Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Virus Life

Those who KNOW Bubba KNOW that Bubba is NOT a Lap Dog.  So 'IF' Bubba is on a lap, it is either he is scared, or was forced...I mean...coerced into sitting on a lap.  Here is Bubba sitting on my lap, so 'either' the virus has scared him...or I forced...I mean...coerced him to sit on my lap.  YOU DECIDE!  (OK, I coerced him...told him I would give him an extra treat when we got home if he let me hold him like I would hold Skruffy.  Unfortunately, he is so tense, his tummy has an obstruction that Skruffy did not have [think boy vs girl], and all he wanted to do was get down while all Skruffy ever wanted was more love.  Oh how much do we miss that little squirt...)

Old Bubba is a creature of habit.   During certain times each day...once or twice in the morning, once or twice in the afternoon, and two or three times in the evening he waits near the kitchen.  What does he want?  His morning treat, morning breakfast, afternoon treat(s), evening treats and dinner, and finally, his ice cream.  THANK GOODNESS for Rebel Ice Cream!  A 'PINT' of Ice Cream is only 4 to 6 carbs.  It cost around $5 per pint, but I only have 1/3 of a pint each day, Marcia typically relies on Atkins Candy Bars for her treat each day.  Of my 1/3 of a pint, Bubba gets a couple of tablespoons.  I love it, and Bubba LOVES it (thanks Arny and Sandy for spoiling him with ice cream all these years!)

I try to get him to the doggie park each week...either on Saturday or Sunday, although I took him this past Monday.  As we pulled up, Bubba looks out, then looks at me.  "Where the 'HECK' is everyone???   I tried to explain to him about the fears of the CoronaVirus, and he just gives me that look like, "Just let me out of this car!"  Sure enough, no other doggies in site during our 30 minute visit.  Dogs REALLY have a sense of where they soon as I get within 1/4 mile of the dog park, he perks up, sits up, and by the time I stop he can't wait to get out of the car.


The new cell tower at the RV Storage Lot is taking shape.  It does seem to be active, and they decided to decorate it as a pine tree instead of a palm tree.  I guess they thought they were in the mountains somewhere and not in Florida!  I was really hoping for a nice big Palm Tree at the end of the Storage Area.

Last week I saw how low gas prices had gotten, and decided to fill up the motorhome while it was so cheap.  WOW, $1.159 per gallon???  Well, that is only with the 80 cents discount I got from my Winn Dixie points.  Still, $1.959 is pretty cheap!  Can't think of how long it has been since I put 20 gallons of gas in for $23.00!  Wow, that was nice.

On the way back from filling the motorhome, I then filled up the car.  Over 10 gallons for $21.00, even that is not bad...but I put twice as much in the motorhome nearly the same money with that 80 cent discount!

This is the largest parking lot in the Docks Area of Tarpon Springs.  Normally this lot is full of cars and sometimes a few RVs this time of year...lately this is the norm...hardly any cars, no RVs.

Tarpon Springs Docks is like a Ghost TownTarpon Springs Docks is like a Ghost Town

These pictures along the docks was taken around 1 looks like it is 9 am.  Businesses are hurting, hurting, hurting.  Restaurants can only serve "To Go" orders.  Bars that sell food can also sell bottles of beer and wine (but it is hard to beat the price of liquor stores or grocery stores).  This view can be seen all across America, with different rules in different locals. It is like Christmas Day, except it has been a few weeks, and it is going to be a number of weeks more. At first they allowed restaurants to seat every other table...but that did not work out especially where Spring Breaks kids congregate.  Beaches are mostly closed, but it is left up to the individual counties to make that decision.  Some cities and counties are in full lock down, but most of Florida is not under a lock down.

Just in case you had not heard, the Salt Lake City had a major earthquake, just 15-20 miles west downtown...which means just 15-20 miles away from my daughter Stephanie lives.  No one really hurt, only minor damage for an earthquake of that size, but WOW, I am sure we did not have to live through it, and how Stephanie managed to get through it is beyond me.  There were many aftershocks in the high 2's to 4.5 range, and those were not easy to deal with either.  It looks like the last aftershock was just 4 hours ago today, so this is something they are still dealing with.

CoronaVirus as of 3/25/2020 at 7:06 pm ET 
World Meter Link     |     By Country Meter Link     |     USA Meter Link

Update on family in regards to "THE VIRUS".  As far as we can tell, no family member has been infected.  Ryan and Kaelyn's wedding has been postponed until late July..which means we will be here in Florida at least through May, perhaps through June.  Aunt Mary and Uncle Jim gave up on Assisted Living life and moved back to their safe haven in the Modesto California area.  Mom's facility is pretty much on total lock-down.  In fact, sister Patti went by over the weekend and mom through her laundry over the outside balcony down to Patti.  (Of course, Patti could have walked in and got and left real quick, or mom could have handed out the back exit door which is close to her, but hey, tossing it down over a balcony down to the ground some 30' below is more fun!)  

On a sad note, the guy who came out from Missouri to do Dad's Memorial Service has been diagnosed with the Virus.  From what mom said yesterday, Kevin is feeling fine, but due to recent travel and contact with a son who was showing signs of the illness, he decided to get tested, and he "won the CoronaVirus Lotto".  We sure hope that he has a mild case, and perhaps he is one of the real lucky who has it, and never shows any symptoms.  I have read a number accounts of people who have gone through the illness.  In its bad, evil form, it is something that no one wants to go through.  One man, in his early 30's, thought for sure he was going to die, and asked the doctor to give him the "Malaria Drug" that a relative told him about.  They consented and gave him Hydroxychloroquine and he tells about how painful it was for about six hours, and suddenly he wakes up and wonders what was wrong with him.  He credits the drug with saving his life, but he said that he went through hell getting there.  My prayer and hope is that none of my family, none of my readers, none of my friends have to go through this...

Finally, I went to Sam's Club yesterday, just two weeks from my previous visit.  WOW, what a change.  The meat area was pretty much bare of beef, but they had pork, chicken, fish, and lots of hamburger and lots of beef briskets...but no normal steaks, no roasts, and the cuts of chicken and pork were numerous, but the fish was limited.  Want Lamb?  Sorry...  Want a good steak?  Well, if you want to pay $30+ for one of those huge Ribeye with the bone which are 2-3" thick, well you are in luck.  Want a good roast?  Nada...  I was able to get everything else I needed...but I forgot the coffee.  Well, I'll get a container from Winn Dixie down the street later...I don't plan to go into Sams for another two weeks.  As for the crowd, there was not a huge crowd.  I did notice the Deli as you leave was closed down, as was the tire shop that I typically park near.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Coronavirus Affects (Not Infects) Family, and Community

This 2015 picture is of mom and dad (left), Aunt Rosie (now deceased picture front right), Marcia and Uncle Jim and Aunt Mary (far right end).  Mary and mom are sisters, Mary being two years older than mom.  Rosie is the wife of their older brother Kenny, who was three years older than Mary.  Of the eleven children of Grandma Cline, Mary, Mom and the youngest of the family, Paul, are the only ones left.
Mary and Jim moved into an Assisted Living Center in Elk Grove California (southern suburb of Sacramento) this past Saturday.  On Monday, that Center went into a quarantine situation due to one of the residents being diagnosed with the COVID-19 Coronavirus...that person, a 97 year old female, passed away on Tuesday.  According to a news report today, none of the facility's other 143 patients are yet suspected of being infected.

The quarantine consists of trying to keep the residents in their apartments, having meals delivered to each apartment, and no group gatherings or activities.  Visitors are not allowed in the building, but residents can leave if they want or need to (such as doctor's appointments, or wishing to go live with a relative for a few weeks.)

Mom, who lives in an Assisted Living facility in Roseville (northern suburb of Sacramento) has not reported any cases at her place, but they too are taking some precautions. They still gather for meals in the dining room, but other group activities are canceled for now, and visitors need to stay within the residents apartment.

In the state of Washington, as of Thursday evening, 22 deaths are associated with the Life Care Center of Kirkland near Seattle. It’s been 13 days since this Life Care Center went on quarantine. Sixty-three residents have been infected...I could not find out how many of the 41 remaining infected residents are at the facility, in hospitals, or what.  Just because you are old and catch the virus does not mean you are going to die...but chances are higher for the elderly especially because many have underlying illnesses which has weakened their immune system.

Coronavirus has been around for a long time...but this new Coronavirus, COVID-19, is new.  Dad, pictured above in the ER the day before he passed away, was diagnosed with Coronavirus OC43, which is one of the viruses which causes the common cold.  His immune system was so shot that his lungs and heart could not handle this virus, leading to complications, which quickly took him away from us.  

There is much hype going on in the world over COVID-19.  I think over time history will show that COVID-19 is just another form of cold or flu that the world will need to deal with.  There is a huge probability that a vaccine will be created quickly which will keep this virus in check for the next flu and cold season next winter.  Countries of the world have decided that the best way to keep this virus in check for now is to keep its spread as small as possible.  Here in the US/Canada the NBA, NHL, NCAA have canceled their seasons.  Golf and NASCAR are still happening, but with no crowds.  Baseball's Spring Training has been suspended, and opening day has been moved back by two weeks.  Disney is shutting down all of its parks here in the states starting Sunday, and stopping new cruises from starting up until further notice.  The list goes on and on....

What all this means is that businesses and jobs will take a huge hit.  Next week the PGA's Valspar Championship takes place in Palm Harbor, just yards away from where we store our motorhome.  Restaurants, Hotels, Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Bars, Tourist Sites are all geared up for around 150,000+ visitors.  The Valspar Championship raises lots of money for charity, around $2.5 million last year.  This year, as of today's announcement, will be a BUST!

Today on my way to do more work at the motorhome, I stopped by a McDonalds for a Diet Coke (all drinks are just $1).  It was exactly noon...I was the only car in the two lanes to give orders, but when I drove up to the window to pay there were two cars which has already paid awaiting their orders.  The parking lot had many empty parking places.  I typically avoid going to this McDonalds after 11:30 and before 2:00 due to the lunch there was no lunch rush.  I noticed fewer cars in the large Walmart shopping center and the Publix Shopping Center across the street.  Yesterday we met Marcia's brother Dean and wife Caryl at Mama Maria's for lunch.  We arrived at 11:30, left around 2:00.  They had about 1/4 of their tables in use at the most.  Many people are not going out to eat, not visiting tourist sites, stocking up on hand sanitizers, TP, Kleenex, and food.  Hunkering down at home is the thing to do right now for many.  Our church sent out a Facebook reminder about the Internet Live Stream of our services for those who understandably don't want to get out into the public.

It is going to be a tough 2-6 weeks.  Eventually people will get fed up with staying home.  The economy will pick back up.  Many experts are saying that by Summer, COVID-19, like the flu and cold, will slow way down until the next flu season.  Baseball, Golf and NASCAR will again have people in their stands.  The NBA, NCAA, NHL will have asterisk in their books showing why they did not complete the 2019-2020 Season.  Mickey Mouse will again have visitors, and cruise ships will come and go each week from the many ports.  Local businesses will again see normal use, those businesses which are able to survive this slow down.

As for Marcia and I...we are doing just fine.  We take the same precautions as we do with the flu each year because neither of us get the flu shot.  The last time I got a flu shot, back in the '70's, I ended up with the flu.  In my lifetime I have lived through the following pandemics (defined : prevalent over the world)---
Asian Flu (1957–1958) outbreak of avian influenza that originated in China with estimates of worldwide deaths ranging from 1 million to 4 million depending on source, and it is estimated that 70,000 died in the US.

Hong Kong Flu (1968–1969) which killed an estimated one million people worldwide.  People over 65 had the greatest death rates with US deaths of around 33,800.

Russian Flu (1977–1978) primarily affected people born after 1950, because the older generation had protective immunity resulting from prior experience with this strain. The 1977 virus was similar to other A/H1N1 viruses that had circulated prior to 1957. The virus was included in the 1978–79 vaccine.  Few deaths occured since this was primarily in young people.

Swine Flu (2009–2010) CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases, and WHO stated that "199 countries and overseas territories/communities have officially reported a total of over 482,300 laboratory confirmed cases...that included 6,071 deaths", but later increased the estimated number of deaths to 284,500 people, about 15 times the number of deaths in the initial death toll, with 12,469 deaths in the US. 
I survived those pandemics, and I expect to survive this one.  Our thoughts are prayers are with my Aunt and Uncle, Mom, Euleda (Arny's mom), and other friends and relatives who are at that age where this COVID-19 is so deadly.  

NOTE: The local golf tournament has now been canceled.