A Kinder Approach to the Corona Virus

I have to honestly say that I’m absolutely so proud, so thrilled, so smiling at the world right now. There was no mass panic, no fighting at the supermarket. None. As a matter of fact, everyone was actually quite helpful with each other. I saw a young man, perhaps about 25, let an elderly woman with one hundred million items in her cart go before him, even though he only had about 5 things in his cart.

Of course, the shelves were almost bare, but not as bad as I thought they would be. Yes, total loss on toiler paper and cleaning supplies. But, the lovely woman at the Citgo that I see almost every morning had quite a few and was selling them CHEAPER than a gas station normally does.

You know how it is at a convenience store. You pay for the convenience, right? So, a roll of toilet paper will probably cost you about $1.50…..for a single roll. She was selling them for 75 cents. I was paying with quarters.

She then asked when I bought that roll if I was totally out of toilet paper. I said yes and she gave me another roll for free.

(I think she could see that if I was only buying one roll, I probably didn’t have an expendable amount of money to buy all the toilet paper she had…..like so many people are doing. This was when I was going through the penny jar searching for quarters to pay for our apocalyptic stash).

So, shout out to the lady who owns the Citgo! She tends to homeless people all day, they live behind her store. She doesn’t run them off. She makes sure they have what they need. She is a compassionate woman.

I knew that a stack of quarters weren’t going to cut it. So, I put up a photo, you all saw it, my picture of my empty pantry with two bears tucked in. And I was blessed with all of your kindness.

I am a truly blessed man. Now, I have quite a few staples to work with. It may not look like much to you, but I always work with an excel spreadsheet when it comes to food supplies….That comes are from my old days of being alone in the woods, only able to get groceries once a month. You have to plan out every morsel, every meal if that is all you have for a month.

When I went to the store yesterday, I kinda giggled a few times. Canned goods? GONE! I went to grab a can of tomato soup. If Phillip is going to be working late and not home for dinner, I’m always up for a grilled cheese and tomato soup with my knitting and an episode of “Murder, She Wrote.” They had plenty of tomato soup….but every imaginable variety of chicken soup was long gone. Funny! Even the organic crap that is WAY to expensive was long gone.

I keep forgetting that I have a phone now and can actually take pictures. Or maybe it’s just the simple desire to journal with words everything I see, feel, do….I like to describe. Pictures are fine, but I think I’m awfully good at  “spinning a yarn.”

The only thing left were fresh fruits and vegetables. Carrots, celery, onions, grapefruit, oranges, lemons (heads up, lemon is nature’s bleach, keep that in mind if you’re out of sanitizer). So, I bought them all! You can freeze or preserve them. As far as I know, unlike a hurricane, we’re still supposed to have running water and electricity.

I’m going to be just fine. I am, thanks to all of your beautiful kindness. But, if you are able to help someone else, please do. Please think about your neighbors, especially the older ones. They may not be ABLE to get supplies and food. They may not have the physical or financial means to get what they need during this wild time. Leave a small bag of provisions outside their door with a little note saying, “Thinking of you!” It could be anything from a roll of toilet paper and a few cans of tomato soup to something as delightful as a home cooked meal.

And think about the homeless, as well. They’re already “socially distant,” so this instance of everyone in the world suddenly vanishing before their eyes and not knowing what the hell is going on or where to go, isn’t the best situation for them.

And I have to say I get angrier and angrier that with so few testing kits, only “special” people are getting tested. Name brand people, famous people….and not the least of us. Ok, Tom Hanks was tested in Australia, so that doesn’t count. But, an entire basketball team can get tested because one guy got it?

“As a follow-up to yesterday’s positive COVID-19 test, Oklahoma health officials tested ALL members of the Utah Jazz traveling party, confirming one additional positive outcome for a Jazz player,” the Jazz said Thursday.

That was a report from CNN.

Sorry. This blog post was intended to go positive, stay positive and leave you feeling better about my situation and yours….I couldn’t help myself. I needed to make it perfectly clear that leaving the homeless out of this conversation of a potentially deadly virus that will kill countless people just…..BOTHERS me. I’m sorry. The term “socially distant” just sounds so pretentious and First World.

Like I said before, I may no longer be homeless….but, I still have this strong attachment to them.

I have decided to self quarantine because I don’t have the best health. I had pneumonia two years ago for about 9 months. I almost died. And I feel I’ve never ever really gotten over it. That combined with other underlying problems, and my being near 50, makes me quite susceptible…. What a shitty time to be a recovering agoraphobic.

I am hopeful, though. I really am. I feel we’re going to be ok. All of us. If we find ourselves blessed with feeling some kind of safety or comfort during this time, then we really have no choice throughout these two weeks (or longer) to find ways to make OTHER people know that they’re going to be ok, too. Especially those that are most likely to be really REALLY impacted by this.

Do what you can to keep yourself well, be mindful of what is happening right now…..and be thoughtful of others not capable enough to do the same for themselves.

I love you all.

 

Bear Cupboard

Well, if things are going to get worse before they get better, I’m actually really concerned about the state of our pantry. Phillip just sent me a text from work. He is hearing rumors that the grocery stores are going to start closing early. Hell, if I can’t get toilet paper now, I’m not sure what the chances of getting anything else are.

Here is our cupboard as it stands right now. Not at all prepared for two weeks of “isolation” they are forewarning us with. And with no cash, these two bears need to finally find a home. Click here to find them in the shop.

Good luck everyone. Maybe this will be a great time for us to reconnect, refresh, and actually miss being with each other in real time.

 

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Silly Girl. Teddy Bears Don’t Have Cooties

Well, the world certainly has gone strange in the last 48 hours, hasn’t it? The Orlando Convention Center, Disney World, Universal, Sea World, (and Gator World, for all I know) have all decided to shut down over concerns that swarms of people potentially carrying the cooties will come infect and kill every one of us….

Now, that’s a big deal for our little town. If the big guys shut down….there is a sad, sad trickle down that happens to the rest of us that live in the shadows of Mouse Ears and Superheroes.

Then somewhere around noon today, the powers that be in the City Beautiful said that we should go ahead and stock up for hurricane season now…..not for a hurricane, but for a potentially deadly pandemic just ready to fester and kill all our fun.

No one is prepared for this. Not here, not where you are, not anywhere…..except maybe those amazing people that live like preppers out in the middle of nowhere. They know what’s up. They’ve been getting ready for SHTF for a along time now.

Meanwhile, everyone else is freaking out. Do you know I actually saw a PSA where they were looking for volunteers to teach people how to wash their hands? And I always kinda keep one ear to the ground when it comes to homeless and I started asking, “Well, what are THEY supposed to do if everyone is being asked to stay home and be ‘socially distant?’ (I am not a fan of that phrase, “socially distant.”  Sounds like a snob being aloof).

“Well, they can go to a shelter.”

Sure, corral them all up, stick them in a space too packed full of people and they’ll all be just fine. Isn’t that a normal day at Disney anyway? The homeless have mass contagious outbreaks OFTEN that you don’t hear about. Hepatitis. Tuberculosis….And I’m assuming an amazing amount of corona cases that no one has thought about. That is, if the disease is really as contagious as it supposed to be.

Shelter? Please….

Now, if I’m thinking about it, I’m hoping the powers that be in the City Beautiful are thinking of something rather than the shelters to help them if they need to find a place of quarantine.

Now keep in mind, I’m an agoraphobic. I famously leave my house for only 30 minutes a day and that’s IT. But, even I’m inclined to say out of the side of my mouth (with one hand coyly covering it like a shy geisha), “I think ya’ll are acting a little crazy.”

I’ve always called the television the “lie box.” I recently changed that to the “hysteria box.”

So, while my friendly corporate neighbors in Orlando are closing their doors, I’m still open for business.

Yup. Crisis? I survive in crisis. I insist on it. I excel in crisis. I push in crisis. My entire 10 year career as being “Mad Man Knitting” has been nothing but a crisis that I always seem to survive. And I truly thank so many of you that point that out and remind me of that.

This “deadly” disease isn’t going to make me broke again. Hell, I’m already broke, the only broker than this broke is back to being homeless because the world decided to be “socially distant.” (Ironic that so many people I know seem to have been “socially distant” since the beginning of “social media.”)

So, I have two teddy bears left to sell. I can see some people shrieking, “CORONA VIRUS COULD HAVE BEEN ON YOUR HANDS! YOU COULD HAVE KNIT IT INTO YOUR BEAR!!!AHHHHHHHHH!!!!”

Silly girl. Teddy bears don’t have cooties.

So there are two bears left in my shop. But, if they’re sold always have the PDF copies of my books that you can buy and read. And, well, there is always this blog.Because if this blog entertains you, makes you think, makes you feel something a little better about your day, your life, your craft, then feel free to donate.

We’re all going to be fine. We’ll get through this. And if I’m wrong? HA! Then please come looking for me in the apocalyptic wasteland. It just might be the first time in my agoraphobic life that I was finally found in public, met someone who had read something I wrote, and hugged in real life.

Bring it….

If you appreciate my writing and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I couldn’t do it without your support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Apex of Frustration

I have been so frustrated lately. And we’re not talking a middle of the road, constant annoyance, mind you. I’m talking about this rising apex of frustration that finally came to a head today.

I’ve been trying to finish the “Madam and Mr. Brown” series for the last month. Total page count to date? Less than 20. Every time I sit down to write there is a nuisance of some kind. Usually a leaf blower, maybe another UPS truck, a giggling girl walking under my window screaming, “irma gird YAS!” on her phone, or “Amy” who loves loves loves to come home at 3am with a tribe of trollops all ready to party and go “girls gone wild” in the building stairwell. I know her name is Amy because when people drive up at 3:15am to join her party, they’ll park across the way, (all zig zagged as drunkerds do), and scream, “Party at Amy’s! WOOOOOOO!”

Phillip says that this is just life in a complex. I say he’s not here all day trying to work and doesn’t hear how LOUD it is….and that at this rate I’ll be moving from this complex to the loony bin in no time flat.

I don’t think he understands the apex my of frustration. It isn’t a paramount of noises, nuisances and distractions that keep me constantly, perpetually off point and out of focus. The apex of my frustration is the realization that I cannot change the world around me. 

The world is not equipped, nor does it instinctively desire, to soldier the cares, concerns, or interests of any one person. Not even me. I am not that important. (I kinda gulp when I say it out loud).

I hate that. I truly do. This notion that one person could possibly even consider making demands of the rest of the world….especially when that demand is for nothing but self interest. And I felt a little embarrassed for myself.

I remember this little old lady I once met. Now, she was 90 years old and her name was “Pee Wee.” Apparently, her whole life she’d been smaller than most, hence the name. Funny enough, the same people that had given her the name were now dead, and how fun that she was still carrying around that nickname.

I was at a pool party in Savannah. And while there where a ton of lovely young men in skimpy things running around, I saw out of the corner of my eye this delightful old, wrinkly thing, lounging on a lawn chair in full biker leather.

Now, I can see pretty boys in simple things any day I desire. But, this woman? Oh, you rarely get a chance to meet someone as beautiful as her, so I dashed to her side, had cocktails with her. We critiquing with playing cards the different men splashing in the pool in their speedos, as though we were Olympic judges….

I had the best time with her.

That was the only day that I was blessed with her acquaintance, but in that brief few hours she said (while sipping a cocktail) one of those phrases that seems to creep up when I’m being a little too stupid and far too selfish.

“I miss the old days….when I man came at the world wanting to leave something behind….rather than take something from it…”

When you say it out loud, your whole life kinda falls like a thud with the gravity of arrogance….and the apex of my frustration is not understanding that you I am desperate to control everything.

My husband and I are at odds. We’re fighting a lot. I’m….angry. I’m detached, and frustrated and trying to figure out why. And he? He is tired of my behavior being categorized as “eccentric.”

He tells me I talk too much, that I should write what I’m saying rather than tell him….He has no interest in hearing about my world.

I started this blog by saying that I was working on the last book in the “Madam and Mr. Brown” series…..

In the last chapter I wrote that the madam is no longer tolerating Mr. Brown’s behavior….and as they find themselves being evicted, she needs to decide whether or not they’ll stay together or live apart….And I’m not sure she’ll stay with him.

With all of Mr. Brown’s intolerable demands just to cope with his own madness, I’m not sure she, nor anyone, could handle it. Maybe they are better parting ways.

Because the apex of Mr. Brown’s frustration is that no one, not even the Madam, is really listening to him.

The third book in the series will be out shortly, and you can read the first two books on amazon by clicking here. Read “TENANTS” first, then “DUPLEX.” Fans will disagree, but there was a definite reason I wrote them in that order.

You’ll get caught up, then help me decide if the Madam will stay with Mr. Brown. This woman has never been loved, nor accepted, in her life. And the one person that finally filled that hopeless void she had was…..well, crazy. Will she stay with him or not?

Phillip is in his chair escaping into his phone. I’m in my chair escaping into my work.

We’re about 10 feet from each other, but worlds apart….

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Friends….

I’ve been writing so much that I haven’t had a little teddy bear to post in a while. I have little scraps of yarn here and there. Partials and remnants are loafing lazily in my knitting basket. You know, not enough yarn to make one complete bear, but just enough yarn to allow some creativity. Now, the biggest yarn concern I have when knitting a bear is the body. That takes the most yarn, the head is next, then the appendages, and finally, the ears. So, if my skein is looking a little limp, I’ll start with just the head and appendages and ears, the body? Well, we’ll give him a sweater, but with not enough yarn to make a complete sweater, I mixed in other colors and did stripes and trims with what seemed like just a few inches of left over yarn.

(I love doing challenges like this….I LOVE challenges).

I had enough yarn to do two bears, both in the same fashion and style, both of them slightly different only by the remnant yarn I used to make their sweaters. And side by side, they looked like friends. The kind that ask, “What are you wearing out tonight? I wanna wear something similar, but not the same.”

I had great fun with these two bears. I had a great time going through little strands of yarn and seeing how I could add them to my bears. Yes, a bow tie would have been nice, but I have to admit that is one of the few skills required of young men that I never learned. Instead, you’ll have to settle for a ribbon tied as a bow. If you’d like to take home one of these friends, click here.

PS. I needed a prop to rest the bears against to get the best light for this time of night. Our cat, Bacon, made himself available. Condition was, he was allowed to sleep through the whole ordeal. So, if you’re allergic to cats….sucks to be you.

 

The Best Part About Being Mad Man Knitting

I’m coming to you LIVE! this love Sunday tonight from my new wireless keyboard! You see, I’m a passionate writer, I truly am. Not just in theme and tone, but physically. I pound the CRAP out of my keyboard when I’m typing.

I look like Beethoven striking the piano with this mad, bombastic tickle…

Now, see there? I thought that was a really good line. “Beethoven, bombastic tickle.”

I thought about the sentence….tweaked it a little (and by that I mean furiously hitting Backspace, Backspace, Backspace)….rewrote a word, asked Phillip what he thought about it, (“Whatever you say, honey,” as he surfaces for a second from Fallout Forty Seven, or whatever.)

BAM!, I emphatically hit Enter on the keyboard.

So, that whole little spot where Backspace and Enter are near? I think Backlash (oops! spelling!) Sorry, backslash are right in between them. Well, that whole zone caved in. I guess my fingers spend a lot of time on Backspace and Enter….and the occasional backlash. (ahem).

I’ve been writing so much that the old keyboard never had a chance.

That wasn’t my only new purchase. I finally broke down and bought one of those fancy phones. You know, a smart phone. What the rest of ya’ll apparently have to have and if I’m to engage with you, find you, convince you to buy my cherished wares and writings, then I have to join the matrix….and I finally bought a phone. I have looked at the thing like it was gonna bite me for three days.

But, I put up my first official pic on Instagram. A teddy bear, of course. There wasn’t any thought to it. He’s much more important than I am, so his picture should be first. If I had handlers they’d tell me I’m supposed to plug my Instagram right now. It’s @madmanknitting. (Shocking! Glad I snatched the name before anyone else did).

So, that was my Sunday: in my pajamas spending half my labor typing (on my new, big keys), half my toll knitting from a massive pound of yarn, the whole while watching, “Murder, She Wrote.”

Best day I’ve had in a really long time being Mad Man Knitting. I’ve had my ups, my downs. I’ve had my successes and failures. I’ve had my cake, and ate it, but also had the pie I didn’t order shoved in my face.

But, despite all of that…..this is the best part about being Mad Man Knitting: I may be as poor as a church mouse, but I get to do what I love.

If you appreciate my writing and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I couldn’t do it without your support.

 

 

 

Another “Florida Man” Story

Well, have I got a doozy of a story to tell….

Phillip got a promotion at work. Now, don’t get all excited. It’s only fifty cents more an hour one day a week where he has to wear a little red shirt that is too tiny for his big body. But, it’s a step!

However, in order to complete this promotion, he was required to take a class that the company was willing to pay for. All he had to do is show up….in Altamonte Springs. Those of you unfamiliar with Central Florida geography, it’s about 30 miles north of here….or a two and a half hour bus ride, if you don’t have a car.

No problem. We got this. The first bus doesn’t leave the station until about 6am, which would put Phillip late to his class.

Like I said, I got this. We’ll call Yellow Cab. We’ll schedule a pick up for the morning of the test to take Phillip to Altamonte and he’ll take the bus home. Awesome!

Now, for the bazillion years I have lived on-again, off-again in Orlando, I’ve always had Yellow Cab’s phone number memorized. It’s so easy. 407-699-9999. See? My familiar zip code and a bunch of 9’s, even the 6 is just an upside down nine. Easiest number to remember. So, off I go…..

I make the phone call. They answer.

“I’d like to schedule a pick up for tomorrow,” I say.

“Ok…Umm. You need a ride? Where are you going?”

“Altamonte.”

“Altamone, that’s far. Ok. You know that fare is going to be about $40?”

“Sure, that’s fine. I need the pick up at 6am.”

“6am tomorrow? Hmmm. I can do that. Ok. Gimme your address.”

And settled.

He even called us at 5:30am the next morning to see if we were still on. Awesome!

We walk up to the gate, and a very nice Cadillac was waiting for Phillip. And I remember going, hmmm. I certainly never got a Cadillac pick up whenever I called Yellow Cab. I always got a big yellow sedan. Damn, Phil.

I kiss the big goon on the cheek, give him $50 for the fare and a tip, wish him luck, then head on to do my errands for the day. Off he rides….

I get a message from Phillip 15 minutes later. I don’t remember exactly what the message said, so I won’t quote….but, it was along the lines of, “I think you’re plotting to kill me….”

Holy hell, what just happened?

“I’ll tell you when I get home.”

Again, what the????

Well, it didn’t take me long for me to figure out what happened. LONG before Phillip got home, I had gone to call Yellow Cab to make some sort of complaint and realized as I went to hit redial….that I hadn’t called Yellow Cab at all.

Oh, no. I had called some complete stranger. In all these years, that number has been etched into my head. And when I saw the number I had dialed, I was ONE number off. (Won’t tell you which number).

What’s worse, who ever picked up went right along! Crazily took my phone call and said, “oh yeah, I’ll give you a ride…..”

“He was a nightmare!” Phillip was livid. “Who the hell was that?”

“I’m so sorry, sweetheart.”

“He kept screaming at me, slamming his fist against the steering wheel!”

“Screaming about what?”

“The price of tea in China. You name it, anything. EVERYTHING!”

“I’m so sorry. I guess my mind went fragile for a second. Well. You made it home! You’re alive!”

I jabbed at his belly with my finger. And just like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, he collapsed with a timid giggle.

Damn. I’m just glad I didn’t end up on the 6 o’clock news. I gave $50 to a crazy stranger to drive my husband 30 miles out of town because I got one number wrong.

Thank God everything came out ok, because had something gone wrong, I’d just be another Florida Man story…..

If you appreciate my writing and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps and I couldn’t do it without your support.