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Tue Mar 24, 2020, 05:22 AM

Day 9 of "isolation."

Well, at least I'm not going as stir-crazy as I thought I would (yet).

I've even made the occasional walk into town to buy some bread from a local baker and fruit and veggies from "Effendi," a Kurd who owns a shop selling both. We start out in Kurdish (mine sucks), then Turkish (mine almost sucks), and then both breathe a sigh of relief as we switch back to German (he knows no English at all). To him, I, too, am "Effendi."

Other than that, there's minor paperwork that I usually do after arriving home from some neighboring country (or Spain), and perusing blogs more often than I usually do.

Email, phone calls, total weirdness only being able to call people I normally see every week.

Our neighbors are fond of some of the local yummy stuff I can pick up in places like France, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland, and this has also come to a screeching halt.

The frequent distant roar from jets arriving at, and departing from, the airport has also diminished by about 75%. Friends and neighbors come over, but only one or two at a time.

We can't go see our daughter and granddaughter down in Königstein, because I was in Spain less than two weeks ago. For the same reason, my wife can't drive up to visit her mom, who is 92. She has to wait for both until next Sunday, when it will have been two weeks since I landed from Madrid. Our other daughter, the one in New York, was laid off from her job three weeks ago anyway. Her company was going down the tubes, so it was only a question of time. She joined some organization of volunteers that brings food to people who can't get out at all. Luckily her husband earns enough to pay the rent.

The last few days, it has been mostly sunny and a little greener here in the German Rheinland. A family of red squirrels is training for the summer Olympics on our back lawn, so there is that for entertainment when the tube gets tedious.

Oh, and I get to sleep late. I can usually count the number of days I can do that a year on one hand. Still being in bed after 5 AM more than 2 days in a row is a strange and novel thing to me.

My colleagues in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Spain are going just as nuts as I am. That is of NO comfort whatsoever. Our offices in the USA are closed except for skeleton staff in Dallas. Over here, it is the same for all of us except for our office in the Netherlands, which has the same status as Dallas. I can't even get there. EU citizens only. I MIGHT be let in, since I have a German legal residence card, but maybe not, too, and who knows if the Germans will let me back in if I make it there?

Weird scenes inside the gold mine (and outside the castle).

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Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
Reply Day 9 of "isolation." (Original post)
DFW Mar 24 OP
BatteriesNotNeeded Mar 24 #1
DFW Mar 24 #4
BatteriesNotNeeded Tuesday #17
malaise Mar 24 #2
DFW Mar 24 #6
BigmanPigman Mar 24 #3
DFW Mar 24 #5
TEB Mar 24 #7
DFW Mar 24 #8
a la izquierda Mar 24 #13
DFW Mar 24 #14
a la izquierda Mar 24 #15
DFW Mar 24 #16
SamKnause Mar 24 #9
DFW Mar 24 #10
NBachers Mar 24 #11
DFW Mar 24 #12

Response to DFW (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 05:53 AM

1. interesting to see how you are doing there

Here in Illinois, it's about the same. I'm pretty housebound most of the time, so not a big change for me, but husband was fired about 6 weeks ago, with severance package and company paying part of the Cobra, and he will apply for Social Security in May. He could have retired a year ago, but knew the company was getting rid of the IT dept and figured if he hung in there, he'd get a severance which is our saving grace with this shutdown in the country. We may have to help my oldest son, who had to close his business. He has a wife and three young children. We will do what we can to help him stay afloat. I raised my kids to be very independent and resourceful, and they would rarely ask for help, so we will offer to them. We're a proud family that way, but we all need help sometimes. Our summer travel plans are put on hold.

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Response to BatteriesNotNeeded (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 05:59 AM

4. We would be REALLY sad if our summer plans were to be canceled

Last edited Tue Mar 24, 2020, 07:10 AM - Edit history (1)

We fly over to the USA every year for four weeks in a rented house on the tip of Cape Cod. It's somewhat isolated, and we usually only get visitors from immediate family members (our daughter in NYC and her husband or my brother in northern Virginia).

We have been doing this for 35 years in a row now, and would be extremely unhappy to be prevented from coming. My wife is a German citizen, so if the US authorities won't let her in, I certainly wouldn't consider it a vacation sitting in that house all alone, no matter HOW spectacular the sunsets are (and they ARE pretty spectacular).

** on edit--I am still drawing my salary back in Dallas, but I am starting to have a guilty conscience about it. I can't do a thing to earn it for the moment, and it really isn't fair. Of course, I have been putting in 80 hour to 100 hour weeks for the last 40+ years, so it's not like I'm not due some overtime consideration, but I'm decently compensated for my time, so it's not like I feel cheated for the time I've put in. My outfit can be a difficult taskmaster, but the top brass also has a heart. Once we had one guy who used to be an effective employee back 'in Dallas until he got caught up in some ultra-"Christian" cult. He lost his wife, and, after trying to convert people in the office, his job with us, and that is a hard thing to do. But, in recognition of previous years of loyalty, we kept him on the books as an employee at a token salary so he wouldn't lose his health insurance coverage. We did this for six months until he found another job. I don't know of many employers that would do that.

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Response to DFW (Reply #4)

Tue Mar 31, 2020, 06:40 PM

17. changing travel plans is disappointing

especially when it involves seeing family. My MIL's birthday is in July and we planned a 90th birthday party for her, so now we're not sure that is going to happen. My brother and his wife were coming up in August for a few weeks and we were going to go to Minnesota to see them, but not sure that will happen. Either way, we'll figure out a way to celebrate. Next years big vaca to Scotland may be postponed a few years now. We have only take one other big vacation in our lives, and that was to Scotland. We had such a good time we want to repeat it, my sibs and all our spouses.

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Response to DFW (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 05:55 AM

2. Nice update

Stay safe

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Response to malaise (Reply #2)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 06:11 AM

6. By default!

I can't do anything that would put me at risk.

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Response to DFW (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 05:58 AM

3. It seems like everyone is taking this seriously.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #3)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 06:10 AM

5. Germany is, at least.

The penalties for ignoring the rules regulating outside contact were just published in the Düsseldorf paper today.

Fines from a minimum of €200 all the way up to €25,000. In cases of serious violations, even jail sentences of up to five year are possible. In Germany, you don't even get that for homicide. It's the typical sentence for armed robbery (for unarmed robbery, they let you off with a warning, and that is NOT a joke). One guy was just convicted of murdering his wife and burying her body in a canal. He got eight years. That was in the same paper as the new rules about contact with other people.

We all hope the restrictions bear some real fruit, because if they don't, there will be a lot of politicians looking for work after the next election.

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Response to DFW (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 06:30 AM

7. Your daughter lives

In a beautiful part of Germany when I was kid in west Germany I had great aunt and uncle that lived in Bayreuth be safe

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Response to TEB (Reply #7)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 06:34 AM

8. Bayreuth is nice country too.

My daughter's main office is in Frankfurt, so she and her S.O. looked for a nice town not too far away to live in and raise kids. Königstein is definitely post card pretty.

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Response to DFW (Reply #8)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 12:14 PM

13. Knigstein is lovely.

I love the MTK, having spent some time in Eschborn, Hofheim, and Eppstein. I wish I could find a job in the area. I’ve been watching the Nelle Neuhaus series and trying to pick out places I recognize.

Glad to hear you’re mostly doing well and thanks for posting.

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Response to a la izquierda (Reply #13)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 12:20 PM

14. I don't know if there are any kind of decent jobs in the area

My daughter lives in Königstein, but works out of Frankfurt. As she often (in normal times, anyway) has to make day runs over to Vienna, Zürich, Hamburg, London, and a lot of etc., having the airport halfway between her residence and her office is a big bonus.

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Response to DFW (Reply #14)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 01:42 PM

15. I'll be looking in Frankfurt and Kln

Last edited Tue Mar 24, 2020, 02:14 PM - Edit history (1)

for both jobs and law school. I’ve reached the limit on being a professor in the US. Time to do something different.

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Response to a la izquierda (Reply #15)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 01:47 PM

16. We have friends in K, family in F

And Köln is just down the road from us anyway. Let us know if you end up in the neighborhood.

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Response to DFW (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 07:25 AM

9. I started day 10 today.

It is really not unusual for me, because I am a hermit. (I have agoraphobia but being alone doesn't bother me.)

I hadn't been to the grocery since December.

I went last Friday, had visitors on Saturday (niece and her hubby) , started my count on Sunday.

I have 12 acres to keep me entertained. Wildlife on parade.

I love watching all kinds of movies, documentaries, TV series, political comedy, how to videos, etc.

I follow politics and the news. (Bit of a junkie)

I always have something to entertain myself with.

I LOVE being at home !!!

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Response to SamKnause (Reply #9)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 07:30 AM

10. I envy your perspective

I am feeling cooped up just staying in the same country for more than three days in a row, much less the same house.

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Response to DFW (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 07:48 AM

11. Your dispatches from your side of the world, wherever that may be at the time, are always welcome.

San Francisco life is similar. I'd been operating at a huge sleep deficit for years, and the option to go take a nap whenever I feel like it is a huge luxury. Unfortunately, that means I often wake up in the middle of my night-sleep, and have to wake up 'till I get sleepy again.

Our streets, when I've been out on errands, have been sparsely populated. News people and bloggers are featuring daily shots of empty streets and plazas. Unfortunately, some of our parks have been over-run. Ocean Beach, home of the Cliff House, has had a resurgence of foot & bike traffic. The Marin County coastal area has become so congested that the County has closed all parks - county, state, and Federal, in response.

I had planned a four-day inn-to-inn walkabout along the Pacific Coastal region in mid-April, leaving my apartment, walking through town and across the Golden Gate Bridge, and into the Marin Headlands. I've been hiking and stitching trails and locations; laying out maps, and working on the route for years, 'till I've got my trails all figured out. I had reservations at the right spots along the way, and would have been hiking through Muir Woods, up into Stinson Beach, and into Bolinas. The places I'm staying are hard to get into, and I had to coordinate my reservations way early. I'd still been toying with the idea of going, but the right thing is not to. I'm going to have to cancel my reservations, and look to next year. I was going to pass my 71st birthday in Stinson Beach. I wanted to prove to myself that I can still do the strenuous hiking involved. Next year I'll be a year older.

I'd come down with symptoms about 3 weeks ago. I took some days off work, felt better, went back, and then got hit hard, lost my voice completely. My doctor, through a phone conference, didn't think it was coronavirus, and prescribed some meds for sore throat and body aches. I couldn't get tested, because tests are still not available. I'm feeling better, and I've been cleared to go back to work April 1st. I work in a big local hardware store / lumber yard, and deal with a population from all corners of the world every day. Since I'm in the at-risk age range, I have my misgivings, but it's deemed an essential business to stay open, so I'll be there. I'm department head, and I've got to see how things are going.

I've had an infra-red sauna in my San Francisco studio apartment for 12 to 15 years. My first day at home, I turned it on, smelt a burning odor; the sauna shut down, so I unplugged it. It's probably the control panel, but I'm not going to mess with it. I'm looking at new ones, but prices are way high for a good one. I'm pretty committed to buying one and having it delivered anyway. It's just like having my own sweat lodge. The one I'm looking at is made here in Berkeley, and is featured in the Cleveland Clinic, and Hippocrates Health Institute. There have been big evolutionary jumps in home saunas over the last 12 to 15 years. I'm going to have to un-crate it and hump the components up 3 flights of stairs, assemble it, and get the old one downstairs and picked up. I'll have help.

We could get into the political situation, but I'll leave that alone, for now. We're all living with the consequences.

Stay safe, be healthy, and keep writing.

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Response to NBachers (Reply #11)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 12:08 PM

12. Thanks for the window to your end of the world

I've been to the Bay Area, of course, but never really did any serious exploring. It was usually to visit family/friends on the way to somewhere else. It was always a pleasant stop-off on the way from Germany to Hawaii or some such.

Ironically, we also have a dormant sauna in our house here. Neither my wife nor I were ever big fans, and when we saw the antiquated electronics, we just said let sleeping dogs lie. The guy who built our house came over as a young refugee from East Germany, was successful, and wanted a "hey, look at me" house he could show his relatives from the East when they got their rare permission to visit him in the big bad capitalist west.

Unfortunately, his ambition to have a fancy dwelling exceeded his finances at the time, and while the exterior of the house was solid enough, he did a lot of the inner guts himself. This may have been adequate in 1973, when he built the house, but it was Pleistocene by the time we bought it, and the inner guts of it turned out to be more something the three stooges would have left behind. One day, shortly after we moved in, we had a short circuit and called an electrician. We thought he would be done in an hour or two. He was here for a week. Some of the electrical sockets were putting out 400 volts or more (220 is normal), and he said the only surprise left was that the house hadn't burned down long ago.

Moral of the story--we never even dared try the sauna. There are some buttons and dials, but we don't know what they are for, and burning down the house is not an acceptable price for satisfying our curiosity.

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