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Mar. 24th, 2020

Damn this pollen.

It was nice today, for now, suppose to rain this afternoon.

So I opened a few windows. Mainly to make Morrigan happy, but to also air out the house.

As I opened the side window in the downstairs office, my nose immediately stuffed up and the persistant cough started up again.

I regret deciding to open the windows now.

Damn pollen.

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Mar. 23rd, 2020

Status- holding steady

Not on lockdown here yet.

Mark got his 'essential personnal papers' for when we do go into a lockdown/shelter in place status. So he can still go to work.

He says Norwell, where they have another office, goes on lockdown tomorrow at noon. So it's coming for Virginia as well. Likely later this week.

Just means we'll either have to go grocery shopping on weekends, as soon as the stores open, or before he goes to work on Weds so I can be dropped back off at home.

Either way, we'll still have funds coming in, so that'll help.

Got our first positive case of the virus in our County this weekend. A 70yr old woman who is self isolating. Every County surrounding us now has at least one case. It's slowly moving west into the more rural areas, unsurprisingly.

Today, it's raining, so can't do my mile+ walk. Hopefully it washes the pollen out of the air though, so it'll give my sinuses a break.

Need to get milk, eggs, yogurt and a few vitamins, maybe a package of toilet paper and paper towel to have as back up, at the grocery store this week. Here's hoping.

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Mar. 20th, 2020


We have our first Covid-19 case in SouthWest Virginia.

It was really just a matter of time, honestly.

Online martial arts classes are...interesting. They put up the curriculum for the day, with videos on how to do whatever it is. And we post short videos of ourselves doing the curriculum.

We hates it.

We hate videoing ourselves and then watching ourselves. Because then, we nitpick every little thing about ourselves. Ugh.

But, well, it's mostly working and it's helping us to actually practice *more*, so that's something.

I get the reasoning for the daily briefings, both state and federal, but let me tell you, the anxiety that they raise isn't helping. Ugh. So most of the time, I go do other stuff until they're done.

Today, I find out how well our new washer can handle a queen sized comforter, by stripping the bed, and then flipping the top mattress. Of course now my shoulder hates me.

Now, I need to go practice intermediate kata and fighting combos 10,11, 12 before videoing tonight. }:P

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Mar. 18th, 2020

Getting my steps in...

That's for sure.

Went for a run/walk this morning, about .89 miles. That's 2 laps up and down the driveway, about have of it at a jog. That's getting easier at least.

Then I took Mark to work and hit the grocery stores on the way home. Most are now closed overnight for cleaning and restock of whatever they can- which is *a lot*.

I kept telling myself not to be too optimistic, that I'll be lucky to get what I can get, if it's half my list, that'll have to do. Especially since there's others who won't even be able to do that.

Stayed away from our lone, small Food Lion in town- there's plenty who live here who can't go 25+ miles to another store, so they'll need what our local store has more than me.

Hit up Kroger first. As I was going in, an older woman said good luck! She had several bags of things, but obviously wasn't a hoarder. Several other people also had full carts, but didn't appear to have dozens of any one item, so that was hopeful.

An hour later, I had 3/4 of my list and a few items that hadn't been on my list. That was *amazing* to me. I only got 2-3 of each item, to restock our existing supplies mainly, but they had Kraft Mac & Cheese on sale 10 for $10, so I grabbed 6 boxes of those. My niece likes to eat that, so we keep multiple boxes on hand. Passed by the only apple juice they had left- it was a WIC item, best left for those that need it and I can go elsewhere. Cat litter was surprisingly empty. I'm glad Morrigan isn't picky about her litter. Unlike her dry food. Ugh.

Getting pet food yesterday was fun. Mark had to go to 2 different stores to find dry dog food that both dogs could eat if needed. Chewy delayed our dry cat food order, so we had to find that as well. Luckily PetCo had it in stock, I was able to buy it online and have him pick it up at the front of the store. Maybe next week, I can order a back up bag from Chewy, after the buying slows again.

Hit Walmart for KT tape, Tiger Balm, and more cat litter. Found sugar and rice there. Found a creamer Mark likes there too, didn't need it but it's not an easy to find flavor, so I grabbed one. No hot dogs,not surprisingly.

Hit the larger Food Lion we go by on the way home and got apple juice, they had hot dogs 2 for $4, so stocked up on those. And realized we needed hot dog buns. Huh. Bread aisle was empty. Managed to find a couple packages of buns, on sale, so grabbed them. A package can sit in the fridge, it'll keep until we need it.

2.5 hours later, I had every single thing on my list as well as other things I forgot to put on it. And no, toilet paper and paper towels were not on my list, as we had already stocked up on those, 2 weeks ago.

I got lucky. It was a good paycheck week and I was able to drive around and go to stores we wouldn't normally go to.

There are so many who *can't*, who don't have that mobility or transportation, let alone the funds to be able to go shopping for extra stuff, let alone necessities, more than once a month. People need to remember them. If you can go to a store further away, *do so*. Leave the closer stores for those who *can't*.

Still no virus cases in my part of the state. Knock on wood that it stays that way.

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Mar. 16th, 2020

Various and Sundry

Caena is doing well.

Came home Sat morning. They didn't have to put a drain in and it looks like they got all of the cyst out. She looks so much better now. Lots of stitches, and she'll have a gnarly scar, but she's ok.}:)

Her appetite is definitely back up. She raced to the kitchen last night and danced while we were prepping their dinners. And today, she refused to eat the Clavomox in her food , then proceeded to fight me when I tried to force it into her mouth. It took 4 tries to get her to swallow it. That's my girl!

Took the dogs on a long (1.19 miles) walk through the woods yesterday. Found what we think are rabbit warrens. Discovered that there's another abandoned barn structure at the end of the private airstrip behind the house. We'll have to go down there sometime when the weather is better, to get some photos. Otherwise, it was quiet and peaceful.

Our local Food Lion was thoroughly picked over yesterday. It doesn't help that the other small, local grocery store shut down 2 weeks ago (and won't reopen until sometime in April, under new ownership), creating a food desert in that part of town as well as our Food Lion being half the size of a regular one. And we have no ethnic food stores here either.

We did our grocery shopping last Weds, and luckily, thought to stock up on some dry goods and canned goods. This Weds, we'll go get our usual weekly perishables. Hopefully.

It started with a rumor that our all toilet paper comes from China(it doesn't) and escalated from there. People are trying to price gouge and well, it's illegal to do in at least 38 states, so they're now finding themselves in trouble with the law.

The panic shopping here is odd. It's not even in our half of the state, it's all on the coast. But, well, human nature. Yesterday when I went to see if I could get some coleslaw, half the egg supply was gone, almost all the milk. There were 3 lone paper towel rolls, at the back of the top shelf where no one could reach them. The canned goods were distinctly reduced- not cleared completely, but definitely well shopped. The fresh meats had no chicken left. It's the cheapest, so not surprised. Glad we got a couple packages of thighs last week.

But the *freezer section*. That was practically empty of frozen pizzas and dinners. Seriously.

Mark just texted that they were being given the option to telecommute now until the 27th, if they so chose. Our internet being what it is, he's going in unless they physically close the building. He asked if I was ok with that, I said it's not in our area, once it reaches here, we'll reassess.

Martial arts classes have been cut back, so they have time to wipe the dojo floor mats and such down between classes. It only makes sense. We also have to bring our own water now. The water dispenser will be removed for the duration. Not sure what this will mean for the black belt test. I imagine if/when it gets worse, it'll be postponed.

I'm actually ok with that.

Talked to my parents on Friday. They're of the generation that grew up with shortages and probably are best suited for knowing how to prepare for a crisis like this. I'm glad they passed that on to us and we know to keep at least a month, if not 2 months, worth of dry goods and canned goods on hand. Though, I'm pretty sure we had 6 months worth growing up. Heh.

Knowing how to grow your own food, and how to preserve it, will definitely come in handy this spring and summer.

Meanwhile, keep your heads down, wash your hands and stay well out there.

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Feb. 13th, 2020

So tired...

Of rain.

We had maybe a day, day and a half, reprieve from rain, and it's right back at it again.

Gloomy, overcast, west and grey. Everything *squishes*.

So tired of it.

My joints are too. So tired of the aches.

We've gotten to walk once this week. Well, twice really, but yesterday's walk was cut shirt because, yup, it started to rain. Ugh.

At our walking pace, we're looking at a 25 minute 1.5 miles. Which isn't bad, but we want it to be better. Sit ups and push ups, we rock at. So, for our black belt testing, on the physical side, we need 150 points total. Between sit ups and push ups, we get almost 200 points. So if we massively suck at the 1.5 mile run, well, we'll still pass. Heh.

Providing of course, I don't manage to tweak my shoulder again. Seriously, was taking my gi top off on Tuesday, moved just right and sharp, pulling pain in my right shoulder. Made doing stuff Weds in C.O.B.R.A. class difficult. I ended up stopping using that arm for half the class.}:/

Woke up to it being stiff and sore. The rain doesn't help either.

So tired of rain.

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Feb. 5th, 2020

Misled is a good term for this feeling.

We made a decision last night, after a meeting after martial arts class, that essentially confirmed what we'd known at the back of our heads for the last almost 5 months now.

When we first started with the CIT (Certified Instructor Training) program, it was because they had asked us to eventually become instructors. That was well over 2 years ago.

About 8 months ago, they announced we'd be doing STORM training, which was a path to becoming instructors. So we went through and completed the course to become what they said was 'blue tops'.

A martial arts event happened in Lexington last summer, we were unable to attend due to finances. One of the others in the CIT program did. I had a bad feeling after that event, one I couldn't explain.

All well and good. And in class, they kept up with using us to lead the classes in warm ups, occasionally to train a technique, etc.

Gradually that stopped. They said they'd return it to it. They never did. They started getting on us for things we weren't doing, for things *full instructors* were supposed to do, for things they *said* were happening *outside the dojo* (case in point- they claimed one of the parents overheard one of the CIT swearing in front of the kids. We know for a fact we never do that. But the implication was that it was either me or Mark.) That was the first time I thought, I don't want to do this anymore.

4, almost 5 months ago- last fall, they said the course for red top was coming up, that it was a streaming thing. WE explained, along with the other guy, that none of us could stream. We were told about an app we could use to conference call in. That we'd be told when it was starting.

Only we never were. And the other guy was. Occasionally after C.O.B.R.A. class, he'd be called into the office to do this course. We knew this because once we overheard them. That was the second time I thought, I don't want to do this any more. I should have listened.

The other guy shows up, in December, in a red top. We looked at each other with knowing looks. We had deliberately been left out of that course. I think it was then we both figured out, we were never going to become instructors.

He went to black top and asst. instructor the week after he went full black belt.

The January meeting was cancelled. We weren't given an exact reason as to why.

Last night, we had a meeting, where upon its announced we are no longer CIT, we are instead 'Leadership', ie, model students. Only, we would be model students doing things instructors are supposed to be doing, like greeting parents, greeting new kids and getting to know them, then getting to know their parents, lining kids up, holding pads for pad drills, cleaning the dojo, etc.

Mark asked if we were still to become instructors and we were told, quite firmly, that was a whole other conversation that needed to be had. That it was a three year program that required a lot of hours and commitment to do. Never you mind we'd already put in over a year. Never you mind we'd already had that conversation.

Let me tell you, my poker face was on point.

On the way home, man, we vented. Betrayed. Irritated. Disappointed. Discouraged. All those and more.

So, we decided after tossing and turning for a good portion of the night, after investigating why someone drove down our driveway to the empty house next door at 1230am and drove through their yard, that we were going to step down from this 'Leadership' group thing.

It was not what we had originally signed up. It was not what we had been asked to join and it was not what we had been told we were working towards.

We both also had noticed over the last month to almost 2 months, a distancing between us and the full instructors and the guy that is now an asst. instructor. We decided we didn't want to deal with this crap anymore.

so tonight, at COBRA class, we will inform them that tomorrow will be our last class as former CIT/Leadership. That we had decided it was in our best interest instead to step back as students and focus on the upcoming black belt pretesting and testing. That we'd revisit the possibility of working towards becoming instructors again after May.

And next Tuesday, we'll go back to wearing our regular uniforms and attending only our class instead of both our class and the beginner/intermediate class.

I rather feel like they've done this to themselves, by telling us one thing, then excluding us and preventing us from actually *doing* that thing, then changing the program completely, all while deliberately excluding us from pre-class talks, from meetings and generally making us feel like outsiders. They could have just been upfront and told us they changed their minds and no longer wanted us to become instructors. We might have been ok with it then.

But instead, they wanted us to do the work of instructors,while still being *students* without us actually *becoming* instructors and I'm sorry, but it doesn't work that way for us.

Mark said he actually *slept* after we had our discussion and made our decision. Quite frankly, so did I.

Which means, for us, this is what we need to do.

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