We have lost 300,000 people to COVID-19 here in the USA and people still don’t seem to care, so I thought I’d do my Quick Takes on the scale of that number. All of these figures are from Wikipedia with the exception of take #5, which took some combing through Church statistics.
(Seriously, you can either read me talking about stats or me talking about the state of Daniel’s bowels. Throwing out statistics seemed more merciful.)
Also? I’ve seen idiots in my local area talking about how it’s just a cold or flu, and part of the problem with that line of thought is that you can get a mild case of COVID and end up later on with blood clots or heart conditions. This even happens in young people and people with no history of either thing.
Slightly less than the number of people who work for Starbucks globally. Starbucks employs 346,000 people worldwide, so I might have a hard time finding someone to make my iced grande latté with one pump of vanilla!
Hauled butt to Seattle. Daniel was pukey last Thursday and hadn’t pooped, so we headed to his gastroenterologist in Everett… who proceeded to blow me off and give me instructions for some enemas. I’m sure nobody will be surprised that the enemas did nothing except make my kid afraid of me, and I finally hit my breaking point on Monday when he was puking and nothing was happening. I knew it was ER time (having gone through this last year) and decided to drive down to Seattle Children’s Hospital for their ER, figuring that they would have all the necessary tools (i.e. feeding extensions) and knowledge to deal with Daniel. (They do, and they know how to use them.) I also figured they were probably taking good COVID precautions. (They are.)
Watched construction taking place outside my window. They are building something outside my room, and our room is full of construction noise during the day. They offered to move us if the noise was going to bother Daniel’s autistic sensitivities. (My kid couldn’t care less.)
Prayed for Thomas Lauer. Thomas is the 5 year old son of Katherine at Gloria in Excelsis Deo. If you’re not praying for him, start doing it NOW. Kiddo has survived 7(!!!!!) surgeries in the last three weeks since they removed a 13 oz. tumor from his tummy. He had a SIRS response to the surgery and has dealt with internal bleeding, necrotic organs, and a whole host of issues… and he is still alive.
Pray for him and for his mama Katherine. She has been by his side for the last 3+ weeks, and she needs prayers for continued strength. I’ve watched my kid code and almost not come back from it. She has watched far more than that in the last three weeks, and she is incredibly strong.
I’m thankful the election is over. Holy polarization, Batman! This election season was functionally 8 years long. The 2012 election bled into the 2016 one… which then bled into this one. I’m also so thankful that the election went in my favor! I have a good governor who has worked tirelessly to protect the people of Washington, and the idiot running against him would have been horrible for the state. I get my amazing Congresscritter again, and let’s not even go into how happy I am that Joe Biden won the election.
You know what’s making me even happier? Not having to deal with the “rolling Trump rally” idiots driving around, creating traffic hazards, and giving me a headache from their honking. I wonder if they even know how much they made people want to vote for Biden instead!
I’m thankful for teachers. Homeschoolng Daniel is my idea of hell, so I’m grateful that someone else is doing the planning while I just have to make sure he stays on task. His teacher, therapists, and aide love him, and they make an absolute effort to try and reach him. I can’t wait until he can go back to school, but I’m happy that we can at least keep his education moving until the vaccine is ready.
I’m thankful that I have a job right now. One of the good things about my job is that it can be done online. Because of this, I was able to work this summer for the first time since Daniel was a baby. Winter Quarter will also be online, so I have job security for the time being.
I’m thankful for businesses that are trying to keep their employees and customers safe. I don’t have the luxury of ignoring the pandemic where I live, so I appreciate that my grocery store is limiting the number of people inside, that my favorite restaurants are on DoorDash or Munchie Dude so food can be delivered, and that other places have curbside pick up for food and retail goods. People in my area have been patient with the restrictions that we currently have, and that made it easier to deal with the line to get in the store on Thanksgiving Eve to pick up Daniel’s meds and a few last-minute things.
I’m thankful for my family. I’ve been stuck in the house with them for eight months, and we haven’t managed to kill each other yet. The grown-ups are also eating together every night, so I think my parents have a better idea of what I do for a living and what I have on my figurative plate because we talk about our days at dinner.
We also were able to have some socially distant porch visits this summer with some extended family. For Thanksgiving, we made dinner-to-go for my bachelor uncle, and he was able to come over and pick it up. (He brought us a pumpkin spice cheesecake from 5b’s Bakery in exchange.)
I’m thankful for my church. We haven’t been able to have in-person worship for eight months, so we’ve done worship over Facebook Live and then Zoom. Granted, I’m the one doing all the tech and web work for it, but people are being patient with tech malfunctions for the most part, and we’ve gotten pretty good at it. Our Vestry is also trying to make sure people get called every week and checked on because it can be lonely and we have an older congregation. Our choir has put together virtual anthems, and we’re working on finding ways to do worship without being allowed to sing. (This is why we can’t sing.) We did a survey of people this summer, and nobody wants to go back to in-person worship until the county hits Phase 4 and there is a vaccine available. We obviously didn’t get to do Easter in-person, and we are making plans for Midnight Mass over Zoom.
After sobbing my eyes out for four hours in a panic attack instead of sleeping last night, I’ve decided to start my November hiatus early. I have a project for church that needs to be done by the day before Advent starts, I have a kid who is reacting to pandemic stress by hitting things (and who has done damage to the house), I have students who are needing a lot of me this quarter, and I need to step away from blogging to conserve my spoons for those things.
Oh yeah, there’s also the fact that a spitefulness and meanness entered politics 10 years ago with the start of the Tea Party movement, and I’ve felt nastiness present in every election since, starting with the 2012 election which had an “us vs. THEM” feel to it, especially as a Protestant in the Catholic blogosphere. 2016’s election was positively mean-spirited and hateful, and the incumbent in the White House has perpetuated that spiteful meanness into his reign. It has felt like the 2016 election has been extended for 4 extra years, and I honestly don’t feel like dealing with people who want to vote for someone who is a bully and who wants to take away programs that are a lifeline for people like me. I’m exhausted, y’all, and I can’t deal with discussions of politics anymore. I voted the second my ballot landed in my mailbox, my ballot has been processed already (because I live in a state that votes by mail and tracks ballots on a website), and I don’t feel like I should have to deal with it any longer.
I plan to spend Election Night eating teriyaki and sushi from my favorite Japanese takeout place via DoorDash and watching “Forged in Fire” reruns instead of checking election returns every 5 minutes or listening to blathering on it from various commentators who are going to make it as dramatic as possible.
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Why I do it. In the 22 years I’ve been old enough to vote, I’ve voted in person only a handful of times. I wasn’t registered in the county where I went to school because someone from my church was running for mayor during my first year of college, and I never bothered to change my registration. I’ve voted in five different states, and the only time I had a problem voting was when I lived in Montana and they screwed up my registration, so I wasn’t allowed to vote when I showed up at my polling place. I became a staunch absentee ballot person at that point, and I haven’t had any problems in the 14 years since!
It’s incredibly convenient. I can do it on my time schedule, and I don’t have to wait in line to do it. I can sit down with my voter guide, look at who my county’s political party organization endorses, and then I just have to throw it in the mailbox or put it in one of the dropboxes placed by my County Auditor.
A word of warning if you plan to use a dropbox: unofficial dropboxes are appearing in some states, so you should always go to an official dropbox run by your county’s auditor or whoever handles elections for your county. My county sends a list of official ones with the ballot, and they range from libraries to police stations to the county courthouse.
My County Auditor also recommends mailing ballots no later than October 27th to ensure they arrive by Election Day.
You need to read the instructions. There are stories of ballots being rejected already because people aren’t signing envelopes or putting things in secrecy sleeves. Your vote-by-mail ballot comes with instructions. (Mine are printed on the secrecy sleeve inside.) Read them carefully and follow them to the letter.
Ink color. Most ballots that ask you to fill in a bubble will require you to fill it out in blue or black ink. (It’s like a gigantic scantron sheet.) I stick with black to be safe. We are also told to cross out the name of the item if we fill in the wrong spot for a person or ballot measure.
Book recommendation. If you’ve stayed with me through all the blathering I’ve done regarding voting by mail, I have a book recommendation for you: the Paranormal Investigation Bureau mysteries by Dionne Lister are my current book addiction. They’re kind of like a cross between Harry Potter and chick lit. In the first book, Lily Bianchi, an Australian photographer finds out she is a witch on her 24th birthday when a strange woman turns up to tell her that her brother is missing. She ends up flying to England to find him, and she ends up staying and working for the Paranormal Investigation Bureau. Like in Harry Potter, there’s an evil organization doing nefarious stuff and trying to kill the main character, but it’s a little bit of a lighter read than J.K. Rowling’s books.
Interesting article.The Washington Post did a pretty cool article comparing our handling of coronavirus with medieval Europeans handling the plague. I’m a history junkie, so I found it pretty fascinating.