Friday Cat Blogging and Memorial Day Weekend Plans

Ahhhh, Memorial Day Weekend. It’s always special for me because not only is the weather mostly fantastic at the end of May, but my birthday usually falls on it, or at least close enough. (May 26 if you must know.)

So how will I be celebrating my 46th year on the blue marble?  STAYING THE HELL AWAY FROM PEOPLE!  I just can’t get over how this country has collectively decided that we just can’t even anymore with the pandemic and let’s just ignore it. Trump has the big share of this blame. He decided back in early April that opening up the country was what was in his best interest for his re-election chances and has now been gaslighting, scamming, and pressuring all the states to follow suit. I expect him always to make the worst choice possible.  What really has astounded me is how many people who are not Trump fans, are now going along with it. I think we all underestimated the art of the con. Trump says things that people really want to hear. And even if you know that he’s a fraud and a liar, it’s awfully tempting to buy into it.

And yes, people have legitimate reasons for wanting states to reopen besides going to the beach. The economic impact of the lockdowns have been devastating. The Republicans are already stating that they are over helping Americans who have been laid off due to the pandemic. It’s either get out and face a possible ventilator in your or your loved ones’ future, or stay home and starve. If you even get to keep your home.

But Chris, do you expect everybody to stay quarantined forever?  Well, no, but it would have been nice if we actually had a quarantine in the first place instead of this half-assed version that we’ve been faking for the past two months. We’ve done just enough to flatten the curve, but not bring down the numbers enough that we won’t be facing an entirely new curve in two weeks.  And I hope I’m wrong on this. I want a return to normalcy as much as the next person. But not if it means risking the health of my loved ones or myself.

So what happens next?  Everybody’s situation is different.  I’m fortunate enough to be able to work from home. My boss has said that she expects us to be working from home until September at least. My wife on the other hand is on leave at least through June and most likely past that. Socially, I’m staying away from restaurants, beaches, anywhere where there are people. I think we collectively suck at social distancing.  People gravitate towards each other. And the Covid-19 death toll keeps rising (over 97K as of this writing).

Stay safe Cynics.

Question of the Day

If you’re reading this post and also want the country to start opening up because some people are just going to have to die to save the economy, can you list two or three people you know and love and are perfectly fine seeing die? Granted, this virus really fickle so may not abide by your death list.

I for one hate this lockdown and can’t wait to go back to work, but not if losing some of my friends and family to a terrible disease is the price we have to pay. How are we even at this point?

Books I Read in April

I’m slowly adding more books to my monthly totals. Ever so slowly.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel A worldwide pandemic destroys most of humanity? Sure, I’m in the mood for nonfiction. This book always gets rave reviews but I really couldn’t get into it. I tried before and gave up fairly quickly. I got through most of it this time and still it just didn’t work for me.

Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang I wasn’t really in the mood for short stories. The problem with any collection of short stories is the stories I get into end too quickly and other ones just throw me off from the beginning. This collection is pretty amazing. It’s one of the few books that have held my attention for the past few months.

The Practicing Stoic: A Philosophical User’s Manual by Ward Farnsworth Worry only about things that you can’t control Sure, EASY TO SAY WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC. I mean, the book was good if you’re looking for an intro into stoic philosophy.

What are you reading?

Question of the Day

How are you doing?

I stopped going into work on March 10th. So I’ve been working from home for 6 weeks. I’ve pretty much stayed inside for the majority of that time and have taken social distancing extremely seriously. I did go to the supermarkets a bit more often earlier in March when it was still not quite clear how bad things were going to be and stocked up on most supplies. I haven’t stepped foot into an actual store now in about 3 to 4 weeks ago. I’ve lost count. I’ve been doing store pickups from Walmart lately which takes a while to get a scheduled time slot but it’s not impossible. My family has also abided by the lockdown orders (or suggestion? I don’t know what it means anymore)

Mrs C. is a flight attendant though. She has taken a short leave of absence so we have lost a source of income which is a pain but I’m still working from home so it’s not a disaster… yet. The stimulus check I probably won’t see until June or July (my direct deposit info wasn’t on file with the IRS so I need to wait) Another pain, but I’m a bit of a saver when it comes to money so we’re ok for the short term at least. How long this will go on though puts everybody except the wealthy on shaky footing.

Besides working from home, I’ve been practicing doing some sketching, binge watching Schitt’s Creek and Better Call Saul, playing my guitar more than I have in a few decades, and finding it difficult to read for some reason. Mrs. C has been doing a lot of baking. We found yeast and flour early on and have a good supply of it.

So we’re holding up ok. Cabin fever is getting to us a bit though. There’s only so much time you can spend in the house before it starts to eat away at you. But it’s for the greater good. Yes, we want everything to open up soon so we can go back to normal but also realize doing that prematurely would only set everybody back months and get a lot of people sick and killed.

Books I Read in March

Ok, my reading for the year has been abysmal. But, in my defense, this has been one abysmal year so far. So, I read this one:

The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson. So, it got off to a rocky start. It’s a new release and somehow I received the ebook version from my library right away. Score. I read about 60% of it (page numbers have no meaning with ebooks, do they?) very quickly. I was really into it. So much that I decided to return a different book I was not into on my Kindle. And, you know how sometimes the Kindle can take a while to change icons….. So I returned the wrong book. Which pissed me off to no end because since it was a new book, I would have to go back to the end of a very long line to get it (like 114 people long line). I could have just bought it but I was over the halfway point and irritated that I did something so stupid. Luckily, my library has networks with smaller libraries so I found one with less demand.

Oh, the book? It’s a fine book. I’m always in for a Battle of Britain/Churchill story. I found the parts about his relatives to be less interesting and my eyes went into skim mode for those.

Let’s see if I can actually concentrate a bit more in April to fill out these posts with more than a title or two.

What have you been reading?

Question of the Day

How are you doing? How have you been coping with everything? Are you safe?

Mrs. C. and I haven’t left the house for over a week and last time we went out was for a supermarket run early in the morning. We’re fairly stocked and we shouldn’t have to hit the supermarket again for another 10 to 14 days. I’m a bit worried about the dairy situation though. I drink coffee with cream (no sugar anymore) and I’m drinking a lot more coffee than usual. I thought I had stocked up fairly well but may have to switch over to milk early next week. The horror.

Workwise, I’ve been working from home. Fortunately, there’s a lot of work I can do from home. At some point I may have to go to my office to pick up some mail, sign checks, etc, but I figure I can slip in late and keep any exposure to other people at a minimum. I certainly won’t be using public transit.

We’ve been having some zoom parties lately with friends and family. I’ve found that to be a big morale boost. Seeing the faces of loved ones who are also quarantined is good for the spirit.

I’ve also started to look for some online courses to do. I’ve broken my french flashcards out and grammar books and have been watching french shows on Netflix to retrain my ear. My house is looking pretty damn clean and I’m trying to use this time to reorganize my thoughts and find a newly found respect for everything we could do when we could leave the house.

I don’t know anybody yet who has tested positive for covid-19, although, I also don’t know anybody who has been tested.

I hope everyone else out there is staying safe.

Coronavirus Resource Thread

I’m going to start creating a list below of resources and tips for those of us who have been impacted directly by the coronavirus, either by the disease itself, being quarantined, or those who are having immediate financial ramifications. Please, leave anything you come across or have found help with in the comments and I’ll post it to the top of this page in this thread.

CDC How to Protect Yourself from coronavirus infection.
CDC Symptoms of coronavirus.

IRS releases guidance on deferring tax payments due to coronavirus

Reddit’s Personal Finance job loss megathread has resources from state to state and other helpful information.

Lighter stuff but still important:

Don’t let self-quarantine get you down with these virtual museum tours, online photography collections, and more