Newly Stained Back Porch

The back porch project was completed yesterday, and I paid for it today via a bank draft. It looks really nice! Plus, we are currently experiencing wonderfully temperate weather too, so it is possible to pleasantly enjoy it now. We can walk on it today and by tomorrow, we can reinstall our porch furniture.

In other news, yesterday, one of our neighbors called us and asked for our help. She had been violently throwing-up and was in quite a bit of pain. She was at the local urgent care and needed a ride to the ER and also for one of us to drive her car home for her. We both hopped into our car and headed over there. I took her car home and Anne drove to the hospital. Her car was a Subaru Outback. It had a jumpy accelerator. All I had to do was just touch the pedal and the car would leap forward. That feature in the urgent care’s cramped and crowded lot made getting out of the lot a bit difficult, but I successfully maneuvered my way home without hitting anything. Anne ended up staying with the neighbor for most of the afternoon. Turns out she had gallstones. The hospital diagnosed this using ultrasound. They also gave her morphine for her pain, which seemed to have helped ease her discomfort quite a bit. Today, we saw our neighbor again and she is feeling much better. She is going to wait and see how she does and hopes that she won’t have to schedule surgery after all. She also gifted Anne a really nice-looking potted plant for her Good Samaritan turn.

An Eye for Home Improvement

Newly Sanded Porch Flooring

It has begun to cool town today, with the forecast calling for even cooler weather next week. Yesterday, the man that I hired to clean, renovate and then stain the back porch arrived. He spent the better part of the day sanding all the horizontal surfaces (flooring and railings). Thirty years of grime got washed away in less than a day. Next week, he will return and do the actual staining. I had him replace one of the steps up to the porch, which had rotted, but today I found another step that was almost as bad. I removed the offending step and bought some lumber. Tomorrow morning, I’ll install the new step.

Yesterday, I had an eye doctor appointment. This was the six-month post-surgery checkup. As these things happen, I no longer have the 20/20 vision that I had immediately after the cataract surgery. I think that now I am sporting 20/40 vision. So, I decided to get glasses again. Frankly, having worn glasses almost all of my life, I feel kind of naked without them. These new glasses should restore my 20/20 vision, which pre-surgery wasn’t even possible with glasses. So, I remain quite pleased with the surgery’s results. In addition to the lens replacement for cataracts, I also got two stents in each eye to relieve excess pressure due to glaucoma. They appear to be still working just fine, which is good, because then I don’t need to use eyedrops everyday anymore.

Lucky to Be Alive

COVID-19 At-Home Test

I’m still mentally beating myself up over my dereliction with regard to the RAV4’s gasoline smell. It could have been a disaster. The rodent caused nick in the fuel line was on the part of the line that is above the engine. According to the service tech, gas was squirting out of the pressurized gas line. It easily could have ignited, either on a hot manifold below it or since the gasoline eventually shorted an oxygen sensor, on the hot exhaust pipe. We were so lucky.

I called my insurance company today, to poke them along and it seemed to have some beneficial effect. It opened a dialog between the insurance company and the car dealer. Toyota is all ready to go, they have the parts in-house and are ready to go. We’re just waiting on the insurance company’s adjuster to inspect the vehicle. Hopefully, that will happen to this week, because if it doesn’t, then I’ll have the insurance company rent me a car.

Pictured is our government supplied COVID-19 at-home test kit. It showed up Monday night. Neither of us are feeling ill, so, we’ll just leave the tests in the box for now. I heard on NPR last night that after this Omicron wave subsides, over 80% of all Americans will be immune to the virus, either like us, because they have been vaccinated or like others, because they have already had the disease. Hurrah, herd immunity!

No word yet on the fraudulent credit card charges that I found on Monday, except that my credit card company, which also happens to be the same as my auto insurance company sent me my monthly bill and those fraudulent charges were on the bill. Because of this credit card fraud and all of the auto insurance issues, I took an unknown number call yesterday that turned out to be a phishing attempt. The woman claimed to be representing Amazon’s fraud department and said that someone else had bought an iPhone using my account. It was so eerily similar to the credit card fraud that had just occurred that I got sucked into it a little bit, but only enough to just give up my name. While, she was speaking, I used the desktop computer to check my Amazon account, and there were no iPhone charges. I questioned her and asked, if she was the fraud, to which she said, “If you think that you should hang up.” Which I did. I later changed my Amazon password, which required a two-step authentication involving my phone. That and the fact that the credit card that I use with Amazon is dead after the previous hack, there is no way that she could have been for real.

Finally, since I am unburdening myself of all of my problems, with this post, we’ve been experiencing toilet issues of late. I tried plunging the toilet and then snaking it too, but for the last two days, it has been flushing slowly or as of today, not at all. I decided to call a plumber, because often in the past, a non-flushing toilet has often been an early symptom of a main sewer line backup. I called the plumber, who lives up the block and who replaced our main line several years ago. When he called me back and miracle of miracles, said he was willing to come by today—He is so good that normally, I have to wait several days—I had to tell him never mind, because by then, Anne had fixed the toilet.

What a world! What a world! What a world!

The Backside of Winter

The Backside of Winter

Yesterday afternoon, it was in the fifties, so we went for a walk in Tower Grove Park. Sort of a last hurrah, because today, tomorrow and for the foreseeable future it is going to be cold, cold, cold. There was visible progress on the reintroduction of a stream into the eastern end of the park. I’m still unsure how this watershed is supposed to work, but as Anne said, it is more important that those who are doing the work know what they are about. In other news, I ordered and received new KN95 masks. We have been using cloth masks, but the CDC is now recommending that everyone switch over to N95 or KN95 masks. I also ordered our four free at home Covid tests. They are expected by the end of the month. Otherwise, it is just hunkered down time.

Doing the Math

Respiratory Droplet, David Goodsell, 2020

Saying the quiet part out loud seems to be a thing these days. So, let’s get started here. Since last spring, when we were first vaccinated against Covid through last fall, when we were both boosted, our chances of dying from Covid have fallen significantly. Last summer saw the Delta variant surge and even now Omicron is raging out of control. Both waves of infection were followed by thousands of fatalities that were primarily borne by unvaccinated adult Americans. Numerous scientific studies have identified that the majority of the people who have died from Covid in the last six months can be correlated with voters who had supported Trump. The reason for this correlation is abundantly clear. Rightwing politicians and media have been feeding their supporters a steady diet of anti-vax propaganda, causing these people to eschew getting safely vaccinated like we did, in favor of unproven and ineffective home remedies, such as horse dewormer or their own piss. The results of these decisions by Trump supporters are that they are now dying at election demographics shifting numbers. In his recent Medium article Donald G. McNeil Jr. has laid out the math. Looking at just four battleground states, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin and Nevada, which Trump lost by just razor thin margins in 2020, McNeil lays out the math. Currently, 95% of Americans who are dying now of Covid are unvaccinated. What is less clear, is the political affiliations of the deceased, except that death rates in counties that voted for Trump in 2020 are about three times higher than the death rates in counties that went for Biden. Call this 3-to-1 split a 75% chance. McNeil writes, “Right now, about 60 Arizonans, 36 Georgians, 34 Wisconsinites and 14 Nevadans are dying of Covid each day. Seventy five percent of 95 percent of that would be minus 103 Trump voters per day — just in those four swing states. Week after week. That adds up.” McNeil surmises that Donald Trump has seen the “arithmetic on the wall”, hence his recent to advocating for the vaccines, even in the face of booing from his fans.