the joys of home ownership

Woke up this morning to the joys of a work crew doing horizontal drilling right in front of my house. The entire rig is parked so that the front bumper just sticks right over the left edge of my driveway, and completely covers my mailbox. I sure hope I don’t get any important mail today.

I know why this is happening. Duke Energy, who now own the service area once owned by Progress Energy, is in the process of adding to, and updating, the power infrastructure in my neighborhood. This entire subdivision’s founding stretches back to the 1960s. My house was built in 1985, in section 9, the year we had it built and moved into it.

All the neighborhood electrical is underground, which is nice. What wasn’t so nice is that Progress Energy hardly performed any infrastructure upkeep to speak of with this entire area the whole time we’ve lived here. You don’t know how frustrating it is to have power go out over the least little thing, mostly up and down the street we live on.

To see Duke Energy come in and actually do Real Work in the area is heartening. But why is it that the crews have to come park right in front of my house to do it? This isn’t the first time I’ve hosted construction crews. Earlier this year when Orange County replaced sections of the sidewalk, those crews parked in the same general location with the same effect.

I’m curious to see if they will run new lines from the in-ground transformer two houses down, and if they do, how they’ll do it and what kind of interruption we can expect. And to think I’d have missed all of this if I were still working. Ah, the added joys of retirement.

scenes from an ongoing pandemic, week 8

You’re looking at the parking lot of my local Publix grocery store around 7:30 in the morning. I’m there to shop during the 7am to 8am window that Publix has set aside for us seniors 65 and older. Since I’m 66, I qualify. This isn’t the first time I’ve gone to that store at that time to shop. The last time I was there, about a month ago, the place was packed. But this morning it was almost empty. No lines, very few cars, very few shoppers inside. That black Prius in handicap parking right in front is mine, by the way. Another first; usually I have to park where I can towards the back and hobble through the front door.

I have no idea what’s happened, but I do know that people are starting to go back out and mix close together. The social distancing signs are still all over the place, but it looks like folks are ignoring them. I suppose we have our moronic governor to thank for that, as well as the orange orangutan in the White House.

Stores are still short on toilet paper, and what little shows up is limited to one item per customer. So it’s not as if the supplies have caught up with demand. There are shortages now of poultry products in all the stores in my area. I shop at Costco, and I when I went this past week there was no chicken or turkey products to be bought. The freezer cases were instead filled with fish and pork, which I found a bit bazar. The butcher cases were filled with beef, so that was still in supply. Eggs were still in good supply, but signs were limiting them to two cases of eggs per customer. Another missing item was frozen vegetables. I normally buy a big bag of Kirkland frozen vegetables, but there were none to be found. Instead I substituted Kirkland frozen stir-fry. Strawberries were not to be found either. All the paper towels that filled a center isle in the Costco last week were gone again. No toilet paper either.

The coronavirus numbers keep going up. Here’s todays snapshot worldwide and US.

The US now has over 1.2 million confirmed cases, five times more than second position Spain. We’ve had over 75,000 deaths (and I’m sure, far more than that, but they won’t count as “official”), over twice the United Kingdom at number two. Such much winning! I’m sick and tired of so much winning.

My wife and I are still sticking pretty much at home, going out only when necessary. When we do go out it’s masks and gloves and keeping our six foot distance as much as possible. We’re not even close to the end of coronavirus, and we will pay an even higher price when the infections come roaring back later this year. My wife and I will certainly have a lot of practice surviving the coronavirus pandemic. So much practice.