Tuesday, March 31, 2020

How Long?

One of the big questions about this quarantine is how long is it going to last? The President just extended the shutdown for another month. What makes you think that will be the end of it? Hope you hadn’t made any big Easter plans.

Personally, I’m supposed to go to a convention in Maine in June. That looks doubtful. Even if restrictions are lifted and the convention takes place, I probably won’t go. Being in a high risk group, it’s just not worth taking any chances. Our family also has reservations for camping on the coast of Maine in July. Not holding my breath on that one either.

Remember, every estimate from the government has been changed for the worse. That’s something to ponder when official estimates now say between 100,000 and 200,000 dead. That’s a best case outcome. There are computer models that predict ten times that. Scary thoughts.

When I see things like field hospitals being set up in Central Park it sends chills down my spine. Tales of civil unrest in European countries give me pause. Their situation is just a few weeks ahead of us. Will we have problems with violence here too? Bullets are still flying off the shelves. 

Not quite there yet.


Monday, March 30, 2020

So Much for Travel

I love watching travel channels on YouTube. It was rarely things like people going on cruise ships or flying to exotic places. My channel choices were of people traveling by personal boat, van, RV, motorcycle or even by hiking. Last winter while I was recovering my health they sure helped pass the time.

Some of these channels were popular enough that the people making them earned enough income to live on. That’s a pretty sweet gig in a lot of ways. Sure beats working in an office somewhere. Now with the whole planet shutting down, nobody is traveling. The channels are putting out a lot of “this is what we do during lockdown” videos. Personally, I’ve pretty much had my fill of those episodes.

It’s going to be tough for those places that rely on tourists. My own area had a fairly strong recreational industry. Those folks aren’t going to be working for some time. Even when the restrictions are lifted it’s going to take a lot for tourists to come back. People will be hesitant to travel. Most people’s finances are taking a hit and vacations will be one of the first things to be cut from budgets.

I’m pretty much planning to stay close to home for some time. Instead of budgeting for travel, funds will be spent preparing to spend winter at home. That’s going to take a lot of planning and work. At least I’m not going to spend as much time watching travel channels.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Quarantine Days

There’s really not much going on around here and that’s a good thing. I guess the self distancing is working -so far.

My lovely wife and I are knocking out house projects. I was able able to get a little plumbing done, all using materials at hand. When you live our in the woods it only makes sense to have basic materials and parts. That’s really paying off these days. While the local hardware store is open, sticking close to home appears to be the better option.

I was able to start her car which has been unused since the beginning of December. It’s still behind a frozen wall of snow and ice, but I’m chipping away at that too.

It’s going to be interesting to see how society changes after this is all over. (Assuming it will be all over) The whole world has pretty much dropped everything to deal with the crisis. Things will not go back exactly the way they were before. You can’t unscramble an egg.


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Stimulus Money

Okay . . . so the government’s handing out money. All you anti-socialists stay pure and refuse the cash. What’s that you say? This time it’s different? It’s not really Socialism. Whatever lets you sleep at night.

Personally, I’m not really into ideology.

On the other hand, I’m not sure I’m really going to get anything. It’s that just my natural pessimism coming forward? No . . . well . . . not completely. The Sixbears household is in one of those categories where we don’t have to legally file taxes. There was some sort of happy talk that people like us would eventually get some money, somehow.


Fortunately, my firefighter pension is still coming in. In fact, the state sent me an e-mail stating my pension fund was fine. Maybe I’d feel better about that e-mail if it wasn’t sent every three days or so. If they’d sent the e-mail out once, I’d get the impression they were trying to reassure me. When they sent it out all the time, it looks more like they are trying to reassure themselves.

A certain financial institution sent me an e-mail stating how concerned they were for my health during this crisis. How nice. A careful reading, however, revealed they were concerned that I stay healthy so I can keep making payments. News flash: if I get sick paying off their loan is the least of my concerns. My credit is already in the crapper from the last time I was in hospital so that’s not something that can be held over my head.

Now it might be be an issue if wanted a loan to buy a car. Is anybody buying cars these days? If so, why? It’s not like we can drive anywhere.

Seriously though, I hope the money gets out to those who really need it -like most of the population. We are looking at unemployment higher than during the Great Depression. Something has to be done to keep food on the table.

My lovely wife and I are still financially holding our heads above water. We are fine. Our budget is being helped by the fact we aren’t going anywhere or doing anything.


Friday, March 27, 2020

My Old Fire Department

A cousin of mine retired from my old fire department a few years ago. He got a call from the department. They’ve been contacting those who’ve retired in the last five or six years. The department’s been asking if the retired guys would be willing to come back to work if too many current members get sick. Of course, they’ve stepped up and are willing to go back into harm’s way.

I’ve been out too long and went out on a disability, so they are not asking me. However, it would be hard for me to say no if asked -even knowing it would most likely kill me.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Stupidity can kill me

There are numerous examples of people behaving badly during this pandemic, be it young spring breakers, or people even throwing coronavirus parties. Heck, we can’t even get people to wash their darn hands -something they should have been doing all along anyway.


Being over 60 with bad lungs and no insurance, I can’t take chances.

Currently I’m quarantined in case we picked up something on the way home. It looks like our precautions, and some luck, paid off and we are fine. However, now I have to be in quarantine so some some idiot doesn’t infect me.

It’s going to be a long people of isolation and precautions. The best I can hope for is to wait this out until there’s effective treatment, a cure, or natural herd immunity develops.

For those who think this is blown way out of proportion, get back to me in a few weeks . . . if you can.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Head for the hills

Vacation homes here in the North Country have filled with folks fleeing the cities. That’s all well and good, but I wonder how many of them have brought the corona virus with them? Then there’s the fact that our local hospital can’t even take care of the locals. I just hope they will self quarantine for two weeks like we are doing.

By the way, we got almost a foot of snow overnight. Kinda bummed out to see the boat buried in snow. That’s the reason why we weren’t expecting to come north until a month or so from now.

I’ve been thinking about how the government wants a big slush fund of money to support businesses. Current proposals don’t even have many safeguards. They can pick who survives and who doesn’t. There’s a name for that sort of thing and it’s not Capitalism.

Frankly, I wouldn’t mind if a number of industries were quietly left to die. Take cruise ships for example. They are all flagged at ports of convenience to avoid US taxes and laws. Now that times are tight they want support from the US government? Those polluting disease incubators can all be scuttled as far as I’m concerned.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Normal for March

I know it’s normal for spring the North Country, but we just got snow. As I write this, there’s a good six inches on the ground and it’s still coming down. That’s why we didn’t plan on coming home for at least another month. Stuff happens. I’m going to have to shovel a path out to the road to put the trash out.

At least they are still picking up the trash. Nice that some things are working. I’ve always appreciated those workers. They don’t get the respect they deserve, especially during these troubling times.

Have you heard about the Freshman 15? New college students are likely to gain weight their first year of college, about 15 pounds. Have you heard about the Covid -19? It’s the 19 pounds you gain from stress eating and lack of exercise while quarantined. Personally, I’m still losing weight. We have plenty of food storage, but not much for snack food.

Another random bit: people are being issued travel papers. That tells me movement will be very restricted shortly. The guy who was issued papers works in a vital industry. He was instructed to keep the papers with him when traveling to work.

Now I understand the importance of limiting movement during a pandemic. However, it’s starting to feel a bit like East Germany. We are going to have to vigilant about protecting our freedoms


Monday, March 23, 2020

Avoiding Injury

Now more than ever it’s time to be careful. Try to avoid doing something stupid and getting hurt.

I thought of that while making my way down to my basement’s outside door. There’s still snow and ice on the ground and slipping and falling a real possibility. If I have to go back down there before the ice melts I plan on using ice grips on my boots. Can’t be too careful right now.

People on lock down are getting pretty bored. Bored people can do some dumb things and get hurt. Try not to be that joker.

It’s bad enough that the medical community is getting maxed out treating Covid -19. No need to make the situation worse by getting hurt being an idiot. Not only will you use up sparse resources, you’ll be in a hospital full of infected individuals.

My local docotors’ offices are trying to restrict in person visits. They are trying to do as much as possible remotely. I’m going to do my part by canceling my scheduled visit. I’m feeling fine. Self care is going really well. No need to take the risk. No need to take up their time and resources.


Sunday, March 22, 2020

After two weeks, then what?

I’m thinking ahead to what I’m going to do come Friday. That’ll be the end of our two week self-isolation. So far it looks like we haven’t brought anything north with us. By self-isolating we were taking precautions for other people’s safety.

By Friday, I thought it might be okay to make a run to the grocery store. Now I’m not so sure. It appears that people are being really casual about social distancing. There are those who are taking this seriously, but too many aren’t.

My lungs already suffered damage from my firefighter days. It took years of work to build my health back to the point where I had some sort of quality of life. This virus could undo years of work and could possibly kill me. That’s the reality of being in a high risk group.

There are some other factors to consider. I don’t have any health insurance. I’m told the local hospital has only four ventilators. What do think the odds are that I’d get one before someone younger and insured?

It’s starting to look like the smart move would be to stay very isolated. Conditions are changing almost by the hour. By Friday, it could be a whole different world so I’ll have to make my decisions with the best and most recent information.

Stay safe out there.


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Dwindling Nomad Options

It didn’t take too long for my passport to become useless. Most countries have shut their borders, in one form or another.

National and State parks, forests, and campgrounds are starting to close. That’s making it hard for folks in RVs to find a place to park their rigs. Private campgrounds are also closing.

Marinas are shutting down, making it just that much harder to be a live aboard.

Bugging out is looking less and less like a valid option. Heck, they are even discouraging people from hiking the Appalachian Trail.

There are people who’ve set out to cross the world in sailboats and now are stuck. That’s often not too great as there are places that are fine for short visits, but you wouldn’t want to live there. On the bright side, boaters are used to being self-sufficient and usually are well stocked. I know of a number of boaters who’ve selected remote anchorages and plan to stay there for months on end.

Looks like we are in the middle of the ultimate bug-in situation.


Friday, March 20, 2020

For the good of the realm

A buddy of mine reframed the whole quarantine situation for me. He said don’t think of it as being in quarantine. Think of it as self imposed exile for the good of the realm. Poetic, but I kinda like it.

We are about half way though our two week quarantine. Seems to me if something truly nasty would have gotten us, it would have shown up by now. Maybe. What we really know about this virus is fairly limited and much of it wrong. For example, it was thought that young adults would generally get mild symptoms. Turns out there’s a pretty high percentage who get hammered by this.

Now I’m not sure if that bit of information would have changed spring break behavior, but you never know.

I’ve had a number of people willing to help. People keep asking if there’s anything we need. We’ve had offers of everything from food to cash money. It’s humbling and I’m glad to say we are fine. While we didn’t have everything we needed, an Amazon delivery filled in a few gaps. For some reason I’d let my supply of whole house water filters get low. That wouldn’t be a problem for many weeks, but I feel better having them in stock. If you’ve got good water, half your problems are solved -everything from drinking to sanitation.

Speaking of sanitation I installed a bidet yesterday. That should stretch the TP supply quite a bit.

There’s been plenty of projects to keep us busy. Since the house had been closed down since October, it needed a good cleaning. There’s still work to do, but we’ve been in no hurry. There are also other projects to keep us occupied. The next week should fly right by.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Don't be a Dick

Well folks, that's about it. Don't be that person who only thinks of themselves during this health emergency. At some point we all need other people.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Never to been seen again

This pandemic is a big reset button. A lot of stuff will never be the same again. I’m not even talking about the people we’ll lose or those who’ll get sick. Today I’m focusing on society and the economy.

First of all, much of the economy is BS. We need people to shake coconuts out of the trees. We don’t need jobs that essentially amount to shuffling paper around. My guess is that a lot of those BS jobs will disappear. Some of them are required by regulations. In times of crisis those artificial constraints can no longer be tolerated. They just aren’t affordable anymore.

We are being encouraged, in many cases required, to self-isolate for a couple weeks. Most people go through life without much thought. Habit and routine rule their days. Now those routines are broken. Many people will wake up to the fact that they were living on automatic and not living the life they really wanted. Having a brush with mortality will likely jump start the process too.

A friend of mine was looking to retire at the end of the year. Now his 401K is in pretty tough shape. On one hand, financial advisers would recommend postponing retirement. He could earn more money and also wait for the market to recover. On the other hand, this is not a normal downturn.

Maybe he’d be better off retiring right now, no matter how hard the financial hit. That way he could stay home instead of going to work and possibly catching the virus. Like me, he’s in a higher risk category. Better to be poor and alive than rich and dead. Of course, I can’t tell people what to do and don’t want them to blindly take my advice. Maybe financial advisers are right and I’m wrong. It’s a time of uncertainty.

One thing that’s changing -preppers aren’t seen as alarmist weirdos quite so much.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Sitting this one out

It’s a darn good thing I like isolation. If I’m going to be in a self-imposed quarantine for two weeks, best to be at home. After all, this is where my beans and other essentials are kept. We didn’t even stop at the grocery store to top off our supplies. However, there are couple of deliveries on their way, so that’s good. However, if they never show up that won’t be the end of the world either.

This is a perfect emergency for introverts. They are skilled at staying home and not interacting with people.

Things are moving really really fast, but that’s what I expected when I made the decision to head home. One of my fears was that there would be restrictions on domestic travel. Two weeks ago that sounded like a nutty idea. Today, not so much.


Monday, March 16, 2020

Up and running

Good news on Sunday. The water supply line from the well to the house had not frozen. All I had to do was to thaw out the short section in the basement. That was the biggest hurdle.

When the water is turned back on, it’s done in stages. First I get the cold water flowing to the downstairs kitchen and bath. Once it’s confirmed there are no leaks I then connect the washing machine and made sure the drain isn’t frozen.

After that checked out the next thing was filling the downstairs hot water system. Since none of that leaked, I opened up the valves that supplied the upstairs bath. No leaks there either. Once the hot water tank was full I tripped the breaker and we had hot water. For my good work I get rewarded with a hot shower.

The startup went well, in large part, due to October me doing a good job shutting and draining the system. Sunday it was like getting a present from past me. It is always nice when reopening the house goes well. During these crazy times it’s even nicer.


Sunday, March 15, 2020

From Georgia to New Hampshire

We packed up our tent and camping gear and were ready to hit the road by 10 a. m.. That’s pretty normal for us. I was looking forward to putting some miles in. Unfortunately, my taillight check on the boat trailer revealed they weren’t working.

After fiddling around for some time, testing and redoing connections, only the running lights worked, no brake or directionals. That was not acceptable for a journey of over 1300 miles. There was no help for it but to unhook the Blazer and go into town for new lights. Turns out my old “totally sealed” LED lights had failed internally.

The installation of the new lights was pretty quick and dirty. Instead of carefully running all wires through the frame they were just held in place with electrical tape. I’d already lost four hours and didn’t want to lose more time. The lights can be properly installed at my leisure while at home and with full access to all my tools. The lights worked perfectly for the rest of my trip.

Due to the delay and being worn out from trouble shooting the lights, we only got as far as northern North Carolina. We decided to take a hotel room and get some sleep. Our mistake was availing ourselves to the free breakfast buffet. We both came down with intestinal upset that hit so quick we had to run into the woods rather than find a rest room.

To make our day more interesting, a trailer tire blew about twenty miles into Virgina on route 95. I put a spare on, only to have it stop holding air once the trailer was lowered off the jack and the trailer weight came on it. It took some searching, but new tires were found about 30 miles away. With the new tire on we headed up the road once more.

By around 11 p. m. we were thinking of maybe getting another room. However, the prices were high due to everyone in that area charging a lot for us having a dog. I figured I’d just take a nap in the car. In the end we drove home after taking only an hour and a half nap. One thing about driving all night, there are a lot fewer cars and trucks on the road.

Traveling from the south to the north I saw a wide variety of responses to the coronavirus. Some places were business as usual. Other places were ghost towns. To reduce contact with people we paid for gas at the pump and had sandwiches in the car for a number of meals. When we did eat in a restaurant, it was at odd times with much smaller crowds. Currently we plan on isolating ourselves for two weeks to make sure we didn’t bring anything home with us. It would be nice to get together with family and friends, but not so nice if we make them sick.


Saturday, March 14, 2020

Made it!

Just a short post to let everyone know we made it back home. I'll fill you all in on the details later. It was a tough trip, but we are fine. We decided to go directly to our house rather than impose on our daughter.

It's still winter here, but the power, heat and Internet are all back up and running. We are using water jugs until I get the water thawed. That'll wait until the basement gets toasty warm. Also, I'm going to need a good night's rest.


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Rest Before the Big Push

The Sixbears crew is enjoying a few nice days in the Savannah area before the big push north. It’s hard to say goodbye to the nice southern weather.

The plan is to pack up our rags on Thursday and drive as far north as we are able. We don’t go especially fast towing a boat, but progress is steady. If we have to we’ll spring for one night in a hotel. Of course, the best laid plans of mice and men . . .

Back in my younger and more foolish days I’d drive for 1500 miles with only a short nap or two. While I’d get to where I was going in short order, I wasn’t good for much once I got there.

We had planned on staying a couple of days in South Carolina but decided to cancel. I’m glad we did. The person we talked to at the private campground was obviously drunk in the middle of the afternoon. Makes one wonder how well the place is run.

One of my daughters used to live in the next town from us, but moved to Vermont. However, she still has her house as she’s winding down her business. That’s been made available to us and it’s a huge help. We’ll have a warm place to come to and a driveway to park the boat in. I’ll be able to start the heat in my house and let it warm up for a day or two.

The coronavirus news keeps getting worse. Looking forward to being home before too long. It’s a bit disconcerting to be in a high risk group -over 60 with respiratory issues. I might just hunker down and catch up with all those house projects I’ve been putting off.


Monday, March 9, 2020

So what happened?

I know I’ve been off the grid for a while now. We had a sudden change of plans. The day we were supposed to go sailing my lovely wife woke up feeling poorly. I really did not want to be way out on the boat somewhere if she got worse.

We ended up staying on land in the middle of nowhere for a few days. Turns out she just had a head cold and got better after several days. In these days of pandemic I did not want to take any chances. That got me thinking about our options. We’ve decided to cut our Florida stay short and to start heading north.

If all goes well we should be spending the night in Georgia. We’ve a few days booked in a state park. We might get delayed by having to swing into St. Augustine to pick up my lovely wife’s meds. After Georgia the plan is to head on north to our home. With all the weirdness going down right now being home seems like a good idea.

There’s evidence that real coronavirus cases will be doubling every six days. Experts, judging from the Italian experience, expect all available hospital beds to be filled by May 8th. I really don’t want to be stuck in a quarantine somewhere.


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Scouting Mission

Monday my first mate and myself did a scouting mission. We were checking out boat ramps. The first one we inspected appeared to be barely adequate, but would work in a pinch. Just down the road from that one we once launched at a free ramp. It was a dirt ramp, but did the job. It allowed overnight parking. Unfortunately it’s now blocked off so trailered boats can’t launch there. It’s a carry in launch site for kayaks and canoes. That was a disappointment as it was my backup launch site.

Further down the road we found one that should do the job. If all goes well, today we should be launching from it. It’s not free, at six bucks a day it isn’t going to break us.

In virus news, Florida reports a couple of coronavirus cases here in Florida -and not that far from where were staying. Mark my words. There will be a few cases popping up here and there, but then one day they will seem to be everywhere.

Wash your hands and keep your fingers out of your face.