Carrying On

Well here I am. I began self-isolation at the beginning March, three weeks ago. So far so good.

Where Attila works they laid off 600 people on Friday. They decided to do it by seniority, rather than ask people if they were willing to be laid off. That meant that the high-risk-for-complications older segment of the work force has to keep working, while the younger, much lower-risk-for-complications segment of their workforce are out of a job. It make no sense. There were older workers who wanted to self-isolate, but cannot, and younger workers who wanted to keep working, but could not. Attila was very upset by it, he would have volunteered to self-isolate, with a much lower standard of living with some support from the government. But he can’t do it, he has to go in there, and risk our lives.

My opinion of the company is that they are evil. So much for protecting the vulnerable, and the disabled in our country, there are far too many systemic holes to fall through. What a bunch of heartless jerks.

So for now Attila has to go to work, in a place where people are almost shoulder to shoulder as they work, and two of the managers who had been out of the country, returned to the workplace after arriving back in Canada. They are not coming in now, but if they were carrying the virus it is spreading at the plant. They came in to work last Monday, so we won’t know if they had contracted the virus for a few weeks.

So we are trying to gain some sort of equilibrium with the situation, which we cannot control. It is very hard work.

UPDATE, 11:40 A.M., March 23, 2020: Attila applied to take vacation time this week, to give us a chance to figure out how to get him into self-isolation without losing everything. His vacation time was approved Monday, just before lunch time!!! So we have a weeks reprieve, a short period where we don’t have to obsess about what to do next. Next weekend we will be back on that treadmill of worry, but we will have a break from it for a few days.

But it is the weekend, and we love the weekends! The sun was shining yesterday, but it is chilly out there, beautiful but chilly.

We just picked up our first pick-up order from NoFrills. It was quite an experience. Because of my anaphylaxis I have to shop carefully, and there are only certain items that are safe for me. But the online ordering had a check box that one could uncheck to indicate “no substitutions”, vital in my case. I don’t want to spend what little money we have on items I cannot eat, and have to give away. So I thought this was wonderful. BUT as soon as the order was moved into the queue to be prepared, the online program automatically checked all the boxes to allow substitutions, for all of the items! Unicorn Poop!

This time it turned out all right, luckily. There was only one substitution, and it was just fine, more by luck than design. There were many items missing, not to be had. Fresh fruit and vegetables, canned and frozen vegetables, none to be had. So we will get by with the aging cabbage we purchased for sauerkraut. We won’t be making sauerkraut, we will be using the cabbage as a fresh vegetable. We like cabbage.

We enjoy apples as a fruit. Luckily they are grown in Canada, so I am hopeful that come next September we will be able to procure them in quantity, hopefully enough to last between harvest seasons. In the meantime, we have some apples here, having purchased a large bags of “seconds” from the grocery store a few weeks ago. Some of those apples are not wonderful. Attila is chopping the less than desirable apples into pieces and freezing them, when he has enough he will make a batch of Apple Cider Vinegar. We have three jars of homemade ACV, which will last for a quite a while, perhaps right into the autumn apple season. And perhaps this summer will be one where our Crabapple tree will bear a lot of fruit. Last autumn there were no apples to harvest.

I have noticed that the Internet does not work as nicely as it has done. Netflix often tells us to come back later, and some programs that depend on the “cloud” simply open and close themselves in an instant, because the connection cannot be made I suppose. We are all depending on the Internet for so much, vital communication, shopping, news, and entertainment, to name a few.

It was chilly when we got up yesterday morning. But in the afternoon the temperature rose to 6C, perfect weather for basking in the sun on the back porch. Oh, it was grand. I pulled up my pant legs to let the sun soak into my winter weary skin. Attila and I sat there in the sun, listening to the birds, breathing in the fresh clean air, fresher and cleaner than we have ever enjoyed here at Mist Cottage. Intermittently we dozed off, happily dreaming of lovely things. Attila becomes restless after a while, and would wander out into the garden to collect dead stalks for the compost bins. It was very quiet, only two airplanes flew by overhead. The neighbourhood was quiet too, and the roar from the roadways came to us only as an occasional rumble.

I needed to sit in the sun and just not think! What a great afternoon.

Today it is snowing, and very windy. I’ve kept busy with little projects. I moved the Apple Cider Vinegar from two of the jars, into a large gallon jar. The gallon jar is far from full, but it will keep the vinegar very well, and every time we have another batch finished, we can just pour it into the gallon jar. The third jar isn’t quite ready. But I am quite excited, because it has developed a scoby, our first! I am researching how to preserve the scoby for future use, once the ACV is ready.

Slowly but surely our routines of protection are forming, we have to think about them less and less. Attila, who has to go to work every week day, has it all figured out. I don’t go out much, so I am finding some of them easy to become accustomed to, and others not so much. Right now a big challenge for me is figuring out how to navigate having “virus zone” shoes/boots, that do not enter the “safe zone” in the house. I’ve had to re-sanitize the entrance twice now because my strategies have not worked out well… I lose my balance, my boots are too cold sitting in the unheated garage… I’ll get there!

Life is pretty good here at Mist Cottage. We are as concerned as anyone about the state of things, but remain focused on what we have right now, enjoying our time of good health, and met needs, to the fullest.

Stay safe!

Worldly

Weather

2°C
Date: 6:00 PM EDT Sunday 22 March 2020
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 103.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 1.6°C
Dew point: -12.9°C
Humidity: 33%
Wind: NE 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“When you close your doors, and make darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; nay, God is within, and your genius is within. And what need have they of light to see what you are doing?”
Epictetus
55 AD – 135 AD

14 Comments

  1. Steve-Paul (SP) Simms

    ‘Life is pretty good here at Mist Cottage.’ Would that we could all be so upbeat when dealing with such challenges. May you both stay well and ride out the storm.

  2. Sandy

    I don’t understand why the company wouldn’t accept volunteers for a lay off. Unless they want to go by seniority in order to get rid of the higher-paid employees? Either way, it’s despicable. Could Attila wear a ask and plastic (surgical) gloves during the day?
    With all of the people working at home, I notice my internet is slower too. I like to listen to a streaming news station on my computer, and now it stutters and sometimes disconnects.
    We will all get through this with common sense! 🙂

  3. Teri

    I’m surprised Attila would have that much seniority. He’s been with that companybonly about 2 years, hasn’t he?

    We had a terrible thing happen in our hometown. The smaller local hospital thought the N95 masks looked bad, so they wouldn’t let the nurses wear them. They got a patient with flu-like symptoms and in an emergency body fluids were aerosolized. About 50 nurses may have been exposed to COVID. Two already have symptoms.

    I wonder if there are other stores where you can get items. We haven’t seen real big problems with a lack of veggies. It may be a stocking issue, as there don’t appear to be problems with food supply.

  4. Sandy, it crossed my mind that they might figure more of the older workers would die if they continued working in this type of environment, and that would mean fewer workers with more vacation days and other benefits. You would like to think they wouldn’t take such an approach, but one has to wonder. I don’t believe them that they couldn’t take volunteers for lay off, rather than do it by seniority. There had to have been some benefit to their profit margin, or points for managers on some kind of management rating system, or some other something in it for them.
    Yes, the internet is bearing a heavy load these days! Thank goodness it is there.
    We will get through this, day by day!
    Stay safe dear friend!

  5. Teri, it has been about five years, and they aren’t the loveliest of employers, there is a very high turnover there.
    Teri, that is tragic about the nurses!!! What kind of decision making was that! Something would be better than nothing. The hospital is already at a disadvantage, with the first case!
    The other store within an hours drive is too expensive for us, we can’t afford their stuff, so we are committed to the NoFrills. Attila went in and told me that the shelves were sparsely stocked for the most part, and bare in other parts. He got some cabbage and potatoes, no frozen vegetables, no flour, the baking section was almost bare. It could be because this store is high volume, it serves quite a lot of people, it has a large catchment area. I wonder if they have an issue getting enough staff to stock the shelves.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  6. Joan, thanks! It is ony one week vacation, so when Sunday rolls around we will be feverishly looking at our options again. Things are changing so very fast right now, who knows what will happen!
    Stay safe dear friend!

  7. Teri

    With Attila’s employer, my first thought was maybe they chose by seniority as that’s the old thought process and a way to keep out unions. But then I tend to think the best of people and institutions, until they give me a reason to think differently.

    Has it really been that long that Attila has had this job? Wow.

    Is Attila actually off this week? If so, maybe you could go into No Frills for the senior shopping hour first thing in the morning? The place will be restocked and you’ll have less competition for goods.

    Take care, you two. You’re probably more well-equipped to care for yourselves than any couple I know but I wish you the best of luck for the coming weeks, just to add a bit of icing on the cake.

  8. Teri, I do not share your generousity in interpreting the motives of profit seekers. However, I would prefer that you were right every time :).
    Yes, how time flies, he started working there just after we moved here in 2015, in the autumn. Time has flown.
    Attila is off this week, a bumpy start today because we didn’t know until this morning.
    Attila’s last visit, that I described above, was during that first hour, the shelves here aren’t getting completely restocked each night. He was one of the first customers in the store that morning.
    Yes, this is a time of great caution for all of us. We are both believers in erring on the side of caution, it is no guarantee that we plan for everything. How everyone fares during this trying time is partly a matter of maneuvering, but it is really mostly luck, wrong place, wrong time, kind of luck. I hope you and DH and all the people you care about stay safe!

  9. Teri

    Thanks!

    DH’ s oldest boy, who usually watches our dogs when we’re away and who spends Christmas with us, has just been laid off from his job as manager of a restaurant. Of course he’s lonely and feeling isolated. A few weeks ago we offered that he could come up to our cottage, but now of course things are changing.

    We’ve asked him to self-isolate, and if things go well for those 14 days then maybe we’ll be able to go get him. He’s a germophobe, so very clean already. And I sent him a note as to how we quarantine certain items that could carry COVID.

    I don’t even know if he’d ask to come here. He hasn’t yet. But since Kitchener has a number of potential infections right now, we’ll have to see how things go.

    I was fine with the idea of him coming here 2 weeks ago, but so much has changed.

  10. Teri, a difficult situation! It is so hard to decide just what to do, what is too risky, and what is not. Tricky! I know you will do your best for him, while keeping in mind that you have to first do what is best for DH and for you. Isolation with others can be pretty demanding on relationships, particularly if people are accustomed to living alone, or haven’t lived with each other before. Tricky!
    Things are changing so fast now, it is mind boggling!

  11. Kate, that is great to hear, that is made a difference where you Dad is. Here is doesn’t seem to make a difference, not yet anyway. I don’t think we will be shopping again for a while, I am still trying to find someplace that will let me order online, and they will put in the trunk of the car for you, no need to go into the store. That would keep everyone safer I think. I had an order placed for Saturday, but they deleted me from my Saturday slot and now I have to start all over again. So if this keeps up it will be weeks between opportunities to get a few groceries!

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