November 2021: Life in the COVID-19 Era

November 1, 2021

For a change, I felt like doing things today and I did.  I was busy the entire day including a couple of physically-demanding chores.  But this day was very, very strange because I spent almost the entire day without Lynn.

We ate breakfast together then I headed for Central.  I wanted to get some Treasurer’s work done prior to 9:00 when Sam Richardson joined me to count yesterday’s offering.  I was mildly successful in getting all I wanted to do behind me.  Since today was the first day of a new month, I wanted to reconcile Central’s four bank accounts but I could only get two done because the October statements for two of the accounts weren’t available yet.  It usually takes First Bank in Staunton about one full day to get everything posted on-line.

So I hustled on home after making the deposits, the two reconciliations, and, as usual, entering the givings into the Servant Keeper software.  I didn’t have much time for lunch because I wanted to get the grass cut this afternoon because the weather was fantastic.

I only got about half of it done before 12:30 came.  I debated about returning to Central to help unload the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank truck with the food for this week’s Food Pantry.  Part of me wanted to stay and finish the grass.  But I read again where Caroline Jones said the order was huge so I ran back to Central.

I got there just as the truck was starting to unload the groceries.  Indeed, this was a huge order—over 2,600 pounds.  Usually there are several men and women who help transport the food from the parking lot into the Food Pantry where others stay in the Pantry, unpacking and shelving it.  There are at least a half dozen men who assist, from time to time, in transporting it from the parking lot to the Church.  Today I was the only man there.  This was the physically-exhausting activity I referenced at the beginning of this blog.  A few women helped with the transport but much of it was left to me and, thankfully, to the truck driver who assisted.  In the middle of all this unloading, a man showed up to do the elevator inspection and no one else knew how to find keys to the basement for him.  So I took a quick detour to help him then resumed carting food, much of it on a two-wheeled dolly.  I was plenty tired when the last case of food was moved indoors.

I didn’t stay to help shelve the food—there were plenty of volunteers there—because I really wanted to get the grass cut.  And, I had plans for going to the trash dump today because Ann had told me their trash was overloaded due to issues they had with their refrigerator.  I hustled home and cut the remaining grass except for a little push mowing.  Then I quickly threw our trash in the back of the truck and drove to Ann’s.  Fortunately, she was able to come home from work early and helped load the paper trash. 

I got to the dump and back home with about five minutes to spare before Freddie’s bus came.  Just enough time to get the push mower out and finish the grass cutting!  I could see Freddie’s bus coming down Leaport Road as I put the mower away and ran back to greet the bus.

Freddie and I played some basketball outside then went inside and played Wii-U.  He just clobbers me at every Wii-U game we play and seems to love his dominance.  I just grin and bear it.  At least I won one game of around-the-world on the basketball court though he did beat me at PIG.

By 4:30 we had more company.  Henry had come over to do another set of Calculus problems.  I knew from the topic he was studying that this would not be a short assignment.  He said it was due at the end of the day tomorrow.  And, Augusta County Schools doesn’t have school tomorrow, so he said he’d have time to finish if we didn’t get it all done.  There were 22 problems in the assignment, I believe.  We got 18 of them done though the last four were going to be quite long.  I told him to try them and, if he needs, I could help him with them tomorrow afternoon.

As I’ve written before, I enjoy working these problems with Henry.  The math comes back to me fairly rapidly.  Henry’s math skills are very, very good.  We always work the problems simultaneously and compare answers.   I’d say that 90% of the time we agree and are both correct.  Half of the time when we disagree I’ve made a careless mistake; the other half of the time he’s made the minor error.  But he knows what he’s doing.

After he left, I heated up some leftovers for my dinner.  Lynn had left home before I got home from Central this morning to go to John C. Myers Elementary where she interpreted for meetings the whole day. 

Tomorrow is the big gubernatorial election in Virginia.  The more I hear of the polling, the more I’m afraid Glenn Youngkin is going to beat Terry McAuliffe.  I don’t think Youngkin has been honest about his Trump connections and certainly don’t like his ideas of charter schools and no mask or vaccine mandates.  I think he’s pulled the wool over the eyes of Virginians who don’t see his Trump-like tendencies.

At least if the Democrats lose, there’s a way out.  Apparently the thing to do nowadays is to claim the election was stolen and keep preaching this over and over until people believe it.  No evidence of the steal is necessary.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 1         Infected                   Died

World             247,789,185           5,019,275   5,000 deaths per day in the world….

US                     46,882,163              766,895   Only 600 new deaths since yesterday            

Virginia                 927,999                13,984   3,200 cases, 77 deaths since Friday                

Augusta County       10,191                     128   23 new cases, 2 new deaths since Friday

            Vaccinated

Virginia          11,551,524  (5,369,453 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 83.2% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 62.9% of the total population fully vaccinated)          .

            Augusta County        83,547 (39,553 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Lynn and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.3% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now.

November 2, 2021

This is the long-awaited election day.  As I am writing this relatively late in the evening, the Governor’s race is competitive though Youngkin has a rather large lead.  Only 51% of the vote has been counted thus far. 

My tennis got rained out today.  I was really hoping to play for the first time in a few weeks.  We’re going to try again on Thursday.

Lynn had two interpreting sessions scheduled but there was a no-show at one of them.  The only thing on my original agenda was tennis but when it got canceled I had time for other things.  For one, Lynn and I went to Central and got two boxes of food, one for Juan Pablo and the other for Connie Rohrer’s daughter, Missy.  We later delivered the boxes to Juan Pablo and Connie.

Betsy came over for some math help this morning.  Her work didn’t take long.  In the afternoon, Henry came over to finish his Calculus assignment we began yesterday.  We got it finished rather quickly even though the problems he had to work were long.

Tonight, in addition to delivering the food boxes, we went to Kroger for some groceries and to pick up a prescription for me.  The Medicare Part D (prescription) plan I have only allows me to get my prescriptions from Kroger.  That will change when I change plans during this month.  I’ve picked a different plan for next year which not only will save me money but will allow me to choose among Kroger in Staunton, Walgreens in Verona, or Costco in Harrisonburg.  Right now I’m not sure which one I’ll pick.  Kroger has messed up my prescriptions throughout this year; indeed, today they had only refilled one of my prescriptions despite the fact that I had called in for two.

My wonderful wife made me an apple pie today for my birthday.  She knows I love apple pie.  I had my first piece tonight after dinner.  Yum!  I don’t have anything scheduled special tomorrow.  Freddie’s bus comes at 3:15 and that’s the only thing on my calendar thus far.

Today the CDC approved vaccines for ages 5 – 11.  As soon as the head of it signs off, vaccinations can begin.  I’m not sure how quickly Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie will get theirs.  Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

November 2         Infected                   Died

World             248,218,929           5,027,402   5,000 deaths per day in the world….

US                     46,983,059              768,568   1700 new deaths since yesterday       

Virginia                 929,244                14,020   1,200 cases, 36 deaths since yesterday           

Augusta County       10,195                     129   4 new cases, 1 new death since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia          11,580,455  (5,374,259 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 83.3% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 63.0% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        83,638 (39,574 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Lynn and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.4% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now.

November 3, 2021

My 71st birthday!  I have to say that there is nothing special about turning 71.  No doors are opened because of that number, no new decade to celebrate, no break in costs for anything, just a feeling of getting older.

The day did begin great for me in that Lynn gave me three very sweet cards.  We didn’t have much time for breakfast, though, because she wanted to be at Aldi’s by 7:30 AM.  Cheryl Kent met us there.  Today was the first day their Advent calendars were put out and Lynn wanted a bunch of them.  She got two of the coffee calendars, four of the cheese calendars, one of the Hot Wheels calendars, and two Minecraft calendars.  They didn’t have the chocolate calendars she wanted.  Perhaps they will show up later.

From Aldi’s we went to the Dollar Tree as she was looking for some Christmas trees she found in Harrisonburg and Timberville.  Lynn loves the hunt, the looking and finding of items put on sale.  Unfortunately, she didn’t find more of the trees in Staunton.  She wants them for the annual Hill Christmas Party scheduled for December 18.

Our next stop was at Kroger where I waited twenty minutes for the pharmacy to open only to find out that the prescription they neglected to fill yesterday wasn’t ready.  After I spent a few minutes sitting down in their waiting area as it was supposedly being filled, the technician told me that they were out of this drug so it couldn’t be filled today.  She said they would get it in later today and I could get it tomorrow.  My experience is that I’ll go through all of this again tomorrow.  You can see why I’m anxious to switch my Medicare Part D (prescription) plan for 2022.

I’ve been alternating between mourning and anger today over the Virginia elections.  The Republicans won all three statewide offices by a couple of percentage points.  Just two years ago, Joe Biden beat Trump by 10 percentage points.  I believe Democratic Senators Manchin and Sinema are to blame for this embarrassment.  They have held up Biden’s agenda for a month now, leaving people to believe Democrats can’t get anything done.  It didn’t help that a month ago McAuliffe put his foot in his mouth when he said that parents shouldn’t have a say in what is taught in schools.  Youngkin did a good job of keeping Trump out of the state and at an arms length while welcoming his followers to vote for him.

The exit polls were very telling.  According to CNN, Youngkin carried male voters in this year’s election by a roughly 12-point margin, White women without college degrees by almost 50 points and White evangelicals by about 78 points.  In general, Youngkin won the white vote and the uneducated vote.  In this race, Democrats supported McAuliffe overwhelmingly as did Republicans supporting Youngkin.  The difference came in the independents where Youngkin had a 9 point victory.  Biden had beaten Trump by 19 points among the independents.

Of course, Trump took credit for the win.  The news media pointed out that Youngkin’s win was because he kept Trump out of the state and away from his messages.  McAuliffe did not do a good enough job of turning Youngkin into Trumpkin.

Almost as upsetting was that the Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General spots also went to Republicans.  I found a picture of the new Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears supporting an AR-15.  Seriously, is this what we’ve come to?  I texted to our Family group text:  Well, the election didn’t go our way, no surprise.  I guess our next steps are to claim the election was stolen, keep repeating that for ten months, and soon everyone will believe this.  Of course, no proof of this claim is necessary.  

I did get nice birthday texts today from Kay, Josh, Becky Allen, and Gus.  I had Facebook birthday wishes from cousins Judie Allen, Greg Murphy, Bev Eller, Kay Grace, Lansing Hill, and Jo Sloan as well as Sandy Porterfield.

Lynn and I spent a major part of the day running from store to store.  Our first stop was at Smiley’s new store in Bridgewater for an ice cream lunch.  Then we went to the Dollar Tree in Dayton, followed up by Target in Harrisonburg, then Aldi’s in Harrisonburg.  We got home in time for Freddie’s bus.  Betsy came to our house after school, too.  She and I did some math together then Freddie and I played Wii-U.  You know what that means—I got clobbered again.   I took them home around 5:00.

Lynn had made me a wonderful apple pie for my birthday and I wanted to share it with Ann’s family.  So we invited them to eat a slice of the pie with us around 6:15 so Betsy would have plenty of time to make it to her play practice in Waynesboro.  After we finished off the pie, Lynn and I went to Staunton for dinner at The Depot.  She had her favorite Toosday Chicken Salad and I had a French dip sandwich.

Jim and boys connected with us via Facetime before we left for dinner.  Kay and kids did the same when we got back from Staunton.  It was certainly fun to see all of the grandchildren today.

It’s official; 5 – 11 year olds can get vaccinated now.  I hope Thomas, Georgia, and Faron get their shots soon.  Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 3         Infected                   Died

World             248,680,276           5,035,010   8,000 deaths per day in the world….

US                     47,053,560              769,954   1500 new deaths since yesterday       

Virginia                 930,679                14,052   1,400 cases, 32 deaths since yesterday           

Augusta County       10,234                     130   39 new cases, 1 new death since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia          11,621,455  (5,374,235 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 83.4% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 63.0% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        83,819 (39,591 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Lynn and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.4% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now.

November 4, 2021

I had hoped to play tennis today but I ended up canceling it last evening when Lynn pointed out that if Juan Pablo didn’t back out of his tutoring session today, I’d have to take Betsy to dance because she couldn’t.  Juan Pablo has backed out over and over from these tutoring sessions so it was no surprise when he texted her this afternoon pulling out again.  But at least this time he had a legitimate excuse—he had to report to the police department to answer a summons as to why he was not attending school.  Neither Lynn nor I were surprised this came about.  He apparently has some depression issues but she hasn’t been able to help him much at all this year and he will very likely not graduate now.

I spent the morning at Central doing my Treasurer duties.  I finished reconciling all of the bank accounts.  They came out perfectly.  Then I did the October monthly reports.  Next I set up payroll for November 15.  Finally I got the mail where I found two bills which I then paid.   After finishing up at Central, I went to Kroger and picked up my prescription which they had bungled for the past two days.  Once I got there, Lynn let me know that Elizabeth said she would like to have a food box.  So I went back to Central and put together a box of food for her family.

This afternoon I spent a good deal of time making Henry a birthday treasure hunt.  What made his different from all the others I’ve done is that I used a former Calculus test of mine to create the questions.  I chose a test that I had given in 1988-89, the last year I taught it in high school, and created his treasure hunt using its questions.

In the meantime, Lynn had her Cheryl friends over for a chilly chat session outside.  Today was a very cold day with highs only in the 40’s.  Thankfully, the forecast for this weekend looks much better.  At the WVU – Oklahoma State football game on Saturday, Lynn and I should be sitting in sunny 58o weather.   We leave for Morgantown tomorrow morning.

Henry stopped by after his school because he wanted me to go with him to Simmons Auto so  a they could have a look at a busted exterior mirror case.  Apparently he got side swiped near his home and the case surrounding the drivers side mirror was broken.  We took both his and my car to Simmons because I had to leave by 4:10 in order to get Betsy to dance. 

I was able to get her there in time then I came back home and warmed up some food for dinner.  Lynn got home a little after 5:00 and we ate hurriedly because we then headed to Elizabeth’s to take her food to her.  Tonight, Clymore Elementary School was having a fund raiser at Smiley’s.  Freddie is the only grandchild left who attends Clymore but it turned out he was home without his two brothers (basketball open gym) and sister (play practice), so we picked him up and went to Smiley’s to support Clymore (and enjoy delicious ice cream).

Kay called this evening and told us that she was taking Thomas and Georgia to get their vaccines next Thursday.  Hurrah!

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 4         Infected                   Died

World             249,306,445           5,044,371   9,000 deaths per day in the world….

US                     47,185,878              772,240   2,300 new deaths since yesterday      

Virginia                 932,173                14,089   1,500 cases, 37 deaths since yesterday           

Augusta County       10,242                     130   8 new cases, no new deaths since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia          11,653,636  (5,384,942 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 83.4% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 63.1% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        84,120 (39,630 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Lynn and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.4% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now.

November 5, 2021

This day was largely spent in the car.  We left home at 9:00 AM and didn’t settle back in to the hotel in Bridgeport until 9:00 PM.  Between that time, we did a lot of driving and shopping, driving and shopping, and eating.

Our first shopping stop was in Timberville where Lynn got some things at the Dollar Tree there.  Our next stop was a bathroom stop in Moorefield WV.  By noon we were in Cathedral Park in West Virginia where we had planned to walk but the temperature outside was 37o.  We did eat lunch on a picnic table there but didn’t walk.  Instead, we drove on to Masontown WV where Lynn had her eyes on a Christmas fair she had heard about last month.

The fair was at a barn several miles outside of town but it was the place to be!  There were hundreds of people there and we were told that on Thursday when the fair opened the lines just for checking out where three hours long.  The fair had 30 – 50 vendors’ merchandise, all Christmas oriented, laid out in several buildings.  We got a few items after 90 minutes of shopping.

Then we drove on to Morgantown where we stopped at an Aldi’s and a Target.  The Aldi’s had one item Lynn was looking for—a chocolate Advent calendar—but not the craft Advent calendar she wanted.  The Target didn’t have what she was looking for and neither did the one in Bridgeport WV we drove to next.  Then we drove to another Aldi’s where again we came away empty handed.

Finally we checked in at the Hampton Inn in Bridgeport then left immediately for Fairmont to eat dinner at Muriale’s restaurant.  This was a great decision.  Everything we had was excellent.  The bread was superb, the salads perhaps the best salads we’ve had in years, and my spaghetti and meatball and Lynn’s bruschetta were both delicious.  We had to wait an hour to be seated but it was worth it.

Our shopping wasn’t done…we went back to the mall in Bridgeport which turns out to be a very large mall where we walked and shopped some more.  The trunk of my car is getting more and more loaded!

We finally got back to the room near 9:00.  I hope the weather tomorrow feels a little warmer at the football game.  We both brought warm clothes just in case it isn’t.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 5         Infected                   Died

World             249,820,989           5,053,245   8,000 deaths per day in the world….

US                     47,274,755              774,519   2,300 new deaths since yesterday      

Virginia                 933,542                14,125   1,400 cases, 36 deaths since yesterday           

Augusta County       10,262                     131   20 new cases, 1 new death since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia          11,689,020  (5,390,098 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 83.5% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 63.1% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        84,243 (39,648 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Lynn and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.5% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now.  This number has only changed by 0.3% in the past week.

November 6, 2021

Twice in one week I’ve eaten a fine Italian restaurant meal then gone to bed.  In both cases, I woke with a terrible case of chills.  From 2:00 – 3:00 AM I didn’t sleep at all; I just shivered.  Finally I bumped up against Lynn’s warm body, woke her, and she kept me warm the rest of the night. 

The problem with chills and lack of sleep like this is that I wake up with zero energy and my bones and muscles aching.  I bought some Tylenol from the hotel and took some at breakfast which helped me a lot.

I felt so bad that all I did the rest of the morning was to serve as her taxi cab driver.  We drove all the way back to Morgantown so she could re-check out the Target there.  Plus she went to TJ Maxx and a Dollar Tree.  Then we drove to a different Aldi’s in Morgantown, then on to another Dollar Tree and a Dollar General in Morgantown.  Unfortunately, the items she was looking for weren’t available in any store.  So after spending the entire morning shopping in Morgantown (actually, she was the one who did the shopping; I stayed in the car the entire time), we drove back to the Hampton Inn in Bridgeport.

We weren’t there long before we headed back to Morgantown again.  This time we went to Apple Annie’s, a favorite restaurant of ours, for lunch.  We both ate a decent lunch there; Lynn had a Philly cheesesteak and I had a combo of ½ BLT sandwich and a bowl of chicken noodle soup.  We finished in plenty of time to get to the football game which had a 3:30 kickoff.

We elected to park in a shopping center not far from the football game which had a shuttle service to the game.  For $5 each, we were taken near to the stadium then picked up there after the game.  To be honest, the ride to the game was easy and quick; the ride after the game involved an hour’s wait thanks to bad traffic.

I was still not feeling great when we got to the game.  Several times on our way to our seats I had to stop and catch my breath.  As we had for the two other football games that were part of this three-game package, we had wonderful seats, fairly high up and on the 50 yard line.  We actually got to our seats 90 minutes before kickoff.  We opted to rent seat cushions from the Morgantown High School band which always rents them at games.   This was a good choice, not only because it gave us some back support but the cushions were a lot warmer to sit on than the cold bleachers were.

It was cold, but not bitterly cold.  The temperature was in the mid 50’s most of the game though it got noticeably colder near the end of the game when the sun had gone down.  We were both bundled up well.

The game did not go the way I had hoped.  To be honest, Oklahoma State dominated WVU.  We scored on our first possession, a field goal, but that was the only score we’d get the entire game.  WVU’s quarterback was sacked eight times.  The running game was a total failure.  There were a couple of fumbles WVU lost to Oklahoma State and an interception.  In general, we just got our butts kicked.  So I was disappointed when we headed out of the stadium with about 4 minutes still on the clock but I wasn’t angry.

As the day went on I got a little better.  I was able to walk from our seats in the stadium to the pickup point for the shuttle without having to pause.  I was determined to not eat a big dinner or anything which would keep me up tonight.  So, I had a Dairy Queen ice cream cone and a soft drink.  Lynn has a DQ Blizzard.

So I felt bad most of the day, we were unsuccessful at shopping, cold at the game, and disappointed with the football loss, but today wasn’t all a loss.  We got along well and were able to do nearly everything we had planned.  We had tentatively planned to go to Valley Falls State Park but it was too cold to go there in the morning and by the time the temperatures improved we were nowhere near the park.

I have to write how proud I was of Lynn this morning.  We were having a very light breakfast at the Hampton Inn.  There were about a dozen people eating.  She noticed that the big TV was set on Fox News so she asked at the main desk for the remote.  Soon we were watching MSNBC.  Judging from the looks around the room, this wasn’t what most people were accustomed to hearing for news (because it was the TRUE news, not FANTASY news).  However, no one asked to change it back.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

November 6         Infected                   Died

World             250,269,668           5,060,122   7,000 deaths per day in the world….

US                     47,313,412              775,095   500 new deaths since yesterday         

Virginia                 933,542                14,125   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND           

Augusta County       10,262                     131   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

            Vaccinated

Virginia          11,720,550  (5,394,616 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 83.6% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 63.2% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        84,300 (39,657 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Lynn and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.5% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now.  This number has only changed by 0.3% in the past week.

November 7, 2021

The day began for us in Bridgeport WV and ended at home.  We had an extra hour of sleep last night thanks to the return to normal standard time.  I awoke early and was dressed and had worked my daily Sudoku and Whirly Word puzzles before Lynn got up.  At least I felt like getting up this morning compared to yesterday morning.

Lynn wanted to get some fabric from the Jo Ann Fabric store which was just a mile away from the Hampton Inn where we stayed.  The issue is that the store didn’t open until 11:00.  So after we both got dressed, we drove to Fairmont and had a decent breakfast at the Cracker Barrel there then returned to the hotel, checked out, and went to Target before making it to Jo Ann Fabric.

From there we had a long ride home.  We came a little different route back this time, staying on US 50 from Bridgeport through Taylor and Preston Counties and into Western Maryland before arriving back in West Virginia at Mount Storm.  From there it was just a few miles to the beautiful US 48 which took us to Baker, WV.  We then rode VA 259 to Broadway and I-81 home with a couple of stops in Harrisonburg on the way.

We had made arrangements to have Henry’s birthday dinner at our house.  It consisted of pizza from the Mount Sidney Flying Pizza shop.  I picked it up while he, Josh, Freddie, and Gus came to our house.  I had Henry’s Calculus treasure hunt waiting on him.  He was able to get it done fairly quickly which led him to his birthday card with the $100 bill in it from us.  He and Gus couldn’t stay long after dinner as they had a Young Life meeting.  Freddie entertained us by doing math problems then he read two stories from the Adventures of Frog and Toad.  It was so good to hear him read.  It hasn’t come easily for him but I think he’s catching on now.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

November 7         Infected                   Died

World             250,610,452           5,064,585   4,500 deaths per day in the world….

US                     47,336,577              775,218   Less than 200 new deaths since yesterday     

Virginia                 933,542                14,125   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND           

Augusta County       10,262                     131   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

            Vaccinated

Virginia          11,761,968  (5,401,773 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 83.7% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 63.3% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        84,511 (39,678 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Lynn and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.5% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now.  This number has only changed by 0.3% in the past week.

November 8, 2021

As I frequently do on Mondays, I spent the entire morning at Central doing Treasurer’s work.  When I got there I didn’t think there would be much to do but the work kept a-coming.  At one point, I had a customer support person from Intuit help me set up a new item on our payroll.  The way their support works is that they can see your screen but not control it.  He noticed that I had a few payroll items that had been unresolved for the past several years and offered to help me remove them.  I gladly took his help and soon the QuickBooks screen had no warnings on it—warnings I’d been ignoring for the past year as had the previous treasurers.  It was a good call.

Then I went to the post office and found out that no one had been there in several days so there were several bills that had to be paid.  I had time to get it all done and was able to do so before I left around 12:30.

I didn’t do much this afternoon until after school.  Then Henry and Gus came over so I could do Henry’s calculus assignment with him.  Freddie’s bus also came so I had all three boys.  Meanwhile, Lynn took Betsy to dance.  As always, Henry did his problems well with little or no help from me.  We actually got two assignments finished.  He wanted to get them done today because his varsity basketball tryouts began at 5:00 today.  He went straight there from our house.  At 5:20 I took Gus to his JV tryouts which were being held at the middle school.  I can’t imagine that either of the two would be in jeopardy of being cut from their teams.  Henry was a starter on the varsity last year for the last half of the season and Gus, likewise, started on the JV team.  Both played on the summer FDHS team.  But I can remember twenty years ago the shock and anger I felt when I learned that Jim had been cut from the JV team at Fort.   I hope none of my grandchildren have to go through what he did.

Lynn and I ate dinner here at home then took it easy the rest of the evening.  We’re both getting used to standard time now.  We were both awake at 5:30 this morning though I did go back to sleep for a while.

I’m scheduled to play tennis tomorrow for the first time in a month.  I still find myself easily out of breath so I don’t know how well this will go…

Clymore Elementary School is sponsoring a COVID-19 vaccination clinic this coming Friday and Freddie is getting his first vaccine then!  Hurray!  Thomas and Georgia have their shots scheduled the day before in Arlington.  Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 8         Infected                   Died

World             251,002,896           5,070,397   6,000 deaths per day in the world….

US                     47,417,731              775,969   Less than 750 new deaths since yesterday     

Virginia                 936,928                14,190   3500 new cases 65 new deaths since Friday  

Augusta County       10,309                     131   47 new cases since last Friday

            Vaccinated

Virginia          11,798,922  (5,407,714 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 83.8% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 63.4% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        84,662 (39,704 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Lynn and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.5% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now. 

November 9, 2021

Today was Henry’s 17th birthday.  Lynn and I are so old that we have a 17 year old Grandson!  He’s a fine kid, too.  I’m extremely proud of Henry.

Today I played tennis for the first time in a month.  Our foursome was the usual one consisting of Won Un, Pat Peason, Marc Kinder, and myself.  We only played for an hour because two of the guys had commitments which limited the time they could play.  An hour was plenty for me.  Actually, I wondered before we started if I’d be able to play even that long.  As it was, I didn’t move a whole lot.  None of us played that well.  Pat and Won beat Marc and me 6 -2 then Pat and I beat Won and Marc by the same score.  The weather was awesome today for mid-November and it felt really good to be outside.  We’re going to try to play around noon each Tuesday and Thursday though I can’t make it this Thursday because Lynn and I are going to meet Kay and kids in Culpeper.

Kay wondered if there was any place to play tennis in Culpeper.  I spent a good while on the web today looking for parks with tennis courts in them.  I did find one park which said it had two courts so I called the Rec Department to see what condition they were in.  The lady I spoke with put me on hold for a long time then came back to tell me there were no courts at that park.  I told her their own website said they did.  She looked and said that was a mistake.  I’m not sure now if we’ll be playing tennis when we meet on Thursday but at least there are several good walking trails.

I spent more time at Central today.  Won had asked me to write two more checks which I did before we played tennis.  Then after tennis I went back and loaded up one box of food for Juan Pablo and one for Elizabeth and her family.

Lynn her had Cheryl friends over for their weekly chat on the Pergola this afternoon.  After that she took Juan Pablo’s food to him.  She had planned to work with him on school work but, once again, he bailed out saying that he hadn’t gone to school today.

I was Betsy’s taxi driver to her dance class this afternoon.  As soon as I dropped her, I hustled back to Clymore Elementary School where I picked up Freddie after his TLC session at 4:45.  I took him to his house.  Gus was there because his basketball tryouts today began at 5:30.  Shortly thereafter Ann came home and took over the taxi business.

Lynn and I had offered to take Elizabeth and her family out to dinner to celebrate Nathan’s birthday.  Tonight worked for them so we met them at El Sol in Harrisonburg.  We had a good Taco Tuesday meal there.  Then Lynn and I went to Target then Aldi’s then Kroger.  Meanwhile, I had picked up the WVU – Oakland basketball game on the web so I listened to it.  WVU was behind at the start but eventually took over and built their lead up to 17 points before holding Oakland off at the end for a 60 – 53 win to open the 2021 – 22 season.

Lynn had a disturbing phone call from her sister Jane today that her daughter Lee was in the hospital having detox issues.  Lynn talked to Lee’s dad Danny tonght and is going to try to see her tomorrow.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 9         Infected                   Died

World             251,547,728           5,079,647   9,000 deaths per day in the world….

US                     47,536,536              778,316   2,500 new deaths since yesterday      

Virginia                 938,376                14,225   1700 new cases, 35 new deaths   

Augusta County       10,325                     134   16 new cases, 3 new deaths

            Vaccinated

Virginia          11,820,685  (5,412,779 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 83.9% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 63.4% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        84,707 (39,712 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Lynn and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.6% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now. 

Tonight Gilberto reminded us that it was a year ago when he went into UVA with COVID-19.  He was there for three and a half months and nearly died.  He said how sad it was that people in the US won’t take the vaccines whereas people in his home country of Mexico would love to be vaccinated.  He should know; he lost both of his parents to COVID-19.

November 10, 2021

Lynn’s Venza had its windshield broken last week, perhaps by a rock while driving on the Interstate.  We had made an appointment at the Safelite Company near Harrisonburg to have it replaced this morning.  Our insurance with Nationwide covered the entire expense.  Our appointment was at 8:00 AM so we had to take both cars there so we could leave the Venza.  Lynn was supposed to have tested two students at Rockingham Academy at 9:00.  So we dropped her car off, went to Sharp Shopper to kill some time, then went to Rockingham Academy (the alternative school which is now housed in a new building between Pleasant Valley Elementary School and Massanutten Technical Center).  I waited in the car while she went in to test the students.  After a while, she came out to say that the testing materials she needed weren’t there but neither were the students.  The materials were being brought from the RCPS School Board Office but, in the meantime, she learned that her car was ready.  So I took her back to the Safelite place to pick up her car. 

Apparently the students in Rockingham County are no different from Juan Pablo—neither kid showed up to be tested.  She ended up coming on home until 11:00 when she went to Turner Ashby High School to test a few more students.  From there, she went to South River Elementary School to interpret for a meeting.  Her day was quite busy, but it didn’t stop at South River.  She had told Lee Hanger’s Dad last night that she would like to visit Lee in the hospital and he suggested she come this afternoon between 4:00 and 6:00.  So after her work at South River she did go to Sentara Hospital to try to see Lee.

In the meantime, I kept busy myself.  First I loaded up my truck with our trash, my empty gas can, and the Gutshall’s trash and went to the dump.  The Gutshalls really had a lot today.  After I unloaded it all I got gas for my mower and came back home around noon.

For the first time in weeks, I actually felt some ambition to do some outside work today.  The weather was spectacular again for mid-November so I decided to get rid of our flower garden where our vegetable garden used to be, especially since last week’s heavy frost had killed all of the flowers.  I tried to get my weed whacker to start so I could first cut the flowers and weeds down with it but it wouldn’t start.  I need to take it to the shop.  So I ended up cutting the larger weeds by hand then raked them into a pile.  I got my mower out, cut what was left in the garden, then loaded the pile onto my car and took it to the edge of our property.  Then I got out the tiller and tilled the garden spot for the winter.  It felt good to be outside and even better to have the energy and ambition to work.

I finished in plenty of time before the bus came.  Freddie and Betsy were both on it.  They were here until after 5:00.  Betsy practiced her part in the show, The Christmas Story, while Freddie played a Hobbit game on the Wii-U.

Lynn came home around 6:00 with a report that Lee was improving and might be released in the next few days.  Her Dad is hoping she would go to a detox location for a few weeks first.

Lynn was exhausted after such a busy day so we both got ready for bed early and called it a day.  Tomorrow we’re going to drive to Culpeper to meet Kay and her family for a Veterans Day family get-together.

Thomas and Georgia will get their vaccinations tomorrow.  Freddie gets his at his school on Friday.  That will make 14 of the 16 immediate members of our family who have gotten at least one shot.  Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 10       Infected                   Died

World             252,092,605           5,087,462   8,000 deaths per day in the world….

US                     47,641,613              779,942   1,600 new deaths since yesterday      

Virginia                 939,783                14,261   1400 new cases, 39 new deaths   

Augusta County       10,346                     133   21 new cases

            Vaccinated

Virginia          11,900,269  (5,418,854 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 84.5% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 63.5% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        85,011 (39,738 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Lynn and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.6% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now. 

November 11, 2021

Today was our day to meet Kay, Thomas, and Georgia in Culpeper since it was Veterans Day and Arlington County Schools was not in session.  Lynn and I left home around 9:00 and made three stops on our way:  two Dollar General stores and a Target in Culpeper.  We got to the park we had previously agreed to meet at, Yowell Meadow Park, around 11:20.  Kay and kids got there close to noon.  They had stopped at a Sheets to grab some items for lunch.

The weather was nice this afternoon with temperatures in the 60’s so it was a good day to meet in a park.  First we ate lunch.  This park had a nice 1.25 mile level, paved walkway which we walked on afterwards.  Thomas brought a skateboard and Georgia a scooter. 

We took our time hiking around the park then headed for Moo Thru, an ice cream creamery Lynn and I had discovered when we did our Creamery Tour this spring.  Moo Thru has really good ice cream—almost as good as Smiley’s—and we enjoyed ours this afternoon.  As usual, Lynn had a peanut butter chocolate milkshake.  I had a sundae made with caramel and sweet cream ice cream. 

Then we played some “can jam” in the yard at Moo Thru.  I was able to get some good pictures here and earlier as we walked.  By mid-afternoon we had all headed back home.  Indeed, on our way home we got a text from Kay with pictures of Thomas and Georgia getting their COVID-19 vaccine this afternoon.  Hip, hip, hurray!

We had other big news today:  Kay and her family will be going to Ohio for Thanksgiving along with Ann and family, Jim, Lynn, and me.  I had previously made room reservations for the rest of us so today I added a room for the Foys. 

Lynn didn’t sleep well last night so she and I headed for bed early this evening.  Tomorrow I have a busy day working at Central with the United Methodist Men making Brunswick Stew.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 11       Infected                   Died

World             252,609,689           5,094,709   7,300 deaths per day in the world….

US                     47,689,002              780,773   800 new deaths since yesterday         

Virginia                 941,371                14,294   1500 new cases, 33 new deaths   

Augusta County       10,365                     133   19 new cases

            Vaccinated

Virginia        11,952,231  (5,424,703 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas and Georgia now have their first shot.  That’s 84.7% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 63.6% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        85,215 (39,772 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Freddie gets his first shot tomorrow.  Plus, Lynn and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.6% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now.

November 12, 2021

I spent over six hours at Central UMC today.  For most of the time, I was assisting others in the United Methodist Mens group fixing Brunswick stew for their annual fundraiser.  What’s ironic is that neither Lynn nor I like Brunswick stew.  We made 115 quarts of it today but the Hills bought none of it.

We had a good turnout to prepare the stew, twelve men.  That number demonstrates that the group is mainly made up of retired people since those who work couldn’t have come at 8:00 on a Friday morning.   We had plenty of help preparing the stew but by the time early afternoon came and it was time to put it in containers the help had waned.  That’s why I was there so long.  Actually, most of my job the entire day was to run the dishwasher, something I’ve had plenty of experience at over the years.  I probably ran 50 loads today.

I’m happy to have helped the group who will use the money for lots of good projects.  Out of the 115 quarts, 65 are already pre-sold, but that means 50 more need to be sold.  I’m especially happy that I felt like helping today.  What helped is that both Lynn and I slept well last night for the first time in ages.

Another thing I did today was to put together a food box for Connie’s daughter Missy and her family.  I dropped it off at Connie’s house on my way home from Central UMC.

After coming home mid-afternoon, I cut the leaves in our yard again.  This time of year I need to cut them every other day just to stay ahead of the falling leaves.  The weather was beautiful again today though this is probably the last good day we’ll have.

For dinner, we got hamburgers from the Schoolhouse food truck at Valley Pike.  We also got burgers and fries for Lynn’s old friend Bonnie Ball and her husband Ron.  We dropped them off on the way back home.

COVID-19 is back on the rise in the US.  Some states are now pushing for boosters for everyone, even before the FDA and CDC approve it for 18 – 65 year olds.  The reason for the surge in cases is blamed on the weather which has forced people inside now.  Plus, with the exception of 5 – 11 year olds which are getting vaccinated a-plenty now, there still are way too many adults not vaccinated.  Our family celebrated today with Freddie who got his vaccination at school.  No one from his family was present; he bravely got it along with many of his classmates.  Super Freddie!  Yesterday, Thomas and Georgia got their first shot.  So now, 14 of the 16 immediate members of our family have at least one shot.  Just Faron and Coen remain.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 12       Infected                   Died

World             253,167,481           5,102,719   8,000 deaths per day in the world….

US                     47,821,896              782,544   1,800 new deaths since yesterday      

Virginia                 942,837                14,321   1500 new cases, 27 new deaths   

Augusta County       10,392                     133   27 new cases

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,000,014  (5,429,271 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 85.0% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 63.6% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        85,460 (39,788 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.7% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now.

November 13, 2021

Our beautiful weather left us today.  Lynn and I went to Freddie’s last soccer game of the year.  I wore long underwear under my jeans and several layers including my new coat Lynn got me for my birthday.  I wore my mask, not because I needed COVID-19 protection but because I hate so much to be cold.  All of those clothes worked.  Meanwhile, both Freddie and Gus were there in shorts.  Freddie played well but his teammates didn’t do much, especially the goalie, and he lost his final game.  Nonetheless, he had a good season and proved to be a fine player.  Today he was the only one on his team to score a goal.

After soccer, we went by the Holtzman Oil open house in Verona.  They recently opened a store there to compete with Dixie Gas, now owned by Quarles.  One of the guys who sometimes subs in our tennis is Randy Simmons who works for Holtzman.  We had a chance to talk to him for a while about switching our propane tank to Holtzman when it runs out.  We only use propane for the stove burners and the fireplace insert.  I also talked with him about converting our fuel oil from an underground tank to an above ground tank which we may also do when the tank is empty.  Right now it is full.

We got back home just after noon.  The WVU – Kansas State football game had started at noon.  I had it recorded so I immediately began watching it.  It was one of the most disappointing games I have ever watched.  WVU could do nothing right:  two interceptions, one fumble, dropped passes, bad play calls, bad throws, missed tackles, blocked punt… you name it, they did it wrong.  They lost 34 – 17.  Now they’re 4 – 6 and the only way they can possibly be in a bowl game is to beat both Kansas and Texas. 

After that I began working on a slide show for Thanksgiving.  Butch asked me to put one together.  I’ve been going through my albums which have pictures of the Hill and DeLeo families and selecting pictures for the slideshow.  So far I’ve worked backwards from 2021 to 2017 and have over 600 pictures chosen for the slideshow.

After a nice dinner tonight for which Lynn made a broccoli and cheese soup, she and I watched three more episodes of Ted Lasso.  Lynn is such a fine cook.  She is just a gem in every way.  I am so lucky to be her partner.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics.  Remember that VA doesn’t update its cases on the weekends:

November 13       Infected                   Died

World             253,655,829           5,110,219   7,500 deaths per day in the world….

US                     47,891,997              783,439   900 new deaths since yesterday         

Virginia                 942,837                14,321   NO UPDATES ON WEEKENDS   

Augusta County       10,392                     133   NO UPDATES ON WEEKENDS

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,035,746  (5,433,202 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 85.1% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 63.7% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        85,4763 (39,813 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.7% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now.

November 14, 2021

Today was a typical Sunday for us including the usuals of Sunday School for me, worship services at Central for Lynn and me, and dinner tonight for the Gutshalls.  It was good to get back to our routine.

The weather has taken a turn for cold, as is to be expected in mid-November, so we spent little time outside today.  Any spare time I had I spent working on the slideshow for the Hill family Thanksgiving which will be in Ohio.  Tonight I think I got it finished.  It features sample pictures from engagements that involve at least two of the three in my family:  Butch, Mary K., and me.  This means there are pictures from Thanksgiving get-togethers (going back to 1999) plus vacations in Lancaster PA, Bramwell reunions, etc.  I threw in some old pictures that were made from slides of family members.

After we got home from Church today, I peeled apples for our dinner.  Meanwhile, Lynn had made broccoli and cheese soup yesterday and today she made her signature macaroni casserole.  Plus she made homemade rolls.  This was a fine dinner!  After our dinner, she and Ann went shopping in Waynesboro while the rest of us stayed here.

This afternoon we went to a drama/musical performance hosted by Fort Defiance High School that was put on by the Shenandoah Governor’s School for the Performing Arts.  A total of eleven high school students from the area high schools performed pieces from a variety of musicals including Newsies, Mama Mia, Fiddler on the Roof, and many others. 

Betsy came over afterwards for some help with her math.  She had problems with consumer-type problems involving discounts, tax, tips, markups, etc.  The real issue is that she’s not old enough to be spending money herself so she hasn’t had to learn how all this works yet.  

Henry and Gus have officially made the varsity and junior varsity basketball teams at Fort Defiance for this year.  That’s no surprise but given our experience with Jim when he was around that age we’ve learned to never take anything for granted.  Tonight Lynn and I put the basketball games on our calendar.  I assume we’ll go to all of them.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 14       Infected                   Died

World             254,026,295           5,115,131   5,000 deaths per day in the world….

US                     47,916,190              783,565   Only 126 new deaths reported           

Virginia                 942,837                14,321   NO UPDATES ON WEEKENDS   

Augusta County       10,392                     133   NO UPDATES ON WEEKENDS

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,097,600  (5,439,586 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 85.4% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 63.7% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        86,111 (39,852 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.7% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, well below the Virginia average.

November 15, 2021

I did a lot of work for Central today and it took a long while.  I was there before 8:00 and didn’t leave until after 2:00.  During that time frame, I did the following:  completed 95% of the bulletin for the November 18 worship services and e-mailed the draft to Rev. Jim Harris who will be preaching then; exchanged e-mail with a person scheduled to read the liturgy on November 18 making sure he would be present; wrote reimbursement checks to two Central members who had spent their own money on CUMC projects; entered the deposit for yesterday and divided the funds into the subaccounts where they were intended; added a new member to the envelope database and updated the guide sheet which matches names to envelope numbers; wrote, printed, addressed and mailed a letter of thanks to a group which gave a memorial gift in memory of a deceased member; wrote, printed, addressed, and mailed a letter of thanks to a local organization which contributed to the food pantry; ordered materials from Staples for both the office and Food Pantry; helped unload four pallets of food from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank to Central’s Food Pantry; entered credit card purchase information for Pastor Won’s credit card and reconciled that card with QuickBooks, paying its monthly bill; paid a utility bill; canceled via telephone a service we no longer wish to subscribe to; entered the individual offerings from yesterday into the Servant Keeper database; set up the payroll for November 30; paid the dental/health insurance for the Pastor for November; paid the retirement benefits for the Pastor for November; mailed all of the above bills and filed the check stubs; got the mail from Central’s mailbox at the Post Office; put away dish towels for the CUMC kitchen Lynn had washed; and filled a box of food from the Food Lion food donations for Lynn’s student Juan Pablo.  Later this afternoon Lynn and I took the food to him.

The above events took up my entire day.  Boring day!  On the way to Juan Pablo’s house in Waynesboro we stopped at Cook Out and got three of the $0.99 milkshakes, one for him and one for each of us.  The flavor this week is chocolate.  As a result of the milkshakes we weren’t very hungry for supper.  We ate a few leftovers from last night.

Lynn continued her post-retirement work for Rockingham County Schools, testing students at two different schools today.  Tomorrow she will interpret for a disciplinary meeting at another one of the schools.  We both worked hard today.  However, she earned money whereas my work was pro bono.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 15       Infected                   Died

World             254,510,376           5,121,129   6,000 deaths per day in the world….

US                     48,048,106              784,504   1,000 new deaths reported     

Virginia                 946,061                14,392   3,200 cases, 71 new deaths since Friday   

Augusta County       10,422                     132   30 new cases since Friday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,126,187  (5,442,744 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 85.6% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 63.8% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        86,242 (39,856 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 52.7% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, well below the Virginia average.

November 16, 2021

Today I was back on the tennis court.  It wasn’t a warm day—temperatures were in the 40’s when we played.  Our usual foursome played:  Marc, Won, Pat, and me.  I didn’t play well and lost two of the three full sets we played (I only won when I played with Pat.  He won every set he played except that we started a fourth set and Won and I were up 4 – 2 when we had to quit).  I hit some decent shots but just couldn’t move.  I got winded easily and found that after a long point I suffered for the next two points as I struggled to catch my breath back.  But it was lots of fun and I have no regrets about playing. 

Before I played tennis, I went to Lowe’s and bought some drill bits (Lynn has a little project for which she needs small drill bits and I only had one 1/16th inch bit left), an extension cord, and a replacement plus for my old extension cord.  My old cord would smoke and lose power at times so I definitely needed a replacement.  But I had the idea that if I cut off the old plug and replaced it with a new one perhaps that would work.

Much to my surprise, I was able to replace the defective plug and the resulting cord worked again!  I still don’t plan to use this cord much in the future; that’s why I bought the other extension cord. 

Another “fixit” job I got done this afternoon was getting our Alexa-controlled light in the bedroom to work again.  It used to work fine but a few months ago it quit working.  I was able to re-link the bulb to Alexa so now we can turn the light on by saying “Alexa, turn the light on.”

Just when you think COVID-19 isn’t affecting schools much anymore, it was announced tonight that Riverheads High School’s upcoming football playoff game was declared a forfeit because their opponent, William Campbell High, had COVID-19 infections.

The weather is supposed to be warm for the next two days so I hope to get some outside work done.  One big project I have is to work on our garage so there will be room for me to bring down the Christmas decorations.  That is a HUGE job!

This afternoon, I took Betsy to her dance classes.  Ann was running a little behind and I had nothing else to do.  Lynn did some interpreting at Lacey Spring Elementary School this afternoon.  She seems to have at least one school job every day nowdays. 

In the news tonight, the CDC is being asked to approve booster shots for all adults.  Some states are already giving boosters to anyone who wants them.

As I mentioned on November 14, I’ve been working on a slide show for Thanksgiving.  Butch asked me to put one together.  I’ve spent several hours over the past few days selecting pictures from previous Thanksgivings, Lancaster vacations, Bramwell reunions, etc.  Today I finished it on my downstairs Mac and transferred the pictures to my laptop in preparation for our Thanksgiving trip.  One issue I’ve run into is that Butch says there is no large screen TV at the Ohio U Inn though there is a large screen.  So today I’ve been looking for a projector with a HDMI input.  Ann thinks she has found one at Broadway High School and I discovered that one of Central UMC’s projectors has that input.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 16       Infected                   Died

World             255,036,589           5,128,938   7,800 deaths per day in the world….

US                     48,147,029              786,017   1,500 new deaths reported     

Virginia                 947,271                14,422   1,200 cases, 30 new deaths since yesterday   

Augusta County       10,433                     133   11 new cases, 1 death since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,164,588  (5,459,056 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 85.9% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 64.0% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        86,832 (40,207 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 53.2% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, well below the Virginia average.

November 17, 2021

Today was unseasonably warm so it was important that I got some outside work done.  Lynn and I ran errands all morning in Harrisonburg so I didn’t get started outside until after lunch.  I spent time before we left for Harrisonburg cleaning out the garage to make room for all the Christmas decorations that are stored above our garage.  Moving them down to the garage is an annual job I don’t look forward to.  But first I had to clean out room for them which I did this morning. 

After that, Lynn and I did some important tasks.  First we went to the Wells Fargo bank in downtown Harrisonburg.  We had received notice that this branch was closing in early January.  We’ve had a safety deposit box there since the early 1980’s and we were forced to close it out.  We got to the bank at 9:00 and had to wait a while before they could assist us in closing out the account and emptying the safety deposit box. 

Then we drove straight to the Bridgewater Wells Fargo branch and opened up a safety deposit box there.  The box in Bridgewater was a little smaller than the one we had in Harrisonburg so we had to clean out our documents a little.  One thing I keep in the safety deposit box is a hard drive with all of my documents and pictures on it.  I removed it from the Harrisonburg bank but instead of putting it in the Bridgewater box I brought it home so I could update it with the most recent pictures and documents.  I did that this afternoon and will take it back to Bridgewater soon along with our newly arrived passports.

We then drove back to Harrisonburg and went to Waterworks to buy four bags of salt for our water softener than on to Staples so Lynn could get some items.  Lastly, we went to Costco to buy several things for the Central Food Pantry plus some items Lynn wanted.  As I mentioned, it was noon by the time we got back home.

One of the chores I had to do today was to clean out the shed so that the lawnmower would fit in it.  Before I put the mower in the shed, I cut the leaves in the front and back yards.  It didn’t take me as long as I thought to get the shed ready for the mower.

With the weather being so good, I wanted to do more outside work.  So I went up into the attic and brought down three of the Christmas boxes including one with the exterior lights in it.  I then spent a frustrated hour trying to find strands of light which actually worked and get them on the outside bushes we always light up at Christmas time.  So many of the light strands didn’t work that I only got the job halfway done because I ran out of working lights.

I had to finish by 3:15 because Freddie and Betsy rode the bus here.  After Ann picked them up, Lynn and I went to Harrisonburg to eat at Jalapeno’s.  Lynn had run to Waynesboro to tutor Juan Pablo.

Jalapeno’s has a special on Wednesday nights where their Arroz Con Pollo (chicken with rice) is only $7.99.  It is delicious; we both got it tonight.  Plus, we had a coupon for buy one, get one.  So we both ate for just over $8.00 tonight!

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 17       Infected                   Died

World             255,688,709           5,137,771   8,800 deaths per day in the world….

US                     48,281,774              787,878   1,800 new deaths reported     

Virginia                 949,803                14,443   1,600 cases, 21 new deaths since yesterday   

Augusta County       10,458                     133   25 new cases since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,205,977  (5,464,077 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 86.1% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 64.0% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        87,000 (40,264 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 53.3% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, well below the Virginia average.

November 18, 2021

I haven’t been this busy in ages!  I started out by being at Central around 7:30 AM this morning.  I had the Costco order to drop off.  Then I paid three bills.  Then I completed another draft of the church bulletin and e-mailed it to everyone who needed to see it.  I finished up by 8:30, just in time to make it to tennis which started at 9:00.

I played two hours of tennis today.  I didn’t get as winded as I did on Tuesday.  I didn’t play much better but none of us did because it was a very windy day.  The sets were closer.  Marc and I lost 6 – 4 to Pat and Won.  Then Pat and I beat Marc and Won 8 – 6.  Finally, Pat and Marc beat Won and me 6 – 1.  For November 18, it was very warm outside.  This may be the last good outside tennis weather we’ll get in 2021 and it felt good to be enjoying it.

After tennis, I came home and put Christmas lights on the remaining bushes of ours outside.  It is highly unusual to be finished with this project by November 18 but I just had to take advantage of the good weather we had.

Lynn came home from a UMW meeting at Central around noon and after we ate, she cut my hair.  She does a good job being my barber!

As soon as that was over, I started bringing Christmas boxes from above the garage down to the garage.  I had about a dozen ready to be brought down, ones that I knew Lynn would want.  But I had a good idea before bringing the rest down.  I went up the ladder and called her on Facetime.  Then I went through the 40 – 50 remaining boxes and asked her which ones she thought she would use this year.  She narrowed it down to about twenty so I then brought the twenty down the ladder.  I took my time and was able to get them all down.  Whew!

I finished around 2:30 and thought I had plenty of time before I needed to be at Betsy’s house to pick her up for dance.  So I gathered up the new passports we just got and the external hard drive I had updated and headed for the Wells Fargo in Bridgewater to put them in our new safety deposit box.  That went smoothly.

My next chore was to pick up a chicken from Costco for our dinner.  I headed north on I-81 from Bridgewater.  No sooner than I passed the Pleasant Valley exit traffic slowed to 15 mph.  By this time I was worried about getting back to pick up Betsy in time.  Further complicating the issue is that she texted me that her after school bus had been combined with another and she was afraid it would get her home too late so she rode Freddie’s bus to our house.  No one was there because Lynn was at South River Elementary interpreting for a meeting.  But she knows how to let herself in and I told her I’d be there as soon as I could.

I hate I-81 traffic!  Today’s backlog made it really tough for me.  I practically ran through Costco with the chicken and drove well over the speed limits, as best I could, to get home.  It seems like when you’re in a hurry there are a plethora of people who are slowpokes just waiting to pull out in front of you.  Today was no exception.  By the time I got home it was 4:00.  I hustled Betsy to her house.  She changed quickly and we left her house at 4:15.  Her dance started at 4:30 in Staunton.  We got there at 4:32.  Not bad but not good, either.

In the meantime, Ann had gotten delayed coming home so Lynn picked Freddie up at his school.  She brought him to our house where she had fixed macaroni and cheese to go along with the Costco chicken.  He ate with us but we had to hurry again because his basketball started at 6:00 at Clymore Elementary.  He made it in plenty of time.

I stayed with him the entire time; Ann to take Betsy from Staunton to her play practice in Waynesboro.  He did well at this first basketball session.  He can shoot and dribble as well as any of the 30 kids there.

In the meantime, Gus and Henry had their first scrimmage of the season at Luray.  Josh kept us updated as best he could.  He reported that Gus had a fine JV game.  He scored 12 points with five field goals and 2 – 4 from the free throw line.  Josh said he really played well.

In the varsity game, despite having their coach expelled for objecting to a referee’s call, Fort did well against Luray.  Henry scored six first half points and added six more in the third quarter.  In the fourth he hit a nice three pointer then made a layup and followed up a missed free throw with a stick-back.  He added a free throw and ended up with 20 points.  FDHS won the scrimmage 60 – 41.  Henry had 1/3 of the FDHS points!  Wish I could have seen those boys play tonight!

Freddie was here all that time since neither of his parents were home.  He watched a Netflix movie, Hop, and read a story in a book for Lynn.  His reading has improved.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 18       Infected                   Died

World             256,307,769           5,146,198   8,800 deaths per day in the world….

US                     48,398,455              789,155   1,300 new deaths reported     

Virginia                 951,698                14,469   1,800 cases, 26 new deaths since yesterday   

Augusta County       10,484                     133   26 new cases since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,275,888  (5,479,547 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 86.4% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 64.2% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        87,138 (40,288 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 53.3% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, well below the Virginia average. 

November 19, 2021

Today featured a fruitful morning and a lazy afternoon.  I went to Central again this morning, this time to finish Sunday’s bulletin.  I had received a couple of announcements to add to the bulletin so all I had to do in order to finish it was to add these announcements, add a piece of clip art, and print it.  I printed 60 copies, folded them, and took them to the sanctuary.  I also created a .pdf version of the bulletin and posted it to the CUMC website.

I thought of my Dad when I did this today.  For as long as I can remember, Dad did the bulletins for the Bramwell Presbyterian Church.  In those days, you had to type the bulletin on a special stencil paper on a manual typewriter.  If you made a typo, it was hard to fix.  He did this week after week.  We had a ditto machine that he’d use to run off the copies then we’d fold them so they’d be ready for Sunday.  When I created and printed the bulletin for this coming Sunday, I thought of how much easier I had it than Dad ever did.  I could edit my text, change the fonts, sizes, add clip art, rearrange text boxes, etc. anyway I wanted to with MS Publisher.  He only had an Underwood typewriter.  He was so skilled!  If, for some reason, he couldn’t do the bulletins, Mom stepped up and did them.  Maybe once or twice when I was in high school I did them.

While I was at Central I also printed a few checks and did several backups of QuickBooks including one copy I brought home with me on a USB stick.  You can’t have too many backups of anything important.

I met Lynn at Kroger afterwards.  We got some gift cards and a turkey which she’s going to cook so we can have leftovers after Thanksgiving though we’ll be eating Thanksgiving dinner in Athens OH.

I got home in plenty of time to get ready for my appointment with Dr. LaGrua at noon.  He didn’t have much new for me—he just had the nurse take more blood for me to be tested to see if any of the many out-of-sync levels in my previous blood tests in October had improved.  He admitted that he didn’t know what had caused them to be out of whack and agreed with me that my enlarged prostate may be to blame.

He also advised me to go through with the Mohs surgery on the basal cell carcinoma on my nose which is scheduled for November 29.  I’m not looking forward to that.

Once I got home, I didn’t have any pressing work to do and it had turned bitterly cold outside so I just took it easy.  I did have a chance to chat with Josh for a few minutes about last night’s FDHS boys basketball scrimmage.  He was still singing the praises of Henry and Gus who had both played well.  Super!

I watched WVU basketball beat Elon last night in the first round of a tournament held in Charleston SC.  Tonight they played Marquette in the semifinals.  So my evening was spent watching basketball.  Tomorrow I’m gong to watch WVU’s football team play Texas.  I love Mountaineer sports…but tonight they let me down.  Lynn and I got back late from Waynesboro and the game had already started.  The Mountaineers were up by 12 at the half.  At one point they led by 14.  Then, in what seemed like no time, Marquette got hot, WVU went cold, and soon Marquette led by 8.  The final score was Marquette 82 – 71.  To go from a huge lead to a huge loss is embarrassing.  But I’ve watched WVU all my life and am almost used to this kind of game.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

November 19       Infected                   Died

World             256,916,878           5,154,868   8,600 deaths per day in the world….

US                     48,518,424              791,068   1,800 new deaths reported     

Virginia                 953,460                14,492   1,750 cases, 23 new deaths since yesterday   

Augusta County       10,511                     133   27 new cases since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,324,275  (5,485,628 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 86.6% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 64.3% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        87,634 (40,325 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 53.4% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, well below the Virginia average, as I’ve been saying for days now.  We live in a redneck location!

The CDC today recommended that all adults should be eligible for a booster six months after their initial vaccination.

November 20, 2021

Today was a cold Saturday.  I was happy that I got my outside work done earlier in the week when the temperature was warm.  I was outside for a while this morning as I made my weekly trip to the dump including picking up the Gutshall’s trash.  The old truck has a good heater, fortunately.

I got the results of my blood tests from yesterday’s visit with Dr. LaGrua.  I had hoped that the values which had been out of the normal range in the blood tests I had back in October would be OK this time.  This didn’t happen.  I continue to have low values related to my red blood cells and hemoglobin.  This means I am anemic.  Other values which aren’t in the normal range are related to kidney function.  With the size of my prostate I’m not surprised by this.  But Dr. LaGrua couldn’t definitively tell me what is going on with my body so I’m left in the dark.  I don’t hurt or have any glaring symptoms which are cause for alarm so I’m just puzzled.

After my trash run today I had the pleasure of watching the entire WVU – Texas football game.  After the disappointment from last night’s WVU basketball game, I didn’t have high expectations for the Mountaineers.  But they played well and won 31 – 23.  It was a very good win for WVU and means that if they can beat Kansas next week they will be eligible for a bowl game.

During the game I worked on an idea I got earlier this morning for a family activity for Thanksgiving.  When I taught at Bridgewater, I used an online app called Kahoot! sometimes to review material with my students.  It occurred to me that this would work well with the group in Athens since all will have cell phones they can do the activity on.  So I spent a good while today developing nine different Kahoot! activities.  With Kahoot!, participants answer on their phones or iPads multiple choice or true false questions which are displayed on the screen. Each person is given a score based on the number they get correct and the speed at which the answer correctly.  So all are competing against everyone else.  I hope it will be fun.  The questions I made up are all family questions so they may teach the younger ones some interesting facts about their relatives.

Lynn and I usually get hamburgers from Old School food truck on Fridays but last night we just ate leftovers.  So tonight we went to Valley Pike and got our usual hamburgers.  They were delicious, as always.

In my spare time today I’ve worked on the Congregational Prayer I’m scheduled to give at tomorrow morning’s worship services.  I’ve also done some minor things around the house including sending my brother two e-cards for his 74th birthday which is tomorrow.

Here are today’s Coronavirus statistics:

November 20       Infected                   Died

World             257,405,337           5,163,024   8,200 deaths per day in the world….

US                     48,558,417              793,539   1,500 new deaths reported     

Virginia                 953,460                14,492   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND   

Augusta County       10,511                     133   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,367,027  (5,490,454 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 86.8% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 64.3% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        87,814 (40,343 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 53.4% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average.

November 21, 2021

Today is brother Butch’s 74th birthday.  He seems healthy and happier now that he has a partner, Jackie, to share his time with.  I called him this afternoon and he seemed to be doing OK.  He is certainly looking forward to Thanksgiving in Athens as are we.

We’ve all signed up for a 5K Run/Walk Turkey Trot.  This one is in Logan, OH, about 30 minutes from where we’ll be staying in Athens.  I think there will be around 16 of us participating:  Jim, Lynn & I, four Gutshalls, four Danglers, Butch, and four Foys.  Our plan is to leave for Athens on Wednesday after Henry’s basketball practice which will end around 10:00 AM.  It is a five hour drive.

Today was Sunday which meant I had duties at Central.  I had prepared the bulletin for the morning worship service and I was listed as the one with the Congregational Prayer.  Yesterday I wrote the prayer.  Our guest pastor, Rev. Jim Harris, did a good job.  There were fifty people there, the most we’ve had in a while.

This afternoon I helped Lynn prepare dinner for the Gutshalls.  I baked potatoes which she turned into potato soup.  She made homemade rolls and I cooked a small ham to eat with the rolls.  And I fixed green beans.  It was a good meal.  Ann and Betsy didn’t get here until 7:30 because she had play practice all afternoon.

I’ve had my fill of WVU sports this weekend.  Today they played in the consolation round of the Charleston SC tournament against Clemson.  They led at first, then fell behind by nine midway through the second half, then used intense defensive pressure to get back in the game and were able to pull away and win 66 – 59.  It was Coach Huggins’ 904th victory as a head coach which puts him 4th among NCAA coaches.

I enjoyed the Gutshalls company again tonight.  All of them are fun to be around.  I feel so blessed to live close to them.  Tomorrow Freddie will ride the bus here and I will likely take Betsy to her afternoon dance class.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

November 21       Infected                   Died

World             257,820,862           5,167,758   4,700 deaths per day in the world….

US                     48,592,810              793,651   120 new deaths.  Weekend underreporting?  

Virginia                 953,460                14,492   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND   

Augusta County       10,511                     133   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,422,190  (5,496,388 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 87.0% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 64.4% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        88,169 (40,404 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 53.5% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average. 

November 22, 2021

It seems that I spend over five hours every Monday at Central.  Today was no exception.  I was there at 8:00 AM and didn’t leave to come home until after 1:30 PM.  I didn’t have that much QuickBooks work to do but other things filled up my day.  One was the church’s website.  I had gotten a notice from GoDaddy that our annual renewal fee would automatically bill my credit card tomorrow, November 23.  For the past dozen years or so I have paid 100% of Central’s website bills.  This year I decided to let CUMC pay for its own GoDaddy hosting so I called them this morning to get the credit card changed from mine to the one that Savannah had used as  Administrative Assistant.  When I called, I was told that they had “rebranded” the security services that was scheduled to renew and we could re-subscribe at 33% off the cost.  I couldn’t pass up that deal so I agreed to do it.  From then until late in the evening, the website had issues.  I had to call them several times thereafter because the site just wouldn’t come up correctly.   Finally I think they got it fixed.

I also helped unload over a ton of groceries from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank for our Food Pantry.  And I put together two large boxes of Food Lion food, one for Juan Pablo and another for Elizabeth Jiminez and her family.  Lynn delivered the one to Juan Pablo this evening.  She and I delivered the other to Elizabeth mid-afternoon.

I got a good start on doing the bulletin for next Sunday.  I may not get back to it until Saturday since we’ll be gone Wednesday through Friday.

While I was at Central, I got a phone call from Dr. Lagrua’s office.  The nurse said that he had looked over my blood test results and noted that my anemia has gotten worse.  So, she said, they’d be referring me to a gastrointestinal specialist.  I didn’t get a call from anyone today.  I guess this is a wait-and-see deal.

This afternoon, we had Freddie from the time he got off his bus until 5:20.  During that time period I drove Betsy to her dance classes in Staunton.  When I got back, Lynn took the food box to Juan Pablo.

She also took a poinsettia to Beverly Coltrane whose husband, Phil, has really struggled with cancer the past few months.  Phil is one who has been on my prayer list for quite a while.

Tonight Lynn and I took my car to Simmons for its oil change appointment tomorrow morning.  When we got back we put the Christmas candles in our windows which nearly completes our decorations which the outside can see.  The one big thing left is the tree.  Our plans are to get a tree this coming Saturday from a tree farm near Vesuvius.  Lynn always wants a Frazer Fir.

Another small thing I did today was to find a photo from this past April of Butch, Mary K., and me.  I resized it to 5 x 7 and printed it on our printer with photo paper.  This afternoon, while Lynn made her Waynesboro run, she found a frame for the picture so now I have a small gift to give to Butch for his birthday.

One final accomplishment today was to discuss with Betsy about the two of us doing a piano – vocal duet at Central for the Christmas eve service.  She had previously told me she’d do it but today my job was to find a song for us.  When I picked her up today we discussed it and, after listening to a few songs, she decided on Mary Do You Know? which is one of my favorites.  This evening I purchased the sheet music for it, downloaded, and printed it.  I told Betsy we wouldn’t start practicing it together until after her big musical, A Christmas Story, is over on December 19.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

November 22       Infected                   Died

World             258,362,763           5,174,120   6,500 deaths per day in the world….

US                     48,734,774              794,760   1,100 new deaths 

Virginia                 957,570                14,548   4,000 new cases, 56 deaths since Friday   

Augusta County       10,559                     135   48 new cases, 2 new deaths since Friday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,452,709  (5,499,704 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 87.1% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 64.4% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        88,309 (40,411 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 53.5% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average. 

November 23, 2021

What a busy day!  This reminded me of when I was working—I had multiple things going on at once which required my attention.  Fortunately, I’ve learned to multitask and manage time pretty well so I actually got nearly everything done today that I needed to do.

I was without a car most of the day as my car was getting its oil changed at Simmons.  So most of the things I did were here at 296 Leaport Road.  I discovered midday that I had neglected to put two Central UMC meetings today on my agenda:  Finance Committee at 2:00 and Council at 7:00.   The 7:00 meeting was particularly troublesome because I am the secretary of Council but Henry and Gus had a home basketball scrimmage tonight and I didn’t want to miss it.  Plus, with Pastor Won being out of town on vacation, I was asked to set up the Zoom meetings for both of these.  This wasn’t an issue for the 2:00 meeting since I was in charge of that meeting anyway.  The one who sets up the Zoom meeting has to start the meeting so others can join.  But the 7:00 meeting presented an issue because I knew at 7:00 I’d be in the Fort Defiance High School gym.  Nonetheless, I was able to start the meeting there without taking part in it.  When I got home later I found that the meeting was going on just fine.

This morning I did a few thing to help Lynn with a craft project she wants to take to Ohio.  I also spent a long time on a last minute idea I had about creating a photo book.  I won’t go into details but I was able to put together a book I plan on giving at Christmas time.  I spent several hours choosing the photos and editing the book.

Lambert Plumbing came at 1:00 to do the annual service on both the heat pump and boiler.  I talked with Greg Lambert about my plan to replace the heating oil tank currently underground with an above-ground one when the oil has been consumed from the tank.  It will likely take until spring for that to happen.  We didn’t turn the boiler on until today.

My 2:00 meeting went OK. I was able to get everything prepared for it that I needed to present despite the short time period.

Around 3:00 I called and found out that my car was ready to be picked up.  Lynn had gone to John C. Myers Elementary School for an interpreting session so I was somewhat stuck here.  I decided to take my truck up to Simmons, get the car and pay for the oil change, then come back here.  I’d get my truck later.  As I started to pull out of the driveway, I saw that the time was around 3:15.  Freddie’s bus gets here around 3:18 but today was Tuesday and he normally has his TLC class after school on Tuesdays so I wasn’t surprised that no one was here to pick him up.  But I decided to wait until his bus passed our driveway just in case he was on it today.  Sure enough, his bus put on its red lights in front of my truck and out he came.  He told me that his TLC was canceled for today.  I am so glad I didn’t leave to get my car until the bus came!  I told him to hop in and we both went up to the get car.  Then we stopped by the house where I grabbed an iPad for him to play with while I went into Staunton to Central UMC.  I had some wrapping paper Lynn wanted taken there and there were some checks I had left to be signed that needed to be mailed.  On my way back home, I stopped by the Edward Jones office in Verona where Justin Rexrode, our Edward Jones representative, had very kindly ordered a bunch of Thanksgiving pies for his clients.  I picked up an apple pie that we’ll take to Ohio with us tomorrow.

Freddie and I got back home just in time to grab some supper of leftovers before heading to the scrimmages.  We got to Fort Defiance High School just as the JV game started.  Gus played well but had an unfortunate incident.  While battling for a rebound, he picked up a foul (which I thought was a bad call).  He must have muttered something about the call because the official immediately gave him a technical foul.  That was totally uncalled for.  Now I should point out that the official who did this is not a stranger to us.  He was the JV coach at Fort Defiance when Jim was in the 9th grade.  He was the coach who cut Jim from the squad.  I know I’m supposed to be Christ-like and forgive, but after almost twenty years I still can’t look at that man without remembering that awful day.  The teams tonight only played three quarters.  I’m not sure why.  Gus didn’t play much but it didn’t matter because his JV team swamped the team from Parry McClure High School. 

The varsity game started out the same way.  Parry McClure has one really good player, a Division 1 prospect.  But apparently other players on their team were still playing on their football team so their team was weaker than expected.  Fort Defiance blew them away in the first quarter.  I think the score was something like 25 – 2.  Henry had 8 points including a three pointer.  He picked up two more early in the second quarter but then was pulled so others could play most of the rest of the game.  He really played well when he was on the court.

After the game, Lynn and I got my truck back from Simmons then I worked more on the photo book.  She was exhausted as she hasn’t slept well lately.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 23       Infected                   Died

World             259,014,754           5,182,968   8,700 deaths per day in the world….

US                     48,835,216              796,319   1,600 new deaths 

Virginia                 959,156                14,573   1,600 new cases, 25 deaths since yesterday   

Augusta County       10,571                     136   12 new cases, 1 new death since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,478,668  (5,502,631 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 87.3% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 64.5% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        88,391 (40,424 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 53.5% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average. 

November 24, 2021

Today was our travel-to-Ohio day.  Lynn and I got up early and had plenty of time to pack since we wanted to leave around 10:30.  Henry had basketball practice until 10:00 and we wanted to leave at approximately the same time as the Gutshall’s car. 

Lynn had a large number of items to bring with us, especially food related.  She made pepperoni rolls for Wiley and this morning she made English muffins for Butch.  She had previously made cookies.  We had the apple pie from Justin Rexrode at Edward Jones, and an apple cake Lynn actually won from Red Truck Bakery in September that she had frozen.  She had Advent calendars galore and pajamas for the Foys and little Hills.  She had a waxed amaryllis for Jackie.  We both brought warm clothes for the Turkey Trot.  I had the picture for Butch.  She had a crate of craft materials she will hopefully have a chance to do with the kids.

Our car was so full we had to put the cooler on the floor behind my passenger seat.  That’s where Freddie sat in his car seat so he just put his feet on top of the cooler.  That’s the same way he rode all the way to Maine and back.  We bought Betsy and Freddie so the Gutshalls could come in their Rav 4. 

The weather was beautiful for driving.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky though it was chilly.  The temperature was in the mid 40’s when we left.  As expected, traffic was miserable on I-81 but got better once we got to Lexington and got on I-64.  Google maps said our trip would take five hours.

We had planned a stop for lunch in Beckley which was approximately halfway to Athens.  Our car, which was ahead of the Gutshall’s, all elected to eat at Chick Fil a in Beckley.  We had a big but quick lunch there.  Beside Chick Fil A was a Kohl’s.  Betsy needed some sweatpants for tomorrow’s Turkey Trot so Lynn and Betsy went in Kohl’s to find some.  Meanwhile, I discovered that I had just left my hat at Chick Fil A so Freddie and I drove back there.  When I went inside to get my hat, I bumped into Ann, Josh, Henry, and Gus who had also decided to eat at Chick Fil A. 

It was a long ride but we finally got to Ohio U Inn around 5:00.  After we checked in, we headed for Butch’s and were there just after 5:30, just in time for the pizza he had ordered.  Soon his house filled with people including Jim, Kay, Andy, Thomas, Georgia, Josh, Henry, Ann, Gus, Betsy, Freddie, Kit, Colin, Leo, Nora, Butch, Jackie, Wiley, Lynn, three of Butch’s friends, and me. 

Jim had picked up all of our race shirts and bibs for us for tomorrow.  Lynn and I are going to ride with Butch and Jackie there, about 30 minutes from here.  It starts at 9:00 and, unfortunately, the forecast is for rain.

Lynn had brought the desserts for tonight’s dinner.  They went fast.  Butch ended up with lots of pizza left over.  We left his house around 9:00 which was much after his bedtime.  And he had lots to clean up, too.

Coming back to the hotel, we brought Betsy and Freddie while the rest of the Gutshalls went to the grocery store.  It was 10:00 by the time I showered and got to bed.

I am excited about Christmas Eve services at Central.  As I’ve written about before, Betsy and I will be doing a piano – vocal duet of Mary, Did You Know?.  I had time yesterday and today to practice the piano music for it I downloaded.  Betsy is very tied up currently with preparing for her Christmas dance recital and especially for her part in the musical A Christmas Story.  Consequently, we probably won’t practice it together until after December 19, the date of her last performance of A Christmas Story.   I love the talent and the confidence she has to perform.  She is a gem of a girl!

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 24       Infected                   Died

World             259,699,497           5,191,762   8,400 deaths per day in the world….

US                     48,969,792              798,242   1,900 new deaths 

Virginia                 960,691                14,597   1,500 new cases, 24 deaths since yesterday   

Augusta County       10,587                     136   16 new cases, 0 new deaths since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,529,162  (5,508,146 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 87.5% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 64.5% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        88,842 (40,457 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 53.5% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average. 

November 25, 2021

Thanksgiving, 2021.  Boy, do I have a lot to be thankful for!  I am especially thankful for the wonderful family I have.  Today was spent with that family.  I am so proud of each and every one of them.  We all got along wonderfully today.  We ate well, fellowshipped well, and reminded each other of the value of family. 

I am especially thankful for my brother Butch for making all of the arrangements for our Thanksgiving celebration.  He paid for the entire dinner for all 21 of us today.  He had actually made most of the arrangements over a year ago prior to COVID-19.  We were finally able to carry out his plans today with a great day.

Our day started with the Turkey Trot in nearby Logan OH.  Seventeen of us signed up for it but with rain forecast and not much sleep the Dangler family pulled out.  The rest of us made the 30 minute ride to Logan and did the 5K walk:  Lynn, Kay, Andy, Thomas, Georgia, Jim, Ann, Henry, Freddie, Betsy, Butch, Jackie, and me.  There were 258 participants in the run/walk.  Jim finished 2nd!  And the only person to beat Jim was exactly half his age (19; Jim is 38).  Even Thomas and Georgia were 3rd in their age divisions.  I was 247th out of 258!  But I felt good just to walk 3.1 miles without getting out of breath or hurting.  It felt fine.  And the rain held off.  Temperatures were in the mid-40’s so it really was a good day for a Turkey Trot.

We returned back with a short diversion to Dollar General so Lynn could buy some Christmas lights on sale.  Soon after we got home and changed clothes it was time to go to Butch’s house for lunch.  We had plenty of leftover pizza and pepperoni rolls.  The whole gang came there.  We left in early afternoon to come back to Ohio University Inn to get ready for the big Hill Thanksgiving party.

The party actually began at 4:00.  The room at the Ohio U Inn that had been reserved for us was outfitted with a 72” screen which I plugged my laptop into via HDMI and projected the slide show of over 1,100 photos including some from earlier in the day.  It worked perfectly and ran nearly the whole time we were in the room. 

The exception to the slide show running was when we did the Kahoot! activities I had developed.  They went over very well, in my opinion.  The questions I had made up were family oriented and were basically intended to teach the kids something about their ancestors.  The kids all participated enthusiastically.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the Kahoots.

The hor d’oeurves we had at 4:00 were excellent.  The 5:30 meal was good.  It was your basic Thanksgiving dinner:  turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, rolls, and pies for dessert.  There was an abundance of food for the 21 of us (the same 13 who ran/walked in the 5K plus Josh, Gus, Kit, Colin, Leo, Nora, Mary K., and Wiley).  Lynn had the foresight at the second Dollar General we stopped at this morning to buy storage containers.  She ended up filling nearly all of them with leftover dinner food.  Butch took half of the food home and we got the rest.

Both before and after the dinner, Lynn was able to do her craft work with Betsy, Freddie, Georgia, and Thomas.  The kids always like doing her crafty ideas.

It was a very good day.  Tomorrow will be another long day of driving.  Our plan is to leave around noon.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 25       Infected                   Died

World             260,276,067           5,198,847   7,100 deaths per day in the world….

US                     48,999,737              798,551   Only 320 deaths reported since yesterday 

Virginia                 962,472                14,616   1,700 new cases, 19 deaths since yesterday   

Augusta County       10,632                     139   45 new cases, 3 new deaths since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,588,773  (5,514,602 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 87.7% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 64.6% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        89,000 (40,472 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 53.6% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average. 

November 26, 2021

Today was driving home day.  We all agreed to eat breakfast at the Ohio U Inn this morning, visit a little more, then leave around noon.  The Inn gave us a late checkout time so this worked perfectly. 

One thing that I neglected to think of yesterday when I was thinking of all I was thankful for.  I am thankful that the United States has a President who has taken the bull by the horns in keeping us safe from COVID-19.  He has made vaccines free and easily available to the public.  He has enforced vaccine mandates for government employees and private employers with large numbers of employees.  He has provided the public with accurate, truthful reporting, unlike our previous President.  If Trump had stayed in office, Lord knows how rampant COVID-19 would be in our country.  And if the public who still listens to that idiot would get themselves vaccinated we could get it behind us.  As it was, our family spent the entire Thanksgiving unmasked, indoors, and safe.  Thank you, Joe Biden.

And I should also say a big thank you to the unnamed experts who developed the vaccines.  They are truly life-savers.  Where would we be without them?

I got a text from Jim at 6:30 AM that he was at the breakfast bar awaiting for them to open.  So I got up, dressed in the dark, and met him there where we each had a cup of good Starbucks coffee and good conversation.  Lynn had not slept well the previous night and she was sleeping well so I tiptoed out.  She joined us around 8:00.  Soon the others came and we ate a good breakfast.  We ended up with twenty people there as even Butch and Jackie joined us.

After breakfast, Butch and Jackie took Lynn and me to a couple of nearby places to shop including an old mill.  We were back in plenty of time to leave Athens at noon.

Beckley is exactly halfway home so we stopped there at Tamarack on our way home.  It took us a long time, but we managed to get in bathroom breaks, lunch, and some shopping.  It was near 4:00 by the time we got back on the road.

We got a text from Jim that he had made it home safely.  He had left just after breakfast.  Kay and Andy and kids were going to spend the night with an old friend of hers in Pittsburgh tonight.  They also left not long after breakfast and got there around 3:00.  Kit texted that she had gotten home safe, too.

Betsy and Freddie are such good travelers!  Betsy had her earbuds in the whole time.  Freddie had earphones connected to my iPad.  We hardly heard from them the whole way.

The drive from Beckley to home is usually a tale of two completely different roads.  From Beckley to Lexington we are on I-64.  Today the highway was practically deserted.  Sometimes we’d see zero cars in both directions.  The route from Lexington to Verona is on I-81.  Most of the time it is bumper to bumper.  Tonight it wasn’t that bad and I’m not sure why.

We got home around 6:15 PM.  Lynn had driven the entire way and done a fine job.  I kid her sometimes because she is an excellent driver but not-so-excellent parker.  Her tires are frequently on or over the parking lines.  But on the road she is safe and efficient.  I feel safe riding with her.

We didn’t stay home that long.  Lynn wanted to get some poinsettias from Lowe’s and needed some things from Costco so we dropped Betsy and Freddie at their house and headed north to get this shopping done.  We got back around 8:30.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

November 26       Infected                   Died

World             260,820,796           5,205,398   7,100 deaths per day in the world….

US                     49,022,858              798,894   Only 320 deaths reported since yesterday 

Virginia                 963,739                14,635   1,300 new cases, 19 deaths since yesterday   

Augusta County       10,633                     139   Only 1 new case reported since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 12,612,484  (5,517,219 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  Thomas, Georgia, and Freddie now have their first shot.  That’s 87.8% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 64.6% of the total population fully vaccinated).

            Augusta County        89,050 (40,486 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, and Betsy.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 53.6% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average.