Day 60 – Stories of COVID-19 and Sheltering-In-Place

Even though she was wearing a mask, I knew there was a lot of lip-pointing going on. She was signalling me to be careful around them and to alert me when they were committing any quarantine faux pas.

Thursday, May 14, 2020 – Live to…WHAT? 60 Days and I’m still doing this? It was only supposed to be 14!


Sixty days! 60! Six-zero! LX! It was still Winter when we entered into sheltering-in-place and now we are halfway through Spring. In barely a month we’ll be starting Summer. This is bizarre! Truly, truly bizarre!

Don’t Mess with Her!

There are Trump’s lockdown orders. Yeah, right! Only until you get bored or need a Big Mac and, hey, I don’t need a mask!

There are Governor Hogan’s lockdown orders. Pretty serious and, you know what, we will shut you down if you try to mess with them. But, you know, we’re going to loosen them up a bit now so, be good…please. (Yeah, right, Larry. You have a lot more faith in Stupid People than I do.)

And then…there are Clemencia’s lockdown orders. Don’t try it…don’t even think about it…you will live without pizza.

Clemencia scared the bejeezus out of three young men who came to our home today. The first was an HVAC technician who came to do the semi-annual check on our system to make sure it was ready for the Summer. Yeah…the Summer…since we’re going to be in the house all Summer. The HVAC technician told us exactly what we knew he would tell us. Our system was old and needed replacement.

We shocked him by agreeing with him. He shocked us by having the salespeople at our house before we could get that sentence. They must have been parked around the corner.

This is the first time anyone has been in our home since early March and Clemencia was ready for them. We were masked up. They were masked up. She made sure they did not open or close any doors. She made sure they knew we expected them to keep at least six feet away from us. She was ready with a spray bottle of disinfectant for anything they touched.

Even though she was wearing a mask, I knew there was a lot of lip-pointing going on. She was signalling me to be careful around them and to alert me when they were committing any quarantine faux pas.

The first guy crossed her when he failed to keep his mask up over his nose. She had to remind him a couple of time to pull it up. After the second time, all she had to do was lip-point and he’d apologize and pull it it. Such fun to watch! The second two guys crossed her by staying too long. Unfortunately for them, the sales meeting took forever due to a glitch in their credit approval system.

Clemencia’s student knew she is very nice and formidable – something our visitor’s learned today.

Clemencia stepped away from a Spanish class at one point to motion to me…from behind them…to move them along. When “somebody” didn’t quite get what she was motioning about, she finally spoke up and said, “This is taking way too long for people like us who are at high risk.” That scared them, though it didn’t speed things up much because the things prolonging the visit were out of their control. Still, from that point on, they were aware that she could come back through the door at any minute and that would be it.

Three times after that they said something like, “We can take care of all of this later over the phone. We don’t want your wife to have to come back out.” Then, I seized the moment to become sinister and speak in a slow, spooky tone.

“Oh, no, no, no. I insist. Stay. Please. She wants you to stay…really. We don’t want to have to do all of this later over the phone. Oh, no, not at all! Let’s get it done while you still can…I mean, while you are still here. It will be fine…just fine,” then I chortled and smiled my best creepy smile. That seemed to help sharpen their focus on their task.

We finally got the deal done and we actually got a good deal. Let’s just say that in this scenario, I got to be the “good cop,” and Clemencia got to be the “bad cop.” She loved it!

When the two left, they assured her that they already had alerted the installation crew (which will be here at 8:30 AM tomorrow morning) about the house rules. Very wise, very wise, indeed!

We haven’t had so much fun in…oh…about eight weeks! And, they learned a few things about physical distancing, mask wearing, and a behaviors that need to go with staying safe in the time of COVID-19. They even learned not to mess with a woman empowered by the truth of public health. For my part, I may have debunked one or two COVID-19 conspiracy theories.

I sometimes refer to Clemencis as “Ms. CDC” because, for as long as I’ve known her, she has approached infection control and all things public health from a strictly Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standard. When she came to the DC area from Arizona it was to work with the Epidemic Intelligence Service. She leapt at that opportunity because she, and many others, saw the CDC as setting the “gold standard” in public health at that time.

That experience profoundly impacted her and it is what informs her insights today regarding COVID-19. So far, she is batting one thousand. She predicted COVID-19 to be bad, and it has been. She pushed and prodded me to buy more beans than I thought we’d ever need in a lifetime and an extra bundle of toilet paper at BJ’s Warehouse in early February. And I’m thankful we did. Her instincts have been spot-on about this thing and I listen very carefully to her counsel. I even do my best to follow it though I’ve not been perfect.

We learned this evening that we have a bit more time to spend in our home. The Prince George’s County Executive announced tonight that we will be sheltering in place at least through June 1 – even though many other parts of the state are opening up…at least just a little.

In addition to monitoring our health and COVID-19 behavior, Clemencia kindly lets me tell some stories about her in this blog. I feel very fortunate to be spending this lockdown with her. If we both make it through this without contracting the virus, it will be because of her.

Lessons from Mom for COVID-19

In my blog on Monday I invited people to send in pieces of wisdom they received from their mom’s in the past which now may prove to be useful during the pandemic. Thank you to everyone who sent me items.

I asked people to also let me know if they were sons or daughters as I wanted to see if Clemencia’s assessment might have been correct – that my list was more likely to be what son’s heard than what daughter’s heard. After reviewing the list of entries I think she might be right. All respondents were daughters. See what you think:

  • Always use the bathroom before leaving home. (Afterall, who knows what germs lurk in public restrooms these days!)
  • Don’t ever cut your bangs by yourself again!
  • Make sure you have clean underwear on.
  • Don’t talk to strangers.
  • Respect your elders.
  • Stop talking.
  • Don’t speak unless asked.
  • Be good to yourself, and in turn you can be good for others.

I wasn’t sure about the advice about clean underwear. Then, I remembered the blog I wrote recently about a question that is puzzling the scientific world. You know the one…does flatulence spread COVID-19? If underwear is the hiney’s mask, then, yes, this one does make sense. Again, thanks to everyone who contributed!

The Adventures of Chickenman

In Episode 29 Chickenman has an unfortunate incident with the Chicken Dissolver in the Chicken Cave.

A Different Side of Chris Mann

I’ve shared several of Chris Mann’s very funny music videos that he has created from his home, all related to COVID-19. This is one that is not funny but very touching. Enjoy and share – especially with someone you know who is on the frontline for us.

Stay safe, be well, keep calm, keep washing your hands, keep wearing your mask, and keep doing everything you can to stay safe. The country may be “re-opening,” but Coronavirus has never stopped working.


Author: The Driveler

Tom Klaus is the Driveler. On March 16, 2020, the first day of the Novel Coronavirus shelter-in-place order for his state, he started writing a daily blog to keep himself from stressing too much about the pandemic situation. He thought the daily blogging would last for only a couple of week but it stretched on to 77 consecutive days. Then he continued writing daily for a while after that as well. At some point the blog became The Daily Drivel...mostly because he was mostly writing the stream of consciousness drivel that was pouring out of his head, running down his face, and, sometimes, out of his mouth. In November 2020 he launched The Daily Drivel as a free-standing website/blog.

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