Coronavirus Quarantine 30 Days - Extended to 45 Days
The quarantine period has given all of us some free time. This is a blessing of some sort. Time is precious. It is the one thing we will run out. We can accumulate wealth and goods and all kind of stuff but the one thing we all lose is time.
This essay is to document the next 30 days of my life.
- April 2020
Week One (April 1- April 7)
April 1 - I am working to restore a mosaic patio table. This table was used in our garden during the summer for many years. Unfortunately, the weather and rain and moisture has seeped through the tiles and grout and ruined the wood base. I decided to restore it. This is not an easy task since the mosaic tiles has a detailed floral design. To restore this, I had to remove all the tiles in pieces, and replace the wooden base and glue the tiles back. It is like finishing a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle. After that, I have to grout it and wait for it to dry and finally apply a water proof seal. It is time consuming and requires a lot of patience.
I wrote an article and published it here on HubPages. It is titled The Power of Prayer and Miracles.
I reached out to a few friends on the telephone. We talked about the coronavirus and try to support each other and share some personal stories. It is reassuring to hear most are doing well under the circumstances. Everyone is staying home or working from home.
April 2 - I decided to start this daily activities log. Hopefully, I will record each day over the next 29 days. At the end, I will have a pretty good story on what I did during the coronavirus quarantine.
I had a video conference call with my GPL writers group. I submitted an article to the group for their critique. It is called It is All About the Numbers. We decided to start a weekly video conference using zoom. Hopefully more people can join us for an 1 hour meeting. Zoom is new to me but it is being used extensively by many groups for meetings and by schools for teaching sessions. It is a wonderful technology and it is allowing us to continue to be productive even quarantined from home.
I am reading the book A New Way To Age by Suzanne Sommers. It is a wonderful book full of information on healthy living and diet and supplements. It is a cookbook on how to age better with energy and vitality. She promotes this anti-aging and alternative medicine practice and it has served her well.
April 3 - Today I was inspired to write a new article. It is about the state of race in America in 2020. I decided to write this to summarize my recent discussions via emails with my colleagues. They and I differ on our views on race in America. I hope this will clear up some miss conceptions and miss understanding. Unfortunately, people are very inflexible in their core beliefs. I include myself in that group.
I responded to an article written by a friend and former colleague at IBM Research. He recently published an article about his education background in India. It relates to his fellow student who is now appointed the new CEO of IBM, Arvind Krishna. Here is his article published in the Global Indian Times.
Note: Unfortunately, the link is no longer active. If you are interested, You can contact me and I can provide a copy.
I resurfaced a log stool which I made last year. It is used outdoors. Over the winter, the top surface was aged. I re-sanded it and coat it with some Danish oil.
April 6 - I created a "test group 888" page on Facebook. I am trying to learn how to manage a group page. I invited a few members to join. I want to see what happens when a member post something. What are the procedures to make those posts public. It seem a straight forward setting option. Yet, so far, I am not able to convince the CCNY Asian Alumni page admin. to make the changes.
Finally, It appears to be working now. CCNY Asian Alumni Group Facebook Page.
April 7 - Today, I decided to refinish my kitchen table. It is a butcher block made of maple wood. It is 40 years old and I have refinished it a few times in the past. It only took me about 2 hours to do it. Just some sanding and polyurethane satin finish.
Week 2 (April 8 - 14)
April 8 - Today, I started a new article on economics. My hope is that it will be a series of tutorials on basic economic principles. It occurred to me during this coronavirus crisis, we are also experience an economic crisis. Not everyone understand this and are obviously fearful of what the future holds. A basic understanding of simple economics will go a long way to alleviate those fears.
I participated in a zoom conference with the President of our college CCNY and some Alumni members. He is providing us some updates on happenings at the college during this coronavirus shut down. The school is conducting most classes online and some students are given loaner computers so they could participate. He also informed us the State has a $19 billon budget shortfall due to the aftermath of this virus and they are expecting a cut of 6.7% funding for the next school season. This is on top of an austerity budget already planned.
April 9 - Continuing with my tutorials on economics. I just published three more lessons. Each one focused on a segment.
I had a zoom meeting scheduled at 4:30 pm with my Writers Group. Unfortunately, we could not connect. Technology is great when it works, but glitches does happen especially when we have a surge of users during this crisis. I guess zoom was not ready for the surge of users.
April 10 - Today, I decided to write an open letter to Governor Cuomo of NY about the lack of funding to the public higher education institutions of our State. I already sent a copy of the letter to the NYT Op Ed board. I am hoping they will publish it.
My next tutorial Economics 105.
April 11 - Today, I finished the series of tutorials on economics.
I finally finished repairing the mosaic tile table.
April 12 - Easter Sunday
April 12 - Today, I wrote a new article on my conservative life.
April 13 - This morning, I spent two hours draining a stuck sewer. Our house is 60 years old and periodically, the sewer line gets stuck and backs up a little. It is made worse by the recent storm and heavy rain. The ground is saturated and our sump pump is working overtime to keep our basement dry. in the process, it is pumping more water into the sewer line. I had to use a long snake to unstuck the pipe.
In the afternoon, I was on the phone for two hours speaking to the Alumni Association Executive director. It was a meeting I wanted to have but due to the quarantine, it was postponed. The call was the the next best thing. We spoke about a range of topics and issues that concerns me. It was a very productive call.
April 14 - Four months in the making, finally finished restoring my mosaic table, in time for Spring.
Week 3 (April 15 - 21)
April 15 - Today is tax day. I am going to start working on my taxes. Even though the government has extended the deadline to July 15, I would still like to get my taxes done.
April 16 - Today, I decided to clean up my basement. Over the winter, it got so cluttered I could hardly walk around, let along find anything.
I had a one hour zoom meeting with my local writers group. This was the one scheduled last week that was cancelled due to a bad connection. Today, I read my story and received numerous critique. There were 6 people on the conf. call. I always learn so much both positive and negative feedbacks and they help me improve in future writing pieces.
Today was my elder son's birthday. He turned 35 today. How fast they grow up. We usually take him out to dinner but this year, we had to resort to a virtual meeting using House Party. Here is a screen shot. There were 6 of us in the party with a total of 9 persons.
April 17 - Today, I am going to fertilize my lawn. We do this twice a year, one in the Spring and once in the Fall.
I participated in a zoom meeting with my friends Bill, Jerry and Joe. Bill has created a video tribute to one of our fencing teammate upon his 75th birthday. We were testing the logistics for the time in 2 weeks when we will show it to him via zoom along with most of all our teammates.
April 18 - I wrote a new article today on my observations of how various people are dealing with the quarantine.
April 19 - Made lobster roll for lunch and Pork and Vegetable Mei Fun for dinner.
We also had a large family zoom meeting to celebrate my grand-nephew Owen's 5th birthday.
April 20 - My latest article on HubPages, what are some important questions.
I had a Dr. appointment today scheduled a while ago before the quarantine. It was with my cardiologist. He did an ultrasound test of my heart and informed me everything is normal. He did double the dosage of the statin drug I was taking to help reduce my plaque buildup in my arteries.
April 21 - Today I decided to patch some of my lawn that was devastated over the winter. Here is what it looks like before...and in one week I will post the after photo.
Before photo - 4/21
Week 4 (April 22 - 28)
April 22 - Today, I have a stress test in the am scheduled by my cardiologist. This was a follow-up to my visit on Monday. It is a normal procedure for people with heart condition. They put you on a treadmill and measure and monitor your heart activity. Everything was normal.
Today is also Earth Day. There is a zoom conference at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. I plan to join in...
April 23 - Zoom meeting with my Writers Group and with Alumni Association board meeting.
One of the Writer in our group wrote an excellent diary which I would like to share. She has given me permission to distribute. Here is the article written by Nalini Juthani.
April 24 - Today I wrote an article on the stupidity of some people.
I did a zoom meeting test with a couple who is not very savvy with technology. We are getting ready for next Thur. where a large group of friends will be doing a virtual birthday party for one of our dear friend turning 75. This couple are retired and living at home and quarantined just like the rest of us. They just learned of zoom meeting and are excited to participate.
April 25 - Today we went grocery shopping at 99 Ranch in Hackensack NJ. We had to wait about one hour on line due to social distancing. Once inside the store, I was surprised to find abundance of all items except paper products. We spent about 45 minutes getting all the items on our shopping list. It filled a whole shopping cart.
The total cost was almost $300. It is enough food to last us two weeks.
April 26 - Today, we decided to drive north to New Paltz, NY for some fresh air and walk. We found a trail that used to be an abandoned railway. It runs along a small stream and quite quiet and wooded for the most part. It was one of few that is still open to the public. I was surprised to find many parks closed. They actually closed the parking lots and fenced off the shoulders of some roads adjacent to hiking trails.
We surprised a family of deer, and I captured a candid photo.
I started writing a new article which I called Coronavirus Response - A Scientific Approach. This was instigated by some wechat conversations with relatives and my experience in searching for a walking trail.
April 27 - Got a notice from a former colleague. Betsy Wyeth passed away this week at the ripe old age of 98. Her obituary is located here. I met her in the early 1990s while working on the Digital Library project by IBM Research. We helped her husband Andrew Wyeth digitize his collection of over 10,000 works of art over his career.
Started on a new restoration project with an outdoor bench. This has been sitting in my backyard for years. It is weathered and with some kind of growth...I am hoping to repair the wood pieces and sand and refinish it with polyurethane.
April 28 - Checking the stock market and do my monthly assessment. Last month has been devastating to my portfolio due to the coronavirus. My balance was down 20% overall from the previous month. This month has shown a recover of about 50%. In fact, my portfolio has performed better than the DOW index. Overall, I am beating the market index by about 5%. That is better than most investors. My strategy is very simple, "buy low sell high."
I submitted the final nomination, biography and photo, of Nat Lubell to the USA Fencing Hall of Fame. He was a graduate of our school CCNY and a prolific fencer with numerous titles and culminating in making the Olympic team and later was coach at US Military Academy at West Point. He is being nominated posthumously. If chosen, he will join his fellow teammates of Albie Axelrod, Dan Bukantz and Hal Goldsmith into this prestigious club. Here is a list of top ten fencers of CCNY.
We made an old Chinese recipe of my sister-in-law, a meat sauce that takes about 2 hours to cook. It goes well with rice or noodles.
My Slice of Heaven
Week 5 (April 29 - May 5)
April 29 - Checking on the patch repair of our lawn a week later.
Continue with my daily routine, practicing point control for my return to fencing practice after the quarantine is over.
(After 1 week, April 29)
the April 30 - Completed restoring the outdoor bench. See photos below for (Before and After). I sanded the wood, repaired the frame with some new screws. I then applied a few coats of polyurethane and Thompson water seal.
Today, we are scheduling a virtual birthday celebration for one of our teammate. He is turning 75 in May. There will be about 30 people invited to a zoom meeting. It should be a great celebration since most people are home anyway due to the quarantine.
I published a new article on China.
Before and After Photo...
May 1 - Today is May Day. Many countries around the world are celebrating. It is the labor day of the socialist movement. In America, many employees of large corporations like Amazon are protesting for higher wages and better working conditions...
Recap of the events of last night's virtual birthday celebration for my good friend Arnie Messing. He is turning 75 next week. We decided to give him a surprise zoom celebration. About 30 people checked in and watched a 10 minute video produced by a fellow teammate Bill Warren. It was the hit of the evening and there were a few tears of joy and remembrance. People gave toasts and well wishes and told funny stories. It is one of the silver lining of the quarantine. More people were able to participate since they are all home and had the time. What a testament for a life lived over 7 decades. This event will be remembered and talked about for years to come. His family members were present and probably got to see and witnessed another side of him. A lot of work went into this and I have to give credit to credit is due. Bill Warren for his idea to do this and who spent most of the time and talent to create the video. Shelley his sister for providing much of the photo contents. Joe Wu for his photos of the medials and the videos of the fencing bouts. Jerry Moy for his tech support and getting many of the people onto zoom. Sam, Arnie's son for getting him ready and setup with zoom on his tablet. David Covington, Alumni Association Director, for making an appearance out of his busy schedule to provide an inspirational speech.
Kudos to Bill Warren, you rock. Thanks to all for participating in this event.
May 2 - Today is a beautiful day. Felt like first day of Spring. Flowers are blooming. Grass is lush and green. We are going for a drive, no particular place. We will stop and hike a bit and enjoy nature.
Untermyer Garden, Yonkers NY
Mario Cuomo Bridge
My Slice of Heaven - My Backyard
May 3 - Restoring a succulent wood box...
May 4 - I worked on restoring an old wooden chair. It had fallen apart at the seams. I tried to glue the pieces back and using a vice to hold them together.
May 5 - Today is Cinco de Mayo, a major Mexican holiday. Usually, we would go to a Mexican Restaurant to celebrate as part of our monthly get together. Some of my IBM colleagues have been meeting once a month since our retirement. Unfortunately, due to the quarantine, we have not been meeting for the past two months.
Week 6 (May 6 - May 12)
May 6 - I feel liberated today. I made the decision to break up with a few of my teammates. They have gone over the deep end in their hatred of Trump. Having debated them back and forth for over one month, it is time to stop. Life is short and I have better things to do. It feels good and as if a burden was lifted from my shoulders.
I no longer care what they think or do. They are all adults and must do what they think is right and so am I. I wrote an article to put some closure to this.
Today, I ordered a song from a local musician by the name of Mark Rust. He reminds me of one of my favorite artist, Harry Chapin, who past away too soon. Here is his song called "All Mixed Up". It made my day.
Music by Mark Rust
May 7 - Making a quiet and shady space in my back yard. I used a new product called Rubberific. It is easy to install and it looks great. It cost about $2.50 per square foot. The tiles come in 16" by 16" tiles, 6 to a pack. $25 per pack, purchased at BJ.
May 8 - Today, I worked on restoring my patio in the backyard. I decided to turn the tiles over and clean out some of the weeds.
May 9 - This morning, we were surprised by a dusting of snow. The temperature dropped to 32 degrees F over night. I read in the news that this tied the record for snow in the New York area. The last time it happened was in the 1970s. It was a Mother's Day blizzard.
Snow in May
May 10 - Mother's Day
May 10 - Happy Mother's Day to mothers everywhere.
We got a fire pit for Mother's day from our kids.
May 11 - Bought an axe to chop wood to feed the fire pit.
May 12 - Chopped some wood today and made a pile to dry.
Week 7 (May 13 - May 15)
Continue working in the backyard and creating an additional patio space.
Here is the final product. An 8 foot by 8 foot area.
May 14 - Enjoying my fire pit and deck...
May 15 - Final Day of Quarantine
New York is starting to open up. We are told Binghamton NY is one of the first locale to open. We plan to take a road trip there this weekend. It is about a 3 hours drive.
Today is also our anniversary. It was 38 years ago when we got married. It was a church wedding in Madison NJ.
May 15, 1982
The quarantine has ended. We are on our way to recovery. Despite the many challenges, we are doing fine. We may never go back to the good old days. However, we are humans. We adapt, we invent, we overcome and we move forward. This virus is a wakeup call. It reminds us that we were never in control. Despite the many technological innovations and advances in medicine, we are helpless against a small invisible virus. This quarantine period has given us some needed timeout. To reassess what is important in life. To focus on others in need. To help one another and to spend time with our loved ones and to reach out to people in our lives.
The silver lining of all this is we are one step closer to God. Time is short, and we need to make the best of our lives.
Since the quarantine period has been extended to 5/15, I decided to continue to document my activities. This will be a 45 days diary when it is all finished.
Please check back occasionally to see my daily updates. I welcome any comments.
By The Numbers...
Over these last 45 days, I have written and published 25 articles including this one.
I have participated in 6 zoom meetings.
I have completed numerous renovation and restoration projects around my house.
I have reached out to numerous friends and family members, some I have not interacted with in decades.
The silver lining of this quarantine is my long list of accomplishments.
A Non Scientific Poll
What are you doing during this quarantine period?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Jack Lee