Quarantimes Week 36: Starting Fires Both Actual and Metaphorical

November 17th, 2020

Eliza continues to be obsessed with fire. On a walk the other day she launched into her questions:

“How do you start a fire?”

I demure.

“Can you just tell me everything you know about fire?”

I throw out some very vague facts.

“Can you ask Daddy how to start a fire and then tell me?”

Apparently Daddy told her she’s too young for that information.

“Can you just try rubbing these two sticks together for the rest of the way home?”

I oblige. Nothing happens, obviously.

“Do we have any flint?”

She still doesn’t know what flint is. I have to admit, I don’t really know either. Nevertheless, I was just bored enough that when we got home from the walk, I decided to show them how to start a fire.


Now that our lives have become so insular, finding ways to pass the time on weekends has become… interesting. This weekend, in addition to starting small fires in the driveway, we spent a lot of time practicing ballet along to YouTube instructional videos while wearing awesome hand-me-down costumes (thanks R & L!).


It’s going to be a long winter, but I am 100% committed to showing up for it, because like it or not, COVID is happening.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Speaking of which: “Do you even know anyone who’s had COVID?” is a very loaded question I see posed a lot by COVID skeptics. As if the whole thing is a hoax the nearly retired, already filthy rich, notoriously philanthropic Bill Gates devised to make himself even richer. I have quite literally heard people exclaim their conviction that Gates is behind this whole thing.

I pay very little mind to conspiracy theories. As a writer in the technology world I am quite familiar with the idea of spurious correlations — that’s when you manipulate facts and data to draw a connection between two quite unrelated things:

Thank you Tyler Vigen

I do know people who have had COVID. Quite a few people, actually. People in my extended family, friends near and far flung. I know people who have had COVID and it was a sniffle. I know people who have had COVID and describe it as hell. I know knew people who had COVID and died. Notably, I live in Vermont, the state that’s so far had the best record imaginable.

But that’s changing, as we head into this long dark winter. Personally, I am no longer a COVID-test virgin. I had a fevery, miserable cold and had to get tested, since my husband works at a nursing home and my kids go to school in person. I’ll just start by saying that I was negative, thankfully.

I took both a rapid test and the regular deep-state nasal swab because I had a feeling the latter would take a while to come back, and for the sake of the above stakeholders, I needed quicker answers. But I do not entirely trust the rapid test, so I wanted a backup. I am glad I did it that way, because it put my mind at ease. But the whole experience validated something I had suspected all along. 

Anyone who thinks that it’s easy to get a test, and that testing is happening all over the place, quickly, is flat-out wrong. I had to make a series of phone calls to line up a same-day COVID test. My physician recommended I not use their slow process. The Walgreens with drive-through testing in town didn’t have an appointment for days.

In the end, I went into the local urgent care clinic. I was there for two hours, sharing a waiting room with other patients for half of that — although I was there with COVID symptoms, to get a COVID test — and I overheard several of the other patients divulge that they were just there for routine physicals. WTF. I tried not to breathe much.

I had to sit alone in a smaller room lit for interrogation, for a half hour, on complete tenterhooks,  waiting for the results of the rapid test. But that was nothing compared to the results of the regular test, which took NINE DAYS. In the end, they sent me a letter — yes, in the MAIL — to let me know of my negative results. I didn’t actually get that letter until day ten, but I called on day nine because I could not take the suspense anymore.

All of this to say, if you think the COVID rates are going up because testing is increasing, newsflash: the COVID is there whether we test for it or not. But it’s still not that easy to get tested, even in Vermont.

It’s a relief to me that the governor just shut it back down for a while. I am 100% on board with this maneuver and look forward to seeing you guys on the other side. Until then, it’s going to be a long, dark winter with lots of fire lessons, YouTube ballet, and pet torture.



What I’m reading:

It’s been awhile since I read the Modern Love column in the New York Times, and this one is great: How I Got Caught Up in a Global Romance Scam

From the AP: Hate crimes in US reach highest level in more than a decade — Are we surprised that hate crimes have gone up in the era of 45? No. No we are not.

What I’m listening to:

Still making my way through the awesome podcast You’re Wrong About and the series on Princess Diana which is titillating in a totally escapist way. This morning I learned that when Chuck and Di got a divorce, the kids — being heirs to the throne and all — were considered literal property of the crown. Di got to see them every other weekend. Can you even imagine what this was like for her? The poor dear. 

What I’m working on: 

A customer-spotlight blog for Box: Alexion Pharmaceuticals: Technology enables more talent, better outcomes, and longer lives

A case study for the Swedish web development firm 14islands: Primer

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