It’s Personal

I have not been joining in on the COVID-19 jokes. I have certainly not been part of the “it’s an overblown, hyped-up, media-fueled crazy idiot sheeple event” crowd.

This is real for us.

  • My wife has health issues that make her risk of serious complications much higher than your average person in their 40’s. She’s self-isolated—together with our 4 kids and me. It’s hard to not go anywhere… for days or weeks at a time… always surrounded by the same people, who are also going stir crazy… thinking every day that this is the one where you start to get sick.
  • I occasionally make foraging expeditions, always worried that no matter how careful I am, I’ll pick up SARS-CoV-2, bring it home, and infect my wife.
  • My son lives in Seattle, in an apartment by himself. He almost certainly is just finishing up a round of having COVID-19. They won’t test or see people his age if they’re not in distress. Thankfully, he’s young and I helped guide him in preparing a week or two before he got sick. He came through fine, with little difficulty. However, he’s not a dummy, and now he fears going outside because he’s worried some ripple of incidental contact will end up killing someone. And he could always get sick again.
  • Speaking cryptically to keep confidentiality, we have had direct contact with someone who is now sick. Sunday she developed fever and a cough. Last we heard, she was still feverish yesterday. Even though she is at higher-risk due to health issues, she was refused a test and told to self-isolate at home. Now my wife and I wait with trepidation to see if we’re going to start showing symptoms.
  • We personally know a parent tested on Friday and confirmed with COVID-19 Monday. She’s at somewhat higher risk, but seems to be recovering. She and her family are self-quarantined. This test was in Clay County, which still reports a count of 0…
  • A friend’s husband knows a person in Liberty (also Clay County) who is now on a ventilator. The presumptive-positive COVID-19 test result is due back today.

It’s clear this is just the beginning. If you think I’m Chicken Little and one of the stupid sheeple—just keep it to yourself, please, and good luck.

Reflections On Ghandi

I don’t have a very good memory.

I say this and nearly everyone responds with something like, "Oh yeah, me too! I can’t seem to remember anything!" And then I think — but I don’t say — "Huh. So you can’t remember the births of your children or your wedding day or the color of your house or who this character in chapter 7 of your book is and you’re seeing a neurologist hoping they can fix it?"

I really don’t have a good memory.

Sometimes when I think about a movie I know I’ve seen, one specific scene will stand out, even if I can’t remember squat from the rest of the movie. For Gandhi, a movie in the 80’s starring Ben Stiller1, the scene that immediately pops into my head is where Gandhi is on a hunger strike and some lady gives him some water and then conspiratorially tells him with a wink, "I put a little lemon juice in it."

The details surrounding this don’t matter, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I have them wrong. (I’m thinking they were walking on a beach? And I bet she didn’t really wink.) The thing is that she gave him water with lemon juice in it during his hunger strike, without asking him, and he just had to accept that as an act of kindness. Which, I presume, is pretty easy for Gandhi, or at least movie-Gandhi.

This popped into my head this morning as I was pouring my wife some coffee, as it will.

Thinking further, I remember that I really liked that movie. I was 16 and I probably saw it in The Glenwood, a tremendously huge screen in a tremendously huge theater that now only exists as a little ball of melancholy to be pulled out when driving by the Walmart or whatever is standing there now.2 I don’t think I’ve seen it since then. So I started wondering, would I still like that movie?

And that caused my thoughts to turn again. Gandhi was a real-life historical figure (look him up, kids), not just a lead character in a movie. I’m betting that one "side" or the other, because everyone is on some kind of side these days and the other side is always wrong always always always, probably now says Gandhi ain’t really what we oblivious 80’s people thought, and obviously we shouldn’t be watching this completely false and misrepresentative movie and we should just open our stupid sheeple eyes about this man who we might just put on the same list as Hitler and the inventor of the Circus Peanut.

And of course the other side will then roll their eyes so hard you can hear them move and bystanders wonder about ocular bruising, and say the movie didn’t go far enough to represent the true Gandhi, who was really Jesus’s uncle and was so awesome his feet never even stank when his sandals got wet.

At that point I realized I’d likely never watch the movie again, which means I have a bonus 3 hours and 11 minutes to spend on something else before I die.

I took the coffee to my wife.

A Year Later…

About a year ago, my wife wrote a lovely, long post on Facebook about the trials our family faced during 2017, culminating with a Christmas season where she was pretty much totally out of commission after surgery. I just happened to stumble across that post today and I like it so much I read it 3 or 4 times.

A year has passed since she wrote that.

We’ve moved into our new house and it has slowly “become ours” over many months, with Terry’s touch making it a beautiful, lovely place to call home. There’s still more to do, but isn’t that always the case? Things are working out well here. Terry puts so much thought into every little effort into making it a nice home, but that’s no surprise if you know Terry. She’s really good at this stuff. And so much other stuff…

We came through our marriage trials in 2017 and are now on the other side of things. Sure, there have been ups and downs through 2018, but the important thing is we work together through the downs and come out stronger on the ups. I know I certainly am more in love with her than I’ve ever been, and am exceedingly thankful for how beautiful, funny, thoughtful, and smart my wife is.

Maybe Terry will have the urge to post another year-in-review, because I’m sure she’ll do a better job than I ever would. I’m not even going to try. She’s the family wordsmith.

We have more changes coming for 2019, but that’s the way it goes, especially when you’ve got four kids at home. There are braces in the cards for the older 2 kids, our 2 adult kids are starting new ventures or soon will be, we’re trying to work out a trip or two or three, and there might even be some big changes on the grown-up side of things here. But good changes that we’re going through together for all the right reasons.

I look forward to my 18 days (!) off over the holidays, and to what 2019 will bring. I’m loving this family journey with Terry by my side.

The Aftermath

I didn’t take pictures when things were fresh because I wanted to get everything plated ASAP. The food came out pretty much much okay. Nothing to write home about. I’m sure Terry can say what I screwed up without even realizing it.


Standard small ham. (Surprisingly, I found a small ham at Costco.) It’s hard to not get a precooked ham right. It tasted like ham. This was really mostly for Neil. The girls seem to not care too much for ham, and frankly I don’t care too much for it either.

Sweet Potatoes

These were supposed to be roasted. They came out sort of kind of like roasted mush. I thought they had a nice flavor, but only the adults here seem to care for sweet potatoes no matter what they taste like.


Peas aren’t too popular here. I like ’em though, so I made them. Peas made “fancy” really aren’t popular, so these won’t appear again.

Mac & Cheese

One of the most popular foods in this house, I went with a fancy version made with a billion different expensive cheeses. I thought it was not bad. Not great though. And Paige didn’t like it.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

The real winner tonight, at least for me. Very yummy. If I were to make it again I’d make sure to put in not quite as much bread.

Oreo Truffles

I made these yesterday. Pretty hard to screw up, and very tasty. For the most part the kids made these.