March 20, 2020
Today I’m reviewing my efforts to survive a “stay in place” order.
All things considered I’m in pretty good shape. If it weren’t for Louise, I would probably have a case of diet ginger ale and some Saltine crackers. Instead I have a full larder and believe I can hold out as long as needed. Life is better with Louise. The boat and the truck are full of gas with more gas in the garage. No sick people out fishing, I guess. There is hand sanitizer and bacterial soap everywhere. As you may have gathered, Louise is not only brilliant, but very practical as well. That’s good because, on my own, I’m pretty much useless. A smart guy who can’t remember to buy toothpaste. Oh yeah, we have lots of that too.
Since the gym closed, Louise and her neighborhood friends are taking exercise class in a nearby park where everyone can maintain a distance of at least three miles between each other. The other day she came home with a set of dumbbells, various giant rubber bands and other things that they use in gyms to torture you. Now, I can be tortured in the safety of my own home.
I have to go to CVS to pick up prescriptions, but I’m only using the drive-through. I went to the bank to stock up on cash and told the teller if they had any used bills that need disinfecting I’ll take them home, disinfect them and bring them right back. I don’t think they believed me because they refused to give me anyway. That’s okay, their risk.
Every night all of my neighbors get together and take a walk around the neighborhood making sure they stay eight feet apart. Not me. I know that one of them will breathe on me, I’ll get the virus and Louise will be a free woman again. Me? Not to worry, I’ll be dead and as long as she doesn’t let her new boyfriend sit in my chair and drink my bourbon, I’m good. I’ll make sure the same neighbor breathes on him too.
One thing I completely forgot about is ammunition. Now don’t you liberals go all crazy on me. I do have guns and Louise and I are both fully trained in how to use them safely. Why do I have guns? Simple. I have fire insurance on my house and I don’t expect my house to ever burn down, but I carry the insurance anyway. Guns are the same thing. I don’t ever expect to need a gun, but I would rather not need a gun and have plenty of ammo than need a gun and not have any. Its intruder insurance. Once I have the guns and ammo no one will every break into my house. So be warned that I’m ready just in case. By the way, Louise is a much better shot than I am so she’s the one you need to be careful of. For me to hit you, you’d have to be close enough to give me the Coronavirus.
I’ve mentioned that the spare refrigerator is fully stocked. The wine cooler still has wine from our trip to Napa Valley. If you haven’t read that blog, Louise and I bought a very expensive case of wine and had it shipped to Florida. When Louise realized how much it cost she issued a decree saying that I couldn’t drink any of the wine because I wasn’t good enough to drink it. She also declared that none of our friends are good enough either. So there it sits, nice and cool and looking very tasty. I’m hoping that, if we’re housebound, she may finally allow me to open a very nice Grgish Hills 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. It cost about $250 so I think she’ll only allow me to drink it if I’m on my deathbed. If she does, I’m going to get back at her by not sharing it.
To sum it all up, I’m hunkered in place and think I have everything I need to survive the apocalypse. The only thing I’m not ready for are zombies. I think they can be killed if I get the right weapon so I must remember to research the best way to kill zombies. Then I’ll be completely prepared.
March 21, 2020
Today is the second day of my sheltering in place. I’ve been doing it for about a week, but I still went out to run errands. No more. Today I am officially a Coronahermit. Don’t even think about coming over to visit.
At the moment, I’m sitting at my desk wondering what the heck I’m going to do all day. I can still work since I do almost all of it on the computer and phone. That is still going to leave me with a lot of time on my hands wandering aimlessly around the house. I have a lot of books to read. Most of them I’ve already read several times. I have a unique advantage when it comes to reading books. A day after I finish reading them I have no idea what they’re about and so I can read them again and again. This saves me a lot of money on having to buy new ones. My brain works the same way with movies and television shows. The next day I don’t remember what happened. All of this means that I have months of reading and Netflix and I can read and watch the same thing over and over. Don’t you wish you were me?
One of the things I plan to do is clean up my desk and work area. I hate doing this and I usually only do it between Christmas and New Years because there’s really nothing else to do that week. I’m a bit concerned because there’s a large stack of papers next to a filing cabinet and I have no idea what’s there. Today I’m going to go through it and see if there’s anything really important that I’ve forgotten. If there is its probably too late to do anything about it so maybe I’ll just throw the whole stack out and be done with it. Let’s see how ambitious I get.
In the corner of my bedroom I spot my guitar sitting there all by itself and lonely. Its one of my favorites, a Gibson Advanced Jumbo that I haven’t played in months. I’ve always wanted to learn how to really finger pick the blues and I can take classes on Youtube. The big problem for is that, when you play guitar, your fingers build up calluses to protect them from constantly pressing on steel strings. Without those calluses, your fingers really hurt and you can’t play very long. Well, the only way to build up those calluses is to play the guitar even when it hurts. Couple of weeks and my fingers will be fine. In the meantime, I can annoy Louise by playing the same old songs over and over and over again. Sounds like a plan for the afternoon.
I love to cook so maybe I can get creative in the kitchen. I see that I have corned beef in the pantry so I’m thinking of cutting up some potatoes and onions and making a hash. Top it off with a couple of fried eggs and some homemade bread and lunch it taken care of. That should kill an hour. I don’t have a clue what to do for dinner so I’m thinking of asking Louise to help me with a Cliffie version of the tv show Chopped. I’ll ask her to go into the refrigerator and the pantry and select four ingredients and I have to make dinner being sure to include all of the items or I get chopped. That should take another hour or so.
There are things I could do around the house, but I’m not anywhere near bored enough to actually do them. I can gas up the boat. That has the advantage of keeping the boat ready in case I have to evacuate. Why would I have to evacuate? I have no idea, but, if I do, I’ll be ready to go. I can also use the boat to get dinner. I live on a canal just off the Caloosahatchie River in Florida. Lots of snappers, snook, sheephead, mackerel and other fish within just a few minutes boat ride. Fortunately we don’t have to depend on my skills as a fisherman because I still haven’t figured out the deal on fishing in SW Florida. All the fish are different than up north and I don’t yet know their habits or behavior. Maybe now is a good time to figure it out.
Here’s the crazy part. Its only Day Two and I’m already wondering how I’m going to keep myself occupied. What am I going to do on Day Ten? I know. I’ll dig out my old accordion and start playing it. That will certainly keep the neighbors away . . .
Day Three - Chores
March 22, 2020
Today I start doing chores that have been waiting patiently for me for months. My big plan of the day is to wash the truck. As I look at it I’m not completely sure what color it actually is. I’m even going to do the interior. The problem is that I don’t really want to do it.
On the other hand, Louise is planning to paint the exterior doors, wash all the windows inside and out, wipe down the entire house and clear it of any DNA that might be lurking. While she’s at it, she’ll probably shingle the roof and install a new driveway. Louise is much more ambitious than I am. If she sees something that needs to be done, she just does it. I’m not like that. I have to look at a situation from every angle, sit in my chair with a beer and think about the best way to approach the project. This can take up to six months. Maybe she’ll wash the truck.
One of my plans is to sit on the dock with a beer, a book and my fishing rod. I plan on telling Louise that I’m working on dinner so it doesn’t look like I’m just sitting there doing nothing. Maybe she’ll forget that, at this time of year, there are very few fish in our canal. The point is not to catch a fish, its to look like I’m trying to catch a fish. I’m hoping that if it looks like I’m doing something productive she won’t ask me to help her shingle the roof. I’ll let you know how it goes.
My big project for the day is to plan dinner for tonight. We have so much food I’m having trouble deciding. I’m thinking shrimp pasta with alfredo sauce or a nice steak with roasted vegetables. Possibly I’ll make an indian curry and let it sit until tomorrow to let all of those wonderful flavors develop until everyone’s happy, happy, happy. No need to decide now, I have until this afternoon to make a decision. I’m leaning towards the shrimp.
The biggest problem I have is that the NCAA basketball tournament is cancelled and I literally don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve watched the tournament for decades and faithfully filled out my brackets only to get my ass kicked every year. At least this year I don’t have to worry about Louise kicking my butt in her brackets. I don’t know how she does it, but every year she blows me away in the first two rounds and she knows NOTHING about college basketball. This year I can’t be beaten because there is no tournament. Maybe that’s a good thing after all.
The boat could use some gas so perhaps I’ll lug the gas can down to the dock and fill the gas tank. I used to dread doing this because I had to struggle with the gas getting it down to the boat and then lift it up on top of the live well so its higher than the tank on the boat so gravity can fill it up. The gas tank holds fourteen gallons and weighs about 110 pounds. That’s a lot to lift. A couple of weeks ago, a friend was here and I asked him to help me with it. I got the tank down to the boat and was getting ready to lift it up when he told me to stop. He said that the boat was on a lift and instead of lifting the gas tank, why didn’t I just lower the boat and I could fill it from the dock without having to lift anything? I didn’t dare tell him that I’ve been doing it the hard way for five years because I would look like an idiot. No comments please.
I can see the tarpon coming into my canal and that’s exciting. They’re not monsters, but they probably are about a hundred pounds or so and that’s still a big fish. I don’t have any tackle that would stand up to them and now I can’t go out and buy tarpon gear. I’m wondering what would happen if I actually caught one on my undersized gear? I’ve got time, so maybe I’ll just give it a whirl and see what happens. Watch out Moby Tarpon.
If we get really bored, we can take the boat out to the river, find a good spot, anchor up and eat the lunch we’ve made and read a book. If you’re going to be stuck in place, my house is really not a bad place to be. Everybody stay safe out there.
In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t wash the truck today. I had a couple of beers instead.
Day Four - 326 Deaths
March 23, 2020
Its Sunday and the news is not good. More than 300,000 people infected and 326 deaths so far. That doesn’t sound like very much, but the concern isn’t the number, its the curve. The number of infections and deaths are growing exponentially. Let me explain it this way: if you start day one with one infection and double the number every day, after 30 days you have a whole lot of infections. I was going to do the math for you, but the truth is, I’m just too lazy to day to do your work. I’ve given you the problem and how to solve it, now its your turn. When you’re finished, tell me what the number is. While you’re working on that, I’ll continue with my meandering musings.
Trying to be helpful around the house this morning, I decided to wash the pots and pans leftover from dinner last night. There were quite a few as I made roast chicken with two sheet pans of roasted vegetables. I was thinking of making a roasted vegetable soup today so I made sure I had plenty. Anyway, back to the pot and pans. As I was waiting for the hot water Louise asked me what I was doing. I told her that I was going to wash the pots and pans. “Not like that”, she declared.
Apparently we don’t know how to properly wash pots and pans here in America. She insists I do it “the British way”. Out comes a white, plastic container that fits in the sink. She pours in some dish soap (washing up liquid in England) and adds hot water. I must wash the pot in the tub making sure to wash inside, outside and the handle and then rinse in cold water. Why cold water I ask. The answer was obvious - “because then you don’t waste hot water”. After I washed the first pot she came over to inspect. I’ve never been in the military, but I now know how those soldiers felt during inspection. I must have passed because, with a small grunt, she put the pot back in the drainer. If this is what staying home is going to be like, I might be willing to risk the Coronavirus rather than try to live up to Louise’s exacting standards. It could be a very long few weeks.
We interrupt this blog to bring you breaking news from Cape Cod, MA.
I manage a resort in Provincetown, MA. Today we received an order from the Provincetown Board of Health with a “shelter in place” order. I’m not entirely sure what that means for us, but I know its not good. Do I tell current guests that they have to leave? Do I cancel all existing reservations and, if so, for how long? What about my staff? Do I lay people off and for how long? What staff is essential? What does all of this do to my cash flow? Will I have any cash flow? Lots and lots of unanswered questions just like any business owner. I have a lot of people to protect and whatever decisions I make will affect a lot of people.
Its interesting when you sail into unchartered waters. You seek the best advice you can get from people you trust, but, ultimately, you are the decision maker and it all falls on your shoulders to navigate the ship to safe waters. That’s how I’m running my business. My priority is to make certain that our guests are safe and our employees protected. I’ve instructed staff not to take any new reservations until May 1. Is that long enough? Will it get worse and I won’t be able to open in May? How much money will we lose over the next few months? Will we be able to keep the doors open at all? What do we do if we can’t pay the bills? Without the rental income, I’m not certain that we can.
On March 6 we had a guest make a reservation to stay until May 23. The rental is thousands of dollars and now I don’t know if we’ll be able to honor the full reservation or not. Shelter in place is fine, but what if the town or the state decides to close all hotels? Then I’m really screwed. The good news is that every hotel, motel and bed and breakfast is also screwed. Restaurants are already under the gun and, pretty soon, the gun is going to pointed at everyone.
All we can do is the best we can. Make decisions that are in the best interests of the majority of people. Keep in mind that people come before business. Remember that this will eventually be over and then we’ll see about picking up our lives again on the other side of the Coronavirus.
Be safe, be well and keep the faith.
Day Five - 515 deaths
March 24, 2020
This morning the City of Cape Coral in Florida announced that they were closing all parks and playgrounds. This is important because, this morning, Louise took her morning walk to the nearest park and got chased out by a ranger. The way I see it this gives me one more good reason not to take a walk.
Louise thinks we should exercise and she’s right, we should. That doesn’t mean I want to and I’m wondering if I have any of those Jane Fonda tapes from the 1980’s. Probably not, but I’m pretty sure we can find lots of exercise programs on Netflix, Amazon Prime or somewhere else. Since it will be right here in my own home I’m trying to figure out a good excuse not to do it. I can’t think of one. In preparation for being house bound Louise also bought a set of dumbbells. Since I can’t go to the gym, I could do some upper body work with the weights. I don’t want to do that either. In my mind the best thing to do would be to read a book with some snacks on the table next to me. That should do it.
Here in Cape Coral, they’re starting to close just about everything. Each morning there’s a new list of closures and I’m starting to think I may never leave my house again. In Lee County, where I live, there are 28 confirmed cases of Covid-19 (an hour ago that number jumped to 30). That doesn’t seem like very many, but the last time I checked the total was 11. That was only a two days ago, but its growing like a . . . well, like a virus.
Every night most of my neighborhood gathers for a walk around the block. Typically there would be anywhere from ten to fifteen people. Lately, there are only three or four. A couple of weeks ago there would be dinner at someone’s house for several neighbors and this would happen three or four times a week. Now everyone’s eating at home. This is much harder on Louise because she loves being with people. Me? Not so much. Its not that I don’t like people, I do. I’m basically an introvert and being with people wears me out. Fortunately Louise understands this about me and handles it perfectly. If we go to a neighbors I might stay for a couple of hours and then walk home. Louise stays right until the end and this works very well for both of us.
The fact that I’m an introvert is perfect for the Coronavirus. Telling me to stay home is a reward. I can be perfectly happy sitting in my chair reading a book, watching an old movie on Netflix, playing my guitar or just sit and stare out the window. I can go to work on the computer and my phone and no one knows I’m not sitting in an office somewhere. Today, after I finish some work I’m going to have lunch and then take a nap. Since I have trouble sleeping at night I’ve found that an afternoon nap is something I look forward to. Maybe that’s why I have trouble sleeping at night. Should I stop the naps and see if I can sleep a whole night? Looks like I’m about to do a typical Cliff thing and overthink this whole sleeping scenario. I’ll think about it before my nap this afternoon as I’m getting ready to fall asleep.
I spend a lot of time staring into our refrigerator checking to see what food it about to go bad. Since getting out is problematic, its important to use all of the food before it goes bad. Tonight will be left over roasted chicken with roasted vegetable (potato, butternut squash and brussel sprouts,which Louise calls “alien heads”). There is also some broccoli that is starting to get soft so I should steam some of that up as well. Its interesting how conscious I am of food these days. I don’t want anything to go bad and I’m starting to plan dinners ahead of time. It helps that I can’t leave the house. We have an order arriving from the grocery store this afternoon (yes, we have delivery!) with lots of goodies for baking. I’m going back to making my own bread and rolls along with some tasty treats to counteract the effects of the exercise that Louise is going to make me do.
Day Six - 728 deaths
March 25, 2020
I have found my own cure for the Coronavirus!
If you scroll to the bottom of the page (only because I can’t figure out how to put it at the top of the page) you can see me using my solution. Now before you start laughing at me, ponder this:
“The ultraviolet irradiation directly destroys microorganisms by breaking down the molecules present in bacteria and viruses,” professor Cristina Kurachi said. “The bacteria are killed, and the viruses are completely inactivated. Red light irradiation decontaminates indirectly via photosensitization.” Christina Kurachi is a professor at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil and has been working with the University of Toronto on red light therapies.
Without know the healing properties of red light, I had ordered this because red light is useful in stopping male pattern baldness. I didn’t think I needed this until one day I happened to see the back of my head in the mirror. Whose bald spot is that, I wondered. Realizing it was mine I had to take action. Off to Google and I order this helmet along with hair restoring shampoo and some other bottle to help nourish the roots. I don’t know for sure if it works, but I’m no longer finding my hair clogging the shower drain. Good enough for me.
The Coronavirus got me to thinking: if red light can stop balding, what else can it do? That’s when I started coming across articles that red and purple light can kill viruses. Eureka, I have found it! Now that I believe that I have the answer, what can I do to make my Helmet of Invincibility even more effective?
Everyone knows that aluminum foil can prevent aliens from infecting your brain. Its a perfect shield to prevent alien intrusion. As far as I’m concerned, Coronavirus is an alien intrusion so I’m going to wrap my helmet in tin foil which should increase its effectiveness exponentially.
What else might increase the power of the Mighty Helmet? Years ago there was a keyboard player in my band who swore that peanut butter kept the nasty thoughts and alien intrusions out of his head. I’m not sure I believed him then or now, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. I will now be smearing the tin foil with peanut butter and wrapping it all around the helmet.
In my search for natural virus killers here’s what I’ve found:
Colloidal Silver - Been used since ancient times. The problem is that eventually it turns your skin silver. I think I can do without that.
Elderberry - Elderberry binds to the spikes on viruses and prevents them from entering cells. All I can think of is Monty Python and the frenchman guarding the castle who hurls down insults. The final one was “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!”
Echinacea - Supposed to help with viral bronchitis which I used to get a lot. Maybe I’ll give this one a try. Its supposed to go well with peanut butter.
Garlic - Its supposed to be very effective against viruses if chewed raw. It also guarantees at least a six foot distance for everyone you meet and has the added advantage of killing vampires.
Green Tea - Yes, we know this is supposed to be good for curing everything. Maybe the Brits have it right. Cuppa tea?
Licorice - Its supposed to stop viruses from entering cells. What they don’t tell is whether you should use red licorice or black. I don’t like either one.
Olive Leaf - Supposedly an inhibitor of viruses in lab tests. If you can’t get the leaves will olive oil work?
I’m not a doctor and I don’t know if any of these things will work or not, but here’s my plan. I have a mortar and pestle. I’m going to grind up all of these things, add a little olive oil and then smear the mixture all over my body. If I do that and add my helmet with the tin foil and peanut butter I should be just fine. You can try this at home yourself.You’re welcome.
Day Seven - 990 deaths
March 26, 2020
I think its time President Trump gave up and did the right thing. He needs to put Dr. Tony Fauci in complete charge of controlling this pandemic. What Dr. Fauci needs to do is to hire Louise to help get this thing under control. In just the last week here are some of the precautions Louise has established in our house:
There is disinfectant by each outside door and the door knobs are frequently wiped down.
All mail is kept in the garage for 24 hours before she brings it into the house.
She heard that the virus can live on the ground so she has designated a pair of her sneakers as the “outdoor shoes”. These must be removed before she comes in the house. I am not allowed outside.
Food that is not perishable is left in the garage for 24 hours.
If it is perishable, it is immediately washed and cleansed.
At the moment, she is disinfecting the kitchen floor and bathrooms.
No one is allowed into our house. No one.
Groceries are being delivered this morning. Louise is ready. She’s wearing rubber gloves and will put everything in the garage until its safe.
Years ago she did CERT training and still has her kit which includes gloves and a respirator mask. She’s gone through it all to make sure its all still good. She’s ready.
She is washing all dishes by hand because she does a better job than the dishwasher. (its true)
She makes these smoothies that are full of fruits and vegetables. They don’t taste bad, but I don’t like smoothies. Instead she insists that I have a can of V-8 juice every day because it has two servings of vegetables. I don’t tell her, but I make sure I pour it into a large glass full of ice, vodka, hot sauce and a little salt and pepper. She’ll be proud of me since I’m happy to drink several cans this way.
She has these mini-orange type fruits. I’m not sure exactly what they are, but she insists I eat one every day because I need vitamin C.
She spends a lot of time patrolling the house to see what else can be disinfected. Hospitals aren’t this clean.
I know that most men aren’t lucky enough to have a Louise in their life. Trust me, I count my blessings every day that this remarkable woman found me interesting enough to take me in despite my many shortcomings. No man is better taken care of than I am and its all due to this remarkable woman who understands that I really do need to be taken care of. Usually, I don’t think I do until she changes something that I thought was fine and I realize that she is right again.
Just so you know, she’s mine and you can’t have her. Go find your own Louise, I’ve got mine.
Day Eight - 1,268 deaths
March 27, 2020
I’m usually very, very good at doing nothing. I can sit for hours, get lost inside my own head and be perfectly happy. I’ve been locked in the house for over a week now and I’m getting damn tired of it. Its not that I want or need to go anywhere, its that I can’t. I don’t like anyone telling me what to do even if its for my own good. I’m tempted to drive to the grocery store, run my hands all over the grocery carts and thumb my nose at the Gods of Disease who brought this plague upon us. The problem is, if I do that, Louise won’t let me back in the house.
I live on a canal in Cape Coral, Florida. We have a nice, little pontoon boat on a lift down at the dock. Tomorrow, Louise and I are going to make some sandwiches for lunch, grab a couple of bottles of beer, bring a couple of books and fishing rods and just to anchor up on the Caloosahatchie River and waste a couple of hours. I’m not sure that a shelter in place order means we can’t use the boat. Tomorrow, maybe I’ll know for sure.
The federal government has announced that everyone is getting a check for up to $1,200. Except me, of course. I make over the limit and congress has said I’m on my own. I really don’t mind. Financially, I’m in good shape and there are lots of people in America who don’t have it as good as I do. We need to help those who are being laid off, those who live paycheck to paycheck and have small kids who need to eat.
Here’s what pisses me off. We don’t have any money to solve the homeless problem. We don’t have any money to end kids starving right here in America. We don’t have the money to create universal health care for everyone. We don’t have the money to pay a living wage for a lot of people. Yet, yesterday, congress found Two Trillion dollars to spend. Where was this money last week? Did we just create it out of the air? If we have the money, why the hell haven’t we been spending it on things people really need? Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with us?
I can feel myself getting ready to stand on my soapbox, point fingers and yell at everyone. I feel like that guy in that movie. You know the movie and the guy I’m talking about. Yes, you do. I don’t remember his name either, but he opened the windows to his apartment and started shouting “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”. Told you that you know the movie. You have to start believing me. I think we should all start doing that. I’m not sure how effective it will be since we all have to stand at least a half a mile apart, but maybe we could get some news coverage. We could tell the reporters that we’re doing what that guy in that moving was doing . . .
C’mon, you know that guy . . .
Day Nine - 1,588 Deaths
March 28, 2020
Its Day Nine and I have no idea what to write about. I’ve covered a lot of territory in the past eight days, but today I find myself just staring out the window wondering what the hell to do. I am under strict instructions from She Who Must Be Obeyed to not waste any food. So today’s blog will be about saving food.
I search the refrigerator for inspiration and can’t find any. Hold on, is that a roasted chicken carcass sitting on the back shelf? Perfect. I pull it out and pull of all of the meat I can and dump the rest in a large pot and cover the chicken with water. Toss in a few onion and some carrots and let the whole thing simmer for a couple of hours. When its done, I pull the carcass out, take all of the meat off and then use an immersion blender to turn it into a powerful chicken stock. Okay, I’ve got the stock, now what?
I see some veggies about to go bad and so I pull out brussel sprouts, asparagus and some two day old broccoli. I add all of the vegetables to the stock and set it to simmer to cook the vegetables. Once they’re all tender, I give it another turn with my portable outboard motor and make it nice and smooth. I add a cup of parmesan cheese, a cup of pecorino-romano and hit it again with the blender until smooth. At the end I add a cup of heavy cream and a few tablespoons of butter and give it all one final blend. Presto - cream of vegetable soup. I throw some left over chicken into the pot an serve it in a bowl with a dollop of sour cream. No need for salt as the cheese has more than enough. Give that a try and you get all of your veggies in one serving.
I don’t like to cook in the morning. I’m going to make a frittata so all I have to do is reheat it in the morning. I like some meat in my frittata. I pull out some bacon and sausage. I saute them in a pan with some diced onions and garlic. I also add some chopped red and green peppers and cook until tender. In the meantime, I beat about eight eggs with a little cream and gently pour it over the meat and veggie mixture. The oven is at 400 and when the whole things starts to develop a crust on the bottom, I sprinkle some cheese over the top (your choice) and put it in the oven for 12 - 15 minutes until the egg is completely set. Remove from oven and serve. It holds up really well for a couple of days in the refrigerator.
Now for dessert. I have some frozen blueberries and strawberries in the freezer. I defrost them and set them in a bowl with a sprinkling of sugar to let them macerate for an hour or so. What’s that I see in the fridge? Wonton wrappers! I take a wrapper, add about tablespoon of the fruit mixture, close up the wonton and seal the edges with a fork. I place them on a wire rack and paint each one with some melted butter and a dusting of sugar. Into the oven they go for ten to twelve minutes or until they’re just turning brown. Voila! Dessert!
Too bad you can’t shelter in place at my house.
Day Ten - 2,490 deaths
March 29, 2020
The New Yorkers are coming. The New Yorkers are coming.
Just last week there were so many New Yorkers trying to escape to Florida that the Florida authorities began meeting planes from New York at the airport and warning passengers that they MUST quarantine themselves for at least 14 days. A clear message was sent: don’t be bringing that shit down here.
Apparently that hasn’t stopped those tricky little buggers from New York because now they’re trying to drive into the state. Today Florida set up check points at all Florida borders to try and catch New Yorkers who are fleeing their home state in an attempt to avoid the Coronavirus. They are now becoming refugees in the Sunshine State and we don’t want them.
I don’t care so much about the Coronavirus, I don’t want them because a lot of them are Yankee fans. If they’re a Mets fan I don’t really have a problem with them despite 1986. If you don’t know what happened that year you’ll have to google it because I still can’t talk about it.
So, Mets fans good. Yankee fans bad. Its simple really.
Maybe Florida will get really tough and put a bounty on New Yorkers. I’m good with that. Like any good Floridian, I have guns for personal protection. Don’t tell the democrats, but where I live, we all have guns. Now that I’m in lock down in my home, I keep a regular watch for New York license plates. If I spy one, I call the authorities and tell them that the New Yorkers are on the move. If I need to, I can hold them at gunpoint until the gendarmes arrive.
I have a neighbor who is from New York. He’s been here twelve years, but still identifies as a New Yorker. I think he’s running a safe house for Yankee fans. I’m pretty sure of this since I saw a picture of Derek Jeter on his Facebook page. Can’t fool me, I’m way too clever! He’s under very close surveillance.
Louise thinks I’m crazy (she may be right), but she just doesn’t get how much of the world outside New York simply hates the Yankees. They may actually be more hated than the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. Although I have to say that if Tom and Giselle came to Florida, I’d let them in. I suppose I’ll have to since Tom now plays for Tampa Bay which I have on good authority is located in Florida.
Since we all have to vigilant to keep out the New Yorkers, I thought I’d tell you how to spot one even if they’re trying to hide.
When they go to an Italian restaurant they ask for tomato gravy instead of sauce.
They’re always in a rush
They become enraged if people walk too slowly
They don’t even see homeless people
They see drink prices in Florida and think - that’s pretty cheap
They don’t wait for the crossing sign to say Walk
They’re nasty and they yell a lot
They jaywalk everywhere
They can’t sleep if its too quiet
They’re better than everyone else, just ask them
Just a few simple rules to help root out those hated Yankee fans. Okay, maybe its just the Yankee fans and most New Yorkers are okay. (pondering) Nope, they’re all terrible and even Florida doesn’t want them.
Day Eleven - 3,186 deaths
March 30, 2020
I may never leave my house again. Since I’ve been confined I’ve discovered that grocery stores deliver, liquor stores deliver, pharmacies deliver, restaurants deliver and even the medical marijuana dispensary now delivers! I can’t really think of a good reason to leave my house anymore.
I think that, for pretty much my entire life, I’ve thought about being a hermit. My big fantasy was to gather the 100 best books of all time and hunker down in some lakeside cabin in Maine with enough supplies to last me six months and spend the time reading and writing. Alas, that hasn’t happened and is like to ever happen so all I’ve got is a Stay In Place suggestion from the State of Florida. Its not even an order, its a polite suggestion. It needs to be a damn order. Some people aren’t smart enough to figure it out otherwise.
I don’t have the 100 greatest books of all time, but I do have some interesting ones that I haven’t read yet. I have a number of books on Gettysburg from our visit there a couple of years ago. Time to pull them out and give it a go. If I get bored I can always grab a Baldacci and take a break.
You may know that I’m a guitar player. I’ve been doing it off and on for over 50 years. You don’t do anything for 50 years without getting reasonable good at it and this includes my guitar playing. At the moment, I’m working on different styles. I’m studying Stephen Stills and Neil Young and their playing is far from the same. I’ve got Stills pretty much figured out once I sussed out that he uses a lot of different tunings. I’m one of the few guys I know who can play Suite: Judy Blue Eyes just like Stills. Now if I could only sing, I might have an act and be able to play out in bars and make $50 a night.
I’m also working on cash flow projections for my resort. Because we’re shut down we have no rental income for March. Since we have to stay closed until May we won’t have any rental income for April either. What if we have close longer than that? Will we have any rentals at all this year? Just because we don’t have any income doesn’t mean we don’t have any expenses, we do. How am I going to pay them? I’m doing cash flows to figure out how much money we’re going to be short if our rentals are only 50% of last year. I’m doing the Doomsday approach as well which is a cash flow analysis with no rental income at all. These should help me figure out how much money I’m going to need to find over the next few months to pay the bills. Anybody have an extra million dollars or so lying around? I’m good for it.
The other big problem I have is that I’m still in Florida and normally I would be heading back to Cape Cod in about two weeks for the resort’s Annual Meeting. I cancelled the Annual Meeting a while back so there’s no pressing need for me to return. Plus, the way states are shutting down borders, I may not be able to get back. I’m a Florida resident now and I don’t think that counts for much in Massachusetts. I hear it starts to get really hot here in Florida and I’m not a big fan of 98 degrees and 98% humidity. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see if I can get back or not. I’ll let you know.
The good news is that, if I’m still here in May, I won’t miss tarpon season. I can already see a few coming into the canal, but I’m told that, in May, you can almost walk across their backs. That would be a sight to see so maybe all is not lost.
Anyway, I’ve got plenty of things to think about, stress over and keep me up in the middle of the night. I’m off to find those books on Gettysburg.
Day Twelve = 6,098 deaths
March 31, 2020
Yesterday Governor Rick Desantis declared a Stay at Home order effective at midnight tonight. It took him long enough. I think we should shut everything down across the country. It makes no sense to do it state by state. It would be like having a swimming pool and making one corner of it where its okay to pee. Eventually, that pee is going to infect the rest of the pool. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my pool infected.
I’m pretty sure that we have enough in larders to survive a thirty day stay at home order. I’m going to start making bread again and I may even toss in a few treats like chocolate chip cookies. Usually I don’t make cookies for the simple fact that I will eat them. This is different. This is a world wide pandemic and I think I’m entitled to a couple of damn cookies. I’d give you some, but you can’t leave your house. Too bad, can I have yours?
I’ve taken inventory of everything in the freezer and the rest of the house and I think I’m good for a month. Planning meals is going to be interesting. I’m always short one ingredient and I can’t simply run out to the store anymore. Should lead to some interesting dinner combinations. For example, we have a prickly pear cactus in our yard that is seriously big. The cactus is edible so, in an emergency, I can start eating our landscaping. Too bad the lemons are gone from the lemon tree.
I’ve noticed a difference in my neighborhood. People are doing their landscaping, painting the house, power washing their driveways and other neglected maintenance. No, I still haven’t washed my truck, but it is on the list. We shout at the neighbors from across the street offering what encouragement we can. Sorry, but no, we can’t help you, you might breathe near us.
I’ve been keeping a sharp lookout, but I haven’t seen any New Yorkers skulking around the neighborhood which is very good news. I have the police on speed dial just in case I do spot one that got through the border checks. I’m looking everywhere for a New York Yankees logo and I’m reporting them right away. I hate the Yankees. Its a New England thing. Two of my cousins are from New York so I have to careful what I say or I’m certain to hear about it later.
Louise talks to her family and friends in England by Facetime almost every day. It doesn’t sound like they’re doing much better across the pond. They have about 35,000 positive tests for the virus and almost 3,000 have died. Everyone seems upbeat and taking the isolation in good spirits. Something about the Brits. They can have a global crisis, but as long they get their cuppa tea everything must be just peachy. Just don’t mess with their gin and tonics.
At this moment, Louise is in garage disinfecting all of the food items she just picked up at the grocery store. I went out to help and she shooed me back into the house with a warning not to touch anything until she’s washed it. She’s very concerned about me because I have a number of those “underlying conditions” and we’re both convinced that, if I get this virus, I’m a goner. I will shuffle off my mortal coil, pass on, kick the bucket. I will be an ex-Cliff. I feel very much like I’m the little boy in the bubble who can’t have any contact with anyone. Louise is very strict about my not having any contact with anyone or anything from outside. There are times when I’m pissed off about being treated like some errant ten year old just because I’m acting like an errant ten year old child. Then I wake up and realize that, once again, she’s right and I should listen to her. Sometimes its just hard because I’m only a man and I resent being treated like child even when it’s appropriate.
Day Thirteen - 7,122 deaths
April 1, 2020
Social distancing can be very difficult for many people. Not me. I like it when people keep their distance. Its not that I don’t like people, I do. I just tend to be a private person who enjoys being alone. For me, a stay at home order is perfect.
I also do miss my friends. When I’m on Cape Cod we often meet for cocktails after work. Its a revolving group of some very interesting characters. The one thing they all have in common is the fact that they’re intriguing. They rage in age from early twenties to some in their eighties. When I’m in Florida, I do miss seeing them all.
Well, not anymore!
I got an invitation to attend a Zoom meeting with all of my friends. I had no idea what that meant, only that I should download the program and be ready for Friday at 5:00 p.m. When I signed on, there were my buddies! I was able to get caught up in what everyone has been doing, which wasn’t very much.
I’m always amazed at what technology can do. Just last week Louise asked me to call her because she had misplaced her phone. I began looking for her number when she grabbed my phone and told me that she was number one on my speed dial list. I didn’t know I had a speed dial list until that moment. Sure enough, there she was at number one. She was also the only one on the list. Now I have the problem of wondering who else should be on that list. (Chris, you’re next!) Louise has also taught me how to block calls so be careful if you try and call me. I’m anxious to use that function.
But I digress. We’ve decided to have the Friday meeting group meet every Friday. We’ll see how long it lasts, but even if that was the only one, it was special.
Day Fourteen - 9,128 deaths
April 2, 2020
By the time this coronavirus thing is over, I’m going to weigh 300 pounds.
I have two main problems: 1) I love to cook and bake and 2) I love to eat. Put those two things together and I have trouble staying in shape. I try to convince Louise that “round” is a shape, but she tries to tell me its not the same thing. I don’t care. I’ve started baking again and the whole neighborhood is benefiting.
In the last two days I have made banana bread and blonde brownies with coconut flakes. I divided them into small packets and Louise delivered them around the neighborhood by leaving them on people’s front steps. She then texted people to pick up their packages. Today I’m thinking of making chocolate chip cookies with coconut flakes just because I have some. Its a good thing that we send them around the neighborhood or I promise you that I would eat them all. Its also resulted in some nice efforts from the neighbors. So far we’ve gotten apple crisp and a cuban neighbor makes the most delicious black beans and I have a bowl sitting in my refrigerator right now. I hate beans and usually won’t eat them, but I’ll eat these all day long. I’m making rice just to go with the beans and planning a lunchtime feast. Yup, I’m on the way to 300 pounds.
It is difficult to find things to do when you’re housebound. I don’t play games or do jigsaw puzzles and there’s a very simple reason why. I’m a terrible, terrible loser. I’m not proud of it, but I’ve been known to throw chessboards across the room. I’ve thrown tennis racquets. I’ve removed jigsaw pieces and hidden them so other people can’t complete the puzzle. Before you say anything, I know its childish and stupid behavior, but there’s a certain satisfaction in throwing chess pieces all over the room and watching your opponent hide under the table for safety. Bottom line is that I can’t play games during my incarceration.
Its sort of the same way with working out. When I could go to the gym, I went on a regular basis. I paid for it and I had to drive to it so the only way I could get my money back was to actually go and work out. Truth be told, I could work out at home, but its far too convenient. I can do it anytime I want which means I can also put it off any time I want. It’s much easier to put it off and have a beer. Besides, the beer just helps me on my way to the goal of 300 pounds.
Louise is about to go kayaking which is a wonderful, solitary exercise and fully approved by social distancing experts. You’re alone and not to close to anyone at all. I don’t go kayaking. She lowers the kayak off the dock and then steps down about four feet to balance herself on the kayak and then sits down very delicately without rocking the kayak. I know I can’t do that. I would immediately tip the damn thing over and go for an unexpected swim. I’m certainly not as graceful as she is, I just don’t want to prove it. So I wave to her as she heads out and then head to the refrigerator for another beer.
One of the things the experts tell you to do to stay healthy is to make sure you get enough sleep. Don’t worry, I’ve got that one covered! I’m in bed by ten and sleep until somewhere between eight and nine o’clock in the morning. Sometime after lunch, I take my afternoon nap for an hour or two. Yup, I’m clearly doing my part to save my health.
Day Fifteen - 9,643 deaths
April 3, 2020
What we need is the meanest, nastiest, sumbitch on the planet to take over the federal Coronavirus response. Someone with ultimate authority to decide who gets what and when. I don’t have anyone particular in mind, but I’m leading toward a military guy. Someone who is accustomed to getting things done without letting all the bullshit get in the way. If you know of someone, let me know and I’ll ask them to serve.
States are bitching, moaning and outbidding each other for critical supplies. Even the federal government is holding stuff back. Our new guy, lets call him Corona Czar, can look at the needs of each state and distribute the supplies in a way that makes sense for everyone. He’ll need logistical support and no one does that better than Amazon so we’ll make Jeff Bezos the Corona Logistics Commander. Possible FedEx could do this if it “absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”.
The big problem is that we don’t have anyone in charge. Trump is an idiot. Fauci doesn’t have the authority and even a lightweight like Cuomo is making them look silly. How about someone like Alexander Haig? Remember when Regan was shot and Haig stood up and told everyone not to worry because he was in charge? Well, he wasn’t, but I loved his attitude.
I’m pretty certain that the Coronavirus doesn’t recognize borders. Why in the world we still have states that do not have stay in place orders or mandatory social distancing I don’t understand. We could have Corona Czar shut them down. The president could “wash his hands” of the matter and say, “Hey, I didn’t do it, it was that guy over there”. Either way someone has to do it. They just need to grow a giant pair of cojones and do what has to be done.
Tell you what, I’ll do it. I can be fair. I just need to figure out how to get supplies into New York without letting Yankee fans get hold of them. If I were Trump, my first order would be to find out if Cuomo is a Yankee fan or not. If he is, then we can do the Corona Nazi from Seinfeld and say “No supplies for you!!” Ah, the power . . .
Okay, maybe I’m not the best choice, but I would certainly get things done because I don’t care what anyone thinks of me and that’s what its going to take. We need Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men to call a Code Red and let’s get this taken care of.
Day Sixteen - 11,013 deaths
April 4, 2020
Like everyone else, I’m under house arrest. The only thing I’m missing is an ankle bracelet. Don’t need one though. Everyone in my neighborhood keeps an eye on everyone else in the neighborhood. If I even walk into the front yard, neighbors are texting Louise about the Cliff sighting. I hate being watched and I don’t want people knowing my business. They know when I leave, when I come back and even where I’ve been since Louise has been told of Cliff sightings around Cape Coral. I’ve tried to explain to them that they should be watching for escaped Yankee fans from New York, but apparently I’m far more interesting to keep track of. I’m not sure how to fix this, but fix this I shall.
I’m surprised by how quickly I’ve developed certain routines to survive my life in solitary confinement.
When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is take a shower and then pick out what I’m going to wear for the day. Its often the same thing I wore yesterday. Don’t panic, I smell the armpits to make sure the shirt is clean before I put it on. I guess its a guy thing. Once out of the bathroom I make the bed and open the curtains so I see what the weather is doing.
Making my way to the kitchen I hope and pray that Louise has made the coffee. Sometimes she forgets and I just don’t understand that. How can making coffee not be the very first thing you do in the morning? Today, she made coffee so everything is starting off just peachy. Since the coffee was made some hours ago it needs to be reheated in the microwave so its drinkable. For a long time it annoyed me that I could put my mug in the microwave, hit the buttons and when the coffee was ready, the handle was always pointing away from me. I specifically put the mug in with the handle facing out, but it never came out that way. Okay, I can fix this. A little research showed me that the carousel takes seven seconds to make one circuit. If I time the reheat for 49 seconds, which is divisible by seven, the handle is point perfectly at me when the timer goes off. Try it with yours and you’ll see what a genius little hack this is.
Got my coffee and off to my home office to check emails, etc. This takes a few hours until somewhere around lunchtime. Well, maybe its not all work. I’m getting pretty good at the different versions of Candy Crush, but that’s just between you and me. I can see that its getting pretty close to noon so its time for lunch. Today, I think I’ll have poached eggs on toast, perhaps with a little bacon. As I sit down for lunch, I grab my book to get a little reading in. Lunch is done and its now time to write my blog. I case you couldn’t tell, that’s what I’m doing right now. Once that’s done, I’ll load it up to Facebook and that chore is done. As we approach one o’clock, I can tell its almost time for my nap.
Nap time can take anywhere from one to two hours depending on how much sleep I got last night. I didn’t sleep well last night so we’re probably talking a couple of hours. When nap time is over, I’ll check emails, do some more work and possibly a couple of games of solitaire just so I have a break now and then.
The four o’clock hour approaches and its time to turn on the BBC and find out what’s going on around the world. I have to admit that the BBC is better than American news programs. There’s something about the Brits and they have their noses into everything.
Five o’clock and its time for the first adult beverage of the evening and switch the channel to CNN or Beat Bobby Flay depending on my mood. I think I can beat Bobby Flay and when he asks for my special dish I will say - New England Clam Chowder. He’s from Manhattan and I’m not sure he even knows how to make it. After years of experimenting, I make some seriously good clam chowder. I would kick some serious New York ass here.
Dinner has been planned and I start preparing that. I’ve talked about food before so I’m not going to do it here. Lets just say its going to be delicious and, if I told you what it is, you would wish you were here.
The dishes are done, time for another cocktail and see what’s on Netflix. A good movie takes me all the way to bedtime somewhere around ten o’clock.
I know it sounds pretty boring, but having a routine is comforting. So I don’t get too bored, I think I’ll switch it up tomorrow just for a change. Instead of poached eggs I think I might go crazy and make a ham and cheese sandwich. See, I can change!!!
Day Seventeen - 12,857 deaths
April 5, 2020
I think I saw one. Pretty sure, actually. There I was just doing my civic duty and keeping watch on my neighborhood. I wasn’t expecting anything exciting, after all, everyone is housebound and shouldn’t be going out.
My neighborhood ends in a circle and there’s only one way in and one way out. When I first saw this Chrysler I didn’t think much of it. The second time I as watched it go around the circle, I paid better attention and, boy, am I glad I did. Right there on the back of the car, right next to the New York license plates, sitting boldly on the bumper was a Yankees sticker!
Shamefully, there was no attempt to hide or disguise this challenge to all Americans from the members of the Evil Empire. Now, in their insufferable arrogance, they’re driving around my neighborhood potentially infecting not only my neighbors, but ME as well.
Florida had the right idea weeks ago. Authorities started intercepting people flying in from New York to carefully screen them. They say they were looking for all New Yorkers, but I know what they were really doing (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). Spring training had been cancelled, but Yankee fans just didn’t get the message and now they’re in my ‘hood.
The airports weren’t enough to try and keep Yankee fans out of Florida. At the border, the Florida State Police set up road blocks to try and catch New Yorkers (Yankee fans) from sneaking into the Sunshine State. When found they were required to isolate for fourteen days. This Chrysler in my ‘hood has been here for less time than that which means they are flouting our isolation regulations and it is my civic duty to call the authorities and have them arrested. Because this is Florida, I think its also okay for me to simply shoot them because “I’m in fear for my life”.
The more I think about it, the more the second option appeals to me. I’m setting up an ambush for them the next time they wander through. My neighbor is a retired ex-MA state trooper and, since his house is right across the street from mine we should be able to hit them in a cross fire that will make them wish they had been Mets fans.
I was going to carry on a little more in this vein, but as I read it over to decide where to go next, I had a sudden thought: I think I need to be able to get out of the house . . .
Day Eighteen - 15,769 Deaths
April 6, 2020
I am struck by a thought. If the Coronavirus is so deadly in the United States and Europe, what happens when it gets into the slums of India, Africa and Brazil? The slums of New Delhi are 30 times more densely populated than New York City. Are these slums just a bad cough away from killing millions of people?
They can’t practice social distancing - too many people. They don’t have adequate sanitation, often no running water and conditions are squalid to say the least. They certainly don’t have access to world class heath care like we do. According to the United Nations, somewhere around a billion people live in slums around the world. Take a look at the pictures of slums in Brazil. I’ve been to the slums in Cuba. You can’t even begin to imagine how people have to live. You and I wouldn’t put up with it for a minute. However, when you realize that you only have $0.17 to your name and nowhere to go, what do you do?
Remember the movie Slum Dog Millionaire? That was filmed in Mumbai one of the largest slums in the world. They found the first coronavirus patient, a garment trader. He lived in a 420 square foot apartment with his wife, four daughters and two sons. That’s about the size of my living room. In Daravhi, you have a half a million people crammed into an area less than a square mile. That would be like taking everyone in Manchester, England and stuffing them into Hyde Park.
The Indian government is doing what they can, even though its not very much. They have apartments and whole buildings in complete lockdowns, no one in or out. Food rations are supplied to those who cannot leave. Health care workers are washing down the buildings with bleach. A 300 bed quarantine facility has been set up in sports complex just for patients from that neighborhood. Keep in mind that, in this neighborhood, 99% of the people have no bathroom and so use public toilets. All of a sudden your Stay at Home Order doesn’t seem so bad, does it.
All over the world, people living in the slums have no basic sanitation, no access to clean water or toilet facilities, poor nutrition and lots of other diseases already present that make many people particularly vulnerable. If a major outbreak occurs (or should I say when) there won’t be much anyone can do to help the population.
So far, the coronavirus outbreak hasn’t hit many of the poorest spots in the world. When it does, everyone hold onto your hats because this will be a disaster the world is completely unprepared for. This isn’t going away, folks, its going to get a lot worse before it gets better. So, stay at home, keep your distance and let the virus run its course. When its all over, we can see where we are, pick up the pieces and maybe, just maybe, we’ll have learned some things along the way.
Day Nineteen = 16,710 Deaths
April 7, 2020
This morning, I’m thinking of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Not his military victories. I’m thinking of when he was banished to the Isle of Elba. There he is, stuck on this shitty island and he can’t leave. It reminds me of me being locked in my house. Only I would compare myself with Napoleon, but wait, you’ll see.
I know Nappie must have spent a lot of time thinking about what he’d do if he ever got off the damn island. Maybe defeat and capture Russia. Boy, would that have made things different if Russians now spoke French. I’m sort of the same way except that I think about “capturing” a Big Mac and fries. I promise you that Napoleon would be thinking the exact same thing if McDonald’s had been around back then. He would have taken a franchise on campaign with him.
There is one way in which Napoleon and I are different. I’m sure he dreamed a lot of Josephine and missed her greatly. I’m still living with Louise and my biggest problem is making sure I have enough of the edge of the bed so I can turn over without falling out. I guess Nappie and I will dream about different things on this one.
I want to go out and eat in a restaurant
Napoleon wants to conquer the restaurant and be a partner
I would like to sit in a bar, have a drink and some fried calamari
Napoleon doesn’t want one bar, he wants ALL of them
I’d like to see my neighbors walking around the neighborhood again
Napoleon would like to search my neighborhood house to house looking for Yankee fans
I would like to go to the beach
Napoleon would like to storm the beach
I would like to go to the movies
Napoleon would like to be in the movies
When I travel, its just me in a metal tube flying somewhere
When Napoleon travels he brings a damn army with him
As you can clearly see, Napoleon and I have an awful lot in common. He was planning what to do when he got off Elba and I’m planning what to do when Louise lets me out of the house.
Funny how I never realized how much I’m like Napoleon until just now . . .
Day Twenty - 18,731 Deaths
April 8, 2020
Today is Saturday and it should feel like the weekend, but it doesn’t. When you’re locked up at home, every day is more or less the same. Louise and I haven’t killed each other yet. The operative word being “yet”. Its really not that different since we also work together which means we’re together almost all of the time anyway. The difference here is that we can’t just get away. Good thing I like her.
I did notice a curious thing this morning. I was looking at the Facebook statistics for this blog and here’s what I found out: while most of my readers are from the United States, I have a significant number of readers in the United Kingdom and Canada. Not surprising. What is surprising is that I also have a number of readers in Belgium, Portugal, Jordan and most surprising of all - there is a small group of people reading my blog in . . . wait for it . . . Myanmar!! I didn’t even know where Myanmar was until I found out its the old Burma, just north of Thailand. Myanmar??
So okay all of you Cliffs Corner readers, this time I want to hear from you, particularly those of you in Myanmar. I’d like to hear how the Coronavirus is affecting all of you. Just leave me a note or send me an email to let me know how things are going with you.
I’m leaving this blog now and turning it over to my readers. Don’t try not responding. As you can see I know who you are and I want to hear from you. I’m not kidding. Do it now while you’re still thinking of it. Maybe it will turn into another blog.
Don’t let me down . . .
Day Twenty One - 20,601 Deaths
April 9, 2020
A funny thing happened in the last twenty four hours. Yesterday I commented about readers I had around the world and the fact that I was surprised that I had readers in Myanmar. So I make a special effort to connect with new friends in that part of the world. Imagine my surprise when this morning, I woke up to literally hundreds of new readers in Myanmar. I have spent hours looking at their Facebook pages and enjoying a little peek into their lives. So I thought I’d take a look at how Myanmar is faring in the this Coronavirus outbreak.
Myanmar (the former Burma) is a country of roughly 54 million people. While they’ve certainly had their challenges in the past few years, the people I’m meeting are the same as people everywhere. Once you get past the politics and start getting to know people, we’re pretty much the same everywhere. I look at their friends and family, their pictures, their stories and realize I could be looking at almost anyone, anywhere and it would be very similar.
On April 8, Myanmar reported its third death from the coronavirus from 22 cases. With these few cases, I’m very concerned about Myanmar. There is very little in the way of social safety nets. There is no health insurance, no retirement accounts and none of what we take for granted here in America. Many of the factories are owned by the Chinese and since the border with China is closed there are no materials coming in meaning dozens of factories are being closed and tens of thousands are now without job. Just to give you some perspective, a good mechanic in Myanmar might make $175 per month.
I very surprised that coronavirus infections are still not happening in most of the world’s biggest slums. I don’t know what the delay is, but I know it has to be coming. We’re having trouble controlling it in the most advanced countries. I shudder to think what will happen if the coronavirus runs unchecked in some of the poorest areas of the world.
So, why in the world would somebody from Myanmar be the slightest bit interested in ready a journal written by some guy in Florida? I think its because when you scrape away all of the bullshit, we’re really all pretty much the same. The same hopes, fears, dreams and needs. Simply put, we’re all human and no matter where we are there is that common thread of humanity that unites us all.
Be safe and well my new friends in Myanmar and thank you for helping me to realize some simple truths that, all too often, go ignored in our busy lives. Perhaps the coronavirus is nature’s way of saying - remember what’s important.