Blue-Sky Problems

jar light 0420
Even with rocks, the wind pushed one of these off the deck and broke it. Waaay in the distance, in Lynn’s Stonehenge Project, you can see her newest spinny, which is getting quite the workout these days.

We haven’t talked about the weather in a long time — it feels overdue. And yet, even as I set out, we all know the conversation is going to evolve, possibly devolve, into a virus discussion. They all do.

As Ashton Altieri, weather prognosticator for CBS Denver, was busy touting the “bluebird” day he’s calling for for the entire state, I was looking out my window at a solid wall of gray. Top to bottom, bottom to top. This being Gunnison, the sky has already peeled back to show that why yes, it is blue up top despite a ring of gray clouding our hill-rumpled horizons.

Virus or no virus, this has not been a tremendous spring. It’s no last year, snow upon snow all the way into June, but every tease of warmer weather seems to be blindsided by another bout of cold. And wind. Lots of wind. It blew so much one day that one of our house-warming-gift solar lights blew off its deck post and broke.

As a precaution, we lowered the remaining lights to the deck floor. Yesterday, a day after I put a chair back out on the deck, Lynn put the lights back up on the posts — and immediately summoned the wind. We didn’t lose any more lights, but I am losing my patience with the wind.

My schedule has been screwy anyway, so I don’t know how much bike riding to work I might have been doing no matter where I lived, but when I look down that loooong stretch of unprotected highway, right past flags snappily unfurled, first blowing north, then south, then east — well, the bikes have remained in the garage.

The bike problem is my last intractable problem to solve with the new house. Well, that and what to do with a garage bay full of crap for the Yard Sale That Is Never Going to Happen, and what to do with the pictures and posters we have for which we don’t have wall space.

So there are still some problems, one of which is that I’m still wearing my winter coat despite assurances from Mr. Altieri that it’s going to be a gorgeous day statewide and Denver is headed for the high 70s.

Perhaps these blue skies are in keeping with our state mood, probably intended to jubilant today as we “re-open.” There are many who think our very-much-a-Democrat governor is making a horrible mistake, and I might be one of them. Along with the weather forecast, CBS Denver provided its daily virus count, and the death toll in the state continues to rise, 600-some as of this morning’s report.

We have not needed any of the field hospitals set up last month as precautions, although Weld County is apparently right in the thick of a terrible outbreak of virus cases. As we learned yesterday in Dr. Pete’s Sunday Virus Lecture, the physical size of this virus is huge compared to other virii (I’m almost sure that ought to be the plural, based on sound alone), and it comes with a large number of pairs of something (I sure hope there isn’t going to be a test — I didn’t take notes), which is why it’s impacting so many parts of so many people.

[I hope you understand Pete knows exactly what he’s talking about. Any mistakes made in reporting what he said are those of his pupil, who was never a whiz at science and was thwarted in what would have been the best experiment of chemistry class: what happens when you hook both ends of rubber tubing up to two high-pressure faucets and turn them on. Sadly, we’ll never know.]

Here in Gunnison our positive cases are still trending upward as well, one positive test every day or two. But as someone thoughtfully noted, “We’ve only had four deaths.” Well, as long as it’s only four.

As we move toward re-opening, nothing has changed. We don’t have much more access to testing; we don’t have better or faster tests; at this point it seems scientists are unclear if any antibodies are going to help you not catch the virus a second time (or maybe it lingers in a sort-of-dormant fashion to give “false negative” readings on your tests, making you think you’re over it when you’re not) . . .

The only thing we really have to go on is that the county, riding its self-congratulatory wave to success off the backs of the smallest businesses in town, did very little, if anything, to regulate the large businesses, where people, entire families, have been congregating since this began, and our curve has still flattened. I guess; we’re still increasing cases, although hospitalizations seem to have slowed dramatically.

Per new, perhaps improved, county order, retail businesses can open, sort of, on Friday. Each business is supposed to fill out, for its own edification because it doesn’t get filed anywhere but inside the store, a safety form reviewing how it plans to keep staff and customers safe.

It didn’t address things like: what do we do with customers who want or need to use the restroom? What about people who want to try clothing on? What happens to the clothing they try on but don’t want? Opening the door has the potential to be more expensive than being open the way we already are, by phone, e-mail and on-line.

I also don’t know what we do about the screen-printing customers who come in and sit down knee to knee with Kara to go over clothing and promotional options, and who then move to the graphic design desk to work on their logo. I’m thinking the solution is to put a computer on the retail counter, which I plan to block off with either plastic or plexiglas, so that the customer can see from six or more feet away — but that means I have to know how to be able to call up Kara or Vann’s screen on a second computer. I’m as good with stuff like that as I am with science. If we hook some rubber tubing to both computers and turn the pressure on . . .

So I have problems. Wind. Bikes. Virus. On the plus side, the gray has pretty much given way to white, which is slowly shrinking behind all the hills, leaving a big blue sky behind. I’m still wearing my winter coat to work, though.

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