Apr 28, 2020

Freedom, Dreams and other Pandemonium

Well, my idea to blog through the pandemic didn’t work out as planned.  I found when I am at my desk all day for work, to continue to sit here after “working hours” is not as entertaining. 

My office at Fallbrook officially “went dark” at about 6:30 PM on March 25.  The company I work for has been historically conservative.  In 34 years, I can count on one hand the number of times we closed for weather.  And we are in Nebraska!  But they stepped up big time.  While so many people are without a paycheck, I am very thankful to work for a company that is financially fit and committed to our associates and our customers.  Tomorrow will be five weeks since we left the office and settled into our new normal. 

I started a remodeling project at home in January.  A full remodel of the kitchen and a refresh of the rest of the main floor.  In readying for the remodel, I had sold my office furniture, dining room set, and moved living room furniture downstairs.  To accommodate my workstation, I found a table in the shed that McCain had brought home from a Two Men and a Truck customer.  I sanded it down and chalk painted it and set up my workspace in my unfinished office.  While I video conference with associates with pretty wall hangings behind their desks, I can only brag about fresh paint.

I have a tee-shirt that says, “I just want to be a stay-at-home dog mom.”  After week one, I decided that my dogs were needy little brats and I was ready to send them all to doggy day-care or the pound!  If they can hold their bladder during an 8-hour day during normal times, why do they think they need let out every 10 minutes now that I’m home?  It took me until week 2 to realize they were training me.  The poodles look a mess.  From playing in the mud to improvised haircuts; they are such a disappointment to their breed.  Maverick, McCain’s German Shepherd, and I have bonded.  I never saw that coming.  

I’ve lost weight!  I’m down about 10 pounds from the first of the year.  I try to get out over lunch and walk or do something constructive.  Then I fell off the horse and maybe cracked a rib a couple weeks ago and if that wasn't enough, I fell down a step on Sunday and fractured my foot.  So much for a 2-mile lunch.   

Now the news has us all concerned about the production of livestock and the packing plants not able to keep up due to sick employees.  In Nebraska, most of the sick come from the counties with packing plants.  Let that soak in for a bit.  Is the sickness so high because the company is ignoring the recommended precautions?  Or are the employees showing up sick because they fear losing a paycheck or their job?  If I were the governor of this beef and pork state, I would be worrying a little less about who is camping this weekend and have staff at the door of these packing plants to monitor the hygiene requirements and the health of those workers.  And if you think toilet paper was your biggest worry, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  Try a shortage of hamburger.  Or bacon. 

When you look at the Covid19 numbers and see 59,000 people dead in our country, it is alarming.  And we should be afraid.  But when you start to break it down – not by the number of infected vs dead – but by the population of our country, it is several decimal points less than 1%.  I get that it is a horrible way to die.  I know there is no vaccine; that the antibodies are stronger than any flu.  I have read the stories.  I’m just saying statistically, I have a better chance of dying in a car accident than I do of dying from Covid.  Why?  While fatalities in Nebraska are slightly lower than Covid19 related deaths (53 vs 56), I drive a helluva lot more than I commune with people in the high-risk groups. All of that needs to be taken into consideration.  If you are hanging out in the parking lot of a packing plant, it is probably not a good use of your time or health.

While I can continue working from home, and quite successfully, I might add, I miss my life and the freedoms we took for granted.  I’m in a county that has single-digit contamination.  Neither John nor I are around other people in our day-to-day.  Case goes to work outside and occasionally fishes with a friend.  I have visited friends on two occasions, only one of which was inside their home.  I have met riding buddies at local trails and kept our horse length apart whenever possible.  While I have shared a vehicle with a couple other outlaw friends who accompanied me on a quick trip to Kansas, we took our own lunches and garbed up with masks and gloves when stopping for bathroom breaks.  You'd think we were Thelma and Louise!  Our only stops were a stable and a farm store.  It’s been almost two weeks since we returned; I think we are in the clear!  

Now you are probably saying I need to consider who my friends have been around, and their risk is my risk.  I was a child of the 70's and learned all about this in sex education class.  We are now middle-aged and trust me, I'm not worried.  

Really, I am pretty low risk.  I have little socialization.  There are no processing plants or a high Hispanic population in my county (only pointing out because of the relationship to packing plants).  I am not in the medical profession or run a daycare.  While you might have caught me at our local Bomgaars without a mask once or twice, for God’s sake, I stay out of Walmart! 

I have experienced the quara-dreams phenomenon, but it’s not from fear of catching the Covid19 but for the fear of losing my freedoms.  It’s seeing people, myself included, decide who is safe and unsafe to be around.  It’s from the awful feeling of being singled out or not included.  It’s from the stress of trying to decide to grocery shop online today for an order that won’t be picked up for another three days or saying the to hell with it, and just running into the grocery store and grabbing the cart and going for it!  If I follow my own math, I have a better chance of dying from a heart attack, about any strain of cancer, or from breaking a hip.   We all know my bones are brittle!  This, folks, is the shit that keeps me up at night.

We had some of the best spring weather and I’m yearning to go camping.  Our governor, bless his heart,  agreed to let us get a margarita to-go with our favorite Mexican food – curbside service even – but he won’t open the state parks for camping IN MY OWN CAMPER!  To be fair, he’s got a tough gig and probably doesn’t know that our little campers are self-contained and we most often do not use an outhouse or run around knocking on strangers’ doors.  He’s from the Ameritrade family.  I’m sure he has never seen the inside of a living quarter horse trailer!  

I would hate to have his job or the job of any of our officials.  The Facebook comments following a briefing would give me night terrors!  Who are these people and if they know so much, what is their solution?

So, I’m at home all day with 4 scruffy dogs and a house with no furniture.  I have a walking boot and crutches to support my latest injury.  I’ve entered 2 virtual horse shows which will be a calamity with said a broken foot and rib.  The outdoors is calling and I want to load up one scruffy dog, a very quiet horse, and a tube of homemade sanitizer and sneak across the state line with a quartet of like-minded friends where it is still legal to camp.  

I had no idea where I was going with this post or how I got here.  Those quara-dreams are going to be wild tonight!