January 2022: Life in the COVID-19 Era

January 1, 2022

This was not a good start to 2022 for me.  I had chills overnight and woke up today lightheaded and fatigued.  I’ve had this several times before.  I felt fatigued all morning and didn’t leave the house until tonight when Lynn and I went to the Depot Grille for dinner.  At least I haven’t had diarrhea issues today.  I’m hoping that by tomorrow morning I’ll be back to normal.

Throughout the day I felt somewhat better and even felt good enough to mount the new solar motion-detecting light outside.  I wish that had gone well but, typical of my skills, I managed to make a very easy install very difficult.  The screws for the mounting bracket were just a little longer than the wood I was screwing them into and apparently there is brick behind it.  So I managed to strip both of the screws that were used to mount the bracket.  I ended up having to hacksaw them both off, not an easy task.  I spent probably an hour and a half doing a ten minute job.  And all of it was on a stepladder, probably not the best place for a lightheaded person.  I didn’t fall, though.  I did get very upset at my inability to do a simple job. 

At one point I said to Lynn that I didn’t know how our son Jim could be so competent at working with his hands given his Dad’s lack of skills.  She correctly commented that maybe he inherited that from her.

I finally managed to get the bracket re-installed, this time with shorter screws, and tonight when we came home from the Depot it worked very, very well.  No longer should any of us trip over the big flower pot due to not being able to see it.  I’ve done it several times, including once last month for which I still have a sizeable scar on my leg.

That’s about all I got done today.  I took a couple of naps and watched some basketball and football games on TV.  One of the games was the WVU – Texas basketball game.  With three of their players grounded with COVID-19, WVU got blistered today, 74 – 59.  Their leading scorer, Taz Sherman who averages 21 points per game, was one of the ones sidelined due to COVID.

Lynn and I are concerned about my brother Butch.  We’ve both texted him in the past two days but have gotten no response.  That’s highly unusual for him.  I got a phone message yesterday from my sister thanking me for her calendar.  But we’ve heard nothing from Butch.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 1            Infected                   Died

World             289,653,908           5,458,818   6,200 new deaths in the world….

US                     55,864,519              847,162   266,000 cases, 262 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,118,518                15,587  NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

Augusta County       12,068                     141   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,044,320  (5,774,367 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 88.7% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 67.7% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        97,568 (41,849 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 55.4% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average. 

January 2, 2022

Perhaps my health is gradually improving.  I didn’t have any dizziness today or diarrhea.  I still felt somewhat fatigued but not as bad as yesterday.  I managed to go to church but when I came home I took a nap of almost two hours.  That is highly unusual for me.  But I felt good when Ann and her family came over for dinner. 

The big news tonight is our impending snowstorm, the first of the season.  We’re supposed to get anywhere from 5” to 8” tonight (starting around 2:00 AM and lasting until around 10:00 AM in the morning).  Augusta County wasn’t scheduled to go back to school anyway unitl Tuesday but Rockingham was due back tomorrow.  That has now been canceled.

Roanoke isn’t supposed to get as much, and Jim made a good bit of money the last time he came here with his snowblowers so tonight he drove here to stay with us then get up tomorrow and try to find people in Staunton who want their driveways plowed.  I think last time he did most of his work in the Baldwin Park area of Staunton.

Today the bells were supposed to play for Church so I had to get there early to practice.  We did OK with both the prelude and special music.  There are only 6-7 of us who play and we have to play in the balcony because there is a harpsichord on the platform where we used to play.  At church, people still came up to me to tell me how much they enjoyed the duet Betsy and I played Christmas Eve.  She sat with us at Church today.

Tonight Lynn fixed manicotti for dinner.  She also made some cheesy bread and a salad.  The manicotti was a big hit with the kids.  She made both a vegetarian version for Betsy and a meat version for everyone else.  I had one helping; Freddie had six!

We went out and got our lottery ticket tonight.  The Powerball jackpot is 522 million.  I have no early idea what I’d do with that money if we were to win.   Of course, we have a near 0% chance of winning. 

Tonight CNN has a special show about James Taylor and Carole King.  Lynn LOVES James Taylor.

Henry and Gus are scheduled to have six basketball games in the next two weeks.  They are supposed to play Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday this week and Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday next week.  But given the number of recent postponentments due to COVID-19, I wonder how many of them will actually be played.

Henry was with his family tonight at our house.  His COVID-19 exposure was five days ago and he hasn’t had any symptoms.  His team is scheduled to practice tomorrow.

I wrote yesterday that Lynn and I were worried about my brother who hadn’t responded to our texts for the past two days.  This morning he finally wrote back, saying things were very hectic in Austin TX where he is with Jackie and her newborn granddaughter. 

A CNN headline on their website today says “Florida COVID cases up 948% in last two weeks.”  Wow!  Buried in that article I found Virginia’s rate of increase over the last two weeks:  248%.

Here are today’s COVID-19 stattistics:

January 2            Infected                   Died

World             290,632,901           5,460,317   1,500 new deaths in the world….

US                     56,142,175              847,408   270,000 cases, 246 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,118,518                15,587  NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

Augusta County       12,068                     141   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,068,913  (5,777,483 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 88.8% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 67.7% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        97,637 (41,859 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 55.4% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average. 

January 3, 2022

Overnight we got a significant snowfall.  By 9:00 this morning we had around nine inches.  The first snow we got overnight didn’t stick because the air and ground were warm but as the temperature fell it started sticking.  By early this morning the roads were treacherous.  A news story on WHSV said there were 160 accidents in the area.

Thus it was a good thing Jim came down last night before the snow.  He ate breakfast with us then spent some time testing his snow blowers but the snow was still coming down so he couldn’t start working on driveways until around 11:00.  By that time, he had driven to Ann’s and picked up Henry.  They worked until around 3:30 doing multiple driveways in Staunton.  Jim split the money with Henry so, all in all, it was a prosperous day. 

If Henry hadn’t gone with him, I was considering it.  When he left, I wasn’t sure if my body was up to it but soon after he departed I realized I could do some snow shoveling so I bundled up and went outside to shovel our sidewalks and the part of the driveway he didn’t do.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I felt good doing the work despite the fact that the snow was deep and heavy.  I know my back will be hurting tonight but it will be a good kind of hurting.   Actually I felt today better today than I have for a week.

By mid afternoon Leaport Road had been plowed and since our driveway was in good shape, Lynn and I drove to Ann’s house because she needed some eggs.  We didn’t have any issues because it was a little over freezing by then and since the roads were plowed, they were just wet.  Tonight they well might be trickier because it is supposed to get down into the teens overnight.

Jim took Henry to meet the rest of his family at a house they are considering purchasing.  This one is right alongside Middle River not far from our house.  In fact, it is also on Leaport Road.  There are some nice features of the property but it does not have enough bedrooms and does have a risk of flooding at some point. 

We had some delicious Millie Brown chicken noodle soup for dinner plus some of her cornbread.  Lynn made a quiche today which she and Jim also ate.  Then he loaded up and headed back to Roanoke.

The FDA announced tonight that 12 – 15 year olds could get boosters.  Henry hasn’t gotten his, either, but maybe now he and Gus can get theirs.  Betsy didn’t get hers until early October so she’ll have to wait.

There is a lot of debate now about whether schools should be virtual now instead of in-person.  I wrote last night that I wondered how many of Henry and Gus’ basketball games would be canceled due to COVID-19.  Their game tomorrow night is now postponed but it isn’t because of COVID—it’s because school has been called off due to the snow.

Today I called my family doctor, Dr. Lagrua, because he had referred me to the gastroenterologist department at Augusta Health because he still doesn’t know why my blood work wasn’t coming back normal.  He made that referral before Thanksgiving.  Well, it is now January 3 and I still haven’t heard a word from the hospital about scheduling an appointment for me.  When I called Dr. Lagrua’s office, I was told that they were aware that there was a huge backup because the doctors there had been pulled to care for COVID-19 patients.  Nonetheless, they gave me the phone number to call to at least verify that I was in the queue to eventually get an appointment.  My phone call verified that they had the referral but were just not scheduling anyone now due to the overflow of hospitalizations due to COVID-19.  So when my idiotic Augusta County neighbors feel that their decision to not get vaccinated is a personal one, they need to know that their infections are keeping me from getting the evaluation I need.

With the snow, I didn’t get to Central today.  Our new administrative assistant, Karen Richardson, was set to start working today but that got delayed.  There are numerous things that I want to show her on her first day.  I’m planning on going in tomorrow morning in case she starts then.  There are numerous treasurer’s tasks for me to take care of, too.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

January 3            Infected                   Died

World             292,348,223           5,464,708   4,400 new deaths in the world….

US                     56,629,486              848,124   480,000 cases, 700 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,160,703                15,615  48,000 cases, 28 new deaths since Friday

Augusta County       12,519                     141   451 new cases, 0 deaths since Friday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,079,149  (5,778,904 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 88.8% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 67.7% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        97,675 (41,863 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 55.4% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average. 

January 4, 2022

Things still weren’t back to normal after Monday night’s snowstorm.  School was out all around the area and the basketball games were postponed.  The road condition improved so that travel was OK but not on I-95 near Washington where hundreds of cars were stranded for twenty four or more hours due to multiple tractor trailer wrecks on the ice covered roads.   Augusta County Schools are on a two hour delay tomorrow. 

Worse, snow is forecast again this week.  Tonight’s forecast says we will get 3 – 6 more inches of snow Thursday night. 

Pastor Won sent out a note that the Church would open today at noon so I waited to go there.  I didn’t wait until noon because I had several jobs to do before others got there.  So I showed up around 11:00 and worked there until 2:30.  Our new Administrative Assistant, Karen Richardson, was there for her first day of work so I had to get her in the payroll system.

Lynn and I got hamburgers at the Old Schoolhouse food truck tonight.  She embarked on a new craft venure today—candle making.  She created two candles today re-using wax from Central’s Christmas Eve service.

Omicon is now responsible for 95% of new cases of COVID-19.  There were over one million new cases reported in the US yesterday, a record for the pandemic.  Tests are extremely hard to find.  A testing clinic today in one of Harrisonburg’s parks ran out of test kits and had to close early.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 4            Infected                   Died

World             295,317,861           5,472,675   7,900 new deaths in the world….

US                     57,966,099              851,374   1,300,000 cases, 3,200 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,176,159                15,622  15,400 cases, 7 new deaths since Friday

Augusta County       12,681                     144   162 new cases, 3 deaths since Friday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,102,388  (5,782,455 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 88.9% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 67.7% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

January 5, 2022

I’d be wealthy if I were paid by the hour for my work at Central.  But I don’t mind doing the volunteer work; right now it’s my contribution to CUMC.  Today I was there from 8:00 – 2:30.  There is so much to do with 2021 ending and 2022 beginning.  For 2021, there were December federal and state taxes to be paid, 4th quarter tax returns to be filed, Contribution Statements to be put in envelopes for handing out and mailing, and two monthly financial statements to be developed that are shared with the church council.  For 2022, I had to enter the new budget, reconcile four bank accounts, and setup the payroll for the January 14 paydate including our new employee.

I wish I could say I got everything done today.  I did get all of the above done but I haven’t even started working on the W2 forms for our employees.  And, the counters didn’t finish their work today with Sunday’s contributions until after I left so I’ve got that to enter tomorrow when I return.  On top of that, both Pastor Won and I (as treasurer) have had issues with our GoDaddy e-mail that I spent 45 minutes on the phone about today.  That issue was only partially solved though we were told everything would be fine on January 9.

On the news tonight a representative from a local rescue squad said that, in light of the recent storm with many losing power, people should check on their elderly neighbors.  I jokingly asked Lynn if we should expect people to come checking on us.  Perhaps we aren’t elderly yet, but we’re not getting younger.  Half of our neighbors are older than we are, though!

Lynn fixed chili and cornbread for dinner tonight.  It was delicious!  I am so lucky to be married to a great cook.  It’s no wonder I struggle to maintain a decent weight. 

After school today, both Betsy and Freddie came here.  Betsy had some math and some STEM work to do which I helped her with.  Freddie read to Lynn and watched tv with me.  After dinner tonight, Henry stopped by for some help with math.

The forecast for tomorrow evening is for another big snowstorm to hit us.  It is supposed to start around dusk and bring us 3” – 5” more snow.  That pretty much insures that school won’t be held on Friday which means another basketball game will be postponed.  I feel sorry for the players this year.  Between COVID-19 and the weather they haven’t been able to play that much.

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the attack on the Capitol building.  More and more evidence has come forward lately showing how much responsibility for this falls back to Donald Trump.  I hope the Justice Department charges, convicts, and sentences him to pay for his crimes against our Democracy and for his dereliction of duty. 

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 5            Infected                   Died

World             297,865,400           5,481,086   8,500 new deaths in the world….

US                     58,609,925              853,279   700,000 cases, 2,900 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,186,887                15,631  10,600 cases, 9 new deaths since yesterday

Augusta County       12,730                     144   49 new cases, 0 deaths since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,120,920  (5,785,356 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 88.9% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 67.8% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        97,881 (41,885 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 55.4% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average. 

January 7, 2022

We awoke to our second snow of the week.  Last night’s was about four inches but it had ended around 3:00 AM so throughout the day the road conditions improved even though the temperature didn’t get above freezing.  The wind was icy, too, and I felt it when I went out to shovel the sidewalks this morning.

My morning was a busy one.  I first did some work for Pastor Won for an annual report he has to submit before January 12.  In the meantime, Lynn had gotten all of the ornaments off the tree and had put them away.  So my next job was to get all of the lights off the tree.  That went pretty quickly.  Then, with Lynn’s help, we got the tree out of the house.  I cleaned up the living room which wasn’t a hard job because this year’s tree didn’t shed its needles much.  Then I put away the lights and we ended up with a clean and empty living room.

I had a doctor’s appointment this afternoon at 1:30 with my urologist, Dr. Gillock.  Before I went, I printed out all of the test results I had since October 6.  I had quite a packet with me when I went.  My goal was to ask him if he could explain why my blood work has come back with issues since then.  Plus, I needed to find out what my PSA was from last week’s test.  It turns out that my PSA was down a little from its last test.  Five months ago I had a MRI for my prostate.  At that time, the attending doctor said I should get a followup MRI six months afterwards.  So, he told me he would arrange for me to do that.  I don’t look forward to that because not only is the prep work a major pain, but when the MRI occurs you have to lie absolutely still for 45 minutes.

He didn’t have a good answer to my blood work issues.  I told him how I was supposed to have been to see a gastroenterologist but the ones at Augusta Health are so busy they aren’t seeing any new patients now.  Thanks to COVID-19 for that one…..  He did say that none of my numbers looked that serious.  I hope he’s right.  He suggested that I get another colonoscopy soon.  I don’t look forward to that, either.

Tonight is supposed to be the coldest night we’ve had in three years.  It will get in the single digits.  Tonight was supposed to have been a basketball game night for Henry and Gus but that game was postponed due to the weather.  Their game tomorrow afternoon is still on.  They play Riverheads with the JV’s starting at 3:00 followed by the varsity.  I look forward to seeing them play again.

With the icy roads and frigid temperatures, Lynn and I didn’t go out again tonight.  We ate leftovers for dinner then watched television.

There are so many different news stories night with COVID-19 as the underlying problem.  Novak Jokovich has not been allowed to enter Australia to defend his Australian Open title because he apparently has not been vaccinated.  President Biden’s mandate that private companies must require their employees to be vaccinated is being challeneged in the US Supreme Court.  The NHL has postponed over 100 games due to COVID.  Citigroup is set to fire its unvaccinated employees.  Some doctors think the Omicron-fueled wave that we’re currently dealing with will drop off in a couple of weeks, based on what has happened already in South Africa (where Omicron originally started) and the United Kingdom.  Fortunately, it hasn’t been as deadly as previous varients but the number of hospitalizations is still extremely high, with the vast majority of those hospitalized unvaccinated.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 7            Infected                   Died

World             303,548,015           5,496,536   7,000 more deaths in the world….

US                     60,380,124              858,103   800,000 cases, 2,300 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,221,036                15,651   18,300 cases, 9 deaths since yesterday

Augusta County       13,021                     144   140 new cases, 0 deaths since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,180,375  (5,794,359 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 89.1% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 67.9% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        98,423 (41,934 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 55.5% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average. 

January 8, 2022

We made it through the frigid night.  I feel sure our temperatures were in the single digits overnight; by the time I looked at the outdoor thermometer well after breakfast it showed 10o.  To combat the cold, I always open the doors to the kitchen and green bathroom sinks.  And when it is that cold, I let water drip in the green bathroom’s sink.  Plus, I got up twice in the night and each time ran hot water in both the kitchen and the bathroom.  Plus I flushed the commode so that both hot and cold water ran.  As far as upstairs, I turned the heat up last night so the hot water would circulate instead of sit. 

When we lived in Staunton we were on East Beverley Street.  At that time we had a wood stove in the family room and each night I’d build a big fire in it so it would supplement the hot water heat in the house.  One night, apparently I did too good of a job with the wood heat because the water pipes to the radiators froze.  The next day, when it got warm, we had water running down the outside of our house.  It was a mess.  All the money we saved with the wood heat went to the plumbers to fix the leaking radiator.  That house’s design wasn’t good—the radiator lines were basically in an exposed area anyway which made them easy to freeze.  The only advantage to where they were is that the broken water line leaked outside, not inside, the house.  I was glad to leave East Beverley Street.

We lived paycheck to paycheck at that time so any calamity caused me to worry unceasingly.  Now we’ve got money set aside for emergencies but I still worry unceasingly about issues like frozen water lines, backed up sewer lines, etc.

Speaking of backed up sewer lines, today, right before she left to go shopping with Cheryl Kent, Lynn told me her toilet was stopped up.  She had tried to use the plunger but got nowhere.  I tried repeatedly, also, without success.  I went downstairs below it and found that water was leaking from around the toilet seal, perhaps due to the excessive plunging that we had done.  So I called Lambert Plumbing and left a message.  With last night’s temperatures, I felt sure they had more pressing issues they were dealing with but I wanted to get on their list.  In the meantime, I got some buckets to catch the dripping water, worried like I had cancer, cut the water off to the toilet, ran the shower to see if it backed up (it did not which I thought meant the problem was isolated to the toilet), and went back and forth between the basement and bathroom.  On one of my trips back up, all of a sudden I heard water running in the drain.  By the time I got to the toilet, it was empty.  The problem had fixed itself!  Talk about a miracle…  Actually, I think the best explanation is that the toilet paper we use disintegrates over time and perhaps it finally disintegrated enough to unclog the stoppage.  I double checked the toilet and shower and all now seems to be fine.  In the meantime, Greg Lambert had called and left a message for me that he would be here Monday.  So I called him back and canceled.  This was really good luck for me.

I do really worry a lot about things like this.  There’s a saying that I believe in my heart but I can’t always get myself to abide by:  if a problem can be fixed with money, it’s not much of a problem.  As I said above, we’ve got the money to fix problems like this and I should be able to just let these issues go, pay someone else to fix them, and not get my blood pressure up.  I wish I could do that.

Besides fooling with the heating and sewage systems today, I didn’t do much.  I think I’ve picked up around the house about as much as I can.  The garage badly needs work but I’m not going out there when it is just 15o outside.  I HATE COLD. 

Lynn has gotten into candle making.  Today she made a candle in a wooden bowl with three wicks.  She also scented it with some scents she ordered from Amazon.  It has some imperfections on top so she took a hot air blower and fixed the wax until it looks perfect now.  She is so talented!

Today was the first FDHS basketball game since December 28.  COVID-19 and hazardous weather have taken a toll on the season.  Today’s games were afternoon games against county rival Riverheads.  Coming into the game, Fort had a 3 – 3 record and Riverheads was 3 – 1.

The game was not a pretty site to see.  Fort shot miserably, missing twelve of their first thirteen shots from the field.  The officiating was, beyond a doubt, the worst I have seen in 71 years of watching and playing basketball.  Yet FDHS pulled out a 48 – 39 win over Riverheads despite the lousy shooting and awful officiating.

To illustrate how bad the officiating was, Fort’s Tyreek Veney, the leading scorer in the district, was called for FIVE charging fouls.  At most, one was legitimate.  On all the others, the defender was moving with him as he drove for the basket.  It was as if the officials had it in for poor Tyreek.  He still scored 20 points.

Fort played without two players out due to COVID-19, Josh Jones and Conner Patterson.  They had only nine players dressed for the game.  But Riverheads only had nine, also.  Their shooting was as bad as Fort’s.  Henry had a pretty good game, scoring five points and hitting all three of his free throws.  The Indians were behind 10 – 6 after the first quarter, pulled ahead 22 – 21 at the half, fell behind 30 – 27 after three quarters, but rallied in the fourth quarter to pull out the win.

The JV game was equally hard to watch.  The Fort boys easily led for the first three quarters, going up 15 at the end of the third quarter, only to see Riverheads come back and take the lead with less than a minute to go,  Fortunately, one of the FDHS kids scored near the buzzer to give them a 33 – 32 win.

Riverheads and Fort Defiance each had around 100 fans at the game.  But the two sides were starkly different.  On the FDHS side, nearly every person wore a mask.  On the Riverheads side, which I could easily see and count, only five of the 100 wore a mask.  And with Augusta County only having 55% of its population fully vaccinated, the gym must have been a breeding ground for COVID-19.

One of Lynn’s closest friends, Cheryl Wright, texted her that her home COVID test kit indicated that she was positive.  She, Cheryl Kent, and Lynn visited inside in our living room for a couple of hours on Thursday.  Oh well, we’ll see what happens.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 8            Infected                   Died

World             305,768,087           5,501,900   4,300 more deaths in the world….

US                     60,849,585              858,978   470,000 cases, 900 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,221,036                15,651   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

Augusta County       13,021                     144   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,211,593  (5,798,830 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 89.2% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 67.9% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        98,423 (41,934 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 55.5% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average.  Note that these statistics were not updated since Friday.

January 9, 2022

Today was a Sunday with not a minute to spare.  It was a good day.  The weather wasn’t beautiful—it rained on and off—but at least it wasn’t bitterly cold as it has been.  Like all Sundays, it began with me playing the piano via Zoom for Sunday School.  And, like usual, I exited the Zoom early because I needed to get to bell choir practice.  This time, though, I also picked up Betsy on the way so she could play with the group, too.  It worked out fine and she is catching on quite well.

Lynn didn’t go to church because she had been exposed to her friend Cheryl Wright on Thursday who had a positive at-home COVID test on Saturday.  But Lynn felt fine all day and we went out together this afternoon.  She had purchased tickets for us to go to a wine and chocolate tasting at Bluestone Vineyard near Bridgewater.  Her friend Robin Brown and her husband Ronnie also went to it and we sat together.

We laughed on the way there because we are more of chocolate conniseurs than wine conniseurs.  There were twelve different samples of wine at Bluestone Vineyard:  four white, four red, and four sweet wines.  There were 14 different samples of chocolate to match with them.  I’m not sure we did a decent job of matching the wine with the chocolate but we enjoyed eating most of the chocolate and drinking most of the wine.  My favorite wine was their Moscato.  I had several favorites among the chocolates which came from Warfels in the Dayton Farmers Market. 

The sampling lasted from 2:00 – 4:00.  The room was packed though I didn’t know anyone there except for Lynn, Robin, and Ronnie.  When it finished we drove home.

I wasn’t home long because I ordered pizza from Vito’s Pizza Pie in Penn Laird for our dinner and for Ann’s family.  Henry and Gus didn’t eat with us because they had gone to the JMU – Hofstra mens basketball game.  For that matter, their tickets also allowed them to watch the JMU – Elon womens basketball game, also at the new JMU Coliseum.  They took two friends with them to the game; afterwards they went to CookOut for their dinner.  Meanwhile, the rest of us ate delicious pizza here.

After the pizza, Freddie read more of his book to Lynn.  That has turned out to be a great present Freddie gave to Lynn (or is that vice versa?).  His reading has improved immeasurably since the start of school.

Then all of us watched the new Disney movie, Encanto.  The music and animation in it were fantastic.  Henry and Gus joined us for the end of the movie.

All in all, this was a fine day.  We’ve also chatted a lot with Butch and Jackie about our upcoming Greenbrier stay which begins a week from tomorrow.  They seem very excited about it.  Of course, Lynn and I love our stays there.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

January 9            Infected                   Died

World             307,869,046           5,509,839   8,000 more deaths in the world….

US                     61,263,030              859,356   410,000 cases, 400 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,221,036                15,651   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

Augusta County       13,021                     144   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,235,444  (5,802,374 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 89.2% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.0% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        98,694 (41,985 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 55.6% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average.

January 10, 2022

What a busy day for me!  I worked at Central nonstop from 8:30 until 2:30.  Then I hustled home so I could be there when Freddie and Betsy got off the bus.  Betsy ate a quick piece of pizza then I took her to her house to change clothes then to her dance at 4:00.  No sooner than I got back home, I went with Lynn to Elizabeth’s house to take her two boxes of food I had put together from Central.  Then we came back home. 

I hadn’t even had time for dinner when Henry and Gus stopped in.  Henry had another set of Calculus problems to do.  It took us around an hour to get them done.  Even Gus had a Geometry problem he asked about.  Then they took Freddie home with them.

I ate a quick dinner consisting of leftover pizza from last night and did a few chores around the house before settling down to watch the national collegiate football championship between Alabama and Georgia.  Whew!

I got one big accomplishment behind me today at Central—I did all of Central’s 2021 taxes, printing and submitting the W-2’s for the employees we had during 2021.  I’d only done this once before—this time last year—but I had taken good notes then so the process wasn’t too bad.  It did take me all morning to get the job done, though.

Besides that I also helped unload 2,500 pounds of food for the Food Pantry, paid several bills, reconciled two credit cards, fixed a Contribution Statement that one member of Central had brought to our attention, counted today’s bank deposit and entered it into QuickBooks, and completed year-end figures for two of our three endowment accounts. 

I remember one of the previous church treasurers, Jeff DeLong, telling me he had hoped to do all of his treasurer’s work in four hours or fewer each week.  But he found he needed more time than that.  I understand fully.  It generally takes me 6 – 8 hours each week to get it all done.  I do think that the three most common tasks:  writing checks to pay bills, setting up the bimonthly payroll, and entering the weekly bank deposits, could be done by the Administrative Assistant with a little training if I plan to be away for several weeks.  The other things that I do are generally not things which have to be done quickly. 

I am continually pleased with the way Ann’s children have developed, academically and socially.  Riding with Betsy in the car today on the way to her dance lessons, I marveled at how conversational she was.  She expresses herself so well.  Both her speech and vocabulary are well above her age level.  Then, listening to Freddie read to Lynn this afternoon, I’m so pleased with how far his reading has come since this fall.  He’s almost a different kid.  Tonight, working with both Henry and Gus in math, the math teacher in me glowed at how well they understood the math they were working on.  As usual, Henry and I both did his calculus problems and we compared answers.  Sometimes he corrected my careless errors and sometimes I got something he missed.  He’s taking AP Calculus BC at the Governor’s School.  The highest I ever taught was AP Calculus AB.   AP Calculus AB focuses on topics that are taught in the college-equivalent first-semester calculus class. AP Calculus BC focuses on topics covered in both first- and second-semester calculus classes.

I’m sure Kay and Jim’s children are developing fine, too, though I don’t see them often enough to see the rapid growth.  I’m certainly superbly proud of all of my children and grandchildren.

Lynn’s friend Cheryl Wright is still waiting for her second COVID-19 test.  Her first test, an at-home test, indicated that she was positive but the second one should be much more accurate.  Lynn and Cheryl Kent were definitely in close proximity to Cheryl Wright last Thursday; her positive test was on Saturday.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 10          Infected                   Died

World             311,034,676           5,512,167   2,300 more deaths in the world….

US                     62,661,272              861,336   1,400,000 cases, 2,000 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,278,739                15,671   58,000 cases, 20 deaths since Friday

Augusta County       13,698                     145   677 cases, 1 death since Friday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,286,360  (5,809,702 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 89.3% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.1% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        98,798 (41,998 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.)    That still is only 55.6% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average.

January 11, 2022

For as much as I got done yesterday, today was almost the opposite.  We slept in a little later than usual.  Once we got up and going, we went to Harrisonburg and did some shopping for Central at Costco and for Lynn at Ross, Michael’s, and a thrift shop called Gift and Thrift.  On our way home we stopped for lunch at Smiley’s. 

This afternoon, I got very little accomplished.  Betsy rode the bus here after school so we gave her a snack of pizza then took her to her house to change for dance.  We dropped her off at dance at 4:15, drove to Central to unload the items we had purchased earlier in the day, then went to Chick Fil A for dinner.

After eating in the car, we went to Wilson Memorial High School for Gus and Henry’s basketball games.  Neither were stellar games to watch.  Gus didn’t play as much as I thought he should though he did score four points.  They needed his points as the JV’s pulled out a 40 – 37 win.

The varsity game was hard to watch, too.  Fort turned the ball over much more than usual and were badly beaten on the boards yet they stayed with Wilson Memorial most of the way.  Henry wasn’t much involved with the offensive side of the ball but he did take three offensive charges in the first half.  Fort shot much worse than usual, too but still were only down by one at halftime, 25 – 24.  They fell behind 40 – 36 after three quarters but had a spurt in the fourth to go ahead 44 – 41.  But then they went 5 minutes only scoring one point and lost 50 – 45.  Particularly annoying to me was that Henry only played the last 30 seconds of the fourth quarter.  If he had been in there maybe Wilson wouldn’t have had that 9 – 1 run at the end of the game.  I know I see all basketball games through very, very biased lenses.  I think everytime Henry or Gus misses they were fouled and their coaches should play them every minute of the game.  Those are admittedly not accurate observations. 

Like their grandfather, neither Henry nor Gus will be a star basketball player.  But at least it can be something they enjoy.  I hope it turns out that way.  I’m not sure tonight was fun for their of them.

When I think back on the experiences people in my family have had with high school athletics, I’m reminded that in team sports you are at the mercy of someone who has been hired to coach the team.  The amount of time you play and what you do when you are playing might not be a function of how good you are, how few or many mistakes you make when you are out there, but rather whether this other adult puts you in the game and structures your strategies so you can participate in a meaningful way.  We had a very, very rotten experience with Jim and basketball when he was in the 9th grade due to a coach.  Fort Defiance has SIX coaches on the bench during varsity basketball games.  Six!  Who knows what those six people do?  Based on what I’ve seen I’d have to say not much.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers.  I saw on CNN earlier today that US hospitalizations are at a record high today. 

January 11          Infected                   Died

World             314,090,366           5,521,031   9,000 more deaths in the world….

US                     63,390,876              863,896   700,000 cases, 2,500 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,295,420                15,715   17,000 cases, 44 deaths since yesterday

Augusta County       13,914                     147   716 cases, 2 deaths since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,321,939  (5,814,802 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 89.4% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.1% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        98,931 (42,015 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Ann, Lynn, and I have our third booster shot.  Henry and Gus get their booster shot tomorrow.)    That still is only 55.6% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average.

January 12, 2022

Today wasn’t as busy for the family as the last two days have been.  There were no ball games tonight.  Betsy doesn’t have dance on Wednesdays.  Lynn didn’t have any work to do for Rockingham County Schools.  And I only worked at Central for around an hour and a half.  The weather was the best it has been for a while, making it into the 50’s this afternoon, and according to the forecast it will not be this good for many days to come.

What is particularly worrisome is that there is a storm brewing for Sunday night.  We are going to The Greenbrier on Monday and want to be there by noon.  Butch and Jackie are coming from Athens, so all four of us would like to be nestled in there regardless of the weather outside.  We’ll just have to wait and see what the forecast calls for.  Tonight it says we’ll be getting up to 12” of snow Sunday night.  That would make it mighty tough for getting to White Sulphur Springs on Monday!  Monday’s forecast isn’t so bad with sun and temperatures in the mid to high 30’s.

This morning Lynn had a dermatologist appointment in Staunton, so she dropped me off at Central on the way to her visit.  After that, she did some minor shopping then picked me up around 11:00.  In the meantime, I got the Pastor’s credit card reconciled, always a major task, paid two bills, and helped Karen with a few issues she had encountered.

After Lynn picked me up, we came home briefly then went to a sawmill in Crimora where she had left a cutting board to be personalized.  Jim would love seeing this sawmill, especially since he has a chainsaw jig he uses which cuts boards from logs.  Of course, at this sawmill they have huge and varied equipment for this task.

From the sawmill, we went to CookOut in Waynesboro for 99¢ milkshakes for lunch.  Lynn stopped briefly at Ross in Waynesboro then we came home.  When I got home, I took advantage of the good weather to take down all of our outside Christmas lights and decorations and put them away.  Our house won’t be nearly as bright now that the lights are put away.

Betsy and Freddie rode the bus to our house at 3:18, as usual, though neither was in a hurry today since, as I stated above, neither had an activity this evening.  Freddie mainly played Wii and read to Lynn while Betsy got her homework done.  Then Lynn took then home while I grilled steaks for us. 

Henry and Gus got their booster shots tonight.  Yeah!  On the news, Dr. Fauci admitted that it is very likely that everyone will, at some time, get COVID-19 due to the ease at which Omicron spreads, though the statistics show that Omicron isn’t nearly as deadly as the previous versions of COVID-19.  Dr. Fauci said that those vaccinated and boosted have nothing to worry about.

It seems like everyone has been exposed lately.  Kay called us today worried that she had been exposed visiting with one of her friends.  She and her family are supposed to go skiing this weekend with Andy’s brother and his family so she’s going to get tested on Friday.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

January 12          Infected                   Died

World             317,170,411           5,529,599   8,500 more deaths in the world….

US                     64,248,003              866,790   900,000 cases, 2,700 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,315,256                15,750   20,000 cases, 35 deaths since yesterday

Augusta County       14,092                     147   178 cases, 0 deaths since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,349,458  (5,819,157 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 89.5% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.2% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        99,116 (42,043 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Ann, Lynn, Henry, Gus, and I have our third booster shot.  Betsy isn’t eligible to get hers yet since she was vaccinated in early October)  That still is only 55.6% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average.

January 13, 2022

Tonight was a good night for all three Gutshall boys on the basketball court.  I didn’t get to see Freddie’s game but Josh reported that he scored 10 points, leading his team to a 38 – 6 rout over Buffalo Gap.  He was 5 of 7 from the field. 

Gus had his best game of the season, in my opinion.  He scored ten points and had twelve rebounds—a double-double!  He also had a nice blocked shot and was 5 of 6 from the field.  His team lost 45 – 39 to Broadway’s JV team but the last time they played BHS won by 22. 

Henry’s team also lost to Broadway in one of the lowest scoring games I’ve seen in year:  33 – 24.  Henry was Fort Defiance’s leading scorer with 8 points despite being taken out of the game for  way too long, in my opinion.  He drew two charges on defense, pushing his season total to fifteen for them. 

We’re still keeping a close eye on the weather forecast for Sunday.  Right now, it is supposed to start on Sunday and snow hard until the early hours of Monday morning, accumulating maybe up to a foot here.  In White Sulphur Springs, the forecast is the same except maybe with less accumulation.  Right now I think it is very likely that we will try to get out of here before the snow starts Sunday and stay Sunday night in Lewisburg, just 10 miles from The Greenbrier.  For us to stay at the Greenbrier that night it would cost over $400 so we’re not going to take that option.  We’re staying there the next two nights as are Butch and Jackie for around half that.

Today Lynn had an interpreting session at Hillyard Middle School.  While she did that, I went to Staunton.  My first stop was at LCC Computers where I picked up an adapter for the new computer so we could connect the old monitor to the new computer.  The HDMI – VGA adapter only cost $14.95 and I was able to get them to charge it to Central.  I later took a check by to them.

At Central, I worked for a while with the new computer but also took care of some treasurer’s duties.  I didn’t stay long and was back home at lunch time as was Lynn.

We didn’t do much this afternoon.  The weather was decent so I washed her car for her.  She was really anxious to get it washed.  I told her if she could hang up clothes outside on the clothesline in freezing weather I could wash her car in 49o weather.

Betsy rode the bus here after school; Freddie had TLC so it was just Betsy.  After she ate a snack, I took her to her house to change for her dance classes then drove her to Staunton for them.  Then I returned in time to grab dinner with Lynn.  Then we went to Fort Defiance High School for the two basketball games.

I haven’t said much about politics lately.  I used to write and write about the idiotic Donald Trump.  Well, he’s still an idiot.  I would love to see him charged, convicted, and punished for his role in the January 6, 2001 terrorist attack on the Capitol.  I can’t believe that he still has that much sway with Republicans.

The problem is, there are other Republicans just as offensive and worthless as Donald Trump, namely Jim Jordan, Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Green, and Lauren Bobert, to mention a few.  Jordan has said if the Republicans take back the House in 2022 he’s going to have Biden impeached.  Paul has attacked Dr. Fauci viciously and without merit.  Gaetz should be charged with sex trafficking for the way he had sex with underage girls.  McConnell is as two faced as you can get.  Marjorie Taylor Green and Lauren Bobert are, well, do I really need to say anything about them?  They say enough asinine things themselves.

One problem I see is that the economy is not good now, with inflation rising and COVID-19 still raging.  So I can see the Republican candidates in 2022 hitting this hard, blaming the Democrats for it, rightly or not, and the stupid public going along with them and electing more Republicans to positions in Congress.  Plus, Democratic senators Joe Manchin and Kristen Sinema are blocking all of the legislation Biden is trying to pass regarding voting laws, the environment, and infrastructure improvements.  This does not bode well for the Democrats, unfortunately.  I personally think Manchin is scum, drawing big money from his pharma friends (and daughter).  But even CNN had an article today entitled:  Is Biden’s Presidency Doomed?

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 13          Infected                   Died

World             320,857,480           5,538,969   9,400 more deaths in the world….

US                     65,236,475              869,212   1,000,000 cases, 2,500 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,334,198                15,785   19,000 cases, 35 deaths since yesterday

Augusta County       14,298                     149   206 cases, 2 deaths since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,381,182  (5,824,069 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 89.5% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.2% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        99,243 (42,066 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Ann, Lynn, Henry, Gus, and I have our third booster shot.  Betsy isn’t eligible to get hers yet since she was vaccinated in early October)  That still is only 55.7% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average.

January 14, 2022

The snowstorm forecast still calls for lots of snow, perhaps 6” to 10” in Mount Sidney, starting shortly after noon on Sunday.  So now our plan is to leave early Sunday morning for Lewisburg so we can beat the bulk of the snow even though we might see some lighter snowfall on the way.  It is coming from the south and since Lewisburg and White Sulphur Springs are south of here we need to get on the road early.  I made reservations today at the Fairfield Inn in Lewisburg for Sunday night.  That means we have all morning on Monday to make it ten miles from Lewisburg to the Greenbrier. 

Butch and Jackie aren’t sure what they are going to do yet.  We’ve chatted and texted today so they are aware of our plans.

Today was the first day all week I didn’t go to Central to do work.  I had an easy day.  I went with Lynn to Timberville to shop at the Dollar Tree there.  We came back through Harrisonburg and stopped at that Dollar Tree, too. 

This afternoon Betsy and Freddie rode the bus here then stayed for a while.  Lynn had a hair appointment but I had nothing else to do so they stayed here until around 5:00 then I took them home.  They are really low-maintenance.

This morning Lynn had a message which she said greatly helped her stiffness.  While she was there, I decided to see if I could fix our faulty Dish network setup.  We’ve had to reset the wireless access points and “Joeys” multiple times every day for weeks.  The signal freezes on the screen then we get an error message saying to reboot the receiver (“Hopper”) and the wireless devices.  The setup which we’ve lived with for years is that the signal from the satellite comes into the basement into the hopper.  Then, in order to hit the three televisions we have on the main floor and upstairs, it connected to the wireless access point via a coax cable which ran to our kitchen.  There, a special device converted the signal from coax to ethernet which plugged into the access points.  This worked OK for years but lately it has been awful.  We’ve had technicians here two different times.  The last one thought the issue was the dish on the roof so he installed another one in our back yard.  Now I think that was entirely unnecessary.  What I did was to take the wireless access point to the basement and connected it directly to the hopper using an ethernet cable.  In the first location I tried, its signal was too weak to reach our bedroom though the other two televisions (kitchen and sewing room) were OK.  So then I added an ethernet extender I had leftover from my days with Rockingham County Schools and moved the wireless access point so that the chimney was no longer between the bedroom and the access point.  Bingo!  All three televisions then got a decent wireless signal.  Best of all, I’ve had the tv’s on all afternoon and haven’t seen the error message or the pixelated screens even one.  MAYBE the problem is solved.

Tonight we were supposed to watch both Gus and Henry’s teams play against Waynesboro at Fort Defiance.  Midday we got word from Ann that one of Gus’ teammates had tested positive for COVID-19 so the JV game tonight was called off. 

The varsity game against Waynesboro was one Fort would like to think never happened.  Waynesboro came into the game 0 – 12.  Fort’s record was 4 – 5.  In the first half, Fort built up a 13 point lead and was seemingly in control of the game.  FDHS led by 11 at the end of the 3rd quarter, 46 – 35.  Then the bottom dropped out.  Waynesboro began hitting everything they threw up and Fort went cold.  Waynesboro ended up winning 56 – 51. 

Henry played a decent game with 5 points, several rebounds, and some assists.  He drew another charging foul, his 16th of the season.  He did have a couple of missed shots but so did everyone else on the team.  I feel sorry for him because I know he tries hard.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 14          Infected                   Died

World             324,056,942           5,546,756 7,800 more deaths in the world….

US                     66,141,099              871,519   900,000 cases, 2,300 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,351,417                15,803   17,000 cases, 18 deaths since yesterday

Augusta County       14,498                     152   200 cases, 3 deaths since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,412,369  (5,828,733 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 89.6% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.3% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        99,537 (42,095 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Ann, Lynn, Henry, Gus, and I have our third booster shot.  Betsy isn’t eligible to get hers yet since she was vaccinated in early October)  That still is only 55.7% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average.  This makes me ashamed to admit I live in Augusta County.

January 15, 2022

Lynn and I are planners.  We are not “off the cuff” people.  Our trips are minutely planned and we seldom stray from them.  Today was the exception.  Midday we completely changed our plans for the next five days.

In our original plan, as I detailed yesterday,  we were going to leave early tomorrow morning, around 7:00 AM, in hopes of making it to Lewisburg before the snow started.  We’d kill the day in Lewisburg, stay the night at the Fairfield Inn there, and then wait until around noon on Monday, once the roads had been cleared, to drive the ten miles to the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs. 

Butch and Jackie were unable to make similar plans, though.  Their trip to Lewisburg/White Sulphur Springs is a three hour drive compared to our two hour one.  They were hesitant to try to make it to Lewisburg on Sunday because the snow is moving from south to north and they were afraid they’d get caught in it around Beckley if not before.  So around lunchtime Butch texted us that he had called the Greenbrier and they were willing to move their reservations from Monday – Wednesday to Tuesday – Thursday at no cost to them.  So that’s what they decided to do.  They had proposed this earlier to us but we responded that we had plans for Thursday morning and thought we’d stick to our original plan though we could visit with them until dinnertime on Wednesday.

Well, after looking at our schedule, we decided that we could rearrange our Thursday AM plans so we called the Greenbrier and got the same deal they got, changing our reservation from Tuesday to Thursday.  Next we called the Fairfield Inn in Lewisburg where we had reservations, reservations that said we only had until last night to change them without penalty.  But the lady there kindly said she’d cancel our reservation with no penalty.  So now we’re rescheduled to leave here Tuesday morning, arriving at a similar time as Butch and Jackie.  We also rescheduled the Bunker Tour we had previously made for Monday. 

Now all we have to do is have decent roads by Tuesday morning.  That’s up in the air now as the forecast has changed somewhat at some locations.  Weather.com says we’ll be getting 6” – 10” of now.  Accuweather says we’ll get less snow and more ice.  Tonight on WSHV the meteorologist predicted we’d get snow starting around 1:00 pm accumulating 5” to 10” with the possibility of sleet afterwards.   But all forecasts say it will be done by early Monday morning so maybe by Tuesday we’ll have no trouble getting to the Greenbrier.

Tonight Pastor Won sent out an announcement canceling tomorrow morning’s worship service.  That’s a relief.  Our snow is due to start around 11:00 AM.

Today was trash day.  I had quite a load which also included our Christmas tree.  It was a busy day at the dump; apparently everyone else thought today was the best day to take your trash.

After that, we ran to Lowe’s and Costco.  With the upcoming weather we’ll probably be stuck at home the next two days.

Henry came over to do some calculus problems this afternoon.  He’s quickly getting into some very advanced integration techniques.  These are techniques I haven’t done in over 30 years so most come back to me fairly quickly.  As usual, we worked the problems together and he corrected my mistakes and I tried to catch his.  I am so proud of his math accomplishments as I am his basketball skills.

Betsy came with him. Lynn had her work on some painting of “snow sticks” that she began yesterday when she came over.  Betsy’s art skills are quite good.

We had leftovers from last night’s dinner we were going to eat tonight.  But since we’re going to be here until Tuesday now, we elected to hold them until tomorrow night and have hamburger from the Old Schoolhouse tonight.  As always, they were delicious.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

January 15          Infected                   Died

World             326,400,970           5,553,002 6,300 more deaths in the world….

US                     66,489,789              872,925   350,000 cases, 1,400 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,351,417                15,803   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

Augusta County       14,498                     152   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,432,878  (5,832,017 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 89.6% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.3% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        99,634 (42,123 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Ann, Lynn, Henry, Gus, and I have our third booster shot.  Betsy isn’t eligible to get hers yet since she was vaccinated in early October)  That still is only 55.7% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia average.  As I wrote yesterday, this makes me ashamed to admit I live in Augusta County.

January 16, 2022

I am very glad we did not try to drive today after it started snowing.  Tonight we have about 7” of snow and now freezing rain is coming down.  The roads must certainly be impassable now.  The storm is due to end in a few hours and I hope the roads will be passable tomorrow.  There’s nowhere I have to go tomorrow but I want to be able to leave for the Greenbrier fairly early on Tuesday morning.  The freezing rain is expected to continue until 2:00 AM.

This morning was a little haphazard because Lynn needed some things from the store and wanted to give her friend Cheryl Wright some of the rolls she made.  All of this had to be done before it started snowing but I was able to do this for her rather easily.

On the way back, I got a brainstorm that I should try to clean out one side of our garage so we could get her car in there before it started snowing.  I should have thought of this yesterday when I had time and there was no immediate forecast of precipitation.  First I had to put upstairs around 15 boxes of Christmas decorations that were ready to be taken back up.  As I did this, I saw the snow start.  This meant I had no break; I frantically carried them up then moved other boxes around in the garage to try to make room for her car.

The snow kept coming down, hard by this time, as I finished.  I grabbed my keys and pulled her car into the garage.  It fit just fine.  I did leave about ten boxes of Christmas decorations down because I wanted Lynn to go through them, consolidating them and throwing out decorations she would never need.  Later in the day I brought these ten boxes into the dining room so she could go through them in the warmth of our house instead of the garage.

I was really tired when I finished with the garage shortly before noon.  I ate a quick lunch then took it easy for most of the rest of the afternoon, spending lots of time watching CNN on TV and on the computer. 

I did create a birthday card for Coen who turns five on Wednesday.  Jim bought him an iPad and we got a good Otterbox case for it for his birthday but I don’t know when or how we’ll get it to him.  I know Jim would like for him to have it from the get-go but that’s not going to happen.

We ate leftovers for dinner tonight.  I would love to have a warm drink about now but Lynn doesn’t want me to have any caffeine (coffee or tea) or chocolate before I go to bed because she says it makes me snore.  I can’t disagree with her.  I need to get some decaf tea, I suppose.

I’ve enjoyed the fireplace insert today.  The temperature hasn’t been above 20o all day so everytime I sit down at the kitchen table I flip the propane on.  It is well documented that I hate cold.

Actually I am very thankful to have a warm and safe house on a night like this one.  Things could be a lot worse than being stuck in a warm house with the woman you love.  Lynn has been very nice to me lately, fixing great food including some hot chocolate we had this afternoon that really hit the spot.

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day so there wouldn’t be much going on even if the weather was nice.  As it is, I feel sure Lynn and I will not leave the property.  I guess at some point I’ll shovel the sidewalk and hope that my wonderful neighbor Bee Myers will use his snowplow to clear our driveway.  The forecast for Monday is cloudy with a high of 32o.   Tuesday, our travel day, the forecast is for sunny weather with a high of 38o

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 16          Infected                   Died

World             328,658,877           5,557,587 4,500 more deaths in the world….

US                     66,995,533              873,564   500,000 cases, 600 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,351,417                15,803   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

Augusta County       14,498                     152   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,456,191  (5,835,510 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 89.7% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.4% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        99,810 (42,131 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Ann, Lynn, Henry, Gus, and I have our third booster shot.  Betsy isn’t eligible to get hers yet since she was vaccinated in early October)  That still is only 55.8% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia and national average.  Embarrassing!

Glenn Youngkin was sworn in as Virginia’s new governor yesterday.  One of his first acts was to rescind the mask mandate for Virginia schools.  Thanks to Governor Northram’s efforts, Virginia schools have not been a hotbed for COVID-19.  That could change overnight.  We now have a Governor who doesn’t believe in protecting children like our grandchildren.

His executive order doesn’t prohibit local school divisions from having their own mask mandate, though.  Arlington, Henrico, and Richmond school divisions immediately announced that they were going to continue to require masks in schools.  What do you think Augusta and Rockingham will do?  Given the redneck nature of our citizens and their aversion to any science, I’m betting we will not follow the lead of Arlington, Henrico, and Richmond.

Youngkin also ordered that “critical race theory” not be taught in Virginia Schools.  Here’s an amusing story from the New York Times which shows how much his Republican cronies know about this issue:

Amid a flurry of bills nationwide that seek to ban the teaching of critical race theory in schools, one such proposal in Virginia stood out.  Tucked inside a bill introduced by Wren Williams, a Republican delegate, was a glaring error: Among the concepts that school boards would be required to ensure students understood was “the first debate between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.”  But as scholars, Mr. Williams’s colleagues in the House of Delegates and others on social media noted, that debate was between not Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist, but Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, a Democratic senator from Illinois.  “The gross mistake in this bill is indicative of the need to have scholars and teachers, not legislators/politicians, shaping what students at every level learn in the classroom,” Caroline Janney, a professor of Civil War history at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, said in an email.

January 17, 2022

We ended up with about 7” of snow with a thick layer of ice on top of that.  Trying to shovel it was tough, especially with 40 mph winds.  I shoveled a little of our back porch, steps, and sidewalk and was exhausted.  Neighbor Bee Myers’ jeep (which has the snow plow attached) wouldn’t start but even when he got it going it couldn’t push the snow. 

Fortunately, Eddie Michael came to do his driveway.  I caught Eddie as he finished up the Myers’ and asked if he could do ours.  He did so now we can get out.  That was the best $50 I’ve spent in ages. 

Besides dealing with the snow, I also finished my big project of putting up the Christmas decorations above the garage.  Lynn had a number of boxes she consolidated and organized so when she finished I took the last of them upstairs.  That is always one project I am VERY happy to get behind me.   I was going to ask Henry and Gus to help me with this project but I had the time and ambition to do it so I went ahead and got it done.

I also put new ceiling tiles up where the old ones had become stained.  I knew this was only a temporary fix because I really hadn’t figured out where the water had come from that put the (small) stains on the ceiling tiles.

After I had eaten some lunch, I went back downstairs and discovered that one of the new tiles already had a water mark on it!  I knew this couldn’t be good.  I then spent the next six hours trying to diagnose the problem.

This remains quite a problem with me.  I pulled all of the ceiling tiles out that I had just put in plus a few.  There were three places where water was coming through the floor.  These were just drops of water, not running water, but I had to find out what was the source.

The first place where water was showing up was where an electrical cord passes through the subflooring between the basement and main floor.  The second was a few inches away where a copper pipe went from the basement up.  The third was 24” away where the supply lines, hot and cold, for the kitchen sink passed through the subfloor up to the kitchen.  Making the issue most perplexing is that under the sink was completely dry.  The trap wasn’t leaking and neither was the spigot.  Unfortunately, this meant the issue was occurring inside the wall.

Since one of the three places that water was dripping from was the copper pipe which supplies heat to the upstairs, I immediately was worried that this heating pipe was leaking.  It would be impossible to replace.  So I very carefully tried isolating the variables.  I cut off the boiler entirely.  We didn’t use the sink in the kitchen all afternoon.  After the drips had stopped and the areas around the leaks was pretty much dry, I cut the boiler on but carefully only allowed one zone at a time to take on heat.  I was most worried that when I let the upstairs take on heat, the leak would resume.  But it didn’t.  This led me to believe the issue wasn’t with the heating system, thankfully.

My next step was to stop up the drain in the sink and run water to wash dishes.  This way I could see if the leak resumed when water ran into the sink.  But it didn’t and I was able to wash all of our dishes without the dripping coming back.  Finally, after a while, I let the water in the sink out so it would go down the drain.  The drips came back.  So now I am believing that we have an issue with the drain from the kitchen sink.

I created a Word document noting everything I did so I wouldn’t have to depend on my memory. 

A big worry I have is that this drain can’t be seen from the basement—it is inside the wall.  So I don’t know what to do if this needs to be replaced.  My plan now is to call Lambert Plumbing tomorrow morning and see if they can come here Friday or Monday.  Hopefully, they will have an explanation and a solution.  In the meantime, we won’t use the sink and I will continually check to make sure there are no leaks.

I am determined to not let this issue keep us from going to the Greenbrier tomorrow.  Our current plan is to get up, pack, go by the post office and get our mail held for two days, then head for White Sulphur Springs.  The temperature tomorrow is supposed to get above freezing around noon and reach a high of 37o.  So I think we’ll be OK traveling on I-81 and I-64 to White Sulphur.  We want to check in before lunch, eat at Draper’s, then go on the Bunker Tour with Butch and Jackie.

Lynn fixed bacon and pancakes for dinner tonight.  With the snowstorm, she didn’t leave the house today and the only time I left was to do the little shoveling I did and to catch Eddie Michael when he finished doing Bee’s driveway.  We’re both so looking forward to our trip to the Greenbrier.

Augusta County Schools will not be in session tomorrow due to the snow so I seriously doubt that Fort Defiance will be playing Buffalo Gap in basketball.  Lynn and I had even thought about leaving the Greenbrier, driving to Buffalo Gap for the games, then driving back to the Greenbrier.  Now we shouldn’t have to do that.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 17          Infected                   Died

World             331,127,034           5,563,105 5,500 more deaths in the world….

US                     67,494,969              874,213   500,000 cases, 700 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,397,155                15,814   46,000 cases, 11 deaths since Friday

Augusta County       15,036                     152   38 cases, 0 deaths since Friday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,476,288  (5,838,361 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 89.7% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.4% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        99,867 (42,137 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Ann, Lynn, Henry, Gus, and I have our third booster shot.  Betsy isn’t eligible to get hers yet since she was vaccinated in early October)  That still is only 55.8% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia and national average.

January 18, 2022

I didn’t write on January 18 because Lynn and I were too busy at the Greenbrier with Butch and Jackie.   We left home before 9:00 and were at the Greenbrier before 11:00.  We were able to check in early.  Butch and Jackie arrived within the hour so the four of us got settled in our rooms then headed for lunch at Draper’s.

No surprise, our lunch was delicious.  Lynn and I split a hamburger and French fries so we could each of a sundae for dessert.  We didn’t have any spare time after lunch because we had 1:30 reservations for the bunker tour. 

Lynn and I had done the bunker tour before but it had been at least ten years.  The tour was very informative although it is hard to believe that our government really expected to sneak 434 House of Representatives members and 100 Senators into remote West Virginia at the time of a nuclear attack on Washington.  Of course, they never had to do this but for 30 years the bunker remained ready on a moment’s notice to do what it was designed to do.  Our guide did a good job of explaining how it was built in secrecy and disguised from 1962 until 1992 when a reporter exposed it in a Washington newspaper.  Lynn and I remembered some of the details from our original tour but we given some new facts and reminders on our tour.  Of course, for Butch and Jackie this was new and exciting for them.

Afternoons at the Greenbrier always include the tea at 4:15 where you are served free tea and cookies.  We enjoyed this, as always.  The tea this afternoon was especially crowded.

We had tried to get dinner at the Forum, an Italian restaurant at the Greenbrier.  But the earliest available was 8:00.  As a backup, we made reservations at Food and Friends in Lewisburg at 6:30.  Then we went to the Forum at 5:30, thinking we might be able to walk in then.  But we were told that the earliest they could seat us was 8:30 so we returned to our rooms, got our coats, and headed for Lewisburg. 

Lynn drove.  The roads were good and we got to Food and Friends in plenty of time.  It was a good choice.  All four of us had an excellent dinner.  Lynn and I got our usuals:  she got a southern chicken salad and I got a steak salad.  I ate every last morsel of mine.  The restaurant wasn’t crowded so we had made a good choice.  By the way, the Greenbrier was very crowded thanks to the reduced Tribute rates which we’re enjoying. 

Self-parking is always a little tricky at the Greenbrier but it beats paying $25 per day for valet parking.  Naturally, Butch wanted a spot for electric cars since he was in his Tesla.  There are only six spots available in the public parking area near the north entrance to the Greenbrier and all were occupied (with NON-electric cars) when they arrived.  But by the time we left for dinner there was an opening so he jumped on it.  When we returned after dinner, our good parking spot had been taken so we went to our “secret” parking space at the West Virginia wing where there were lots of places though the area had not been plowed well.

At various times during the day we continued a very important conversation with Butch about Wiley’s future.  He has a real dilemma on his hands in that the only person in the world Wiley talks to is him.  He’s 74 years old and although he is very healthy now, he is aware of his inevitable mortality.  We spent a lot of time trying to come up with ways to get Wiley more involved with others who could help him in his future.

Wiley has been taking some online courses from a technical company which apparently hires people on the autism spectrum.  Apparently the six courses he’s signed up to take normally take around a year though he is halfway through them in just a couple of months.  Butch is anxious for him to complete this training as it may lead him to gainful employment.  And it may require him to live elsewhere.  We all believe Wiley is capable of independent living though he has not experienced it.  The challenge is to figure our how and where for this to happen while Butch can still be a source of support for him.  At some point he’ll need others to be that source.

By the time we returned from dinner Butch and Jackie were tired as they had left Athens early in the morning.  So they retired while Lynn and I went to the 8:30 – 9:15 concert by the young Springhouse singers.  Shortly thereafter, she and I were back in our room ready for bed after a wonderful day.

I’m going to skip the COVID-19 statistics since I didn’t collect them on the 18th and the site I use is constantly updating them.

January 19, 2022

I wish I could say that I slept wonderfully at the Greenbrier but I am just too inclined to lay awake worrying.  I’m especially worried about our plumbing issue.  Friday can’t come soon enough for me when I hope Greg Lambert can correctly diagnose what’s wrong with our kitchen plumbing and give us a way to get it remedied.  I’m afraid it is going to be a long and expensive repair causing perhaps some disruption to our kitchen cabinets and walls.  I hope I’m wrong.

I also tried to put myself in Butch’s shoes and realized that my worries are nothing compared to his about Wiley.  My issue can be fixed with money (which we have); his can’t. 

This was almost scary for me today:  Butch met me for coffee in the lobby at 6:30 this morning wearing the same exact shirt and very similar undershirt that I had on.  Certainly we didn’t plan it that way.

Our day with the entire foursome began with the famous Greenbrier buffet breakfast.  It didn’t disappoint.  Yes, this will likely be the most expensive meal we have on the entire trip but it was worth it.  The food, service, and atmosphere is superb.  We were met by the supervisor of the dining hall, Kathy Shelton, with whom we’ve talked with many times.  We each ate more than one human being should indulge but we knew there would be no lunch today afterwards. 

We finished up in time to make it to the walking history tour.  The guide this time was new to us since previously we had often been given this tour by Dr. Bob Conte, who now has retired as the Greenbrier’s historian or sometimes by his wife.  But the lady today gave us some insights we hadn’t heard before.  As Bob Conte used to say, “lots of places have good food and soft beds but we have HISTORY.”

From the walking tour we took it easy until 1:00 when we had agreed to take a group walk.  There was snow everywhere but  most of the sidewalks had been shoveled and even most of the hiking trail through the golf course had been cleared.  So we walked and walked and walked…I ended up with more than 11,000 steps.  The temperature was almost 40o so it wasn’t bad outside.

I took my camera with me this time and took a little over 30 pictures which I then came back to the room and posted.  The Greenbrier has a good internet connection, no surprise.   We had just enough time to relax after our walk before the afternoon tea.

Butch and Jackie have been together now for a few months.  I can’t write how good I think she has been for him.  No one should spend his/her life, or any part of it, being lonely.  Both have been good company for each other and fun to be with.  Jackie has opened Butch’s eyes toward Wiley’s independence a good bit which is a wonderful thing.  I’ve told Lynn, in all honesty, that if I were to die suddenly I would not expect nor want her to spend the rest of her life by herself.  I just asked her to not replace me with a dog!  Another man would be fine, but not a canine.  I am not joking.

The tea was fun, as always.  The cookies were delicious.  It was fairly crowded again but perhaps not as busy as yesterday.  After the tea, we walked around for a little while longer then went to the Forum for our 5:30 dinner reservation.

If it seems like all we do at the Greenbrier is eat then that’s fairly accurate.  Our dinner tonight at the Italian restaurant was great.  I had a salad and a small pizza.  Lynn had a salad and Capellini aglio oilio.  Their bread was also delicious.

After dinner, we walked to the casino for a few minutes.  In just a few minutes at the poker machine game, Lynn won $8.15 off of a 5¢ bet.  She got four aces!  I wasn’t so lucky.  It is unusual for us to leave the casino with more than we arrived with but tonight was that case.

You’d think we ate enough but Draper’s has the ice cream bar with delicious sundaes.  So, once again, we each had a big dessert.  I think each of us has gained five pounds in the past two days.

As we walked to our rooms, we stopped by the reception area and got permission to extend our checkout tomorrow until noon so we can attend the 10:30 history presentation then load our bags up.  We should still be able to make it home in plenty of time to meet the bus with Betsy on it.  Freddie has his afterschool program.

We were tired so we decided to forgo the music presentation at 8:30 tonight by the Springhouse singers. 

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 19          Infected                   Died

World             339,013,744           5,582,617  19,500 deaths since Monday

US                     69,639,259              880,323   2,100,000 cases, 6000 new deaths reported

Virginia              1,419,883                15,835   22,600 cases, 21 deaths since Monday

Augusta County       15,284                     152   248 cases, 0 deaths since Monday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,501,193  (5,842,725 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 89.8% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.5% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        99,958 (42,148 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Ann, Lynn, Henry, Gus, and I have our third booster shot.  Betsy isn’t eligible to get hers yet since she was vaccinated in early October)  That still is only 55.8% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia and national average.

January 20, 2022

All good things must come to an end.  We departed the Greenbrier today shortly after noon.  Before then, we ate another huge breakfast in the main dining hall and went to a history presentation in the theatre. 

This was one of the best visits I’ve had with Butch ever.  We talked a lot and were honest with each other about both worries and blessings.  The four of us got along very, very well.  It was bittersweet to checkout of the Greenbrier.

I really think Lynn had a great time.  She seemed to enjoy everything.  I had a wonderful time but admit that for way too long I worried about the plumbing issue back at 296 Leaport Road.

When I got home, I poured two dishpans full of water down the drain that I had filled up in the bathroom.  That way, I could test whether the issue was coming from the sink’s drain.  To my surprise, there were no leaks.  So I then thought that perhaps with two full days of rest the backup in the drain might have greatly subsided.  So then I filled the sink nearly to the top (still no drips) then let it all go down the drain.  Alas, water started dripping but from a different place than it had on Monday.  My theory tonight is that the blockage is downstream about ten to fifteen feet (where, to be honest, we’ve had issues before) and that water backs up after a while from this blockage.  I don’t know how it escapes in order to drip down but it does.  Greg Lambert will be here tomorrow at 8:00 AM and can perhaps give me more insight on this.  Incidentally, later in the evening I noticed more drips when I ran the dishwasher and it pumped the water out.

Because we didn’t want to cook and use lots of water until the plumber has had a chance to look at this issue, we decided to go out to Cracker Barrel tonight for dinner.  It was a good choice.  Neither of us was very hungry even though we didn’t have lunch because we had such a huge breakfast.

Henry was supposed to have had a basketball game against Turner Ashby tonight but because school was closed in both Augusta and Rockingham Counties the game didn’t happen.  We didn’t have to worry about taking Betsy to dance because Ann was home to do that.  Actually, we thought her dance would be canceled but it wasn’t.

Since we had a free afternoon with no school bus duty, we elected to come home via Roanoke.  That way we were able to take Coen’s birthday present to him.  It wasn’t that exciting for him—an iPad case for his new iPad.  But a 5 year old needs a rugged case for an iPad and this one fits the bill.  We were only in Roanoke for a few minutes since we don’t go into their house.  We did get to see all three boys.

I talked to my sister this evening.  I had called her this afternoon as we drove home but she didn’t pick up.  I was somewhat afraid that she was angry at Butch and me for going to the Greenbrier without her but it turns out she didn’t pick up because she was at the doctor’s office.  She sounded good and had a good report from her doctor.  She did say that she is supposed to get her left shoulder replaced but they can’t schedule it now due to COVID-19.

In addition to fooling with the plumbing issue for a long time this evening, I managed to get my picture work done for the photos I took while we were at the Greenbrier.  I didn’t take many.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 20          Infected                   Died

World             343,046,635           5,593,193  10,500 deaths since yesterday

US                     70,544,862              883,903   900,000 cases, 3600 deaths since yesterday

Virginia              1,434,686                15,853   15,000 cases, 18 deaths since yesterday

Augusta County       15,466                     152   182 cases, 0 deaths since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,517,113  (5,845,884 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 89.8% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.5% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        99,999 (42,154 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Ann, Lynn, Henry, Gus, and I have our third booster shot.  That still is only 55.8% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia and national average.

January 21, 2022

Greg Lambert came at 8:15 to work on our plumbing issue.  I was greatly relieved that he was here though still very apprehensive about what caused the small leak that dripped onto our basement ceiling.  I explained to him all of the symptoms I had noted and told him I had copious notes from my dealing with it since Monday.

Greg cut through the cabinet below the sink into the wall where the drain pipe is.  He quickly discovered a leaking pipe attached to an elbow on the drain.  It started dripping even after only a relatively small amount of water had been run.

This is not what I had thought.  I was thinking that there was a stoppage further downstream which caused water to back up.  Of course, even if it backed up I had no idea how it would exit the pipes.  So his explanation made more sense. 

Years ago, when we had a stoppage in the drain pipe leading from this sink past the washing machine to the corner of the house, he cut the copper pipe to eliminate the stoppage and put a rubber coupling back in place.  At that point, he suggested that I replace the copper pipe with plastic.  Today I talked to him about doing that once the weather is warmer.

His diagnosis was actually very relieving to me.  I had fears of having to replace the entire drain pipe which would likely have meant tearing out the kitchen cabinets.  He said he could cut out the leaking copper pipe and replace it with a plastic one.  Greg is a very likeable and competent plumber.  I know that Lambert Plumbing’s phone messages say that they don’t do drain work and are not taking new customers yet he worked hard to fix this issue.  I am most appreciative.

He removed the garbage disposal and drain lines from the sink to give him more room to operate. He also had to cut out more of the kitchen cabinet to get to more of the pipe.  It wasn’t easy to get to the leaking copper pipe which he eventually cut out.  By 10:00 he was in the rebuilding phase.

By 10:15 he had everything connected back and tested his work.  No drips!  It is possible that at some point more of the copper pipe may need to be replaced but at least for now things seem repaired.  The wall beneath the sink was left exposed so I can continually check to make sure there are no more issues.  At some point I’ll need to cut some plywood and screw it in there.  Perhaps I can get Jim to help me with this.

By 10:30 Greg was gone and my blood pressure was much lower.  I am SO THANKFUL for skilled people.  Whatever he charges for this will be a bargain to me.

Since this problem was behind me now, I went to Central where some treasurer’s work awaited me.  I paid four bills and set up the payroll for January 31.  It didn’t take me long and I was back home by 1:00 where I enjoyed hot cocoa with Lynn.

Betsy and Freddie got off the bus at 3:18.  We had a good time with them this afternoon.  Betsy and I did a math assignment.  Actually she did the assignment and I just checked it afterwards.  She does well with Math 7 even though the topic they are studying now is very much like Algebra I.  They’re solving linear inequalities.  Freddie read to Lynn TWICE.  Then the kids and I watched half of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Netflix before Henry came to pick them up.

In the meantime, Lynn fixed a magnificent dinner.  She made asiago chicken and served it over pasta.  She also warmed up some bread and fixed spinach for me.  After dinner, I washed all the dishes then ran downstairs to see if any water was dripping through.  The floor was bone dry—fantastic!

Tonight the temperature is supposed to get down as low as 3o.  To keep our pipes from freezing, I’ve done numerous things.  I’ve left the doors open under the sink in the kitchen and the one in the bathroom.  I went upstairs and upped the thermostat to 69o so the hot water will run more often.  And tonight before I go to bed I’ll start water dripping in the green bathroom.

We got a 200 gallon delivery of fuel oil today.  Hopefully that will keep us through the rest of the heating season.  I had previously talked to Greg Lambert about getting our underground oil tank removed.  Today he told me about a company which deals with things like this.  But instead of removing the tank, they pump it dry then fill it full of foam.  That way nothing has to be dug up or extracted.  Makes a lot of sense to me.

Tomorrow will be a busy day.  I’ve got a Zoom meeting with district United Methodist officers.  I’m supposed to Zoom in on a session about finance.  But it is scheduled to last until 11:30 and that’s when Freddie’s basketball game starts at Buffalo Gap.  So my plan is to Zoom here until 11:00 then put my iPad in my car and attempt to keep the Zoom going as I drive to BGHS.  After Freddie’s game, we return at 4:00 for Gus’ JV basketball game against BGHS followed by Henry’s varsity game.

Tonight on ABC news I heard that people 65 and older who are vaccinated and boosted have a survival rate 90 times those who are unvaccinated.  Wow!  Am I ever glad to have my shots.  Right now in the US, hospitalizations are at an all time high but in some areas where Omicron first started the infection rate is starting to drop.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 21          Infected                   Died

World             346,555,511           5,602,558  9,400 deaths since yesterday

US                     71,236,319              887,353   700,000 cases, 3600 deaths since yesterday

Virginia              1,451,713                15,852   17,000 cases, deaths edited since yesterday

Augusta County       15,686                     152   220 cases, 0 deaths since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,540,829  (5,851,246 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   That’s 89.9% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.6% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        100,041  (42,159 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Ann, Lynn, Henry, Gus, and I have our third booster shot.  That still is only 55.8% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia and national average.

January 23, 2022

Today’s church service was very, very unusual.  At the morning worship service started, a man who grew up in our church and who has since had many mental issues and issues with law enforcement came bounding in and sat in the frontmost pew.  He was also at our Christmas Eve Candelight service was very disruptive then.  When he comes, complete with backpack, I know many others think like I do, wondering what is in that backpack and could he be a threat to the congregation? 

Chris got upset when Pastor Won began the service and asked if there were prayer concerns among those in attendance.  Chris responded that he wanted prayers for his grandmother.  Won politely asked for her name, perhaps thinking that Chris has two grandmothers, one of which is a faithful member at Central, but Chris was very agitated by this question.  He wadded up a piece of paper and threw it at Pastor Won who was in the pulpit.  His movements were jerky and threatening.  The custodian, Janet, immediately went outside and called 911.  Several members of the congregation, including Pastor Jim Harris, took Chris into the fellowship hall hoping that he would settle down.  Later he returned and was just as agitated and scary as before.  At one point, he reached into his backpack and pulled out a cigarette and lighter.  At this point, he loudly stomped down the aisle and went outside. 

Several men, including me, gathered in the chapel area behind the sanctuary and discussed what should be done.  By this time, the police had come.  They were willing to take out a restraining order on Chris but they needed someone with authority to request it.  I interrupted Won’s sermon and asked him if he’d come back to the chapel for a few moments while the rest of us sang the next hymn.  Pastor Won went back and authorized the order.  He then returned to the pulpit and explained what had gone on to the congregation.  Many of those in attendance were visibly shaken and worried.  Betsy seemed to be quite upset by all this.  It ended with Chris leaving the sanctuary for good and Pastor Won returning to the pulpit where he first asked everyone to pray for Chris before finishing his sermon.  The service ended as scheduled but few in attendance paid attention to what was in the bulletin.  This was very unfortunate. 

I kept asking myself, what would Jesus do?  I think he would have healed Chris of his “unclean spirit.”  Unfortunately, none of us has that ability.  So I think keeping him away from Church property is the right thing to do.

Prior to all this mess, Betsy and I had come for bell choir practice.  It is fun seeing her pick up on this.

After church, Lynn went with Cheryl Wright to Waynesboro while I came home.  We had an appointment for a DISH technician to be here at 2:00 to try to figure out why our service has been so poor for the past several months.  He was late getting here.

Prior to his coming, I had made several modifications to our setup which did improve it considerably.  I moved the wireless access point from the main floor to the downstairs where it could still reach all three upstairs televisions but had a much better connection to the Hopper (main receiver) than before.  Nonetheless, our system still would reset itself numerous times each day, usually right when something was on the television that we really wanted to see.

Well, by 3:00 there was no technician.  Then I got a phone message saying that all of their techs were occupied and they wanted to reschedule the appointment.  Keep in mind that this appointment had been made on January 6, 17 days ago.  When I called the number they provided, I got an automatic attendant who announced that the next available appointment was February 12.  I wasn’t about to live with that so I asked to speak to a real person.  The first person was unable to solve the problem on our tv or the appointment issue so she passed me to someone higher up in tech support.

This second person first spent time with me reviewing our current situation.  The DISH network people are able to log in to your tv where I called to her attention that the Hopper had reset itself 117 times recently.  She did three things:  First, she applied a reset which took over an hour which downloaded new software onto the Hopper.  Second, she scheduled an appointment for us on February 14, and set it up so that if an appointment opened up earlier we would get it.  Third, she processed a refund of almost a month’s service for our inconvenience. 

After dinner, we were able to use the system again without any issues so perhaps what she did fixed our issue.  I hope so.

Before dinner, though, Lynn and I went to Mark Metcalfe’s memorial service at Mount Pisgah UMC.  It started at 4:00 and lasted until past 5:30.  Lynn and I both taught with Mark at Fort Defiance High School.  He passed away unexpectedly back in April of 2020 and it took until now to be able to schedule his memorial service thanks to COVID.  The service was very appropriate and included food though we didn’t have any. 

Henry had asked about coming over for help with math.  He first asked if he could come at 3:00 and I told him I had the DISH appointment.  Then I told him 4:00 because I forgot about the Metcalfe memorial service.  So I told him 5:00 but we were almost 45 minutes late getting home from the service so we just decided to do math after dinner.  He had two long assignments which we did in their entirety.  They were tough!  As always, he caught a few minor mistakes of mine and I caught a few of his.  We didn’t finish until near 10:00 PM. 

Lynn cooked some very delicious broccoli soup for our dinner tonight.  We also fixed some link sausages and warmed up some bread and applesauce.  I think it was a great dinner.  This week will be a very busy one for the Gutshall family and us because there are three JV basketball games, 3 varsity basketball games, and a Freddie basketball game.  Plus, Betsy has dance three days after school.    Lynn has two interpreting sessions this week in Rockingham County Schools and I have a MRI scheduled for Tuesday morning before an 11:00 Central UMC Finance meeting.

This afternoon we got word that Morgan had tested positive for COVID-19.  This is the first case in our most immediate family.  When we were at Jim’s house on Thursday, we did not come in contact with her except to speak briefly to her from the driveway.   Likewise, with Jim, Faron and Coen we did not go inside their house and only visited with them for a few minutes outside.  So I’m not concerned about our health status but it is discomforting to learn she had a positive home test.  Jim said she felt like she had a cold or the flu and slept most of the day. 

Morgan teaches in a middle school so there’s no big surprise that she tested positive despite her vaccination and booster shot.  I just hope the little boys and her mother don’t come down with it.  All should be protected somewhat though Faron and Coen don’t have their second shots yet.  Coen just got his first shot this week as he turned five on Tuesday.

Here are today’s international, national, and local COVID-19 statistics.  I think some of the world and US numbers may be underreported due to the weekend though the outbreak has slowed in some places.

January 23          Infected                   Died

World             352,064,720           5,614,544  4,500 deaths since yesterday

US                     71,925,931              889,197   190,000 cases, 600 deaths since yesterday

Virginia              1,451,713                15,852   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

Augusta County       15,686                     152   NO UPDATES DUE TO WEEKEND

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,595,418  (5,857,248 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   Faron and Coen have had one shot.  That’s 90.0% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.6% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        100,489  (42,182 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Ann, Lynn, Henry, Gus, and I have our third booster shot.  That still is only 55.8% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia and national average.

We were somewhat appalled that at Mount Pisgah Church this afternoon there were approximately 100 people at the Metcalfe Memorial Service yet almost none of them wore a mask.  I’d say that fewer than 10 people, including us, were masked.  And member that only about half of Augusta County’s residents are vaccinated so that means probably half of those present were both unvaccinated and unmasked.  Is there any wonder we’re in such a pickle with this pandemic?

January 24, 2022

I won’t lie and say this was a fun day.  It wasn’t.  I worked a lot at Central today but that went OK.  The bad part was after 4:00.  First, Gus had a sprained ankle and wasn’t able to play in the JV game which saw FDHS get dominated in the paint.  They lost 54 – 45.  Worse, I witnessed another Fort Defiance High School varsity basketball disaster and another example of Henry being badly mistreated by his coach.  Then I came home and had to give myself an enema because I have a MRI tomorrow morning.  I don’t know which of these evening experiences was worse.

I had to stop eating at 4:00 today and am not allowed to eat or drink anything until the procedure is over tomorrow around 10:15.  I have an 11:00 CUMC Finance Meeting so I won’t have much time to catch up on my calories then.

I felt sorry for the poor Fort Defiance boys tonight at Harrisonburg.  They got off to a decent start and were up 9 – 6 near the end of the first quarter.  Harrisonburg scored the last points of the quarter to narrow the lead to 9 – 8 but then Fort went ice cold.  In the second quarter they made 1 of 13 shots from the field.  Meanwhile, Harrisonburg jumped out to a 26 – 11 lead which means they outscored FDHS 20 – 2 over that stretch.  Henry played approximately half of the time and his absence was especially noticeable in the second quarter.  When he came out, the score was 13 – 11.  HHS then scored 13 consecutive points with him on the bench.

The second half was not any better.  At one point, FDHS made 1 out of 21 shots from the field.  Henry played about two minutes in the entire second half.  Henry had zero turnovers, took two charges, got several rebounds, and scored a basket.  He did miss a couple of three pointers but so did everyone else on the team.    The final score was 51 – 28.  Henry didn’t play one second in the fourth quarter.  Every other player dressed for the game got playing time in the quarter except him.

As usual, I got too worked up at the game.  It is just so hard to sit back and watch…

FDHS plays again tomorrow night at Riverheads.  Maybe it will be better.  Maybe the boys shoot better.  Maybe the coaches will realize how much better the team is with Henry on the floor.  Maybe I’ll keep my mouth shut.  And maybe not.

I need to get some rest before my morning procedure so I’m not going to write more tonight.  Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 24          Infected                   Died

World             354,904,903           5,622,314   8,000 deaths since yesterday

US                     72,958,690              891,595   1,000,000 new cases, 2,500 new deaths

Virginia              1,481,294                15,948   30,000 cases, 100 deaths since Friday

Augusta County       16,242                     155   500 cases, 3 deaths since Friday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,604,770  (5,858,656 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   Faron and Coen have had one shot.  That’s 90.0% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.6% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        100,519  (42,184 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Ann, Lynn, Henry, Gus, and I have our third booster shot.  That still is only 55.8% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia and national average.

January 25, 2022

This morning was not fun at all.  I couldn’t eat and had to have another enema before my MRI.  Lynn went with me and we were at Sentara RMH by 8:15.  After the sign in process and the preparation before the MRI, I got to lie perfectly still inside a large tube for 45 minutes.  The process isn’t painful but the machine eminates strange sounds like horns blowing and hammers knocking.  I was given a headset and told I could listen to music but the attendant forgot to turn it on so I spent the entire time listening to the machine make noises. 

I was done before 10:00 so we came back home and I finally got to eat again.  I had to hustle, though, because I had a CUMC Finance meeting via Zoom at 11:00 and had to get lots of documents ready for that meeting.  It lasted until after 12:00 and went fairly well.

Mid-afternoon I got a message from Sentara Health that my report was ready from the MRI.  When I had my first MRI six months ago, they found a small lesion on my prostate.  They report cancerous findings on a “PIRADS” scale from 1 to 5 with 5 being cancer for sure, 3 being cancer maybe, and 1 being not cancerous.  Six months ago, they rated the lesion as a PIRADS 3.  I am happy to write that today they reported that the finding for this aberration on my prostate has been relabeled as PIRADS 2.  So I believe this was a good MRI report though it is just my interpretation.

This afternoon, Lynn had her two Cheryl friends over.  One was supposed to bring her ice cream for lunch but there was a mixup at Cookout in Waynesboro so she didn’t get any.  So I ran to Smiley’s while they were talking and brought her back a milkshake which she greatly appreciated.

Soon after that it was time to take Betsy to dance.  We picked her up at her house and dropped her off at 4:15.  Then we went to Chick Fil A for a quick dinner before on to the ball games at Riverheads High School.

The Fort JV’s beat Riverheads the first time they played, 33 – 32.  This time FDHS played miserably, fell behind as much as 23, and lost 60 – 46.  Gus had been hurt the last game but felt like playing tonight and he saw action for about half of the game.  He played exceedingly well, going 3 – 3 from the field, making two defensive blocked shots, had several rebounds, and zero turnovers. 

The varsity game was both good and bad.  The good part is that Fort held on to win a close one, 39 – 35.  The bad part is that Henry did not play much at all.  Henry played 3:36 of the third quarter then rode the bench for the rest of the game.  He played about half of the first half.  When he was in, he did well.  He was 1 – 3 from the field, had numerous rebounds, and ZERO turnovers.  His teammates shot better than they did against Harrisonburg but still not well.  Yes, they won, but I personally believe, in my very biased mind, that if Henry had played more the game would have been a breeze for the Indians.

I know I get entirely too worked up over these games. Now I am trying to figure out how to back off.  I’m seriously thinking about not going to the remaining games and just watch them on NFHS. Lynn suggested that if I do go I should not record the statistics as I have been doing for all the games this season.  My real plan was to write stories of all the games like a (biased) sportswriter and give my stories to Gus and Henry at the end of the season in a book format.  But now I think that idea may be abandoned.  Lynn suggested that by having all of the statistics written down my angst is just stirred up more because I can see right in front of me that the team has made turnover after turnover or missed shot after shot.  Maybe she’s right.  I am on the fence about the rest of the season.  Part of me wants to just stay home and watch the games on NFHS network so I won’t behave so badly in public.  I want to support the boys but I’ve lost control of myself too much and I know that.  I’m going to sleep on it (well, it actually will keep me awake for several nights).  For certain, this basketball season has been bad for my blood pressure. 

I want Henry and Gus to know that I have not gotten upset over anything they have done on the court.  They have played well, tried hard, and I have been exceedingly proud of them.  I am not proud of myself. 

I am also upset at the Riverheads community.  Tonight I counted the number of fans on their side of the gym—150.  Then I counted the number of them who were wearing masks—3.  I took pictures to prove my point.  Tomorrow I am going to write a letter to the Augusta County School Superintendent complaining about this.  I’ll probably not send it until Lynn can proofread it.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 25          Infected                   Died

World             359,175,387           5,634,080   11,700 deaths since yesterday

US                     73,449,185              894,880   500,000 new cases, 3,200 new deaths

Virginia              1,491,993                16,002   10,700 cases, 44 deaths since yesterday

Augusta County       16,336                     155   94 cases, 0 deaths since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,618,287  (5,860,983 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   Faron and Coen have had one shot.  That’s 90.0% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.7% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        100,539  (42,185 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Ann, Lynn, Henry, Gus, and I have our third booster shot.  That still is only 55.8% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia and national average.

I realized as I finished this that I left out perhaps the most significant news of the day:  I have a grandson who has tested positive for COVID-19.  Faron has now tested positive as did his mother.  Coen’s test was negative but somewhat inconclusive.  Fortunately, Jim says Faron is feeling fine.  He’s had both of his vaccine shots and he’s only seven so maybe his case will be light.  God knows I hope so.

January 26, 2022

My mood was unchanged this morning.  I am feeling more and more like I should back off from what is causing me undue angst, attending FDHS basketball games. 

I was still fuming over the mask situation at Riverheads last night, though, so this morning I followed through with my plans to send an e-mail to both the Augusta County Superintendent and the Riverheads Principal.  Here’s what I said:

Dear Superintendent Bond and Principal Stevens,

My name is Joe Hill.  I am a 71 year old grandfather of two boys on the Fort Defiance High School basketball teams.  I am a retired Rockingham County Public Schools administrator and Bridgewater College instructor.  

I attended the Fort Defiance – Riverheads basketball game last night at the Riverheads gym.  I was appalled to see that virtually no one on the Riverheads side of the gym was wearing a mask.  According to the letter from your School Board now posted on your website, “ACPS will continue to require all students, staff and visitors to wear masks in schools until February 14, 2022…”  I did not see anything in this letter which exempted those who attend basketball games from this policy.

I am attaching three photos of three of the sections of the Riverheads bleachers to prove my point.  I counted 150 fans, only three of whom were properly masked.  Zoom in and you will see this for yourself.

I feel sure that you know that Augusta County’s vaccination rate is only 55.8%, markedly below the state and national averages.  An article in today’s Staunton News Leader laments that area hospitals are stressed, overworked, understaffed, and overwhelmed with the current surge of omicron variant of COVID.  The article states “We need help more than ever from our communities…”  The Riverheads community clearly has not gotten that message.

The message from your School Board has not reached students, either.  Two unmasked Riverheads students passed by our seats selling raffle tickets.  I asked them if Riverheads had a masking requirement.  They both shrugged their shoulders and one said “I don’t know.”

The letter from the ACPS School Board also says “The health and safety of our students, staff members, and school communities is our top priority.”  I don’t think that was the case last night at Riverheads High School. 

I might add that we have attended basketball games at Wilson Memorial, Buffalo Gap, Monticello, Rockbridge, and Harrisonburg High Schools this year, as well, but their fans, as have the Fort Defiance supporters, had a much higher percentage who wore masks.  At these schools, there were mask requirement flyers and announcements made over the PA system emphasizing the requirement.  The situation at Riverheads showed a blatant disregard for your School Board’s policy and for the CDC’s guidelines.

Sincerely,
 
Joe Hill

I sent a copy of this e-mail to Jim Printy who had sent a similar letter to the Riverheads principal after the Wilson – Riverheads game a few days ago.  He told me I’d probably not hear back from any of them.  And to this moment I have not.  However, late in the day today Ann and Josh got an e-mail from Augusta County Public Schools saying the following:

Please read this message from Augusta County Public Schools.

 

Fort Families, 

On January 20, 2022, the Augusta County School Board voted to continue to require all students, staff and visitors to wear masks in schools until Monday, February 14, 2022 to allow additional time for the virus to trend down. 

An important component in our efforts to reduce the spread of the virus in our schools and communities is wearing masks at all our indoor sporting events.  Augusta County School Board Policy requires masks to be worn by all spectators.  We also encourage spectators, whenever possible, to maintain physical space when sitting with those outside their family group.

The aim of this policy is to help keep students in school, our athletic teams playing, and our community healthy.  This is a team effort that requires everyone to do their part when attending events in our schools.

Again, we ask that everyone wear a mask at all times while attending all ACPS indoor sporting events.  We also ask that while eating or drinking in the stands, that spectators also keep mask removal to a minimum.

We appreciate your continued support of our athletes in their endeavors as they complete the winter season. 

————————–

You are receiving this message as a student, guardian, or staff member. Thank you for keeping your contact information current. 

So maybe my letter made a difference!  I hope so. 

I spent a long time at Central today.  I had received an e-mail from one of the members saying the Contribution Statement he received had some omissions.  I spent almost an hour making sure we got it corrected.  I’m not surprised there were errors because three different people over the period of 2021 entered the contribution data.  But I finally got it fixed.

Then I spent an hour on the phone with PayPal.  Central has a PayPal account but there’s a luncheon coming up in March that the ladies in the church are doing for a Staunton civic club.  They want the club members to go to a website, choose their lunch items, and pay via PayPal.  Further, they have someone in the community who has volunteered to construct this website. I called PayPal to find out how we could put our PayPal donation logo on someone else’s site but have the money come to our PayPal account.  I was told that couldn’t happen; only one website (ours) is allowed to use our donation logo.  I’m not sure how we’ll resolve this.

I also got them to change the contact person on our PayPal account from a secretary who left us about a dozen years ago to my name.  That required me to submit several documents to them which took a long, long time.

I got home in time to meet the bus with Freddie and Betsy.  We watched the rest of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Netflix.  We had watched the first half of it last week.  Betsy is going to be in a local kid’s performance of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory this spring and some of the characters in the movie, including hers, were like those in the musical she’ll be in.

Lynn and I just had time to eat leftover cheese and broccoli soup plus some sweet potato fries she made tonight before Henry came over with his latest math assignment.  He had 36 problems to do, supposedly review problems.  This turned out to be the hardest assignment he has had this year, in my opinion.  It took us 2 ½ hours to get it done.

So here’s a high school junior who has just spent his previous two nights out late being frustrated on his high school basketball team coming to his grandfather’s house and doing 150 minutes of really hard math.  The assignment isn’t due until this weekend but I admire his work ethic so much.  What a great kid Henry Gutshall is.  I am SO proud of him.  I am proud of his basketball success, even if he is consigned to the bench for way too long in my biased opinion.  And I am even more proud of his academic success.  The math he did tonight is harder than that done by 90% of college graduates in their four years, I’m sure.  He is a high school junior taking Calculus BC at the Governor’s School along with a small subset of students who are the best students that Wilson Memorial, Buffalo Gap, Waynesboro, Staunton, Riverheads, Stuarts Draft, and Fort Defiance High Schools have.

After math, I watched the WVU – Oklahoma basketball game.  Like the Fort Defiance High players, the WVU guys can easily get my temper up with their poor play.   They scored only 22 points in the first half tonight and fell behind 30 – 22.  They fell behind by 15 in the second half and ended up losing 72 – 62.  They had the same issue as FDHS has dealt with:  bad shooting and turnovers.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

January 25          Infected                   Died

World             363,062,293           5,645,884   11,700 deaths since yesterday

US                     74,176,403              898,680   700,000 new cases, 4,000 new deaths

Virginia              1,503,119                16,052   11,000 cases, 50 deaths since yesterday

Augusta County       16,516                     155   180 cases, 0 deaths since yesterday

            Vaccinated

Virginia 14,632,220  (5,863,379 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, Morgan, Thomas, and Georgia.   Faron and Coen have had one shot.  That’s 90.1% of the adult population who have at least one shot, 68.7% of the total population fully vaccinated). 

Augusta County        100,674  (42,191 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, Gus, Betsy, and Freddie.  Plus, Josh, Ann, Lynn, Henry, Gus, and I have our third booster shot.  That still is only 55.8% of the Augusta County population which is fully vaccinated now, still well below the Virginia and national average.

Jim reported that Faron was feeling fine despite his positive COVID-19 test result.  Coen got another test today and again he tested negative.  Likewise, Jim has felt fine and has not tested since he has no symptoms.