7/20/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

Last time I checked in, I shared Utah’s rising case numbers. Things are looking up since then.

And I do mean “up.” Our all-time high was 867 in one day, reported just two days after I wrote. Fortunately, we’re back to numbers like 736, 731, and 788 for the last three beautiful, blue bars of that graph.

I’ve had a bad headache today since the baby awoke at 2 a.m., compounded by another awakening at 5 a.m. As with anytime I’ve felt a little off, I’m paranoid I’ve got The ‘Rona. That figures, since I still do grocery pickup, mask when I go to a public place, and have not agreed to family invitations to public places. Heck; we’ve gotten takeout five times in the last four months.

baked box cheese close up

Pizza: The American Meal. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We did attend church last Sunday. We LDS normally attend every Sunday; with a communal meeting that includes eating bread and drinking water (sacrament) passed around on trays, then a second meeting by age and gender group afterward. Sunday’s meeting was only The Sacrament. We sat with a bench between other family groups. We all wore masks, except Baby Owens. The bread and water trays remained in the hands of the boys distributing them. We even sang with masks on, reading from our individual phones instead of hymn books. Only the speaker unmasked as he shared a gospel message about spirituality from the podium at the front.

My parents also live in Utah, but their local leaders have not reinstated meetings. Ironically, their libraries and recreational centers (swimming pools, gyms) are in business. Different strokes for different counties, I guess.

—–

In terms of shortages and price increases, I’ve heard that hard currency is running low. The cashier at the kids’ clothing store told me, the internet told me, and the plastic partition at the hardware store told me.

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Perhaps you’ll accept galvanized nails in replacement, Lowe’s?

I was able to procure some antibacterial kitchen hand soap at Wal-Mart when I had to go inside. Being 5’8″ tall with long arms helped that procurement. I brought a bottle of hand sanitizer down for any shorter-armed shoppers that followed. The rest of their soaps were in short supply, as were any bottles of rubbing alcohol:

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Who needs antiseptics when you’ve got a lonely roll of gauze?

The biggest news, for me, is The School Issue. I mentioned, before, that I’m following a TwoFacebook Group concerned with returning children to their desks, come hell or high water. Members of said group were prominent at a recent meeting in Utah County, where they vociferously (and crowdedly) spoke in favor of no masks for their children. Since I know many teachers personally and would like them to remain healthy, I see no-masking to be a selfish, nearsighted opinion.

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Just one of the many, many inspiring and educated adults making decisions for her offspring.

Of all the ways to make the news, Utah, you have to pick this one…

I assumed, recently, that my more-conservative friends have seen the light. With stories about reinfection; with more people we actually know getting infected; with areas shutting back down to curb Coronavirus cases -SURELY opinions would change. Not so. One of my more vocal neighbors just posted, today, about articles against masking and how any legitimate information supporting that idea keeps “getting taken down.”

I know restricting or changing information happens. I’ve seen it. However, I also know that I, like other humans, breathe and cough and sneeze. As such, I’m in favor of wearing a mask, using my turn signal, and not randomly kicking strangers in the shins because it’s my right to do so.

In conclusion, here’s a funny image re-shared by a teacher friend on 2FB:

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Sorry; I’m not sure who came up with these. They’re pretty clever.

Images ©2020 Chelsea Owens, unless otherwise noted. Blog post ©2020 Chelsea Owens

7/9/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

Welp; things are not looking good, number-wise, out here in do-it-yourself Utah.

Graph

Thanks, Coronavirus.utah.gov. What a lovely blue.

Wednesday marked the single, highest number of new cases reported in a day. Now, we’re no New York City. New York City has 2.5 times more population in it than our entire state. Still, that’s a bad growth rate unless we’re talking earned revenue in stocks.

I remember back when the world shut down, together. My occasional errands to the grocery store pickup or follow-up appointments for the baby were spent driving through nearly-empty streets and barricaded parking lots. Restaurants had signs about being closed and/or ordering online. Everyone locked up at nightfall, even Wal-Mart.

Yesterday, our family got caught in rush-hour traffic on our way up to visit my parents. What is this? I thought, then remembered. My parents and a sibling are two of the few places we go, and I assumed others were similarly, intentionally homebound.

Today, I went to my home-away-from-home: Costco. My experience there, in the last four months, has changed from an uneasy anxiety to over-zealous cleaning to a resigned impatience. A lot of the store has opened up again, sort-of. They still mandate wearing masks, although their cart-retrievers were not doing so outside. The workers at the gas station, outside, were also bare-faced. A woman stood at a samples table inside, though she only advertised her product and did not offer tastes. The food court area showed a simpler menu of two kinds of pizza, a hot dog meal, and three desserts; the condiments were stacked behind the cashier in tiny containers with lids.

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My poor Oxford comma.

Also today, a relative of mine visited with his children. They drove across the country to do so, and have also visited “things we can’t do back home,” like a hot springs resort and the local aquarium.

Another relative drove to one of Utah’s rural communities for their Fourth of July festivities. Word is that the city had a parade and threw candy.

Meanwhile, back in Salt Lake County, we’ve been mandated to wear masks in public. I haven’t seen any policemen to enforce this rule; I have seen nearly everyone complying. I heard that Utah’s governor thought to make the ruling statewide and looked for such information. Instead, I found he’d announced that everyone attending school in the fall will need to wear a mask.

He also said that, if we can’t be good little citizens and bring our case numbers down by August 1, he will put us in the corner -erm, make masks mandatory.

I don’t see what the big deal is, especially considering that our numbers keep rising. If the case counts were at least plateauing, I might agree with my more-conservative friends about their right to bare arms and faces. As things keep climbing, however, I say they’re being needlessly selfish about a small scrap of cloth.

mona lisa protection protect virus

Photo by Yaroslav Danylchenko on Pexels.com

I see the rise in numbers being related to the rise in traffic, travel, and don’t-care attitudes. I want things to normalize again, too, people. I also want to avoid contracting a disease that permanently affects some or kills others.

COVID-19 aside, I’m keeping busy and enjoying my ‘break.’ How’s everything where you all are?

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

So Long, and Thanks for All the Friendship

Thus begins my summer sabbatical. Ironically, ’tis also my third Blogiversary.

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I’m visiting a few blogging friends before the tech-free boat departs, then I’m sailing away till September. I’m very excited. I have my notebook, my unruly crew of five boys, and some reading to keep me company.

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See ya soon!

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Blue

What will he do
The man dressed in blue
When everyone’s angry
So angry at blue

What will he do
The man dressed in blue
When his child needs him
Needs him in blue

What will we do
Without men in blue
When no one will answer
And no one wear blue

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Going Postal: The Writing Process and How It Messed Itself Up

Back when the world shut down in an effort to curb the spread of a certain virus, I found my creativity stunted. I felt afraid, defensive, worried, uncertain.

Like many others in the blogosphere, I did not feel like writing.

The idea for expressing some of my anxieties through a serial story came a few weeks later, as I (once again) chased down the funny, reserved, down-to-earth, white-haired and blue-eyed man who delivered the mail to our area. My mail man is not named Ron, but his appearance and manners are based on the one I know and have known for a few years.

Originally, my story idea revolved around the mail carrier knowing what everyone had shipped to his house and …going postal on everyone and stealing their stuff. Somewhere around the second or third installment, I wrote each segment from that new character’s perspective. At another point I don’t remember, I decided the different stories would follow a triangle pattern: the last would be from the same perspective and in the same location as the first, the second would match the second-to-last, etc.

Two problems arose: One, I didn’t know where to …end; where to arc and come back down. Two, everyone (including me) got attached to Ron.

How could I make Ron go ‘breaking bad?’

First, I thought to make him accidentally infect everyone. He did, in fact, do that. He coughed all over the postal sorting room, after all. Then, in walked Marty. Personally, I like Marty. I also do not like Marty. He’s a scumbag. Thanks to Marty and a later idea that Carol wouldn’t make it, we had our key to breaking Ron.

Thanks to recent developments in America, I had more danger to add…

So, Going Postal is the story of a happy, friendly mailman who was eventually convinced to aid Marty in his exploits -or, it’s possible that Marty knocked him off and is using Ron’s pickup truck and route to rob and plunder in The End of Times. You get to decide.

A final Easter Egg: I decided to never name Coronavirus in the stories.

Going Postal, I
Going Postal, II
Going Postal, III
Going Postal, IV
Going Postal, V
Going Postal, VI
Going Postal, VII
Going Postal, VIII
Going Postal, IX
Going Postal, X
Going Postal, XI
Going Postal, XII
Going Postal, XIII
Going Postal, XIV

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

P.S. In real-life drama, my favorite mailman was recently let go. I’m hoping to call someone who knows something and tell him a final, “Thanks.”

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Going Postal, XIV

Continued from “Going Postal, I,” “Going Postal, II,” “Going Postal, III,” “Going Postal, IV,” “Going Postal, V,” “Going Postal, VI,” “Going Postal, VII,” “Going Postal, VIII,” “Going Postal, IX,” “Going Postal, X,” “Going Postal, XI,” “Going Postal, XII,” and “Going Postal, XIII.”

Ron was just your average sort of guy: tallish, wideish, oldish, kindish. He drove his reliable old pickup with the reliable old hardtop around the neighborhood every day; often, he drove around several times a day.

Some of the residents talked to Ron. Most did not. Most didn’t notice him or his truck, despite its nearly always being full to bursting with their latest Amazon packages and Domino’s pizza coupons.

Mrs. Hempsworth remembered the last time she’d spoken to the mailman, although she couldn’t recall his name. She thought about their odd, stinted conversation as she peered at her community mailbox from behind her lace bedroom curtains.

Not only had she not seen the white-haired, blue-eyed mailman much lately; she’d not seen her packages for two weeks. When she phoned the post office, no one picked up. Didn’t they know she couldn’t drive? Didn’t they know she didn’t own a car? Didn’t they know that a lady like her couldn’t trust a driver these days?

Mrs. Hempsworth shuddered.

In her seventy-two years of life, she’d never imagined life the way it currently was. Even her father’s tales of The Great Depression or the racial tensions of the 60’s and 70’s didn’t seem as bad as now. “Oh, how I miss it!” she sighed, thinking over her childhood, happy marriage to Lloyd, and lonely retirement.

She’d had Bunco. She’d had an eventual prospect of Happy Meadows Retirement Home. She’s had Days of Our Lives, for Pete’s sake. Now, she had a television full of bad news. She had neighbors who’d left or barricaded their doors. She had nowhere to go because nowhere was safe.

A noise from downstairs startled her from her reflections. She didn’t move; the old, heavy bureau was already in front of her bedroom door and all her necessities were in the room with her.

She sighed. “May as well get it over with.”

The sounds from below increased: furniture moving, drawers opening. She closed her eyes and imagined her phoning the police; imagined a time, now gone, when the police both existed and responded to home robberies.

Expecting masked mobs or bobbing flashlights, Mrs. Hempsworth opened her eyes and looked down at the street outside her front walk. The street, however, appeared mostly empty. The only thing she could see was a white, covered pickup truck, parked at an odd angle to the curb.

THE END

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

6/16/2020 of COVID-19 Home Life

First, I HATE THIS NEW BLOCK LAYOUT AND ALWAYS HAVE.

Annoying Prompt

Really, WordPress? Don’t you have enough problems?

As to Coronaignoreit, people ’round these parts have lost interest. Coincidentally, that was pretty much the title of the New York Times article I skimmed this morning: “America Is Done With COVID-19. COVID-19 Isn’t Done With America.”* People wear the masks where they need to, but I see a lot of pullings-down or restings-on-necks.

I get it. Masks are annoying and hot. My friend who works making food for a ritzy country club has to wear compression socks, a mask, and gloves all day at her job. …And their air conditioner hasn’t worked properly in years.

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The oddest thing for me about Coronastillhere is how a person’s approach or even belief in the disease relates to politics. Utah’s state epidemiologist, Angela Dunn, agrees: “Opinions about what needs to happen now in the fight against COVID-19 appear… to be split along party lines among the legislative committee members.” She’s referencing our spike in cases (double the number per day compared to when we were in lockdown) and what various Democrat or Republican representatives propose as solutions for the future.

Our governor decided to remain at yellow level till June 20, last I heard. Rural communities want to be green. As Madame Dunn pointed out again, however, disease doesn’t stop at county boundaries.

*Sigh* I think I’ll have to contract the thing at some point, as will my children.

On a funny note, my grocery pickup order was a little off this morning. I didn’t know until I drove back home -and unloaded NINE POUNDS (4.1 kg) of fresh green beans. The computer order shows that I set the quantity to ‘9,’ but that means I would have had to click the little ‘+’ sign nine times when ordering.

I purchased the beans as part of my new diet. The diet involves a lot of vegetables per day; but, as I explained to the grocery store over the phone later, not that many.

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If anyone needs a few pounds, let me know.

In reading over my past updates on Coronayesit’sstillaround, I see I conveyed my fears, panic, and sometimes sadness. The last post only showed the spray painted defacement of our state capitol building. My updates on Costco are about how everyone’s required to wear a mask. I wrote about food shortages and nervous dental visits.

In truth, there is good in the bad. In further truth, there is almost all good and a few bad.

Residents around the state of Utah offered to help clean the graffiti from the capitol building and the ensuing protests were peaceful.

Don Gamble cleans off graffiti at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Sunday, May 31, 2020. Daylong protests moved across the city Saturday after a peaceful demonstration to decry the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis turned violent. Protesters vandalized buildings throughout the downtown area before a curfew was enforced in the evening.

That dude’s name is Don Gamble. Thanks, Deseret News.

Costco is the wonderful place I know and love, without food samples but with masks.

While stores encourage limits on meat and toilet paper, there is no shortage. I walk through a completely-full Costco and arrange pickups from a grocery store that receives new shipments every night.

The dentist is still an odd experience, but not as odd as entering the bank lobby wearing a face mask. Businesses used to post signs about removing sunglasses or hats or beards for their security systems; now, they have signs encouraging a face covering.

I’ve resisted the urge to give someone a finger-gun greeting so far.

In my world of blogging, I’m at least one segment away from finished with Going Postal. I intend to write a description of my process and design for it after that final installment, and then I’m OUT OF HERRRRREEEEEE!

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

 

*1984-style, that article was named “The U.S. is Done With COVID-19…”

Photo Credit: Photo by Hans Reniers on Unsplash

Going Postal, XIII

Continued from “Going Postal, I,” “Going Postal, II,” “Going Postal, III,” “Going Postal, IV,” “Going Postal, V,” “Going Postal, VI,” “Going Postal, VII,” “Going Postal, VIII,” “Going Postal, IX,” “Going Postal, X,” “Going Postal, XI,” and “Going Postal, XII,”

Not much happened anymore outside little Charli‘s window. Not much happened in the house, either, now that her big brother and daddy and mommy stayed home. Now, they all played all day like she did, but also not like she did.

“Go away!” her brother, Jer, snapped when she tried to watch his screen.

“I’m busy; not now,” was Daddy’s answer every time he worked on the computer.

“Why don’t you go play with your toys, or with that letters game you like so much?” Mommy said, also watching a screen.

Charli didn’t understand why Jer kept his headphones on, why Daddy gave his computer a mad face, or why Mommy sighed as she played on her phone and sat in the empty hair-cutting room. No carpool drove up and honked. Daddy didn’t have ‘at work.’ Mommies didn’t come get a haircut from her mommy.

Even Santa didn’t always come. Instead of the nice man with white hair, Charli sometimes saw a scary man with scary eyes holding the smile-presents as he climbed their front steps. She never saw when he dropped the boxes on the porch because she hid behind the blue curtains until it was safe.

The smile-boxes were the same, and there were more of them. She didn’t know why Daddy wanted so many; if they were food like Santa told her, why did they need so much? Mommy still got food from the store; Charli just didn’t get to go with her anymore.

“Oh, I don’t go into the grocery store,” Mom had told her when she asked. “They shop for me and bring it out to the car. If you came along, you’d sit in the car and that wouldn’t be fun for you.”

Charli thought about that explanation as Mommy helped put her shoes on. “Why are we going to the store today?” she asked.

“Because,” Mommy said, pulling on the shoe straps, “I need to get our groceries. Daddy went to the post office. Jer wanted to go with Dad.”

“Why did Daddy go to the post office?”

“Because they didn’t deliver some of our packages.”

“Why didn’t they deliver our packages?”

“We don’t know, Honey. No one’s answering the phone.” Mommy sat back and smiled her tired smile. “No more questions. Let’s get in the car.”

They walked through the house to the car in the garage. Charli waited for Mommy to buckle her in her Big Girl Seat, then waited for Mommy to buckle her own seat belt. She watched Mommy’s face scrunch and her eyes move while the car went backwards. Mommy turned back to look where she was driving. Charli looked out her window.

The world outside the car window wasn’t fun, like the house window wasn’t fun. She twisted around and waved buh-bye when Mommy turned onto The Busy Street. Just before she turned on her game, Charli saw Santa park his truck by her house.

The scary man was with him.

Continued to “Going Postal, XIV.”

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Going Postal, XII

Continued from “Going Postal, I,” “Going Postal, II,” “Going Postal, III,” “Going Postal, IV,” “Going Postal, V,” “Going Postal, VI,” “Going Postal, VII,” “Going Postal, VIII,” and “Going Postal, IX,” “Going Postal, X,” and “Going Postal, XI.

Art perched in his favorite, familiar location doing his favorite, familiar thing: scouting for the mailman. Ron had been unpredictable over the last few weeks; if the government wouldn’t use it to spy on him, Art had considered installing a camera. Maybe he could ensure the feed stayed on a closed circuit. His brother, Larry, knew a guy who knew about that sort of thing.

An approaching white pickup truck grabbed his attention. Art raised his binoculars; yes, it was Ron. It was also Ron’s usual time and his usual parking spot. Art frowned as he saw Ron exit the vehicle and scan the area -that was not usual.

A rustling came from behind the porch, followed by a thud. Art had enough time to drop the binoculars and turn before a strong, dark arm pulled at his neck and a sharp, bright blade glinted across his view. The arm tightened. The blade brushed against his cheek, then poked into his neck.

“Arthur Jackson Williams,” a tough voice said.

Art tried shifting but the knife turned painfully. This guy knew what he was doing. “Who are you?” Art whispered.

The guy gave a short laugh. “Yeah, right. Let’s just say I owe your man, Larry, a thank-you.”

“Larry? Uh -we don’t talk much… I barely see him-” More pain came from Art’s neck, cutting off what he thought to say in a deep intake of breath.

“Don’ waste my time lyin,’ man. Larry talked about you all dah time. He talked about you’ deals, about you’ connections, about you’ weapons -” Right next to Art’s ear, the man added, “Even about you’ precious Rachel.”

Art’s mouth felt dry. He didn’t know how this guy knew about Rachel. He didn’t even know who this guy was.

“I think you know enough to share some of that stuff you’ve been hoarding. If not…” Another twist. “If not, I think you know where your body’s gonna end up.”

Art swallowed.

“So, you’re gonna tell me dah combination to that room downstairs, nice and slow. Then, you’re gonna put on some fancy bracelets I’ve got for ya. Then, you’re gonna keep your trap shut with this tape till I get what I want.” The guy spoke so close to Art’s ear that Art felt his hot breath. “Otherwise, I kill you and bust into dah room anyway.”

Art’s instincts failed him. “You won’t hurt Rachel?”

“Only you, princess.”

He gulped, then slowly whispered, “Oh three. Fifteen. Sixty-seven.” It was the birthday of one of America’s greatest leaders. Art recalled that fact with happy pride just before the world went dark.

…..

The world still looked dark when Art awoke. His head hurt so badly he rolled to the porch’s edge and vomited into the hedge. Through spotty vision and throbbing headache he scanned the area but saw no one. “Eurgh.” Unsheathing his favorite knife, he stumbled to the front door and opened it. He stumbled into the house. He stumbled down the stairs. He stumbled to the end of the hall and stopped at the open, swinging door to the armory.

No sound came from the dark, open door. He moved forward, still blinking against intense pain. Stopped. Sighed. Yes, many of his guns and a few ammunition cases were gone; but, there -still in her place of honor- hung Rachel.

Art groped forward to the Springfield Model 1816 Musket and stroked her barrel. “Rachel,” he whispered affectionately.

Continue to “Going Postal, XIII.”

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Vincent Ehindero Award Thing

The awesome dude of Rethinking Scripture named me in his Vincent Ehindero Award waaay back on April 23. Yes, that was this year, but I think I’ve been too flaky in not answering it yet. So, here ya go:

  1. If you could be anyone living or dead who would that be?
    I asked for specifics on this question, like length and whether I’d have to also be dead if I picked someone dead… So, assuming I could be anyone for a short period of time, I would definitely choose to try out a celebrity’s life. I’ve always been fascinated with how people live; a very rich person would be interesting.
    (Further, a very poor person would also be interesting but less comfortable. Further further, I’d enjoy any other life for a bit since I am naturally curious.)

    cemetery

    I would not be this person for a day.

  2. Using just one word how would you describe yourself?
    Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?
  3. Do you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert?
    I consider myself an introvert, with a confused expression when others say they assumed otherwise.
  4. Name one thing that if you had the means to do it what would that be?
    My son keeps asking me a similar question, to which I keep answering, “A permanent end to Coronavirus.”
  5. Are you a cat or dog person, or maybe both?
    I am a dog person, but that is the cats’ fault.

    cat on green grass

    It’s planning to eat me.

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Some people you should follow include:

Carrot Ranch‘s blog for a great community and for writing prompts and tips.
Carol‘s musings, recipes, and recycling news for musings, recipes, and recycling news.
-Carol’s friend, Sally Cronin, for great information on writing and nutrition (and much, much more!)
Sue Vincent‘s prompts and sharing of people who responded to her prompts. She is, hands-down, one of the best writers and poets in the blogging world.
Colleen Chesebro, who does a poem-writing contest every week. She includes a lot of resources and instructions on poetry as well.
Basically, anyone else I’ve nominated in the past. I loves me my friends, and think you all should know you all.

If anyone is looking to answer awesome questions, respond to any or all in the comments:

  1. If you had to choose between a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and a Hershey’s Cookies and Cream candy bar, why is that even a choice?
  2. Seriously, who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?
  3. What’s your favorite color?
  4. If you became the supreme leader of your own country for a day and could put any law in place that you wanted, what would you do?
  5. What’s one of your favorite books?

…..

This is the part where I re-post the re-posted parts about ‘rules’ and such:

Rules:

Thank the person that nominated you with a link to their blog.

Make a post of the award (with a photo.)

Post the rules.

Ask 5-10 questions of your choice.

Nominate 10-30 other bloggers.

Follow Vincent Ehindero at vincentehindero.wordpress.com (to qualify for a free blog promotion and shoutout) and more blogging opportunities.

Photo Credits: Brett Sayles and Viktor Mogilat on Pexels.com.