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Life Moves Pretty Fast

Last Sunday I was worried about returning to work (from home) after an extended holiday break. But so much has happened since. Tuesday I was anxious about the election in Georgia. Wednesday I was horrified by insurrectionists storming our country’s Capitol. Since Thursday my problems were closer to home. We called the fire department because there was a burning rubber smell coming from the basement. We couldn’t identify the source. The firefighters called in the gas company. That crew came out and red-tagged all four of the 100-year-old boilers as unsafe and shut off the gas (just to the boilers, we still have cooking gas and hot water). Heat is a pretty critical component to survival in a Minnesotan winter. We’re getting by with space heaters for now. So many strange men have been in and out of our basement, and some inside our home itself, to measure carbon monoxide levels. Now I’m concerned about our risk of COVID-19 exposure (with a new, more contagious strain to boot). Additional strangers will be in and out of here next week and the week after. The asbestos abatement team followed by the crews installing the new boilers and the chimney liners and then city inspectors to sign off on all of it.

One year ago today I was exploring Portugal. Now we’re living through a global pandemic and unprecedented domestic political turmoil. Our household had been fairly insulated from the pandemic until now. But surviving in place has become more difficult, temporarily. At least the weather is relatively mild for this time of year. The boiler expense is going to be a huge hit but I should be able to finance it through the gas company. More debt. I just hope we don’t become infected from all these new points of contact in and out of the building. And the slow rollout of vaccines has been disheartening.

File under unexpectedly hopeful, Arnold Schwarzenegger has pleasantly surprised me again. First, when he called for Americans to stay home during the covid crisis. And now, in a video denouncing last week’s attack on the Capitol:

Schwarzenegger’s video today, however schmaltzy and hokey in style, was a real reminder to the fatuous callow right that Nazis and nazism are not just death-metal icons or gamer fantasies. They really did exist, with America-first cheerleaders such as Joseph Kennedy and Charles Lindbergh encouraging their fellow citizens to look the other way. And he also showed us that the immigrant experience can bring wisdom.

As fast as things seem to be moving, I’d like to fast forward to a time where Biden and Harris are already in office, everyone is vaccinated, and our household has heat again.

An amaryllis flower bulb showing signs of life

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