Welfare check

Herself chats with her mom jailhouse style,
on the phone, through a pane of glass.

We swung by the Dark Tower yesterday, bearing gifts.

Herself the Elder had requested huevos rancheros for Mothers Day. So we ordered up the takeout from Weck’s and ran it on by.

“You’re spoiled!” exclaimed a staffer. Dern tootin’. As spoiled as one can be in an assisted-living facility under lockdown in plague time, anyway.

Ain’t nothin’ a couple sacks of mulch and a cat statue can’t fix.

Afterward we continued a ongoing backyard-cleanup project. I’m a lifelong asthmatic with a personal, portable plague of allergies, the most severe of which is to yardwork.

But the space was starting to look like a tumbledown Tinkertoy tower of rusty playground equipment, a bullet-riddled ’63 Rambler American on blocks, and a three-legged pit bull with bowel issues would actually constitute improvements.

So, yeah. Yardwork.

Up north, where the yards are 35 acres, my man Hal forwards a Colorado Public Broadcasting piece about how gig workers there — including him — are getting the runaround from the plague-jiggered unemployment system, such as it is.

“This is exactly what happened to me when I applied,” he said. “I apparently need to call there. But of course cannot get through.”

Well, you can always get through here, bub. What’s going on out there in Greater Dogpatch? Are you digging holes and filling them in again? Redistributing wealth? Fetching takeout to shut-ins? As the Year of the Plague drags on toward Memorial Day, we want to hear how our readers are getting by. Wag your tales in comments.

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20 Responses to “Welfare check”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Passing the days doing lots of cycling and yard work. I miss my friends, traveling and live music. But am thankful can still ride a lot and see the beautiful wildflowers along the countryside.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We’re keeping the outings short, just 45 to 90 minutes or thereabouts, ’cause the gov’ would prefer that we be indoors sneezing on ourselves.

      So I miss longer road rides, and trail rides, which I am mostly avoiding due to (a) overcrowding, and (2) that pesky ankle, which I do not trust in sketchy situations.

      I might have traveled to Colorado or Arizona for a change of pace by now, too. But then the backyard would still look like a foreclosure in waiting.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Staying home. We visit, watch movies, and play guitar with our good friends Alan and Carmen, who we trust. Other than shopping for grub, we have no other social contact. Arizona’s curve of positive COVID 19 tests has not flattened yet. We had the highest weekly number of cases from 26 April through 2 May. The week ending 9 May looks to go even higher. Deaths from this shit are down, but I think it is because old people are retired and smart, so they can stay home and are doing so. Over 65 folks are only 25% of the cases but 70% of the deaths. So, we are not changing our behavior until the numbers change. We don’t give a shit what the state or federal government politicians say. They don’t care about us, only themselves. If it wasn’t for career civil servants, this whole house of cards would fall over. Welcome to a shit hole country, ours.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We have regular chats in the cul-de-sac with other residents, employing proper socialist distancing, of course.

      The neighbor kids get to play in our backyard, but nobody gets to come in the house. Grocery outings are every 10 days to two weeks.

      A couple neighbors in higher education and state/local gummint still go to work a couple days a week, and one (a mail carrier) is actually pulling overtime. But Herself is full time at home, as am I.

      We are probably the second-oldest couple in the ’hood, so we are striving mightily to be sensible, which as you know is not my strong suit.

  3. Stan Thomas Says:

    Like our esteemed host, I’ve been pretty anti-social and distant most of my life, worked from home the last 25 years and, ever since the kids moved out, managed to avoid seasonal flu and colds. Apart from having to queue (stand-in-line) to buy bread and milk and the fear of being stopped by the cops demanding to see my papers like some WWII movie, it’s pretty much life as normal. The tenant in a house I rent out hasn’t paid this month, so that’s a nuisance. And no Giro on the TV.
    So, at the personal level, no big deal. But the wider view and the longer view, well that has to be a worry. There’s a lot of money being spent, a lot of jobs being lost and a lot of disturbing politics going on. History tells us that often leads to very bad things.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ah, yes, “the wider view and the longer view,” a.k.a. “Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear.”

      Some of the objects are wearing hoods, swastika tats, and sidearms. I don’t think anyone knows how this is going to shake out. Or if.

  4. B Lester Says:

    I worked from home for 5 weeks, but our “essential business” (appliance manufacturer) is cranking up again. Us salaried folks reported last week, and the factory started this morning.

    Last Tuesday was a mf’er for sure. Many salaried folks were sacked. The rest of us were informed that each of us will be taking three weeks of furlough. One each in June, July and August. We’ll be fine, but I fear for some my coworkers.

    My wife’s tiny employer got a loan to maintain payroll so she’s good for now.

    Daughter’s taking he last finals this week and gets her bachelor’s on Saturday- virtually, of course. Amazingly, she is interviewing for jobs, but she’s a biologist.

    Weather is better every day. Rained like crazy here yesterday, so I watched Korean baseball. The glass is half full. Cheers to all!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      A glass half full is better than one shattered in the bike lane, eh?

      I’m not sure who I worry about more — the young folks just starting out, the middle-agers in the middle, or the geezers like me who didn’t think “plague” belonged in the same sentence with “golden years.”

      Probably the folks hung up between college and Social Security, with debt out the yanger. It must feel like being in mid-leap from a 10-meter platform only to discover that someone has stocked the pool with piranha, crocodiles, and Aliens.

  5. carl duellman Says:

    i’m fortunate to still have my job although the weather this spring has been stellar so i would have enjoyed some unemployment. social distancing comes naturally to me, probably to a fault, however my girlfriend is a social butterfly so there have been people stopping by regularly. we at least try to keep them on the veranda where it’s breezy. my sister is unemployed so we’re keeping our stimulus check around to help her out when she gets low on funds.my mom’s only real source of entertainment/socializing is going to church and now that that has been shut down she’s starting to go stir crazy. the only real bummer is the ymca is closed and that has left me to sit on the porch reading/drinking most days.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Most of our extended family (in our age group, anyway) is retired or working from home, so we’re lucky there too.

      Herself the Elder gets edgy in assisted living, because who wouldn’t? It seems like a big house until they won’t let you leave, at which time it turns into a Big House.

      “Hey, screw, I didn’t do nothin’! I’m innocent, see! Call my lawyer! LEMME OUTA HERE!

      The daily walks/runs/rides really make a difference. When the ankle kept me home I was chewing my fingernails all the way to the elbows.

  6. Hurben Says:

    Start the day at 6:00AM catching up with the news. Once my mood is as dark as outside, I meander over to the garage & jump on the trainer.

    In the 6.5 weeks we’ve been in lock down I’ve managed to rack up over 750 Kms without leaving my property, got this antisocial distancing thing down pat.

    Breakfast yard work, watch the PM’s midday update, go for a walk, more exercise followed by beer just to balance things out.

    However, on Thursday things change,


    It’s selfish but I’m going to miss the slower pace.

    Fortunately, next month I qualify for NZ Superannuation plus I can access my private Super funds because with all the unemployment going around, my plans for a retirement job are out the window.

    Take care out there

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      750km on the property? Well done indeed.

      I think Burqueños have already decided they’re done with staying at home. The auto traffic seems back to normal and there are lots of people out and about on foot and two wheels. May 15 is the latest let’s-see date here, or was. It may be a moot point unless the guv wants to start arresting people.

      So you will be a Man of Leisure®? Are you looking forward to it? My “work” is down to hobby levels, which seems about right, but I feel guilty about taking money for yuks that others need for reals.

      • Hurben Says:

        In honesty, I’ve been a man of semi-Leisure® for a couple of years.

        My job disappeared in a corporate restructure & I was so burned out I took redundancy, (plus they were not exactly keen on redeploying me).

        I took a sabbatical doing a bike mechanics course, then was then promptly hospitalised with a blood disorder followed by surgery for Prostrate cancer.

        Which meant that you were unemployable, explain the gap in your CV because of cancer & you’ll never hear from these people again.

        So I’ve been pretty much living off my redundancy pay out & servicing neighbourhood bikes in the garage.

        Not how I expected my life to turn out but shit happens, plus I’m still better off than a lot of people on this planet.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Wealth and fame seem to have eluded me, but I’m OK with that. I’m on the right side of the lawn. It might be easier to weed from underneath, but I’m in no hurry to experiment with that.

  7. Herb from Michigan Says:

    As Groucho said up at 7, breakfasted and back in bed by 8. Well my actual reality is strong java at 6:30 am, catch what news I can stand and then try and get to the work desk by 8 am. Crack open Outlook and the next thing I know it’s 1 pm. Weather permitting a bike ride or maybe a wee bit o’golf carries me to 4 pm where the sofa begs me to recline for a half hour. Then it’s shove to laddie. Time to prep another culinary experience which frankly is hit or miss. But I’m trying new recipes nonetheless and rarely ever follow them cause “ who the hell has all these ingredients on hand?” 7 pm brings me back to work on local candidate’s campaign to overcome an incumbent Trumper. Look up and it’s 10 pm damn! Time for bed and some light reading like Richard Brautigan. Wash, rinse, repeat day in day out. I see absolutely no one other than via their pixelate version on FaceTime.

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