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CORONA LIFE (Week 10 Day 1)

May 23, 2020

Corona 23

I guess the best thing I can say right now about Corona Life is that things are starting to settle into a new normal. That new normal includes limited trips into town, wearing a mask when we do go into a place in town (typically Walmart), and still generally avoiding restaurants (for a multitude or reasons.)

The biting bugs have arrived which compels me to avoid running and/or walking outside and I'm still not ready to head back to the gym as I was doing previously. When it comes to the gym, and to quote my son, I'm just not sure the juice is worth the squeeze.

We held an HOA meeting yesterday and there were handshakes and no masks involved. I suppose that's the biggest risk I have taken to-date since Corona showed up on the horizon. But for me, somehow gathering outside made the risks much more acceptable.

I think people are getting tired of the flood of Corona news and I also think that companies and communities are reopening for business despite any pushback from a somewhat hostile opposition. It will continue to be interesting to see how things evolve.

As I have said before, wherever you are, and whatever your situation, I hope you are doing well!



CORONA LIFE (Week 8 Day 7)

May 15, 2020

Corona 22

Well, it's been four super busy weeks since my last post here on the site. In fact, it's quite amazing how much can get squeezed into four short weeks!

To start with, we've been considering a move and Patty found a house up in North Alabama. We made the 14 hour round trip to see the place and wound up putting in an offer. After a couple of counter offers, both parties agreed and that's where the fun? began!

Bottom line, even with a signed contract the deal completely fell apart. I'll spare you the details here, but I went out and removed our earnest money check from the mailbox and that was that.

With the Corona virus in full swing, Patty's mom (who lives with us in case you're not aware) had a repeat episode (low blood) of 6 months ago and we had to put here in the hospital. That's the last place any of us wanted to be with the virus threat still looming.

The good news is that Patty's mom got two units of blood, made a full recovery, and has been home long enough to ensure that none of us wound up contracting the virus. That's quite a blessing with all things considered!

Last but not least, I've been pretty busy with HOA stuff. In the meantime, we've all begun to make our attempt at a new normal. We still manage to pick up the groceries using the Walmart no-contact service. Beyond that, we've made a stop or two and donned our medical face masks to pick up things we didn't want to attempt to order online and/or receive by delivery. That's the story for now...

Wherever you are, and whatever your situation, I hope you are doing well!



CORONA LIFE (Week 5 Day 1)

April 18, 2020

Corona 21

So, is it time to don a mask, lift the lockdowns, and move toward a version of Corona Life that more resembles our previous lives? I think so!

I'm not speaking for myself. I'm retired and with the benefit of the Walmart Grocery pickup can stay locked down as long as needed. As a 65 year old, I'm probably helping everyone (myself included) by continuing in my current regimen.

But, for the sake of the economy and for those who need to get back to work, I hope we will take actions to move quickly in that direction. I fear time is running out for the economy, if it hasn't already.

I would offer that the Corona risk will be with us much longer than our economy can handle an extensive lockdown. In fact, I don't hear much talk about it lately but there is apparently a real opportunity for the virus to die out over the summer and make a second run as we approach cooler temperatures in the fall.

We need to have a plan in place for that type of event since it's far from realistic to believe our population can stay in lockdown that long. I fear for many we've already reached a point (or are about to) where an economic crisis becomes a greater problem than any scenario presented by COVID-19.

In other words, I fear we're approaching a scenario where our only choice may be to pick the best of a lot of less that desirable options. As painful as it may be, I sincerely believe we need to bring that to the forefront and deal with it for the sake of those whose lives will be destroyed by an economic crisis if we maintain our present couse.



CORONA LIFE (Week 4 Day 5)

April 15, 2020

Corona 20

Stop the Spread? It sounds good, but we need a plan!

If you thought my previous post was controversial, better strap on your seatbelt! My libertarian leanings are boosting my thinking to a point that is very likely to get me in trouble! So, here's my question:

I have no personal issue with Dr. Fauci, but I'm wondering if the place of prominence that has been provided for his directives is proving, or has already proven, to be a problem?

Have we arrived at a place where it is now legitimate to ask if the cure is becoming, or has already become, worse than the disease? Have we provided Dr. Fauci with such a place of prominence that there is no offsetting presentation to balance the economic side of the equation with his highly favored medical perspective? Are we destroying lives in our attempt to save them?

Now to be fair, I don't live in a highly impacted area like New York City or, for that matter (and closer to home), Albany, Georgia. But isn't that the point? Can we really generalize the prescription (Stay at home!) to fit all cases? And should we provide exceptions for some without providing them for others? Should we allow government to lock us down with no clear definition of the terms for the lockdown?

When these questions started coming to mind, the only one I heard addressing them was Ben Shapiro. Once again, he was speaking to my concerns when no one else seemed to be. I think a lot of people have since picked up on his comments and are providing them with the attention that I believe they deserve.

From my perspective, and on a matter much closer to home for me, this situation is exactly the same situation we face when a hurricane is headed our way. The weather guessers spread panic and the local authorities feel compelled to respond by lawfully mandating an evacuation.

When nothing major happens, the people feel duped. So, guess what happens next time the threat of a hurricane rolls around? You guessed it! Everyone locks down in place and the event of the century rolls in and countless lives are taken with it.

We must keep in mind that it's to a weather guesser's advantage to spread panic because it sells and keeps them in business. Should we expect our government authorities to institute mandates based on these guesses or does reason suggest that guidelines would be a better approach? Do we really want the government in the business of protecting the people from their own decisions?

Admittedly, for the local authorities it's an extremely difficult situation to manage. But I'm not in favor of mandating anything in these types of situations. I'm fine with protecting people from other people by enforcing things like stop signs and laws against trespassing. But, when it comes to protecting people from an event where the threat is not a human one (hurricane, virus, etc.) I'm all for allowing individuals to make their own choices.

I know this presents situations with the potential for dire consequences, but so does government imposed restrictions. Are we willing to say that the government is smarter than we are? Are we willing to say that big government's global mandates make the best sense in each of our individual cases?

I'm not...



CORONA LIFE (Week 4 Day 1)

April 11, 2020

Corona 18

I have a question for my hypothetical audience. Let's call it a rhetorical question since I haven't built into my blog the capability for anyone to respond, if there really is anyone out there to respond. Here's the question:

Should any kind of lockdown (national, state, local, or otherwise) have been implemented in the fight against the Corona virus?

Despite my strong Libertarian leanings and the temptation to give a quick and easy answer to the question, I'm really trying to challenge myself and struggle with both sides of that question. It's not easy to do, and be truly objective, but I'm giving it my best shot.

The first thing I've realized in this exercise is that it's a far more complex question than I ever realized. I'm seeing that a pretty extensive decision tree could be constructed in attempting to do one's due diligence.

For example, why do I agree that Trump should lockdown entrance to the country and yet not lockdown those in the country? That question caught me by surprise although it didn't take long to see the answer. The president's first objective for America is to protect Americans. As such, preventing non-citizens from entering our country, and who might be infected, makes a lot of sense.

But what about American citizens who have chosen to travel, and possibly live, overseas and in infected areas? Should they be allowed to return to the U.S.? I can argue both sides of that question with equal strength so my honest answer is, I don't know!

On the one hand they are Americans and deserve the protection afforded by their citizenship. On the other hand, they made a choice and incurred a risk in doing so. Should Americans have to incur the same risk by allowing them back into the country?

It's a very tough question from my perspective! Despite my Libertarian leanings, I would say that they are Americans and should be allowed to return. I'm not sure that's consistent with the Libertarian viewpoint, but it's most certainly consistent with the aforementioned objective.

So, back to the main question about the right to enact a lockdown. I quickly ran into problems with this one because I had to ask if there should ever be the right for an elected official to enact a lockdown as a legal requirement rather than a safety guideline. As I pondered that one, curfews also came to mind. Let's dissect this further.

I see the benefit of a curfew to prevent the more difficult defense against illegal acts performed under cover of darkness. I can't find a reason that supports a curfew during daylight hours.

How about a lockdown to prevent violent marches where lives and property are being put at risk? I can't see a lockdown applying here because of the impact (restrictions) upon many lives being brought about by the actions of a violent crowd/mob - no matter how many are involved. From my perspective, it has to be dealt with on a case by case basis even thought that presents many challenges in such a situation.

Honestly, I can't find a single case where I believe a lockdown is justified - even if the intentions are honorable. Let me break this one down from my perspective and how I believe it applies to the Corona virus lockdown because it is indeed a difficult proposition to dissect.

From one side I could argue that no lockdown means that companies could decide to stay open and impose penalties upon, or dismiss, employees who choose to remain at home. From the other side I could argue that a lockdown could impose an economic crisis for an individual and/or a company in the attempt to avoid a potential medical crisis. What if the medical crisis never really materializes as it was expected to, but the economic crisis comes about in full force?

As harsh as it might sound to some, I'm convinced that no lockdown is the only valid and viable option. If I need to work to pay my bills, I want that option. If I can afford to lockdown but my company wants me to work and my job surrounds me with others who might infect me, then I have a difficult decision to make. What will be the odds of contracting the virus versus finding another job when it's safe to return to the workforce?

As with all of life, there's a myriad of potential options and outcomes. I realize that my perspective is supported by my own life's experiences and the conclusions I have drawn from those experiences. I also recognize all of that can be very different from another person's life experiences and the conclusions they have drawn as a result.



CORONA LIFE (Week 3 Day 7)

April 10, 2020

Corona 17b

When I retired on July 18th of 2018, I sold out of the stock market and left Bank of America (BAC) behind at $30 per share. Over the years, BAC stock had been pretty much the heart of my investment portfolio and had treated me very well since I first purchased it during the 2008 financial crisis. At that time, folks were not sure if Bank of America would survive and it was considered a very risky investment.

With retirement, I proceeded to shift our savings into much more conservative (and mostly guaranteed) investments. I promised myself the only thing that would ever call me back to investing in stocks was a market crash.

Two days after Christmas in 2019, BAC peaked at $35.72. It meant that I missed a 19% return on my investment since the time where I left the market. As one can imagine, that was extremely painful to watch. I was sure the market was going to decline after I left it and I was going to feel virtuous and justified for my amazing decision. Wrong!

Early this year, with the announcement of the Corona virus, the market (and BAC) began to crash. On Friday February 21, BAC closed at $34 and change - where it had been for the previous 12 trading days. After the weekend, on Monday, February 24, BAC closed at $32.52 and continued what would become a fast and massive crash!

It was tempting to buy some that day, but I challenged myself not to even nibble until it reached down to, or below, $30 (right where I had left it a year and a half earlier, although that did not cross my mind at the time and I was not trying to get in exactly where I had jumped out.) I had no idea BAC would get to $30 so quickly (even though those few days seemed like an eternity with my growing anxiousness to jump back in) but on Thursday, February 27, I purchased a very modest amount.

Years of trading and investing had taught me not to try to catch a falling knife and load up. Instead, I set a plan in place to buy that modest amount every dollar BAC's price went down, starting at $30 a share. At the pace it was falling, I actually got my first shares at $29.50.

By the time BAC reached $20 a share I was getting very nervous. The BAC naysayers on my favorite stock market investor's website were predicting doom and gloom with single digit prices. I stayed with my strategy and could not have imagined the sharp turn the market (and BAC) would make when BAC reached down to its low of $17.95. After bumping back and forth and retesting $20 a few times, the market began what is starting to look like a recovery. It seems to be based on the improving forecasts associated with the Corona virus.

To provide a picture of the sharp recovery, I constructed the chart above by combining two similar charts. One shows the low price on the 1st day of the past 5 trading days and the other shows the high price on the 5th and most recent trading day (yesterday!)

The point of the chart is to show that the underlying stock for Bank of America went from below $20 per share to above $25 within a 5 day period. That's a 25% increase in only 5 days!

I'm quite content with what I own and riding this thing out and am fully aware that BAC and the market could crash futher and that this could turn out to be a multi-year recovery. As I joked with my son, if this takes very long to recover I may just be enhancing his, and his sister's, inheritance LOL!



CORONA LIFE (Week 3 Day 5)

April 8, 2020

Corona 16

I mentioned the challenges being faced in Albany, Georgia with the Corona virus, but I had no idea how severe it had become until I checked the stats for Georgia. Apparently, Dougherty County (Albany) has had 1001 confirmed cases and 62 deaths with Fulton County having 260 more cases (1261) but 20 fewer deaths (42.)

Georgia has had 16 counties with more than 100 cases in each. Georgia's total cases now stands at 10,204 but the shocker is the death count currently at 370. While Florida has substantially more cases (15,698) the death count (323) falls well below Georgia's count of 370 cases.

The unusual thing about the count in Florida is that almost 1/2 of Florida's total cases (7,826) exist in only 2 counties (Dade and Broward) located right next to each other on the southeastern corner of the Florida peninsula. These two counties also account for over 1/3 of Florida's deaths (110.)



CORONA LIFE (Week 3 Day 4)

April 7, 2020

Corona 15

In my blog entry on Week 1 Day 2, I talked about the similarities between retired life and this new Corona Life. I had no idea how true those words would prove to be as we're now a few weeks further along.

When I process everything I've heard and read, I find myself in the camp that believes this is the beginning of a new way of life for all of us. Until a vaccine is found, we can either reduce our risks by adopting changes to our routines or assume a greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

Due to being retired and living out and away from the crowds, the only real changes to our lives and routines that COVID-19 has brought about are not going to restaurants, having things shipped to us instead of entering stores, avoiding the gym in favor of walks and runs where we live, and avoiding close distance visits with the neighbors.

On the other hand, I recognize that far too many don't enjoy the same level of convenience with which I have been blessed and it grieves me! While I've faced the gut-wrenching feelings associated with losing a job at least three times, I've never faced that in the midst of a time where moving to the next job might be a much greater challenge, if even possible at all. If you're in that situation, or struggling for any reason, please know I'm lifting you up in prayer!



CORONA LIFE (Week 3 Day 3)

April 6, 2020

Corona 14

Over the weekend I noticed a lot of reports indicating a reduction in the number of deaths being reported. It started with a report from New York, followed up with reports from both Spain and Italy.

These and other reports got a lot of attention from the press over the weekend and it seems that, on Sunday evening, even the Dow Futures took their cues from these reports, not to mention the strong opening response this morning from the over-all market.

This seems to have taken folks by surprise which causes me to wonder about the assumptions that were used in building the models from which the forecasts are generated. Is it possible that initially a percentage of the population didn't maintain social distancing due to either down-playing the concerns or being forced to get out in order to survive? Is it possible that this portion of the population represents the higher initial numbers?

Is it possible that the models didn't take into account the rest of us who remained in lock-down and/or maintained our social distance? Could this be the reason that the numbers are trending down in an unexpected turn? Even the case data in Florida reflects the trend as shown in the image above.



CORONA LIFE (Week 3 Day 2)

April 5, 2020

Corona 13a

I noticed here in Florida that our lockdown or shelter in place rule has been termed safer at home. I wonder if there is a subtle reason for this?

Google says:

Safer at home generally means that citizens should make every effort to stay at home to limit the spread of coronavirus. However, in some jurisdictions a safer at home order allows non-essential businesses to remain open if they limit capacity or self-impose physical distancing in their store.

It's honestly hard to imagine this lockdown lifestyle being something that the masses can maintain for any significant period of time. There is a substantial part of the population who live paycheck to paycheck and work in conditions that place them in very close proximity with so many others. To expect these people to shelter in place for very long is simply unrealistic.

It strikes me as odd that we aren't really hearing much about this. We're hearing the numbers in terms of those who have lost their jobs but we haven't yet come to the point where we are having to deal with the potential threats that such circumstances will most certainly bring about. The stats I've read are staggering in terms of those who are significant wage earners and yet still depend upon the next paycheck to say afloat.

If I were in that situation, I believe I would prefer to have an opportunity to don a mask and gloves and place myself at risk in the workplace. How do you tell anyone they are not essential? One of my friends said it best when he said, I feel essential! At what point, when attempting to apply a short-term solution to a longer-term problem, are we destroying the very lives we are trying to save?



CORONA LIFE (Week 3 Day 1)

April 4, 2020

Corona 12c

Today starts the third week of my blogging about COVID-19. I want to add to my daily writing a stronger focus on the data to try and gain a better perspective on the reality of COVID-19 in Florida and in Wakulla County.

Based on the graph above, the first substantial day of new COVID-19 cases reported in Florida was March 13, 2020 and the number of cases reported was 21. Since that time the following numbers are taken from the detail associated with the graph.

Newly Reported Florida COVID-19 Cases
Date Cases
March 13 21
March 14 40
March 15 31
March 16 28
March 17 62
March 18 99
March 19 76
March 20 142
March 21 204
March 22 298
March 23 177
March 24 286
March 25 500
March 26 540
March 27 669
March 28 722
March 29 894
March 30 862
March 31 933
April 1 1,100
April 2 1,300
April 3 960

In addition to the above data, and as of last night's 6:30 p.m. update, Florida has 10,268 total cases with 1,334 hospital admissions and 170 deaths. Wakulla County has 3 cases (all residents) and 2 hospital admissions. The age range of all 3 cases is between 45 and 65.

Update: As of the 11:30 a.m. update to the Florida COVID-19 dashboard today, Wakulla now adds a new case from a non-resident woman, bringing our total to 4 cases. The new Florida cases for April 3, 2020 has been updated from 960 to 1,300 - the same as a day earlier. Total cases in the state now stands at 11,111 with 1,386 hosptalized and 191 deaths, up 21 from yesterday's total.

Data Source

CORONA LIFE (WEEK 2 DAY 7)

April 3, 2020

Corona 11

I think the most challenging thing right now about Corona Life is perspective. So far, we've had two cases reported in our county (Wakulla) and only as of midnight last night have we been required to go into lock-down here in Florida. It's quite a different experience from what so many are facing in the hot-spot locations on the map.

Of course, we've been operating like we're in lock-down for weeks now. Our weekly trips to Walmart to pick up groceries are the only reason we leave the house and do not require us to get out of our car, sign anything, touch or even talk to anyone. I can check into my Walmart Grocery app with my phone when I leave the house, and Walmart can detect when I'm en route and have arrived. I can also identify our parking spot number when I arrive which completely removes any human contact or communication.

It's been a bit of a lottery experience in terms of what they will be out of, but can substitute, and what they will simply be out of without any substitutions available. Still, we've done just fine and are grateful for the system they have put in place.

Corona 11a

Speaking of hot-spots, the small town where Patty was born and raised and in which I lived for most of my life (and where we met and were married) is a hot-spot that has made the news. Albany, Georgia is just over 100 miles up the road from us and their story is a tough one. You can learn more about that story here.

Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and doing well. We are praying for everyone and that includes you.

Corona 11b

The map above paints the current picture for the Corona virus in Florida. The total number of cases in Florida is presently 9,585 which represents 3.7% of the 257,305 confirmed cases in the US. The Florida death count is 163 or 2.5% of our nation's total which currently sits at 6,574.

Within Florida, Dade County (Miami) and Broward County (located directly above Dade County and contains Ft. Lauderdale) have reported 4,594 cases which represent almost half (48%) of the state's total cases.



CORONA LIFE (WEEK 2 DAY 3)

March 30, 2020

Corona 10

I got up around 6:00 AM this morning and when I stepped out of the bedroom into the main living area there was a strong and distinct smell of something burning. The smell had a bitter edge to it that made me think it might be something electrical in the house.

Although it was still pitch-black outside, I decided to step out of the front door hoping the smell would be stronger and relieve my immediate concern for something that might be burning somewhere in the house. Outside there was nothing to see, but the burning smell was indeed significantly stronger.

With no more immediate concerns for the house, I began to wonder what might be burning outside and where that might be. After all, we are located deep inside of the protected woodlands of the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge and the smell was strong enough to lead me to believe the fire might be relatively close by.

My mind jumped to the idea of a controlled burn, since they had one get out of hand, not too long ago, out on highway 98 and down toward Panacea, Florida. However, I couldn't imagine such a thing being done so early.

Not long after 6:00 AM I called the Wakulla Sheriff's office to report the potential fire and see if they knew anything. The woman on the phone informed me that she had received several calls with similar reports and that county police were out looking for the source of the smoke. She also mentioned that they had checked and there were no scheduled control burns for the area.

As we approached 7:00 AM there was enough light outside for a clearer picture of things. Unfortunately, the fog had rolled in making it difficult to determine what, if anything, was smoke and what was fog. Only as the fog started to burn of was it evident that there was still smoke lingering from whatever event had occurred or was occurring.

Around 9:30 AM my wife and I went for our daily walk and there was no remaining evidence of the smoke or the smell. As of this writing (11:36 AM) I have neither seen nor heard any news regarding the cause for the smoke. I'll be sure to provide an update if and when I hear anything.

UPDATE - (6:08 PM): I reached out to the sheriff's office earlier this afternoon for a follow-up and was informed that they never found the source for the smoke in our area. Seems rather strange since it was so strong, but I guess it is what it is and it was what it was...



CORONA LIFE (WEEK 2 DAY 2)

March 29, 2020

corona9

Don't let the picture fool you. This is not a story about painting! It's a story about a project that I've put off for far too long and decided that Corona Life provided the perfect opportunity to take it on.

I love a challenge that calls upon my creativity, puts me in DIY mode, and allows me to pretend I'm an engineer. Like so many men before me, all it took was an absurdly high price quote from a professional to get me there.

If you look at the picture of our home on the banner above, the metal roof captures and dumps an incredible amount of rain into two very long gutters, one on front of the house and one on the back.

After we took the pine tree down (more on that story here) and had a few other trees trimmed, there was nothing left to dump leaves or pine straw into our gutters. The deck on the back of the house enabled me to clean that gutter completely and the deck on the front allowed me to clean about 2/3 of that gutter.

Unfortunately, sludge had accumulated right in front of the downspout on the other 1/3. Each time it rains, the water cannot get past the sludge and, after filling the gutter with water, pours out over the edge. Getting that sludge cleaned professionally was going to involve a very expensive lift (like the one used in this story.) They also suggested I have them take care of some other matters and by the time I recovered from price-quote-shock, I decided I would take this one on myself. With that settled, and once again like so many men before me when facing a challenging project, I procrastinated.

We have a walkway that completely encircles our house. However, the sludge was located in a spot where the gutter hung out farther than the walkway and didn't allow any kind of access for cleaning. In true engineering mode, I walked to a spot where the deck provided visibility of, and into, the gutter and considered my options. I needed to construct a device that would permit me to attack the sludge from the walkway without being able to see much of what I was doing. That's where the paint roller comes into the story!

I connected my roller brush to my roller brush extension and bent the roller brush in such as way that I was able to reach out and point the roller down into the gutter. From there it was just a matter of pushing stuff in one direction or the other and using the tool as a scoop to sort of lift the sludge out and fling it into the yard. After multiple attempts to force water into the gutter with the garden hose, and use my super scoop gutter cleaning tool to remove the sludge, the job was done and the gutter was functioning properly.

As I mentioned, the trees that provided the leaves and pine straw to produce that sludge have all been removed or seriously trimmed so I don't anticipate a repeat of this problem. Still, I think I'll save my super scoop gutter cleaning tool. After all, you just never know!



CORONA LIFE (WEEK 2 DAY 1)

March 28, 2020

corona8

The news this morning proclaimed that we're in a deep recession worldwide. Trump and congress have worked together and obtained approval for a stimulus package aimed at injecting funds into the US economy by way of checks to individual citizens.

What congress approved basically provides a $2,400 check for couples and a $1,200 check for singles. It also presents progressive limitations for those with higher levels of income, leading up to a point where some couples and individuals will not be receiving a check.

Part of me can see the side of this equation whereby some who may need help will not receive it (think a high wage earner who lost a job) and many who do not need the help will receive it anyway (think of the many who are financially stable and not immediately affected by the virus.)

The other part of me can see the immediate need to obtain these funds for so many who have been directly affected by the virus and are at a critical point with their finances for one reason or the other. I understand that seeking to do a better job of getting the funds to those who need it most could easily over-complicate matters and result in getting no help to anyone.

I don't envy our government leaders and the tough decisions they are facing in this medical crisis that has quickly become an economic crisis for our country.



CORONA LIFE (WEEK 1 DAY 7)

March 27, 2020

Corona 7

One of the things I really enjoy, and that fits right in with Corona Life, is watching a good movie. Between my iPad and my DVD collection I own quite a number of them. We're also Sling and Netflix subscribers and despite our differences in taste, both Patty and I are big consumers of videos on Youtube.

Last night I pulled out the iPad and noticed that the Kendrick Brothers have a new faith-based film available (Overcomer) and iPad was renting it for 99 cents. I decided to give it a look.

The story was good as usual and the Kendrick Brothers continue to raise the bar in terms of their production values and the acting. Between their films and the films being distributed by David A. White's organization (Pure Flix) we, in the Christian community, are enjoying a new and welcome level of quality in the world of faith-based films.

From a personal standpoint, I'm a big fan of most all true stories, faith-based or otherwise, where the key players work to overcome incredible odds. And, it's not that much of a stretch for me to enjoy (and even be inspired by) a faith-based work of fiction that carries a similar story line.

In fact, I'm okay if the screen-writer decides to go with a happy ending. While some might argue that life does not always contain happy endings, I would counter that Jesus suffered and died upon the cross to provide each of us with the opportunity to obtain our own personal happy ending.



CORONA LIFE (WEEK 1 DAY 6)

March 26, 2020

Corona 6

My dear wife inspired me to do something that she does. Each year, she carefully chooses a word that represents a primary focus for that year and she meditates upon it on a regular basis.

I started last year and chose the word grateful. I spend a lot of time reflecting and it's a word that always shows up on the center of my radar. What's interesting is that even when I shift into task mode and am at my busiest, that word remains somewhere near the center of my radar screen.

When 2020 came along I couldn't come up with a word that was more important to me. So, I decided to go with a repeat of 2019. Whenever I pray at a meal, or by myself, it's an ever-present theme in my words to God. I have so much for which I am grateful!

So, what in the world does this have to do with Corona Life? Well, the challenges that I see, hear, and read about, and that so many are facing in the midst of this pandemic, have all brought me to a place of even greater gratefulness if that is possible. In praying for people I don't even know, but that I know are out there and suffering, that word keeps coming up front and center.

I haven't always lived a life of gratefulness but God has given me an extra dose of it in recent years and I feel like I'm making up for lost time...



CORONA LIFE (WEEK 1 DAY 5)

March 25, 2020

Corona 5

Patty and I live in a remote area of Wakulla county and spend most of our time without neighbors since we're the only full-time residents in our very small homeowners association. The rest of the crowd shows up mostly on nice weekends, holidays, and time taken off during the summer. Of course there's always fishing boats, kayaks, and sailboats on the horizon, and the ocassional sound of gun-fire during duck season, but otherwise it's usually just us.

As things have grown more intense with the Corona virus, some of the neighbors have opted to spend more time out here and away from the crowded neighborhoods. And, now we wave at each other across the canal or when we go for a walk and the common joke that always gets shared, as we pass and wave at one another, is that we're all practicing our Social Distancing.

I can't help but to think of those who are in much more dire situations. I don't know anyone personally, but I know folks are out there - some ill, others without jobs and living paycheck to paycheck, and still others facing dramatic life changing experiences trying to provide for family, protect parents, and care for children home from schools that have been shut down.

The potential scenarios that come to mind are not pleasant ones and there's so little we can do for each other - especially in this situation. I guess for now I'll continue to smile, wave, pray, and try to remain six feet apart.



CORONA LIFE (WEEK 1 DAY 4)

March 24, 2020

Corona 4

I pulled this map and the key from the News 4 website in Jacksonville, Florida. It's apparently a few days old as Florida now stands at 1,412 cases and Leon County (Tallahassee) reports 9 cases as of 6 PM March 23, 2020.

We're located in Wakulla County which is the one immediately below Leon County and Tallahassee. As far as I know, there have been no reported cases in our remote county. Still, we're hunkered down here at the house and exercising every defensive measure we can think of. dollarweed

So, what do you do when you're trying to maintain your social distance? Well, for me is was a lot of yard work today in addition to hours spent removing these pesky dollarweeds.

They get their name because they resemble the size and shape of a silver dollar when they reach maturity. We put in a seawall last year and I had the area sodded between the foundation and the seawall. Apparently dollarweeds like moist areas and they seem to be thriving by the seawall. Or, they were thriving before I got a hold of them.

As I was pulling them out of the ground, I noticed that below ground they maintain a very tender stalk. In fact it looks almost exactly like a bean sprout. I wondered if they might be edible and decided to approach Google with my question. Turns out they are indeed edible but apparently the stalk is more bitter than the part that sits above ground and on top of the stalk.

If I had considered trying them, it was the more bitter part that stopped me...



CORONA LIFE (WEEK 1 DAY 3)

March 23, 2020

Corona virus

Today's a grocery pickup day, so get out the hasmat suits! I noticed Amazon sells them for prices between $6 and $180. I'm guessing the $6 variety doesn't cover quite as many hazardous materials as the more expensive variety. Who knows where COVID-19 fits in the mix. Honestly, I don't mean to make light of a bad situation where I know people are suffering much more than I am. I guess the cabin fever is getting to me.

I was just getting used to a regular trip to the gym to get a run in without being exposed to the early spring Florida sun. However, with COVID-19 we stopped going to the gym and only a few days later the word came down that gyms would all be closing everywhere. And now that I'll be running in the sun once again, did I mention I also canceled my dermatology appointment? Guess I'll have to try and reschedule that when things slow down a bit.

Speaking of running, I took a corner to tightly walking into the bedroom closet and slammed my right foot into some sharp edges on the molding where the wood floor meets the wall. The pain was excruciating and I was sure I had broken my little toe and perhaps the one next to it. Worse yet, I was bleeding on the floor.

Every time I tried to wipe up a few drops of blood, I wound up depositing a few more close by. Fortunately, I had some leftover supplies from my dermatology surgeries and managed to bandage things up. Two days later, I've finally put a shoe on that foot and am ready for the grocery run. Things still look a bit bruised and scabby, but otherwise my foot and toes are feeling much better.

On the other hand, I think I'll give my foot another day or two before I go for that run in the sun.



CORONA LIFE (WEEK 1 DAY 2)

March 22, 2020

Corona virus

For me, retired life and Corona life have been quite similar. Before I retired, God was already showing me the wisdom in the extrovert to introvert conversion He was performing in my life. I can pinpoint the exact start of that conversion with our move to Florida in March of 2014.

We moved into our Pensacola, Florida townhome and I was soon thereafter greeted by neighbors who submitted my name to serve on the homeowner association board. I had just stepped down as president of the HOA in the neighborhood we left behind and here I was, once again, considering a return to service.

I'll spare the details, but it was not pretty. As a task focused Asperger's extrovert I was great at getting things done and that was wonderful news to those association members who didn't have to work with me on the board. However, as an Asperger's extrovert I unknowingly stepped on a lot of board member toes and that was clearly painful for everyone, me included!

I suppose the biggest lesson to be learned for me was when I realized that Patty and I had pursued a primary residence and tranquility in a place where most others had a second home and were pursuing a place to party. After two years, we decided to move.

Because Patty's mom had followed us to Pensacola, we decided to simply move inland to a home in a neighborhood in order to avoid uprooting her from all of her doctors and a senior village that she seemed to enjoy. We had hoped to find something we could afford on or near the water in Pensacola, but there was nothing to be found.

One short year later, Patty found "Dolphin Jump" (the name of our current home) and the rest is history. We decided there was too much life yet to be lived to just settle. We consciously decided we wanted to pursue the romance in life in our senior years and were willing to do all of the work, and accept all of the risks, that came with it. I must admit, Hurricane Michael and a few other storms have since provided a better perspective toward those risks but we're still here!

In everything that I've gone through, in the years since we moved to Florida, God was clearly converting my DNA from extrovert to introvert. Or, perhaps He was just changing my heart. Either way, He caught my attention and gave me something to consider.

Like so many others, my understanding of extrovert versus introvert was terribly lacking! In one of our chats, Patty painted a picture of the two terms for me and it changed my life! She shared with me how introverts recharge by activities where they are alone while extroverts recharge by being around, and doing things with, other people. For the first time in my life, I truly understood the price she had been paying, for far too many years, to join me in far too many extroverted pursuits.

With my newfound knowledge, I decided I wanted to pursue a life that displayed much more sensitivity to Patty's introverted characteristics. With our move to Dolphin Jump and my retirement from IBM just over a year later, the stage was set and opportunities were everywhere. The change came easy and Corona life hasn't made much difference so far...



CORONA LIFE (WEEK 1 DAY 1)

March 21, 2020

Corona virus

Like so many, we're discovering a new way of life. It's a life that now includes an ever-present focus on the avoidance of COVID-19, or the Corona virus as it's more commonly known. It's a way of life that includes constant COVID-19 updates and an ever-changing information landscape. It's a way of life that seeks to maintain some sense of normalcy in the midst of a far less than normal scenario with no immediate end in sight.

We're both retired and had already pretty well removed ourselves from neighborhood life to a more secluded life in this remote part of Wakulla County. We could not have anticipated the benefit that came with this decision in terms of all that is going on now. Either way, we remain grateful for all of the blessings that retired life has presented.

My sweet wife recognized weeks ago, at the first mention of Corona, that this could be serious and began buying extras of everything we normally buy on our grocery run. So much so, that we did a redesign on our food pantry and bathroom storage just to contain the extras. In light of all that has happened and continues to occur, she made a great decision.

My wife was also an early adopter of the Walmart online ordering process for grocery pickup. That has proven to be an incredible benefit and for no additional charge. Unfortunately for Walmart, the introduction of COVID-19 caused a dramatic shift in consumer behavior and it seems everyone began using the grocery pickup feature catching Walmart completely off guard! To their credit, they shut the service down for a week, regrouped, and opened up again with a set of Corona-savvy rules designed to protect customers and employees alike.

Initially, we had read reports that indicated COVID-19 doesn't live very long on surfaces. Unfortunately, that turned out to be untrue so we have since resorted (as suggested) to wiping groceries down when we store and use them and washing our hands even more often than we did before.

In October of 2019, we moved Patty's 90 year old mom in with us. On the one hand, it's made life a lot easier in eliminating the 30 mile trips to and from her apartment, grocery runs, and additional house cleaning and food preparation duties. And, with the introduction of the Corona virus, it's turned out to be a real positive in helping all of us stay away from the crowds.

Another interesting side-effect of the Corona virus for us has been in the financial arena. I retired in July of 2018 and with retirement moved away from equities to far more conservative (and far less rewarding) investment alternatives. However, I could not resist dipping a toe back into the market to capitalize upon opportunities that have come with this massive sell-off. I'm staking a small claim, but one that makes sense to me in light of all that is happening.

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and finding ways to cope with the challenges in this new season we are all facing.


Copyright © 2020 Hutch DeLoach



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