Pandemic Continues

Well, doggone it, we’re over half of one year into the pandemic and still no real end in sight. Here’s where I’m at on the subject.

  • I think that it is real.
  • I think that it is potentially very dangerous, maybe not to all, but better safe than sorry.
  • I do think a lot of US deaths could have been prevented if there was better leadership from the top-down.
  • I sure as shit do not want to get it, partially for my own health and the family’s but also because it would mean having to quarantine at home for two weeks and not be able to send kids to school/daycare.
  • I always wear my mask every time I go out in public except on walks around the neighborhood.
  • I do my best to social distance and follow whatever guidelines they say to.


  • I am not really “hunkering down” like a lot of people I know.
  • I have continued to go to relatively crowded public spaces like gyms and occasionally restaurants.
  • I have traveled by plane three times since this all got real in March.
  • I am sending the kids to school and daycare without much of a second thought.
  • We continue to hang out with our neighbors at least once per week.

I think that probably puts me slightly to the left of center of things. I believe it is real and it could very well kill even an otherwise healthy person such as myself, but I’m not going to spend a whole year of my life (or longer) hiding away. I will continue to go out and do most of the things I did before, taking the necessary precautions and not being a total reckless idiot. I feel like Austin is taking things seriously, so going out to gyms and bars on occasion feels safe to me. And I really don’t regularly interact with anyone who would be considered high-risk.

After my most recent visit to South Dakota, I was super paranoid that I had contracted it even though I felt mostly fine, just a little fatigued, probably from traveling with a first grader. I went through a drive-through test in an abandoned Home Depot parking lot which felt very apocalyptic. The results came back in about 48 hours that I was negative, which I kind of assumed.

Lauren and I never did take our solo weekend getaways, by the way. I wound up taking John to South Dakota for the Grandma Bell memorial weekend, and now there is talk of Lauren possibly traveling for work again soon. Maybe we’ll revisit it later in the fall. It sure would be nice to recharge the old batteries!

Edie’s About to Turn 2

Special little gal Edessa Jane is nearing her second birthday. So far, I have not once experienced a child’s birthday where I was like “Oh my god, where has the time gone?! How can you be XX already?” Every year has been quite the opposite. Edie seems like she’s been here longer than two years. It is hard to remember a time she wasn’t! John feels like he’s been around way longer than six years too. I wonder if either will ever get to an age where I do experience that “oh, wow, time really did go fast!” moment.

Edie will not be having much of a celebration. First of all, there is a pandemic. Secondly, all of her family is so far away. Thirdly, she’s two, she won’t know the difference. Fourthly, we really don’t know any of her classmates’ parents. Birthday parties were the normal way to meet parents, but that was pre-pandemic. My guess is we’ll do something very low-key with our neighbor friends the Plumpes, whose daughter turns 2 two days later!

Meat Loaf Greets Dad

I dropped $100 to have Meat Loaf send a personalized greeting to Dad, who turns the big 6-0 this month, and whose business Dick’s Garage turns 40. Later yet this year, Mom and Dad celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Again, in a non-pandemic age, we probably would be having some sort of a big blowout on the farm. These Cameo videos are normally like a minute or two long, which is what I fully expected.

But not this one.

Meat Loaf, or Meat, as he wants us to call him when he’s not performing, sent me a video that was TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES long. We got to hear personal stories that may not exist anywhere else! We heard about how Hillary Clinton doesn’t like him, how he and Donald Trump nearly came to blows before the Primetime Emmy nomination ceremony, how he got his name, how he kicked an anti-masker out of a local Chipotle, and more. Best of all, Meat recorded several “commercials” for Dick’s Garage. Check out the video!

I am pretty sure Mom and Dad were Meat Loaf fans from their high school days when the original Bat Out of Hell came out, and I do remember Mom purchasing the Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell CD when that came out around 1993. So this wasn’t just because I’m a big Meat Loaf fan. You’ll likely remember John and I met Meat in 2016 and even appeared on Oprah’s Where Are They Now talking about the experience. I’ve also seen him in concert twice—Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, MN in 2003, and here in Austin a few years ago, maybe 2013 or so.