“Hello Again, Hello …”

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Long time … no blog

Hello, my friend.  Sorry I have been away for a bit.  My last blog led to many friends on Facebook reaching out to see if I was okay.  I wasn’t.  When I wrote that blog, I obviously was a bit frazzled, but had yet to reach my breaking point.  That only took an extra few days.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail, but I finally cracked.  Emotionally.  Mentally.  Physically.  The stresses alluded to in my previous blog, and the stress of everything that is going on eventually led to this.  During a visit with my physician, she stated that she was very concerned about me.  She decided it was best for me and my health to be off work for a few weeks.  I am hoping she is right.

Quarantine 

Since the doctor visit, I have been home.  I have only ventured out in the car a couple times – to pick up groceries we ordered online and once with Sam (more on that in later).  Many think I am crazy, but after the things I heard and seen at the hospital, the first thing I did when I brought the groceries home was set them on the porch.  With gloves on, I went bag by bag and wiped everything down with bleach wipes.  How do I know who touched the things we bought?

Remember the blog I wrote about things to do while at home?  Yeah, despite the sudden abundance of extra time, I haven’t really had a chance to do much of what was on that list.  The stack of unread books remains unread – for now.  Exercise – I took a walk or two and put leaves in bags (does that count?).  Plenty of movies I have yet to watch.  Clear coat on the wall in the kitchen – can’t do any home improvements.  Organizing digital music and folders and radio stuff – you would think I’d be on the computer more than I have been, but I am not. Clean the basement – I did this partially.  So many things on my list that I just haven’t done.  Sigh.  How damn sad is this?  I finally have the time, but just can’t put myself in the right frame of mind to do them.

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Social Media

While I am trying to limit my time on social media, I admit, I still get on Facebook more than I should.  It’s not that I don’t like it, it is just that it is flooded with so many things I am trying to avoid.

  • Political Bullshit.  Blaming Republicans and Democrats for everything.  Trump bashing.  Trump Praising.  Governor bashing.  Governor praising.  Polarizing stuff.  The world is full of division and it shows on Facebook.  You have your right to your opinion and to post what you want, however, I have programmed myself to scroll by this stuff.
  • Corona Virus  – Covid 19 stuff.  Being in the hospital setting, I know the numbers.  I know the severity of it.  The various theories and conspiracies and people re-posting every article they find to “prove their point” is NOT what I need to see.  The only things I pay attention to are the things posted by the CDC and World Health Organization.
  • Sad stories.  There are PLENTY of them.  Emotionally, I know they are out there, I just can’t handle them.

I have a page I update called Celebrity Passings.  When a celebrity dies, I post a picture and farewell.  There have been more than I can count lately – some Covid 19 related, some not.  My heart is just not in it right now.

One thing I am enjoying are some of the Facebook “games” that are out there.  One of the ones I am doing right now was a challenge to post an album that influenced your musical taste for 10 days.  In support of the 2020 seniors, some are posting their own high school senior pictures (I need to do that).  Another one that was fun was to zoom in on a picture of an album cover, or a scene from a TV show or movie and post the zoomed in part to see if people can guess what it is.  I zoomed in on Doc Brown’s eyes from Back to the Future – LOL!  Great Scott!

Family Time

The one thing that I have been able to do is spend time with my family – at least most of my family.  It has been very nice to spend time with my wife and daughter. This certainly has been a wonderful way to de-stress.  Ella is getting so big, and it is amazing how her features seem to change every day!

I have been feeding the baby more lately.  She often will fall asleep while eating.  When this happens, I usually let her sleep in my arms.  I may have mentioned this before, but one thing that I love is when she smiles in her sleep.  It is just so cute.

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She is actually smiling a whole lot more.  She has a little floor mat with toys that hang down from it.  She loves lying on her back and looking at the toys.  She’s also been able to hold her head up for longer periods of time. She has a “Bumbo” chair, and she loves sitting in it.

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Ain’t it cute how she is giving us a “thumbs up” in that picture?

When the weather cooperates, we’ve been trying to get out and walk the neighborhood.  The other day it was 70 degrees.  The following day we had temps in the 30’s and 40’s with rain, snow, wind, thunder, and some sunshine!  Only in Michigan!  I had the chance to do a daddy/daughter walk through the neighborhood.  It was very relaxing and she enjoyed the time in the fresh air.

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This will be Ella’s first Easter.  We had hoped to have some professional pictures done, maybe one with the Easter Bunny.  Obviously, with the current situation and social distancing, that can’t happen.  So we’ve been trying to get some pictures here at home.  We’ll post them on Facebook for Easter.  During today’s shoot – I had to laugh.  In one picture, she curled her lip up like Elvis!  Just typing this makes me laugh.  Here she is channeling her “inner Elvis.”

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Her hair continues to baffle us.  Some days it looks brown.  Some days it looks blonde.  Some days it looks red!  A red-headed Italian?!  Oh boy, am I in trouble!!??

Missing My Boys

As I stated above, I have had the chance to spend time with almost all of my family.  My sons are with their mom as this quarantine continues.  I haven’t seen them in almost a month, maybe more (all the days are running together).  I have video chatted with them a few times, but I miss them.  When we do talk, I always have the feeling that their mom is looming over them and they aren’t free to talk.

One call from my oldest made me especially sad.  The 4th was my mom’s birthday.  She would have been 72.  Every year, my sons and I visit her grave at the cemetery.  I was planning on going, but that day, I took a new medication that was prescribed by my doc and the side effects hit me pretty hard.  I was dizzy, lightheaded, and felt sick.  I took a nap and when I woke up my sons had called.  I called them from bed to tell them I was staying home.  They video chatted with me from the cemetery.  It was sad that I wasn’t they with them.  They were both in tears.  My oldest was upset because he was close to her.  My youngest was upset because he never had the chance to meet her and it still bothers him.  I told them that when this was all over, we’d go and visit.

It has just been awful not seeing them.  I miss them terribly.  My oldest video chatted yesterday and was showing me that he is growing his beard.  He turns 18 tomorrow.  I won’t even be able to hug him!  I have a gift for him.  I plan on wrapping it and driving it to his house and leaving it on his porch for him.  I told him I bought a cake and will make it and celebrate when we get the chance to be together.

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Special Trip

Outside of going to the grocery store, I have only left the house one time.  Actually, it was me, Sam, and the baby.  I was feeling down.  Sam said we were going somewhere.  She said she had wanted to do this for a few weeks.  It obviously wasn’t a restaurant or anything, so I had no idea what she had in mind.  We all got in the car and she drove.  She drove to the cemetery.  She knew I was upset that I didn’t get to go with the boys, but she also wanted to take Ella.  She said it she wanted Ella to see one of the Pamela’s she was named after.

As you can imagine, it was emotional for me.  Sam brought a blanket and Ella and I laid on it by my mom’s grave.  My mom always hoped for a granddaughter.  I know she would have spoiled her big time! Just like with my youngest son, it makes me very sad that she never got to meet her grandma.  Sam’s grandpa is also buried at the same cemetery, so we took Ella to see her great grandpa, too!

It was a very special trip.

No Moe

One of the changes that happened recently is that we had to find a new home for one of our cats.  We had two.  Moe was our first.  Then we got Maizey.  Moe was huge.  He ate so much!  When we brought Ella home, we worried.  How were they going to react?  They both did well, so we didn’t think we were going to have issues.  We didn’t, until one night we found Moe in Ella’s bassinet.  He was laying on her, and we knew this was dangerous.

We didn’t know what to do.  By a stroke of luck, my sister-in-law’s ex’s parent’s cat had died recently.  They were looking for a cat!  They took him and treat him like a king!  We heard he has eggs for breakfast – at the table!!  He has his own heating pad on the couch.  He is living it up.  I miss him, but am happy he found a good home.

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As for Maizey, well, when Moe was here, she was moving.  She never laid by you.  She never let you hold her.  She never purred.  Well, that has all changed.  She loves being by us now.  She meows and likes her tummy rubbed.  She always seems to be by me now.  She loves to be petted and now purrs like nobody’s business.

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Happy Easter

We’ll be staying home for Easter, obviously.  We’re not even sure what we are doing for Easter dinner.  But we plan on dressing up and enjoying our day as a family. We have an Easter basket for Ella and a very cute Easter outfit.  I am sure there will be many pictures!

Faith

I’m not one to push religion on anyone.  I understand that everyone believes what they want to believe.  I realized how far from my faith I have been through this whole situation.  Over the past two weeks, I began watching messages from pastor friends of mine, and got back into reading my bible.  A friend asked me some questions about the Antichrist and it was fun to re-study that topic and chat with her.  Bottom line, my faith is important to me.  It is a key element in my coming out of this in a better frame of mind.  I plan on spending a bit more time focused on that (and Him) in the future.

A friend of mine took this picture in Grand Blanc this week (about 30 minutes south of here).  It was such a beautiful picture, I want to share it here.  Enjoy your holiday.  Happy Easter.  Count your blessings.

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I appreciate you reading.  Sorry to have been away for so long.  I’ll get through this.  It just may take some time.

I hope to be back to my normal blogging self, soon.

Be safe.  Be well.

Keith

 

 

 

 

I’m Not Sure I’m Okay …

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If you have been following this blog since the beginning, you know that I have had my share of rough patches. Through therapy, I was able to learn things about my life, myself, my situation, and those around me. I was able to make difficult, but positive changes that brought me to a place where I was happier than I had ever been. My point is this: I have been through bad times before. None of them could prepare me for the past 7 days.

My last real blog was 8 days ago. In that blog, I talked about how the coronavirus/Covid-19 became more of a reality for me. Well, that was 8 days ago. That reality recently became more of a night mare. I won’t be going into a lot of detail, as a matter of fact, I am only going to say enough to make my point and explain the entire reason for this blog.

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Thoughts Before I Proceed

Search the Internet, Facebook, Instagram, and whatever news source you choose, and you are going to see a lot of information on Covid-19. Some articles are based on facts. Some are written to make you feel afraid. Some are loaded with misinformation. Some are written with political bias. Some are full of conspiracy theories and blaming whoever they see fit.

Don’t comment with your theories. Don’t comment with your blaming of political parties. If you are not working for the World Health Organization, the CDC, a laboratory, or in a hospital setting – you truly have no idea what is going on. You are coming to conclusions based on what you read and what you hear.

For those of you who think this is not serious – I can tell you, it is. For those of you who choose to ignore the orders to wash you hands, social distancing, and staying home – please rethink your decision. This is deadly. It is nothing to fool around with. Staying home can help stop the spread of this damn thing.

Sunday

I had been out directing traffic the week before, but Sunday night I was given a new assignment at the hospital. There were approximately 3-4 entrances that were open. I happened to be stationed at the skywalk entrance. This entrance was basically staff coming in from the parking garage or leaving. My job was basically to make sure they were foaming in and out with hand sanitizer. All in all, not a hard job.

Around 3am, a frazzled nurse was leaving for the day. He told me that he was working on the Covid Floor. He was honest with me. “It’s terrible. The sounds of a dry cough fill the unit. Things progress fast. One minute they are on oxygen and doing fine, and then we have to intubate them.” That explained the announcements that I would hear over the hospital PA system asking for respiratory to go to specific rooms. He told me that there were many times he felt helpless.

At the time clock that morning there were more stories from people who were directly working with Covid-19 patients. They replayed in my mind over and over on my way home. I began to feel anxiety. Sure, I foamed all night long. I wore a mask (not the N95 masks that they need to wear when in direct contact with Covid patients), and gloves throughout my entire shift. However, I took my shoes off and left them on the porch when I got home. I stripped out of my scrubs and everything I wore at work and immediately threw them in the wash. I then jumped into the shower and scrubbed under hot water. Only then, do I even think about seeing my wife and daughter! This has become my new routine.

Monday

My job remained basically the same Monday, except I moved to the front entrance. There was a bit more patient interaction here. Expecting mothers could arrive at any time and needed to go to Labor and Delivery. Some patients arrive for specific surgeries or infusion therapy. Our job is to ask them if they are sick, have a fever, or been exposed to Covid-19. They naturally say no to all questions. That’s when the words of Hugh Laurie’s character Dr. House come into my mind – “Everybody lies.”

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We also have to screen visitors. There is a ban on almost all visitors. An expecting mother can have their support person and mid-wife there with them. Patients in the ICU have to be cleared to come up. In end of life situations, patients can have a specific number of visitors to say goodbye. There is an entire list of rules that need to be followed based on the circumstance.

I won’t go into detail, but on this particular night there was an instance where a patient passed away. His father was not in the room with him when it happened. I watched this man break down at the news while he was on the phone in front of me. It was awful. I could not get passed this. I felt so bad for this man. This is the first of a few similar instances that I would witness in the remaining days I worked.

Tuesday and Wednesday

I was again at the front entrance. With each minute that passed I wish I could just become numb to the things I am witnessing and hearing. So many sad stories. People dying alone. People calling loved ones on iPads/iPhones to say goodbye. Doctors or nurses expressing how helpless they feel. Co-workers reading headlines and stories about the virus, the death tolls, and everything else that is readily available through the internet.

A Breaking Point

I came home and told Sam about the dad who lost his son. I have been trying very hard to NOT share the things I am seeing with her. It is bad enough that we both fear me bringing it home to Ella. The story about the dad was out of my mouth before I even realized it. I cried about it on the way home. It obviously bothered me.

From that point on, I have sheltered Sam from hearing it. I don’t want her to worry any more than she has to. When I found out that I would be in the hospital, she cried with me on the couch. The list of “what ifs” began. We both had plenty of them.

When I came home Thursday morning, Sam asked if I was ok. I told her I was, but, that was a lie. Technically, I think I thought I was ok, so maybe it wasn’t a lie. I would normally pick up my boys for the weekend on Thursday. Sam reminded me that I needed to text my ex to see if she was comfortable with them being with me. As I was texting, I received at text from her boyfriend asking about the weekend. I explained what I was doing at the hospital and asked if they were comfortable with me having the boys. We decided that it was best for them to stay there.

This was probably the breaking point for me.

Since last week, my sleep has been awful. My dreams have been full of Covid-19 scenarios and possibilities. I am waking up a lot and then cannot fall asleep. My mind just won’t shut off. It is awful.

Thursday night I did a video chat with my sons. Talk about difficult. They both really don’t understand why they can’t be with me. I explained that I may or may not be talking with people who have the virus and I want them to be safe. My oldest son and I had a really deep conversation about the stuff he is dealing with (cancellation of so much of his senior year, etc). It was hard not being able to hug him.

That night, while fighting sleep, I began to think about this damn virus. I actually thought about writing letters to the boys, Ella, and Sam…just in case something happens. I thought about what I would need to say to each of them. That’s how much this preoccupied my mind!

Friday

Friday morning Sam could tell that something was not right. She told me that she knew something was wrong since I told her about the incident that happened earlier in the week. She suggested I call my therapist to see if she had an opening. My therapist called me and I was able to talk.

I spent an hour in our room on the phone sharing the events of the week. I truly had no idea how much all of this affected me. The minute I started to tell the story of that dad, I lost it and pretty much cried through the entire session. I had no idea where all this came from. I told her how every time I coughed, I wondered if I had it. It was consuming me. Once I finished spilling my guts and the events of the week, my therapist said that this was not uncommon in this situation.

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She told me that I was experiencing Acute Stress Disorder. It is similar to PTSD, but it is very different. It is brought on by a traumatic experience and it can show up immediately after the event. Usually, it will go away in about 4 weeks.

She helped me to think through a lot of what was going on. She reminded me of my issues with things that I can’t control. She also told me how important it was to occupy myself with things that made me happy. She told me to be sure to do the things that I found joy in. She told me to play my golf video game – or go out in the backyard and hit golf balls. She mentioned meditation and prayer – both of which I have increased.

I watched some church messages from pastor friends of mine that spoke of fear, comfort, and things that can be applied to what is going on. Those messages really hit home. My spiritual needs were lacking, mainly because of me. This has been a real wake up call for me. I plan on spending much more time listening to messages and reading my bible. I plan on spending time focusing on things that I can control and that can help me and my family.

I have been home with the family all weekend. It has been nice to just spend time together. We watched TV together, made meals together, and just enjoyed each other. Tomorrow, I return to work. It will be a challenge. Every day I walk in, I am at risk. I will continue to do what I can to be safe. I must be sure to leave the stuff I see and hear at work. I MUST come home and be a husband and dad. That is what is important.

I pray that I can do this. I wouldn’t mind if you prayed for me, too.

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Saturday Songs

This is the first of at least two blogs today.  I chose to write this one first.  Amidst all of the chaos in the world, I was reminded of a song that I often turned to when things in my life were less than stellar.  Michael Buble’ has been doing video messages on his Instagram page.  In one, he began to sing this song … and I felt that it was, indeed, a perfect song for today.

Smile – Nat King Cole

I may have posted this song once before in a blog about Nat King Cole.  The song is based on an instrumental melody written by Charlie Chaplin (loosely based on Puccini’s “Tosca”) for his 1936 movie Modern Times.  Lyrics were added in 1954 and they were based on lines from the film.

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You know what’s difficult to do in difficult times?  Smiling.  Try it.  It’s pretty damn hard.  While you and I are sitting in quarantine, knowing what’s going on outside, try smiling.  Not the easiest thing, but it is possible.  That’s what the song is all about. It tells you to cheer up, tomorrow will be better if you just smile.

You have probably heard that it takes more muscles and it takes more work to frown than it does to smile.  So, why work so hard?  Smile.  Give it a listen:

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What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

This song is from 1967.  There are some conflicting stories about who was originally offered the song first.  Some say that Tony Bennett was offered the song, but refused.  Others say that the song was written specifically for Louis Armstrong, whom the writer of the song was inspired by as he felt Louis was good at bringing people of various race and color together.

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I first came to know this song because of the film “Good Morning Vietnam” starring Robin Williams.  It is interesting to note that the song was actually recorded 2 years after the film takes place (Williams’ character, a DJ, plays it on the radio).  What made me think about this song was the scene from the movie in which it was played.  While it plays, we see soldiers marching, bombs exploding, fighting and chaos in the streets, and more.

The contrast of the music of the song over these scenes are etched in my memory.  When I thought about the craziness in the world today, I couldn’t help but think of how, despite all of this, we truly live in a wonderful world.  One could easily play this song over scenes from what is going on in the world today.  It is important to find the happiness among the sadness.  It is important to notice the blue skies, green trees, white clouds, and red roses that are there to enjoy.

The only line that doesn’t fit today – is the line about shaking hands.

 

I see trees of green
Red roses too
I see them bloom
For me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue
And clouds of white
The bright blessed day
The dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow
So pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces
Of people going by
I see friends shaking hands
Saying, “How do you do?”
They’re really saying
“I love you”

I hear babies cry
I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more
Than I’ll never know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Oh yeah

 

 

My Mind Overflows With Random Thought

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Life used to have a routine.  I could plan my day.  Phrases like: Business as usual, status quo, day to day affairs, normal activities, daily grind, staying the course, standard practice, and as per usual – don’t mean anything anymore.  Nothing is normal anymore.  As a midnight shift worker, it’s hard to know what day it is, but when the routine is thrown off, it becomes more difficult.

Give Me Just A Little More Time

I have been seriously trying to make time to sort through thoughts.  Believe it or not, it’s been a little easier to do since I have been at home a bit more.  Last week I only worked about half of my 40 hours because of low census and the eventual closing down of our lab.  I was able to get some hours helping out in the Labor Pool at the hospital.

Our techs were reassigned.  Some had jobs in the hospital, but I was reassigned on Wednesday night to go to the hospital to help direct traffic.  We were given one of those orange vests and we were sent out to the main parking lot.  Our job was to make sure the cars that were lined up to be screened for the Covid-19 virus had first been checked in at the ER.

Basically, a check in at the ER determined whether or not your situation or symptoms warranted actually getting the test.  You probably know that there are a limited amount of tests, so the ones who would benefit from a self quarantine were sent home, while others drove to where I was and got in line to be screened.  Screenings were done in their cars.

I reported to work at 6:45 pm.  Seeing the line of cars made this whole thing much more of a reality for me.  There were plenty of cars in line.  Some of them had not been screened at ER, so we had to instruct them to go there first.  As you can imagine, there was a lot of stress, worry, and anger going on.  I saw a road rage incident while we were out there.  Apparently, a car in front of another was not pulling up far enough and the rear car kept beeping at him to move forward.  A few beeps and the driver was out yelling at the other.  Security had to be called. It was nuts!

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As the evening progressed, the line became shorter.  Testing ended at about 2 am, and that was when we left.  I had to go inside to use the restroom at one point and I can tell you that the doctors, nurses, and staff in the hospital were busy!  They were frazzled, but it was a picture of controlled chaos.  Kudos to these men and women, who are doing everything they can to help stop this thing!

My Anniversary

I was standing in the parking lot directing traffic at midnight yesterday.  I set an alarm so I would not forget to wish my wife Happy Anniversary.  I posted this on my Facebook page:

“Two years ago today, I married my best friend. Two years ago today, I married my one true love. Two years ago today, I married the woman who completes me, brings me joy, companionship, encouragement, support, and love. I swore two years ago that I could never love another female like I loved her … then she gave birth to our daughter. I am blessed beyond measure having these two in my life!

Happy anniversary, Sam, I cannot wait for the years ahead.

Thank you for two amazing years – our adventure continues….”

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People Unite

Covid-19 is a worldwide issue!  It is everywhere and it is effecting everyone.  In my many years on the radio, I have had the chance to meet and become friends with some musical artists.  Working in country radio, I can tell you that the country artists are just amazing.  I could sit and chat with them about songwriting, their tour, their families, etc…  I always enjoyed having the chance to interview them on the radio.

With all of the social distancing and people being told to stay home, the musical artists are taking a hit.  You may be upset that the concert you planned to attend has been postponed, but I can tell you that the artists are just as upset.  Going out on tour, talking to radio stations, meeting fans, and performing for you is what they love to do!  Covid-19 has forced them to stay home, too!

You probably read where Garth Brooks is going to do a live concert on the internet this week.  There are many other artists who are doing the same!  Brad Paisley did an acoustic session on Facebook, so did Jewel.

My buddy, James Otto, was the first one I heard mention that he was going to do it.  I was at work when it was live, but I did catch it afterward on Facebook.  It was great!  It was so simple and awesome.  It reminded me of the time he had come through town before his hit Just Got Started Lovin’ You hit the air. He came in, we interviewed him on the air, and then he did a little acoustic set for the staff in the conference room.  God, do I miss those!  My apologies to James for this incredibly terrible screen shot of his live stream.

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He sounded great!  Thanks for the much needed “pick me up”!

It’s also been great to see video messages from Simon Pegg, Matthew McConaughey, Michael Buble’ and other celebrities!  These messages have brought music, hope, laughs, and entertainment to folks cooped up in the homes.  I have read about celebrities offering dance instruction, comedians doing comedy sets, celebrities reading books to kids, chefs doing cooking lessons, and more!  It’s great to see so much good amidst the craziness in the world.

Staying Connected

The WiFi is working at my house, and I use it not only to surf the internet, check e-mail, and to write this blog, I also use it to make video calls.  I have an Android phone and just can’t convince myself to switch to an iPhone.  My wife tried to get me to switch so we could use FaceTime.  Well, I found Google Duo does the same thing.  So I am able to video chat with her and see the baby while at work at night.  I can also video chat with my dad and my brother so they can see the baby, too!

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My buddy Johnny Molson (more on him in a minute) has been taking part in Zoom meetings.  Basically group chats with friends, so they can all keep in touch.  Restaurants, bars, and places to gather have been closed, so these video group chats can allow folks to gather while social distancing themselves from others.

My new doctor has tele-medicine available.  We can video chat with her if we need to.  My therapist is actually going to be doing my session via video today. It should be interesting.  I will keep the phone above the waist….I am wearing my Minion pajama bottoms!  LOL

Already bored with TV

I don’t have a whole lot of stuff I watch on TV.  Lately, it’s been The First 48, Forensic Files, Live PD, and a few others.  Some of these cable channels are doing these all day marathons, and I wish they wouldn’t.  I love a good rerun, but I I don’t think I like them with these types of shows.  Maybe I am just picky.  Hell, I will watch reruns of old shows like Sanford and Son, Columbo, Perry Mason, and Mission: Impossible all day – it doesn’t bug me at all.  I just can’t sit and watch these over and over.

This is where the internet is helpful again.  Does your imagination need a workout?  Books can help, but if you want to “watch a show”, may I recommend Old Time Radio Shows? They are like watching TV shows, only without the video.  Families would gather in front of the radio at night and listen to their favorites – remember the scene in A Christmas Story when Ralphie is listening to Little Orphan Annie?

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I have Sirius XM in my car, and I love the Old Radio Show Channel.  I’m not sure if the copyright on some shows are a factor or what, but I have heard the channel host say that “certain shows are no longer available” for them to play.  I end up hearing a lot of shows that I was never really interested in.

I realize that these shows are dated, but they are still very entertaining.  Many are available on YouTube.  If you like crime shows – check out Dragnet, Broadway is My Beat, Sherlock Holmes, or Gangbusters.  If you like mystery and suspense – try The Mysterious Traveler, Suspense, The Whistler, or Nightbeat.  For Movie adaptations – try Lux Radio Theater, Screen Directors PlayHouse, or CBS Radio Mystery Theater.  If you want to laugh – try The Jack Benny Program, Fibber McGee and Molly, Amos and Andy, Our Miss Brooks, The Fred Allen Show, Burns and Allen, The Life of Riley, or Abbott and Costello.  Sometimes I do a google search for an actor and find shows they were on (“Edward G. Robinson on radio” will bring up a few). Let your imagination get a workout while stuck at home!

New Sleep Habit

As a sleep technologist, we tell patients all the time of the importance of having a bedtime routine.  That can really help assure that you fall asleep and keep you in a regular sleep pattern.  With a 6 week old baby, you can imagine how the bedtime routine has changed!  Sam has a routine with the baby ever night.  When I am home – I basically throw that routine off.

The baby has a sound machine that plays music.  The bassinet has a button that makes it vibrate.  Then she has a stuffed animal that lights up and puts lights on the ceiling.

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Hers is an elephant, but the dog above shows how it works.  At any rate, all of these things are on as Ella goes to bed.  It’s been a routine now for 6 weeks.

I noticed this week after coming home after my shift and trying to sleep during the day, that I was having an issue falling asleep.  You know what it is?  I have found that I actually find it hard to fall asleep now without that silly music on!  I thought it was crazy, until Sam told me that she felt like she had to turn the stars on so she could see them on the ceiling to fall asleep.  If you are a parent, has something like this happened to you?

“Buy me a coffee”

I noticed this recently on some of the blogs I follow.  At the end of their blog, there is an icon that says “Buy Me a Coffee.”

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So, is this like a “tip?”  “Hey, buddy.  Nice blog – have a coffee.”  I hadn’t noticed this before, but I am seeing it more and more.  Don’t get my wrong – I LOVE coffee, but I am not going to beg my readers for one.  I’m all for getting together and having coffee together, I would love that!  I just think it’s odd.  I mean, if you really want to buy me something, I’m not going to turn away diapers or formula!  LOL

Parting thoughts ( that I wish I had written )

I mentioned Johnny Molson, above.  He wrote a very cool piece that I shared on Facebook and I wanted to share it here as well.  I could have copied and pasted it, but I didn’t want to be accused of plagiarism.  So surf over here and check out this piece that really speaks to our current situation.

I’m Proud of You (Us)

Take care of yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Sweet Home – Sanford and Son

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This blog is part of the 6th Annual Favourite TV Show Episode Blogathon, hosted by A Shroud of Thoughts.  This is my second year taking part in it.  The rest of the entries can be found here:

http://mercurie.blogspot.com/2020/03/the-6th-annual-favourite-tv-show.html

Home Sweet Home – Sanford and Son

I could have picked a few episodes from Sanford and Son.  It remains one of those classic shows that makes me laugh out loud.  Home Sweet Home is from the fourth season of the show.  It is the 7th episode of that season.  It originally aired on October 25, 1974.  The episode is full of some great lines and physical comedy from Redd Foxx.

Greed is a powerful thing.  It is also a great premise for comedy (It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is a classic example).  Fred and Lamont return from a miserable camping trip when their neighbor, Julio comes knocking on the door with news.  He informs them that a Japanese company wants to buy up all the houses on their block to build a brewery.  All they need to close the deal is Fred and Lamont to accept their offer and the deal is done.

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Greed begins to take hold.  Fred knows that he is in a position to take advantage of the fact that they need him to sign in order to make it happen.  He is going to hold out for the most money.  Julio and Lamont beg him not to mess up the deal.  All of his neighbors are counting on him.   As he leaves, he reminds Fred that the Japanese representative will be by “first thing in the morning.”  Fred responds, “I know.  They always attack at dawn.”

The following morning, Julio returns wondering if the Japanese realtors have been by.  They have not.  Fred is stuffing fortunes he wrote in fortune cookies (“You’ll meet a tall, dark, handsome stranger.  Give him what he wants!”). Again, Julio begs Fred not to blow it for everyone.  He reminds him that as soon as he signs, they all get their money.  “Mr. Sanford, we are all in the boat!”  Fred’s reply cracks me up – “This is your captain speaking.  Get your poop off my deck!”

The realtor is not at all what Fred expected, in that she is a young and pretty Japanese lady who introduces herself as Miss Funai.  She explains that they have appraised the house and factored in extra money for “sentimental value” and offer them $20,000.  Upon hearing the price, Lamont becomes frantically excited and rushes to get a pen (a very funny moment, as he continues to try to keep a calm voice).  Fred, of course, plays up the whole “sentimental value” aspect and fakes some tears.  She explains that she will leave, discuss this with her partners and return later.  As she leaves, she says “Sayonara” to which Fred replies, “Frank Sinatra to you, too!”

Lamont is upset, but Fred explains that since they are t he last to sign, he knows they will be back with an offer for  more money. When she returns, the offer has indeed increased – by $2500.  Fred refuses and she asks if she can use their phone to call her partners.  While in the kitchen on the phone, Lamont rips into Fred saying he is going to blow the deal.  When Miss Funai returns, she explains that she cannot discuss any further, however, if they would come to dinner at her house, they can discuss with the other business partners.  Lamont says that they will be there.

Upon arriving at the home of the Funai’s, they are asked to remove their shoes and jackets, which makes Fred a bit uneasy.  In the next scene, the two emerge in Japanese robes.  Lamont notices a Samurai sword on the wall and asks about it.  Miss Funai says that he uncle used it to kill himself.  Fred says to Lamont, “What’s the big deal about killing yourself.  My Uncle Alfonzo killed himself in St. Louis and you don’t see me hanging wine bottles around the house!”

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Miss Funai’s father and grandfather enter the room and they are asked to sit at the table.  The table is on the floor and there are no chairs, allowing some very funny physical comedy from Redd Foxx as he tries to (and eventually does) sit on the floor.  On the table is traditional Japanese food.  Miss Funai tells them what each dish is, and Fred passes.  He instead says he’ll eat “some of these grapes” which he describes as “a little slippery.”  Miss Funai applauds him for trying them and informs him that he is eating fish eyes! This brings about another magical moment of visual comedy as Fred spits out the fish eyes.  His face is priceless.

Fred is told by the father that the grandfather is impressed by their sentimental attachment to their home.  Because of that they are offered a “top price” of $27,000.  He immediately asks for $30,000 as a “tip top” price, to which Lamont tells him he is going to take this deal and sign the paperwork.  Fred is handed a pen, which he cannot hold onto because of “his arthritis” which he says may have happened as he tried to sit on the floor.  The father asks if he has a bad back.  Fred says he does, and the father instructs a family member to get acupuncture needles to help him.

Upon seeing the needles, Fred jumps to his feet and claims they are going to torture him.  This is my favorite scene in the show.  He yells, “Stand back!  I know kung fu!  I never miss a show!”  Fred begins to move his arms and body around doing some hilarious kung fu like moves before running out of the house.

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The Sanfords return home and Lamont is sure that the deal is off.  Fred has obviously offended their Japanese hosts.  Fred insists that they need their house, so they will be back.  He has his eyes set on much more money.  Sure enough, there is a knock on the door and it is Miss Funai and her grandfather.

The grandfather speaks Japanese to him and Miss Funai translates.  She says, “Never is his life had he met a man as great as you.  He respects your great love for your home.  He wouldn’t dare ask you to leave it.”  Lamont reacts and rolls his eyes.  Now Fred starts to insist that they buy his house.  “Ask me!” he says.  She says that her grandfather wouldn’t think of uprooting them.  “Uproot me!” Fred yells.

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Before leaving, Miss Funai hands Fred a gift.  She says, “As a gesture of respect and friendship we offer you this sea shell” and they walk out the door.  Fred continues to try to get them to reconsider as they leave.  As the door shuts, Fred stands next to Lamont and looks down at the sea shell.  Fred asks, “What am I gonna do with this?” Lamont’s reply is priceless.  In a calm voice he says, “It’s a sea shell, Pop.  Hold it up to your right ear (which Fred does), and (angrily) push it through to your left!”

In the final scene, Lamont comes in and asks if the neighbors have called to yell at Fred yet.  He says they haven’t.  Lamont says he thought they’d have been all over him for messing up the entire real estate deal.  He goes upstairs and we find out why the neighbors haven’t gotten angry – Fred is calling them, disguising his voice saying they aren’t going to buy the properties.  His call to Julio ends the show in standard Sanford fashion.

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In Closing

Sanford and Son has so many great episodes.  My dad, my grandparents, and I would often spout out quotes from our favorite episodes.  Thanks to Terence from A Shroud of Thoughts for allowing me to participate again this year!  I am already looking forward to next year.  There are so many great shows to chose from, but then again, there are still plenty of Sanford and Son episodes to chose from …

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Random Thoughts and Stories I’ve Seen

In the Creative Writing class I had in college, one of the exercises they had us do was to grab a piece of paper and just write whatever pops into your head.  That’s kind of where this blog is coming from.  What will it contain?  Read on and see …

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The above quote is from Sidney Poitier.  Randomness will follow:

A forgotten favorite

I forgot how much I love French Toast.  We bought frozen French Toast sticks for the boys at the store recently and Sam asked me to make some for her.  I asked if she would rather have regular French Toast.  She did, so I made her some.  I made some for me too.  It’s been forever since I have had some.  It was awesome.

Back when I worked at Kiss-FM (WKSG) in Detroit, I would work on Saturday nights and on Sunday Mornings, we’d go to the Big Boy right down Gratiot and get the breakfast bar.  We’d grab French Toast and bacon.  It was a weekly tradition, the waitresses knew us, and always had crispy bacon for us.  Good times!

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A Cheesy Story

I saw a story this week about a woman who has been washing her hands regularly because of the coronavirus, only what she thought was a bar of soap … was a block of cheese!  I don’t get it.   You would think the absence of bubbles or lather would have been a clue, much earlier than it was!  Of course, she said she probably left out the cheese when she was drunk … thank you, alcohol, for another funny tale.  Here is the story:

https://www.irishpost.com/news/woman-discovers-bar-soap-shes-washing-hands-days-block-cheese-181710

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The Perfect Quarantine Selfie

If you have been on social media at all, there are people who are in quarantine due to the corona virus.  Many pictures are of whatever they are watching on TV, whatever they are eating, or their feet up on the ottoman.  The rest are selfies.  Those selfies take time to get “just right.”  According to a new survey, the perfect selfie takes about 20 minutes to get!  Who the hell studies this?  I have taken selfies in the past, and I may take one or two, but it takes me far less than 20 minutes …. of course, I have no hair, so I don’t have to be sure it is perfect.

The survey says that the subject of the selfie will mess with lighting, angles, and edit with various apps to make sure the picture is “post worthy.” One final fact – only 8% of people will post a candid picture on social media.  Many opt for staged photos.  Now you know.

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Long Before Eminem …

No cheating.  What was the first song to feature a white rapper on MTV?  It happened in 1981.  It was a female singer.  Got it?  Sure you do!  Remember Blondie’s song “Rapture?” It features the first rap verse on the channel and it was a #1 song.  Here are some other white rappers and their songs you may have forgotten about:

  • It’s Good To Be The King – Mel Brooks. (It was a tie in with the movie “History of the World Part 1”  Mel was first white artist with a rap song on the Billboard R&B chart in 1982.
  • Rappin’ Rodney – Rodney Dangerfield.  In 1983, I had this on a 45.  He was holding a boom box on the cover.
  • The Rappin’ Duke – Shawn Brown.  Duh Haw Duh Haw!  Ok, I know, Shawn Brown is black, but the actor he is imitating – John Wayne – is white.  This got a lot of radio play in 1983.
  • The Beastie Boys.  They hit the scene in 1986 and were HUGE! Their album License to Ill sold over 100,000 copies the first week! (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) still is requested at weddings and parties!
  • Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice.  This one hit wonder dropped in 1990 and sampled Queen and David Bowie’s Under Pressure. This was the first hip hop single to reach #1 on Billboard’s charts. Eminem once said that Ice Ice Baby actually made him want to STOP rapping!
  • Good Vibrations – Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.  Another #1 song that came a year after the Ice Man in 1991.
  • Jump Around – House of Pain.  From 1992, I’m not going to lie – I love this song!  I still get requests for this at high school dances!

Eminem shows up on the scene in 1999 with “My Name Is”.

I wonder if I still have that 12 inch single of Rappin’ Duke….

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2020 Seniors

My son Dante’ is a senior this year.  This coronavirus has basically robbed him (and every other high school senior across the country) of the best year of their lives!  It saddens me.  Over the weekend, he was so happy to tell me that the girl he asked out to prom said yes.  Now, the prom has been cancelled.  Kansas has basically called school “over and done” for the year.  Just like that – it’s over.

He posted a picture of a headstone that read “My Senior Year” on his Facebook page this week.  It hurts me to see how sad this makes him.  Oh, I am sure that some students are glad, but my son was looking forward to so much more before the school year was over.  I still don’t know how they are handling commencement ceremonies.  U of M and MSU have cancelled theirs.

A Louisiana teacher posted a letter to the 2020 Senior Class that is worth sharing here.  If you have a high school senior and haven’t seen it – share it!

https://www.wwltv.com/article/news/local/st-bernard/louisiana-teacher-of-the-year-has-a-message-for-all-high-school-seniors/289-ba3040d2-85fa-46de-bdc5-2605fcbc5bf3

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Class of 2020 – I am proud of you!

Rest in Peace, Steve Trevor

Growing up in the 70’s, there were plenty of Super Hero shows on TV.  Wonder Woman was one of them.  Lynda Carter was – and still is – beautiful.  Even as a 5-7 year old boy, there was something about seeing her in that outfit!  Lyle Waggoner, who passed away this week at age 84, played Steve Trevor on the show.  I don’t remember much about his character, but I do remember that whenever they showed him in the opening credits, there was this “sparkle” that flashed off his teeth!  HA!  I tried very hard to find a picture of just that, but couldn’t.  I am sure if you YouTube the opening credits, you will see what I mean.

Lyle also had a role on The Carol Burnett Show.  He was actually on more shows than I remember.  He played comedy well.  He was a great strait man and could deliver comedic lines as strait and as good as Leslie Nielsen!  Did you know he was almost Batman on the 1966 TV show?  He actually did a screen test, but lost the role to Adam West.

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December 2020

It’s funny to me what people think about.  I have seen all kinds of memes and posts on social media joking around about the quarantine for the coronavirus.  There are lots of jokes about how there will be a boom of babies born in December of 2020 because so many people are stuck at home.  Dr. Oz even came out and said that couples should have sex to break up the boredom!  If you are stuck home alone, there was another article about how masturbation can actually boost the immune system!

It will be interesting to see just how big the Baby Boom of 2020 is!

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Work

The situation is changing every minute.  For now, my lab is open.  We had only a couple patients last night, but I was able to work.  It looks like if we have low census or the lab closes, they will find work for us within the hospital system screening people, answering phone, or stuff like that.  That freaks me out a bit, but at least I can work and get some or my hours.

It’s a time like I have never seen before.  I am guessing its the same for you.  Traffic is light.  Everything seems to be closed.  Meetings and gatherings are taking place via video chats.  Life events like weddings are being cancelled (or postponed).  People are fighting over toilet paper.  Visitors are being limited or prohibited in medical facilities and nursing homes.  It is crazy!

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I wanted to share a few things friends posted on social media – feel free to share.

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You can probably add to the above list.  There are many things we take for granted.  When this is all over, perhaps we will be a bit more grateful for them.

The following is a prayer read by our classic rock morning man, Carl Coffey just before St. Patrick’s Day.  It was pretty powerful, too.

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Another friend posted this:

“And the people stayed home.  And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.  And listened more deeply.  Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.  Some met their shadows.  And people began to think differently.  And the people healed.  And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.  And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.” – Kitty O’Meara

Be safe, dear reader.

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Stuck Home – Now What?

This week, I was fascinated at the simulations posted by the Washington Post on how a virus (coronavirus or the flu for that matter) are spread.  You can see them here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/

The coronavirus is everywhere.  Schools are closed.  Casinos are closed.  Churches are streaming services online.  Restaurants and bars are closing.  College commencement ceremonies are being cancelled.  The CDC is warning to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people.  We are being told to “flatten the curve” and “stay home.”  Sure we have the internet, video games, and Netflix, but eventually, boredom will set in.

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I saw something on Facebook this week that read:

“Just thing of all the sit down family dinners that will be happening across America because of this inconvenience.  Practices, meetings, and more – cancelled.  So many people say they’re ‘so busy’ and now have been forced to slow down.  Here’s your moment.  Use it wisely.  Be intentional.  Stay home.  Clean a closet.  Paint a room.  Spend time just sitting and talking.”

There is a lot of truth to that!  I am guilty of complaining about not having enough time to do things.  On my days off, I don’t relax – I am out trying to accomplish things I don’t have time for during the week.  Things get in the way.  I get busy – too busy to focus on what really is important.  Is work so important that it should take away from time with our family – sorry, bosses, it is not.  The structure of the family is hurting, because “family time” is becoming less and less.

“Me time” is also dwindling.  You hear all the time how important it is to unplug, and recharge.  My doctor says how important it is to find time to do something I enjoy once a week, even if it is only for an hour.  The problem is finding that time in a schedule that is already full with other obligations.

Let’s be honest, if I was forced to stay home because my work shut down, I would be freaking out.  No work = no money.  I have financial obligations.  We have cars and a home to pay for.  We have groceries to buy.  We have a baby to feed.  I have child support to pay to be sure my sons are ok.  We have the usually monthly bills to pay.  My wife is already off work and not being paid, so this potential “stay-cation” can really put me in a state of chaos.  I hope it doesn’t happen, but I also 1) don’t want to get sick and 2) get others sick. Whether it happens or not, I have to consider that is a possibility.

So, as I read that quote from Facebook, I began to think about the things I might actually get the chance to do if I was told to stay home for a few weeks. It was quite easy to make the list.  Some things are chores or projects I have put off for some time and others are more family/me oriented.  Here is a list that I just started jotting down. If you get bored while at home, maybe you can steal some of my items or be inspired to create your own list.

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What To Do While on My Forced Stay-Cation

  1. READ. (The stack of “to-read” books at my house is HUGE).
  2. Put the clear coat up on the shiplap in the kitchen.
  3. Exercise.  (I never have time for this.  “Make time” people say.  Ok, I will have some now.)
  4. Purge.  (Old clothes, shoes, papers, etc.)
  5. Watch movies.  (My dad always seems to hand my a bag with DVD’s.  I have many of them on a shelf or in a box.  What a great opportunity to watch them!)
  6. Call an old friend. (“I’ll call you” we often say, and then life takes over.  Why not take the time to catch up?)
  7. Scan pictures. (I have a bunch that I have been meaning to scan for some time.)
  8. Organize my digital music.  (I have many CDs that I want to transfer to digital.  I also have a hard drive with a variety of random folders and songs.  Some songs, I will never play, so I should just delete them)
  9. Organize my computer files.  (So many folders – so little time)
  10. Go through old radio bits. (I have a hard drive of some of my best bits with my old morning show partner.  I keep telling her I will send them to her.  Maybe with the extra time, I can get this done.)
  11. Patch walls and paint. (Long overdue)
  12. Clean the basement. (Another project that is long overdue)
  13. Yard work (weather permitting)
  14. Clean the garage.
  15. Organize Blog Ideas (Lots of random “thoughts” and “scribbles” in my “To-Blog” Journal.
  16. Board Games.  (Family time – lots of laughs)
  17. Inventory.  (Make a list of valuables and such – just in case)
  18. Clean out my e-mailbox.  (Who knew that some of those things you thought you’d want to read, would end up being something that you never get around to?)
  19. Print out some of my blogs.  (I want to start making a “book” for my kids.  Many of these blogs will serve as “chapters”.)
  20. Sleep. (With a newborn, you gotta take advantage of as much sleep as you can!)
  21. Organize cupboards.  (My wife will oversee this – she is better at it than me)
  22. Create the Bucket List.  (I sorta have one.  I just have never written it down.)
  23. Write letters to my children. (Not sure where I saw this before, but I think this is something I would like to do once a year.  Eventually, they will get to read them and hopefully treasure them.)
  24. Learn a language.  (Yeah, I have been saying that for some time.  If I have a few weeks, maybe I can actually do it!)
  25. Unplug.  (No phones.  No TV.  No Internet.  Just sit and talk with my family.)
  26. (a) Take Pictures of Ella. (Cause a new daddy can never have enough pictures of his baby girl.) (b) Take pictures of the boys. (Cause they are growing up too fast!) (c) Take pictures of my wife (Because she is beautiful and I love her)
  27. Sort pictures and put them all in one place to print out (My phone had a gazillion pictures.  I need to send them to Walmart or wherever to print out hard copies)

So, how about you?  What are you planning to do with the gift of some extra time?  I would love to know what makes your list.

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It’s time to be counted

Yesterday, we received our invitation to respond to the 2020 Census in the mail.  The US Constitution requires a count of the population of the United States and every ten years since 1790 it has done that with the Census.

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This year, you can do it all online, which I did earlier today.  It doesn’t take long at all.  If you can’t do it online, the US Census Bureau can send you a paper questionnaire you can fill out and send back.  Keep in mind that it is required by law that you take part in the Census.  If you don’t do it online or by mail, they will send someone to your home to collect answers in person.

Whenever I think of the census, I think of the Three Stooges short “No Census, No Feeling” from 1940.  Like many comedy shorts, they were often topical and 1940 was a Census year and the Stooges wind up getting jobs as Census takers.  One of my favorite lines of all Stoogedom comes from this short.  Moe, explains he is a taking the census and asks a man “Are you married, or happy?”

You can see the short, here:

Stand up and be counted this year!

 

Mitch Albom’s Coronavirus Column

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Many know Mitch Albom for his books (The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Tuesdays With Morrie, Finding Chika, and more).  I have lived in Michigan all my life, and I came to know him as a journalist for the Detroit Free Press.  Long before people got their news from the Internet, I used to get a newspaper delivered to the house every day.  Albom’s column was one I always read.

The entire world is smack dab in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.  Just like politics and religion, there are many, MANY opinions about it.  Conspiracy theories, blaming, downplaying, and flat out panic can be seen on TV news and on social media. It is yet another thing that is dividing the country – and the world. The Detroit Free Press shared Mitch’s latest column and I found it interesting and thought provoking.  I thought perhaps you would find it thought provoking as well.

The article can be found here:

https://www.freep.com/story/sports/columnists/mitch-albom/2020/03/13/mitch-albom-coronavirus-pandemic/5038942002/

It reads:

Mitch Albom: Coronavirus pandemic will show exactly what we’re made of

It is a human wildfire and each of us feels like a dry leaf, praying the wind blows in the other direction. The flames of this COVID-19 virus are ripping through every institution we have in America, schools, sports, businesses, religious services. Many have never felt so vulnerable. We are tucking into our lives, wary of gatherings, wary of neighbors, wary of things that were just, what — two weeks ago? — symbols of our human spirit: handshakes, high-fives, hugs, kisses.

But there are ways to deal with this, ways to cope with this New World Disorder. And the first is to minimize panic, to remember that, for most of us, the worst outcome is flu-like symptoms for a couple of weeks. When you think of it that way, you wonder why society feels like it’s come off its wheels.

Perhaps because the problem, at least in this country, is not merely the virus, but how it is changing our sense of time and place. How long? Every question comes back to that. How long before it reaches our town? How long should we keep sending our kids to school? How long do we quarantine? How long until the critical point is past? How long will the stock market keep diving? How long before our relatives can visit from Europe?

How long until … a vaccine?

It is time — and the speed with which this virus is tumbling institutions — that has jolted us so thoroughly from the idyllic days of January, when our biggest worry was who’s going to shovel the snow. Since then, life feels like one of those films where a giant is plowing through the city, knocking over small cars and massive skyscrapers with the same indifference. Every day another big thing is erased.

Concerts canceled. Spring breaks canceled. Universities going strictly online. Games without fans. Debates without audiences. Then the NBA. Then the NHL. Then March Madness. Tom Izzo had to tell his promising Spartans team Thursday that instead of heading for the best month of the year, their season was done.

“I felt so bad for my seniors — especially Cassius (Winston),” Izzo told ESPN. Winston had come back to MSU for one more crack at a national championship, then tragically lost his brother at the start of the season. He regrouped and somehow led his team to a share of the Big Ten title — and now this. College career over. No more games.

Just like that.

Our nation, united?

But everything is happening that way, isn’t it? Just like that? Europeans can’t fly here. Just like that. Work tells you not to come in. Just like that. The stock market gave back all its gains for the last two years. Just like that. Every social gathering from the PTA to Coachella has been removed from the calendar. Just like that.

It’s like watching the lights go out in a major city, one grid at a time. So quickly, vibrant turns to silent.

This is not who we are in America. We don’t live in the dark. Which is why, more than many countries, we will have a harder time with COVID-19. It’s because of how good we have it and how freely we move.

We are not China, which can lock down entire regions at will, crush any media it doesn’t like, and move scores of workers to build a hospital in a week.

We don’t operate like that. We do things by consensus. The national mood matters. Which is why American resolve will be under the microscope the next few months, and we will be greatly tested by how we behave.

Will we turn on one another? Take a “better him than me’’ approach? Hoard our supplies? Distrust anyone we don’t know?

Or will we sacrifice? Will we think about what it means to actually be one country, not two, not a left vs. right, or sick vs. healthy? But one nation, united against a wildfire.

Can we do that?

Everything can be shut down

We’ll see. There are, to me, certain hard truths we must accept — or should have already accepted — to be levelheaded about where this will all go.

First, everything can be shut down. And most of it will be. Disneyland. Broadway. The Supreme Court Building. Landmarks, big and small. And they should be shut down. Not because we are scared, but because we are smart.

Those people in the sports world who pondered, “How bad will it have to get for us to suspend (whatever)?” were asking the wrong question. The question should have been, “How much better can we make things by shutting it down now?”

You don’t wait, as the NBA learned, until you find out a player is infected. You close the tent before the infections can start. The old adage of an ounce of prevention and a pound of cure is particularly true right now. We shouldn’t be hanging onto spring traditions hoping not to lose them too fast. We should be wrapping them in blankets quickly, so that summer and fall are not affected.

So, yes, of course the NCAA tournament and the NBA season and the NHL season needed to be shut down. You’re talking 20,000, 40,0000, 60,0000 people in one place. Doctors suggest avoiding groups bigger than 100.

Baseball will follow suit, I imagine, and cancel at least the start of its regular season (it already postponed it). And it’s hard to see how they will conduct the Tokyo Summer Olympics, which should and will likely be postponed.

But sports are hardly unique. Cruise ships. Airplane trips. Theme parks. Concert venues. Who knows? Shopping malls, health clubs, and all public schools may be next on the list.

But if it that happens, don’t be depressed. Know that it is better to preemptively pull the door shut then to try and clean up a post-outbreak mess. We have seen in New Rochelle and Seattle how fast COVID-19 can spread if people in gatherings are unaware of its presence.

And we have seen, in Italy, how bad things can get if you don’t act fast enough.

If we can protect ourselves, we should, in the small gestures, like hand washing, which keeps the little breeze from blowing an ember, and in the big gestures, like gathering for mass events, which can stave off a massive blaze.

Protect the elderly

That brings us to those who can’t so easily protect themselves: Our elderly. Why has this not been more of a federal priority? It’s an accepted fact that those over 60 are more at risk with the coronavirus, and those over 80 may be in mortal danger. Why is there no formal program to protect nursing homes and senior centers? To assure that homebound elderly can still get medical care and supplies? To construct facilities, even makeshift ones, that can handle seniors if our hospitals get overloaded? Aren’t our parents and grandparents worth making a priority?

This baffles me. As did the earlier suggestion by our Senate lawmakers that they wouldn’t pass legislation until after they returned from a scheduled recess. A scheduled recess? Were they serious? (They have since reconsidered and will be in session next week.)

But this is what the short-term future will come down to. A series of decisions, big and small, that will determine how long this thing will shadow us.

We need to be our best now. We need to be responsible and considerate of our society — and this doesn’t mean grabbing every roll of toilet paper off a Costco shelf and hoarding it into your truck. It doesn’t mean reporting on COVID-19 stories with political bias, when the viewers only need facts. It doesn’t mean threatening or ostracizing people who get sick, as if it’s them or you in a fight to survive.

It isn’t.

Not even close.

The good news is, this will eventually pass and we will get through it. We have endured worse. COVID-19 isn’t shipping our sons and daughters off to war. It isn’t causing us to lose our homes. It isn’t threatening to blow up our buildings with no warning.

What it’s doing is upsetting the apple cart of our lives, and because our lives are good and blessed, it is more noticeable to us and to the world.

We are dry leaves in a wildfire now, combustible and brittle and subject to burning on the outside. But what’s inside will determine our legacy in this health challenge.

Let’s see what we’re made of.     

Contact Mitch Albom: malbom@freepress.com. Check out the latest updates with his charities, books and events at MitchAlbom.com. Download “The Sports Reporters” podcast each Monday and Thursday on-demand through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify and more. Follow him on Twitter @mitchalbom.

“A Happy Man Once Said….”

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A friend sent me these – worth sharing and re-reading occasionally:

“Don’t ruin other people’s happiness just because you can’t find your own.”

“Living a good life really is the best revenge.  Once they acknowledge they cannot ruin your happiness, they lose their power.”

“Never let someone steal your happiness – it is not theirs to take.”

“Ignore those who try to steal your joy.  Their lives are full of noise.  Yours is full of purpose.”

“No one can steal your love, joy, or happiness without your permission.”

“Whoever is happy will make others happy, too.  The opposite holds true as well.”

“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”

“You can’t separate a fool from their foolishness.  You gotta separate yourself from that fool.”

“Don’t worry about what I am doing.  Worry about why you’re worried about what I am doing.”

“You can’t always control what goes on outside.  But you can always control what goes on inside.”

“Have you ever met a hater doing better than you?  Me neither.”

“HATERS = Having  Anger  Towards  Everyone  Reaching  Success.”

“Whatever you do – good or bad – someone is going to have something negative to say”

“Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings, and emotions.”

“Don’t worry about those who talk behind your back.  They are there for a reason.”

“I love the ones who are in my life and make it amazing. I’m thankful for the ones who left my life and made it even more fantastic!”

“You become a real master of your life when you learn how to master your focus – where your attention goes.  Value what you give your energy to.”

“Instead of wiping away your tears, wipe away the people who created them.”

“Sometimes it’s better to react with no reaction”

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because they suffer within themselves and their suffering is spilling over.  They do not need punishment – they need serious help”

“Let them judge you. Let them misunderstand you. Let them gossip about you. Their opinions aren’t your problems. You stay kind, committed to love, and free in your authenticity.  No matter what you do or say, don’t you doubt your worth or the beauty of your truth. Just keep shining like you do.”

“Life only comes around once, so do whatever makes you happy, and be with whoever makes you smile.”

“Your mission:  be so busy loving your life that you have no time for hate, regret or fear.”

“Every human being has a finite number or heartbeats.  Don’t waste any of yours.”

“If people are doubting how far you can go, go so far that you can’t hear them anymore.”

“My past is my past.  It made me who I am. I have no regrets and wouldn’t change a thing. I just don’t live there anymore.”