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Still Staying Home, Mostly

My experience of the stay at home order has been mostly orderly. Once a week I go out to do some necessary work, and on my way home I make my weekly store stop. Sometimes it is the feed store, sometimes the grocery store, sometimes the hardware store. The change has been gradual as far as how things work at the stores. On day one of the stay at home county order, I noticed people doing a 6 foot distance dance in stores. By week three most people were covering their faces. Now, the stores have someone out front to keep the number of people in the store down and everyone is masked. At the food market today, there was a young man monitoring and wiping down the shopping carts. That seems sensible to me.

Aside from all that, I have not been restricted from buying whatever I need (food, potting soil, seed, paint…) except by the people who bought it all up before me. I can imagine that other states have tried different ways of doing this, and since we have not done it before I would guess they do some things wrong, but I do not believe they are doing anything sinister by trying to keep people at home and away from potential carriers. It is rather hard to find a motive for wrecking the economy and aggravating people other than to prevent a much more serious calamity.

Much as I try to carry on with pandemic projects, Suzy’s death still haunts me. So many awful images come to mind when I consider her final hours. Among them, the mere fact that she died in a stall she hated. She hated those closed-in stalls, with walls that she could not look over. Those stalls keep a horse from making any physical contact with other horses in the barn. Suzy was not the only horse to hate such stalls, she just had a lot to say about how much she hated them. She was bold and brash. I think in another life she would have been a war horse. I loved her for that.

Some people, including mental health professionals, believe that my feelings about horses are not good. My attachment to these non-humans is something that these people believe I should treat and eliminate. I do not agree with those people. However, I recognize that my horse dying during a pandemic that has now killed 60,000 people in just our country is very much small potatoes. Some people would think it anyway, with or without a pandemic. But during a pandemic it can seem wrong to care about anything unrelated to the pandemic.

Which is absurd. Life and death go on, no matter the circumstances. Children are born on the battlefield, an astronaut’s best friend might die in a car crash while the astronaut is in space. The astronaut is justifiably sad about her friend, even if she has very important other things to worry about. The new parent is also justified in being happy that the baby is born alive, even if people are being blown up all around them. Life and death are untidy and do not fit nicely in the calendar grid. While I did not give birth to Suzy, and she was perhaps not my best friend, she was a baby I raised, and my friend for eleven years and I miss her.

A high school classmate of mine died a few days into the California stay at home order. She did not die of COVID-19. She died from cancer that I didn’t even know she had. We had some good times back in the day but I had not been in touch with her for a very long time, hence the ignorance. It was a shock and a reminder of how short life can be, or is. Memories of funny things she used to say have popped into my head over the past few weeks. I remember an ebullient, high-energy, kind person. I hope she had a good life. It seems like there were many people in her life. She liked people.

A friend in the hockey community passed a couple of years ago. I also didn’t know he was sick. Apparently I am very inattentive. But I really liked him, enjoyed spending time with him. I miss him too. There are places I don’t even want to go at the rink now that he isn’t there. It just feels wrong.

I have lost several friends sooner than they should have been lost. I hope it does not offend them that I put them together with the horses and dogs I have lost. They were all my friends in life and they are remembered as such in death. I hope they have had a chance to get to know each other and now understand my feelings for all of them.

So much death. 60,000 in what, three months? That doesn’t sound as bad without the detail that the number was tiny in February and has been snowballing ever since. Yet the conspiracy theorists have started saying that really this disease isn’t so bad. They’re saying it again. Sure, it’s killed as many Americans as the Vietnam War now, and they are finding that it kills in ways we didn’t even realize. It isn’t just a respiratory disease, is has some kind of freaky effect on blood clotting. Young, asymptomatic people are suffering strokes out of the blue. “But it isn’t really that bad.” Maybe the safety protesters think it is the Rapture. Maybe they are delighted by the sudden mass deaths.

We knew it would go this way, if we were lucky. If we did this shut down right, we would see illness numbers decline and a bunch of ninnies would claim that there never was a danger. I saw a woman on the news actually saying “the hospitals aren’t overwhelmed, we don’t need to be staying home!” How do you explain anything to those people? If you explained that you eat food and it comes out poop, that woman would call you a dirty elitist liar.

I am about half-way through building a small run for my quarantine coop. Today I realized that I would need yet another coop or chicken-safe enclosure for introducing new chickens to the flock. Chickens are just like any other critter: if you throw the new one into the group without a proper introduction, the new ones will probably be beaten up and traumatized. While most creatures will not kill their own, they will stress them out to the point of illness susceptibility. So I need some kind of enclosure with a shelter if not a coop, that can be put next to the rest of the flock. can’t use the quarantine coop itself, it is much too large to be moved around easily.

Run attached to coop

Completed run, attached to coop.

For no reason immediately clear to me, I was convinced that the run I was making should be detachable. This made building it a little more difficult, but I persisted and it is just about done. Seeing it out there with the paint drying, I realized that it could double as my introduction pen. On top of that, I can take the nesting box out of the quarantine coop and put it in the small run so the new chickens will have a safe and comfy place to live for a week or so, with just the wire mesh between them and the flock. By the time they are let out, everyone will know everyone and the stress levels should be much reduced. And the chickens won’t all get sick and die. And I didn’t have to buy or build a third coop.

What I did there was keep working on the problem at hand, the thing I knew how to do, until a way to fix the next problem made itself known. In this case, the solution to the next problem was the same as the first problem. Maybe that approach would have worked for the meat packing plants that the Pisser King has just demanded be re-opened. Maybe if they had continued to not spread the disease among their workers and the community, they could have saved a lot of lives, money, and inconvenience. But now they will see more people get sick and die. If they don’t care about that, they should care that fewer will be able to work and when the plants have to shut again there won’t be enough people able to get back to work. There won’t be any immigrants waiting for the jobs, because they’ve been trapped down at the border and no one’s getting in now. Except for millionaires, they can always get in, but I don’t think they will be willing to help at the meat-packing plant.

Most Americans will soon have to make due without meat, and it will probably last for some time. Those packing plant workers and their families will have to make due without loved ones forever. What is baffling to me is not The Jerk’s indifference to human suffering. What confuses me is how he actually thinks this will help him. Those workers will be sick and dead, and the plants will be closed for a very long time before the election comes around. So it will NOT help the ass in the White House, not in any way I can fathom. I just don’t get what he is doing. I guess that even in a class of sociopaths there are dunces.

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