Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Staying In Touch With Friends During the Pandemic

Two of my best friends are Pat F. who lives in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and Don McK. who lives in Philadelphia. 

In normal times Pat and I visit Don in Philadelphia.  Don has lived in a cooperative in center city Philadelphia that has a guest suite.  Pat and I rent that guest suite in the spring and fall. This year Pat and I will not be visiting Don for our schedule visit at the end of next month (May).  This will be the first spring in five years that we will miss. Hopefully we can still visit Don next November, where I plan to join the celebration of the defeat of the Criminal in the White House.  The operative word here is "hope" to visit.  In the meantime we're staying in touch by FaceTime.

Pat and I have been FaceTiming since we met in 2013.  Just recently we figured out how to do a three-way by FaceTime.  Sometimes it's tricky to make it happen but somehow we stumble into it.  Last night was one of those times. 

Don is quarantined in his tenth floor apartment. He gets out once a day to go to Target for grocery shopping. The rest of his day is spent on lockdown in his condo unit watching TV.  

Pat is ensconced in his luxury fourteenth floor condo in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He goes out most days for a walk on the mostly deserted streets of Hamilton.  Pat spends most of his day listening to his favorite music on his Sonos channel or vintage records on his vintage records player. Pat also watches action movies on his Netflix account.  No more live hockey games for Mr. Hamilton Canada. 

And me? I blog.  And of course take Bill out for his daily ride.  And I cook, yesterday stuffed shells and lemon sponge pie (yum!)   

Today is a nice and sunny day so I'll be outside doing yard work. I'm lucky that I can get out and enjoy the sun and weather. Both Pat and Don live in the center of major cities that have a lot of restrictions. They can get out for a walk, keeping their distances from others,  but not much chance of getting down on their knees and pulling weeds.  I'm very lucky and I know it!

Stay safe everyone and have a great day!

Staying In Touch With Friends During the Pandemic

Two of my best friends are Pat F. who lives in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and Don McK. who lives in Philadelphia. 

In normal times Pat and I visit Don in Philadelphia.  Don has lived in a cooperative in center city Philadelphia that has a guest suite.  Pat and I rent that guest suite in the spring and fall. This year Pat and I will not be visiting Don for our schedule visit at the end of next month (May).  This will be the first spring in five years that we will miss. Hopefully we can still visit Don next November, where I plan to join the celebration of the defeat of the Criminal in the White House.  The operative word here is "hope" to visit.  In the meantime we're staying in touch by FaceTime.

Pat and I have been FaceTiming since we met in 2013.  Just recently we figured out how to do a three-way by FaceTime.  Sometimes it's tricky to make it happen but somehow we stumble into it.  Last night was one of those times. 

Don is quarantined in his tenth floor apartment. He gets out once a day to go to Target for grocery shopping. The rest of his day is spent on lockdown in his condo unit watching TV.  

Pat is ensconced in his luxury fourteenth floor condo in downtown Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He goes out most days for a walk on the mostly deserted streets of Hamilton.  Pat spends most of his day listening to his favorite music on his Sonos channel or vintage records on his vintage records player. Pat also watches action movies on his Netflix account.  No more live hockey games for Mr. Hamilton Canada. 

And me? I blog.  And of course take Bill out for his daily ride.  And I cook, yesterday stuffed shells and lemon sponge pie (yum!)   

Today is a nice and sunny day so I'll be outside doing yard work. I'm lucky that I can get out and enjoy the sun and weather. Both Pat and Don live in the center of major cities that have a lot of restrictions. They can get out for a walk, keeping their distances from others,  but not much chance of getting down on their knees and pulling weeds.  I'm very lucky and I know it!

Stay safe everyone and have a great day!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Coronavirus Pandemic Update April 26, 2020

New proposed airline seating arrangements
These days of sheltering in is feeling like Ground Hog, very repetitive.  As much as I have complained about living in a tourist area of the country, I have to admit I wish I would see that onslaught of vehicles speeding down Route One to  Rehoboth Beach.  I miss the energy.  Even though I avoided most of the seasonal tourist craziness, I did get a peripheral enjoyment of witnessing (and making a living at the hotel) of all the folks taking a few days (or weeks) off to partake in our coastal delights from the many and varied restaurants, shopping outlet stores and of course, the warm sands and gently rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The few times I did partake was perhaps a occasional late Sunday afternoon when the weekenders, headed back north and west back to their jobs, gave up the boardwalk for a few hours to us locals. 

These pandemic days the only jobs left are first responders, grocery check out clerks, and here in Delaware, liquor store clerks, and skeleton staffs (no pun intended) of some restaurants doing take out service. The other jobs are landscaping, contractors and, of course, chicken processing plants.  Even my local favorite garden center is open but my last two visits I was the only customer in the store. With my mask on, I felt like I was going to rob the place.  I told that to Alyssa, who checked me out. She said she didn't recognize me with my mask on but did recognize my voice. Hey, who DOESN'T recognize my voice, the bane of my existence? 

I'm getting used to my new routine. Sometimes I do have some difficulty remember what day it is which is a new experience for me. I miss my Monday and Thursday anchor days when I used to work at the hotel.  

I am lucky that I am collecting unemployment insurance payments. Even though it was a long process applying online, I didn't have as much of a problem as others are having in different parts of the country like Florida and New York. While I do enjoy my job, it is necessary for me to help pay the bills. For that I am extremely thankful.

When will this shutdown end? I don't know but I suspect we will be living under restrictions for a long time, at least a year or more. However, I do think some of the restrictions will have to be lifted.  We cannot continue to live like this indefinitely. 

It is interesting that restaurants and airlines will have to discontinue their practice of cramming people in small spaces to maximize their profits. That's a good thing. Nobody wants to sit in that middle seat on a six hour flight to California. Hey, maybe booths might even return to restaurants.  Remember booths? Lately restaurants have been tearing them out and replacing them with long tables with chairs to cram more people into their restaurants. Time for readjustment airlines and restaurants.

One thing, my landscaping is getting a lot of attention during this shelter in place. However, our home isn't getting more attention, yet. Which reminds me, time to do some housecleaning and end this posting. 

Stay safe everyone!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Tipton Family Genealogy 52 of 67 Pigeon Roost Tour April 29 1996

Taking a break from my usual coronavirus pandemic update posts here folks.  

What I'm posting today is an old VHS video that I took in the Spring of 1996 when I visited the mountains of western North Carolina, my father's hillbilly roots. Not much has changed since he left that Appalachia area in 1930 with his parents and eight brothers. He was ten years old at that time.

The video I'm posting is raw, no fancy intro title or ending, just my shaky, huge, should hugging video camera.  

After I left my job at the Philadelphia bank where I worked, I flew down to Atlanta Georgia to apply for a job at Sun Bank. While waiting for an answer after my job interview, I took a sideline visit to my brother John and his wife who lived (and still do) in Greenville, South Carolina. John only lived about two miles from Pigeon Roost, North Carolina, near where our father was born.

On this trip we visited a distant cousin, Horace Tipon and his wife Margie. At their house we looked at a video that was taken by Frank Tipton, whose father Adgie was Horace's brother. Frank never knew his ancestry until he came to one of my Tipton Family Reunions. He told me that his father would never talk about his family. I talked to him and found out he had a brother Horace.  I contacted some of my southern sources and found Horace lived in Micaville, North Carolina. I reunited Frank with this previously unknown branch of his family which is what the video on their TV (which Frank gave them) shows.

After visiting the Horace Tipton's we visited one of the many cemeteries in those beautiful North Carolina mountains, looking for my Tipton headstones which I recorded for my genealogy information. We also took a long ride up Pigeon Roost Rood, also known as Green Mountain. 

Since that visit twenty-four years ago, I've visited several times, the last time being in 2013.  I met my cousin Bob Tipton and his wife Marie to show him our common family roots in those North Carolina mountains. I was going to introduce him and his wife to Glenn and Wanda Renfro. Wanda was the granddaughter of my grandfather Fieldon Tipton's sister Pansy Tipton. Unfortunately that visit never took place because Glenn's son found out (probably through my blog) that I was gay.  He called me the night before the planned visit and asked me "Is it true that you practice the gay lifestyle?"  I responded "If you're asking me if I'm gay, yes I am."  He responded "Now get this bud. If you put on step in my parent's house you'll have me to deal with.  You got that?"  Well, I took that as a threat. Homophobia alive and well in those beautiful western North Carolina mountains along with blatant racism (Glenn referred to President Obama in the most offensive racist terms and of course there were no people of color who live in those mountains). The next day we (cousin Bob and his wife) did take a ride up Pigeon Roost road, the same as shown in this video but we, of course, didn't visit our cousin Wanda. Haven't been back since folks. I know when I'm not welcomed. 

This video is over an half an hour long, and probably not of much interest to most of my blog followers but I'm posting it anyway, part of my legacy in case I don't survive this pandemic and for sure after I depart this world where there is no longer any degree of hate that I experienced like I did during my last visit to this mot beautiful part of our country.

Stay safe every one!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Ticked Off Vic: A Message to the Government | VicDiBitetto.net

Yesterday on Twitter I happened to come across this video which expresses my feelings exactly about how the government and big business is handling the coronavirus and helping the average person get through it. 

As I've said before, I am very fortunate in that I am only suffering some inconveniences during this shutdown of our economy because of the coronavirus pandemic. Our home is paid for, we receive Social Security payments as a base income. I have a few small bank pensions to supplement our Social Security income. I'm even receiving unemployment benefits for a few months. I just can't imagine those people who have families to house and feed. Meeting mortgage and or rent payments. Small business owners trying to hang onto their businesses in which they worked so hard to be successful. 

I think back to previous episodes of my life when I did live from paycheck to paycheck. What would I have done if I lost my job? 

This morning I was thinking of my eight weeks of Army basic training at Ft. Dix New Jersey in February of 1960, housed with thousands of other young men like myself. What are they doing now?

When Bill and I plunged our whole life savings into buying that row house in Philadelphia in 1969 with a twenty-year mortgage and then all of a sudden we both lose our jobs?  What would happen to our home. What would happen to us?  

Folks, the worst is yet to come. We're not going to get through this anytime soon. I predict we won't even see any light until next year. We're going to continue in lockdown, except for those stupid red states who are insisting on opening up so Trump can go to his rallies again, throughout the whole summer. I wish it wasn't so, but I am only being realistic. This is going to get worse. Prepare yourself. And the big businesses like Shake Shack and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse who were first in line to grab the millions from the first government relief package, there is a special place in hell for people like you. 

Trump will probably get a few more of his rallies in and hundred and perhaps thousands will die as a result. But he won't be reelected. He will have to be dragged out of the White House because he is a sociopath.  

I wish I could be all sunshine and cheer today folks but I know what's coming.  Watching this video, which I have watched numerous times already, gives me a sense of relief.  By the way, I wish the presumed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden would show as much passion. 
Biden is going to get reelected, make no mistake about that but it's going to be ugly. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Cornoravirus (Covid19) Pandemic Update Monday April 20, 2020

My homemade rubber band biker kerchief mask

Bill and I just got back from our weekly shopping expedition. This time I had to get some rubber bands for make my face mask out of my biker bandanas. Click on the link below for instructions how to prepare your own no sew bandana face mask.

No sew bandana face mask instructions

My blogger buddy, Dr. Spo very generously sent me a face mask for which I am very appreciative. Very stylish and safe but it kept falling off my face because I had to tie it with strings on the back. 

I have several of these biker bandanas that I brought at Royal Farms several years ago. I've always liked these bandanas, they brought back memories of my bar hopping days where you put a certain color bandana out of your back pocket to indicate what kind of sexual activity you were into sexually. Red kerchief in the back right pocket, one thing and same red kerchief in the back left pocket, something else. You can look up the different meanings on the web. Since this is a family blog I won't repeat them here on this sacred site.

I had to go out this morning to get rubber bands. I didn't have a whole lot of rubber bands around Casa Tipton-Kelly.  I was about to find two but they were old and ready to snap.  Now I have a whole bag, ready to last me for a long pandemic.

While I was down Route One I decided to take a ride to Rehoboth Beach and check out the pandemic restrictions. They're in place. No boardwalk walking for exercise or dog walking. Of course no beach. They were open early on but too many people showed up thus defeating the social distancing requirement to help bend the curve of this pandemic.

We are so fortunate where we live here in our neighborhood where there is walking without restrictions. We have an acre backyard in which we can get outside and enjoy the fresh air.  And of course our home is very comfortable for sheltering in. However, I rarely go through a day that I don't think of those who aren't so fortunate. Those who depend on a weekly paycheck to buy food and pay their rent or mortgage. I try to imagine if this pandemic happened when we were just starting out. It staggers my mind on how we would survive. I see these scenes of thousands of cars lined up at food banks, people who never in their lives before had a need to use a food bank just to feed themselves and their family.  Even worse I think of those families who have lost their loved ones to this killer virus that knows no social limitations. The really cruel aspect is that they couldn't even be with their loved one as they drew their last breaths. 

Right now I'm watching on TV the Trump Deplorables demonstrating at Harrisburg, PA capital for the Pennsylvania governor to life restrictions for people to go back to work. The past several days these same Stupids were demonstrating at the Michigan, Virginia and Minnesota capitals to "go back to work" after being encourage by Trump Tweets that said "LIBERATE MINNESOTA, LIBERATE MICHIGAN, LIBERATE VIRGINIA". 

A brave health care worker stopping one of the Trump zombies who wants to go back to work in spite of the health risk to her and others she may infect - true Trumpian philosophy - selfish and only think about tthemselves and care nothing for others

Trump, the Criminal in the White House, is more concerned with resuming his ego feeding rallies than people's lives. Trump was counting on the economy to get him re-elected. Got news for Trump, he isn't going to get re-elected and these Deplorables can crawl back under their rocks and continue to bemoan the fact that they lost the Civil War. Their day is over,  less than two hundred days until the presidential election. 

People are not going to go back to work in any significant way until testing is great expanded and contract tracing is put into place. Trump and his sycophants and Deplorables can whine and holler as much as they want to but the fact remains, the majority of people in this country are more concerned about their lives than Trump's chances for reelection. 

I'm still having a hard time getting used to the science fiction all streets deserted scenes I see when I venture out. Hardly anybody in the parking lot at the shopping strip where I went to Staples to get my rubber bands. All the people with face masks resembling a band of robbers looking for a train to rob. Every time I pull up my face mask over my nose and mouth before I enter the store, I feel like I'm getting ready to do a stick up. When will this change? No time soon I fear, in spite of all those Tea Party types waving their upside down American flags and trotting around their guns (Second Amendment!) to intimidate every one else who doesn't see the world through their narrow Trumpian view of the world. 

Stay safe every one!

The almost empty parking lot this morning when I went to Staples for rubber bands

Friday, April 17, 2020

Coronavirus Pandemic Update Friday April 17, 2020

Me and Bill face masked at Ace Hardware
Trump wants to open up the country to get the economy going again. He's convinced a thriving economy is the only way he can get reelected. Of course he doesn't care how many die by sending people back to work before we have stopped the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump only cares about himself and getting reelected. The only way we're going to get the economy going again is testing. 


We need testing and tracking. That is the ONLY way we're going to get back to normal. 

Now that I have had my say, let's take a break from this all consuming coronavirus news, which is scaring us all to death. 

A few months ago I came across a wonderful cucumber salad recipe which I will share with all of you now.  I discovered it as a leftover salad from an event at the hotel where I used to work.  Where I hope I can go back to work someday. Yes, I do miss working at the hotel even though at times I didn't feel like going it. Working two days a week at the hotel gave my week structure. Often now I'm not sure what day it is.

Marinated Cucumber Onion Tomato Salad

1 cup water
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon fresh, coarsely ground back pepper
3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 onion, sliced and separated into rings

1) whisk water, vinegar, oil, sugar and pepper together in a large bowl until smooth; add cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion and stir to coat

2) Cover bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours

Marinated cucumber, onion and tomato salad

Monday, April 13, 2020

Pandemic Monday April 13, 2020

Recent photo of a smog free Los Angeles during the Great 2020 Covid19 Pandemic

Before the Great Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 hit this country, I would have been in the air this morning on my way to Palm Springs, California. My flight was scheduled to take off from Philadelphia International Airport 5:00 AM. 

I would arrive at the Dallas/Fort Worth International's airport at 7:46 AM, a few minutes from now. Then my flight from Dallas/Fort Worth was scheduled for takeoff from 9:00 AM and arriving in Palm Springs at 10:13 AM.  I would meet Pat in Palm Springs to help him prepare his condo for a VRBO rental. All that is on hold now.

Right now, as I type this blog post, a driving rain is beating against my windows and thunder is booming in the distance.  I wonder if my flight would have been delayed, probably. 

I've already cancelled my plans to visit Philadelphia at the end of May with Pat. I've also cancelled by flight to Buffalo, New York at the end of summer. Once a year Pat meets me in Buffalo and we cross the border into Canada where I spend a week with Pat at his fabulous modernistic condo in downtown Hamilton. 

I still have plans to spend a week in Philadelphia with Pat in November to celebrate my birthday and the defeat of Trump and the return to normalcy in our country. 

I was planning this morning to make our weekly visit to our local supermarket (we used to go almost every day, an excuse to take Bill for his daily ride). With this wind, rain and thunder we're not going anywhere. We're going to stay here at Casa Tipton-Kelly and be thankful that we have power, food, warmth and each other.

Stay safe everyone.

Himalayan Mountains that can now be seen from a smog free Indian city

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Sunday During the 2020 Pandemic

Bill takes in a quiet Easter Sunday morning in our neighborhood during the Great Coronavirus Pandemic. So quiet, so peaceful. 

Nothing more needs to be said.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Coronavirus Update Delaware April 11, 2020

My new custom made mask by Dr. Spo

This Easter Sunday I was scheduled to fly out to Palm Springs to help my Canadian Travel Buddy Pat prepare his condo for updating. Of course I cancelled that plane trip a couple weeks ago. I also cancelled my plans to visit Philadelphia with Pat the end of next month. I've also cancelled my plane trip to Canada via way of Buffalo, New York for my annual visit to Pat in Hamilton, Ontario. Life is on hold now folks. But I realize I am in a much better position than many of our fellow human beings on this earth, all of whom are affected by this pandemic.

Cars lined up at a food bank in San Antonio Texas yesterday
This morning I was talking to my longtime friend Lar on FaceTime. We're both retired now and have a base income from Social Security and modest bank pensions. I asked Larry, "Can you imagine going through this pandemic when we were young an dependent on our weekly paychecks for food and rent?"  Neither one of us had any significant savings at that time.  We would have been down Schitt's Creek if this pandemic happened then. Look at the photo above, that is just some of the ten thousands vehicles lined up yesterday at a San Antonio Texas food bank.  I just can't imagine what those people are going through now, especially the young families. Makes my travel plan changes insignificant in comparison, which they actually are. The money I paid American Airlines for my tickets will be held in credit for me, if and when this pandemic is over and assuming we survive. Also my deposit on the guest suite in Philadelphia will be held in credit for a future stay. I'm also lucky to have my application for unemployment insurance go through. I received my first payment already last week. 

I'm going to make good use of this time that we're restricted to our homes. I have a nice home. Not too hard to take. Our home is also paid for and I have enough money to pay the electric, heat, Internet connection and food. Very fortunate for which I am thankful.

Health wise Bill continues to do well. That is his body.  He is having increasing cognitive problems, is hard of hearing and very frustrated with this macular degeneration (eyesight).  He is so used to working on his projects which he can't do now. 

I don't feel the best and would like to take a coronavirus test but that is almost impossible regardless of what the Con Man in the White House says.  Here in Southern Delaware you have to have severe symptoms and a doctor's note. I don't have a doctor other than the VA and good luck getting through to them now.  I mainly use the VA for my prescriptions and annual blood tests. 

I have a cough, my chest hurts, and I have a slight headache.  I'm thinking maybe I'm watching too much TV coverage of this pandemic and I'm imagining things. I still have my sense of smell and taste, which I heard goes if you have the virus. So maybe this is all in my mind but I would take a test if I could. It's a crime that tests aren't available to everybody because this is the only way we're going to control this pandemic. Every one has to get a test so we know he has it and who doesn't.

The graphic below shows the status of the pandemic in Delaware as of yesterday. Thank goodness we're not a hot spot like New York and New Jersey. But we could be because this virus spreads to fast.  I do think that social distancing and sheltering in will make the difference.

Today is a nice, sunny day. Cold yet the sun invigorates me. Much better than the gray, cloudy, misty rainy days of last week.

Later today Ferdinand, a local man who does occasional yard work for me, will be by to lay the four cubic yards of mulch I had delivered yesterday. Now that I'm receiving unemployment pay, I'm going to do my bit to interject it back into the economy.  I'm going to save a some, and spend some. No extravagances though, because I don't know how long this pandemic will last. My feeling is that we won't be out of this for at least twelve to eighteen months. And even then our way of life will be changed much the same way that after the Shoe Bomber, we all have to take our shoes off at the airport before boarding a plane. 

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Coronavirus Pandemic Update April 9, 2020

Good news and bad news today folks. 

The bad news first:

The coronavirus pandemic continues to rage, killing thousands of people and throwing millions of other people out of work. My hearty goes out to those survivors who lost their loved ones and, even worse, couldn't be with them at the time of their passing. That's one of the many cruelties of this pandemic, those who are dying do not have the final comfort of having their loved ones holding their hand when they pass from this life. That has always been one of my great fears, dying alone without my loved one to hold my hand as I pass. 

Bill and I are doing fine here. Testing is still unavailable for us here in southern Delaware unless we're showing severe symptoms and jump through the hoops to get a doctor's note. The only way this country is going to control this pandemic is to TEST EVERYBODY FOR FREE WITHOUT HOOPS. What's so hard about that?
I don't hold out much hope for that common sense solution to happen anytime soon.  I ordered face masks on Amazon.com but they won't be delivered until the end of May.  It's such a shame our country was so woefully unprepared. Trump disbanded the pandemic office in the White House. Trump has blood on his hands. Can't blame this one on Obama. Testing, testing, testing. NOW!

I cannot imagine what millions of unemployed workers are going through now trying to pay their bills, mortgage payments and other expenses now that they are unemployed. 

As I'm typing this posting, I have the TV on listening to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's daily briefing, which I listen to for real facts, I don't watch the Trump Clown Show that runs for two hours or more every day at 5 PM. All that's about is Trump whining he's not getting enough credit and blaming every one else for his failure of leadership during this crises. Sorry, I keep slipping into a Trump Rant every time I think about the abysmal failure of our government to coordinate a response to this health crises. One of the reporters asked Cuomo about the New York State Unemployment website crashing. He said they're "working on it and trying to fix it."  If the same question was asked of Trump he would first castigate the reporter by saying "That's a nasty question" then respond "We're doing a great job!"  Big difference in leadership. One tells you the truth and other lies. And lies, and lies. There I go again, Trump Rant. 

The good news for me here in the second smallest state in the nation, Delaware. My unemployment compensation filing went through and I received a payment this morning in my checking account, plus an extra $600 to "boost the economy".  I am so fortunate that I'm not going through the nightmare so many others are going through, just trying to get money for food and rent and/or mortgage. 

That extra $600 to boost the economy, I can do that. I texted Alfredo, the English speaking son of Ferdinand, my occasional garden helper asking him if his dad could lay some more mulch for me. Hey, I'm real good at "boosting the economy", otherwise known as SPENDING MONEY.  I should be good, I've had a lot of practice. Plus, I like helping Ferdinand and his family. I remember last year watching Ferdinand and his pregnant wife work in the sweltering heat of August in our backyard trimming and cleaning up after our twenty-one holly trees. So much for the Trumpers who don't want immigrants in this country.  Whose going to do that work if not for them? Where I live here in southern Delaware the paper is full of druggies, robberies, and DUI's by the local population. I don't remember seeing any Hispanic names among those arrested for those crimes. 

Here's another subject I want to get off my chest. I like Joe Biden but I think he is past his prime. He seems confused and befuddled much of the time during this pandemic. He is now the default Democratic candidate for president now that Bernie Sanders has "suspended" his campaign. Here's my thought, these are unusual times. How about the Democrats doing something different outside the box and nominate New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for president and a woman (preferable black) for Vice President. And my suggestion for his vice presidential candidate that would guarantee a landslide: Michelle Obama for Vice President!

An finally, a big THANK YOU to those health care workers who are literally putting their lives and their families lives on the line to treat those stricken with this deadly virus. Also thank you to those supermarket workers who keep the shelves supplied with food and products for us to survive. They show the true American spirit and they deserve a big THANK YOU!

Monday, April 06, 2020

Coronavirus Update Delaware April 5, 2020

My "making do with what I have" face mask while shopping at my local supermarket

Still here folks.

I don't know whether or not Bill and I are positive for the coronavirus. Tests are not readily available here in southern in spite of what the Liar in the White House proclaimed last month "Testing is available for anyone who wants it."  Just another of the thousands of Trump lies.

I don't think I'm positive but I understand that one can carry the virus and not know it.  The only way we're going to get control over this pandemic is to have testing available for everyone. Also to have face masks available for everyone.

That face mask I'm wearing in this photo that I took a few days ago when I was shopping at my local supermarket is to keep sawdust out of your nostrils while doing woodwork.  I found a packet of them in the basement while I was placing my jumbo pack of toilet paper. Viola! Help is on the way with a more stylish face mask from Dr. Spo. I will post that image when I receive his custom made face mask in the mail. Dr. Spo is such a dear to make these hand made masks form scraps of cloth he had left over from making his famous custom Spo shirts. Very fortuitous of him to save those scraps.

Custom made Dr. Spo face mask in the mail to me
(looks like the top of a bikini doesn't it?)

I was hesitant to wear the face mask to the store, vanity, but decided to anyway. Actually I felt a lot safer wearing the face mask.  Others in the store were also wearing facial coverings, but none we wearing the official medical face mask. Just like tests for coronavirus one can't buy face masks either. Although I did order a packet of fifty face masks on Amazon.com this morning, deliverable May 30th.  I might be dead by then. But if I manage to survive the next two months, I will wear those face masks. I think this virus is going to be with us for months if not years. Yes, I said years. Life as we know it will never be the same. At least my few years left.

My last visit to the store I noted even more safety changes.  We had markers, six feet apart, to stand on while awaiting to check out. Also, there was only one entrance to the store.  Hand wipes were available there and a person wrote down on her notebook as I entered and others. I don't know what she wrote down (you can see her in the photo below), maybe it was the age of the shoppers. At the supermarket where I shop, the majority of us are old folks. The town is Milton, DE, and old town a little off the tourist path. I can shop at a Giant in Rehoboth Beach but I don't because of the traffic on Route One to get there, although the traffic now isn't much. Giant is a good store but I don't like the clientele, mostly self important gays who are retired from Washington D.C. government jobs and other foo foo types. Same with Weiss Markets in Lewes, which is also nearby. Too many la de dah types.  Milton's shoppers are of a lower economic scale which is apparently where I feel most comfortable. 

Keeping my distance while waiting to checkout at the supermarket

Bill and I continue to self isolate here at Casa Tipton-Kelly, which isn't a whole lot different from the way we have lived before this pandemic. Today we had a visitor from Service Today for our annual plumbing checkup. Two of our four toilets needed maintenance. Little bit of useless information here I know but I had to stop that slow leak in the toilet bowl to lower our water bill.

Before this pandemic I would be working tonight. I do miss my regular routine of working at the hotel second shift (3 pm to 11 pm) Mondays and Thursdays. Those two days provided markers for my weeks. Now that I don't have those markers the days seem to run together. Somedays I'm having trouble knowing what day it is. One good thing about spending all this time at home I now have time to do those things, like raking grass on a nice sunny day like today. Great exercise and our grass looks great.  That's what I did today. I almost filled all the exercise circles on my Apple watch. Yahoo! By the way, I tried mowing grass yesterday for the first time in years and promptly ran into one of our holly trees. I'll write about that near disaster (going through my neighbor's fence) in my next blog posting.

Stay safe folks!

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Scrabble - If It's Not Broke Don't Fix It

For the past five years, on of the small pleasures I have is playing on-line Scrabble with my Travel Buddy Pat. 

I find playing on-line Scrabble a relaxing and learning experience as well as fulfilling my competitive gene. I not only stay in touch with Pat when we're not together on one of our quarterly travel outings, but I find playing on line Scrabble reduces my stress. Especially at this time of the world wide coronavirus pandemic I especially found playing a welcome retreat from worrying about what is going to happen to us and the world.

So it was with great frustration this morning I found that the Scrabble game on Facebook is changing. Beginning June 1st it will be Scrabble Go. I play Scrabble both on my iMac and my iPhone. I discovered this change this morning when I couldn't use the Scrabble app on my iPhone. I tried to load the app again but I was directed to this Scrabble-Go app. It wasn't the same as my old app. For one thing it didn't have the colors of the old classic Scrabble board. Secondly it didn't have the Teacher function, which I loved because I could learn new words. And even worse, the new app now has all these bells and whistles popping up all over the places, distracting from the old original classic Scrabble game. Of course what the new Scrabble app is all about is more ads for Facebook. Actually, that is Facebook today, all about squeezing more ads in.

Now I realize this is all small potatoes amid the greatest crises this country and our world has faced in our lifetime but this change is so unnecessary. One little thing that I enjoyed in this crazy world and Facebook has to "upgrade" a game played by millions just so they can squeeze in more ads. I predict this "upgrade" will fail big time.  I hope it will fail big time.

Remember when Coca Cola decided to "improve" their original Coke? That was one of the biggest business failures in modern history. Perhaps this new Scrabble game wouldn't be on that scale but it's pretty bad. 

I don't know how many of you (the readers of this blog) play online Scrabble but those of you do, try the new "improved" Scrabble game on Facebook. Let me know how it goes for you. Maybe I'm missing something.

Some of the hundreds of reviews of this new Scrabble game - were the "4.5" average rating comes from I have no idea

Unemployment Up 6.6 Million and Other Thoughts During This Pandemic Crises

The unemployment insurance report came out this morning setting a new all time record with 6.6 million people filing for insurance payments. 

Last week's unemployment insurance report was three million, setting a new all time record that was quickly eclipsed by the report this morning's report. 

Last week I filed for unemployment insurance last week. Yesterday I received a notice from the Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance. I will be receiving about two-thirds of my pay at the hotel where I've worked part-time for the last thirteen years.  I didn't even think I was eligible for unemployment insurance because I only work part-time. But when my manager called me last week to inform me I was being laid indefinitely he suggested that I file for unemployment.  I took his advice and now I'm glad I did. 

I am one of the lucky people in that I have other sources of income such as Social Security and several small pensions. But those payment just about cover our daily living expenses. I use my income from my hotel job to cover those unexpected expenses (which it seems happens with regularity) and little extravagances such as my quarterly trips with Pat, my Canadian Travel Buddy.  Pat and I won't be traveling anywhere anytime soon. I've already cancelled my flight to Palm Springs that was planned for April 12th. Our next trip was to Philadelphia at the end of May. We probably won't make that trip either.  Nor will I be able to take the trip to visit Pat in Canada at the end of August. I hope I can get a credit for my plane ticket that I already purchased.  I'm hoping by November we can meet up in Philadelphia for the trip we had planned for that date. I doubt it though.

This morning I was discussing with Bill all those folks who don't have other sources of income and who depend on their jobs to pay their rent or mortgage, food and other expenses. I hope they're able to file for unemployment insurance like I did and receive enough money to cover their expenses. I reminded Bill when we were paying rent and depending on our jobs for the money to pay the rent. I just can't imagine facing that situation.  

This morning I went to our local supermarket early, hoping to find some of my favorite items.  I was in luck because they one of my favorite Progresso soups, split pea. My absolute favorite Progresso soup is Tuscan Bean but I haven't seen that soup on the shelves since this pandemic began three weeks ago. I was also able to buy cucumbers and those small sweet tomatoes that I used to make my cucumber/onion/tomato salad. I was also able to buy my favorite drink Simply Limeade. Thankfully we don't eat much meat because most of those shelves were bare. Actually Bill doesn't eat any meat at all. I steam vegetables for him such as carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. The meat I eat is boneless chicken breast which I cut up in small pieces to make my signature chicken/white wine/veggie dish with sweet peppers, onions and stewed tomatoes. I was also able to buy fresh Artisan bread.  Bill got his ice cream, which he has two scoops every day. He also likes Stove Top stuffing which I made for him yesterday. I also got a bag of baking potatoes which I use to make baked potato Parmesan wedges. I'm running low on hummus though. I have hummus and Late July chips every day with my soup at lunch. I have plenty of food like beef and wine stew, and the aforementioned chicken wine and veggie entree in vacuum sealed bags in my freezer chest. I have a concern the food situation will get worse. For now we're doing fine. Not sure what the future holds though because this pandemic is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

I believe the only way we're going to get a handle on this pandemic is to test EVERYBODY.  Not just those who are showing severe symptoms. There are those who have contracted the coronavirus who have developed antibodies. We have to know who those people are.  Also we have to know who has the virus but doesn't know they have the virus and thus are infecting others. We can't quarantined the whole country indefinitely. Everybody has to be tested or else we're just flying blind. 

Pat and I are still planning on going to Palm Springs at some date in the future to prepare his condo. When that date is, I do not know. I always preface my statements with him when we talk about this subject, "assuming we survive this pandemic."  What concerns me are the stories of how many otherwise healthy people are stuck and quickly succumb to a serious illness and a ventilator. This virus doesn't discriminate. 

Stay safe everyone!

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Connecting With Friends During Coronavirus Pandemic

During this science fiction movie come to life, how to we stay connected with friends? 

Thank God for FaceTime!

Last night I talked to two of my best friends, Pat (who lives in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) and Don who lives in Philadelphia. 

In normal times Pat and I visit Don in Philadelphia twice a year. Our next visit was due the end of May. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic that has most of the world staying home and avoiding social in person contact, I doubt that our May visit will occur. I hope we can make our November visit, that was the one where I plan to celebrate the defeat of Trump. However, that visit may not happen either. We may not even be alive then. And I'm not joking, we literally may not be alive.  

Last night for the first time I was able to figure out how to do a multiple FaceTime on my iMac. Before yesterday I was only able to do a three-way on my iPhone. Now I can do it on the big screen.  I talk to Pat several times daily on FaceTime but this is the first time I could talk to Pat and Don at the same time. 

At this time of our lives friends are even more important than ever. While we may not be able to be with the in person, we can still stay in touch by FaceTime. We can still tell our war stories (which we old guys tend to do, no kidding), joke with each other and take our minds off of these terrible times, if only for a short time.

Stay safe out there folks!

Caregiver Update

  Bill with his hospice nurse last week Regular followers of this blog have no doubt noticed that I haven't been posting on a regular ba...