Drive-thru Restaurants

McDonald's, Downey CA | 5DMK2_14652 The oldest operating McD… | Flickr
The Downey, CA McDonald’s is the oldest one still operating.

I’ve been thinking a lot about drive-thru restaurants lately. They are everywhere. Lots and lots of them. Right now that’s probably a good thing. But in the past, I’ve been known to remark that there are just too many of them. It makes eating poorly too easy.

Roller skating carhop, 1950s | Vintage photos, Roller girl, Waitress

I’m old enough to remember carhops on roller skates. I’m also old enough to remember the third ever McDonald’s restaurant built in Downey, CA, in 1953.

Oldest McDonalds in Downey California. | Downey california ...
They still have the original sign that I remember.

We lived in a little city called Pico Rivera that was formed by the amalgamation of two even smaller towns, one named Pico (named for Pio Pico, the last Mexican Governor of California) and the other Rivera (named by the Santa Fe railroad because it lay between the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo rivers). They incorporated in 1958 when I was six years old. I can’t recall if formerly we lived in Pico or Rivera and I don’t suppose it matters at this point. Just for the sake of saying it, it was the 61st city to incorporate in Los Angeles County.

Best Places to Live in Pico Rivera, California

Pico Rivera was not far from Downey and we visited that McDonalds regularly. Most often it would be on a Sunday afternoon. Our church was in Downey at the time and we’d go there in our Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes after church services for a late lunch/early dinner sort of thing.

9515 Charlesworth Rd, Pico Rivera, CA 90660 | Zillow
9515 Charlesworth Road from a sale in 2018. We moved out in 1963.
The breezeway between the house and garage was covered when we lived there. It was also completely enclosed and my sister and I would sleep out there in the summer in order to escape the heat inside the house.

It was a real treat. A special sort of thing. Not this eat-on-the-run business that most fast food has become. We’d take our time. We’d see people we knew. It was very different from how it’s handled today.

Then enter the novel corona virus. Social distancing began to happen long before the mandates of our legislators. Populations grow. The need for space, both emotional and physical, becomes essential. The impression of space is created by essentially ignoring the teeming masses around us. We impersonalize others to make it easier to ignore them. None of this is really good for a society.

The coronavirus has made me more aware of distancing myself from others. It’s made others aware also. I think it’s had a positive effect.

The community in which my husband and I live is a generally congenial one. While out walking our dog, neighbors will wave hi and give a greeting. We wave to people driving by in their cars and they wave back. It’s always been like this.

But since the corona virus and social distancing, the neighborhood has begun to feel even friendlier. I’m guessing that this forced distancing and mandate to stay at home as much as possible has made people even more aware of how important community is.

I’m a silver lining kind of gal. I try to find the good in everything. Most days I succeed. But not always. It’s been hard lately.

But to me, it seems that this slowing down of the pace of life that the corona virus restrictions are imposing might help to reset our society. Maybe we’ll find a better path than the one we’ve been on for the last many years.

Maybe there will be a day when visiting a restaurant of any kind, even a fast food drive through, is a special affair again. Maybe we’ll take less for granted, and cherish what we have a little more.

Yup. I’m definitely a silver lining kind of gal.

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Almost Ready to Publish: “The Alien Visitation Chronicle”

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It’s almost ready and it’s making me nervous. Did I catch all the errors? Probably not. According to a reader of my first novel, “Millie’s Adventures in Time,” there were a lot of errors in it. Of course, “a lot” is a very relative term. I asked her if she made note of them. No. How many were there. Not a clue. It makes me nervous for this next novel.

I proof read this one forward. Then I proof read it backward. I found a few errors both times.

I was advised not to edit at the same time as proof reading. That proved to be more difficult than I had imagined it might. But it’s good advice.

So. I’ve uploaded the manuscript to Kindle Direct Publishing. It loaded successfully and it has been processed by their programming. I am in the process of proofing this new copy of it. I found some formatting errors and have fixed them, hopefully. I re-uploaded it and called it a day.

Today, I will go over the copy to be published again. Hopefully I won’t find any more formatting errors. But you never know. Then there is their version of spell check.

Unfortunately, I used a lot of made-up words in the telling of this story. Plus there is one chapter where a character has such odd speech that the words I created to depict it will most likely all set off the KDP spell checking program. It will be a lot of work to get it all straightened out. I know this from previous experience with my first novel. But it all helps in producing a final work that I can be proud of.

Oddly enough, I don’t worry that the story is any good (I did worry about that a lot with the first novel though). Or if it is engaging and entertaining. I figure it won’t be to the taste of everyone. Nothing is. So that’s not really an issue for me. I like it. My husband likes it. That’s good enough. But I want it to be clean and easy to read and that’s where a lot of my anxiety lies. Well, that and wondering what people will think of the Dianne Lehmann who wrote this story. That’s largely only a problem for me with the people I know. I’ll probably never get over that kind of anxiety. Shyness and performance anxiety have plagued me all of my life.

I mentioned to my sister how close I was to publishing and how I was becoming more nervous (excited too, to be honest) and wondered if I would be able to press the “Publish” button when the time came to do that. She kindly reminded me that I had done that once already and survived it. I’ll survive it this time too.

Thanks, Sis, for always helping to keep me firmly grounded.

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If You Can

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If you can, then you should.

If you should, then you must.

If you must, then you can.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and had the above thought. It seemed absolutely brilliant at the time. Often such things do. I repeated it to myself several times so that I would remember it come the morning.  My first thought upon revisiting the memory was “hunh?”

It looks circular and nonsensical upon first reading it. And it is circular but, in reality, not nonsensical. The beauty of it is that it is circular. Let me explain. I hope that I can.

There are a lot of things a person simply can’t do. But there are also a lot of things a person can do. Some are easier than others. I not saying one should always do the difficult things. I’m all for building character, but too much struggling can break a person down.

There are easy things you can do. You can smile and wave at a stranger. You can say hello to your neighbors. You can hold a door for an elderly or encumbered person (yes I know that social distancing might make that a little harder right now … it’s just an example, okay). You can help a fellow driver ease into a traffic lane. There are countless little things you can do in a day.

If there is something you can do, you should do it. Later on when the coulda-shoulda-woulda blues hit you, you’ll wonder why you didn’t. Regrets are some of the hardest things to deal with. Limiting the number of regrets that you have in your life can only help.

Duty. That’s sometimes been an ugly word for me. In the past, I’ve often been at war with myself over what I should do and what I want to do. But if I find myself repeatedly thinking there is a thing that I should do, then I figure I must do it; if only to get it off of my mind.

But beyond that, there is usually the satisfaction of having done something that really needed doing.

It is never good to be at war with yourself for long. Conflict is debilitating whether it is self-generated or comes from outside sources.

So if there is something that you should do (for me going to the dentist is a good example, the dentist terrifies me), then you must do it. Ultimately it will make your life easier. I believe that. I’ve experienced that.

That brings me to: If you must, then you can.

My dad told me when I was very young that I could do anything I set my mind to. He told me this on so many occasions that it became a part of my psyche. I’ve accomplished a lot of things I never thought I would simply because I decided that I would … and that I could. When that horse nearly killed me on the spot and I thought I might actually die, I decided that I had to live for my husband’s sake. When I survived but was so broken that I thought I would never be fit again, I decided that was not an option. I got fit and I got healthy. I set my mind to it and I did it.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. I think that could be an extension of “if you must, then you can.” It says that when there is a need, you will be equal to that need. It says that if there is something that you simply must do, you will find a way to do it. You can do it.

Our times are, to one extent or another, always trying. Some times are a little more so. Like right now. But I think I will keep those three little sentences in mind and by doing so I will be able to find a little more comfort and grace in my life.

I offer them up as a bit of positive thinking for all of you:

If you can, then you should.

If you should, then you must.

If you must, then you can.

Marilyn Monroe Quotes. Positive Motivational and Inspirational Quotes

Murphy’s Law

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Over the years I’ve had a lot of experiences with machines of all kinds. Some have been pleasant and some have been decidedly not. The mimeograph machine that I had to use in high school comes to mind as a good example of the latter. It seems that my most frustrating experiences with machines have been with automobiles. But if I thought about it long enough, I might come up with a few other good candidates for Most Frustrating. Ultimately, it’s been my experience that as “Murphy” said, “If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.” This applies to machines, processes, events and you name it.

To get myself started I asked a couple of questions: Did the machine outsmart you; did it function incorrectly; did it kick your butt? Yes, all of the above. Well, maybe not so much the last one. I chose to go with”frustrating” rather than “funny” as a parameter because, well, I don’t think I’ve ever had a “funny” experience with a machine. The lot of them are pretty humorless as far as I’m concerned. Though, the way things are going, my washing machine might one day tell me jokes to relieve the tedium of doing the laundry. You never know.

Image result for white 1995 dodge intrepid

The particular case that I settled on for this little exercise was my husband’s car at the time; a 1995 Dodge Intrepid. We bought the thing from his dad for a small enough price when his dad was moving back to Germany with no intent of ever returning to America. It was a good car for a number of years until a defect (for which there was a recall that his dad had simply ignored because it seemed like a lot of trouble and of which we were totally unaware until the engine seized up and wouldn’t do a darn thing anymore) caused us to have to buy an entire new engine for it. Well, it was a rebuilt engine, but we were assured it did not have the same defect. Suddenly our small purchase price had more than doubled. But this isn’t what totally frustrated us. That was a finite problem with a finite fix, albeit expensive … but still cheaper than an entirely new car.

As far as I’m concerned “intermittent” is a dirty word and the epitome of Murphy’s Law. Have you ever taken your car to a repair shop with an intermittent problem and tried to get it fixed? Ain’t gonna’ happen. Don’t even try.

Every now and then (and becoming more and more often as time went by), when Bernd (my husband) would turn the key in the ignition, the engine would not start. There was no signal going to the starter. Sometimes, it would only take one more turn to get it to run, but more often it would be seven or eight tries. Once, when I was with him, we thought it would never start. It must have taken 20 tries before it worked. It’s not too bad if this happens while you are still parked in your garage. But we were many miles from home.

When, after multiple trips to the repair shop and they could not help us, we decided to have a look for ourselves. We took the steering column apart and inspected everything to the best of our ability … which isn’t always saying much. But Bernd had his multi-meter and we knew enough to check for electrical continuity; which we had in spades. So?

We both spent time online researching the problem. It was basically time wasted and Bernd took to driving around with the steering column exposed because he discovered if he pressed on a certain part a certain way, he could get the engine to start (yes, that was a good clue, or so you would think, turned out not so much). Because he felt that he was going to solve the problem sooner rather than later, I could never convince him to store all the screws and nuts and covers and tools in the trunk instead of in the foot well on the front passenger side. Whenever I rode with him, I had to struggle to find space for my feet. And they are not big feet.

It was not sooner rather than later. It was more like a year and a half, and I became accustomed to an exposed steering column and wires dangling and the anxiety that accompanied going anywhere in his car and wondering if we would be walking home. So, you are asking, why not take my car. Bernd didn’t find the car I was driving at that time to be all that comfortable. It fit little me just fine, but not big tall him. A 1992 Jeep Cherokee Laredo is not as large as one might think it is. Bernd’s Intrepid was quite a bit longer and wider with more head and leg room. I have a Jeep Commander now. It fits both of us just fine.

Within that year and a half or so, we did take it back to the repair shop a couple of times to no avail. Eventually, after spending more spare moments than he really had on it, we actually figured it out, bought the darn part, struggled to install it (required both of us and demonstrated my law: everything is at least twice as hard as you think it will be and takes at minimum three times as long to accomplish as you hope it might), and fixed the problem. You have no idea how nice it is when your engine starts with just one turn of the key.

Someday, I might have to write in detail about the very first computer that we bought back in the dark ages of 2000. Man! Was that really only twenty years ago? Seems like ages from a technological standpoint. And yet at 67 years old, twenty years doesn’t seem like all that long.

Because it was our first, we thought we were just really, really, REALLY stupid (that might still be the case in general but in this specific instance it was not). As it turned out, it was defective and would never have worked properly. Go figure. We did, however, learn a lot about computers in the process. And actually, that seems to happen a lot. Recently, we had to buy a new computer because the hard drive in our old one just up and died. So guess what? The hard drive in the new computer died the second day we had it. Talk about frustrating. And we’d spent the entire previous day getting all the software back into it that we had in the old computer. Then we had to do it all over again. Sometimes I wish I’d never heard of Murphy. I wonder now and then if people who are unaware of Murphy’s Law have less trouble with it. Think about it for a moment.

So let’s see. There was also a VCR and a camera that got the better of me. And don’t even show me a universal remote control. There’s a digital voice recorder that still has me flummoxed. Down loading songs to an iPod (got one free and would have been better off without it) proved to be almost impossible. Then there was the free (ditto) pedometer that I never did make work. It went in the trash. And there is still the magical, self-collapsing camera tripod (although it isn’t really technically a machine). I’m just thankful my electric water kettle never gives me any trouble. Come to think of it, I could use a hot drink right about now. Maybe some nice soothing chamomile tea.

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Was my Grandmother a Tart?

Image result for 1920 female tart

With the arrival of spring, the weeds are popping up all over where I live. We have a lot of different kinds of grasses. Some of the blades are fairly wide.

For some reason or other, I was reminded of how you can take a blade of grass, stretch it between your thumbs and then blow through the gap between your thumbs and cause the blade to vibrate madly. The noise is loud and raucous and if you don’t warn the people around you that you are about to do that, quite startling.

I was a child when I learned how to do that. I went searching through that messy rat’s nest I call my memory for who had taught that to me. But I couldn’t pin down anything definitive.

I finally decided that most likely it had been Uncle Rod. His name was actually Ira Rodgers and he was no real relation to my family. Except that he had asked my paternal grandmother to marry him and she’d said yes and accepted an engagement ring from him.

Rod was the fun “uncle” who shows you how to do things, carves toy whistles from small tree branches, only ever eats his slice of pie with his hands and never with a fork. He had a belly like Santa Claus that would shake when he laughed. And he laughed a lot. I don’t know why my grandmother never married him.

Rod was a saint in many ways. Our family lived in Pico Rivera in Los Angeles County. Grandma lived in Huntington Park to the west of us by quite a bit. Rod lived in San Bernardino. Quite a bit more to the east of us.

Every Friday night, Rod would drive to our house after he finished working. He arrived late. My sister and I were usually already in bed. He would sleep on the sofa in the living room, get up early Saturday morning before the rest of us, make his own breakfast, and then drive the rest of the way to pick up my grandma.

Then he’d drive her back to our house. Grandma never learned how to drive. Never wanted to learn. Didn’t want to own a car. Possibly enjoyed being chauffeured around.

They would spend the entire day with us. Mom would make a huge dinner. The kind you eat at 2:00 in the afternoon. Then in the evening, Rod would drive Grandma home again.

She would not let him sleep on her sofa. That wouldn’t have been proper. She was born in 1894 and had some fairly unforgiving ideas about how things should and should not be done.

So Rod kept an apartment in Huntington Park, not too far from my grandmother’s apartment. He slept in it one night a week, Saturday night. Then he drove non-stop back to San Bernardino on Sunday morning.

Rod was relatively well-to-do. He had a number of rental properties and a good pension. I don’t really remember for certain where the pension was from, but a part of my mind insists it was the railroad.

Grandma really should have married him. He was kind and he loved her. He loved me and my sister too. But I think my grandma was something of a tart. She had a way about her that seemed to entice men into her circle. And apparently she enjoyed having several men attached to her.

She was ostensibly the manager for the small apartment complex where she lived. In exchange, the owner of it let her live rent-free. He also dated her. What he thought of Rod’s engagement ring that she always wore, I have no idea.

Then there was this other man. I don’t remember his name or his appearance. But when my sister and I would go to stay with grandma for a couple of weeks during summer vacation, we would meet him often at the lunch counter at Kresge’s. Or at the walk-in movie theater on Pacific Blvd.

All these men had to have known about all the others. But they didn’t seem to mind. I guess they were happy for whatever time she gave them. Thinking about that now, as an adult, I’m amazed. But maybe I shouldn’t be. There were times she attempted to instruct me in the art of flirting. She’d sit me down and tell me about pinching my cheeks to make them pink, how to pout, or to put my tongue slightly against the inside of my lower lip to make it look fuller. She had all sorts of advice for what to do with my eyes in various situations. It didn’t take.

All these thoughts and memories flashed through my mind this morning in the time it took me to make the bed. I’ve visited these memories other times in the past. But this morning, for some reason, I saw them and my grandmother in a slightly different light.

I think she must have been something of a tart. And the thought makes me smile.

It’s so Frustrating

Image result for tomato puree
#10 can, six pounds

Quite some time ago, Costco stopped carrying their huge cans of tomato puree. The can was so large that I only needed the one can in order to make five one-quart jars of spaghetti sauce. I have so many food allergies that I can’t buy ready-made spaghetti sauce. Well, actually, for the most part I can’t buy ready-made anything.

So I found a substitute tomato puree online. This morning, I used the last of that tomato puree I had on hand to make a new batch of spaghetti sauce. So I went online to order some more. Yeah. Right.

I found something that might work, but it would cost well over $100 for what would ordinarily cost me about $25. That’s not going to happen. I refuse to be gouged.

But what really ticks me off about it is this:  All you hoarders out there are not thinking at all about all the other people. You don’t give a damn about what others might need. And especially, there are people with special needs that are going to suffer even more.

In ordinary times, when I go shopping and I might need four of something but there are only five on the shelf, I do not take four of them. I might take only half of what I actually need so that others will have access as well. Maybe I’m stupid. I don’t know. But that’s how I was raised to think of the needs of others.

Right now, in these extraordinary times, we need to be even more aware of how our buying practices affect others. Not less.

I actually wrote this a couple of days ago. Then I decided to let it sit so my anger could cool a bit and see if I still felt like posting it.

Well, my anger hasn’t cooled. If anything, it has become greater.

Because I don’t really see things getting better any time soon as regards shortages of essential products due to hoarders, I’ve decided that this will be the last of my rants on the subject. I’ve started repeating myself and I need to let go and move on.

From here on, it will be back to normal. I promise.

Worry gets You Nowhere

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I try not to worry as a general rule. I consider outcomes and postulate responses. I prepare. I don’t deny that a problem might exist. It’s just that I don’t want to fret about it. Worry gets me nowhere good and often hurts me.

But it’s hard not to worry right now. My sister says she is trying to replace the worry with mindfulness. That’s an excellent idea. And generally, I’m pretty mindful. I got through my most recent shopping expedition and the subsequent storing of the purchases at home without touching my face once until everything had been washed, including my hands. I ran into a friend while out shopping and she touched her nose twice while we were talking. After she did it, she realized she did it. She wasn’t happy about it.

It seems to me that it is human nature to worry. We consider the what-ifs and maybes and oh-my-God-I-hope-that-doesn’t-happens. And then we lose it. All our resolutions not to worry just dissipate like fog in the morning when the sun finally rises to burn it off. Poof! Resolution gone.

You could argue that by anticipating the worst-case scenario, you are preparing yourself the best way that you can and then when the worst doesn’t happen you can feel relieved. But I’ve never figured out a way to do that without the worry creeping in. And I think that worry does more harm than good. I’m a case in point.

I have a tendency to have acid reflux. It’s very painful. Sometimes a virus will bring it on. But mostly, it’s triggered by stress.

I’ve had a very painful morning so far. I’ve had to take an acid reducing medication. While it does give me relief from the pain, it comes with its own set of side effects that will haunt me for the next few days. All this could have been avoided if I had not succumbed to worry.

I wish I could tell you that I had the answer. I wish I knew how not to worry. But I don’t. So I’ll do my best to keep busy. I’ll focus on what I can actually do. I’ll try not to think about the things over which I have no control. And I’ll make the changes to my routines that I need to make in order to limit exposure.

But I will probably still worry.

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What a Mess

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A Costco store somewhere in the U.S.

I went out on Friday, yesterday, to do my regular weekly grocery shopping. People are crazy. I’d like to say that’s all I’m going to say about that, but it’s not.

Warning. This is a rant.

I usually have at least two stops to make on my Friday shopping run. Yesterday, I had five. I left early to allow for the extra time it would take. It took way more time than I had allowed. About twice the time I thought it would. Mainly because people are crazy. Maddie (our dog) was very upset that I was gone so long. Who knows what Bonfire (our cat) thought. I can never tell what he’s thinking.

I always go to Fry’s (a regular sort of grocery store) and Costco (everyone across the nation knows what Costco is). My usual trip to Fry’s is to get those things that I can’t get at Costco. It usually consists of no more than ten or so items and takes me 20 minutes car-to-market-to-car tops. Yesterday it took 45 insane minutes.

Fry’s recently put in a lot of self-checkout registers and I’ve made good use of them. But yesterday, only half of them were working. To top that off, they had only four regular cashiers working. The lines for the registers, all of them, were at least 20 people long. I don’t ever want to do that again. And I’m a patient person. But that was just nuts.

It wouldn’t have been so frustrating except that people were buying mass quantities of bottled water, soft drinks, beer and the like. My husband’s favorite tuna was all sold out. Luckily his favorite chocolate bars were still in stock.

At Costco, the parking lot was jam packed. When that happens, which is rare, I park in the Petsmart parking lot and walk the extra distance. The Petsmart parking lot was also jam packed. The inside of Costco was even worse.

Costco has done away with the food samples for the time being so that helped with the flow of people and shopping carts. But the check-out lines were enormous. Plus, they were sold out of my husband’s favorite frozen Brussels’ sprouts. And they had no tomato paste at all. Who hoards tomato paste? Come on folks.

Thankfully, the other three places I went weren’t too bad. Petsmart seemed fairly normal. Sprouts was busier than usual but they had all the things I had on my list. Walmart, well Walmart is never one of my favorite shopping experiences. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. Really.

Okay people, listen up. The supply chain was never going to break down. It hasn’t in the past when we weathered other pandemics. But all you crazy people out there buying up paper towels and toilet paper just might manage to break it anyway.

So stop it. Stop it right now.

Eating Out vs. Eating In

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It’s never really been a question for me. Well, for the last 30 years or so anyway. I eat in.

I have so many food allergies that it is almost impossible for me to eat out. That is unless I want a plain baked potato or a salad without dressing. Neither of those is all that appealing to me.

Friends would sometimes offer to cook for me and ask for my list of no-nos. Once they have the list, they often back off of the offer. I don’t blame them.

I have a very large number of things that I can eat. More than what I can’t. It’s just that the things I can’t are so all-pervasive that most people wouldn’t know where to begin.

I don’t like worrying or fretting, but I can’t help thinking about the corona virus and what it means at all levels of our lives. This morning, it occurred to me that the majority of people in this country eat at least one meal a day that someone else … meaning commercially … has prepared. I started wondering what that might mean in the days and weeks and months to come.

Will people start eating in more? My husband doesn’t buy lunch at work. We spend a lot of time on Sundays preparing his lunches for the entire week. They are lunches that need to be heated in a microwave oven. Sometimes it’s meatloaf. Others it’s chicken and gravy. Beef stew is a real favorite. I make these really delicious ground turkey patties with fennel, fresh rosemary and diced onion. Mostly he takes mashed potatoes for his carbohydrate. And his current favorite vegetable is asparagus. His co-workers tend to complain when he takes Brussels sprouts or broccoli or cauliflower.

These days, it seems that most people don’t have the time to cook entire meals for themselves. But maybe people will start looking at it a little differently now. Maybe something that seemed inconvenient will become less so if it’s perceived as a means to avoid contagion.

Thing is, I believe it is healthier to cook from scratch with whole foods. I think it would be a good thing if people took more responsibility for what they put in their bodies rather than letting manufacturers and restaurants decide what is good for them and what is not. But sadly, I figure that people will just buy more processed, pre-packaged foods. Which in my book isn’t any better than eating out.

I know I sound kind of preachy. But I also know that when I developed all my food allergies and had to start preparing all my own food, I got healthier and felt so much better.

I’m always looking for the silver lining. And while that might seem a bit insane right now with the threat of Covid-19, I think that if it shifts the eating habits of the average American toward a more healthy regimen that might just be a good thing.

What to do in the Days to Come

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I wrote about hard choices yesterday. It was prompted by a scenario that is unlikely to ever happen to me. Thank goodness. But I thought the whole issue of hard choices was very appropriate to the current situation.

I’ve asked myself what I would do if I thought someone near me might be sick with Covid-19. Say I’m out shopping and a person next to me coughs. Will I panic? Will I think badly of them for going into public when they are sick? Is it just an allergy? Or is it the corona virus?

I have bad hay fever right now and have felt a little conspicuous while out shopping. I’ve wondered if people have wondered if I were sick and thought badly of me for exposing them. I feel like I should wear a sign that says “It’s just an allergy.”

Some sites recommend staying at least six feet away from other shoppers. But how practical is that in reality? Plus they say a sneeze can easily travel 20 feet. And new research shows that in reality, a sneeze can travel up to 200 feet thanks to something called a “multiphase turbulent buoyant bubble.”

Well that’s just great. Makes sneezing into the crook of your arm absolutely essential.

A lot of people are looking into home delivery of groceries. I’m kind of fussy. I’m not sure I want someone else choosing which head of lettuce I should eat or which tomato I might like best. And even then, you are not assured you won’t be exposed.

I read some recommendations for accepting home deliveries.

  1. Have the delivery person drop off the stuff outside of your house.
  2. Do not tip them directly. Do it online.
  3. Wash everything once you bring it inside. Rinse the produce and wash the hard skinned produce with soap and water. Wash all packaging with soap and water.
  4. Wash the counter tops with soap and water where you set the items before you washed them.
  5. When you are finished, wash your hands with soap and water.
  6. Do not touch your face until you have washed everything, including your hands .
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The CDC says that because the outer coating of the virus is a lipid (basically a fat), the soap pretty much tears it apart and kills the virus. Good rinsing, after washing with soap for at least 20 seconds, is also essential as it washes the soap with the viruses suspended in it from your hands. Leave any soap on your hands and you leave the virus. It’s a good bet that not all of the little buggers will succumb to the soap. It’s the way of the world. Organisms adapt.

For me, deciding to use a grocery delivery service would be a hard choice (I said I was fussy, maybe I should have made that FUSSY). I’m most likely to continue to do my shopping in person. But I’m immune system compromised. I lost my spleen in an accident a couple of years ago. Also, I am 67 years old. I’m fairly fit, but fitness only takes you so far.

We are all going to have to make some seriously hard choices in the next year or so. Hopefully, there will be enough good and reliable information out there for us to weigh the odds and make the best choices we possibly can.

The CDC still says the best thing you can do is NOT panic. I believe this is true. So far I have not. I hope it stays that way.