My Life in LA County During COVID-19: April 6

Harry Keller 80By Harry Keller
Former ETCJ Science Editor
& President of SmartScience

Sure enough, at about 10 pm, I was up and peeked at the front porch to see four large brown paper bags nicely illuminated by the porch light. -HK

Apr 6, 2020 at 6:57 AM: When I scored the very last Amazon Fresh slot for Sunday (7-9 pm), it was with some trepidation that I placed an order. I had read of some unpleasant experiences during this time of trial and lots of tribulation. I also thought of those who are risking exposure to make the deliveries in order to have a modest income while unemployment soars. My wife and I are usually in bed by 9 pm but could stay up until that time to receive this important delivery. I really had no idea what to expect.

Of course, I chose an unattended delivery so that I wouldn’t have to be physically present to receive the groceries. When an email from Amazon appeared that informed me of a two-hour delay in the delivery, I was very happy that I made this selection. At my age, some amount of BPH is to be expected (darn prostate!) so that I am usually up around 10 to 10:30 pm each night on my first of 2-4 trips. I left the porch light on upon retiring and settled down to sleep worry-free. 

Sure enough, at about 10 pm, I was up and peeked at the front porch to see four large brown paper bags nicely illuminated by the porch light. After a short delay for necessities, I went to the porch and pulled the four bags in. How would they be packed? What about refrigerated and frozen foods? Would anything be damaged in packing, transit, or delivery? I was also concerned that the bags or their contents might be contaminated with COVID-19. I moved the bags to the outdoor kitchen door in readiness for disposal to our recycling bin and began to open them.

Inside of this bag were my groceries requiring cooling along with three small plastic bottles of frozen drinking water. -HK

The four brown bags were constructed of very heavy-duty paper. The first one I opened, at random, had refrigerated goods in it, such as fresh kale and chard. These were enclosed in an internal aluminized bubble wrap bag for insulation. Inside of this bag were my groceries requiring cooling along with three small plastic bottles of frozen drinking water. All contents were in great condition, and I moved them immediately to my refrigerator. The frozen foods were in similar packaging with one important difference. The frozen bottles of water were replaced with dry ice cleverly packaged so as not to cause freezer burn. The two additional bags contained non-perishable goods and were in good condition.

All-in-all, it was a good experience marred only by the delay. Amazon Fresh did inform ahead of time, which I had to appreciate in these times of stress. -HK

Here, in California, the daily new cases number appears to have stabilized at around 1,300. It has declined slightly for the last two days. I will be watching closely to see if this trend continues. We still have a long way to go before the number of daily new cases recedes to the numbers of early March that were below 200. Even at those numbers, I doubt that anyone will sound the all-clear signal. Infectious people will continue to exist in the population. If the number of new cases declines as fast as it rose, California should be fine by June, but you should temper that expectation with the fact that we have lots of airports bringing in people from afar.

I ordered the ingredients of the tea in bulk and some (300) empty tea bags. We are about to try making our own tea concoction. -HK

We are all adapting to new conditions. My wife and I have been enjoying a turmeric and ginger tea infusion for a couple of years now. We are off of all drugs, including alcohol and caffeine. (I know. This is beyond what any sane person would do, but who said that we are normal?). Given how difficult it has been to obtain some grocery items, including this rather popular tea, we have undertaken an experiment. I ordered the ingredients of the tea in bulk and some (300) empty tea bags. We are about to try making our own tea concoction. Why not?

Now, a bit of news. For those who are over 70.5 years old, the RMD has been waived! That is the “required minimum distribution” of your IRA, if you have one. Our IRA investments have cratered, and we are pleased that we do not have to worry about selling stocks at fire-sale prices. We are also sending in our federal tax forms so that they may see that our income is well below the $150,000 required to receive the payments from the government. We had a one-time bump in income in 2018 that would reduce our payment.

For those who are over 70.5 years old, the RMD has been waived! -HK

I don’t know if they will receive the forms before making their distribution decisions. In fact, I know little about the regulations that must be written to enable the new law that will spend $2.2 trillion on helping us all through the mess that a microscopic virus has made. That such a miniature agent can bring the entire world to its knees is a lesson for all of us. As the old advertisement warned, “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.” It’s also not a good idea to ignore her either. This warning goes double today with climate change and COVID-19 staring us in the face.

One Response

  1. Harry, the Amazon Fresh handling of cold and frozen goods sounds excellent. Stay safe. -Jim

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