Friday 19 June 2020

Plague Days Pt 6.

                                Plague Doctor Information (Translated in English) by Edmonblackmouth
  I've always been a news addict. The news these days unfolds like a biblical drama. Nation against nation and divided within themselves. Law and Order is dismissed by the evil mob as being evil in itself. And the 'leaders', bending a knee instead of standing up straight against evil. In other words they do anything they can to keep themselves in power. And the mob voting for whoever they think will give them the most, as long as the real workers (You and me) will support them. They are the WOKs, while we (the Schmocks) pay for it. Enough, you've heard my rant now let's get back to the trivia, where we belong! Shopping for toilet paper in the time of plague.
    I thought I would be smart and I would avoid all the toilet paper and paper towel hysteria and order all those essentials including groceries and delicacies from Amazon. In fact I bought a Prime membership so that I could avoid all those postage charges that can sometimes be so exorbitant. Amazon accepted my order and their prices were for the most part not unreasonable. They did inform me that due to the plague, their usual prompt delivery times were difficult to maintain. I submitted a sizable order varying from canned products to cereal and various other non-perishable edibles. There was a considerable delay. Then, amazingly parts of the order began to arrive piecemeal. First a couple of boxes of cereal arrived on our doorstep. By the time we got to the door to pick it up both the truck and the driver were gone. The next day two boxes of Kellogs Fig Rolls, were deposited on the door-step, again with the disappearing driver. About ten days went by before a much bigger box appeared and this time the truck and driver awaited across the road to see us pick it up, gave us a big smile and a wave, before he went on his way. This parcel contained six cans of tuna and six cans of salmon of the same brand we usually use.
In the meantime I had run out of an obsolete type of battery that I needed and couldn't find in the local stores. I found a facsimile on Amazon, ordered it before two o'clock and received it the next day! No wonder Jeff Bezos is a multi-Zillionaire and the post office is a disaster. I frequently re-quote Ronald Reagan, "The nine most frightening words in the world are I'm from the government and I'm here to help!"
To get back to the grocery trivia, we decided we could not sustain ourselves in the manner to which we have become accustomed on Amazon.  "No man (in ancient English 'man' actually means mankind) can live on Amazon alone." So, with trembling knees, we went forth to seek bread and wine. (And fishes too, for those who understand that allegory.)

    I decided we'd stay close to home for the moment and plunder our local grocery superstore, Loblaws, which normally has everything though at a rather exorbitant price. The super experts were no longer ridiculing face-masks, although they initially pooh-poohed them. My own personal expert felt that while home-made masks were not much protection, they  probably offered some some and some protection is better than none. I listen to him. As much of our Canadian protective equipment had been shipped to China by the Dope, I managed to fish out some large pure Irish linen handkerchiefs (monogrammed, of course), that I hadn't used since nineteen sixty-three, when I left the old country. I folded two of them in half into neat triangles and tied one around Irene's mouth and nose and the other around my own. Thus attired we jumped into the car and drove around to the supermarket. Although the mall was closed down apart from the pharmacy and the groceria there seemed to be plenty of cars around. I pulled into the parking lot, turned off the engine and looked at the line. Lo and behold, it stretched forth like a giant serpentine monster, its head poking pushing through the store door, its body forming an ever growing serpentiginous mass along the sidewalk, right out of the parking lot and turning north onto Richmond St., which if you go on long enough goes right to the North Pole! It took me a while to pull myself together. I took off my mask. "There's no way I'm standing in that line! Let's go somewhere else."
I pulled out of the parking lot and made our way to a nice smallish classier grocery store in a little strip mall. One of those stores that are supposed to be more expensive than the megastores, but actually are not. Got dressed up as the Lone Ranger again. No crowd, no sweat, it had most of what we needed and we got home in one piece.
    The following week we gave Loblaws another try and this time the lineup was manageable. Sometimes, despite the dismal decline in human behaviour generally, an event occurs which reassures one that there are still a few caring, considerate human beings around. As my poor wife was struggling to put her home-made mask on, a young woman came up to her and handed her a paper surgical mask which she took out of a plastic container.
   "Here" she said with a smile, proffering the light blue mask. "I can see you're having a lot of trouble getting that done up."
  "Thank you," said my wife. "We've been trying to buy some and everywhere is sold out. Let me pay you for it."
   The young woman wouldn't hear of it. "You're welcome." She turned to go on her way.
    "Can you tell me where you got them? I've looked all over and everyone is sold out."
    "There is a little pharmacy/bookstore over by the University gates. The bookstore part is on lockdown but the pharmacy is still open. I got them yesterday and they still had plenty. People probably think the whole place is closed -maybe that is why they aren't sold out like everyone else."
    We went on with our shopping expedition.  The line-up was tolerable, distances were maintained by taped lines and monitored by staff at the entry.  There were disinfectant hand washers aplenty.  As I went into he store I found I had lost my wife.  I turned around and there she was still scrubbing up like a surgeon. 
   "You just need to disinfect your hands," I said. "You're not meant to take a shower!"
   The checkout lines and distances were well marked with overseers watching to see everyone kept their distance. 

   The fresh produce was plentiful, some of the canned stuff was a little sparse but there wasn't a roll of toilet paper or paper towel to be had anywhere!

Friday 12 June 2020

The Scotch Martini.

The Scotch Martini. (A plagueday creation.)

Lest you should think I am sitting around during this plague overcome by hebetude, nothing could be further from the truth.
Many years ago a friend told me that he knows God loves us, otherwise he would never have created the Dry Martini. Reflecting that the end of days may be approaching has given me time to think about such profound issues and wonder if I could make some small contribution to the quality of life. I decided to share a small but enjoyable creation of my own that has been a closely guarded secret until now. I call it the Scotch Martini and I am going to publish this secret recipe for the first time.
In a shaker measure 80ml of Bombay Sapphire Gin, add 20ml of Martini Vermouth and then FIVE drops of Te Bheag Scotch. Shake well over ice, then serve in a chilled martini glass. Add one very wet stuffed Queen Olive. (The distinctive ingredient of the 'Dirty Martini). That is very important: the correct glass is essential and definitely enhances the taste. You now have a perfect Scottish Martini.

Sunday 7 June 2020

Pt 5. Plague."Dental Days."

 We were just getting used to our nice new kitchen tap and settling into an acceptable regimen, when my top right premolar, one of the few teeth I have left in that region, began to give me an occasional twinge of pain.  It mainly bothered me when I bit down on it, or exposed it to heat or cold, so with a little care I managed to cope with the discomfort without suffering too  much.  In fact, I recall that many months ago, I had informed my dentist  that the tooth was sensitive to heat and cold.    
Image result for dentist pictures cartoon


   "Ah, thank Goodness," said he, after the appropriate examination, including X-rays. "lt shows that the tooth is still alive!"  
   There was not much I could do about it anyway, since all the dental offices in the city were closed.  If one had a real dental emergency, it meant going down to the ER, a dungeon where one's life was at risk, if not from Coronavirus, then from one of the many malignant conditions that patrolled the hospital corridors and wards, attached to a human and hoping to find another one to serve as host for its offspring.
   Meanwhile, the Covid Toothache, tended to ease up, until the sun was over the yardarm.   Coincidentally and fortunately, that worsening of the pain happens to be around the very hour, that my very  great  friend, the inimitable Scot, and I decided years ago was the appropriate hour to imbibe.   Initially a fairly serious drink sedated the tooth nicely and between that and a couple of Tylenol I managed to keep the pain at bay. Then it started waking me up during the night and persisting through most of the day.  Since the pain had a throbbing character I thought I might just be developing an abscess, so I started myself on an antibiotic, in the hope that it would cool things down.  No such luck, things continued to deteriorate.  I really didn't want to call my dentist, because health care providers, particularly health care providers who work on the upper part of  respiratory tract are very high risk candidates for coronavirus as are grumpy old men like me, (and women too!).  But when the pain gets bad enough one will do almost anything to get rid of it.  (I have often wondered how I would stand up to torture before I started blubbering everything I know - and everything I didn't know too!)   I know my dentist well, we once worked in adjoining offices.  I used to wander into his office during our lunch hour to have my teeth fixed.  I phoned him and told him the story.
   "Sounds like you might be developing an abscess there."  He knew the tooth, because he has been poking around my mouth for twenty years.  "Let's start you on some Amoxil, an antibiotic might settle it down.   "Actually I started on some Amoxil the day before yesterday."  I told him the dosage.  
   "Double up on the dosage and I'll call you tomorrow."
   The next day it was no better.  "Continue the present dosage of the Amoxil and I will meet you at my office at eleven o'clock tomorrow morning.  I haven't seen a patient since the lock-down.  I'm going to phone my assistant and have her come in.  I have all the personal protective equipment so we will get all gowned up and you'll be the guinea-pig!"  
   Next morning I arrived at the office, happy to know I'd be coming to the end of this toothache one way or anther.  My dentist and his assistant were all as fully protected as it is possible to be in this era when the health care administridiots sent much of the protective equipment to China leaving our Canadian health care providers perilously endangered.  Unfortunately, Canadians seem unable to grasp just how dangerously flagitious their health care administrators are, right up to the Prime Minister.
  Back to my dentist.  Careful examination.  Dentist and assistant dressed up like Batman and Robin.  Cold ice test to make sure the nerve was still alive.  I assured him of that as soon as I got down from the ceiling!  He worked on me for an hour, while I tried to imagine what could be taking him so long.  In my youth it was simple.  Toothache, dental visit, extraction.  He cleaned up the periodontal abscess and sent me on my way, happily anesthetized and only slightly worried about how  it would feel once the anesthetic wore off.  It was surprisingly pain free.  He phoned me the following morning to see how I was doing.   We were both happy with the results!
    We are lucky to have a fairly spacious deck at the back of our town-house condominium..  Never much of a gardener,  I quite enjoy pottering around the modest lot that is populated mainly by perennials that don't need much care.  It is adjacent to the deck.  Just enough work there to feel one could cope with a little more!  The lock-down coincided with fairly decent weather for the time of the year in Canada, so it was possible to spend a fair amount of time outside.
   Beyond the deck and patch is Richmond Street, a main artery that is almost always busy.  I can watch the traffic bumper to bumper and listen to its roar as I sip my before dinner martini.   Now not a sound, not a car, it was eerie.  It reminded me of one of those post apocalyptic sci-fi movies where all forms of human life had been eradicated. But that didn't last long. The bikers soon discovered that they had a dead straight strip of road that normally reduced traffic to a crawl all to themselves. Richmond Street turned into a speed track, an unbearably noisy speed track that continued for a few nights until the police caught on and staked out the area! Over the next couple of weeks the traffic developed momentum and long before any relaxation in the lock-down rules was edging back to its normal density. At that stage everywhere was still closed except pharmacies and grocery stores, so I have no idea where they were rushing to. Maybe some just had to get out of the house and were going for a drive to nowhere.  Maybe, thought I, when I get tired of walking around the condo grounds, I might try that myself.  
   Early on, I decided that as well as planning some physical exercise I needed some mental exercise to prevent the brain from atrophying even more rapidly than it was already doing.  Blogging was equivalent to a walk around the block.  My wife, a formidable crossword solver - the New York Times Crossword is child's play to her-and I used to play scrabble.  We resolved to re-commence a daily scrabble game and do most days.  It certainly is a mental stimulant and it is interesting that even at our advanced ages regularly competing improves ones game.  Mind you, her crossword experience gave her a great advantage, she is familiar with arcane words I  have never heard of.
   As time went by our provisions were beginning to run a little low particularly some of the more essential bottled kind, so we decided it was time to plan a short shopping expedition.  Come back next week and I'll tell you all about that!  The plague continues!