Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Life after Covid: yes it’s great to be alive, if you can call this living

This morning I got up, got my cup of water and bowl of oatmeal.  I could feel my stomach tighten, the last thing it wanted was another serving of this tasteless gruel.

WELL UNTIL I BECOME A REAL LIVE BOY AGAIN WITH REAL LIVE TASTEBUDS, YOU GET JACK SQUAT, CARDBOARD DOUG!  What good is feeding hot buttered toast, scrambled eggs and sizzling Canadian bacon to a Doug that can’t taste anything?

Today is Day 7 of losing my sense of smell & taste to covid, and it’s making me a little crazy.  I’m not just talking about food.  Toothpaste, soap, shampoo, lemon scented kitchen wipes, Fabreze spray, Bounce dryer sheets… their scents are all gone.

I’ve read that for 3 out of 4 Covid patients who experience this olfactory dysfunction, it lasts on average 21 days; but a full quarter of patients are still dealing with the loss 60 days later. 

I don’t think that will be me though, I’ve gotten a recent glimmer of hope.  Two things—a jar of Jif Peanut Butter and a bottle of yellow mustard.  The peanut butter is tasteless, but if I wave it back & forth under my nose for a minute or two.. I get the faintest whiff of peanuts.  The yellow mustard has no odor, but if I put a dollop on my tongue, I think I can taste something sour!  It only works once for both, I have to wait a couple hours to try either again, but all I can do is keep hoping the Blue Fairy comes around and turns me into a real boy.

What was I going to write next?  I lost my train of thought.  My tv is on right now while I’m typing this, and I just heard “In 2020, Americans aged 60 and over were scammed out of one billion dollars in savings.  In 2022, that amount is estimated to be three bllion dollars.”   I’m now an American aged 60 and over! 

I have noticed an abundance of scam emails this past year from reputable looking sources like “Amazon Security” and “Microsoft Accounts Team”, but I’ve grown tired of wondering and now just delete everything unsolicited.  Bastards.


Speaking of Amazon, I just received 3 packages from them and I’m excited.  I don’t want to share what’s in these just yet, let’s just say they are… precision instruments for something I’m planning on writing about in 2-3 more weeks.  Heh heh!

And speaking of distractions, someone just slid a piece of paper under my front door. 

I’ve been expecting this, a notice from Steiner Associates (who manage my apartment building) that my new lease is now online and awaiting my signature.  (If it doesn’t become effective until April 1, why am I obligated to sign it every year by February 15??) 

Anyway, I’ve been especially nervous this year, wondering what the rent increase will be.  Since moving here April 2017, my monthly rent has increased $20 for each year.  In April 2018 it went from 710 to 730, in 2019 to 750, in 2020 to 770, in 2021 to $790.00.  But there’s been talk from other tenants of rent increases being higher in 2022 then in previous years, what with inflation and everything going up in price.  I can’t take the suspense, I must go online and look.

Dear Douglas E. Morris ,
I/We, Douglas E. Morris, hereby agree to renew the present LEASE for the property located at 925 California Avenue, Apt 402, for the term of 1 year from 04/01/2022 and upon the same terms and conditions as set forth in said LEASE except; the new monthly rent shall be $810.00

Well, I can’t say I’m thrilled about my rent going up $20, but I really was expecting worse.  I suppose I’d better get off here and get busy, I’m hoping if I work up a real appetite today my dinner might become a little closer tasting to real food tonight.   Wish me luck!


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Thanks, Everybody

Hi Everyone;

I just wanted to send out a heartfelt thanks for all the kind comments on my last post, and an apology for not catching up on everyone’s blogs this week.  This is my first time being on my computer since last Sunday… I’ve been so out of it this week, it seemed the best I could do was try to keep up with emails on my phone.

To be honest, I feel a little foolish posting that “I’ve got Covid” blog.  When I shared my news about getting covid last Sunday, I was feeling pretty sick but thought it wouldn’t get worse. “I’m vaccinated, I got a booster.” 

The simple truth is, it DID get worse.  I wound up spending most of the week in bed with a fever I couldn’t seem to manage and a constant cough.  I’m still dealing with both but I’m 75% on the mend I think.  However, I awoke yesterday with a zero sense of smell, zero taste.  I learned this when I made a cup of coffee and thought I was drinking hot water.  I’m not kidding, I cannot smell or taste ANYTHING. 

I don’t understand, I never had a stuffy head or sinus condition, so why this?  

When I told my sister, she said “But that’s a symptom of the ORIGINAL covid, not the delta or omicron variants!” 

If I wasn’t still under the weather I would’ve laughed at that.  (FYI, my PCP says that people with the variants are still reporting this loss.)  I just hope I get mine back, as eating is pretty much my biggest reason for living.  

I sound like I’m having a big pity-party, so I’d better shut up!  I really just wanted to let everyone who reads my blog to know how much your kind words were appreciated.  

When you live alone like I do… oops, here comes that pity party again.  Nerd smile

Sunday, January 16, 2022

I thought this was my “Get Out of Covid Free” card

Sunday morning and Day 3 of feeling like I was hit by a truck.  I was fine on Friday until 10pm, when my temperature shot up like a rocket.  All day Saturday it was 100.8.  I can’t stop coughing and every inch of my body hurts from my head to my toes.

My neighbor up the hall knocks on my door earlier and asks if I’m using the laundry room.  I tell him no thru the door.  He says “WHAT?”  I answer “IF I OPEN THIS DOOR YOU’RE GOING TO GET COVID!”   Is he running away?  I’m tempted to chase him.

Less than 15 minutes later, another knock at my door.  It’s Nurse Steele from the 6th floor, the nicest nurse in Pittsburgh.  Thoughts of infecting my neighbor quickly fade.  She tells me not to open my door, but would I like a rapid covid antigen reponse test.  I say yes, please.  (If she had asked if I wanted my gallbladder removed, I would’ve said yes to that too.  I just want SOMETHING done.)

She asks me if I forgot to get vaccinated and adds “It’s okay, you’re not the first one here to put it off.”   EXCUSE ME?  

I fetch my vaccine card, slide it under my door.  She slides it back (with her foot) and says “I’m sorry, I’ll be right back!”

This is me, after learning one of my blogging friends is a Conservative.  Just kidding—it’s me getting my test results back, I am “70 to 90 percent positive for covid.”

I had this once before, you know.  In July 2020.  My God, I’m a hermit and still manage to get this awful thing twice!

Nurse Steele asks (thru my door)  if I have a thermometer.  YES I tell her, I most certainly do. 

I told her yesterday it was 100.8, so maybe I’m getting better.  She asks if I feel any better.  Nope.  She says to try not to worry too much.  If it was a couple degrees higher and there were other factors involved, like being in my sixties or having high blood pressure…

Haha—I’m doomed!  Crying face

Nurse Steele left then returned later and told me (through my door) she alerted building management.  They’re going to email a notice to all the residents in our building that I am under quarantine and should be avoided this week.  Do other residents have to know??

I’m not bothered, we’re getting 6-12” of snow tonight and I’m stocked up with everything I need.  While I’m not in bed, thrashing my sheets and muttering incoherently, I shall be working on my Unablogger Manifesto.  Talk to everyone soon.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Git along little dougies: It’s time for ApacheDug’s Music Video Roundup, Vol. 3

A couple of nights ago, I was doing my customary ‘read for 1/2 hour, watch Youtube for 1/2 hour’ on my tablet before going to sleep when it occurred to me it’s been a year since I shared my last collection of favorite music videos.

(If you’re curious, you can check that out here.)

For those of you unfamiliar with my selection criteria, every so often I come across a song or tune that just sticks in my craw. 

If I watch it more than 4-5 times in the space of a month, it earns a spot on my blog wall!  So in pretty much ascending order (definitely saving the best for last…)

10. “I Still Have Faith in You” by ABBA, 2021

Who would’ve believed it, the legendary group ABBA returning after 40 years?  While I’m sure their reunion’s a short lived one (and what do you think of their younger CGI counterparts in this video), it still has been exciting seeing and hearing them perform together again.

9. “Lonely Nights (Angel Face)” by Captain & Tennille, 1976 

Toni Tennille once said in an interview she had difficulty with this song, because of her own struggles with Daryl; it made her teary inside.  Well, she looked about as teary as a bag of Jiffy Pop popcorn here!  Still, she could belt out a tune and always gave me something to smile about.  Love you Toni.

8. “We Got the Beat” by The Go-Go’s (Live from the Today Show) 2020

I saw this live back in September 2020 on the Today Show, and wondered briefly if I had any hormones remaining for Jane Wiedlin.  In a word, YES.  (She’s the curvy one with gray spikes jumping around.)  But don’t they all sound great?

7. “How Do You Handle a Hungry Man” Campbell’s Manhandlers Soup Commercial, 1970s

Back around 1973 when I was in Boy Scouts, Brad Martin would cup his privates with both of his hands and sing either the Burger King jingle “It takes two hands to handle a Whopper” or this Campbells jingle below.  He’d laugh so hard it made us laugh too!

Gee I liked Brad, he was a goof but a good egg.  Nerd smile

6. “I Bet” by Shuba, 2021

Shuba was in my last music roundup, courtesy of Peter Tibbles from Australia who turned me on to her with a video of her singing along to Brian May’s guitar. I quickly became a fan of this young woman (and her sense of humor, as you’ll see here).

5. “Head Over Heels” by The Go-Go’s, 1984

What can I tell you… after seeing their sixtysomething counterparts on Today, I HAD to watch all of the Go-Go’s 80’s videos again.  I liked this one best, I’ve probably watched it 20 times.  (And if Belinda Carlisle is competing with Jane Wiedlin for my attention, they both won!)

4. “Sweet Jaime” (sung by) Lee Majors, 1976

Do you remember this storyline on The Six Million Dollar Man?  Jaime was Steve Austin’s fiance.  He talks her into going skydiving, her parachute fails, she breaks every bone in her body.  Steve convinces Oscar Goldman to give her bionic parts like his own.  They save her life, but Jaime forgets she was in love with Steve; so to be with her, he must pretend they’re only friends. 

Meanwhile in real life, Lee Majors was fighting to get his wife Farrah Fawcett-Majors to come home after she left him for Ryan O’Neal.  “Doug, were you really feeling sorry for the Six Million Dollar Man back then?” 

“Yes!  My heart isn’t made of stone, y’know!”

3. “When You Believe” from The Prince of Egypt (sung by) Lucy & Martha Thomas, 2021

A month ago after watching a special about Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, I went on Youtube to do a search for songs from the movie.  A girl named Lucy Thomas kept appearing in the results.  Who’s Lucy Thomas? 

It turns out, a very talented young woman from England, with a wide catalog of songs on her channel.

I’ve been listening to many of them, I predict big things for her.  Here, 17 year old Lucy sings with her 11 year old sister Martha.  It’s both sweet and a little old school, in the best way.  These girls are terrific. 

2. “Abhor-Rent: 525,600 Minutes Since the Insurrection” from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, 2022

I admit it.  A week ago (January 6, to be exact) I spent the day glowering.  It’s been one year since Trump incited his white trash minions to overthrow democracy, so why in the world is this fascist phony still walking free?? 

By bedtime, my head was ready to explode!  Thankfully, Stephen Colbert saved the day (and my head) with this AWESOME show-opener.

1. “To Sir With Love” (sung by) Lulu, 1967

I actually began watching this updated video of Lulu’s biggest hit around 3 months ago when it was first posted on Youtube.  Love the song, the artist, love the movie.  Sidney Poitier’s recent passing makes it even more poignant.


Friday, January 7, 2022

A few days ago, there was this… and then this, and then this

A few days ago, my sister Shawn sent me this photo of my 17 year old niece Sophia and her cat Flynn.  She said Sophia had been busy in her puzzle workbook for over an hour, while Flynn sat beside her and watched the entire time.

I got such a kick out of this picture, and said I needed to come up with a reason to include it in my next blog.  Well, here we are a few days later and I haven’t come up with anything.  So I’m posting it anyway!

It seems I’ve been waiting for Sophia to have some sort of meltdown since she brought home her very first report card with all A’s and my sister whooped it up.

I’d think to myself sure Shawn, enjoy it while it lasts.  Because when Sophia becomes a teen who’s tired of cracking the books, and joins some chick gang where they wear white lipstick and hang out at the filling station or candy store, don’t say I didn’t warn you!  Thankfully, that never happened.  Soph is going to be a senior next fall, is still sweet & upbeat like she was in elementary school, and still cranking out those straight A’s.

Also a few days ago, I decided to make my very first withdrawal from my IRA.  It was only $3,000 but I wanted to see how simple the process was, now that I’m 60 and meet the age requirement for penalty free withdrawals.  They asked me three questions:  1) How much do you want  2) Would you like us to withhold 10 or 20% Federal tax for you 3) Where do you want your cash deposited.

I got my money the next day.  It still felt weird though, like I had no business touching those funds.  I’ve had this retirement account since my 20s.  

I told my friend Danielle about tapping some of that work-loot, and she said “Promise me you’ll do something fun with it!”   I thought “That’s not how it works Danielle, I plan to reduce the monthly sell from my personal portfolio by $250 to compensate for that 3K advance”  but I just laughed and told her okay, I will. 

Well, I have had this laptop since 2012.  I sure could use a new one.  Eye rolling smile

And finally, a few nights ago I was getting ready for bed around 1am, and thought I’d run my garbage down the hall to the trash room so I wouldn’t have to do it in the morning.  When I got down there and opened the door, I was surprised to see my friend & neighbor Opal inside (I haven’t seen her since before Thanksgiving).  I think we both jumped about a foot.

She said “You almost gave me a heart attack!”   I apologized and said I wasn’t expecting to see her at such a late hour either.  She said “All I’ve got on is this ratty robe and nightgown, I didn’t feel like changing so I just waited until everyone was asleep!” 

I told her it was perfectly acceptable to be caught wearing a ratty robe at this time of night and she said “Well it’s all I’ve been wearing for 3 days anyway!”

I asked her if she had a nice Christmas and she said yes, her and the kid (her 40 year old daughter who lives with her) went with Opal’s sister to Ohio, to spend a couple days with family there.  She asked me if I did anything for Christmas, I told her not really.  I got a couple slices of ham from the hot foods counter at Kuhn’s Market on Christmas Eve, made scalloped potatoes and raspberry lava cookies, watched a couple holiday movies.

Opal looked down and shook her head no a couple times, then chuckled a little.  She said “I don’t mean to laugh, but your life is so depressing!”  

What the—how do you respond to something like that?  I thought about wishing her a Happy New Year and asking her to pass my wishes along to Little Edie down the hall at Grey Gardens, but I just shrugged my shoulders and said oh well, and goodnight.