To Keep You From Losing Your Mind

Editor’s note: I did not write the following.  Rather, “borrowed” it from a cousin’s Facebook page.  Wish I had written it.  You will love the last line.  Enjoy.

Half of us are going to come out of this quarantine as amazing cooks. The other half will come out with a drinking problem. (Perhaps a weight problem?)

I used to spin that toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I’m cracking a safe.

I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator.

Still haven’t decided where to go for Easter —– The Living Room or The Bedroom

PSA: every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.

Homeschooling is going well. 2 students suspended for fighting and 1 teacher fired for drinking on the job.

I don’t think anyone expected that when we changed the clocks we’d go from Standard Time to the Twilight Zone

This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house, told my dog….. we laughed a lot.

So, after this quarantine….will the producers of My 600 Pound Life just find me or do I find them?

Quarantine Day 5: Went to this restaurant called THE KITCHEN. You have to gather all the ingredients and make your own meal. I have no clue how this place is still in business.

My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet.

Day 5 of Homeschooling: One of these little monsters called in a bomb threat.

I’m so excited — it’s time to take out the garbage. What should I wear?

I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to Puerto Backyarda. I’m getting tired of Los Livingroom.

Classified Ad: Single woman with toilet paper seeks man with hand sanitizer for good clean fun.

Day 6 of Homeschooling: My child just said “I hope I don’t have the same teacher next year”…. I’m offended.

Who Got My Toilet Paper?

Like most, I have been mightily baffled that toilet paper is almost non-existent these days.  That it, the kind most of us use in our bathroom at home.

Then a couple of days ago I heard a reporter on TV talk about what he’d learned as to why there is a shortage.  I did not know the reporter, nor who he worked for, but I do remember his explanation and it makes sense to me.

Turns out that there are two markets for toilet paper.  One is commercial.  One is home.  I had never thought about this before.  Nor had I had a reason to dwell on it what with all the time I spend considering the really weighty issues of the world–like can Auburn beat Alabama on the gridiron.

So the commercial market is offices, motels, schools, restaurants, fast food places and so on and so forth.  For the most part these are the giant rolls stuck in those really big holders in Mickey D’s.  Hardly soft as baby’s breathe, but functional.

The ultra soft product is what we normally use at home.

But when offices are closed and schools and restaurants and most of us conduct our business at home, supply and demand get out of whack and the shelves at Piggly Wiggly are bare.

Now.  How do you procure what you need during this time of crisis?  Hey, I just do football games, not bathroom supplies.  But my word to the wise is that if you are in a store and spy some, don’t pass them by.

Life In A Pandemic

As hard as it may be to believe, for the first time in my life I went to the grocery yesterday and bought salt and pepper.  You know, one of those little round packages with holes in the top.  Which means I can now scramble eggs and sprinkle salt and  pepper on them.

Sounds impossible doesn’t it?  Not if you don’t cook, which I don’t.

But in this time of crisis, necessity becomes the mother of invention and I am discovering that I can actually do a few things in the kitchen. Like scramble eggs.  I do have a frying  pan.  So I crack open three eggs in a cereal bowl, mix them up with a fork and dump them in the frying pan that I have sprayed with Pam.  And a few minutes later I am ready to eat.

I have also discovered a George Foreman grill that I’ve had for years.  It does fine with a small sirloin steak.  But be mindful, it is easy to cook them too long and when you do you spend more time chewing than you do eating.  The grill does well in lightly grilling shrimp.  Put about a dozen in it, plug it in and don’t get too far away.

A sliced vine-ripe tomato, some fresh from the grocery deli potato salad and the shrimp make a decent meal.

I have also tried some of what we used to call “TV dinners.”  They come in all shapes and sizes and many brands.  I suppose they will keep you alive.  But that’s about all I can say good about them.

All the while I’m trying to bear in mind that I have a diabetes issue and need to avoid some foods as much as possible.,  Though honestly,  figuring out just what these are based on what I’ve read is about as confusing as knowing how to combat the coronavirus.

Yes, these are very different times.  Seeing me puttering around a stove is proof of that.

When Words Escape Me

NEVER in my 77 years has the United States faced a time as daunting as the one we now face.  Unbelievably it was just a month ago today (March 3, 2020) when Alabama went to the polls for our presidential primary.  That was the day voters slam dunked the attempt by the legislature to take control of public education by defeating Amendment One 75 percent to 25 percent.

Little did we know that we were within mere hours of having our world jerked out from under us and whatever “normal” may have been replaced by fear and uncertainty.

Since I started this blog five years ago, probably at least 90 percent of what I’ve written about has dealt with public education.  But to be honest, education is now about the farthest thing from my mind.  Which does not mean that I am not in awe of the efforts educators and volunteers are making on behalf of our students.  I am indeed.

But in my mind, until we somehow get our arms around this tremendous health issue, little else matters.

I am scared.  For my son and daughter, for friends scattered from coast to coast, for every one who claims this country as their home.

We’ve all been inspired by stories of common folks doing uncommon things during this time.  I saw an interview with a 4th grade girl in Boston who loved to sew and had already made more than 800 face masks for local policemen.   God bless her.

BUT I am still appalled at those who see this pandemic through political eyes.  The fact that for the most part Democratic governors have responded differently than Republican governors is beyond comprehension.

Were we ready for this pandemic?  NO.  Of course not.  Was New Orleans ready for Katrina’s flooding?  Was Tuscaloosa ready for the horrific tornado that hit in 2011?

Whose fault was this?  Who cares?  All that matters is what we do from this day forward, not what should have been done three months ago.  And for the Democrats to announce that they want to investigate who may have been at fault is ridiculous.

This country has never been so divided against itself.  Where is the tolerance?  I see friends of many, many years posting crap on Facebook that is often untrue, but is of no value if it were.  Recently one posted that a number of prominent Democrats go by a different name than they had as children.  Most of it was total B.S.  But Sweet Jesus, people are dying and this is what we’re thinking about?

In my opinion, the Crown Prince of division is Sean Hannity.  How does the poison he spews each night make the United States a better place?  It doesn’t.

The best scientists in the world are working feverishly to find answers to what confronts us.  The hospitals of New York City are filled with countless heroes.

Do what you can.  Give blood.  Make masks.  Remember your neighbors and your friends.  Listen to the scientists,  Be part of the solution.  Not part of the problem like Sean Hannity.

In Praise Of Porches

Like most homes built in the 1930s and 40s, Grandpa’s little wooden structure at Rt. 2 Red Level had a porch.  And a swing and some rocking chairs.  The swing was perpendicular to the road, so Grandpa sat in it with his back to the house and his feet to the road.  Cars would go by and each one would blow their horn.  Grandpa would wave and Grandma would look up from the pan of butterbeans she was shelling and ask, “Horace, who was that?”

A dirt dauber worked on his mud mansion in a corner of the ceiling.  In the distance a mama cow bawled for her calf to come home.

These thoughts came back to me when I read what Troy Turner, editor of the Opelika-Auburn News, recently titled “Suddenly, it’s a front porch world again.”

“How about this:

Instead of going into panic mode over being left behind in the stylish run on toilet paper, or instead of being selfish in your disappointment about the prudent cancellation of sporting events, why not draw up an old-fashioned to-do list that actually could change your state of mind about a few things?

Divide and conquer

Folks who see the glass half full are very much enjoying the idea right now about having a week or two or three of downtime. Especially if they are blessed enough that their finances are somewhat secure.

Folks who see the glass half empty and leaking fast either have real health concerns already, real financial concerns, or a disappointing outlook on the life of what they’re missing more so than the life being presented to them now.

The best way to see this, especially given how little control we have over the situation at large, is to look at the opportunity existing before us.

Prayer warriors already are ahead of me here, but the point is, we need to channel our energies into things more constructive than joining the mad, mad world of mass hysteria.

Disappointment abounds, true, and so does justified concern.

But catch your breath a minute.

This isn’t the end of the world, folks, and if you look hard enough, you might get through all of this a better person — in more ways than one.

No batteries required

Growing up in rural Tallapoosa County, we had nearby Lake Martin for swimming, picnics and fishing; plenty of cast-iron skillets for a good fish fry; gardens we hoed by hand for fresh vegetables such as the peas we shelled and corn we shucked in the evenings; and there was no such thing as a stranger for a neighbor.

There was one constant when it came to a favorite venue for social media: the porch.

For some, it was the front porch; for others, the back porch; and for the fancy folks, they’d call it a veranda and it might wrap around at least two sides of the house.

We’d find the coolest spot to sit, relax and talk.

Sometimes we’d play games, and not a one of them required batteries. The only worldwide web available belonged to that spider up on the post that we appreciated for catching all the flies.

Life was simple. Life was good. Even when it wasn’t.

We figured someday it could change. Maybe, we even knew it’d take a very sick world to find it again.

Meanwhile, you gotta love those among us with humor.

Like the guy who posted on Facebook that he is in desperate search of a sports addiction rehabilitation center.

Or the woman who shared news that Walmart is going into crisis-management mode, and therefore until further notice will open a third register on Lane 3.

The world reaction and public-health threat because of the coronavirus is what it is.

We each have a very serious role in combating it, which includes respecting others enough to stay away when we’re sick, to wash our hands as directed, to stay away from close contact with others and do this thing being called “social distancing,” where we try to stay several feet away from one another.

Understand if someone prefers an “air five” — imaginary high five through the air — instead of a handshake, at least for now.

Clean surfaces that need to be cleaned.

Don’t gossip and share rumors; read, read, read the facts for yourself, and only from trusted sources.

Basically, if you’re out of practice or never was taught well: Learn your manners.

Opportunity knocks

Take time to appreciate this opportunity for what it is.

Read a good book.

Write a good book.

Pull out the stuff our parents and grandparents called stationery, hand-write a document they called a letter, a visit a museum that has the words “post office” on the sign, and mail said document.

Support your local newspaper, subscribe, and keep up with the local news! I kinda especially like that one.

Discover and pursue that hobby you’ve always wanted to enjoy, or perhaps did in the past.

Or, maybe, if you really want to find peace and tranquility without having to down an energy drink or do something that requires batteries, electricity or the World Wide Web: sit on a porch.

You might learn something about your family or loved ones or neighbors that Google could never find in a hundred years.

You might learn something, maybe, even about someone else you could stand to know better:

Yourself.”

Living In A Bad Dream

Like everyone else, I am caught up in a world of great uncertainty, unlike anything I can ever remember.  Both of my parents were children of the Great Depression, a time that marked this nation for decades  They were also young adults when the country undertook the massive effort to do battle in World War II.

I vaguely remember great concerns about polio when I was a child.  Pictures of people in an “iron lung” leave an impression.

But that was then and this is now.   And the “talking heads” who are trying to minimalize the risk this country now faces by digging up comparisons to past outbreaks of things like swine flu are irresponsible.   At a time when lives are at risk, to attempt to disguise the situation we all face as nothing more than some grand political gambit is unforgivable.

Matt Gaetz is the congressman from Florida’s First District.  This is the western part of the panhandle, an area well-known to Alabamians.  So what did he recently do?  He wore a gas mask on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in his own pathetic attempt to belittle the crisis the country faces.  This was just before one of his own constituents became one of the first coronavirus victims to die in this country.

Gaetz is a buffoon.

My son Kevin lives in Mobile.  Unfortunately he has a severe respiratory condition caused by a deficiency of Alpha-1 antitrypsin.  Basically this is a genetically caused emphysema.  Even in the best of times I worry about him a lot.  Now, much more.

But thank the Good Lord, people across Alabama are rallying to the aid of their neighbors.  This is especially true as schools have been closed indefinitely and there is great concern about young students who depend on meals they get at school.  A friend in north Alabama told me her community has had an outpouring of volunteers asking how they can help get meals to childrfen.  A central office staffer in south Alabama explained how churches in this very rural county are pitching in to provide meals.

This situation is real.  Our future is very uncertain.  All we can do is pray for the best and pay attention to the doctors and scientists.