The PVP Diaries #31

I need my weekends now, more than I used to.

Update 4-26

Eh, whatever. I know Saturday was double digits again, but overall down, and overall eh, whatever.

I saw a headline come across my Alexa thing that said something about the CDC announcing 6 new COVID-19 symptoms. Six! Just as it looks like things are waning, and people are growing increasingly weary of isolation (and government overreach), we have new symptoms to keep us all believing in the boogie man. Big surprise. I didn’t look them up. I’m guessing it’s something like fatigue, restlessness, lethargy, impatience, weight gain, and bread making skills. I have a few symptoms that I think the CDC has very irresponsibly left off of their list. It may not be Coronavirus, but it’s an infection for sure:

  1. Belief in the news
  2. Uncontrollable reflex to wallow in predictions of long-term misery, coupled with…
  3.  Relentless pessimism
  4.  Cravings for the following:
    1.  The closure of something else this weekend
    2.  Legally enforceable mandatory mask wearing while outdoors
    3.  A special police number for reporting your neighbors
    4.  Comparisons of nurses with war heroes
    5.  The opportunity to say “science,” again.

But hey, I’m just a guy with a blog, trying to read Moby Dick and Animal Farm at the same time, while building a 280 square foot paver patio out of what used to be a formidable hill in his back yard. What do I know? I know my mattock needs sharpening, that’s what.

I do think I remember speculating very recently that we were fast approaching the point when our success in battling the virus was going to be used not as a reason to ease restrictions, but as an excuse to create more. And Lo:

The social distancing measures observed in King County have reduced transmission of COVID-19 to the point where cases are expected to slowly decline or plateau at current levels. New or strengthened interventions are needed to reduce transmission further before partial relaxation of social distancing measures can be considered

And indeed, in PVP entry #25:

In fact, there’s no reason to believe that they won’t use success as a reason to clamp down even more.

Everyone’s trying to be Bill Belichick, running up the score against the Coronavirus in the fourth quarter of a rout.


The girl made brownies for her Girl Scout meeting (via zoom, natch), then she made an Olaf cake (from Frozen) as part of a FaceTime baking competition with her 5 or 6 year-old cousin (second cousin? My wife’s cousin’s daughter). Because I am an idiot, I took pictures of neither. Because I am no fool, I ate a great deal of both. She’s an excellent baker, my daughter, but a very bad cleaner. I would ban her from using the kitchen at all, but a love for cooking is a heap big thing in my book. She’ll learn to clean as long as I keep teaching her how, but if I’m on her case about cleaning so much that she starts to hate cooking, well that’ll be a big time dad failure.

The boy? He made…noise. He’s a little excited right now because I’ve agreed to get a cat. He’s been looking at websites and even sent an email to a breeder, though of course purebred cats from a breeder are often obscenely expensive, so that’s not an option. Found some British Shorthairs yesterday for $1500 each – no, kitty. That’s a baaad kitty. We’ll check the humane society, other outlets.  I’ve always liked cats, even had a couple in an apartment in Sierra Vista, Arizona, while I was stationed at Ft. Huachuca. They were a couple of big, fluffy things that were named Mother and Murphy. I remember the knots and tangles in their long fur. We’re definitely sticking with the shorthairs. Mother’s getting worked into a short story I’m writing.

Or at least that I was writing. I figured this quarantine would be short-lived, so I made the full mental commitment of “I’ll get back to writing (the novel, etc) when the kids are back in school.” I stopped compulsively jotting down notes, and seeing my stories in every little (and big) corner of my world. I just took that lens right off. Now that the return to school is off the table, and with summer coming, I need to shift back into the other writing mode. But, considering what I said about momentum recently, and how difficult it can be to change direction, well, it’s a slow process.

I also didn’t read much over the weekend. The last 130 or so pages of Moby Dick are taunting me, but I’m mired in the doldrums of one of the many sections wherein Melville leaves the story behind to “have his spoutings out,” and clear several blubbering tons of whale research through his blowhole. Some of it is exciting – the butchering of the whale and rendering of his fat , for instance, are enough to elicit trigger warnings in college classes across the western world, if they would even stoop to teach the book. Just read the chapter “Cutting in,” or “The Cassock.” You’ll lose sight of Ahab and his quarry entirely, but you may feel actually, bodily, a little oily when you’ve finished. Chopped toes and whale pelt ponchos.

I read three pages of Animal Farm yesterday, but my head wasn’t in it.


I had my celebrity moment today. After 14 or so years in West Seattle, and 2 years as his neighbor, I finally saw Eddie Vedder for the first time. My wife and I were in the front yard, helplessly pulling weeds, and he came around he corner on his bicycle, with his daughter close behind. It’s a steep hill, and he was giving her the usual parental guidance: “stay on the brakes a little, take it easy.” They were going very slowly along, so I was able to ask, “how you guys doing?” He said, “hanging in there.” Then I noticed a dandelion that had somehow slipped my attention previously, and went after it with my little Japanese gardening thing-a-ma-bobber. Got it, root and all.


Clean as you go, Comrade Citizen!


2 thoughts on “The PVP Diaries #31”

  1. Meant to comment yesterday about your daughter’s baking. Kat loved to cook and bake when she was a kid. When she moved out on her own, she asked for advise about what sort of job to get. John suggested working in a kitchen. So her first real job was breakfast cook at the Asheville, NC airport diner (which is being charitable). She ended her professional cooking career in the kitchen of the Beverly Hills Hotel. She did everything there, including pastry chef, mostly b/c she didn’t do coke and was reliable. Point is, once she got into the business, she never failed to explain to us that our own kitchen cleanliness did not pass muster!


    1. “…she never failed to explain to us that our own kitchen cleanliness did not pass muster!”

      So true.

      Most of my teen/20’s work was in restaurants, and most of that as a cook. Never anything high end, but at least one decent (now defunct) chain with things like steaks and fish several notches above Outback Steakhouse levels. All the sauces and dressings and desserts were made from scratch, in house. That’s where I learned most of what I know about cooking. Which isn’t a ton, but I make good food.

      The one thing all of the restaurants had in common was an obsession with cleanliness. Some of them didn’t enforce it very well, and some of them were a little insane about it. Then I joined the Army, where maintenance and cleanliness were the first and last items on every list, as well as several places between.

      TL/DR: I’ve always had to significantly raise my tolerance for messes in order to keep from snapping.

      Liked by 1 person

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