Friday, May 29, 2020

Rain, Rain, You Can Definitely Go Away!

We are well into a second week of a rainy pattern here in the greater Charlotte area. It is starting to get to me a bit. It is hard to just stay inside the house, and it's just sad when the thing you look forward to the most is a shopping trip to Harris Teeters. It was my turn yesterday to do the weekly grocery shopping, and I was excited to get out of the house. At the store there were still no cleaning supplies, but there were a few packages of toilet paper for a change. I didn't need any, so I left them for someone who does. Meat was pretty well stocked, except that the deli has no ham. The closing of some meat packing plants in the US due to Covid-19 is starting to impact what shows up in the meat department at the grocery store.

Muddy Rivers Distillery
Speaking of cleaning supplies, there is a local rum distiller here called Muddy Waters. They have converted some of their lines to make hand sanitizer with their alcohol. Isn't that awesome? It is a thinner product while still meeting federal guidelines, so you can not only sanitize your hands with it but can also spray down surfaces to kill bacteria. It smells a bit like rum and is non-sticky, unlike some of the products I've gotten in the past. We picked up a gallon jug of it along with a pump bottle to refill our small hand sanitizer bottles. Oh, and we may have grabbed some rum while we were at it. We like to support small businesses when we can. I'll just have to make sure I don't drink the wrong one. Ha!

We were able to make another trip to the community garden to do some weeding and pruning of the tomato plants. They have many tomatoes and lots of blooms on them. I'm looking forward to a good harvest. We picked quite a bit of the kale to donate to the community relief organization, which uses the vegetables for Meals on Wheels and others in need of healthy food. While we were in Mount Holly, I dropped off a face mask for my hair stylist, who was commenting when I got my hair cut that none of the ones she had fit her well. She is required to wear a mask, so I offered to make her one to try out. If it works out okay, I'll make her a few more as they shouldn't be worn more than one day in a row without being washed.

Mount Holly Community Garden
Here is a pretty cloud formation that appeared late yesterday afternoon during a rare break from the rain. As Joni Mitchell sang, "I really don't know clouds at all."

clouds at Imagery

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Phase 2 Hairdo

Uptown Salon
As I have been writing here, we have kept very close to home and limited the number of people we are around since the Mount Holly and Gaston County Stay at Home Orders went into effect on March 27th, three days before the state order went into effect. With Phase 2 allowing the reopening of hair salons, I thought long and hard about if I wanted to chance going to get my haircut. To say that my hair looks like crap is an understatement. My last cut was on March 3rd, and my hair grows fast.

To make my decision, I looked at what the state was requiring salons to do in order to open their doors. Then I read what safety precautions my salon was putting into place. And finally I talked with my stylist about my concerns. After all that, I went in for a haircut at 9:00 this morning. They are required to operate at 50% capacity, so only four stylists were there, each with one customer. No one who is not in a chair is allowed in the salon - you must wait outside or in your car, and the stylist will text you when you can come in. The only things you are allowed to bring into the salon is a form of payment and your phone. No purses or bags allowed.
first haircut in 11 weeks

As the first appointment of the morning for my gal, I did not have to wait, and I used a sanitizing wipe to open the door on the way in and out.  The stylist chairs had been moved further apart with two being placed on each side of a wall, dividing the space in half. The only person who came closer to me than 6' was my stylist. She was masked the whole time, and so was I though I had to hold my mask over my nose and mouth while she shampooed me so I didn't get the elastic of my mask wet. In all honesty, I felt less concern about being in the salon than I do at a grocery store. At a certain point in time, we have to get back to a somewhat normal life, and getting this haircut was certainly a way to lift my spirits, which is important as well.

community garden plot
As our community garden is just down the street from the salon, I dropped in to see how our plot is doing. It is looking so good! I forgot to bring any tools along, so I'll need to go back and prune the tomato plants. They have gotten huge and are shading out the pepper plants. I also need to tie them up some more so the stems don't break. It was great to see all the bees buzzing around the marigold plants.

Last night we had another beautiful sunset over the lake in the backyard. This photo was taken due north. It was as if the cloud grabbed all the sunset and held it inside.

sunset on Mountain Island Lake

Friday, May 22, 2020

North Carolina Reopening - Phase 2

St. Louis Cardinals masks
Governor Cooper decided to go ahead with the reopening of North Carolina. Effective as of 5:00 p.m. today, the state moves from Stay at Home to Safer at Home, easing certain restrictions to help revive the economy while still protecting public health. The new order lifts the statewide Stay at Home Order and moves to the recommendation that you stay at home if you are sick, age 65 or older, or suffer from high risk underlying conditions such as chronic lung disease, asthma, heart conditions, diabetes, etc. It is further recommended that you wear a mask in public, practice social distancing by staying 6' away from other people when out and about, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.

Restaurants can now offer inside dining but with the number of patrons restricted and at least 6' between diners; child care centers can now serve all children and not just those of essential workers; tattoo shops, massage parlors and hair salons can reopen with a 50% reduction in capacity, requirement that masks be worn by the employees, maintaining 6' between all customers, and new specifications on sanitizing practices; swimming pools both indoors and outdoors can open at 50% capacity; and there is a limit of 10 people for indoor social gatherings and 25 people for outdoor get-togethers. Restrictions on other activities and venues that were covered under Phase 1 remain in place.
new signage at our pickleball courts

So what does this change in my life? Not a lot, quite frankly. I may end up getting a haircut if I feel my salon is safe, but it will be a long time before I will eat inside a restaurant. We  have not even done carry out food for the past 57 days. I don't want to gather inside with 9 other people, and certainly will not be with 24 others even if it is outside. There is just too much that is still unknown about this virus.

I will feel comfortable playing outdoor pickleball in my own community as we have 0 cases of the virus here. But I don't intend to play indoors anytime soon. I'll still avoid going inside of any store unless it is to buy food. And I'll continue to wear my mask when I do so even though there is now public shaming going on towards those who wear one, as well as shaming those who do not wear a mask. People in this country have gotten to be so disrespectful. It is shameful. Obviously everyone needs to make their own choice about what they are comfortable doing during these uncertain times. But the judging needs to stop, unless someone is blatantly breaking the law or purposefully putting someone else in danger.

In the meantime, I will continue to try to de-stress by enjoying the beauty and antics of the colorful creatures in the backyard.

wildlife of Mountain Island Lake