Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Day 8, COVID-19 Lockdown, USA, Kansas, JoCo

Yeah, Everywhere.  We're locked down officially from Johnson County, Kansas, the State of Kansas, and even the president has issued a lockdown through April 30th.  Everything we do, every thought, action and moment has COVID-19 behind it.  Making coffee this morning; be sure to use bleach spray to wipe the counters just in case there's viral residue on there from the groceries yesterday.  Every step, every thought focused on the pandemic.  Do I have my will in place?  Are my investments and insurance set up with beneficiaries?  Are my kids and wife's life insurance set up with the right beneficiaries? Do I have enough cash to get the columbarium for my mom at the little church she wants to be interred at?  (I know I don't have enough cash to get the columbarium for my big church for me).

Annd a Goood Morning to You!  Sun's not out yet.  The mind is bouncing around like a pinball.  So, this is Day 8, the 8th day of lockdown.  

Ah hah - Sun!

Sunrise, March 31, 2020
(33,000 photos left to upload to Flickr.)

I got a gallon of Simple Green Industrial Cleaner and degreaser in yesterday.  Used an old 409 bottle and mixed up a 1:30 solution. Not specifically designed as an anti-viral, but as COVID is simply RNA with a lipid coating, a degreaser should be quite useful in breaking down the external lipid (fat (grease)) coating.  And it's a good general-purpose cleaner, leaving the 409 and Tilex bleach spray for specific disinfectant cleaning.
Assorted cleaners.  Yes, I cannot spell at 8AM with a sharpie. (medal vs metal)

Meanwhile, I found a local small business making hand soap and hand sanitizer, Fire Lake Soapery, in Paola, KS.  They use these gorgeous spun steel bottles for their products; I had to order some just to see how it works.

In closing, no particular drama for the day.  The oldest son is working at the sandwich shop. Tomorrow I work remotely as we hit 'Day 0' of the Sprint - T-Mobile Merger. May be a non-event.  May be a busy day.  So, to that end, I sign off.

- Will England

Monday, March 30, 2020

Day 7, COVID-19 Lockdown

Good Morning!  As usual for every morning, SamTheDog woke me up at 0655 AM to go outside. Stiff this morning - unaccustomed labor yesterday with carrying in a week's worth of groceries and cleaning up the back yard. We had a big windstorm the other day that brought down a winter's worth of dead branches from the Silver Maple.  Finally figured I should get that picked up; the grass is due to be mowed.  Pandemic or not, the grass keeps growing.  Today - work. Logged, in checked two issues for the Sprint - T Mobile merger content; not my problem so moving on.  Several calls this afternoon.  Business, particularly mission-critical communications infrastructure and touchless sales and service (website, handset app - my area of work) goes on, especially in a pandemic.

Set up my Flickr Pro account to back up all 50,000 odd photos from my laptop.  (51,627 to go) That makes  4 cloud backups of the photos.  Eventually, I'll get around to paying for Adobe Lightroom and set up a 5th cloud backup and online edit / any device edit (Lightroom CC, Photoshop).  Just a lot of effort, but what else will I have to do in the next 30 (60? 90? 1080?) days of social distancing and lockdown?

So, here's the daily photo of this morning:
March 30, 2020, Sunrise in Overland Park
Woo Hoo! I got a grocery pickup time-slot for Hy-Vee; granted, it's for Saturday, but it's nice not having to wander through the store to pick everything up.  I wonder how much of my order will be in stock.  I still have to go to the local Price Chopper at least once more this week to get essentials.

(10:30 AM) Stores are getting back to normal stock levels - except for paper products. Hit both the local price chopper stores and got all the staples we need and what mom needed.  Except for spinach.  Someone, somewhere, has a basement full of spinach.  Phht.  Good shopping trip, everyone was super friendly, very good at social distancing. Scored on the clams for the wife; super high in iron and mighty tasty in a chowder.  May have to go get some heavy cream and see what I can simmer up this week.
Work is low key for me, although I understand most of my team pulled a 72-hour marathon to rip and redo the Sprint pages for COVID-19 faceless support and sales. Good for them.  Glad I wasn't roped into it.  I've done my share of 72-hour rip and redos.  Currently enjoying a headache (sun glare from the morning errands, seem to have forgotten to eat breakfast).

(1:50PM) I still have a headache.  New project for work. And a 90-minute meeting coming up in 10 minutes.  The more things change . . .  (48,017 photos to upload to Flickr still).

(7PM) Up from a migraine med coma.  Ugh.  Watching Metallica 'live' from Paris, 2017 on Youtube. (42.000 photos remaining to upload to Flickr.)

That's about it for today - have a nice day!

- Will England

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Day 6, DOVID-19 Lockdown, State of Kansas

Yesterday the Governor, Laura Kelley, announced that the entire state of Kansas would be on a lockdown (stay at home order (full text - pdf) ) similar to the KC Metro.  Again, no enforcement, on your honor kind of thing, but it's good to see she understands the seriousness of the pandemic.  No changes here; up at 8, instead of 4, which is nice.  Attending church online - listening to the message comparing Jesus and the rule-bound Pharisees at Church of The Ressurection. People come before rules.  Others before Self.  Do what love demands.

(side note - the first thing I do each morning now is shoot a photo from the back door, sun, fog, rain, whatever.  One way of documenting each day. Today is sunny, light breeze and perfect temperatures.)

Sunrise, Sunday, March 29, 2020

(12:30) After church took a run to the grocery. Exceptionally well stocked; got just about everything we needed.  Good in-store preparations; sneeze shields for the cashiers, markers on the floor to keep people separated, plenty of cart wipes. Good times.

Back to remote work tomorrow. I need to run a couple errands before the day begins, so early up for me. I try to do my essentials as early in the day as possible.  First, fewer people out.  Second, most of the stores use the overnight hours to clean, stock and sanitize.  Third, more hours since potentially infected people have been around the products.  Granted, the virus can survive for hours if not days on hard surfaces, but it's a small help, giving 12 or 14 hours of time.  101 cases in Johnson County.

Welcomed 34 new members to our motorcycle club Facebook page tonight, including folks from Moscow, Canada, and Turkey.  Found out one of my old contacts from the Long Distance Riders group has moved to Costa Rica and opened a bed and breakfast there.  Interesting connections.  Guessing with the shelter in place orders a lot of folks are riding their keyboards and looking for connections with similar interests.

7PM here; going to wind down and wrap up for the day; hope to get an early start on tomorrow. Be safe, wash your hands, and keep your distance.

Postscript - a photo of a flower.

Daffodil in the back yard, 3/29/2020. Canon 90d, Canon 10-18mm@10mm.  f/4.5 for 1/160th at ISO 200.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Day 5, COVId-19 Lockdown KC Metro

I went to bed too early last night; so I'm up too early this morning.  (4:55 AM).  But the coffee is good. It's the weekend, so I'll avoid opening up the work software on the laptop so I don't get drug into the maelstrom of that on my day off.  Need some essentials today - canned chicken, etc. so since I'm up early I'll try to get to the stores early.  I also need to check with my mom about what she needs from the store.  More people out walking in family groups yesterday enjoying the nice weather. I'll assume even more will be out today.  I need to get out myself; I haven't gotten my 5,000 steps a day goal for the whole week! A big drawback to working from home is the very sedentary nature of it; you shuffle from bed to the table, to the couch.  Too early for a sunrise photo; perhaps in a bit. For now, coffee.

(9:30 AM) Up again, took a couple hour nap.  Weather is sunny, with no wind and high 60's.  I daresay it may be time to go seeking essentials.  As soon as I get another cup of coffee on board. For now, here is a photo of the morning.
9:15 AM, Saturday 28 May 2000
Coffee drank.  Anxiety up.  Storms may be a-coming. Perfect weather at the moment for a ride, but I just don't know about riding.  I'd hate to ignore a warning and get wadded - not sure if that's what's up with the anxiety or if it's just the second cup of coffee, or if it's the dodgy weather systems. It is Saturday, and 5 days of lockdown, so you can expect everyone and their pet dog to be out today. Perhaps it's a good day to pick up sticks in the back yard (bending and squatting - good exercise) or wash a car (again, good exercise).  Cold front passed us, the wind is coming to the West of us.  Calm right now.
Weather Fronts, Saturday 29 March 2020, 10:30 AM

(90 minutes later) - not calm now.  Winds have picked up, 10MPH with gusts to 25.  Grab some headphones and take a listen.  I shot a nicely recorded 4'33" clip of the wind, with windchimes.  See if you can hear the train in the distance.  Love that Tascam TM-2X microphone. A little processing in Davinci Resolve and you have a binaural surround experience. One of these days I'll figure out how to record 5.1 audio into a video track.  (oh - easy...)
(7:45PM) With the wind, dust, pollen and who knows what else, I'm plum tuckered out.  Still taking care of myself, staying inside, taking vitamins. Hitting the Benadryl as well to keep ahead of this and prevent a bacterial infection.  Would prefer to avoid doctors' offices as much as possible.  Unfortunately, the Benadryl leaves me very laggy.

Been more police activity based on the sirens.  Ensuring we have personal protection within reach at all times.  The wind put a crimp in my plans to head to an outdoor range to ensure the function of some of the long guns with new scopes, triggers.  Perhaps tomorrow, perhaps a half-day PTO during the week when it's more likely no one will be around.

Tomorrow I'll need to get out; hopefully less windy - need to get essential supplies for mom and us (milk, etc).  Hit the local store at 8AM and be in and out before the crowds and while the store is still relatively clean. Hopefully.  Today - going to wrap up with a chicken sandwich, some veg, and watching something on Science Channel.  If I'm still up perhaps I'll finish Star Trek : Insurrection tonight.

Closing out Day 5.  See y'all tomorrow.

- Will England

Friday, March 27, 2020

Day 4, COVID-19 Lockdown KC Metro

Good morning!  Quite the thunderstorm we had overnight.  The calibrated bucket hasn't been emptied or sorted out in weeks since I found a scout leader with a weather station two blocks up from me.  Let's see what his station shows for rain totals.  0.94" Rain totals overnight. Figured as much; its exceptionally damp outside and the sunrise has been rescheduled for a raising gloom.
'A Raising Gloom on Day 4, Friday 27-March'
Today we have a call to decide how to measure how we're advertising to you at the phone line level - "Add Insurance to your Phone Line" and "Upgrade your phone now - for less" and such.  We're doing this via an 'intelligent' system, so we need new measurements for it.  Thus, I get to explain to the wider team how we've done it before and how I see it working on this instance.  Since we're meeting with the team, I'll need to be showered and dressed for a video conference. New thing, this - we've never used video before in our meetings, but a few months back our Director (Senior Manager) cam back from a meeting with the high up people and shared with us that the 'Oak Row' leadership really likes to see peoples faces in teleconferences, so please use video. Ok, can do.  Just means dressing up on a cool lazy Friday.

Been keeping to a normal schedule this week of quarantine/lockdown for the COVID-19 virus.  Up at 7, coffee, shower by 8.  The only change is instead of 8:30 AM drive to work, I'm logged in my 7:05 AM, and working through till 5 or 6 PM. Telecommuting certainly adds hours to your workday.  Very pleasant, calm, and peaceful.  No complaints here. Another essentials run today; refill prescriptions at the pharmacy.  Be interesting to see how they are doing social distancing measures. If it drys out by lunch hour I'll take the motorcycle; otherwise, fire up the Subaru.  The oldest son has a day shift at the sandwich shop today. They're doing door side pick up and delivery only - no customers in the store.  The biggest risk for him is the driver coming and going is in contact with a few people.  Orders at the sandwich shop have been way off.  A few hundred dollars a shift vs a few thousand a month back.  The oldest daughter was furloughed from her position there.  Puts a crimp in paying tuition at the community college next fall for her.

Found the easiest way to do this journaling thing is to leave a Blogger post open in a window on one of the laptops all day, as I pass by and listen to the spring birds, I key in a few paragraphs.  I do like to write; always have.  I've gotten the occasional compliment on my writing by those few that read it. Used to write motorcycle trip reports.  Those have been curtailed for a long while, and this lockdown won't help matters any.  Perhaps again someday . . .

Been basically doing what I grew up doing - staying home, out of social contact, watching movies on Turner.  Back in the day, we had 12 or 13 cable channels on a push-button box, one of which was TBS; now the good movies are on TCM, Turner Classic Movies.  So, just like old times for me.  Closed out tonight with 'Destination Tokyo'.

And, a photo of the sunset to close Day 4.

- Will England

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Day 3 of the COVID-19 Lockdown

It seems the easiest way to journal about the daily activity and observations is to simply open a blog post first thing in the morning, leave it open throughout the day and make notes, add photos, etc and publish as I close out the day. 

Today has started out well - up with the alarm even though a book trapped me last night and kept me up until after midnight.  (Storm's Fury by Justin Bell and Mike Kraus).  The sun seems to be coming out this morning; you can hear all of the backyard birds with the door open. Perhaps today is a good day to move the motorcycles around and get out for a ride; almost time to restock some of the staple goods.  At the least, go for a walk; working from home does not provide the opportunity for walking downstairs and around the quad at the office.  My step count has taken a dive these last couple of weeks of social distancing. 
Sunrise, May 26, 2020
Work was slow. Continued quiet with birds singing.  70 and sunny this afternoon; swept the driveway, got the bike out for an errand.  Nice riding day; looks like rain and cooler temps coming in for the next couple of days.   Here's a photo of a motorcycle.  Rode for 8.4 miles according to Google. Nice loop out to get a photo tag and mail off a few things for Grandma.  Perhaps this evening I will get out the FJR for some essential groceries.
2018 Ducati Monster 821
I ended up cooking up 10 pounds of ground beef to stock in the freezer.  Put 2 cups in a freezer bag, it's about equivalent to one pound uncooked beef. House smells great now - warm and homey! Now to wind down for the evening for another sunrise getup.  Need to do some explainin at work on how we're wanting to track offers presented in the application.  Till then -

Will England

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Day1, Day2 of the COVID-19 KC Metro Lockdown

There is so little going on right now I'm combining Day 1 and Day 2 in one post.

Day 1

Online training all day from work - Adobe Launch.  It's a tool to help set up the rest of your Adobe Experience Cloud bits to measure and monitor your website or handset applications.  Yes, it was that exciting.  On a normal day, I would have stayed home to complete the training.  On a quarantine day, I stayed home to complete the training.  Couple of calls to swap between training and actual work. Our team isn't used to using forums (Teams) for communication, so I had to revert to email to get answers, and even those weren't forthcoming without someone wanting to have a meeting to discuss. So we'll have a meeting later in the week.

I delivered critical supplies to my mom down the street.  (cat food - sold out at the local stores). I took a photo of her very relaxed and happy cat.  Please enjoy this ObCatPhoto.
Received a case of Tilex with Bleach from a Janitorial Supply company.  Also sold out in local stores. And Amazon. And Walmart.com. So the only option was to order a full case of 12 to get any.  Decent disinfectant and cleaner. 

Breakfast - cereal. Dinner - uh? I watched part of a movie on TCM about the Navy in China in 1918.  The oldest son had to go into work at the sandwich shop (essential services, dontcha know?) for the evening.  They have one person in the shop (now considered the manager) and one driver for delivery.  No in-store customers allowed.

Day 2

Online training all day from work - Adobe Reports with Report Builder in Excel. (seriously thrill a minute here). Breakfast - fancy steel-cut oatmeal, small packet. Weather is warming but pushing a ton of fog up this morning.
We're supposed to write about our five senses, rather than a list of days activity.  Ok - it's quiet.  Everyone but me stays up super late and gets up super late - about in time for my afternoon nap.  The oldest daughter was up early this morning to do her college class on Zoom video conferencing, rather surprised me to see her before the afternoon!  It's comfortably cool outside and warm inside.  Grateful for central heat. With all the cleaning, it smells vaguely chlorinated inside. Been wiping the touch surfaces down with Tilex with Bleach.  Sense of taste is fine; having Almond Chicken for lunch. Thank you for frozen meals. And thank you (me) for bulk buying stuff on general-purpose.

Whats the feelings inside?  I'm pretty pleased.  I love working from home.  I love not having to be face to face with my coworkers.  Anxiety, introversion, just an anti-social bugger, you call it what you want, but limiting interaction to instant message, Teams forums, and email is the way to go.  Been checking in on my mom once or twice a day by text.  She's 79 and doing fine. We'll have to do a grocery run for her Thursday or Friday I'd imagine.  I'm the only one going in her house to limit any possible exposure since the wife and kids have a heck of a lot more social contact in their jobs - or did anyway before they were furloughed (mostly) for the quarantine.

Taking my vitamins and drinking Echinacea and valerian tea.  Maybe it'll help.  I like the taste anyway, so there's that.  Have to add that on the store list; down to the last box.

I spent my lunch break surfing through janitorial cleaning supplies. One way to get what you need, even if it is in case form.

I completed training, got my certificate and took a nap. Now off to welcome the new members to the MSTA Facebook group. Oh - and got the trash out too.  Feeling numb.  Same actions. Different day. Lockdown or no - each day is a mirror of the previous. Only the numbers change. So, here's a photo of a cat to close out the first two days of the COVID-19 lockdown blog post.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Recap: Spring Break 2020

Spring Break 2020.  Had a week and a half vacation time I'd lose if I didn't take it - so I took 6 days off work.  Kids were on break. And COVID-19 was up - all indoor activities closed down. Weather was cool to cold and damp, so indoor activities only.

For the week, we all stayed home.  I went to the store several times to get food, supplies.  People have stripped the shelves of everything storable.  Fortunately, we plan ahead and prepare and only needed fresh goods. By the end of the week, the panic in people's faces was replaced with amused resignation as is common in Midwesterners. 

My mom had a car accident - a 20 something girl blew a stop sign and hit my moms' car just in front of the front wheel.  Totaled out her 1998 Ford Taurus.  Just 5 blocks from home. Learned a lesson - I'd been leaving my phone on 'vibrate' to quiet the spam calls and annoying app notifications.  Mom wasn't able to get through to me.  We changed that up, adding her and a few key contacts to our favorites in the phone and setting 'Do Not Disturb, except for Favorites'.

She's fine; got her home and settled, insurance claim made with State Farm.  They very quickly settled the claim for far more than I expected they would.  Kudos to State Farm! 

We're now entering a mandatory 30-day quarantine for Johnson County, Kansas.  No teeth behind the quarantine, just asking people to follow the shelter in place rules.

Work is scrambling to change all the rules of the game to encourage customers to do all of their business online or through the handset app. So everyone has been busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger.  3 our of the 6 vacation days I was on calls, helping with reporting, identifying impacts to changes and learning about upcoming changes.

So, that was my spring break PTO.  I didn't even get a clear day to ride the motorcycle around the block.

- Will England

Day Zero

Tomorrow,we're on a 30 day quarantine in Overland Park. Today was my first day working remote.  Our team at work is very in-office focused, so this is odd to them.

So, me on Day 0.

- Will England

Tuesday, March 17, 2020


17--March--2020: All is well here.
Working from home.
Contemplating riding the motorcycle, even though it's not much above damn cold.
On PTO for the week.
Finished watching Alone on the History channel website.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Spend that Cash Now - COVID-19 Economy Fix.

Just spent an hour listening to the radio on how all these cancelled events are going to put a hurtin on small and medium local businesses.  All the public newscasters were wringing their radio hands about how the government needs to do something about it. It's not up to the 'gubberment'.  It's you and me. Us middle aged, middle class, basically healthy folks.

Any of us who *can* spend money please go out and spend money. Please tip heavily to those who *have* to be at work. Make a point to go out to your locally independent owned shops. Buy something extra. Tip the wait staff 40%. Too many people are cancelling events, travel and hiding in their holes. If you're 20 to 50 years old, salaried and in good health, get your rich ass out there and spend. That $10 tip on your $5 latte means the world to your barista.

While I'm out shooting photos of empty shelves this morning I'm going to Homer's Coffee House and getting a coffee. Then I'll go across the street and get breakfast at The Snack Shack on Santa Fe. And tip like a gangster. Cause we're all in this community together. Money in a savings account isn't going to keep that college kid or mother of two going. But if you spend your money, salaryman, they'll spend it again and again. 

And TIP CASH, not credit. It goes directly to the staff that day usually.

Shit - give $20 to that homeless dude at the top of the off ramp. He'll definitely spend it locally.

Oh - and wash hands!