May 9 2021

Other than a few really hot days, it’s been a chilly spring. We’ve also had several good rains. Hopefully enough to ease drought conditions. I usually leave my windows open during the day and close them right before sunset. Still gets chilly at night.

Had my covid vaccine. I took the one shot Johnson & Johnson. Didn’t have any side effects. The nurse was so smooth with the needle I barely felt it go in. My mom is a retired nurse and always prided herself and causing as little pain as possible for her patients.

Today was Mothers’ Day. I called my mom. My brother had some flowers delivered to her house. She and my dad went out for Chinese after church services. My mother is one of the big reasons I’m still on social media on a regular basis. Even though I call her three to four times per week, she still likes checking in on her boys. It doesn’t matter that I’m in my forties and have a few gray hairs, I’m still her kid.

I think I actually lost weight during my self quarantine. Most of my clothes I bought are now quite baggy. I have to buy extra tall clothing because I am taller than most people. My torso is actually longer than my legs. I had a doctor tell me if my legs were any proper proportion to my torso, I’d be almost 6 feet 10 inches. As it is, I’m 6 feet 2 inches. So I ordered a couple shirts through Amazon.com that are a size smaller than I normally order. They should be here in a few days. As I live in a rural area several hours away from major metro areas, I don’t get next day delivery. But I told one of my cousins who has grade school age kids, her kids will someday be nostalgic for the UPS or Amazon man the same way she and I were for the Sears Christmas catalog.

Overall I’m doing alright. Had a couple minor breakdowns since Christmas. But they were quick to pass. I’m not as paranoid as I used to be. I don’t hear footsteps out in the hallway or knocks on my door from people who aren’t there nearly as often. Footsteps and knocks at my door are two of my common auditory hallucinations. Another one is my phone ringing, especially if I’m in another room from my phone. I usually leave my phone sitting on my desk unless I leave my apartment.

Spring has gone fast. I’m feeling less stress overall. I’m to the point where I’m the one encouraging my friends and family more than the other way around. It will be interesting to hear people’s stories about what they did during the Covid pandemic of 2019 to 2021. I imagine many people took this time to retrain for higher paying jobs. Some probably got in better physical shape. Some probably learned to play a musical instrument or learned a foreign language. Some may have made lots of money investing their stimulus money. And I am grateful for the grocery store workers, delivery people, truck drivers, nurses, doctors, research scientists, etc. that made this pandemic more bearable. It’s one of the first times I ever saw when doctors, nurses, scientists, etc. were as publicly respected as tv stars, politicians, business tycoons, etc.

Quarantine Journal: March 25 2021

Doing well overall. Started lifting weights again. I’m taking vitamin D supplements and I think it helps with the depression and anxiety. Met my new landlady a couple days ago while I was waiting for a delivery man. I think she will make a good manager.

I’m thinking about signing up for a home health service to see if I can a covid vaccine at home. Without a car I’m essentially home bound unless I want to hire an Uber driver. I’ve heard that many places are starting to have spikes in case numbers again. For as many problems as my country had in the first several months, we have gotten vaccines out faster than I thought we would. I’m thinking where was this level of focused action one year ago? Many people died that didn’t have to.

While I don’t socialize much in person, I leave my door unlocked during daylight hours in case anyone wants to drop by. My neighbors and I check in on each other a couple times a week. I’m having fewer aches and pains the last few days. Maybe I’m doing something right.

Still stable mentally. Had one flare up in early January but it was short lived. Haven’t had any since. It does get lonely sometimes spending most of my time at home and by myself. But I am still prime target for covid and there are still lots of vaccinations to go. This thing isn’t over by any means just yet.

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.

Feb 4 2021

Woke up to at two more inches of snow this morning. Supposed to get real cold starting in a day or two. Thankful I have some extra food and blankets in case I can’t get out. Sounds like it’s supposed to be the worst cold spell of the winter so far.

Still keep in contact with my family several times a week. My dad had a birthday a few days ago. Didn’t get out to celebrate as his back is really hurting now. He has an appointment with the VA soon to see what his options are. Mom is doing alright. She picks up their grandkids from school a couple times per week. My brother and his wife have been working longer than usual hours lately at their jobs. My parents had their first round of vaccines two weeks ago. They’ll try to get the second round within a week or two. As I’m neither senior citizen or front line worker it could be summer before I’m eligible for mine. I’m still amazed at how fast several vaccines were developed. And not just by only one or two nations. A lady my parents bought some land from several years ago died from the pandemic. I’ve had three friends who’ve gotten sick. All three made recoveries. After a year of pandemic, hopefully we are getting close to this thing burning out. My former neighbors said they are going to host a major cook out once this thing gets under control and most people get vaccinated. I’m starting to save my money for some really good stuff. He said he’d do all the cooking if a few of his friends supplied the meat, vegetables, and desserts. I won’t argue with that.

Been doing more cooking regularly. My personal favorite is cheese and potato soup. I kind of cheat and use a mix that requires only boiling water. But I can make turn out well, especially when I add a bag of vegetables or even some Ramen noodles. It can be kind of messy but it tastes real good. My cleaning lady joked she can tell a good cook from how messy their kitchen is. When I was in college and working as a cook for a pizza restaurant, I was told you could always trust a fat cook.

Keep in contact with some old friends regularly. My friend in Denver is saving up to buy a few acres near a small town. She said she wants to eventually have several streams of income besides her regular full time job. She and her sisters were astute business people even as kids.

Back to lifting weights again. Had some bad pain in my elbow for several days to where I couldn’t lift much without pain. Took over a week to clear up. But it’s back to normal now.

I still drop in on my neighbors a few times a week. We check in on each other. My closest neighbor and my cleaning lady are the only guests I have on a regular basis anymore. I haven’t even had a chance to meet my new landlady. I’ve talked to her over the phone a couple times but haven’t met her in person. I’ll have to see her to get my lease renewed sometime this spring. But that’s usually only fifteen minutes of paper work. It’s almost routine now. Barring anything major, I will have been in my current place fifteen years this summer.

It’s been almost a year since I had my floors replaced. I have the vinyl floor instead of carpet now. It’s much easier to keep clean. The only drawback is that it is slippery when wet. But if I stay off the floor for an hour after the mopping is done it is safe to walk on. Almost slipped in the bathroom a couple times after sloshing water out during my showers. Solved that problem by covering the entire bathroom floor with towels before I shower.

Don’t know if I’m losing weight, but I am more flexible now than even three months ago. My stamina is slowly coming back. My muscles are as strong as ever but I don’t have the steam I did even three years ago. Thankful my mind is still sharp and the ups and downs of schizophrenia are easier to manage.

I still sleep quite a bit. But if I stretch for a minute or two before getting out of bed every morning I am better off. Usually take over the counter pain reliever once a day, usually with breakfast. I now limit myself to only one cup of coffee per day. Too much coffee makes me irritable. I don’t eat much sugar anymore. The only times I have soda pop is when I order delivery pizza. I don’t even keep bread in my house.

Overall I’m weathering the winter and pandemic well. Have been watching where I go and avoiding large crowds for a year now. This has to be brutal on most people, especially kids and front line workers. I can imagine people that are kids and teenagers today talking about these days like their great grandparents talked about the Depression and World War 2 to their own kids and grandkids long after I am gone. Sure it does get lonely sometimes. Thankful this didn’t hit before the age of internet and free long distance calls. My dad was telling me that when he was in the Air Force in the 1970s, a long distance call from Japan to the USA was four dollars per minute. That’s mind boggling to even me and I didn’t regularly use internet until I was a junior in high school in 1997. Makes me wonder what else is going to happen within the next couple decades. I can’t even begin to imagine the world my nine year old nephew will inhabit when he’s forty in 2051.

November 21 2020

Stayed up late again last night. Been listening to audiobooks quite a bit lately. Bought some groceries yesterday. Looks like I’ll be spending the rest of the month at home. My town passed a mask mandate through late February 2021. Glad I bought a box of masks last week.

The loneliness gets to me sometimes. I’m not irritated or paranoid about it. Just kind of sad. 2020 is going to be a year for the history books. And in almost every way imaginable. I’m still amazed workable vaccines were developed in only one year. I just hope enough people use these vaccines and practice preventative measures enough we can end this pandemic soon.

I doubt we will have a complete return to the normal ways of previous years. I don’t plan on doing much shopping in person anymore. I’m completely at ease for having doctors’ appointments online. I already got rid of my car last year. I had grown to hate driving the last few years before I gave it up. I have gotten pretty decent at cooking my own meals. I enjoy watching movies in my own home with my own snacks and no one kicking the back of my chair. I have thought for years that doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers, etc. don’t get the recognition and respect they deserve. I think the same way about delivery drivers and minimum wage workers.

Progress didn’t stop during 2020. It actually sped up, often out of necessity. I read a couple days ago that now over 65 percent of the world has internet access and over 90 percent now has electricity. The change over to renewable power is going faster too. Read another article a couple days ago that over 90 percent of new electrical generating capacity is now clean energy like wind, solar, hydroelectric, etc. Politicians can talk all they wish about saving the coal and oil industries, but even the economics of cheaper renewables are working against this. It is now profitable to install green tech. I don’t think some of my friends would have seen the free market as ushering in green tech. Maybe we will head off the worst of climate change because the finances now make sense. Pity the tech wasn’t there twenty years ago.

As far as other progress goes, I read some places are now experimenting with flying drone taxis. Supposedly Dubai is supposed to have this service within the next two years. So everyone complaining about no flying cars can finally keep quiet and fly off. Personally I think a person born in the late 1800s, if they saw the world today would probably be more impressed with internet access than anything flying.

As bad as this pandemic has been, it could have been so much worse. Even if this would have hit back as recently as the 1980s, it would have been much uglier. I’m still amazed at how much work can be done from home. Couldn’t have done this without reliable internet. With vaccines set to be mass produced, I can start to see the end of the pandemic is in sight.