16 November 2020

Stay Home, Stay Safe and Me: 2020

Things don't seem to be getting any better in Michigan. More and more cases of Coronavirus are being diagnosed daily and with that come more deaths. It is a scary time we live in. Hospital staff are working around the clock to treat patients. Patients are recovering which brings some hope this horrible virus will be conquered. Michigan'a Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is trying her hardest to keep people safe. It is hard when some people don't believe the virus is real.

April 1: There isn't much of a mood for April Fool Day jokes this year. Usually, social media is full of them. I didn't see too many. I saw one where the dad sent his children to the bus stop and told them school was back in session. The kids figured it out. Schools are still closed and look like they will be for awhile, maybe even for the rest of the year. Kirk had to go to the pharmacy, again, because of a slip up on the pharmacies part. He said there was a lot of traffic and people out and about. I don't understand why Battle Creek isn't seeing a decrease in activity. Stay home, people!

April Notes: I have tried for the last few days to send a home delivery grocery order in to Meijer. All of the delivery times are taken. I am able to schedule a delivery up to 24 hours, no luck yet. I decided to try Sam's Club online ordering, curbside pick up. I was able to put items in my cart, but when I went to check out I got an error message and my cart went to zero items. It is frustrating. I am beginning to understand why people are stocking up on multiple items. Regularly, I buy what I need for 2-3 weeks. I don't have a stockpile of groceries in my house. I ordered home delivery in March and felt guilty for getting two gallons of milk. Our supplies are getting low again. Kirk and I are in the high risk group for getting the virus and I really don't want either one of us to have to go grocery shopping. I will keep trying to get online for delivery.

Overall, Kirk and I are staying home. I still see a lot of neighborhood people coming and going all day. I see more people out walking than usual and I hear the park near our house has a lot of people at it. I haven't been out to confirm this.

The governor of Michigan announced today that school would be closed for the rest of the year. I feel for the students. I know there are more important things to worry about right now but I hope when this is all over the schools are able to provide a prom and/or graduation for the Senior Class. One last event before they scatter to college, work, or armed services. These are unusual times we are living in.

I keep busy with genealogy. I write blogs, organize previous research, research a little, read, and listen to webinars. It is a good hobby to have for being quarantined. I have never cooked so much in my life.

I was lazy last night and we had grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, a throwback to our youth. Tonight I am making spaghetti with marinara sauce, and garlic bread. Somedays I feel like I am on an episode of Food Network's Chopped. I have to come up with creative ideas to use what I have in the house.

Kirk and I have it better than some, we have retirement income coming in and we are able to pay our bills. It is not like that for all. Unemployment is at a high, and people who live paycheck to paycheck are struggling.

May Notes:  Things are still tough for many people. Unemployment is high. My children and their spouses are doing well.  Kirsten is the only one who's job hasn't changed much. She is busier that usual but she has worked from home and still is. Her husband is furloughed with the Chicago Blackhawks. He is a photographer and without any games, no pictures are needed to be taken. Travis is working from home. He works for Rice University athletics. He wonders if he will be furloughed. No games, no ticket sales. His wife, Alayna, is hoping her company can stay in business. I think this is what is on a lot of people's minds.

June Notes: The pandemic is not letting up. In fact, in Michigan cases continue to climb. I am not going to get into the politics of it, but it will be interesting to see what history has to say about the Federal response to COVID-19. The stay at home order expired. The governor is working on a plan to get schools ready for in school learning. Students have been going to school virtually for months. Kirk and I are busy staying home. Our gardens have never looked so good. We don't go out much. I still have groceries delivered to the house. The stores are slowly restocking but occassionally there will be empty shelves of cleaning supplies toilet paper.

July Notes: We can breathe a little better now. The number of virus cases is stable. For the first time since March, Michigan reported no new deaths. I hope we can stay at this level. I imagine it has to do with being able to be outdoors and not inside all the time. During the middle of the month, the governor ordered bars to close for inside service. Masks are required to be worn inside places, except at home. I fear we are going in the wrong direction. It could be a long year.  July is the month of the Archive of Michigan's Barbara J. Brown Family History Event held at the Michigan Library and Historical Center. The center which houses the Library of Michigan and the Archives of Michigan has been closed since early March. The event will be held via Zoom this year. My mom had a dentist appointment and it was the first time I have seen her since March. Her residence is doing an excellent job of keeping her and the residents at Story Point, Portage safe but no visitors are allowed. I picked her up in front and we both had masks on the entire time. I dropped her off and that was the only visit we had.

I have always wanted to participate in a genealogy institute and haven't because of other committments. This year I didn't sign up because we are going to Germany, maybe! The Genealogical Research Intitute in Pittsburgh (GRIP) went virtual. Once I heard that I signed up! I spent the week of June 19-24th in a virtual seminar and I loved it. I took the  Digging Deeper class and boy did we dig! It was held via the Zoom format and I was concerned it would be all lecture, but no they mixed it up. We broke up into rooms and worked on a project together. Other break outs were to work on team assignments. It was a wonderful experience. I would like to participate in person when we can do that.

August Notes: Things are pretty much the same. The governor is doing a great job, with opposition from many, to keep Michiganders safe. Work is in process to get schools open and high school and college athletics able to play. More and more executive orders are being written by the Governor. For the most part, Kirk and I are being safe, wearing our masks, and disinfecting things like door knobs, steering wheel, and some groceries when needed. I think we are getting a little complacent about things. So far, thankfully, we don't know of anyone who has contracted the virus. I hope it stays that way. We still aren't able to visit our parents. There are some warnings that things could get worse in the Fall and Winter when everyone is pushed back inside. I think gatherings are limited to 10 people right now. Imagine if you had a wedding planned, or a loved one dies. Celebrations are very limited during this time. I have read a number of obituaries that state no service will be held at this time because of coronavirus. Kirk and I are thinking our December Germany trip won't happen. Mexico is the only country that will let the U.S. citizen into the country. I will be disappointed if it doesn't happen but totally understand. Other countries have been containing the virus, but the United States hasn't. We can't even go to Canada and that is just across the border her in Michigan.

September Notes: Well school has started, sort of. Some of the schools are letting Kindergarten through 5th grade go to school in person, with the rest virtual. Others are still doing all virtual. I commend the teachers who are learning a new way of instructing the students and pray everyone stays well. It must be a stressful time for students, parents, and staff. Things are slowly opening up in Michigan. Gyms, bowling alleys, pools, and related businesses can open at reduced capacity. It feels like we are doing a lot better here in Michigan. I am thankful our Governor has taken the virus seriously. She had saved thousands of life. I understand some people don't like the restrictions, but it is better than the alternative. Our Germany trip was cancelled, but they are rescheduling it for December, 2021. This virus better be over by then. 

October Notes: Crikey! the wheels are falling off the wagon. Early in October the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the Governor lacked the authority to issue Executive orders after April 30th, when the Republican led legislature refused to reissue emergency orders. It is hard not to get political now because it is political. Democratic governors are taking this seriously and Republican governors are opening everything back up. I foresee a disaster coming. Some people believe it is a hoax. The President is going on rally's demanding everything open back up. He has been critical of Governor Whitmer. What a circus. Kirk and I are staying home as much as possible. We do go out and get groceries occassionally. We have been in a restaurant since early March. We have had pizza delivered a few times and we have done a few takeouts at locally owned restaurants. Zoom is wonderful! Many genealogical societies are holding Zoom meetings. I am the Michigan Genealogical Council President and I am trying to virtually attend society meetings via Zoom. It is a great way to see what is going on in other societies. I would love to visit all 70 some societies, but that is a hefty goal. Some societies have decided to wait until the pandemic is over because their members are not as tech savvy as they feel they need to be to have Zoom meetings. Also, rural areas do not have reliable internet service and would not be able to view a meeting with Zoom.  MGC is having their November event virtually. I am busy preparing for that. It will be an interesting experience, one I haven't done before. Whew! It took a couple of weeks but the Department of Health and Human Services stepped up and issued new orders that will protect Michigan from the virus. Numbers of people infected is going up and it is only going to get worse once the cold weather hits. Kirk and I didn't feel comfortable handing out Halloween candy this year. We usually get 150-175 little ones. We didn't turn our light on and we went downstairs. Kirsten's husband, Chase, rigged up a system where he could pass candy out by sending it from the porch down to the trick or treaters via a shoot. Clever! 

November Notes: Well, here we are in November and the numbers are increasing again. It is a Presidential election year and the virus is a major point in the news. At times I think we will never get out of this pandemic. Today, Nov.16th, there are two drug companies that say they have developed effective vaccines. I hope so, we need them. Over 150 million people voted for the President with Joe Biden being elected. Trump is fighting it in court but so far the cases have been thrown out for lack of evidence. Trump has not conceded and is not cooperating with the Biden camp to make a smooth transition of power. I voted for Biden because we need someone who believes in the science of the pandemic and will work to get the U.S. out of this. This is all I will say, history will show what kind of a President Trump was. Starting Wednesday, Nov 18th, Michigan will be going back to stricter guidelines. It seems so simple, wear a mask, wash your hands, and social distance. I don't have a problem with that especially if it keeps people from dying. Others do have a problem. I think I have seen my mom three times since March. We did a couple of mail exchanges so I could get her mail and take care of it for her. She doesn't leave her building, food is brought to her room, and she is being cautious about staying safe. She can go down to the dining room if she wants, but she said she is fine eating in her room. I talk to her and she seems fine. I worry about her being lonely and getting depressed. So far, I haven't heard it in her voice. I order groceries for her through Shipt, and they are delivered to her. She doesn't need much, so I order about every two weeks. Kirk and I are planning to spend the winter home. Thanksgiving is next week. Originally, Kirsten and Chase were going to come home for it, but the Chicago area isn't doing well containing the virus and stay at home orders are being issued there. It will be Kirk and I alone for Thanksgiving. It will be a different holiday. I will gladly give up being with others next week if it saves lives and lets us see loved ones in the future. These are different times we are living in.

Stay safe, stay well, readers.

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