Saturday, January 16, 2021

The COVID Chronicle, January 1-15, 2021


January 2 [Saturday]

Our garbage service is receiving a Covid-related change. Garbage remains weekly pickup, but purportedly due to Covid-afflicted decreased manpower, the recycling and green bins will now alternate weeks. Previously the three bins were eligible weekly for curbside pickup. With this change green and recycling will go aloft on alternating weeks until further notice. It’s understandable, really, and I have no beef with the reduced pickup. Not OK, however, is the astounding bravado of a corresponding rate increase occurring at the same time as the 33% service decrease


January 3 [Sunday]

I’m curious as to what’s going on with the vaccinations. Health care workers have understandably been prioritized recipients. While the denizens are plied with trust-building photos and videos of public figures getting vaccinated, there is a minor percentage, though considerable number, of health care workers abstaining. What gives? Are they concerned that a first round of vaccine was maybe rushed through and they’re worried of side effects? I can’t imagine it’s a politically based abstinence. Time will tell, I suppose. There are also reports of vaccines being thrown out because they are not getting used or have expired. This is unbelievably sloppy. What, the vaccine-bearers can’t proactively send word to at-risk locals to offer free vaccinations instead of throwing them out?


January 5 [Tuesday]

A friend in Singapore ran out of books to read during Shelter In Place. Book stores and libraries were closed due to Shelter In Place and the guy has no eReader. I know, first question, ‘What, Amazon doesn’t deliver there?’ Regardless, he went empty at a most inopportune time. Locally, our libraries are not open for public perusal, but books and items can be requested online followed with an email notification when they’re ready for retrieval. Book stores here in southern California were closed earlier during Shelter In Place, but they reopened long ago simply with reduced occupancy limits. 

[Note: my pal has since acquired an iPad and is now reading electronic books. He’s especially bulking up on the free books in the public domain.]


January 6 [Wednesday]

Barbarians stormed the Capitol today, the morons. President Biden’s election was to be certified and sore losers took up with violence to break windows and prance into the Senate, plus we’re receiving reports of other government buildings throughout the country being abused. Shameful. There’s no Covid angle, just documenting the dumb for posterity. I hope they will shortly be coupled with the full extent of the law.


January 7 [Thursday]

One of [the boy’s] friends got vaccinated, college-aged. He’d been prioritized because he works in a dental office, plus he has a lung issue qualifying him as at-risk. I’m hoping the occasional close-proximity vaccination updates favorably sway my mom to abide her own vaccination when offered.


January 8 [Friday]

President Trump has been banned from Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. No Covid angle here, I’m just documenting a major note. President Trump did react in a limp manner in not issuing a timely denunciation of those citizens violating the Capitol. He should have done a better job making it clear that such behavior was not acceptable, not that anybody in their right mind need to be told. My beef is two-fold. Banning leads to huge gaps of inconsistent enforcement. Troubling messages have been conveyed by extreme segments of both political teams, but if only one side is silenced then trouble brews. Second, the riots this summer resulting in burned buildings and businesses being destroyed were not met with the same vehemence as the Capitol violators. For me, I want both sets of rioters subjected to the full force of the law. But I’ll just leave this entry for documenting purposes on the decrepitude of our times.


January 9 [Saturday]

My football team, the Cleveland Browns, are in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. I’m excited about the quality of their play this year. The playoff game is tomorrow and the coach, and several players, are ineligible due to positive Covid tests! So Browns play without their coach and those players. In other news, [the boy] and I baked a 15-lb. turkey! True. This was done to celebrate their long-awaited playoff berth and an effort to brew up positive Wildcard weekend playoff mojo. Hope it works.


January 10 [Sunday] 

Holy Toledo, the Cleveland Browns were expected to get crushed by the Pittsburgh Steelers in today’s playoff game, but emerged with a most unlikely victory. Their coach watched from his home without contact with his coaching staff due to his positive Covid test. Anyway, so the Browns play next weekend. I will make an apple pie [premade crust, the rest is up to me] next weekend in an effort to carry forward positive Divisional playoff mojo. Again hope it works


January 11 [Monday]

Wife Klem and I are slated for a March vaccination, according to the age-category schedule. The kids, however, would not be lumped in with us, which is a bummer. Dodger stadium is being considered as a drive-through vaccination center. Thoughts of that beautiful stadium being run through with vehicles conjures sad imagery, but I’m pretty sure it would only be the stadium parking lot.


January 14 [Thursday]

Shelter In Place has reached an unhealthy level here at home. Sure, I understand, things are tough all over. We’ve one kid who’s an introvert and this longevity is causing him to regress into his reclusion, it’s gone immersive. He gets out once in a while. He and Wife Klem volunteered at the local state park this week which was very good. But I’m hoping he finds some cause to get out under his own volition. 

The other kid’s an extrovert and she seems to be breaking. She’s active online talking and gaming with friends. I like that she has her conversations in the dining room so we can hear what’s going on, rather than secluded in her room. The conversations sound mostly fun and upbeat, not worrisome, but not seeing or hearing what’s on the other end bugs me. She’s withdrawing into this virtual dynamic.

I look forward to reverting back to the good old days of pre-Covid when our concerns are hoping they get good grades, drive safely, don’t engage drug use and no dangerous sex. We’ve totally lost on the battle of screen time. Steffi and I are trying to keep this thing together and everyone healthy for a little longer. We can do it. 


Monday, January 4, 2021

The COVID Chronicle, December 16-31, 2021


December 16 [Wednesday]

Vaccination with one degree of separation! I have a direct line of someone who has been vaccinated. She’s a nurse in Colorado, [Wife Klem’s] cousin, and was prioritized due to her work. This is exciting hearing a direct vaccination story.


December 17 [Thursday]

We’ve modified our shopping habits during Shelter In Place to accommodate a reduced possible exposure to Covid. [Wife Klem’s] going out into the wilds this morning for supplies. My contribution to the effort has me taking Ghost dog for his morning walk instead of her. This will allow her an earlier entry for hunting and gathering when the store is less congested with the masses. I’d otherwise just be rocking the cardio machine at a similarly early hour for my morning workout. A fair trade off.


December 18 [Friday]

Cheryl’s dad has been diagnosed with Covid! This is the closest family touch we’ve had. He’s had other ailments, had been in assisted living, then came home with continued care and has since been confirmed as positive. Waiting to see how that turns out, plus if other family members are afflicted. Dark Christmas.

[Note: Her mom and brother have since tested positive. Mom is also hospitalized, but everyone is stable.]


December 21 [Monday]

My friend had Covid! He’s an insurance agent in Lake Elsinore and this is his first day back. We haven’t spoken lately, though we pick up communication frequency during baseball season with playful banter. I have no details yet regarding his experience. I hope his family has managed to stay Covid-free.


December 22 [Tuesday]

Covid’s been a massive life changer for many people. I know, call me Captain Obvious. For me, I’ve been lucky, very lucky. It’s been a huge inconvenience, but not awful like for so many. However, my company car’s been inactive so long in the driveway, other than its weekly spin, that a squirrel is wreaking havoc. It’s continually getting under the hood of the car, eating snails and dates leaving debris and poop, as evidenced by the empty snail shells, fruit pits, and poop, then chewing on car wires. Pulling out of the driveway this morning for the car’s weekly spin, the dashboard light activated, again. The car’s already been in the shop and fixed twice and now it’s happened a third time! I’m reluctant and embarrassed to take it back to the shop. 


December 24 [Thursday]

Merry Christmas Eve! We dined at home on tamales, then opened gifts, including a few wrapped presents for Ghost Dog. Then for the fun stuff, the evening, the four of us hung out like a real family! We were downstairs all together watching You Tube videos, playing video games and talking. This is unusual because the piglets are usually self-sequestered communicating online with their pals [Discord, Twitch, Text], but their friends aren’t available tonight. They must be with their families doing Christmas things. So by default, they had little choice but to stick together, as if we liked each other. And, of course, as far as I know we do, but it turns out I’m often the last person around here to find things out. Either way, I like my family and will gladly take them by any means I can get them.


December 25 [Friday]

[morning] Merry Christmas! I made a solo trek to the Safehouse [my parents’ abode]. [My sister] is visiting for a week with her boy and dog. I hung outside donning my mask, and three layers of clothing because it’s a chilly 63F outside. The visit extended itself to indoors, and I conservatively departed a little earlier than scheduled due to the indoor socializing. Today was a peaceful visit lacking the typically chaotic Safehouse Christmas of pre-Covid Christmases past. 


[afternoon] Our family tradition of a bike ride on Christmas Eve got a one-day reprieve on account of a light drizzling rain and cold weather yesterday. The four of us went to the Bausch & Lomb office park up the street. We rode today, [my daughter] and I, while [the boy] and [Wife Klem] walked Ghost Dog. A pleasant family afternoon.


December 26 [Saturday]

Curbside pancake pickup this morning. During Christmas break [my daughter] and I are on a mission to find the best local pancakes. She picked out five restaurants from which we’ll order over the course of two weeks. This morning was the third of five mission forays. She called in our order, we drove by, and picked up without even exiting the vehicle. Convenient and slick. The hot cakes, though, were not award winning. Good enough, I mean pancakes are almost always delicious, but today’s power ranking is only average.


December 31 [Thursday]

Happy New Year! A fun movie watched with [Wife Klem], Palm Springs, about two people stuck in a time loop. Then the four of us were all in bed by 10 pm Pacific Time, just the way I like it. Peace to you and this new year.


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Klem’s Goals for 2021


As the year of Covid concludes it’s important to keep looking ahead. Here’s my plan for maintaining forward progress into 2021.


1)   Change to a tankless water heater.  Our current 30-gallon water heater is 15 years old. We’re on borrowed time, given the typical life span. The plan is change it before it becomes an emergency, like it was last time.


2)   Have my kneesperused by a professional. These things, both, have been the source of mild unpleasantness for two decades. With an eyeball looking toward the future quality of life, this is the year I seek a professional’s assessment. Can they be improved or is this it?


3)   Finish a draft of Magglio Cervantes, a novel. I’d begun writing it years ago and haven’t touched it in a decade. Would be neat to be able to say that I’ve written a novel. Here we go.


4)   Don’t get Covid.


5)   Wife Klem and I will update the Trust. Our piglets are not infants any longer. Maybe we give the document a once over.


6)   Get poked when the Covid vaccineis made available to me and my family.


7)   Learn to play backgammon. All work and no play makes for a boring fellow. Plus I can’t seem to get the hang of Twitch, so I’d better stick with a game that can be played without a screen. Although, who am I kidding, I’ll learn it by means of an App on a screen.


8)   Make crepes. I dig pancakes quite considerably. Aren’t crepes just very thin pancakes? I bet I’ll like these things, too. Eat ‘em.


-Klem 12/2020

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The COVID Chronicle, December 1-15, 2020



December 1 [Tuesday]

Our detox table by the front door remains in force since the first days of Covid. Any packages and mail received, they sit on the detox table for a few days to contain possible virus taint. Covid’s capacity for spreading by touch is a minor concern compared to airborne, though this was not known in the early months of the virus. But I reference our detox table to document its permanent position in the office since March.


December 4 [Friday]

My optometrist appointment today. Dr. Akamatsu in Glendale was not as ‘in your face’ with the procedures as the routine typically entails. Masks were in force, plastic screens were employed where possible, including on the ‘vision test’ goggle machine. They scrubbed down all the glasses frames after I touched them, whether or not I put them on, before reinstalling them on the inventory wall. Anyway, my prescription hasn’t changed in two years, and at my advanced age of 53 this is a victory.


December 5 [Saturday]

A surprise happy birthday Zoom with [our niece]! [My brother and his wife] had arranged for a few of her close friends, and us, to sing Happy Birthday to her. [My sister-in-law] activated the computer’s camera to capture the surprised [birthday girl], then brought it into the dining room where she was awaiting dessert. That’s when she saw the Zoom participants also singing. She was appropriately embarrassed and it was fun! We disrupted her birthday dessert, a homemade ice cream sandwich made by her papa. Maybe after Covid we can revert back to celebrating birthdays in person. Although, maybe I’m horrible for admitting, this does not tear me up to avoid social gatherings.


December 6 [Sunday]

Wife Klem and I placed two online orders for pick up this morning, Best Buy and Bev Mo. Our pick-ups at Best Buy [curbside pick up] and Bev Mo [walk-in] were very efficient and we returned home in good time. So good was the time that we caught [our daughter] in a furtive visit with her boyfriend from school. He had parked the family mini-van across the street and she was standing in the street talking to him. The rascals. So, it was an exciting day. 


December 10 [Thursday]

Virtual high school is of disappointing quality and quantity. Class is held from 8:00 am to 12:30 Monday-Friday, with a ten-minute break between classes. Wednesday is the exception, 8:00 am to 10:30. Homework is very light, as is, I imagine, the level of knowledge being conveyed. These kids are being cheated of an education compared to their counterparts around the world. I know, I know, my opinion. My beef is not with the teachers, they are proceeding under difficult circumstances. My beef is with . . . well, I guess I’m not sure with whom. Those in charge pulling the strings and levers? With vaccines on the horizon school should be very exciting in the fall of 2021 as we approach the restoration of live instruction.


December 11 [Friday]

I made my weekly visit to the local grocery store. The aim is to minimize my shopping visits to reduce the potential Covid exposure. Prices change on Wednesdays, so I need to get down there weekly to bulk up on sale items. Specifically, I need to know if the Yoplait tubs are on sale [so much tastier than the store brand, plus I’m not into Greek yogurt], cereal [I infuse my yogurt intake with cereal for texture] and chunky soups [my lunches would take a considerable downgrade if it weren’t for the occasional Progresso lasagna style soup or Campbell’s chili and mac soup]. No sale items of note today, so it was a quick stopover with no further visits needed until Wednesday’s price change.


December 12 [Saturday]

Covid vaccines are being unleashed today from Pfizer warehouses! Doses are in big rigs en route to their vaccine hopefuls! Well, this is certainly encouraging. It’s a long ways until this changes anything, some time after April it is being suggested until semblance of pre-Covid existence returns. I don’t know when we’ll be eligible for ours or how we’ll be notified, but I’ll gladly get injected.


December 13 [Sunday]

Mom has the Safehouse Christmas tree decked out with lights and decorations. I imagine the Safehouse is smelling Christmassy. But she’s bummed, putting it lightly. Naturally, she wants her family present for Christmas. [My sister] and her team had been planning a visit from Northern California, but this is called into question under the current Covid restrictions and bloating numbers of afflicted. I advised mom not to mail Christmas gifts to [the kids]. I’d be over at some point, possibly the whole team, but we’re waiting to hear more about [my sister’s] visit. If she’s there, we’ll mostly abstain to avoid cross-exposure possibilities. If she’s not able to drive down for the visit then I plan for a more considerable Christmas visit. Uncertainties, disappointment and hurt feelings abound.


Saturday, December 12, 2020

Cucumber Cool


Cool as a cucumber, was Carl, always had been. Well, at least since high school, roughly the age where competitive matches started to have consequences.


The first time was the high school baseball playoffs for Mount Shasta High, his hometown in very northern California. The proverbial maximum clutch opportunity with two outs in the 9thinning, two men on base, down by two runs, and here came Carl striding coolly to the plate.


He took the first pitch because its movement was unusual. The ball seemed to float to the plate as if in slow motion. Strike one. Second pitch, and again it appeared to be in slow motion as if the game had slowed down. Strike two. With this Carl smiled. He didn’t know what was going on, or rather, why it was going on, but he liked it. The third pitch and, he correctly surmised, his brain had piqued helping him thrive in the clutch. He was ready for this new perspective. He said afterward to the local reporter of the Mount Shasta Herald that the baseball looked as big as a beach ball. That was the pitch he hit over the centerfield fence. His walk-off game-winning three-run homer won the game. The youngster rounded the bases, smiling, victory was at his feet.


Then there was the high school basketball game. With six seconds to play, Carl’s team trailed by one and coach called a Timeout to strategize and draw up a play for a chance to win, a quality last shot. During the team huddle a brief musical vignette played over the loudspeakers. While coach called the play, Carl’s feet were tapping to the beat and his body started to move in rhythm to the music. Damn it he was cool, this guy. The game was on the line and he was grooving. The team took the floor, inbounds the ball, pass to Carl, and he took a jump shot from 15 feet, drilled it. Nothing but net, as the saying goes, and he headed off the court as if there had been no pressure and no possible outcome but a basket at the buzzer for the win. 


Captain Clutch, they called him. It held up through his senior year and into college. Didn’t matter the sport or scenario. The tighter the circumstances all eyeballs would turn to him to see what would happen next. And usually to favorable effect.


Professionally he strayed from the glories of the ball field and hoops court. But Captain Clutch continued his heroic antics. Whether a contract negotiation or a blind department audit, he had the right answer, the proper quip, or the correct action plan-audible. Unflappable was a term for which he uniquely personified.


The boss walked into his office one afternoon asking for an important report. There was so much riding on it and two days beforedeadline here comes the boss pining for it to keep some doubt or query at bay. Two days early the report, understandably, wasn’t ready to go, but there’s Captain Clutch taking the helm. He’d rattle off key statistics gathered during his prep work, talk down the boss’ concerns, retain the deadline and emerge three minutes later walking the boss out of his office. By then they were just milling about talking about the local ball club’s game that evening. Concerns quelled and cool reigned.


How’d he do it? How’d he almost always get it done? Such queries were lobbed at him every so often and deftly fielded like an easy two-hop bouncer he’d glove to start an uncontested double play. An easy tip-in basket off a rebound. But he didn’t know how. He just did.


It was years later, a medical practice where people’s heart rate and blood pressure were tested. Some kind of medical protocol offered through work, a new wrinkle added to an annual physical. It first recorded measurements under normal conditions, then a second reading under stress. As would be expected, all numbers rose sharply when under duress. Well, all except one. Carl’s numbers inexplicably went in the other direction! His numbers slowed down when under stress. The Captain Clutch moniker of so many years ago had proven entirely befitting of this one. When under stress his surroundings slowed down while his brain continued to operate at regular speed. Cool as a cucumber. It’s just the way his momma made him.



[Inspired by Ad Astra, a movie starring Brad Pitt, plus that high school basketball game in Shasta and a lifetime of admiring clutch sports performances. Also, my friend Hal who really is cool as a cucumber. wdk 11/2020]


Friday, December 4, 2020

The COVID Chronicle, November 16-31, 2020


November 16 [Monday]

Our venture to Arizona has become a casualty of Covid. Grandpa has had a pacemaker for many years. His doctor advised him its time to replace it. He’s gone through two or three replacements by now. We’re told it’s not an emergency, it’s just time. A precursor to his upcoming hospital appointment is to eliminate contact with people ‘outside his pod’ to reduce the Covid exposure which could lead to complications with the procedure. Understandable, but it’s a bummer. This was going to be our first visit to their home in Arizona, plus I was looking forward to drinking all of grampy’s beer, even if it was going to hurt me.


November 18 [Wednesday]

Governor Newsom’s a bozo. Political critiques aside, that’s a commentary on his character. Certainly governing during a pandemic is not a cinch. Here’s my gripe. He and his ilk had been laying down Covid safety rules for the citizens while they themselves do not abide. He’d recently been outed as a participant in a dinner or some kind of festive event at a northern California restaurant, French Laundry in Napa Valley. The party exceeded the number of people allowed in a get-together, a limit that he set. Look, I’m not surprised, politicians have always set rules for the people that they themselves do not expect to comply with. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, both teams carry out this grating hypocrisy with equal aplomb. The mood is getting testy with the citizens. People are fed up with the restrictions and this blatant boner may be a start to the unraveling with the holidays on the horizon. 


November 20 [Friday]

Los Angeles County imposed further restrictive Covid safety precautions on businesses effective today. Restaurants and bars must close by 10:00 pm until 5 am due to a spike in Covid cases. This includes outdoor dining. The number of Covid afflicted has increased lately, ill, not dead. This won’t touch us as we haven’t eaten at a restaurant since before Covid. Our predominant interaction with restaurants, even pre-Covid, has been to order online or phone, I pick it up and we eat at home.


November 22 [Sunday]

We’ve staggered Thanksgiving with our parents. Team San Dimas had our pre-Thanksgiving Café Bravo Thanksgiving lunch today, just us with the parents plus Uncle Joe. We maintained our part to promote safety by dining outside. We brought Mediterranean-cuisine, everyone had their own platter to minimize contact and the sharing exposure. [My brother]’s family is hosting dinner for them on Thanksgiving at their home. They’ll have separate tables each equipped with their own bins of food to also minimize the cross-pollination exposure.


November 23 [Monday]

I’m worried about my parents and their risky behavior. I know, total role reversal of my parents’ concern for me 35 years ago when I was in my teen driving years and going out late with my friends on the weekends. They went to Costco when it was crowded, the parking lot was full and they circled around until they got a parking spot. They went to fulfill a medical prescription, then walked the aisles shopping. I know my parents don’t like the Covid restrictions or being told by Governor Newsom what they can and cannot do. I suggested that victory over the politicians comes with outlasting the virus. If they get taken down then they simply reinforce those same messages causing the displeasure. Plus, of course, death by Costco would make for a disappointing epitaph.


November 24 [Tuesday]

Steffi and I needed supplies and placed an online Target order. After so many months of shelter-in-place the idea of bumping around a big store like that is unappealing. We preferred a delivery, but many desired items were not available for home delivery for some reason, so we placed the online order for in-store pick-up. I went to Target this morning for its retrieval. It was a really smooth and easy process. I dropped by the store at 8 am, the store opens at 7 am, but that early hour is for high-target Covid risks, oldsters. At 8 am I entered the store and their pick up station was right there by the front door. The barcode was scanned from my phone’s Target App. Boom, our order was brought right out, no lines and I was out of there in five minutes!


November 25 [Wednesday]

Well, that escalated quickly. Further California restrictions put a three-week ban on indoor dining, also no outdoor dining, either. Only take out or delivery. This is a bummer. Sure, I know, this’ll allow for people to mitigate Covid exposures after a few days of Thanksgiving with family, then cool off for three weeks before also inflicting more people leading to a super spreader event before then giving to more family during Christmas. The bummer is for the restaurants that have spent money to comply with the outdoor dining prerequisites now to find that also shut off. With the weather turning cold, or already too cold pending where you live, the ban will sunset when it’s too cold for restaurants to reopen outdoor dining.


November 26 [Thursday]

Happy Covid-Thanksgiving! For the first time ever in my memory, we’re having a Thanksgiving without seeing any family outside of our pod. We spent the morning taking an urban walk through downtown San Dimas with Ghost Dog, culminating at Starbucks for a fancy coffee and hot chocolate.


November 27 [Friday]

[Wife Klem] been getting into painting stones. There are a few people locally who have been painting images on stones then placing them throughout the neighborhood for fellow walkers to find and admire. I’ve found a few of them, stones not the people. Her artistic interest has been piqued, she’s acquired a few smooth stones, and has commenced the painting of images or clever verbiage. After painting, the stones are lacquered to better endure the rigors of outside. Then for her triumphant walking about and placement. She’s a fun monkey, and a pretty mommy!


November 28 [Saturday]

I visited [my brother’s family] briefly this morning to drop off birthday gifts for [my niece]. I was speaking with [my sister-in-law] on the porch when [my brother] came home with groceries. Before departing I gladly offered Covid-distancing as a reason why I was not going to help carry in bags. I felt no guilt and smiled at my devilry.

         I was three blocks from the Safehouse so I called mom, then dropped by to see her and dad. A brief ten minute visit talking in the driveway while distancing. I’m eager to hug these people when Covid wraps up. I also mentioned the coming vaccine. Mom doesn’t want it, and I feel the need to start talking it up to try to persuade her. The battle of wills commences.


November 29 [Sunday]

There has been vaccine talk over the last few weeks. There are as many as four U.S. companies each with their own vaccine approaching the final stages of success, plus other international pharmaceutical companies. I’m not one for getting an annual flu shot, but this vaccine may be the route we need to get back to vestiges of pre-Covid existence. I’ll do it when it comes available. Mom, though, is adamantly against her vaccination. With her regular ventures out into the public I’ve come to the realization that this is a race against time. She won’t stop shopping, so will the vaccine come available before she gets Covid? The next step in the equation will be how to induce her to get vaccinated? We’ll see how this plays out, but step one is getting the vaccine available.



Here’s a fun Covid note. The Denver Broncos have three quarterbacks on their team and all three were ruled ineligible to play today due to Covid precautions. One tested positive and the other two were required to sit out due to proximity with the afflicted QB. They instead played the game with no ‘real’ quarterback and soundly lost 31-3 to the Saints. Kendall Hinton, a wide receiver from the practice squad, filled in at quarterback. He last played the position in college in 2017. He threw nine passes, completed only one, plus two interceptions. Rough day, but amusing if you’re an impartial fan.


November 30 [Monday]

Governor Newsom kindly waited until after Thanksgiving week before delivering an enhanced Covid safety precaution. No getting together with people outside your immediate pod for the next three weeks! I understand the reasoning, people got together over Thanksgiving, maybe spreading around some Covid, now impose the three week break to keep the afflicted to their own family and hope to heal up before super spreading again for Christmas. Family get togethers, we’ve been told, have recurred in past months as ‘super spreader events,’ to document the term.



Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020


In the spirit of giving thanks the following are a few things for which I am thankful during our first, and hopefully last, Covid-Thanksgiving:


1.   Thankful that my parents have been patient and understanding with our decreased visitations. Our pre-Covid biweekly family dinners are joyous memories. Reflecting back after eight months of Shelter In Place those Sunday get togethers seem wonderfully gluttonous in the free interaction with loved ones outside our quarantine pod. I’m eager to have them restored.


2.   Life has taken on a much slower, relaxing pace for which I’m thankful. Life pre-Covid often came with a hectic schedule. I didn’t recognize it as such because I had become inured to it as just the normal pace of life. I’d like pre-Covid life to be restored, the non-viral aspect of it, but the pace of it I will work to slow down.


3.   The bonus year we got with [the boy]. It’s important he be on his own to stretch out his own budding independence, but that will be postponed for at least one year. The cancellation of his on-campus college experience is a bummer, though not from his perspective, he didn’t enjoy the on-campus experience despite the importance I’ve allocated to it. All that aside, I’m thankful we gained this bonus time with him.


4.   I’m thankful for the summer of [my daughter]. [The boy’s] older, he’s not a minor, and had been allowed more autonomy than his sister. He spends much of his time self-sequestered in his room with virtual college. But since the earliest days of Shelter In Place and throughout the summer [my daughter] was downstairs with me and [Wife Klem] playing out the routine of our days. It was a fun time imbibing of a larger dose of her and better understanding what she is gong through at her age. Or maybe I’m just thinking back with rosy-lensed goggles.


5.   I’m thankful for eBooks. My age-compromised eyeballs have come to the point where reading comfortably is like balancing a matrix of variables including adequate lighting and font size. EBooks satisfy all the thresholds. I started e-reading during this Covid summer when the hectic pace of pre-Covid life sloughed away to a relaxed pace. I’d spent many warm evenings on the patio reading and the eBooks made it easier than engaging physical books. 


6.   This downtime of Shelter In Place has allowed me the luxury of slowing down and reevaluating what’s important. Reestablishing my life priorities of family and a peaceful, happy, fulfilling existence.


7.   I’m thankful for the crystal clear line of demarcation the Covid months has allowed me to delineate between people who are important to me and those who are extraneous. 


8.   During this year of so much Covid-related economic wreckage, illness and employment distress my immediate family is merely inconvenienced, but not rendered incapacitated by the virus. For this I am thankful.


9.   I’m thankful for online delivery services and those essential workers making it possible. This took some getting used to, the large scale delivery of an entire Target or Costco order being delivered directly to the home rather than the sporting effort of hunting down each item in the store like some king of unenticing treasure hunt. But holy smokes, being allowed to obtain all the desired items without having to engage the parking lot, bumping around the aisles with the masses, and the lines at the check-out, I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to such drudgery.


10.Thankful that after eight months of close confinement we all still like each other, [Wife Klem], me and the kids. At least as far as I know.



I look forward to a joyful, socially distanced Christmas and a New Year with uncertain possibilities. This uncertainty allows room for optimism. I’m hoping for health and a better time in 2021, even though this would lead to a return of the crummy southern California traffic.


Happy Thanksgiving!




Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The COVID Chronicle, November 1-15, 2020


November 1 [Sunday]

I enjoyed an IHOP Sunday with Emmett, blueberry pancakes for everyone. The reason for today’s visit is harvest day for his persimmon tree! We socially distanced our outdoor dining and masked up when not eating or climbing trees. I climbed into that thing and rendered is darn near fruitless. The effort was not fruitless, but bountiful. The haul was grandiose and my take was generous. 


[Wife Klem] is concerned about Tuesday night’s Election violence and initiated conversation about improvised weapons. Holy Toledo, I love this woman. My weapon of choice is the drywall nail remover. A wonderful bar of metal with handy rubber grip and a dangerous curved claw on one end.


November 2 [Monday]

I took an elongated lunch to meet with a friend, Tim. We dined outdoors at the El Torito in Westminster, socially distanced and masking up. We’re chums from college and have maintained contact over the decades through marriage, buying of homes, births of kids and balancing work with family. He’s a good man with three piglets, they’re [my kids’] ages. It is refreshing to get together and talk with a chum so freely compared to guarded interaction with extraneous humans. 


November 3 [Tuesday]

Election Day! The results coming in late this evening Pacific Time are surprising. Trump’s victory odds were said to be less than 20% with one high poll giving him a 30% chance. Yet, as the results come in it’s very close to 50/50 with a slight lead to Biden. Thankfully the projected protests and violence have been silent. Going to bed without a declaration of victory.


November 4 [Wednesday]

Awaiting election results is a bummer for this Conservative. Based on the polling leading up to Election Day I expected Trump to get steamrolled by Biden. By this evening it’s still undecided with Arizona lining up to be Trump’s Waterloo. Meanwhile, word of the long-anticipated rioting and protests start to rise as the final ballot counting winds downs.

         To be clear, President Trump is not my guy. But given the choice between a Trump Administration or a Biden Administration, based on the policies the two administrations would push, I agree vastly more with the Trump Administration. I’d resolved myself to his defeat two weeks ago, but this glimmer of hope to be now on the cusp of snuffing out is a disappointment. Oh well, four years until, hopefully, a Presidential Run by Nikki Haley, former South Carolina Governor and current UN ambassador.


November 5 [Thursday]

We have vacation plans for Arizona in the coming weeks to visit [my in-laws]. In our dinner conversation we spoke about traveling for vacation, and also engaging the world to see friends. [My daughter] asked if we’d have to wear masks the whole time or if we can hug [them]. Pertinent question since we’d be staying in their home, and the question remains unanswered. I am prepared to hug and go without masks, but will defer to the preferences of our hosts.

[The boy] spoke freely about his biggest concern about catching Covid, the possibility of permanent brain damage as is rumored to occur in some cases. It’s important the kids interact with the world and their friends, doing it safely, but deciding to entirely refrain due to fears such as this necessitate a careful counsel. Meanwhile, he has a pal from high school who will be visiting from college for Thanksgiving. Some of his friends will be getting together and he is reluctant to join them. He’s 19 years old and has decisions to make for himself.


November 6 [Friday]

President-Elect Joe Biden has emerged victorious. I will admittedly miss the Trump years. Not his Tweets or sounds bites, but what his administration accomplished. He did not behave or speak like other politicians because decades of elected office and political-speak was not his background. I liked that he didn’t treat politics as if he were walking on sacred hallowed ground. He didn’t know the bureaucratic secret handshakes or kabuki dances. Yes, he spoke in an uncouth manner as if he never outgrew his adolescent temperament. But I prefer judging people based on what they do rather than what they say. Politicians speak in grandiose terms, then often falling on flaccid promises. I’ll miss the following:


  •  Deregulation easing small business owners’ burden in conducting business. Small business is an integral source of jobs in America and an important part of the U.S. economy.
  • He stands with Hong Kong’s freedom from China. There are many large businesses siding with China by virtue of their conspicuous silence. [The NBA is one blatant example from earlier this summer]. They are standing by their money source, the vast market of China rather than nobly standing for Hong Kong’s autonomy.
  • Being a world leader in decreased CO2 emissions on the strength of fracking during the Trump years. A cleaner fuel source than oil and more reliable than renewables.
  • Energy independence, again with the natural gas from fracking.
  • Peace agreements between Israel and three former adversaries, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. The normalizing of trade and interactions of countries in the Middle East is a major move toward stabilizing that region. Yes, long ways to go yet before peace breaks out in the Middle East, but positive developments.
  • Bringing into the open and challenging China’s pervasive and nefarious business practice of stealing technology. 

Peace to you, President Trump. Welcome aboard, President-Elect Joe Biden. I’m hoping you make an effort at a magnanimous entry and I’ll do my darndest to refrain from denigrating remarks.


November 7 [Saturday]

I put much of my work garb into plastic today. I hadn’t worn any of those trousers or shirts in almost eight months and they’re hanging in the closet getting dusty. With no end on the horizon for Shelter In Place it finally occurred to me to address this sartorial issue. Oh yes, and also, Joe Biden was officially declared President-Elect with Kamala Harris VP-Elect.


November 8 [Sunday]

We’ll be vacationing in Arizona at the end of the month to visit [my in-laws]. In preparation for the trip our two-week self-imposed semi-seclusion has commenced. We will venture out for supplies or to the pharmacy post-office to mail EBay sales, but we’ve implemented a tightening of our outings to come clean with reduced virus exposureWould be a stinker to depart afterwards having dropped the virus on them. So, to avoid that guilt trip, plus we like them, we strive to keep clean.


November 11 [Wednesday]

I will say this for Covid, and it may be counter intuitive, but I’ve enjoyed an enhanced quality of life since Shelter In Place. This may sound selfish, since this has certainly not been to the benefit of my kids, but I’ll explain. Shelter In Place has relegated us to a slower pace of life. Frustratingly so at the beginning, but this slow down has allowed me to rethink priorities and the future. This train of thought finally leads me this week to think of my knees. These crummy things have been subpar for two decades or more. Healthy and reliable knees would improve the quality of life. So, if they can be improved by a medical procedure I’m better off getting it done while I’m employed with health insurance rather than waiting until retirement, plus the added years would certainly not benefit the healing process. The doctor appointment has been scheduled with my primary care physician for that first touch. We’ll see what happens next.


November 14 [Saturday]

I’ll level with you, I send an email to my mom every evening and have been doing this since the first days of Shelter In Place. The purpose at the onset was to encourage my mom to reduce the number of her retail outings and to wear a mask, back in the days when masking was optional. I wanted her to exercise precautions because my parents are in an at-risk category due to age. The message was issued by regaling her with the precautions that we were taking. I figured the message would be more readily received if posed as ‘This is what we’re doing’ rather than telling her what to do. You know, try to avoid a method that may induce entrenching. So I checked in daily even though, mostly, I’m sure she just wanted to hear about the grandkids.

    In the beginning I figured this confinement living would be going on for a few weeks, a month maybe. Inconceivable this would be going on eight months later. Anyway, I’d been reluctant earlier in the Covid Chronicle to admit to my daily email so as not to be thought a Momma’s Boy. Well, I admit it hear for documentation purposes. Think of me what you will, I’m still gonna send mom my quotidian email.


November 15 [Sunday]

I spoke with my dad today and acknowledged the distinct realization that this Covid year has elevated the importance of family. Pre-Covid we had Sunday dinners every two weeks at the Safehouse also joined by [my brother’s family]. Over the years I had allowed it had become routine and I misplaced the connection of why we got together. I will never again take our Sunday dinners for granted. Oh sure, I’ll get my ice cream desserts and a good gorging, but there’ll be no doubt that family is the draw.




Thursday, November 5, 2020

The COVID Chronicle, October 16-31, 2020


October 18 [Saturday]

A morning walk to the pharmacy post office with [my daughter] to mail EBay sales. I want the kids to get more outdoor exposure, plus I particularly enjoy my one-on-one time with the Boogie. The kids are not going outdoors enough since the inception of Shelter In Place because, naturally, they’re not leaving the premises for school or social engagements. I don’t want them to be afraid to engage the world, but to be aware and safe, then proceed confidently into it when deemed appropriate. Anyway, we stopped at the bakery on the way home for a pumpkin spice latte for [Wife Klem] because she’s been pretty good lately and deserved a fancy coffee.


October 19 [Monday]

Covid seems to have induced a unique problem. With the reduced price of college this year because of virtual classes and living at home, instead of incurring the costs of the dorms, [the boy’s] 529 college savings plan is projected to be more than sufficient to get him through graduation. The tuition cost of Cal State Fullerton is considerably less than the cost of dorms and the dining commons, which was $14,500 last year in addition to tuition. There is a trade off. Cost is reduced, but so is the life-learning opportunities gained from living on one’s own. I have resolved myself to enjoy the bonus year with my guy rather than stew in my own juices over the lost life learning.


October 21 [Wednesday]

My evening walk today was a bit of a bummer. Too crowded. I walked to the Vons shopping center down the street for cereal and Campbell’s chunky soup, they’re both on sale! The park down the street, dubbed Dead Grass Park since when we moved to our present home in 2002,was disappointingly crowded with a soccer scrimmage or practice in session and cars parked across the street at the retail center. This was the busiest pedestrian activity I’d seen since pre-Covid. Disheartening. Walking home I masked up and stepped into the street a few times to circumnavigate fellow walkers. When Covid eventually concludes I will long afterwards think back fondly of the light public traffic during the early days of Shelter In Place, vehicular and pedestrian. But I must prioritize, let’s regain health first, only then will I gripe.


October 24 [Saturday]

A Safehouse visit today with [my brother’s] team, plus Uncle Joe. Fun, we remain masked and socially distanced and stayed in the backyard rather than congregating indoors.

         The drive home in the early afternoon, eastbound on the 210 freeway, was unpleasantly clogged. The traffic seems to have regained its pre-Covid status. It was thick with intermittent break lights. We were still moving, no freeway stopping, but tapping of breaks during much of the drive home east of Pasadena. Damn, I very much miss the shockingly diminished traffic of the early-Covid days.


October 25 [Sunday]

[Wife Klem] and I voted today, live action, in person. This was taking place at City Hall. We arrived in the morning, there were no crowds, voting stations were ample and there was no rush. A snafu occurred with [Wife Klem’s] ballot. It didn’t print correctly which necessitated that she vote with a Provisional Ballot. So technical issues were in effect. Hoping this gets contained for future voters. Then, because we were alone and the kids at home, we stopped at the bakery for a fancy coffee for [Wife Klem] to celebrate our alone time before going home.


October 26 [Monday]

53F this morning in San Dimas. Unless there’s an abrupt reversal in the temperatures, my breakfasts on the patio seem to have concluded for the year. We’ll see what returns first, tolerable morning temperatures in Spring 2021 or a post-Covid existence.


October 27 [Tuesday]

The Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series! They beat the Tampa Bay Rays in six games. The baseball season was played in nearly empty stadiums and the World Series had maybe 25% capacity. No real Covid angle other than I just wanted to document a Dodgers championship in the Covid Chronicle. I grew up in Los Angeles County and remember as a youngster when my dad would occasionally come home from work telling us we were going to the Dodger game that night! My mom also rejoiced, because she was NOT going to the game and would have four hour of peace and quiet to herself with her four boys and daughter out of the house.

         Oh, actually, one Covid note. One of the Dodger players was removed during the game, Justin Turner. We found out afterwards he had a positive Covid test. Weird. What, they tested during the game? Or they knew earlier but wanted his bat in the lineup? I won’t go Columbo, though, I’ll just enjoy the local Championship while the team celebrates with their afflicted teammate.


October 29 [Thursday]

The Covid traffic honeymoon has officially concluded. There’s an overlook view on one of my regular evening walks. It overlooks the 71, 10 and 57 freeways interchange. Pre-Covid this merge was heartily congested for the evening traffic commute with brake lights. Since Shelter In Place this merging logjam has been light. Tonight it resembled pre-Covid for the first time since March. It is my preference that the populace was regaining health as heartily as the Southern California traffic.


October 30 [Friday]

I took the day off because [my daughter] has it off, plus [the boy] has no college classes Friday. [Wife Klem] scheduled us a morning visit to the Citrus State Park in Riverside, then a walkthrough of the UC Riverside Botanical Garden. It was a nice morning walking around these well-kept landscapes, refreshing time away from our screens. But damn, the traffic stinks. I’ve mentioned before and will whinny down my complaining on this point, but traffic feels at or near pre-Covid levels.