Wednesday, February 3, 2021

328 Days, Historic Events, and Covid Relief

It has been two months since our last post from Shelter Inn Place. Like everyone else we have been hunkered down and doing our best to practice covid safety. We go to the grocery store, do our morning walks, have a happy hour gathering outside once a week and have been out to eat a couple times when we can sit outside.
See if you can find the hawk.
One morning we walked to the nearby Kiplinger Wildlife Refuge and saw all these ibis trying to control the insects.
On December 21 we drove to Hutchinson Island to get a better view of Saturn and Jupiter coming together at sunset.
It was neat to see but not what many people expected.
Another day, the same hawk in a different tree. We never tire of seeing the birds in Florida.
Our new traditional Christmas dinner is Linguine with clam sauce. It was a quiet day for us. Our New Year's Eve was a little more exciting as we gathered our happy hour group to ring in the new year. We cheated a bit celebrating at 5 PM here as it was turning to 2021 somewhere in Europe.
We drove to Hutchinson Island to see this fantastic Christmas light display.
There are over 700,000 lights in the display.
Most of the lights are on the fence and landscaping, not on the huge house.
Nanc celebrating the season with mask in hand. 
For the first time since March we went out to lunch with friends. George and Nan arrived from Connecticut and after a couple weeks we felt safe meeting up with them. We went to Twisted Tuna for a late lunch and as you can see we had no problem social distancing. It was great getting caught up with them and being with other people. A week later we did the same thing at Talk House. 
Like everyone else our age we were on a quest to get "the Shot". We had three choices here in Florida: Cleveland Clinic, the county health department and later Publix grocery stores. We were frustrated with all three checking several times a day and then having their system crash when we thought we were close to getting appointments. Finally, on January 21 Nanc checked and there were open appointments at Cleveland Clinic in Port St. Lucie for Saturday the 23. We had a 20 mile drive so we left early and thought we would have to wait. We did not. We walked in, they checked our temperature, signed us in, had us fill out a questionnaire and then go to one of a dozen stations for the Pfizer shot. All this took less that 15 minutes. We then had to wait 15 minutes to make sure we had no allergic reactions. During that time we scheduled our second shot for February 13. While the initial roll out has not been anywhere near warp speed, we are hearing from more friends all over the country who are getting appointments. We look at this as one small step back to our "normal" life.
Well, we sure were happy to see 2020 come to an end and were looking forward to a new, historic beginning in 2021. Little did we realize the history would include a terrorist attack inspired by the losing presidential candidate. Needless to say we were outraged and while the whole thing was happening I was on the phone letting my senators and representative know where I stood. It was truly one of the saddest days in American history in our lifetime. One week later we watched as the president was impeached for the second time and next week we will be watching and hoping the Senate convicts. 
Finally, on January 20 we watched the history we had been looking forward to, the swearing in of the first Black, Asian woman, Vice-President, Kamala Harris. This was a great day for America even if thousands of troops were needed to protect the Capitol.
Then, it was President Joe Biden's turn. We are so happy and look forward to some bit of normalcy returning to our government. We know the new administration has many big issues to deal with, but are confident Joe is up to the job.
On some of our morning walks we cross the St. Lucie River. This day the local rowing club was out practicing. Very neat.

In the 57 days since our last post, the number of Covid cases in the United States has increased by 11,660,024 to 26,439,473. In the same time the number of deaths has risen by 164,641 to 447,077. There is some good news as the seven day average of new cases has gone down by over 100,000. Sadly, the number of deaths has not dropped as significantly. Also, nearly 27,000,000 people have gotten at least one shot. We look forward to getting our second shot and sure hope more people are following the scientists' recommendations so we can get this plague under control by summer.

Monday, December 7, 2020

270 Days, An Election, Air Show, Rocket Launch, Doctor Visit, Thanksgiving, Birthdays and Covid

It has now been 270 days since we started our stay at Shelter Inn Place. Like with everyone else in the world it is getting old, but we are following the "better being safe than sorry" rule. We are happy we are in Florida where even in December we have weather that enables us to keep our doors and windows open, get outside to exercise and enjoy comfortable outdoor dining at many local eateries. That said, since Florida has lifted almost all Covid restrictions, we are not eating out as much and never indoors. Some good news now that it is December, hurricane season is over. While our friends in Louisiana got pounded this year we escaped with no big storms in our part of Florida. We only had to close our shutters once, so we were very happy.
On election day we once again worked the polls for team Biden - Harris. There was never a line of people where we worked so we felt safe being there.
Unfortunately, we did not get the results we wanted in Florida, but we still wanted to be part of the effort.
On Saturday, November 7th we got the news we had been waiting for when several news services called the election for Joe and Kamala. We are very sad that even a month after all the results are in the president still refuses to accept the FACT that he lost. I feel this is a dangerous time for our country.
During the first weekend of November the Stuart Air Show is held. On the Thursday prior to that we heard a very loud rumble as this jet flew very low over our place. It was practice for the weekend so we had several days of this.
There were a variety of acrobatic events and we could watch them from our place.
There were a number of different acrobatic teams.
It was amazing how low they flew over the city. Unfortunately, last year a plane crashed at the airport during practice, killing the pilot.
This fighter, with its afterburner glowing, was so low it set off our neighbor's security alarm.
Different jet. This one with two engines. Here is a link to a video of a jet hovering, something I did not know they could do.
Here is the link to a video of a jet coming over our place.
These four fighters performing as a team was very neat. Hopefully next year we will be able to go to the airport to get an up close look at all the planes.
On November 15th we saw the SpaceX launch watching from our yard. We are 100 miles from Cape Canaveral but it was still very neat. 
We could see it for several minutes as it went into orbit for the 27 hour trip to the International Space Station. We plan to go to the beach for a better look at some future launch.
We needed to get a doctor in Florida now that this is our home base. Cleveland Clinic has a new facility just a couple blocks from us, so that is the place we chose The great thing about the clinic is that we can go there for pretty much all our medical needs. Lab work, screenings and even an OBGYN, all in one place. We like our new doctor, but she sure is young. The tests we had done came back with great results. I have lost 16 pounds and lowered my cholesterol by nearly 20 points. The exercise and Nanc's cooking is doing the job for me. Of course, Nanc, who is much more health conscience than me, also had a good report. 
How does a 74 year old man celebrate his lower weight and cholesterol?  By going to Duffy's for a bacon cheese burger with a side of onion rings. It was wonderful, but it is a treat I will be eating much less often. 
How did Nanc celebrate? With a more sensible order of Ahi tuna and a side of steamed broccoli. I guess that is why she was able to run seven miles on her 70th birthday and I could only take a stroll on the beach. 
My birthday was on Thanksgiving day. We went to Hutchinson Island for a nice walk on the beach. In our part of Florida we can almost always find an uncrowded beach. There has been some big waves, so there is a lot of  beach erosion.
We found a few neat shells and some shark's teeth.
Enjoying the Florida sunshine on my birthday.
Last Thanksgiving our friends Joe and Kathy were here with us and Joe cooked a wonderful fish stew rather than the traditional turkey and stuffing. I guess it is now our new traditional Thanksgiving meal. It was fantastic!
This will be our first Christmas in our new place. We decided we have not had a big tree for 13 years so we will continue that tradition. We did put up a string of lights on the patio.......
.....and our little tree,  holiday flag and window candles that we displayed in Opus. Nanc has also put a few Christmas touches around the house so we are all ready for the holidays.
I do like condo living as the HOA takes care of all the grounds. I think the trimming of the palms is a once a year event.
This is why I'm glad it is someone else's job. I don't do tree climbing any more.
Our neighbor Hector took advantage of the trimming and collected the coconuts. He had this big machete to open them and save the milk. He shared one with us. Fresh coconut and its milk is great.

Really, this is the toilet and paper aisle at Target. Why do people do this? It is crazy to me!

It has been 33 days since our last post and the Covid numbers are growing at an unbelievable rate. The number of cases in the US has increased by 5,549,783 to 14,779,499 with the 7 day average of new cases more than doubling to nearly 196,000. The number of deaths has increased by 51,757 to 282,436 with the 7 day average increasing to 2,169. Why don't people understand that the longer we go without following the medical professionals' guidelines the longer the restrictions are going to be in place. All you are being asked to do is wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and stay out of big crowds. Hopefully, with the vaccine and a new administration modeling proper behavior this thing will be under control by spring.

With 2020 already being as bad as it has been, we have also suffered the loss of two of Nanc's siblings, Michelle lost her battle with cancer in January and Dave from heart disease this month.
Here is Nanc and here siblings a few years ago. Front are Michelle, Dave and Nancy; back are Karen, Marty and Judy. Judy and Nanc are the only two remaining.
In April of 2017 we all got together in Maryland for Michelle's birthday. This was the last time they were together. We are hoping 2021 is a much better year for everyone.

Monday, November 2, 2020

235 Days, Wildlife, Beach, Halloween, Anniversary, Voting and Covid

It is hard to believe we have been at Shelter Inn Place for 235 days. We have tried our best to limit our contact with people. We do our morning walks and runs five or six days a week so at least we are staying in shape. The weather here has finally gotten more fall like so we did the beach and enjoyed the fresh air. We know everyone in the world is in the same situation, but that does not make it easier not being able to do what we want to do.  
We continue to see a lot of wildlife right here in Lex Lakes. Here is an anhinga drying its wings. I saw another one in the lake with a fish in its bill and as it tried to toss it in the air to swallow it the fish escaped. 
I finally got to see the bobcat. It stopped and gave me a long look.....
....before taking off. It seems there are two bobcats in our community as Nanc said this one is bigger than the one she saw.
The temperatures got more comfortable so we hit the beach. As you can see we had no problem social distancing. I think most people picture Florida beaches crowded with hundreds of people. Our experience is that you can almost always find a quiet spot.
Nanc enjoying being out in the sun.
Making it an even better day I caught some fish. This pompano was the nicest.
Lex Lakes is not a 55 plus community so we prepared for trick or treaters. Our neighbor Morgan went all out.
We practiced covid protocols putting our candy on a table in the driveway. We only had four or five kids and then it started to rain. Typical of Florida weather, the shower only lasted a few minutes. 
That evening we celebrated our 51 anniversary with our favorite home cooked meal, linguine with clam sauce. Sure was a change from our big 50th celebration last year, but still a wonderful evening.
The full moon coming up with Mars shining brightly above it. It was the first Halloween full moon since 1944.
Of course we voted. Florida has greatly improved their voting system since the 2000 debacle. We signed up for mail in voting for the next four years. Our ballots arrived in early October so we were able to take our time checking out local candidates and the several ballot issues. 
We mailed our ballots and could then tract them on line. They were received in a couple days and a few days later they were counted. Unfortunately, many states don't count the mail in ballots until election day or after so I think election day results will be a long time coming in.
If you know me you know that I voted Biden / Harris. 
Go Blue!!!! 
We felt we needed to do more than just vote so we signed up with the Biden Harris campaign to be poll workers. It was outside and social distancing protocols were followed so we felt safe.
The poll we worked at was an early voting site in Fort Pierce. A big part of the day was the Free My Vote march to support people who have served time in jail to be allowed to vote. Florida residents overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the constitution to allow this, but the republican governor and legislature added that ALL fines and costs must also be paid. Problem is, in many cases the state does not know what people owe. We will also be working on election day.

Covid - 19
Like all sane people we continue to follow protocols of mask wearing, social distancing and washing our hands often. We have ventured out a few times for a late afternoon lunch at places with outdoor seating that were being safe. But since our governor put everything back to 100% we now only go to places that are interested in protecting both their customers and employees by keeping tables spread out.  We call ahead and if the place is not doing that we tell them we may see them next year. 
When I wrote the last post on September 29 there were 7,367,177 cases and 210,140 deaths. As I write this only 34 days later, cases are at 9,229,716 with 230,679 deaths, We have hit new daily highs several times. The last couple weeks it has really hit home with us as six people we know in three different states have tested positive.