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How is everyone doing?


RickR
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Check in time!  How are you doing?  2020 has been difficult to say the least.  And now, with COVID cases spiking again in the USA, it feels like there's no light at the end of this tunnel.  But know this:  You have friends here.  It's a small group, but we can help each other feel better.  Retro games are a great distraction! 

So let us know how you are doing, and what we can do to help.

 

 

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I'm lucky enough to live where cases took a nosedive, probably because a huge chunk of the population goes along with the face covering mandate, ergo reducing the spread. Wife and I just spent an extended weekend in New Buffalo, MI. We stopped off in Michigan City, Indiana, on the way, and...well....Indiana is a "facemask recommended" state rather than a "facemask mandatory" state. Thankfully, most people in the store were wearing masks, and the store was big enough with wide enough aisles that keeping away from people who weren't wearing masks was doable. Michigan is a "facemask mandatory if your medical conditions allow you to wear one" state...which begs the question: if you have a medical condition that makes wearing a facemask a hindrance to your well-being...then why are you outside during a nasty pandemic? We'll see if I made it through unscathed in a couple of weeks!

We've been planning a trip to San Diego. We were supposed to go in April, but of course, that didn't happen, so we rescheduled it for August. Now we have an issue: there's a Chicago mandate now that Chicago residents who fly into O'Hare or Midway from one of 15 states on a list, you are legally required to quarantine yourself for two weeks. California is on the list (even though cases in San Diego County are pretty low). You get fined something like $700 - $1000 per day you're not quarantined. Of course, what exactly they mean by quarantine, they don't say. (Do they mean stay in your house 24/7, not even go out to walk the dog? Stay home unless you have to go out to get food? etc.) And how exactly they're going to enforce that, nobody knows. They did say the list will be modified over time, and we're hoping California will fall off the list, but we're prepared to change our plans. I know it's for the good of everybody, theoretically, but it still sucks.

What doesn't make sense is that here, bars are allowed to be open, but beaches are not, despite the fact that 1) Dr. Fauci himself said that one of the most dangerous things you can do right now is go drink at a bar, and 2) I've heard more than one medical expert say that aside from keeping yourself isolated, the safest place to be is in the water at the beach. Mind you, there are strict bar rules: once you get your drink, you are to leave the bar and go to a table, and there's a strict limit on the number of people allowed to be in the building. The common belief is that the reason bars are allowed to be open is so the city can collect the sales tax. But the thing is, almost all of the beaches have busy concession stands that could very well be providing tax dollars, but no. The rule is that everything east of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago is closed (except for the bike / pedestrian trail), which means there are full-service restaurants that aren't allowed to be open in addition to concession stands, independent ice cream vendors who can't sell their stuff, and at least two bike shops that can't be open. On top of all that, that means there are no lifeguards on duty making summer money, most of whom are minorities who could really use it. (Our mayor is black and claims to be on the side of minorities.) And no lifeguards on duty means that if someone ignores the "beach closed" mandate, goes swimming, and gets caught up in a rip current, there's no lifeguard to rescue that person. All the other beaches along Lake Michigan are open, but nope, the mayor won't reopen Chicago's. (Yet I'm still paying taxes that are supposed to allow me to use those beaches.) My wife was practically raised on the beach, and she's REALLY cheesed off about the whole thing.

Speaking of my wife, she's kind of stressed because she's a teacher and is worried about the fall. It seems that all those in charge want schools to be open. Now...where I work, the word is we probably won't be going back to our building until some time in 2021. Just to give you an idea of where I work...my company's Chicago site takes up nearly two complete floors of a skyscraper. We have about 60 employees on site on both of those floors. (If you want to see the building I'm in, watch the opening credits of the later seasons of The Bob Newhart Show -- my building can be seen briefly about 45 seconds in! So you have an idea of how large and wide the building is.) Both our office manager and our parent company headquartered in Texas will not allow anybody to be in our office for more than 30 minutes at a time, and only one person at a time. Now...compare that to, say, 32 kids in one classroom. And my wife is diabetic, so that puts her at an increased risk. I told her if she's forced to teach in person in a classroom, I will pay to have a large Plexiglass barrier installed in her room.

Other than that, though...I guess I'm okay. Now that I'm working from home, I like that I don't have a commute. Down side though is that means I don't bike the 7-9 miles to work and back every day, but I don't seem to have gained any weight. (My shorts from last year still fit without a problem!) And I really liked the strict stay-at-home order we had before because I'm an indoorsman anyway. 🙂

So far my wife and I are both healthy otherwise. Each of us knows someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19. One of her old college roommates ended up in the hospital with a torturous case of pneumonia as a result, but she's fine now. Former classmate of mine had it, but I believe he was asymptomatic; his wife is a physician's assistant who flew out to New York to help with their overcrowded hospitals. And one of my coworkers had it, too; she thinks she got it from her husband, who's a social worker. Thankfully, she's okay now, although apparently she was pretty miserable.

Yeah, on paper, this thing has a high survival rate...but that's just it: survival. How many of those who survived actually came out of it 100% intact, with no long-lasting or permanent damage?

We gotta keep each other safe, everybody.

Edited by dauber

Supernatural, perhaps...baloney, perhaps not.

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Dauber your replies are excellent.  So well written, and you hit on so many good points.

Being prepared and following the rules (wearing a mask, washing your hands, practicing social distancing, and staying out of crowds) help keep us safe and also give us back a small feeling of control. 

I also have been working from home.  Which I'm still not completely used to.  But at the same time, I'm so thankful to have that option. 

Still there are those moments of fear, sadness, loss-of-hope.  It's just such a crazy time. 

Edited by RickR
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Hey, guys,

I'm hanging in there. We are under a heat advisory here in the Twin Cities Metro Area in Minnesota today. It is 87º F, but feels like 91º F. The humidity is up a little. So, I am at my computer in the basement, where it's cool. Cool it is, as well. I'm not breaking a sweat anymore. I perspire right away when I go outside. We are OK here. COVID-19 was concerning me a lot before, but I have not been sick with anything all year. Strangely enough. Proper hygiene helps. I always wash my hands for twenty seconds in a rich lather of Kirk's Castile Soap. It is a little expensive for soap, but it's worth the cost at about $4.00 a three-pack. I have been taking very good care of myself all year. I only go out when I need to, and then with a mask. It helps a lot.

But, I am having a decent time, otherwise. I have been playing my video games, and trying to get a decent score with the Squad Challenge for Alex Kidd in Miracle World. So for, being it is a difficult game, I only scored at best 1,800 points. It is a challenge. For sure. But, as I stated, all is good. We are fine here and no one has been sick, which is a good thing. Thanks for letting me share. :O)

Edited by DegasElite
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2 hours ago, dauber said:

I'm lucky enough to live where cases took a nosedive

We in Minnesota have about 38,000 confirmed cases so far, but maybe 1,500 deaths, I believe. I know that sounds morbid, but I see that also as hopeful because that means most people are recovering. So, I am not trying to purvey panic here, but optimism. My neighbor had the coronavirus, and he spent two weeks in hospital, but has somewhat recovered since then. He is doing much better. This, of which, I am glad of. Since I don't know him very well, I was never around him, so I distanced socially anyway. But, it is good here. We are all healthy and all the wiser at that. :O)

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Good stuff, @BlackCatz40.  I'm glad you've got a basement to stay cool.  I LOVE that Kirk's Castille soap -- I think it smells really good.  That's a good point you make -- we end up spending a bit more to stay safe.  Whether on nicer soaps, or on delivered groceries and products.  I just don't worry too much about pricing on the stuff we need.  Safety and health are more important than money IMO. 

We've got a lot less cases and deaths here in Oregon, but it's still on the rise.  It seems to me like the virus is very highly contagious, so following the guidelines and staying away from crowds really helps.

 

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I have been well. I can’t believe it is July. Time feels a bit weird since this all started, in early-mid March. I believe it was March 16 when my job had me (and nearly every employee) work from home. I really enjoyed that, and having such more time at home allowed me to get into an after work workout routine, which I still do now. Where I am in FL everything began reopening I think in early May. I ended up having to go back to going in to work May 11. Out of about 60 employees there was only 12 or so of us. Late June I was sent back home and luckily still have been, but I believe I’m going back for good in a week or so. This summer I started classes online towards my degree, so I have been quite busy with both work and school full time. 
 

I felt safe going to Universal late June as they had very strict guidelines and requirements (masks, temp. checks, etc), but in my town masks are not required and I’ve noticed people are wearing them less and less in stores. 
 

Spending so much time at home, when I am not working or doing school online, has made me realize I would like to find more interests and hobbies and I want to spend more time outside. 

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@Gianna I'm glad you are doing well.  I've noticed too that by working from home, I have more time to enjoy for myself.  No commute!  I've been spending more time on home projects.  Fixing and improving things here at home.  Since we spend so much time here now, it just makes sense to have nice things. 

I agree with you that it's frustrating that people are getting complacent and not wearing their masks when out.  I hope that changes!  Maybe by making masks mandatory, we'll get more compliance.  I sure hope so.  It seems like a simple way to keep us all safer.  It's uncomfortable, but worth it. 

I love that you're thinking about and exploring new hobbies and spending time outside!  That's a small silver lining to this whole thing.  Let us know what you come up with! 

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Hi Atarians!

Missouri is "supposedly" having another wave of infections.  But my wife and I are kinda on the same page with how we think about the virus.  We are not saying that it is not real.  It obviously is because lives have been lost because of it.  What sort of makes this pandemic a bit questionable is that it all started once Trump got impeached.  Then when Floyd lost his life to a cop suddenly the COVID was no longer in the news forefront.  That and the protesting stayed for awhile until TRUMP decided to finish his campaigning.  Now there is a second wave of this virus happening again.  I'm beginning to wonder if Trump has the "never-get-overs."  

On a more serious note...we are doing well but battling high temps.  The local weather has not mentioned it but I wouldn't be surprised if we reached triple digits before August.  It's very humid and hot out there.  Step outside and in a few seconds you will sweat in places you didn't know you have.

I recommend just staying home and playing Atari when not working.  I'm still trying to adjust to everything closing at night now with the exception of one truck stop in town.  Some of our Walmart employee friends have said that the company is seriously considering not going back to the 24-hour operations.  You know what I think?  I think it would be a good thing for stores to not be open 24 hours any more or on Sundays.  Go back to the way things use to be.  Give everyone a for sure day to have a breather.  We don't need 24 hours.  You want 24 hours then shop online.   

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All is good here! New York (& CT, which basically where I live, even though it's technically NY) have done a great job (so far, knock on wood).

My tiny island has seen the invasion of the summer people, but there are strict protocols in place (visitors are strongly encouraged to be tested prior to arriving, then quarantining until the results come in, masks everywhere, registering with the doctors office, who sends a symptom checker email out three times a week). So far, so good. Only a few cases here, but that can change quickly, as I know not everyone will follow the recommendations.

I realize my situation here is pretty unique and these steps wouldn't be feasible anywhere else. They're also necessary, as we lack the health care infrastructure to handle an outbreak.

Thanks for checking in @RickR! I hope you're doing well too! (That goes for everyone here! Hang in there!)

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@StormSurge, that's awesome!  I really like knowing that some places are doing the strict protocols.  I really wonder why it isn't done in most places that way.  I get it...it's easier to control on a small island.  But still...

I'm doing well health and job-wise.  But lots of worrying.  We can do this!  Thank you all for your comments. 

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PS - on the weather front.  May I brag a little about the Pacific NW?  It's one of the few areas in the US that has mild summers (no humidity, rarely super hot) and mild winters (very little snow).  It's a  beautiful place to live 🙂  You just have to get used to the rain. 

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I’m jealous of all your rain! We might get hit with a little tropical system Friday night & pick up some needed rain. 
 

Rain at night = awesome sleeping atmosphere

 Rain during the day = perfect for being lazy & playing video games

 I despise summer. I can’t stand humidity. Give me fall & winter all year round. The Pacific NW sounds great, I would just need to be on a mountain to get some snow. 😀

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1 hour ago, RickR said:

@Gianna I'm glad you are doing well.  I've noticed too that by working from home, I have more time to enjoy for myself.  No commute!  I've been spending more time on home projects.  Fixing and improving things here at home.  Since we spend so much time here now, it just makes sense to have nice things. 

I agree with you that it's frustrating that people are getting complacent and not wearing their masks when out.  I hope that changes!  Maybe by making masks mandatory, we'll get more compliance.  I sure hope so.  It seems like a simple way to keep us all safer.  It's uncomfortable, but worth it. 

I love that you're thinking about and exploring new hobbies and spending time outside!  That's a small silver lining to this whole thing.  Let us know what you come up with! 

That's great! During work hours I kind of have to be glued to my computer. During down times though I will try to get things done, like wash clothes or clean. 

I will! I have also had an urge to pick up old hobbies. I used to love reading and lately I just don't have the time. That's something I would like to be able to get back into.  

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1 minute ago, StormSurge said:

I’m jealous of all your rain! We might get hit with a little tropical system Friday night & pick up some needed rain. 
 

Rain at night = awesome sleeping atmosphere

 Rain during the day = perfect for being lazy & playing video games

 I despise summer. I can’t stand humidity. Give me fall & winter all year round. The Pacific NW sounds great, I would just need to be on a mountain to get some snow. 😀

We have mountains galore, just a short drive away.  And beaches too. 

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But I know what you mean.  There are elevated areas in Portland that do get some snow.  Heck, our house is at 500' and we get more than in the city. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Gianna said:

That's great! During work hours I kind of have to be glued to my computer. During down times though I will try to get things done, like wash clothes or clean. 

I will! I have also had an urge to pick up old hobbies. I used to love reading and lately I just don't have the time. That's something I would like to be able to get back into.  

Same here -- I spend my work hours glued to a computer and headset.  Makes my rear-end tired sitting all day! 

I've been doing some reading, but not as much as I want.  Audiobooks work for me -- you should give them a try.  I download them from our library and then listen for a half-hour before bed time.  My wife reads a lot more than me and does crosswords too.  But she sometimes will run out of books to read! 

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I am doing well but things in Miami are really spinning out of control.  We have more than doubled the number of cases in two weeks (from 18,000 to 51,000).  Our daily number of cases are at 2000 new cases/day.  Hospitals are at 95% capacity already.  I am not seeing patients in the office.  Everything is being done by phone or video chat.  We are having a rise in numbers because people are not following guidelines, beaches get closed but people still go, people are doing parties at their homes without wearing masks, etc.  if there is a wrong way of doing it, it is being done. 

So, I just go to my office and come back home.  I go grocery shopping twice a month and I go near closing time as that's when there are very few people at the store. 

🖖 Going to the final frontier, gaming...

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1 hour ago, TrekMD said:

I am doing well but things in Miami are really spinning out of control.  We have more than doubled the number of cases in two weeks (from 18,000 to 51,000).  Our daily number of cases are at 2000 new cases/day.  Hospitals are at 95% capacity already.  I am not seeing patients in the office.  Everything is being done by phone or video chat.  We are having a rise in numbers because people are not following guidelines, beaches get closed but people still go, people are doing parties at their homes without wearing masks, etc.  if there is a wrong way of doing it, it is being done. 

So, I just go to my office and come back home.  I go grocery shopping twice a month and I go near closing time as that's when there are very few people at the store. 

Hang in there, @TrekMD.  Hopefully the tide will turn and people will start following the guidelines.  Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you out. 

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@TrekMD I recently had a virtual doctors appointment about 2 weeks ago. The hospital my doctor is at was not even scheduling any in person appointments, unless absolutely necessary, due to rising cases. Our beaches here opened, then closed, and now they're open again with super restrictive hours. We had a ton of people coming over from the east coast to our beaches and they were getting too crowded. The community I live in has a lot of families and young people, and since this began there has been, as usual, a lot of parties. I wouldn't say I feel "scared" being around so many people without a mask, but I just wouldn't want to risk it. I went to Target the other day, which was very crowded, and I was one of the only people wearing a mask. 

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@RickR That's a good suggestion! I never got into audio books, but it is something I should check out. As I'm getting ready for the day, cleaning up the house, etc I will often put on a video on Youtube and listen to that. Usually it will be a video from one of two channels I frequently watch (or listen to) that are about missing people, and unsolved missing persons cases. I find missing persons cases interesting, especially those that go unsolved. It is scary what goes on in the world. Or, more uplifting, I will listen to a video about the origins of something, like recently I listened to one about Disney's River Country.

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1 hour ago, Gianna said:

I recently had a virtual doctors appointment about 2 weeks ago.

Speaking of virtual visits, I have one with my doctor tomorrow morning.

57 minutes ago, Gianna said:

I never got into audio books, but it is something I should check out

I have an audiobook on CD by author Brene Brown. It is about embracing imperfection. She is also a therapist, I think. I wanted to see what it was like, so I bought it from Amazon. Interesting book, by the way. :O)

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3 hours ago, RickR said:

Hang in there, @TrekMD.  Hopefully the tide will turn and people will start following the guidelines.  Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you out. 

Thank you.  I just finished preparing for my virtual visits for tomorrow.  At least the patients I've been talking to seem to be adhering to the rules. 

Thanks for the offer to help.  🙂

🖖 Going to the final frontier, gaming...

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7 hours ago, BlackCatz40 said:

Speaking of virtual visits, I have one with my doctor tomorrow morning.

I have an audiobook on CD by author Brene Brown. It is about embracing imperfection. She is also a therapist, I think. I wanted to see what it was like, so I bought it from Amazon. Interesting book, by the way. :O)

Audiobooks in the car on a long drive worked for me so I could keep up with Harry Potter.  I think it was the sixth book.

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