July 11 2021

Been quiet the last few days. Staying close to home as it’s been really hot when it hasn’t been raining. Looking forward to fall again. Only 50 days until the first college football games. It was so strange last year watching games in empty stadiums. I see the Olympics won’t allow spectators this year. I hope we can get enough people vaccinated that we can open up all over the world again.

While covid hasn’t been as rough for me as most people, it has been quite lonely at times. Glad I can do my psych doctor appointments by teleconference. I haven’t been to a general practice doctor since the pandemic started. I managed to get vaccinated in early May. A home health service sent two nurses to my home, had me answer some questions, and gave me the Johnson & Johnson shot. I didn’t even have to leave my living room. So thankful such people and services are out there. Internet shopping has been a godsend for myself. I can’t imagine how much worse covid would be had this happened back in the early 1980s. As far as loneliness goes, if my grandparents’ generation had to fight a world war, the least I can do is stay home.

Still lifting weights three times a week. Noticing some of my strength starting to come back. I force myself to stand up at least once an hour. If I sit for too long my muscles get sore and I have issues walking and doing chores.

Haven’t read much for traditional books lately. I am watching the Dune mini series that came out in the early 2000s. I’m not normally much of a science fiction fan, but this series is done alright. A friend of mine has been talking up the Dune and Foundation series for years. I read the first Foundation book last summer via audiobook. I have grown to love audiobooks. My college roommate’s dad was a truck driver who used to listen to audiobooks when he was on the road. I can understand why he liked those so much.

Don’t have much planned for the next few weeks. Cruise Night (a rally for classic cars) will be in my town later this month. And one of the main routes run right by my home. Since I’m on the top floor of my complex, I get an amazing view and I don’t even have to brave the hot late July temperature or the large crowds. It should be a huge deal this summer as the country is opening back up. I’ll just watch out my window and have the American Graffiti soundtrack playing, like I do most years. For my Independence Day, I replayed the Revolutionary War on one of my computer games.

I think I’ve finally gotten over my coffee addiction. I’ve had only five cups in the last month. For the first several days I was sleeping more and kind of irritable. I was probably going through caffeine withdraw. I am back to more normal sleep. Most days I’m up for good by 6:30. I usually go to bed around 11pm. Was up until 3 am a few nights ago. Haven’t stayed up that late in months.

I’m doing well overall even if I stay close to home. I usually have visitors in my cleaning lady and a couple neighbors a couple times a week. My neighbor is kind enough to help me with chores like laundry and mail once a week as long as I provide laundry soap and change for the machines. I guess after years of helping out others, I need the help now.

Middle Summer

Been spending my Independence Day getting in touch with friends and family. I was lazier than usual in keeping tabs on friends for the last couple weeks. I usually don’t have much going on during the summers. Still reading a lot, even if it is mostly online articles these days. Watched some of the UEFA tournament over the last couple weeks. Most of those games started late morning here in the US. I don’t watch much for traditional tv anymore besides live sports events. I’m looking forward to the Olympics later this month. I have no doubt that Japan will be good hosts. My favorite events to watch are the sprints and long jump.

Found out my complex has a new permanent manager. I haven’t met her yet. I usually don’t interact with management much outside of my annual recertification, and that is usually in March or April. Hard to believe it’s been almost a year and a half since I got my flooring replaced and my walls repainted. The only complaint I have about having vinyl floors is they are very slippery when wet. When my cleaning lady mops, I make a point to not walk on the floor for at least two hours. I slipped and fell in my living room several weeks ago. Since I landed on my hands and knees, I didn’t hurt anything. Just had to catch my breath and stand back up.

July and August are usually rough times for me. I have a seasonal aspect to my mental illness. Haven’t had much for flare ups so far this year. I hope I can keep this up.

March 22 2021

Another winter has passed. The weather is starting to warm and the spring rains are beginning. Corn planting will be starting in my home state in a few weeks. The days are certainly longer now. Easter will be first Sunday in April. And I’m beginning to adjust to the end of winter.

My parents visited over the weekend. My brother gave me a PlayStation 5 for Christmas. It is amazing. I have a couple games for it now. I have Madden NFL 21 and a first person game similar to Skyrim. The graphics and game play on both are mind boggling. Thank you Josh (my brother). I really appreciate the gaming console. I will get lots of joy out of it. Certainly a far cry from the 8 bit Mario Brothers games I played back in the late 80s. I don’t have any VR games but my nephew has a VR headset. My dad played a flight simulator game on it and said it’s quite realistic to a real plane (he’s a licensed pilot).

Been having more aches and pains lately. I’ve been lazy about taking pain pills and lifting weights the last few weeks. I’m starting back on those today.

Mentally I’m feeling stable. Exterminator is supposed to be spraying all the apartments sometime this week and maintenance will be replacing filters on my furnace soon. It’s good to see that routine maintenance will be resuming. The pandemic really changed a lot of things for everyone. Seeing my parents over the weekend made me realize how starved I was for in person human contact. I have essentially kept my in person socializing to a minimum for a year. Last I heard over one hundred million vaccines have been given in my country since Christmas. As sad as it is that my country didn’t handle the pandemic well, maybe we can turn things around with the vaccine programs.

Mid Winter 2021

I’m still staying close to home most of the time. I still spend a good chunk of my time listening to audiobooks. Saw the first two seasons of Black Mirror over the last week. Quite chilling about how bad people can abuse some of these newer techs.

I have been more aches and pains the last couple weeks. But they are usually worse in cold weather anyway. We’re supposed to get a real bad cold spell in a couple days that could last a week. So I won’t be going anywhere unless I have to.

Mentally been having minor flare ups again. Fortunately they don’t last long. I can weather them better when I am alone. Sometimes takes several minutes to get through them. But I make a point to avoid people during these episodes. I won’t even answer the phone or the door if they are bad enough.

I still keep in contact with friends and family several times a week. They are ready for this pandemic to be over too. My friend in Denver is planning on moving out of the city as soon as she can afford some rural property. Says things have gotten real bad in the cities, especially in the last year.

December 12 2020

We had our first snow of the Christmas season yesterday. Got several inches. Basically a good day to stay home. A mask mandate for our apartment complex is now in effect. I ordered a couple boxes of face masks. I told the manager of our complex I’m going to let her hand those out to residents. There are several shut ins and limited mobility people in here. I’m limited mobility myself these days. Thankfully I can have most things delivered to my place. And when I’m too sore to pick up my mail or packages, one of my neighbors will help me out. I gave him some masks as he is out and about a great deal.

Mentally I have some rough moments. Fortunately they don’t last very long. I usually just allow myself to rant and vent as long as no one else is around. It usually goes away after several minutes. I find that good sleep, a balanced diet, and easing off caffeine and severely limiting sugar helps with this. Usually happens a couple times a day. Mornings are usually the roughest.

November 19 2020

My hometown passed a temporary mask requirement ordinance at a city council meeting this week. It’s supposed to be in effect until February. The number of cases has spiked in my town. I wear masks when I meet delivery drivers and have guests. Have been for months. While I probably won’t be seeing my family for Thanksgiving, my cleaning lady said she would bring a couple plates of food.

I don’t have any plans for the weekend besides maybe watch some football. I’m still getting used to watching ballgames in empty arenas. I’m reading a lot again, mostly science articles. Found out that many of the audiobooks I was listening to on youtube were taken down recently. Likely because of copyright laws.

Weather has been nicer than normal the last several days. But we’re supposed to get chilly weather starting tomorrow. Today might be the last nice weather day for a long time. Most of the leaves have fallen now.

Mentally I’m feeling stable. Have some rough patches last week. But have felt better this week. I still don’t venture out much. I do check in on my neighbors once a day. I usually call my parents a few times per week. And I chat with my best friend via facebook a few times a week as well.

I saw that my supermarket is starting to limit the number of certain items people can purchase, especially paper towels and cleaning supplies. I usually bought a little extra in terms of food and cleaning supplies every time I got paid this summer. I should be able to bunker down for awhile if things get real ugly. I’ve heard that rural areas are now getting it worse than the big cities. Looks like it could be a long winter.

November 18 2020

Looks like I will be spending Thanksgiving alone this year. With the increases in covid cases, my elderly parents think it’s a bad idea to travel several hours to visit me. I understand. I’m thinking about buying a pre cooked ham and maybe a cherry pie. My cleaning lady said she usually makes a plate for her elderly or disabled clients. Even the local Knights of Columbus aren’t hosting their huge dinner this year (though I do think they’ll deliver to people who sign up a few days in advanced).

I’m not surprised that cases are surging again with the cold weather. I am disappointed that many people I know still refuse to take covid serious. I rarely leave my home because of this. It’s really childish to think that wearing face masks in public and avoiding large indoor gatherings are infringements on rights. It’s really discouraging to see just what most people are like in times of crisis. Yet, while the quantity of my social contacts has declined, the quality of my friendships and interactions are increasing. I no longer have the patience to tolerate rude, toxic, and reckless people. Maybe that is why I’m holding together well during the pandemic and economic problems.

I see that most of Europe is back on lockdown. While I think this is what the US needs (as people refuse to practice common courtesy) I fear there will be blood in the streets if anyone even talks about this, let alone tries to enforce it. It’s really discouraging. Seeing how poorly people are taking the problems of 2020 makes me afraid for the future. It’s hard to think a year or two down the road once this pandemic burns out when people actively fight against making things better.

November 1 2020

Just read that much of Europe is going back on lock down as the pandemic picks up again. I am still avoiding people for the most part. Most people I know aren’t taking this at all serious. I fear they never will even when they themselves get sick. So sad. And with an extremely hostile election coming in only a couple days, I fear the problems are going to get a lot worse. I hate what people have become. And it was completely unnecessary. I am told that socializing can help with mental illness. But most people I know, even people in my family and friends circles, have become toxic. No reason to socialize with people who will make me feel even worse. I’m sick of politics, even of people I agree with. I’m sick of science denial. You want to fear change, fine. Go to the mountains and live off the grid. Don’t take the rest of us with you. Stop trying to remake the world in your image. I’m sick of seeing rude and anti social people prosper for being rude and anti social. I’m pretty much ready to go on voluntary isolation until this all clears.

I’m Lonely But I Fear Socializing

Been staying home most days lately. I have started sleeping less overall. I do most of my socializing online and over the phone. Most of my friends are struggling during the pandemic. Two of my friends had to apply for rent assistance and are relying on food pantries. And this is while working full time jobs. Another friend of mine has had several nervous breakdowns, has stress induced migraines almost every day, and is afraid her company will start layoffs. Another friend of mine isn’t taking the pandemic very serious and thinks all the protesters are complaining over nothing and that we should lift all restrictions on everything and let the virus take it’s course. I have been avoiding him for the last few weeks. I had a major falling out with one of my best friends because he had become very nasty about his political and anti science beliefs. I haven’t talked to him in over three years.

I keep my social interactions very limited now. I find it frightening how hateful, spiteful, short sighted, and hopeless most people I know have become. About the only hopeful person I know is my own mother. Even my father is very pessimistic and depressing, but at least he isn’t hateful. I don’t talk to my brother and his family much because they are so busy with their careers. But then my brother and I never had a relationship. We just have nothing in common. Never did.

I’m in that part of my depression where I’m lonely but I fear socializing. I don’t want to die but I am afraid that the future will only be worse than it is now. Even though the science, tech, and medicine keep improving, the people I know keep getting angrier and spiteful. It’s draining. I hate not having much of a social network. But, what’s the point of having a social network if most people are just going to make me feel worse? I guess I swing from hopeless optimism to hopeless pessimism, often several times a day.

A Few Thoughts On The Changes Brought During 2020

This day is starting out well overall. I went to bed early last night and wound up sleeping on and off for almost twelve hours. Woke up stiff and sore but at least it was manageable. Thursday is one of my favorite days of the week as my cleaning lady arrives in the afternoons and there are usually a couple football games on tv too. It’ still strange watching ballgames without a crowd in the arena. I’ll be glad when this health crisis burns out.

Started writing a journal by pen yesterday. It might be helpful to have a means to write down my thoughts and observations that I wouldn’t normally put on a blog I try to keep family friendly. Mentally I am still feeling stable. I do have rough patches but fortunately they don’t last long nor are they bad enough for me to act on.

I make a point to leave my apartment at least once a day even if I don’t have deliveries coming. Met my new neighbor and got back in touch with some old ones. I don’t know much about my new neighbor except that he looks younger than I and keeps pretty quiet for the most part. I rarely hear him except for when he has guests and I can occasionally hear laughter. So maybe he’s a funny guy.

While the health crisis and economic problems have been rough on me, at least I haven’t had problems I couldn’t manage. I still see my psych doctor every two months via a service similar to Skype or Zoom. I’m scheduled to see him again in a couple weeks. I can get anything within reason delivered to my apartment via Amazon or one of the local supermarkets. I started having my groceries delivered about three years ago when I came to the conclusion I wasn’t as safe behind the wheel of a car as I used to be. I think I was one of the first people in my complex to have groceries delivered to my place on a regular basis. While I haven’t eaten in a restaurant since before the shutdowns started, I still occasionally get delivery pizza and can sometimes sweet talk my neighbors or cleaning lady into picking something up for me, as long as I pay for it of course.

I’m still kind of paranoid about being out of my apartment for long periods of time because of the virus. Some people aren’t always wearing face masks or properly washing their hands. I may be only 40, but being overweight and mentally ill probably puts me in high risk category already. So I socialize with friends and family on a near daily basis via my phone or facebook account. I keep my facebook account primarily to keep in contact with old friends and extended family I may not other wise. Perhaps that was the original intent of Mr. Zuckerberg and his partners, not so much the arguments and trolling that is still too common.

Been seeing more articles and videos online about people working from home. Even my brother and his wife sometimes work from home with their engineering jobs. I think I could have gotten into working from home had it been available when I started my working life in my early twenties. I found out the hard way as a teenager working in restaurants and retail stores that I don’t easily pick up on social cues or office politics like many of my coworkers. Sometimes it got me into trouble with coworkers and customers. But I think the mental illness problems were more to blame than anything. While it was tough to realize I lost my career due to problems beyond my control, I’m glad I went through the struggles in my twenties when I was still healthy and wasn’t set in my ways. Even though I’m 40 and still try to keep an open mind about most things, I found I don’t adapt as fast as I did even ten years ago. I may have had an easier time with office politics had I started my career from home. But I’ll never know. I’ve made my peace with my lost career and the family I’ll never start.

As tough as this crisis has been for me, I can’t imagine how tough it is for people with families, people who lost jobs and now can’t make their rent payments, for small landlords who can’t pay back their loans because their renters can’t make rent, for small businesses ranging from restaurants to dentists, and especially for the kids. I told one of my teenage nephews I wasn’t going to insult him by trying to imagine how tough this all is for him and his friends. My niece and nephews are at the age where kids learn how to socialize beyond family and classmates. And since much in person interaction is now no longer there, I think it will have a lifetime of effects on these kids. It might be similar to what my grandparents’ generation went through growing up during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl era. My grandparents frequently talked about the struggles of not having money or having to fix things that wore out because they couldn’t afford to replace them. And one grandmother always said “It will happen again.” I’m so glad my brother and I payed attention when my grandparents talked about life during the Depression and World War 2. I’m also glad I listened to my parents stories about growing up during the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movements.

I recall a podcast back in April when the host said something like “We are going to witness ten years of changes in the next ten weeks.” Between the increased emphasis of working towards effective vaccines, work from home being a thing, private space flight becoming common, civil rights protests in almost every major city (not just in America) on a near daily basis, drone delivery getting approved by the Federal Aviation Association, and of course major wildfires on the West Coast and the South taking a beating via hurricanes and heat waves making people take the threats of climate change more serious, I think the ten years of change in ten weeks was an understatement. We will eventually emerge from these crises. We will come out changed people on the individual and national levels. The next few years will probably be brutal for most people. Hopefully we can emerge better people and stronger societies as a result.