CORONA LIFE (Week 3 Day 1)

April 4, 2020

Corona 12b

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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