We spent, as did the rest of the world, the better part of five months going nowhere. At home protecting ourselves and others from The Evil Virus. In September we ran away for several days to a rented house in Cedar Key, FL.
A nasty side affect of being cooped up so long and then set free was the irresistible urge to shoot way too many sunsets and sunrises.
An old-time traditional business ends.
For those of you interested in such things,
The Big Watermelon tent has been a landmark coming into Tallahassee, FL on Highway 19 for a lot of years.
Usually, one to three old guys sitting in the folding chairs watching the world go by.
I do not remember seeing actual watermelons.
October 14, 2020
In the midst of the Pandemic, new neighbors moved in.
A Flock of Ducks,
A Raft of Ducks,
A Team of Ducks,
A Paddling of Ducks
It started as just a couple of Ducks checkin' out the neighborhood,
but quickly grew to six
And gradually, as the word spread, six became many
They are all relatively well- behaved, excepting the occasional
Duck Squabble, and periodic
Mostly they just walk around,
hiding under a tree in the mid-day sun,
and disappearing into the Preserve at night.
Surprisingly, they spend very little time in the pond.
Between "the Covid" and surgery, the only Hither and Yon posting I can give you is around the house...
(yes, it really is how our drainboard looked... well, maybe a couple of things strategically placed))
Ever looked at the very small instructions that occasionally come inserted in deliveries?
We know that very little is actually made here anymore, most of it comes from over there. So bad grammar and poor syntax have become staples (fire killer?).
But really, no English SpellCheck?
Another example, this one is a small cardboard insert.
The grammar and text aren't bad,
but think about it:
A family business that has to print in both Chinese and English? That's a fairly far reach!
Or is it just me that finds it strange?
Two Instacart grocery deliveries, each with a pound of butter for Ruth's baking.
Not a clue what this is. It appeared one day on a counter. Very small, the wood grain is the fine grain of our dining room table. Not sure what it is made of... some kind of smooth fiber, maybe very thin plastic.
4th of July was very strange this year.
All the big fireworks shows, that we watched from the house, were cancelled. There were almost no family fireworks going off around us. Even the booms that accompanied the evening were subdued.
Two really bad pictures sum up the evening...
I am fortunate enough to work in an Essential business that has stayed open throughout the Pandemic while we sheltered in place. Unfortunately, COVID-19 decided to come to town after a lot of our years have passed, so Ruth and I are considered in a high-risk group. Over the last month, we have journeyed from our residence only to take walks and go to our cluster mailbox (those of you who know Ruth may be asking yourselves, "How is Bill still alive?" That is a story for another time).
The result is a lot of waiting for the end of the rainbow.
Watching the news, seeing all the support for first responders, and the plight of local small businesses is a helpless feeling because we can't be "out there." More than a few years ago, I apprenticed and worked in restaurants and catering. The low margins and the resulting depressed wages exist to this day. It is terribly hard to go without work when you are living week-to-week or even day-to-day. Anyway, here we are sitting in relative comfort, unable to go out and help while both our communities and small businesses suffer—a bit of a guilt trip.
Ruth and I needed to do something. We talked about a favorite local restaurant that is trying to survive doing carry-out when their strength, along with great food, is the ambiance of the restaurant. We also talked about first-responders working long hours under challenging conditions who also have to find ways to eat.
It wasn't a big leap to combine the two.
We reached out to Giuseppe, the owner of Casa Cosenza in Oldsmar, and talked to him about giving them a pile... a small pile... of money to use to feed first responders. He and his wife were all over it. They contacted a local hospital to organize a food delivery for 40 / 50 first responders.
There is a commentary to the story: we need to be always mindful that these are unprecedented times, changing the world as we know it; making life hard for millions of men, women, and families. As always occurs in times of adversity, along with the loss and hardship, some step up, often at risk and sacrifice to themselves, to help and render aid. It is too easy to listen to the Talking Heads and just sit around, bemoaning our fate. If everyone who can moves away from their arbitrarily- designated comfort zone and reaches out however they can, we will all be improved for it and in a better place when the New Normal finally defines itself. Do something.
Ed at the Putnam Lodge
Saturday January 18 was the first time I picked up my big camera since surgery back in the middle of December. Friends and wife talked me into a side trip to Cedar Key, FL from where we were staying in Cross City. After an excellent seafood lunch, we did about a two mile walkabout. Totally exhausting and probably a bit much, but so worth it to strap on a camera bag and walk. A huge step back to normalcy. Thank you, Ruth, Kimberly and Wayne.
First stop: outside the Cedar Key Arts Center
Starting life in 1881 as the Woolridge Building, this old building retired from last being the L&M Saloon. It has been used as the post office, a drug store, a hardware store, a bar and a barber shop. Since its retirement, it has become a drop-off for strange little objects and somewhat of an art presentation in its old age.
Just down the street:
Here are some things I learned:
- Never take sitting down and standing up for granted. Part of Post-surgery Physical Therapy is learning how to do both.
- Toilet seats are a LONG way down.
- Very quickly, learn to never sit down without first looking for something to help get back up. Early on, I got trapped in a chair I couldn’t get out of.
- When traveling, the biggest danger is dropping the hotel bar of soap when taking a shower. You finish the shower with no soap.
- Speaking of toilet seats, watch out for those retail raised toilet seats. Most are not made for the male anatomy. It can be messy; I’ll just leave it at that.
- Pre-surgery Physical Therapy is all about working to the pain and stopping. Post-surgery P.T. is all about working through the pain (scream like a little girl).
- The biggest challenge a week after surgery is realizing that after the pain starts to go away your body was seriously weakened by the surgery, and you simply cannot do it.
- Hospitals are full of nice people who keep you awake all the time; do everything you can to go home as soon as possible.
- The worst times in a hospital are midnight to 4 am. I learned this a long time ago and had it reinforced this time. Someone stayed the first night, so she made it tolerable; the 2nd night I was alone, and it was… no, I don’t have words to describe it. Knowing in advance made the anticipation almost as bad. Pain meds helped; binge-watching TV did not.
- Take advantage of the kindness of strangers. Despite all the nonsense in social media, people held doors open, volunteered to carry things, and let me go to the front of the line. To those of you that did: THANK YOU, it means a lot. If you get an opportunity, HELP: it means a lot.
- Week 2, Day 1. Captain’s Log: A major step forward today. Put on boxers by myself, and it took less than five minutes. It’s the little things that count.
- NEVER go on YouTube and watch the actual surgical procedure. I did after the surgery and had nightmares for two days. If I had watched beforehand, I probably would have chickened out. It just ain’t natural to do that kind of stuff to the human body. Stick with the pretty computer animations.
- Medical bureaucracy is the longest part of getting treated. There are so many CYA forms. And you don’t get pain meds to help you through.
- Despite the terrible shape our healthcare system is in, most of the people I dealt with were great: professional, sympathetic, friendly and some even chuckled at jokes they had probably heard a billion times before.
- Pain Management after surgery is good; extended pain management is bad. Don’t make excuses; get off the pain meds as soon as you can.
- A nasty side- effect of surgery: constipation. Initially, you do not want to go; then you must go but can’t; then you go. Another reason to get off pain meds: opioids cause constipation. “Kids, don’t do drugs, you won’t be able to poop.”
- Get out of bed, walk around, breathe fresh air. You don’t want to, but it is better therapy than PT and drugs. The medical people say it, believe it.
- Socks. Forget about it. Or buy one of the fancy sock tools. If someone had videoed me putting on socks in the hotel room, all 15 minutes of it would have gone viral.
- If you have two floors, have two walkers. Getting up and down steps is a challenge without the extra burden of having to haul something with you or making someone take it up or down. If you leave the walker on the wrong floor, you are trapped and have to sit on the last step forever!
- Biggest lesson: never ever under-estimate the value of friends and family. Remember that it is almost as difficult for them as you.
A storm passing by during a Caribbean cruise.
I do not fly as much as I used to, in fact I only did three round-trips this year and one was to Europe. Despite the discomforts of air travel today, there are moments worth remembering. So, from a flight home from St. Louis, with the help of my DX0 and Perfectly Clear V3, an interpretation of Airplane Clouds:
Ruth and I made a fantastic trip to the Mediterranean in August. We went to some amazing places, met some great people, made some good friends, ate some excellent food, and drank (a lot of) really good wine.
Go to our Trip Story Page to see the trip, the story, and the images. The page is a section of my Galleries, so the image copies are much better quality then I can post on this website.
The Florida Keys
The Caribbean... the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Grand Turks, and at sea
April- May, 2019