Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

You wanna bet?

We did a little furniture shopping last weekend and it was interesting to see how stores were handling the process of reopening and how many people were out shopping. In some places, it was very much like going to the grocery store. We had to wait outside until we were invited in because the store was limiting the number of people who could shop at any one time. Signs were posted saying that masks were required and assuring us that customer safety was paramount. Inside, people maintained social distancing for the most part but part of retail shopping necessitates touching things and there was no way to avoid that. In some stores, sanitizer dispensers were prevalent. Other stores seemed less organized, crowded, with long lines at the registers.

On our way home, we passed through the parking lot of an outlet mall just to get an idea of how many people were shopping for things like clothes. Here, it appeared that the retail sector was recovering with much enthusiasm. The parking lot, as well as several others we passed, was full. Small businesses may be suffering or out of business but big retailers didn't seem to skip a beat.

We then stopped at a nearby casino. The lot was about half full in the parking structure where we parked on the fourth floor. We took an elevator which was marked with signs advising only four passengers should enter at a time. Stickers in the corners marked where each should stand to maintain social distancing. Similarly, stickers on the floor indicated where people should wait for their turn. 

We had no trouble getting an elevator and rode alone to the casino floor. There, it was a little more chaotic as we tried to navigate the entrance. There were several security personnel trying to corral people through a chute of sorts, marked by temporary rope (crowd control) barriers. As we funneled through the chute, we were asked to lower our masks briefly so they could take our temperatures, they said, but no one approached us and there were no other instructions. Just a lot of people standing around. We continued walking into the casino wondering which of the security guys had failed to take our temperatures.

As it turns out, our temperatures were taken by a thermal scanner as we walked into the casino.

It reminded us the body scanner depicted in Total Recall. We just walked in as an employee in front of a computer screen reviewed our images. (What else could they see besides temperature?) Lowering our masks may have had more to do with the overhead security camera or to verify we were of a legal age to enter. I have no idea.

The casino was packed. Social distancing was out the window. Masks among the customers appeared optional although most were wearing them. There were Plexiglas barriers between some players but otherwise, there appeared to be little concern with regard to movement and separation of customers. 

We weren’t there to gamble. We just stopped in to see the place and to get a drink but the bar was so crowded that we never got served and the lines were long enough that we didn’t want to order ourselves. So, we left.

Leaving was more chaotic than when we arrived. People crowded around to get an elevator back to their cars. In our elevator, a fifth person, not wearing a mask, joined us. She had been on her phone while we were waiting for our elevator and she appeared distracted so Hubby let her know there were only four to a car. She said, “So? You’re wearing a mask. You’re fine,” and continued on with her phone conversation. She had a lot more to say after she got off the elevator on the third floor. She made it clear to anyone within earshot that there was some jackass on the elevator bitching about the rules.

In the comments following an article about the reopening of Las Vegas, there were other people bitching - either about following rules or not following rules. As far as I'm concerned, how much risk versus fear you want to live with is up to you but have some respect. We don’t have to agree but we should try to get along with one another. Maybe there should be a mask optional section and a mask only section in casinos or stores. I don’t know but, personally, I don't plan on going back to that casino anytime soon. It's too hard to get a drink.

Besides, it didn't look like they were hurting for my business. I think they'll do okay without me.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Go back to sleep, honey, it was just a bad dream.

No, honey, nobody's going to get eaten alive. The two little pigs move in with their sister who was the smart one, remember? And she takes care of them (but only until they can get themselves back on their own two feet ... or is four?). You are perfectly safe. Daddy and I have been very careful about protecting our house. You know that, right? Our investment decisions are well researched and very sound. Better than money in the bank (which isn't really saying much these days anymore, is it?). Nobody is coming after us. Not the big, bad wolf (and certainly not SEC regulators ... right, honey, you took care of that?). Okay? Not anyone.

You just get some sleep because you are going to grow up to be successful and smart ... well, you're already smart, aren't you ... just like the big sister piggie. And, no, you will not have hairs on your chin.

That's just in fairy tails.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Not So Cute Anymore

"Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin" is not so funny when you get older. First of all, there are hairs on my chinny chin chin. Second of all, I can't see them anymore. I can only feel them.

And "huff and puff"? That's what happens when we go up stairs.

Forget about blowing my house down, will you? My home represents a significant part of my nest egg. You'd be dooming me to living on the streets. Worse yet, living with my kids.

Then, there's sibling rivalry over who has the better house, who's smarter. Sure, my house may be made of sticks but I'm comfortable, thank you. Think you can't knock over that brick house? House of cards, is what that is. A wolf might not be able to blow it over but an upset in the securities market will collapse that house in a heartbeat. Think you're so smart.... Hmf.

And, really, let's talk about words: pigs, little, and wolf. Are we body shaming or stereotyping? Words have meaning. Let's not belittle and shame the victims of this tyrant and while we're at it, who is this tyrant? Something that can hurt us or something that we're afraid of because they look different from us? Have we really gotten to know this "wolf?" Have we tried to understand the wolf's point of view?

Pull the covers up tight and sleep well, little ones. The story doesn't end well for anyone: everybody gets eaten alive. Get over it. Life isn't fair. Soon, you'll have hairs on your chinny chin chin as well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Excessive Heat Warning


* WHAT...Dangerously hot conditions with hottest temperatures to
  around 110 expected.

* WHERE...San Diego County Deserts, Coachella Valley and San
  Gorgonio Pass Near Banning.

* WHEN...From noon today to 7 PM PDT Friday.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Hell NO (or Yes, Hell)

We used to call them locusts but they're really cicadas. They gross me out. They're insects that lay eggs in the bark of twigs and branches. When they hatch, they burrow underground and don't emerge until they've matured seventeen years later. After that, they only live four to six weeks during which time they mate. And, terrorize little girls.

The first thing they do is climb a tree and shed their exoskeleton. Leaving a shell of their former selves behind, the males begin their mating song which can be quite loud because there can be, quite literally, millions of them.

After 17 Years of Quiet, an Army of Cicadas Are about to Emerge in Parts of The US | Science Alert

" Periodical cicadas are considered some of the loudest insects on Earth, and scientists say their alien-like wail can reach over 90 decibels, which is as loud as a lawnmower. "

They're not kidding about "an Army" either. In some parts of Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina they are expecting as many as 1.5 million cicadas per acre.

I remember when they came to northern Illinois in 1973. I was ten. I was so grossed out, I didn't want to go outside. It was like a zombie apocalypse except it was a swarm of bugs. They aren't little either. They are 1-2 inches long, black with large eyes, and they fly. And, they're literally everywhere.

Cicadas in Illinois | University of Illinois Extension

" In 1990, there were reports from people in Chicago having to use snow shovels to clear their sidewalks of the dead cicadas. "


I vowed in 1973 that I would not be living in Illinois in 1990, seventeen years later, and I wasn't. By then I was in Seattle - about as far away as I could get - and I haven't seen a cicada since.

I hope I never do.

(My skin crawls just thinking about it.)

Just a heads up if you are living in northern Illinois. The cicadas will be back in 2024. Known as the Northern Illinois Brood, they have a reputation for the largest emergence of cicadas known anywhere.

I'll be somewhere else.