skills is that if they work for one crisis, they will probably work for another.

I spoke earlier how the pandemic is worse than when I was in New York City on September 11. I stand by that statement. At least in 2001, one could leave the City and escape somewhere else where life was still relatively normal. In this pandemic, there is no escape. It is pervasive. It alters our daily routines, habits, and life. It even alters our homes, which is the place of sanctuary for many. Your home is like your lair where you can freely be yourself, and now your place of refuge is being invaded by “working from home.” 

In trying to somehow wrap my brain around this pandemic and what it is doing to life, the only situation with which I can equate the current situation is when I was homeless. Even that is not completely accurate. The only parallel between homelessness and the pandemic is the stress and the scarcity. Trying to figure out how to get food and basic supplies. Other than that, the comparison is an oversimplification. I have someplace safe to live with my family. The only challenge is how to get supplies safely.

Below I am going to outline three coping skills that have made a resurgence for me in the current crisis. I honestly never thought I would have use for these coping skills again. I thought I had finally gotten to a point in life where they are no longer needed. I thought wrong. 

Old Habit # 1 

Toilet paper. Oh, yes, you knew I was going there, didn’t you? Toilet paper is the story of my life. When I was growing up, I would have to make one roll of toilet paper last 4-6 weeks. Now, due to the coronavirus, I have decided I am going to do the same.

I am going to make a 12-pack of toilet paper last for an entire year. I am probably going to be doing this until I die. 

Buying one 12-pack of toilet paper each year saves money. By using less toilet paper, I can take the $5 or $10 I would have spent on toilet paper and use it instead to purchase food. Yes, our economy is that decimated. Food shortages are pervasive and real.

I am supplementing my one roll of toilet paper per month with cloth baby wipes. Some people may complain that this creates more laundry. They are small. I do not think it creates more laundry. Plus, now that I am wearing pajamas twice instead of once, there is “space” for the cloth baby wipes because I am going through less pajamas.

In fact, I am actually saving water by using cloth baby wipes for pee. I flush my toilet less. When I use paper toilet paper, I typically flush the toilet every 2-3 uses so that the toilet does not get clogged with the paper. Using cloth baby wipes, I only flush the toilet once or twice per day. There is no paper in it, unless there is # 2, which gets flushed immediately. 

Old habits die hard: I am only using one roll of toilet paper per month, similar to when I was growing up and would have to save the nickel change from food stamp purchases to be able to afford one roll.

Old Habit # 2

When I was in grad school, I would work Tuesdays through Saturdays instead of Monday through Friday like all of the other executives in my office. My grad classes were on Mondays, so this worked well for me. Weekends were Sundays and Mondays. I loved it. 

It was also nice having a weekday off, because if I need to schedule a doctor or some other appointment, I could do so without having to take off of work. The only challenge was that some places are not open on Mondays. For example, I remember I could never get my hair appointment on a Monday because the salon was closed on Mondays.

Trying to work from home during coronavirus has been a challenge due to little to no internet service. I type things into google docs so that I can copy and paste into an email when I do have internet service. I hope that I can get things in fast enough to be able to send the message before I lose service.

Also, being that I am in the high risk group, I am extremely apprehensive at returning to the office and being surrounded by my coworkers who have many many more exposures than me. I do not feel that is a safe situation. I can only control myself. I cannot control people around me.

I have asked to change my current work schedule from the Monday through Friday back to the Tuesday through Saturday format, and it is going great! I actually get decent internet service on Fridays and Saturdays so I am able to get more work done. This is in contrast to Mondays, where I spend all day waiting for one web page to load, and it may not even be the web page I need. 

Also, if I do have to go into the office, which I did this past weekend, I have the entire place to myself. I can get things done with minimal exposure. I have always worked well independently.

Tuesday – Saturday work reminds me of when I was in grad school. Summer 2015 was one of the best summers of my life, so there are good memories of this work schedule. I feel good.

Old Habit # 3

 Make do or go without. This was the mantra of the Great Depression and it is again the mantra of the Great Depression part 2. It was also what got me through the 4 months of hell when I found out my rent on my apartment doubled (with 2 weeks notice) and I was trying to buy the house.

I have spent so much money on trying to get food these past two months that I have completely blown my budget. It’s different when you have to have other people shop for you and then reimburse them. It’s also hard when you are trying to keep a week’s worth of extra food on hand in case people can’t get to you right away. I am dependent on when other people go to the store.

I do not want to ask people to go to the store for me because then they are putting themselves at risk for me. So I’ve been telling people to let me know when they are going to the store for themselves and I will just add to their list. 

Throw in multiple food allergies to that mix and the food shortages of food allergy specialty items … well, it’s been rough.

So my mantra is to make do or go without. I literally have no extra money to spend on anything. If you are expecting me to “stimulate” the economy, forget it. The only thing I am doing is paying my essential bills and food.

To this end, I have cut out all non-essentials. That includes hair cuts. Hair salons are still closed right now anyways, and even when they do reopen, I do not feel safe enough to go back. 

I am going to isolate and socially distance myself for a very long time until I am sure this is over. It could be years, and I am okay with that.

This means I will be cutting my own hair. 

Previously, “make do or go without” meant that I only had my hair cut twice a year. My hair was really long – down to my butt. What I learned was that only getting it cut twice a year saved me money but was horrible for my hair. My hair ended up so damaged that I ended up having to get it cut into a bob. 

Many people have said that I should grow out my pixie and that I can save money on haircuts by just letting it grow long again. The problem is, that is not healthy. Plus, long hair is a major pain. Now that I have had a pixie, I am not going back to long hair again.

I finally got a pair of clippers and buzzed it off. The clippers were $60. Since I usually pay $50 for a haircut, it will only take two hair cuts for the clippers to pay for themselves. If I do not go back to the salon and continue to do my hair myself, that is money saved I can use for food.

It is going to be a very long time, possibly even years before I will feel safe enough to go back to a salon, to be honest. Make do or go without. I am making do by cutting my own hair. I will go without the salon. 

Another way in which I am making do or going without is air conditioning. I still do not have enough money to get air conditioning for my house, even though it is medically necessary. Heat exacerbates my neuro symptoms. I have to go without, so I am making do.

We are supposed to get a heat wave later this week. I do not have money to buy any more black-out curtains for the windows, so I am going to go ghetto and tape towels and blankets over windows in addition to the curtains I do have. The more I can block the light, the cooler it will be in the house. Or, at least, I hope so. We will see how bad my neuro symptoms get. 

I am making do and going without air conditioning because I can’t afford it, no matter how medically necessary it may be.

What old habits do you have that have come back to help you cope with the pandemic?  

 

Isolation Log: Covid Date 8.a.20

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I finally got a nice photo of Simon. He is sitting in the fabric box.

What can I say? We are going to re-open too early. It is glaringly obvious that some people think the economy is more important than human life. So people will die and nobody cares. Wave two will be deadlier than what we have experienced. Or, at least that is what the history of pandemics tells us.

Where I am, the food shortages are getting worse. I am now out of anything to make breakfast. I have used all of my allergy-friendly flour. There is none to be had in the stores. The order I placed online in March has yet to arrive. I do have three boxes of allergy friendly cereal, but no allergy friendly milk. The milk status is the same as the flour status.

I do have rice, beans, chicken, pork chops, potatoes and carrots, so I can make food. I just won’t be having traditional breakfast foods. I can no longer make breads or muffins.

The health department only counts confirmed COVID cases, not presumed positives. This means, you have to be tested. My county just started testing for COVID-19 last week. We have been quarantined for almost 2 months, yet they JUST STARTED offering testing now. Sounds smart, doesn’t it?

They say because we only have 33 positives, we are doing a great job and can re-open. Yet there are 140 presumed positives quarantined because there was no testing in this county prior to 7 days ago and they do not have transportation to get tested. 

No one wears a mask. When I drive the car once a week to keep it going, parking lots at every single business I pass are full. My neighbors are having house parties every week because they are out of work. There are groups of 10-15 people running around between 5 different houses.

Three times I have narrowly avoided neighbor kids getting way too close to me during my daily outside time. They say that coronavirus is a hoax. They taunt me and say they can get as close as they want to me because coronavirus is not real. My doctor told me, coronavirus has a 90% chance of killing me given my medical history. But according to the neighbors, my doctor is lying.

I like to have daily outside time, and it makes it hard to go outside my house when people think none of this is real and try on purpose to infect others. There is no recourse for this behavior. The police have other things to do.

The house next to the one with the evil children in question is COVID positive. That person spent over a week in the hospital with a 105 temperature. Yet, the neighbors still think COVID is not real. We are all just having one awesome vacation.

I know 3 people who have died from COVID and 2 more who currently have it. Yet, according to everyone in my county, none of this is real.

Welcome to the Twilight Zone. 

I haven’t been feeling well in the past week or so. My doctor’s office said since I am in the high risk group, I should go to the hospital. But there is nothing anyone can do. There is no cure. They try to make you comfortable. I do not want to go to a hospital. I will either live or die in my house with my cats. I am comfortable here. I’m not getting close to other people, so I’m not infecting anyone. (To be honest, I do not think I have COVID. I think it is my neuro issues acting up). 

Unlike my neighborhood children, who are actively trying to spread the “fake” disease that they think is so hilarious. It’s the new game they are playing since there is no school and no internet here to do school online. You can only sit a kid down with a worksheet for so long.

On to the positives – 

I am really happy to be home with the cats. I am thankful for this house. I may be a reluctant homeowner, but I can tell you, I am thankful for this house now. This house has survived both World Wars, the Spanish Flu, and the Great Depression. It will survive COVID and the Great Depression part 2.

People are still dropping supplies off to me by using my cooler. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that. The fact that food is delivered to my cooler reminds me that there are good people in this world. That’s one of the few things giving me hope right now.

This week, in addition to the 2 bags of groceries in my cooler, was a small bag of 5 cloth face masks. Even if no one else in my area uses face masks, I do. Face masks have been proven to work.

While people have been good about bringing me food, I have been so focused on food (and what I can’t get due to shortages), that I have forgotten about other supplies. My calendar this week reminds me I need to change the furnace filter and it is the last one.

I placed a call to my local, small business hardware store from where I usually get the filters to see if they are open. Not only are they open, but I have an appointment day and time next week I can go there to get the filters. Since I am in the high-risk group, they are going to make it even easier for me. Not only am I going at a special “low traffic” time, but they told me to call from the parking lot to pay by credit card, and they will bring the supplies out and put them in my trunk so I have zero human interaction.

Now, the doctor told me I am not supposed to go to the grocery store or pharmacy because I am in the high risk group, but I think a transaction like the one the hardware store is offering me will be okay. That is essentially how I am getting food anyways – people leave things in my cooler. Except this time, the hardware store will be putting things in the car trunk for me.

God bless the essential workers and everything they are enduring right now to keep us supplied and safe. Not only is this hardware store keeping me safe, but it seems like putting things in my trunk is safer for the employees as well. 

This will get worse before it gets better. We are reopening in a few week and many more people will die. At some point, I have faith that people will get a clue and realize that human life is more valuable than the economy. 

The fact that people are putting food in my cooler for me is what gives me that hope in humanity.

Thanks. 

 

Isolation Log: Covid Date 6.a.20

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Simon jumped into the recycling bucket after he threw one of his toys in there. I helped him to get it out.

When this is all over, I want pizza. 

It sounds like a simple request. Restaurants are open for take-out and delivery right now. The challenge is that I have multiple food allergies, so I can’t just eat any pizza. It has to be allergy friendly pizza. The nearest restaurant that makes allergy friendly pizza is over an hour away. They can’t even get the ingredients to make the allergy friendly pizza.

Normally, I would be able to get a frozen daiya (allergy friendly) pizza. However, with the food shortages, they are not currently available. With the food shortages, I cannot even obtain the ingredients to be able to make one at home. I do cook almost all my food from scratch, but I like to treat myself to a daiya pizza about once a month or so. 

The “specialty” items that people with food allergies require for everyday life are not considered to be “essential” items. Unfortunately, the food allergy community is hard hit in this pandemic right now. 

When the only thing left on the grocery store shelf is a jar of peanut butter and you have a nut allergy … no one should have to make the choice about whether they want to die of starvation or die from eating something that will kill them. However, that is the situation that some people are experiencing in our community right now.

I realize that everyone is making sacrifices right now. I am very happy that I do have food to eat. I guess it’s just hard when there are certain comfort items you want and cannot have because they are not available. So, yes, I am whining that I don’t have pizza. It’s a first world problem. I will eat my lentil loaf for dinner tonight. I am making vegetable soup in my crock pot tomorrow. 

As soon as allergy friendly pizzas are available again, I want one. I think that everything I “want” right now is a food item that is unavailable due to the food shortage.

Food shortages are real, folks.

I am very fortunate that I have people helping me with supplies. I have food and everything else that I need.

Right now, we are sitting tight waiting for anti-body testing so that things can reopen. The world will not be the same after this. We all have to try to find a new normal. Anti-body testing is probably a pipe dream, since there is no covid testing of any time in my county. We just have to hope that we can ride out the second and third waves of this virus.

What foods are you looking forward to having when they are available again? Hopefully the food shortages will end soon and not get worse.

Stay strong out there. #NYTough