Category Archives: October Posts

October 2020: Life in the COVID-19 Era

October 1, 2020

I guess I had a good idea that when I started writing this in April I’d still be doing so in October.  Of course, then I didn’t know what the future held.  Now I’m predicting that I’ll still be writing this come next April.  I plan to keep writing until we can safely go out to restaurants, ball games, church, family gatherings, and other social events.  Perhaps by April 2021 we will have been vaccinated.  Until then, things aren’t that much different today than they were on April 20 when I started this blog.  What an awful year!

Part of this was written from the Augusta Health parking lot.  I dropped Lynn off at AMC at 7:15 today for her colonoscopy.  I waited for her in the parking lot until that unpleasant ordeal was over.  She was a real trooper for this, obeying all of the instructions for the prep.  There are few things in life more unpleasant than that.

Unfortunately, she came back with bad news—she has to do the entire thing again tomorrow.  The physician found two polyps which he removed, but told her that because of “incomplete preparation” he wasn’t able to proceed.  So again today she had to drink that awful liquid, avoid any foods except liquids, and return on Friday for more of the same.

There was concern and good news both in this message.  The fact is, he didn’t find any tumors.  He found two polyps which will be sent off to see if they were cancerous or not.  Either way, he removed them.  I do admit I have my doubts about his statement that she had incomplete preparation because I know she did everything by the instructions she was given.  In fact, she did even more because she could have eaten breakfast yesterday but did not.

Fortunately, the AMC parking lot had decent WiFi so I was able to keep up with the morning’s news.  Here’s one story from ABC:

President Donald Trump will hold more large-scale campaign rallies in Wisconsin this weekend as coronavirus cases and hospitalization rage across the battleground state, making the clear decision to prioritize campaigning rather than worry about more people getting sick.

Wisconsin, which is a must-win state in the president’s path to victory, is in the midst of an alarming surge of coronavirus cases just a month before the election — an unprecedented political curveball that could alter Wisconsin voters’ opinions on who they trust to handle the pandemic, as more are personally impacted by the virus.

The surge also comes as 1.2 million Wisconsinites have already started the voting process by mail, momentum which Trump aims to capitalize on when he visits Saturday.

The president is scheduled to make his third visit to Wisconsin over the past couple months, this time in La Crosse and Green Bay — but his visit also comes at odds with the advice of his own White House Coronavirus Task Force, which has just classified the cities as “red zones” in a new report. The report urged for “the maximum degree possible” of social distancing in the state.

In the past week, the state has reported nearly 16,000 new cases, compared to just over 5,000 new cases reported in the last week of August. Last Saturday alone, the state reported close to 3,000 new cases.

Hospitalizations have also been on the rise, and the Wisconsin Health Department reported that 82% of hospital beds across the state are in capacity as of Tuesday. In Green Bay, where the president is headed, one health system reportedly said this week that its hospital there was at 94% capacity.

What selfishness…to put your own ego ahead of other peoples’ health.  Another article I read in The Atlantic noted that Trump’s rude behavior at the debate sends a subtle message to his followers:

In that sense, the interruptions worked as their own empty messages. Much of Trump’s speech doubles as promises made to the people inclined to admire him: You, too, could be rich, or pretend to be. You, too, can insult other people and dismiss their indignation as political correctness. You, too, can do what you want, when you want, because you have defined political freedom as social impunity. So Trump’s bulldozing and steamrolling had a certain inverse eloquence. The interruptions broke the rules of the debate, and delighted in the breaking. They gratified Trump’s delusions of dominance. They spoke to Americans who share Trump’s conviction that destruction is a means to power.

Indeed, his base thought his performance at the debate was great.  They saw this debate as like a Muhammed Ali fight, with the more frequent and harder the punches come the better.  I believe that his base didn’t want a debate, they wanted a brawl.  After all, those who don’t reason don’t discuss or debate, they fight.

Lynn has been in a funk lately since she feels incarcerated in our house.  Indeed, our many fall trips have been canceled including several to the Barter Theatre and the big one to South America.  As I’ve written before, not only has COVID-19 kept us at home but she feels obligated to be nearby her mother.  I’ve been looking for a one night get-away for us which would be something we could safely do.  I came up with a stay at the lodge in Hawks Next State Park in West Virginia.  I made a reservation for Wednesday, October 14, in a room with a canyon view of the New River Gorge.  Lynn was fine with this.  I’m thinking that the leaves should be very nice by then.  We might stop by the Greenbrier or Food and Friends on our way for lunch.  On Thursday morning there is a tram ride down into the gorge we may take before coming home in time for Freddie’s arrival.

Yesterday was Betsy’s 11th birthday but she had a full evening with dance so we had her over in the afternoon today to celebrate.  As has been my custom, I created a math treasure hunt for her which led her around our yard finding clues until she got to her present.  The whole family came over and we had a fine, though short, visit with them.  As always, I posted pictures on my website.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

October 1             Infected                   Died

World               34,440,228           1,023,430

US                       7,489,547              212,506

Virginia               148,721                  3,228

Augusta County          507                         7

I’m not sure what’s going on with Augusta County’s numbers.  The Virginia Department of Health dashboard showed the number of infections in Augusta County actually decreased by 5 from yesterday.  There must have been a data error yesterday.

My cousin Marjorie Martorella passed along a Facebook post that I liked.  Lynn reposted it.  Here’s its text: “The president has scheduled two rallies in Wisconsin this weekend.  Wisconsin had its highest number of coronavirus deaths yesterday.  Wisconsin has a legal mandate requiring masks and social distancing.  The president refuses to respect these state laws. Don’t tell me he is a law and order candidate. He is not.  Don’t tell me he believes in protecting human life. He does not.”

Trump believes that OTHERS should obey law and order, not him.  He showed this at the debate, completely ignoring the rules that his own party had agreed to.  He’s like the policemen I complained about in a post last month who drive well over the speed limit when they’re casually driving on the interstate without their flashing lights on.  The laws apply to everyone else.

There are issues that I thought would have been part of this election but have been pushed to the back burner.  For example, gun control is no longer discussed on the national forum.  I guess we have to wait until there’s another mass murder.  Ironically, today is the 3rd anniversary of the deadliest shooting ever, the Las Vegas mass murder.  It seems like ages ago that Lynn and I went to Washington to demonstrate in support of gun control measures as led by the kids from Florida.  If we had more gun control we wouldn’t have as many headline-making killings in the US.  Do I want the 2nd Amendment repealed?  No, but I do strongly believe there is no place for weapons which can shoot hundreds of bullets in a minute.  Let the hunters keep their 22’s and shotguns but take away every semi-automatic gun and its ammunition.

Fortunately, education has not been an issue thus far.  It is not a federal issue anyway; education is the duty of each state.  The federal government’s major involvement is with areas like Special Education.  Let’s keep it that way.  We don’t need the feds leading us down another No Child Left Behind debacle like George Bush did.  Trump couldn’t do it anyway because his education chief is Betsy DeVos who doesn’t have a clue about public schools.

Immigration has hardly been mentioned.  In 2016 Trump made such a big deal out of his push to build a wall along the entire Mexican border.  The wall has never been built, thank goodness.  However, he is still holding kids captured from those trying to illegally enter into the US and kept them in cases.

Oh well, we’ve had plenty of other issues to talk and write about….

October 2, 2020

I shouldn’t express surprise at this; we all knew it was coming.  Overnight it was announced that President Trump and his wife have both tested positive with COVID-19.  I don’t wish this on anyone but I can truly say he asked for it.  He very rarely wore masks and participated in many social events where attendees did not observe social distance.  Yes, he was tested daily, but tests don’t keep coronavirus away.  He is 74 years old and overweight—both not good.

Maybe he can take lots of hydroxychloroquine.  Or have himself injected with bleach or ultraviolet rays.  I know I shouldn’t joke about this but all of these are what he has suggested as treatments.  Some Facebook users said he should get the witch doctor or the pillow guy to heal him.

Time magazine said it well, “Nobody knows exactly what happens next. The President of the United States has contracted a disease that has killed more than 207,000 Americans and sickened some 7.3 million. It will undoubtedly add new chaos into an election season already in uncharted territory as a result of the global pandemic, the resulting economic downturn, a reckoning on racial justice and wildfires torching the American West.”  The magazine also noted that eight out of ten of the 207,000 American deaths have been to citizens over 65 years of age.

ABC news reported that “everything is on hold.”  The Wisconsin rallies I raised a fuss about yesterday are no longer.  Both are well at this time as reported by White House doctors.  There are so many people in his circle who may have contracted it, especially since none of them wear masks.  Trump even made fun of Joe Biden for wearing masks at the debate on Tuesday night.  Sounds like the joke is on him.

Just last night in a speech he said that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.”  What irony!  He has downplayed COVID-19 so much in his re-election campaign.  I guess he’ll change his tune now.

Unknown at this point are how far reaching this event will affect the news.  The stock market is supposed to take a definite hit from the news of his infection.  Will the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court be delayed?  Will the upcoming debates be canceled?

As I wrote yesterday, Lynn had her second colonoscopy this morning at Augusta Health.  She had no solid food for over two days.   Despite this, she remained in surprisingly good moods.  I would have been a monster to live with.

The news was good after Lynn’s second colonoscopy today.  There was only one small polyp found and it was removed.  She should be good to go now.  What an ordeal!  2020 has not been a good year for her:  no travel, broken foot, and two colonoscopies.

Today my brother Butch posted this on Facebook, “I’m a little saddened that so many people are happy about the Trumps’ positive COVID test; I hoped that people would be more empathetic. Don’t you have any feeling for the virus that has to exist in such hellish conditions?”  I commented “I actually hope he makes a full recovery just in time for a landslide Biden victory so he and his rich white supremacist cronies can see that Americans are tired of bullying, lies, incompetence, selfishness, and disdain for science and those of other nationalities or races.”

Biden and his wife Jill both tested negative today but they aren’t out of the woods yet since there is an incubation period after being exposed to coronavirus.  The same applies to Mike Pence.  I think many medical experts are saying Pence should be quarantined but he’s definitely not.  He’s back on the campaign trail.

Lynn and I celebrated getting her colonoscopies behind her this evening by grabbing hamburgers at the Schoolhouse Burgers food truck at Valley Pike.  They were delicious.  Then we went to Walmart for her to grab a couple of things followed by dessert at Smileys.  Earlier today I took her to Staunton to visit with her mother and to a couple of grocery stores there.  It felt good to be somewhat back in the swing of things.

This afternoon Trump was taken to Walter Reed Hospital “for precautionary reasons.”  I was a little surprised by this; perhaps he is having more than just the “mild symnptoms” that have been reported thus far.  Earlier on Friday, the White House revealed that President Trump was treated with a single 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s experimental antibody cocktail, called REGN-COV2.  Personally, I think this is strange.

Tonight, out of respect for the office, Joe Biden pulled all of his negative television ads.  I have to wonder if the shoe had been on the other foot if Trump would have done this.

Certainly this turn of events will make COVID-19 as the most important topic in what’s left of the Presidential campaign.  Speaking of COVID-19, here are today’s numbers:

October 2             Infected                   Died

World               34,813,661           1,032,607

US                     7,548,796*              213,497

Virginia           149,687**                  3,250

Augusta County          510                         7

*Including President Donald Trump

**Including Governor Ralph Northram

Lynn and I watched the end of the second season of Virgin River last night on Netflix.  It ended with many unresolved issues up in the air.  Of course, that just makes us want to see its third season when it resumes sometime later this year or next.  The events of today likewise ended up being a cliffhanger.  Will Trump get worse?  Go on a ventilator?  Die from COVID-19?  Will the Supreme Court nomination be delayed?  Who else will now test positive?  Will the 25th Amendment play out?

Keep coming back and we’ll all find out!

October 3, 2020

One month from today and we’ll have all of this election behind us.  My e-mail and texts will drop markedly.  Yes, I get texts every day from Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, et. al.  Facebook will have to come up with new insults to post.

While Lynn had her colonoscopy yesterday I walked at Augusta Health.  First I walked the loop around the hospital then walked on the trail that has been constructed along Lifecore Drive. I walked out to US 250 then back to Tinkling Springs Road, then returned to the hospital just in time to pick her up.  It ended up being around a 4.8 mile walk, just over 10,000 steps for me, I was happy to get this in but I paid the price last night with leg cramps keeping me from sleeping.  Getting old is no fun!

The news this morning still leaves a lot up in the air.  After he was given the experimental cocktail, the President was given remdesivir which indicates to me that he wasn’t doing so well.  The news said that he wasn’t receiving any supplemental oxygen. 

Joe Biden is back on the campaign trail.  When I was a high school tennis coach, it was not uncommon to watch a match in which my player’s opponent seemed to twist an ankle or have some other injury.  Many times the opponent would limp on and immediately receive sympathetic encouragement from his fans.  Oftentimes my player’s reaction was to take it easy on the opponent but occasionally this came back to bite him as the opponent, spurred on by his new encouragement, would stage a comeback.  I used to coach my players that if an opponent is hurt, the best place for him is on the sidelines being treated, and the best thing my player could do for him is to get him there quickly by beating him, not letting up.  I’d say the same for Biden; he should not let up.  He should forge on.

I learned this morning that Senators are not allowed to vote virtually.  Two Republican Senators who attended the reception for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett last week have come down with coronavirus and a third Senator also has tested positive.   There may be more.  If this trend continues, then it is possible that the Republicans won’t have enough votes to get her confirmed.  I’m not hoping for more infections, just pointing out that super spreader events like that reception in which no one wore masks or stayed socially distant may come back to bite the Republicans.  Lindsay Graham says they are still full steam ahead with the nomination.

One really funny Facebook post today said that “With the possibility that he may have to take over Trump’s activities this weekend, White House aides are frantically teaching Mike Pence how to play golf.”  Another one showed a picture of Barack Obama with the caption, “I’m just waiting to see how it’s my fault.” 

Today’s news has a lot about all of the contract tracing going on around Donald Trump.  He has been in so many social gatherings, with so many people, few of whom wore masks or respected social distancing.  This must be a nightmare of a project. 

Lynn wanted to get some mums which were on sale this morning at Overlook Produce so we got there just as they opened.  She bought seven so she can give one to her friends, sisters, and aunt, Jo Lee Hanger, who is now living at The Legacy where her Mom is. 

There was a news conference scheduled for 11:00 this morning in which the physicians at Walter Reed were supposed to give the public an update on the President’s condition.  The conference was delayed over and over, leading to suspicion as to what the physicians were being told to say.  Prior to this, I watched CNN news which predicted that we would not be told the full truth.  Noting that the President has developed several symptoms, whereas most people who contact the disease do not develop symptoms until a few days after initially contracting coronavirus, they wondered when he actually did catch the virus and thus became contagious. 

A team of ten physicians did give the update around 11:40. They said that Trump was doing very well.  All of his bodily functions were normal and he was not put on oxygen.  They said he will be given daily remdesivir dosages.  He was fever-free for the past 24 hours and in good spirits, they reported.  They noted that day 7-10 is critical for all coronavirus patients so we’ll keep in tune.  They would not indicate when he had his last negative test result.  They were evasive when asked if he had ever been on oxygen and about results of tests on his lungs.  All of this makes us more skeptical.  The intent was clearly to tell America that he is OK.

My interest in the news was sidelined for four hours this afternoon as WVU played Baylor in football in Morgantown.  In front of empty stands, the Mountaineers pulled out a 27-21 victory in overtime.  It wasn’t pretty but we got the job done!  Facebook had a link so our fans could cue up Country Roads after the game.

Lynn and I managed to walk a mile today.  Her foot isn’t 100% yet but it is getting better.  It was nice to walk with her again.

I probably spend too much time reading comments on Facebook.  There are so many people who are questioning Trump’s COVID-19 infection.  Some say he lies so much he is lying now.  Some say it is a stunt since he is so far behind in the polls.  I think he actually is infected.  But even among those who, like me, do believe he’s got the virus, there are many who write comments like they wish the 203,000 dead Americans could have had the health care he is experiencing now, especially since he only paid $750 in federal taxes for all this. 

Here are today’s statistics:

October 3             Infected                   Died

World               35,119,579           1,037,465

US                       7,600,137              214,269

Virginia               150,803                  3,270

Augusta County          518                         7

The spike in US infections came from those who attended the White House lawn party about Amy Coney Barrett 🙂

October 4, 2020

There remains some controversy about Trump’s health status.  As I said yesterday, the team of doctors at Walter Reed made it sound like he was ready to get back on the golf course.  Meanwhile, his own chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said he had concerning vitals including shortness of breath and was given oxygen at the White House.  The administration lacks the ability to be honest with the American people.

I like the Facebook post that simply says “Pray for Donald Trump, Vote for Joe Biden.”

The doctors today said that Trump is improving, with stable vital signs and no fever.  They said he had been given dexamethasone due to lower oxygen levels.  They indicated he may be released tomorrow.  The doctors on CNN were very skeptical of what we were told at today’s press conference, saying we weren’t being told everything.  They say he is getting good care but we, the public, are not getting good information.  They suspect Trump has told them not to divulge things.  They pointed out, for example, that he is getting a five day dose of remdesivir which has to be issued in a hospital.  So how could he be released tomorrow?

Central UMC had in-person services today for the first time since the pandemic began.  Actually it was the first time we had a service in the sanctuary since the boiler died that day and it wasn’t fixed until shortly after the pandemic hit.  Lynn and I didn’t attend and likely won’t attend until we’re vaccinated. 

Lynn did go in to help her mother with lunch, came back and baked bread, and has done other chores including washing the sheets and towels today.  She’s been much more industrious than I have been. 

Another bizarre day for Donald Trump.  He took an experimental drug cocktail that wasn’t even on the FDA approved list when he was initially diagnosed.  He has had two doses of remdesivir which is for people who are at advanced states of coronavirus then took dexamethasone because he had breathing issues.  His doctors pretended he was doing OK but left many in serious doubt that we were being told the full truth.  Then, to top it all, he hopped into a car and took a short trip around his supporters outside Walter Reed just so he could have a photo op waving to them.  In doing so, he contaminated secret service people who accompanied him.  CNN News went ballistic over this, saying they couldn’t believe his callousness.  One doctor they interviewed afterward called him “amazingly irresponsible.”  Another said that if he really believes that “blue lives matter” then why did he put the secret service people at risk? 

Trump is trying to put out the image that he is strong, well, and defeating COVID-19.  He has at least twelve doctors at Walter Reed taking care of him.   One of the CNN doctors said that, given the trifecta of medicines Trump is taking, he must be in grave danger.  This is the opposite of the image Trump and his doctors are trying to convey.  Who knows?  We’re kept in the dark by this administration.

Lynn’s sisters found some old newspaper clippings of her dad’s sports and military achievements.  He was quite a basketball and baseball player!  I’m going to scan some of these documents.

With all the news about Donald Trump, the coronavirus spread has taken the back burner on the news except for the spread that was caused by Trump during the past week including the Amy Coney Barrett party.  Here are today’s statistics:

October 4             Infected                   Died

World               35,387,524           1,041,538

US                       7,635,556              214,610

Virginia               151,870                  3,273

Augusta County          525                         7

This is a mixed bag.  Virginia had over 1,000 new cases in the past 24 hours but only three more deaths. 

October 5, 2020

The news media today is still having a field day with Trump’s careless stunt yesterday of making a photo op out of his Walter Reed stay.  Many other doctors have come out highly critical of this.

I spent the first half of the day today at Central UMC.  This was our bookkeeper’s last day and I wanted her to show me how to do some things on QuickBooks since I will be doing this until we get someone hired.  It did not work out that way.  We began by starting to do a reconciliation of the bank statement for September.  She had told me that she had been doing reconciliations every month.  But when we started the process, I quickly discovered that she had not checked off most items that had cleared the bank for the last four months.  We spent the entire morning trying to clean that up.  There were many other issues, and not all of them her fault.  For example, we now have online banking where many of us make our monthly donations to the church through an online service called VANCO.  VANCO sends e-mails to her and to me every time a donation is made.  So, for example, if I made a $100 donation she would get an e-mail confirming this so she would make a $100 deposit to our checking account.  It turns out that VANCO charges for its services and withdraws its fees before it deposits to the bank.  So the bank deposit might show a deposit of $96.80.  This makes reconciling a mess because her entry into the books was for $100, not $96.80.  There have been lots of these type deposits in the last four months; I think I’ll have to clean up all of them, one at a time. 

I left after about four hours of working on this with the reality that I’ll be spending lots and lots of time at Central over the next month trying to get the books back in better shape.  She had made lots of errors and mis-filings.  I’m hoping to get the previous bookkeeper, Sarah, to come back for a few hours to help me but she has a new baby and another small child so I’m not sure she’ll come.  I tried calling her today but she has not returned my call yet.

I’m really worried about this task, partially because I know the books are so messed up and partially because I have never done this kind of bookkeeping before. 

Our Biden sign was stolen from our front yard last night.  I guess we should have been surprised it lasted as long as it did.  Strangely, the other Biden signs on our road were untouched.  Lynn called the local Democratic headquarters and they brought us a couple of replacement signs this afternoon.  Taking our sign was such low class behavior.  We’ll see how long the new one lasts.  Only 29 days until the signs won’t mean anything.

Lynn and I got in a short walk again today.  Her foot is still not back to normal so we’ve limited our walks to just up to Mount Pisgah UMC and back, about a mile in all.  She doesn’t hurt when she walks but sometimes does afterwards.

The news this evening was another Trump surprise.  He was released from Walter Reed Hospital at 6:30. This just happens to coincide with the nightly news time, no surprise.  He wants to be the feature story and he wanted to show how tough he is and how minor COVID-19 is.  He even tweeted “Don’t be afraid of COVID.  Don’t let it dominate your life…”   At least he wore a mask as he was transported from the hospital to the helicopter to take him back to the White House.

Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s physician, told reporters on Monday that it’s been more than 72 hours since Trump had a fever, his oxygen levels and breathing are all normal.  Conley noted that Trump “may not entirely be out of the woods yet” but the medical team agrees that their evaluations and Trump’s clinical status support his return home where “he’ll be surrounded by world class medical care 24/7.”   He will be closely monitored through next weekend given the typical length of mild COVID-19 infections.  ABC News suggested that it was Trump’s idea, not the doctors’, to return to the White House.

It’s just that kind of care that has earned him a barrage of negative comments on social media.  People complain that he got all of this first-class care after paying only $750 for it.  Many people are saying it was all a hoax.  Some doctors still say the medicines he got are those given to people who are struggling with recovery from COVID-19, not to those who are in the initial stages of a mild reaction to it.  Social media posts note that there are families of 210,000 dead Americans who wish their loved ones had the kind of care he got.  The ABC News medical expert, Dr. Ashish Jha, noted that Trump’s comment about not being afraid of COVID-19 is very misleading to the public.  He said he had hoped this would cause Trump to take a more serious attitude toward the disease but it appears to have had the opposite effect.  Rachel Maddow wrote that his tweets were the most dangerous thing he has ever tweeted.  “Even after his own hospitalization, he appears to have learned nothing.”

His own press secretary announced today that she had tested positive—just another of the many who picked it up due to the careless attitude the White House has had about the CDC’s recommendations for masks and social distancing.  At least eighteen people who have been at the recent White House events have come down with the virus. Multiple White House sources told ABC News there is “a full-blown freak-out” in the administration waiting to see who will be next to test positive — with aides not trusting each other and some trying to find ways to avoid coming into work at all.

Here’s the killer—the news reported that when he entered the White House from his helicopter ride, he took his mask off!  He then came back out, maskless, to make sure the photographers got photos of him near the flag.  I watched CNN news afterwards and they had a fit over this.  “This is just another reminder that we elected a reality TV star,” said one of them.  “He demonstrated that he doesn’t take seriously the health of the people at the White House.”  Supposedly he told his staff to not tell anyone about when he got his positive test. 

CNN also hit hard on Trump’s doctors for their non-answers to reporters’ questions today about his last negative test, his lung CT scans, his blood thinners, and what other medicines he may/may not be on.  His doctors wouldn’t answer any questions about those things. 

Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN said Trump should be in isolation, not walking around with his mask off.  He is still contagious and putting others at risk.  Dr. Gupta said, “Everywhere he goes will have to be decontaminated.” 

The forecast for the next several days is for beautiful weather and warmer temperatures.  I can’t wait!

In addition to all of the hoopla over Trump, ABC also reported that the number of infections are rising again in 33 states.  Here are today’s numbers:

October 5             Infected                   Died

World               35,660,945           1,045,227

US                       7,674,395              214,959

Virginia               152,557                  3,276

Augusta County          534                         7

I am fully in favor of universal healthcare for Americans.  Republicans yell that they don’t want socialized medicine.  Yet Donald Trump’s care at Walter Reed was at a hospital where 100% of the doctors are government employees and 100% of the employees there are government employees.  It is a government-run, completely socialized form of medical care.  If it is good enough for Trump, why is it not good enough for me and you?

October 6, 2020

Today was the worst day I have had in months.  I was at Central UMC morning, afternoon, and night working on QuickBooks.  The more I worked the more problems I found.  In the morning I talked with Jeff DeLong who now lives in Martinsburg, WV and was a long-time treasurer at Central.  He gave me some ideas to work on which took a long time.  Basically, he told me to undo the reconciliations that had been done for August, July, June, and May then redo them,  Easier said than done.  I spent hours and hours on this today and finally came home near 10:00 pm having only completed May’s reconciliation.  Even it wasn’t exactly right but it was close.  I spent about two hours on June, never completed it, and it is far from correct.  I’ll dig back into it tomorrow at some point.

The previous bookkeeper just seems to have done so many things wrong—not entered check numbers on checks, omitted some deposits that the bank got, wrote some checks twice, did not pay a recurring bill in July though it was paid in June and August, and on and on.  I am so tired and frustrated. 

Here are today’s statistics.  My apologies for not writing more but I’m just too tired.

October 6             Infected                   Died

World               36,037,992           1,054,514

US                       7,722,746              215,822

Virginia               153,182                  3,291

Augusta County          535                         7

October 7, 2020

Today is my sister Mary K’s 75th birthday.  Wow, ¾ of a century!  I called her this evening and had a nice conversation.  It turns out that Butch and Wiley were visiting with her for a few days.  We discussed Thanksgiving briefly.  Butch is trying to reserve a banquet room at the Ohio University Inn for all in our family who want to come.  I think we can go and still maintain safe distance so I’m looking forward to it.  We haven’t been to Ohio for Thanksgiving for many, many years.

I spent all day again today at Central learning more about QuickBooks.  I’ve been learning a lot by seeing how Sarah, our bookkeeper until May 1, did things.  As I ‘ve mentioned, she’s going to come to CUMC on Monday and help me first-hand.  She was a very good bookkeeper, unlike the one who was just fired from that position.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep well last night because I was so worked up over reconciling Central’s QuickBooks with the bank statements.  Today I looked at how Sarah did this in February and decided to put this on the back burner for a while.  In the meantime, I discovered that the bookkeeper who took her place did all of the deposits wrong.  So I’ve got four months of deposits to fix.  There weren’t any funds lost, just not placed in the proper subaccounts they were supposed to be in.  I spent a lot of time today seeing how Sarah did this.

Tonight we had our weekly Zoom meeting for those who were available.  Jim and boys plus Kay and kids were on.  It was so good to see them.  Faron and Coen were wound up and Thomas and Georgia entertained us with silly songs.  Fun!

Tonight was also the Vice Presidential debate between Kamala Harris and Mike Pence.  We were both tired but still tried our best to stay up for the fireworks!

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

October 7             Infected                   Died

World               36,376,224           1,059,914

US                       7,773,134              216,705

Virginia               153,691                  3,303

Augusta County          540                         7

The President is making it sound like coronavirus is a snap.  Sure, he had the best care a person can get.  I don’t think the one million dead in the world would agree with him.

October 8, 2020

This was another day with lots of QuickBooks work so I don’t have time to write much.  I am feeling better about QuickBooks, though.  I’m a long way from being competent but I do feel more confident that I can do the jobs the way Sarah did them.  So far I think I can do checks and deposits OK.  I need lots more time with credit cards and payroll.  I spent most of the day today reviewing how Sarah had done deposits and discovered that our previous bookkeeper did not follow her examples.  So, much of today was spent correcting the last four months deposits.

The checks written were OK, as far as I can tell.  The reconciliations were clearly not and that’s what had me so upset a few days ago.  I’ve decided to postpone fooling with the reconciliations until I have a better handle on all of the normal duties the treasurer has in paying bills, writing checks, and making deposits.  Then I’ll learn about the other tasks.

As I’m learning to copy what Sarah did, I’m also trying to understand exactly why.  I know how to create General Journal entries the way she did but I’m not 100% sure as to why they are necessary for some accounts but not for others.  QuickBooks takes care of most of the tasks but not all and that’s where the Journal Entries come in.

I’ve got quite a list of questions for her when she comes on Monday afternoon.  I’m hoping she can come back the following week because I know I’ll have a ton of questions then.

Lynn and I haven’t been together as much since I’ve been working at the church so much and she’s got her own set of jobs including several mini-jobs with both Rockingham and Albemarle Counties.  Today, for example, she went to Linville Edom Elementary School to help a teacher there and tomorrow she has a day with lots of online training for Albemarle County.  We did enjoy dinner together then a trip to Smiley’s for dessert.

President Trump seems to have magically been cured of COVID-19 in just four days.  It makes you really wonder if he ever tested positive.  I know I shouldn’t be so negative but he has lied so much about so many things.  He pulled out of the next debate because it was scheduled to be virtual.  But who can blame Biden for not wanting to be in the same room as someone who supposedly has COVID-19 and, thus, would be contagious.

Here are today’s statistics:

October 8             Infected                   Died

World               36,738,690           1,066,412

US                       7,833,763              217,738

Virginia               155,535                  3,328

Augusta County          550                         7

The VDH site says there were almost 700 cases that were reported on October 8 which should have been included on October 7.  The numbers still show no sign of dropping off.  There were over 60,000 cases and 1,000 deaths in the US in the past 24 hours. 

October 9, 2020

Another day of full time work at CUMC.  I’m getting the hang of lots of it, though.  Today it took me a long time but I figured out how to keep accurate records of our church’s investments.  There are three endowment funds, two with Schwab and one with First Bank.  This morning none of the June – September records of these investments were accurate.  When I left at 3:30 this afternoon all were accurate to the penny.  This process is rather involved but not only did I make it work for the last four months but I set up a spreadsheet which will make subsequent calculations very easy. 

Central has three checking accounts.  One is the Memorial Fund where people donate money in memory of someone who has passed on. Another is called the Samaritan Fund which is used to help people, usually not members of Central, who have some kind of financial need.  This fund is pretty much self-sufficient; various members contribute to it throughout the year.  The third is the major account, the general fund.  It is divided into two parts, one general and the other with several designated funds such as Food Pantry, Kitchen Fund, etc.  Thus each of these subaccounts has its own balance but all are still part of the overarching General Fund.  It is a little tricky to move money around in these accounts.  The more I’ve worked with this over the past week the more I’ve come to wonder why we have three checking accounts.  No checks are ever written from the Memorial or Samaritan Funds.  So why couldn’t they just be subsets of the General Fund like the Food Pantry and Kitchen Fund are?  I’ll be asking some of the old-timers if they know why the accounts were set up this way.  It would simplify bookkeeping if I didn’t have to reconcile three different accounts.

I hustled home and made a trash run, picking up the Gutshall’s trash as usual.  I had to hurry because Jim was on his way here and I wanted to get back before he came.  I made it in time.  He has told us he wanted to come and mow our grass using the new zero-turn lawnmower.  Sure enough, in less than an hour he had it mowed and trimmed.  What a nice son!

He, Lynn, and I ate dinner consisting of hamburgers and French fries Lynn picked up from the Schoolhouse Food Truck.  They were delicious.  We had a good time chatting afterwards, mostly about Donald Trump’s ineptness.

By working so hard during the day I’ve missed lots of the news that I formerly watched throughout the day.  I did learn that Trump has refused to do the next debate because its organizers had decided to do it all virtually.  He wouldn’t like the fact that the person running the debate could silence him with the mute command—something I wish was available at the last debate when he wouldn’t shut up.  He said was completely healed from COVID-19 so there was no reason to not have the debate live.  Would anyone in his right mind want to be in the same room as a person who had just been infected for a little over a week?  How does he know he’s not contagious?  Maybe because he never had it in the first place?  Biden was willing to do the debate virtually. 

Here are today’s numbers:

October 9             Infected                   Died

World               37,091,382           1,072,141

US                       7,893,374              218,637

Virginia               156,649                  3,344

Augusta County          555                         7

Over 1,000 cases in Virginia and 900 deaths in the US in just 24 hours.  But sure, we should have more big political rallies and in-person meetings with people like Donald Trump.  What an idiot!

 

October 10, 2020

Today’s weather wasn’t nearly as good as the last several days.  It rained a little on and off all day—not a washout but just a drizzle several times.  I had gotten used to seeing the sun.  Not today!

This morning I went to Central and continued to learn more about QuickBooks.  I setup to print the checks for all the outstanding bills.  I’ll get Sarah to double check my setup before printing these on Monday.  I’m starting to get the hang of check writing and deposits.  I looked briefly at credit card management—I believe Central has three credit cards—but I need to jump into this next week.  Then all I’ll need help with is Payroll.

I have a huge list of questions for Sarah.  Some have to do with why she did some transactions the way she did them; others are simply how do I do such and such? 

Central was having a BBQ fundraiser today so I picked up two quarts for us plus three for Ann and family.  We’re going to have it tomorrow.  Tonight we finished up some leftovers for dinner.

This afternoon Lynn’s cousin Steve and his wife Becky came over.  They are from St. Paul, Minnesota and visiting Hanger relatives in the area.  We see them every couple of years.  Interestingly, Becky’s parents live in upstate New York so they can’t drive to see them because New York forces all incoming drivers from high COVID-19 infectious states to quarantine for 14 days.  You can’t even drive through New York if you want to go to New England.  And, they usually drive through Canada but Canada won’t allow US drivers in, either.  What a situation!  And you know who we have to thank for all this.  Are we great in America or what?  We sat in the pergola and, fortunately, it only sprinkled a very little bit.  We had a nice visit with them.

This evening we went to a few Dollar General stores as Lynn needed to buy some cleaning supplies and she had a $5 off coupon.  We went to several different ones because she was looking for some specific items which we never did find.  We had nothing else to do so our entertainment for this evening visiting Dollar Generals in the area.  Now is that some kind of fun?

While Trump says he is anxious to get back to his crowded rallies, the medical staff of the White House has been strangely tight-lipped about when he has been tested in the past ten days and when his last negative test was.  They’re definitely covering something up.  Trump spoke to hundreds of his faithful on the White House lawn today—maskless.

In the meantime, COVID-19 still rages at places in the US.  New single-day records were set yesterday in six states and worldwide.  Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and West Virginia all set records on Friday.  The number of new infections in the world increased by 350,766 on Friday, surpassing by 12,000 a record set earlier in the week.  The new cases included more than 109,000 in Europe alone, according to NBC news.  Coronavirus cases have nearly doubled over a two week period in New Mexico, New Hampshire, and Vermont. 

Here are the statistics:

October 10           Infected                   Died

World               37,448,734           1,077,190

US                       7,943,598              219,254

Virginia               157,905                  3,354

Augusta County          561                         7

Another 1,300 new cases in Virginia.  Another thousand deaths in the US.  When will it get better?  There’s no recent news about vaccines. 

I did have one significant accomplishment today–I completed my 20,000th consecutive Whirly Word puzzle! I’ve been playing this for over three and a half years daily. As I’ve described before, you are presented with six letters and must come up with all the words that can be made with those six letters. Actually, you only have to come up with about 90% of them in order to progress to the next game. If you can’t, you have to restart at game 0. I always find enough words to progress to the next game but still consider it bad if I can’t find ALL of them, even though sometimes there are 35 different words to be found. I’d say that I find 100% of the words in about 90% of the games I play but always enough to progress to the next game.

October 11, 2020

Today was another day with rainy weather.  It is supposed to dry up by lunchtime tomorrow and stay dry for a few days including our two upcoming days on Wednesday and Thursday at Hawks Nest State Park in Ansted, WV.  We spent some time today making plans for this short, one night, trip.  We found what seems to be a neat restaurant, Secret Sandwich Society, in nearby Fayetteville where we’ll likely eat dinner.  They have outdoor seating.

I had Sunday School this morning then I actually went to Central but not until the 11:00 in-person service was over.  Lynn went to visit her mother so I tagged along to Staunton where she dropped me for an hour or so while she visited.  I’m going to wait until I’m vaccinated until I attend the in-person services.

Lynn and I also made a quick trip to Costco today to get a few items we needed.  It was more crowded today than the last time we went.

I’ll be so glad when the election is over.  I get way too many texts and e-mails now.  Virginia supposedly isn’t a hotly contested state and is expected to vote Democratic.  Thus we don’t see as many tv ads as those in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Florida see.  Thank goodness!!

ABC reported tonight that Trump claims he has tested negative, though his doctors haven’t corroborated that claim, and is completely free of the virus now and is immune.  He’s hitting the campaign trail in Florida tomorrow.  I wouldn’t want to be there!  He claimed again that the virus would “disappear.”  The majority of Americans don’t believe him. 

ABC said there are more than 50,000 new cases for the past four days in the US.  The site I use, worldometers.info, didn’t quite have that many.  Here their statistics for today:

October 11           Infected                   Died

World               37,727,685           1,081,108

US                       7,988,458              219,684

Virginia               158,716                  3,358

Augusta County          569                         7

One of the drugs Trump took was Regeneron’s cocktail.  Its maker warned today that there are only enough doses to treat 50,000 patients now.  That will hardly help.  If I do come down with a bad case of it I would want the same drugs he took.  Fat chance that would happen…

October 12, 2020

I’ve said many times that for the past eight months I’ve felt like COVID-19 was pursuing Lynn and me, getting closer all the time.  Well, today it got the closest yet.  The day was going along well; I worked at Central all morning with plans to meet up with Sarah Russell who would help me with the bookkeeping duties in the afternoon.  She texted me around noon that she would be there at 12:30.  Great, I thought.

Then the phone rang.  It was Jim and he brought bad news.  He had been notified that a person with whom he had been in relatively close contact with last week has come down with coronavirus symptoms.  This was the shop teacher who helped him diagnose what was wrong with his pickup truck, the spark plugs.  Jim had been in close enough contact with him that he now has to quarantine for fourteen days.

Jim had visited with Lynn and me last Friday, as I wrote then.  He got here at 4:30, immediately hopped on the mower and mowed our lawn.  As he was finishing up Lynn went to get our sandwiches so as soon as Jim finished we sat down on the back porch and ate our sandwiches, then he left.  He did not come into the house nor get within six feet of either of us, though we did not wear masks since we were outside.  This visit happened after the time he had been with his friend whom he now thinks has COVID-19. 

I quickly got on the CDC website to see what the protocol was for Lynn and me.  It turns out that we are not required to quarantine.  If either of us develops symptoms or if Jim develops them then we are to quarantine.  Jim told us today he was fine, with no fever nor other symptoms.  The CDC says we can continue with our normal schedule as long as none of the three of us show symptoms.  I still called Sarah and postponed our meeting until Saturday.

I also notified the custodian and others at Central who popped in the office.  We kept our distance.   Our pastor, Won, is off on Mondays.  I e-mailed him all this and asked him if I should stay away tomorrow.  He said that he would stay home himself especially since I told him we were planning to be gone Wednesday and Thursday to West Virginia.  At Central I wear a mask any time someone else is in the office.

Tonight we both feel fine though, of course, we are concerned, especially for Jim and his family.  I know we’ll be in contact with him daily for a while.

Meanwhile, our President thinks he is well enough to be mixing in huge crowds.  This seems so unfair and stupid.

Here are today’s numbers:

October 12           Infected                   Died

World               38,035,349           1,085,317

US                       8,037,789              220,011

Virginia               159,570                  3,361

Augusta County          574                         7

I sure hope that last number in the chart stays that way…

October 13, 2020

We had good news from Jim today—the friend of his who was showing COVID symptoms has been tested and the results came back negative.  So now he’s out of quarantine and Lynn and I no longer need to be as worried.  Thank the Lord!

Today was another working day for me at Central.  I’m starting to feel comfortable with QuickBooks now.  I wrote another check, made another deposit, and spent most of the morning learning all about credit card purchases.  Then, in the afternoon, I decided to un-reconcile the May 31 reconciliation, the first one done by our former bookkeeper.  Once I did, it didn’t take me long to fix a few minor errors than have it reconciled with every penny accounted for.  Whew!  I then reconstructed the two monthly reports that are done every month, the Statement of Financial Position and the Statement of Activities.  Both came out well.  I had time to do the same for the June 30 bank statement.  When I get back to the office on Friday I plan to do the same for the July 31, August 31, and September 30 bank statements.  This will bring our major bank account, the general account, back to 100% compliance between the bank and QuickBooks. 

You’d think I’d be done but actually I then have to do the same for three more bank accounts:  the Money Market Account, Samaritan Fund, and Memorial Funds.  Fortunately, these three usually have one or two transactions per month so it won’t take me long to get them in shape, I hope.  Maybe by early next week I’ll all of the cleanup work behind me.

I have run into several transactions that I need to talk with our Pastor about and I need to learn more about two more QuickBooks and church accounting topics:  Payroll and Pastor’s Reimbursement Account.

Lynn didn’t have quite as busy a day but she still had a morning walk with her friend Ginny Bauman, lunch with her mother, and an afternoon IEP meeting that she interpreted for. 

I had a fun time this afternoon doing something I hadn’t done in ages—math problems.  Henry is taking the PSAT tomorrow and had a practice test he was working on.  He asked me to help him with a few problems.  So I picked him up on my way home from Central and we came to our house and worked on the problems.  We also had Freddie for a little over an hour.  He played well outside by himself. 

Tomorrow Lynn and I are going to Hawks Nest State Park for two days.  We’ve decided to leave early in the morning because we’re going to do something very unusual on our way—stop at ten Dollar General Stores.  All ten are on or near our three hour drive to Hawks Nest; we’ve got the route all mapped out.  This isn’t the first time we’ve done this kind of crazy trip.  Lynn loves shopping trips like this where she looks for bargains.  She’s looking for some Christmas signs now.  She found one sign in a local DG store and her friend Cheryl found a couple on a trip to North Carolina she took last week.  Heaven knows how many will be in the back of my car when we come back on Thursday!  Lynn will have fun shopping and I’ll have fun making her happy.  I’ll likely stay in the car and play Whirly Word.

I watched a show on CNN tonight with Anderson Cooper who interviewed Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York.  Cuomo has a theory about the upcoming election that is scary.  He says Trump knows he won’t win the election so his strategy now is to get Amy Coney Barrett approved in a hurry so that after he loses the election he can claim voter fraud.  Bill Barr will lead the effort to take this case to the Supreme Court, now packed with Trump appointees, who will rule that the election was fraudulent and the Presidency belongs to Trump.  That plot makes me sick.  Cuomo did add that his personal belief is that even if the scenario above starts to play out, the Supreme Court will have enough morality to rule against Trump.

The news on COVID-19 isn’t any better.  One of the vaccine companies, Johnson and Johnson, has now had to suspend its Phase 3 tests because one of the people testing this vaccine developed some kind of bad reaction to it.  Plus, a company working on antibody treatment had the same issue. 

ABC reported that Europe is undergoing a COVID crisis.  The World Health Organization said more than 2.2 million new cases of COVID-19 and 39,000 deaths from the disease have been reported across the globe in the past week, the highest number of reported cases so far in a single week since the start of the pandemic.  According to the WHO’s weekly epidemiological update published Monday, Europe registered the highest weekly incidence of COVID-19 cases of any region since the start of the pandemic, with almost 700,000 new infections reported. The region’s weekly incidence in cases and deaths increased by 34% and 16% respectively in comparison to the previous week. The United Kingdom, France, Russia and Spain account for over half of all new cases reported in the region.

Here are the numbers:

October 13           Infected                   Died

World               38,347,599           1,090,179

US                       8,089,724              220,827

Virginia               160,805                  3,372

Augusta County          576                         8

My wish from last night’s blog has already not come true.  Virginia had over 1,200 new cases in the past 24 hours and 11 more deaths including on in Augusta County.

We learned today that my favorite high school principal under whom I taught has died.  Charles Huffman hired me to teach at Fort Defiance in 1983, two years after we moved to Virginia.  I taught there until 1989.  Charlie treated me, Lynn, and our children wonderfully.  He stayed out of my classroom yet got me everything I asked for.  He hired Lynn in 1988 and she taught at Fort Defiance for twenty years, long after he had retired.  He was principal when all three of our children were at FDHS and was fair with all of them.  In February, before coronavirus hit, Lynn and I bumped into him and his family at a local restaurant where we were having breakfast.  His health was failing then; he was already blind.  I am so glad that I had the opportunity that morning to tell him he was my favorite principal.  I will miss him.

October 14, 2020

Today was certainly a change of pace for Lynn and me.  We were packed and on our way to West Virginia before 7:30 in the morning.  However, we managed to turn a 3 hour drive into nearly a six hour drive.  That’s because, as I wrote yesterday, we stopped at ten (yes, TEN!) Dollar General Stores.  We stopped in Greenville, Lexington, Clifton Forge, and Covington in Virginia and Caldwell, Lewisburg, Rupert, Rainelle, Lookout, and Ansted in West Virginia.  Lynn was only mildly successful in finding the bargains she was looking for.  I’ll bet she didn’t spend a total of $50 combined.

At most of the stores, the employees and customers both had on masks.  There were exceptions to this at some of the West Virginia stores, though. She didn’t stay long inside those.

The drive was very pretty with the fall foliage.  We avoided I-81 in Virginia by staying on US 11 nearly the entire way.  Then we got on I-64 which was a very pretty drive.  We ate lunch (yogurt) in the parking lot of the Rainelle Dollar General.  We got to Hawks Nest Lodge around 2:00.

We had reserved a Canyon View suite.  It turned out to be in the bottom floor of the building.  And our view consisted of construction workers just outside our window doing remodeling.  Worst, we had virtually no WiFi.  So we went back to the desk and got moved to a main floor room without the canyon view.  This saved us nearly $20.  And, we had a great WiFi connection.  Tonight I uploaded the 108 pictures I took today in about two minutes.  At home it would have taken me hours.

With our room finally the way we wanted it, we headed out to hike and take photos.  We were a little disappointed with the foliage.  On the way here we saw some trees that were bright yellow and red, but the views from the overlook weren’t so impressive.  Nonetheless, I got some nice pictures.  It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day.

This was the first we’d really walked much since Lynn broke her foot.  We did OK but quickly learned that we are now not in the shape we were prior to her accident.

We went to the two main overlooks at Hawks Nest then headed south about 15 miles to the New River Gorge Park.  We’d been there before, but still took lots of pictures as we walked to its overlook.  Then we drove a windy road to the bottom of the gorge where we could look up and see the bridge.  We’d seen it from this vantage point once before—when we rode a whitewater raft a few years ago.  It was another pretty drive.

We got to the other side of the bridge in Fayetteville, WV, around 4:30.  It was just in time to place our order at a restaurant we had found on the web, the Secret Sandwich Society.  The restaurant has an unusual name and a very eclectic menu.  We ended up splitting two items on the menu, pimento cheese fries and a chicken and waffle sandwich.  We enjoyed both dishes a lot.  And we had room for ice cream which we found just a five minute walk away in downtown Fayetteville at a ice cream shop named The Stache. 

I took 108 pictures and, as I mentioned above, got them uploaded to my Flickr site when we returned to the lodge shortly before dark.  They are good quality pics.

I was tired when we got back to the hotel room.   We watched some tv then called it a night.  It sure was nice to get away for a day.  This time last year we were heading to Italy.  Hawks Nest is a weak substitute but at least it got us out of our routine for a short while.  And I do believe we have been safe.  We’ve worn out masks inside and out today.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

October 14           Infected                   Died

World               38,724,026           1,096,199

US                       8,147,934              221,818

Virginia               161,610                  3,381

Augusta County          585                         8

October 15, 2020

We didn’t stay long at Hawks Nest this morning.  We did eat breakfast, which was included with the room, in their dining room.  Shortly afterward we headed back but on a slightly different route.  We opted to drive south through Beckley for two reasons—visit a couple more Dollar General stores and shop at the Jo Ann Fabric store there.  We actually went to four more Dollar General stores though Lynn didn’t find much.  But she was much more successful at the Jo Ann Fabric store, buying a bunch of $2 shirts that I’m sure she will someday put vinyl letting on plus some spray paint she’d been looking for.

I had received a text from Sarah Russell that no longer was she available on Saturday to help me with QuickBooks.  She wondered if I could meet her today from 3:00 – 5:00 so I said yes, which pushed us a little to get back in time.  But since we left Hawks Nest early we didn’t have much trouble getting home by 2:00 in plenty of time to get to Central to meet Sarah.

In the meantime, on the way we took a short detour to Grandview WV where there is a park with a very nice overlook of the New River as it does a horseshoe curve.  The park is appropriately named.   I took several more nice pictures, ending up with 139 pictures from this short trip.

As I mentioned above, we got home in time for me to meet Sarah and for Lynn to visit with her mother.  Sarah brought along her two very small girls (one born in June) who were very cooperative with us as she showed me how she had done certain things including the payroll and quarterly taxes.  I’ve now done these once but might need more hand holding in the future.  It isn’t so much that these are hard but they are crucial.

After Sarah and I finished up I came home so Lynn and I could eat.  Then we took a quick trip to Aldi’s so she could get a few groceries. 

As we drove home today we talked about possibly doing another of these quick get-aways in November.  We’ll have to see what the weather is like because we don’t want to do anything indoors yet due to coronavirus.  There are still some parks and/or nature areas in Virginia we want to visit such as the Channels area near Abingdon.  We briefly looked into Breaks Interstate Park but it is almost five hours away though still in Virginia.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

October 15           Infected                   Died

World               39,145,377           1,102,299

US                       8,213,905              222,688

Virginia               162,941                  3,388

Augusta County          593                         8

Virginia had over 1,300 new cases today.  We certainly do not have a handle on this epidemic yet.  The number of new cases in the US is over 60,000.  Dr. Fauci says we need to get it down to 10,000 daily.

ABC says the virus is surging in record numbers.  Cases are rising in 38 states including.  Plus, a third person has been confirmed to have been re-infected.  That’s not good!   One piece of good news for me is that some research says type O blood people may not get COVID-19 as easy or have as bad of a case.  I’m pretty sure I have O+ blood.

October 16, 2020

Lynn got some bad news today.  There has been a positive case of COVID-19 at The Legacy where her mother is.  As a result, they are now disallowing Lynn, her sisters, and her brother to visit her mother in person.  On the one hand, you can’t blame the administrators there for wanting to lock down their facility tightly because they don’t want an epidemic there like that which has occurred in many nursing homes throughout the United States.  But on the other hand, her mother is at her end-of-life stage.  She is very weak and bedridden.  If there are no more positive cases among residents and staff for 14 days then they will allow the Hangers to return to seeing their mother.  I hope Mrs. Hanger can hold on for two more weeks; it would be very sad that her family had such an abrupt end to seeing her.

My brother is trying to work out a plan for our family at Thanksgiving.  Planning is so hard with COVID-19.  He is offering to treat everyone who comes to a Thanksgiving dinner at Ohio Inn in Athens.  They have a large room where families can sit socially distant.  And the Inn has plenty of rooms to it would be very convenient.  The last time our family had Thanksgiving in Ohio was 2008 (according to my pictures).  Lynn and I will go for sure; our kids and their families are still in the process of deciding if they’ll make the trip.

I spent another full day at Central.  I ran into another hornet’s nest.  This time it was the credit card statements.  Central has three credit cards, one for the pastor, one for the administrative assistant, and one for Staples for ordering online.  In QuickBooks, you are supposed to enter credit card purchases similar to way bills are entered.  Then, when the credit card bill comes, you are supposed to reconcile the bill against the QuickBooks records.  The last step in the reconciliation is that QuickBooks will print a check to the credit card company for the amount on the bill.  Well, for four months now this has not been done.  The bills have been paid but the accounts not reconciled.  It took me nearly all day to go back and enter the data correctly and reconcile two of the three credit card accounts.  I got stuck on the last one because there’s a missing statement. 

I had hoped that once I got all of the previous errors fixed it would only take me one day per week to do the bookkeeper’s work at Central.  This may prove to be true but it will be a long day.  There’s just so much to do:  bills, credit cards, payroll, taxes, pension and insurance for the pastor, deposits, keeping track of individual contributions, monthly reports for the Church Council, and reconciling three bank accounts and three credit cards. 

ABC News tonight reported that Trump said we are “rounding the turn on the virus” yet there are rising numbers of cases in 39 states.  There were over 63,000 cases in the past 24 hours—something which hasn’t happened since July.  There are more than 8,000,000 cases in the US now.  Trump’s right-hand man Chris Christie, who spent a week in the ICU with COVID-19, has now taken an about face and says he was wrong and should have been wearing a mask.  He said it hit him “like a freight train.”  Phizer says they may have a vaccine by the third week in November.  Hoping to woo some of the older vote, Trump promised seniors in Florida that they would be at the front of the line to get vaccinated.

Here are today’s numbers from worldometers.info:

October 16           Infected                   Died

World               39,542,503           1,108,153

US                       8,284,686              223,605

Virginia               164,124                  3,408

Augusta County          607                         8

The election is just nineteen days away.  I hope the polls are right.  They have Biden with a big lead over Trump. 

Lynn and I have started a tradition for Friday night dinner—hamburgers from the Old Schoolhouse food truck at Valley Pike followed by ice cream at Smiley’s.  Good eating!

October 17, 2020

Today was a typical fall Saturday—sunny and cool.  It was good football weather and although WVU allowed 25% of its stadium to be full for today’s game against Kansas we weren’t about to attend.  After a very poor first quarter where WVU fell behind 10-0 they rallied for the next 38 points.  The final score was 38-17.  The Mountaineers are now 3-1 though they haven’t played the tough ones yet.

This morning I did my usual—spent it at Central working on the books.  I calculated today that I had to unreconciled then reconcile correctly a total of 35 months of records:  May, June, July, August, and September for seven accounts:  Main checking account, Samaritan funds, Memorial funds, Money Market account, Pastor’s credit card, administrative assistant’s credit card, and the Staples credit card.  After a busy morning working on this in which I discovered even more errors that had been made, I now have 29 of the 35 statements reconciled.  I hope to finish this task on Monday.  And when I finish this I still have several other items of unfinished business so it will be a busy week next week.

Lynn got news today that The Legacy had reversed its decision to not allow her and her brothers and sisters to see their mother.  So she was able to help Mrs. Hanger with dinner tonight.  Technically, Mrs. Hanger is still classified as “near end of life” though Lynn said she had a pretty good evening today.  She was coherent and ate OK.

Lynn had her own share of running around today but between her shopping and other obligations she fixed a huge pot of vegetable soup.  I love it!  We’ll likely be eating it for days but that’s fine by me.

Tonight we had another shopping excursion to local Dollar Generals.  Lynn wanted some cleaning supplies but each of the four stores we went to had bare shelves in the cleanser section.  We went to stores in Verona, Fishersville, and two in Waynesboro.  It was disappointing.

On today’s news is that ten states, including West Virginia, reported their highest single-day tallies of new COVID-19 infections on Friday and the country reported its highest one-day total since July, as experts say a dangerous fall surge of coronavirus infections is well underway.  More than 30 states have accumulated more new cases in the last week than they did the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.  So, no surprise, we are still a long, long way from having this under control despite what our President says.

Here are today’s numbers:

October 17           Infected                   Died

World               39,936,817           1,114,182

US                       8,341,824              224,278

Virginia               165,238                  3,422

Augusta County          616                         8

Another day with more than a thousand new cases in Virginia. 

One thing I’ve been avoiding lately are our bathroom scales.  I know I have gained weight.  I can feel it.  I’ve just done little to no exercise and have not curtailed my eating.  I need to do better.

October 18, 2020

We had absolutely nothing on our calendar for today.  We messaged Jim about meeting him today but he said another day would suit him better.  So Lynn baked an apple pie and we had the Gutshall family over mid-afternoon.  It was a cool but sunny day with the temperature around 60o.  The pie was super delicious!

Things are still so abnormal at our house.  When the Gutshalls come over, no longer do we go inside and eat.  We just put food on the porch and usually eat at the Pergola, maintaining safe social distance outdoors.  With winter coming, we won’t be able to do this much longer.  I hope there are more advancements in vaccines and treatments before icy weather.

In order to make the apple pie we tried out her new apple peeler.  It took us a while to figure out how it worked and once we did we were disappointed that it peeled more than we would have manually but it really churned out the apples quickly.  We’ll get better at using it.

This morning was typical for a Sunday.  I attended Sunday School via Zoom and played the piano for it.  Then Lynn and I went to Staunton, our first of two trips there.  On the first trip we went by her friend Cheryl’s and her sister Kay’s for some quick errands then we went to Walmart for some shopping.  On the second trip Lynn visited with her mother.  I went along for the ride.

In the afternoon, before the Gutshalls came over, we found time to take a walk.  The weather was cool but still good for walking, something we hadn’t done much of in the past three months thanks to her broken foot.  We walked a little over a mile.  We need to get back to our walking routine, for sure.

ABC said 41 states are showing a rise in hospitalizations today, including Virginia.  There are great fears of a second wave.  Europe is experiencing this now. 

Here are today’s statistics:

October 18           Infected                   Died

World               40,244,914           1,117,902

US                       8,386,142              224,726

Virginia               166,138                  3,433

Augusta County          623                         8

Here’s another issue with getting old—sleep irregularities.  I get up at least once every night to go to the bathroom.  That’s not so bad because usually I go back to sleep fairly quickly.  But some nights I get painful leg cramps after only an hour or so of sleep.  I looked online to see the cause of these:  there is no known cause.  The story on leg cramps is that they are very common among older people, usually go away on their own in about ten minutes, are not a sign that something else is wrong, and, worst of all, there’s no known treatment.  I am in bed around 9:00 PM each night but some mornings I wake at 4:00 AM and never get back to a good sleep.  I’ll doze on and off until 5:00, then watch the clock until 6:00 when I get up.  In two weeks we switch from daylight savings time back to normal time which means then I’ll be waking up at 3:00 AM.  I’m not looking forward to that.

October 19, 2020

I can’t believe Trump attacked Dr. Fauci the way he did today.  He called him “a disaster” and called doctors “idiots.”  ABC news called his attack “bizarre.”  Fauci, like everyone else, said he wasn’t surprised Trump got coronavirus and this got Trump upset.  Trump said “if I listened to the scientists we would right now have a country in a massive depression.”  The overwhelming majority of Americans trust Fauci much more than Trump.  I know I do. 

It has been interesting to learn how many people are voting already.  More than 30 million Americans have voted already, more than five times the number in 2016.  More Democrats then Republicans have voted early according to ABC.

My day was another day devoted to Central UMC.  In addition to doing my bookkeeping work, I also did the weekly count of contributions with Sam Richardson first thing this morning and this afternoon got our weekly load of food for the Food Pantry from the Verona Food Bank.  I stayed to do more bookkeeping work until after 4:00.  I do see the light at the end of the tunnel; by the end of this week I should have the books in good shape.

Forty one states are seeing an increase in hospitalizations today.  Epidemiologists have a grim forecast for the next six weeks.  Four key battleground states — Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and Wisconsin — are seeing record-high novel coronavirus cases, sparking concerns the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction a little more than two weeks before Election Day.  As I wrote yesterday, Europe is in a severe second wave of infections.  Many countries are locking down tightly. 

My brother is coming for my 70th birthday in two weeks.  He asked today for recommendations for where he could stay.  I sent him four possibilities for hotels but also suggested that he could stay here, especially since our upstairs is uninhabited.  We had several text exchanges and I believe he is going to take us up on the offer to stay here. 

Lynn and I managed to get in a two mile walk this afternoon.  It was the most we’d walked since she broke her foot.  She said later that her foot was hurting some.  She reported that her mother slept through lunch today when she went to help her with it.  Her sister Kay said Mrs. Hanger did the same at dinner time. 

October 19           Infected                   Died

World               40,604,956           1,122,128

US                       8,446,300              225,168

Virginia               166,828                  3,457

Augusta County          624                         8

The good news is that Augusta County had only one additional case since yesterday.  I wish the news elsewhere was that good.  The US had over 60,000 new cases.

October 20, 2020

Today was a beautiful fall day with a high of 79o which is 15o higher than the average high.  It was sunny which made the fall colors stand out.  Lynn and I managed to walk two miles again today for the second day in a row.  We both got hot and tired.  We are clearly not in the kind of shape we were three months ago.

It was another church day for me.  I do think I’m getting the QuickBooks chores behind me now.  I have all of the bills paid, deposits recorded, and accounts reconciled with the exception of one credit card account which is missing its August statement.  I’ve asked Pastor Won to go online to get it.  We got good news today in that our PPP loan was officially forgiven; that is, the federal government paid it off.  This was the intent all along, I was just glad to get all the paperwork I submitted approved and get this behind us.  The money definitely helped our church.

I got home in time to meet Freddie’s bus.  I always enjoy talking with him after school.  As usual, we stayed outside until Ann came to pick him up.  I’m a little worried about what we’ll do when cold weather gets here.  I suppose I’ll open the basement door and have him come in and stay downstairs.  Ann doesn’t want him around us when he comes straight from school.  He wears a mask at school and on the bus.

Despite all of her craft projects, Lynn is a little bored now.  She isn’t doing as much work for the school system now.  All she had on her agenda today was a haircut and a Zoom meeting with the Staff-Parish committee at Central.  Her meeting was about picking candidates to interview for the secretary position which I hope will also develop into a secretary-treasurer position.  As I’ve written before, I plan to stay on as treasurer until the new person can be slowly trained and competent before I turn over QuickBooks.

ABC news tonight said that cases of COVID-19 are skyrocketing, despite Trump’s saying we are “rounding the curve” on it.  There have been nearly one million new cases this month.  A quarter of a million Americans have died from it since it began.  Those hospitalized with it are five times more likely to die from it than from influenza.  Hospitalizations are on the rise in 42 states including Virginia.  Over the last five weeks, cases have been steadily increasing across the nation. The United States is currently averaging over 55,000 new cases a day — the highest that average has been since Aug. 5. New cases have surged by over 61% since Sept. 12. Meanwhile, current COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to hover between 36,000 and 37,000.  In the past week alone, the country has recorded nearly 386,000 new cases, including two days where there were over 60,000 cases reported — the highest daily figures since late July.

Here are today’s statistics:

October 20           Infected                   Died

World               40,988,477           1,128,228

US                       8,514,293              226,047

Virginia               167,754                  3,485

Augusta County          622                         8

Two more weeks until the big day.  November 3 is a big day for our country and for me, too.  Election Day will be on my 70th birthday.  That’s a milestone not many of my direct ancestors made it to.  I look forward to having fewer e-mails and texts from political candidates.  I get about thirty each day now.  None stay in my inbox very long.

I managed to get our grass cut today between the time I came home from Central and Freddie’s bus came.  The grass wasn’t so much of an issue as the leaves.  I don’t rake leaves, I cut them.  The yard looks much better now though it won’t last because the leaves are coming down now.