Monday, March 9, 2020

Further News and Updates

Because the last one left out a lot and I just don’t have the time or energy right now for anything longer.


1. I’m slowly working my way through a pile of genealogical documents that I found online through my recently rediscovered cousin and I keep coming up on people whom I have heard of in family stories and who I think of as having lived and died a long time ago and then I see that they died in 1992 or thereabouts and I think, “Wow, that was recent!”  And then I do some math and think, “Well, no, that was not recent at all” and this is my life now.

2. The other thing that has become really obvious is that my ancestors came from some very, very small towns.  My grandmother’s side of the family has been marrying each other since at least the 1700s and in every generation you see the same half dozen surnames tossed up in the air and rearranged into new households.  Add to that the Italian tendency to stick with the same three or four given names unless forced to improvise by additional children and you end up with a lot of repetition that isn’t really as repetitive as it looks. 

3. The chickens tried to burn down the house last week.  They haven’t fully feathered out yet so we have a heat lamp (well, a shop lamp with an increasingly-hard-to-find incandescent bulb in it) on top of the wire mesh that covers their pen to keep them warm and also in case the cats decide to get curious or the birds decide to go exploring.  They knocked it off somehow.  Fortunately Kim came home before anything untoward happened, although we do have a scorch mark in our carpet the size of your fist.  We’ve clipped the lamp to the wire now.  The carpet is not a huge loss, to be honest – it’s the last of the stuff that was here when we moved in an embarrassingly long time ago – and perhaps this will motivate us to tear it out and either replace it or just stick with the hardwood that we know is underneath.  But chicken arsonists are not acceptable.  I am seriously thinking of putting a bottle of barbecue sauce in their pen as a warning.

4. Am I the only one who remembers when the internet was fun?

5. You can insert here the standard “what the hell were they thinking” rant about Daylight Savings Time that I go on every year.  Seriously, why do we do this to ourselves?  It’s hard enough to get out of bed as it is and then we go and steal an hour of sleep from, well, us?  Why?  And if we’re going to do this to ourselves anyway, why can’t we move the clocks ahead at 1pm on a Thursday and get us all out of meetings or other such activities instead?  When I’m in charge things will be different.  Not necessarily better.  But certainly different.

6. I have three flights either planned or actually booked in the next four months, and I’m kind of wondering how many of them are actually going to happen.  One we planned a while ago, to visit a friend out on the west coast.  I’m pretty optimistic about that one since it’s coming up fairly soon.  Things would have to get seriously bad in a hurry to affect that flight, and if that happens we all have bigger problems than missed flights.  It’s possible, of course, but I’m optimistic it will be okay.  We’re also trying to put together to visit Lauren, which requires a fair amount of bureaucracy just to get to the point where we can buy the tickets in the best of times and may well be rendered moot by events.  I grow less optimistic about that by the day, though I still hold out hope.  And immediately after that – assuming we're not all under quarantine by then – I have to zip off to grade AP exams, because that’s the kind of wild man I am.  And they pay me to do that, which is important, being paid.  So we’ll see.

7. Yes, Lauren is staying where she is for now.  The exchange program folks have left that decision up to the parents and to be blunt I suspect she’s a whole lot safer in a country whose main form of health care coverage isn’t Go Fund Me, where sick days for food service workers aren’t unheard of, and whose leader isn’t a sociopathic narcissist whose only concern about this pandemic is whether it makes him look bad enough to threaten his re-election campaign.  Plus on a more positive note, an exchange program is a life-changing experience and we are not going to cut that short a moment before we absolutely have to do so. 

8. Last year I sold my health insurance information to, well, my health insurance company for a small reward.  I’m not sure why they wanted it since they already have it, but there you go.  When I get pre-emptively denied basic air privileges because I’m just that poor of a risk, you can say I had it coming, I suppose.  But now I have this prepaid credit card that comes with so many restrictions on it that trying to figure out what to spend it on has been something of a chore.  I’m sure I’ll think of something.  It is a privilege to have this problem, really, and I'm kind of enjoying it.

9. Moral purity is a luxury enjoyed by people who have no responsibilities.  This thought keeps running through my head these days.  I’m sure there’s a good reason why this is so.

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