Captain’s Log, April 5, 2020
I always keep a running list in the kitchen for the next shopping excursion. Even though I foraged the previous Thursday, I decided to head out again on a Sunday morning. But, first I made some chicken stock from scratch — something from Mark Bittman, so simple that it could be called Chicken Stock for Dummies.
To a large stockpot, add 14 cups of water, a portioned 4-pound chicken, roughly chopped large onion, carrot and celery stalk, add a bay leaf, some sprigs of parsley and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook for 30–60 minutes. I do 60.
My leaving-the-house routine now includes:
Wiping down the garage door knobs
Wiping down the car door handle, steering wheel and gear shift
Putting on disposable gloves
Donning a mask
Wiping down the cart handle at the market
Maintaining distance in the store
Bagging my own groceries (since not allowed)
Unloading the groceries
Washing the fruit
Removing the gloves
Washing my hands
Wiping down the same areas at the top of the list.
The good news about “Thou Shalt Not,” like rubbing your eyes and itching your nose, is that scratching your balls and ass won’t contract the coronavirus. That is one smart virus.
For the fourth visit in a row, Vons was out of flour. The manager checked me out. Let me re-phrase that. The manager totaled my items in the checkout line. I asked him when he expects a new shipment. He hesitated, and the girl bagging my groceries said, “tomorrow.” I see management in her future. I asked, looking at the girl, “Does the truck come in tonight or in the morning?” This time the manager re-asserted his authority and said, “I was told tonight.” I will go mid-morning tomorrow and check.
I froze the chicken stock and separated the chicken from the bone and froze it for a later soup recipe — probably something Mexican with tortillas — those pesky Mexicans, again. See previous post.
In this time of a pandemic, inanimate objects have no soul and could care less about whatever angsts or fears you are experiencing. To wit: our refrigerator told us it was tired and stopped making ice and freezing, the cable box in our main TV viewing room went haywire, my glass frames broke, and the top rack in our dishwasher is slipping off one of its tracks.
The refrigerator required three repairs visits over six weeks to purr again — the last in mid-March and just before our imprisonment order. For over a week I set up an ice triage on the patio, buying bags of ice every other day and dumping them into three large ice chests filled with food. I was able to salvage about half of the previously frozen foods. Most the items in the main refrigerator stayed cold enough to salvage.
The cable box, dying of planned obsolescence, could not have given out at a worse time. Movies are now part of our imprisonment. Today, after two unsuccessful chats with Spectrum customer service over three days (does this sound familiar, “due to high demand, wait times are much longer”), I made an unscheduled trip to a Spectrum retail store (thankfully, deemed essential) to exchange boxes.
One would hope that with unemployment heading toward Depression levels, call centers, with proper spacing, would be hiring. Hope springs eternal. Eternal is how long we will have to wait.
New glass frames were supposedly ordered by my optometrist three weeks ago. I patched up the old frames enough so that they stay on my face as long as I am looking straight ahead. They fall off if I look downward, such as checking a recipe while cooking, or reading.
We will let the dish rack go for now. It is manageable at a time when repair pros consider houses virus incubators.
On the plus side, the car runs, we have power, the Internet is humming — no SOS flares launched to summon the Geek Squad — another day above ground.
An LA Times email alert just arrived saying that LA officials are urging residents to avoid shopping this week and stay indoors. Now they tell me. I am now shopping online for garlic. I hear it is now the price of gold or TP. Update on that — all garlic online web sites are out of stock.
I have been reflecting more on that The Ten Commandments’ Angel of Death slime visual I wrote about in a previous Medium blog. I think we should borrow more from that epic Heston film. Let’s use lamb’s blood to mark every doorframe of any house with at least one virus-infected person housed therein. Sort of a neighborhood Gestapo Patrol. Or, in my homeowners’ association neighborhood, let the architecture committee do it — same thing.
Too Jewish? And maybe that decentralizes the wrong kind of power. Too many of us should not be handed such authority. Let’s reverse that. Mark every clean house with an X, like in the Ten Commandments — sort of a 2020 version of Passover. If a Christian, you may have to convert to Judaism for this to work — worth a try. I think you can do that without having to learn Yiddish, or minimally Yinglish. Not sure where I heard that lamb’s blood wards off the viruses, besides from Charlton Heston. I was previously certain Chuck was one of the 12 disciples, but I couldn’t find The Book of Chuck in the New Testament.
If that does not work, use goat’s blood. If you don’t have either, use your firstborn’s blood. If that still doesn’t work, purchase at least a dozen bulbs of garlic, peel them and nail those to your front door. Voila, your home is now immune. Finding garlic might be problematic. Upshot — if you don’t have any lamb or goat’s blood or a firstborn or garlic, you’re a goner.
Tonight, my book club of 20 years will hold its first virtual book review. I did not read the book, Circe, but I will zoom in anyway. I am hungry to see faces and hear voices that are not my famdamily.
I am not a literary fan of fantasy, horror, magical realism, mythology or sci-fi. Circe is Greek mythology. I only have a passing interest in Greek, Roman and Norse mythology, enough to aid in conquering crosswords. I have an abiding interest in Greek, Roman and Norse history. There is a difference.
My book group selects 2–3 books from my least-preferred genres each year. I try to read them, and sometimes just give in and go along for the ride. There is good writing in all genres. I respect that. I am a feet-firmly-planted person who prefers living in the here and now, and says hit me with your best shot, but also likes historical fiction. We can learn from history, or should I say, we should learn from history.
I keep my fantasies to Juliette Binoche, Ann Archer and Julia Ormond, and still imagining I will find a penny stock that will make me a multi-millionaire — a penny for your thoughts if you have a tip.
Today, home county cases hit: 862. Total deaths: 14.