Dutch Quarantine

If you were super curious about how The Netherlands is handling the quarantining of visitors from other countries, here’s what I know.

Bellana entered the country on Thursday morning, January 13th. She was allotted some time to get from the plane to her final destination, which was something like three hours by train, and then once she was where she was going her quarantine began. On Monday she will take a Covid test. The results will take 48-72 hours to return but once they do (assuming a negative result) she’s free to move about the country.

So worst case scenario (that doesn’t involve a positive test) is that her quarantine starts on 1/13 and ends on 1/20. Note that in The Netherlands they would say her quarantine starts on 13/1 and ends on 20/1, but that’s neither here nor there.

One funny note from our FaceTime. She has changed her weather settings on her phone to Celsius. She said it was currently 2 degrees. Jen laughed and said it was 2 degrees here too. Doing the math, our 2 degrees is -16.7 degrees for her. Brrrr, babie.

So now you’re up to date on the Dutch quarantine process for international travel. I hope you all enjoyed this little lesson.

Last Minute Lunch Post

My lunch break is ending. I had Chef Boyardee Beef Raviolis and I rode the exercise bike for six minutes and I can practically taste your jealousy.


I’m not keeping track of Covid-19 infection statistics anymore. I accidentally deleted my spreadsheets. Did I mention that in a previous post? I think so. I was messing with the file system on my iPad and who knew the iPad directly accessed Google Drive? I didn’t. I do now. Oops.

Anyway, I saw this tweet this morning:

I think I saw the US have a million new cases over a four day period, maybe three days, but I never saw a million cases in a day. I went to the Johns Hopkins site and poked around and sure enough there were 1.083 million cases reported on January 3rd.

These days many people (including your humble narrator) are testing at home. Is this a case of home tests taken over New Years weekend being saved up and reported to their primary care physicians all at once? Is that million cases actually from three days and not one? Does it matter?

No. No, it does not matter.

Covid-19 infections in the US are spiking like they never have before. It’s probably mostly omicron, but delta is surely still part of it too. What is it about all of these new infections that make Americans think it’s all over? I don’t get it. We locked down the entire nation for so much less than what we’re seeing today. It doesn’t matter if omicron is generally milder than delta. Even with the milder symptoms omicron is supposed to have, we still have so many more infections that hospitals will still be overrun and masses of Americans are going to die. Who cares if the death rate for omicron is down if the infection rate is so much drastically worse? You still end up with more dead people due to omicron. It’s math people. It doesn’t lie.

Shit. I wasn’t planning on writing a lunch break post that depressed the hell out of myself but here we are.

Okay, back to work, depression boy.

Christmas: Recap

We got a little Christmas snow last night, though it may have actually been Boxing Day snow. I’m not sure. Not enough to worry about, but I started cleaning it off anyway. I’m halfway through and my back hurts so much that I can’t stand. So I will rest up a bit before taking another shot at it and while I do that I will write about what was going on over the last few days.

Last week the kids finished up their semester. Harry drove Bellana’s car home on Thursday. Bellana didn’t come with him. One of her roommates lives down south in the former confederacy (which should be pronounced the way Eric Cartman pronounces it, confederasaw). She and a third roommate helped her drive home. They made it to Virginia on Friday and the rest of the way on Saturday. She was booked to fly home late Wednesday night and get here just after midnight on Thursday.

While she was down south her roommate’s brother started showing symptoms. She saw him on Sunday and then he tested positive on Tuesday. Bellana decided she would do her quarantine at dad’s house while waiting for her PCR test results which probably wouldn’t come back until Sunday. And as such, Christmas at our house was postponed and Jen and I were crushed.

Originally we had talked about moving Christmas morning to New Years Eve as that would be the first day that Jen and I were both off from work and we could do the whole Christmas experience as if nothing had happened. Later it was decided that we would do Christmas morning on Wednesday evening as that would be the next time the kids were here (barring a positive test, of course) and really no one was going to want to wait an extra couple of days.

Yesterday they did their Christmas morning at dad’s house, which they were going to do this year regardless of Covid. In a normal year they would wake up at dad’s and come to our house in the late morning. Next year it will be the opposite. Yesterday though, as the clock ticked over to the afternoon and no kids arrived it was really just devastating. It’s such a silly thing. What difference does the calendar date make anyway. Christmas is a concept. Christmas is a feeling. Christmas is family. So what if we push it off a few days? Well… apparently the calendar date is a big deal because yesterday just felt awful.

And then…

Around 1:00pm, with our Chinese Food “traditional Jewish Christmas dinner” en route, Bellana sent a text. The PCR results were in early and she tested negative. Can they come over around 4:00pm? Yes! Yes you can! They got here and massive hugs were exchanged and Christmas commenced and all was right with the world. They were even able to join in on a quick zoom call with my brother and sister and their families. HoHoHo! Literally a Christmas miracle.

Covid can suck it, we had Christmas after all.

I can’t say it was the best Christmas ever, because the first half of the day was by far the worst, but as Christmas miracles go… I’ll take it!

And that, loyal readers, is the story of the 2021 Christmas that almost wasn’t. Covid Christmas II: The Year that Had a Santa Claus After All.

Composing Topical Christmas Songs

Now that it looks like we are going to be quarantining for Christmas I feel the need to come up with some topical new Christmas carols*. I’m coming up empty though. The best I have are just parodies and they are awful. Weird Al would be so disappointed in my work.

For example, change “I want a hippopotamus** for Christmas” to “We’re going into quarantine for Christmas.” I told you it was awful.

The only other one I have right now is to change “all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” to “all I want for Christmas is no quarantine” but that’s just embarrassingly bad.

I think I am going to quit while I’m ahead. Blah. I’m guessing the universe will thank me for stopping before it gets out of control.

*The reason I feel the need to come up with some topical new Christmas carols is because I need to do something to distract myself from the need to just start screaming in frustration. Covid can kiss my ass… again.

**I spelled hippopotamus correctly on the first try. I am pretty proud of myself for that.

Brian May Shares His Covid-19 Experience

Brian May, the guitarist from Queen who is also an astrophysicist, posted to his Instagram yesterday that he has Covid-19. Today he shared his experience so far. There are two clips. One is short and is background (and some guitar playing) and the other has the main details (and also some UK political stuff).

Clip one:

Clip two:

In summation, he went to a birthday party, he tested every day afterwards (there’s a novel idea, eh?), and he and a whole bunch of people who went to the birthday party caught it. He has three Pfizer shots (me too! Brian May and I are Pfizer bros.!) and it was a horrible couple of days but thanks to the vaccine he’s coming out of it and he’s doing all right now.

Remember folks, this is a scientist we’re talking to. It’s not his specific field, but he is wicked smaht, m’kay?

Just sharing this to wrap up the post I made yesterday.

We Must Protect Queen

Okay folks, shit just got real.

Brian May, PhD in Astrophysics, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and lead guitarist of Queen… has Covid-19.

Okay? Are you happy now? Enough screwing around. You’re screwing around too much. We must protect (the) Queen. We as a global community have to knock off all of the bullshit and keep Queen safe!

Get the effing vaccine. Get the effing booster. Practice social distance. No, don’t practice it, perform it. Be a friggin’ professional at it. Lock the Fuck Down. Wear a mask when you’re around other people. Wash your god damned hands and stop volunteering to be disease carriers. Treat the plague like a plague for a change.

Also, get well soon, Doc*.

*Is Doctor the appropriate title? He has a PhD, but do all PhD’s come with the title of Doctor? I think they do for science. Oh well. Just get the damn vaccine.

The NHL is Falling Apart

The NHL is falling apart. Last night the Montreal Canadiens played a game without fans in the building. I believe it was at the Province of Quebec’s request but I am not sure of that.

Today, the NHL postponed Saturday’s scheduled game between the Bruins and the Canadiens. I don’t know if Montreal was going to close the building for that game too, but I do know that seven Bruins players and one staff member have been put into the Covid-19 protocol. The Bruins were allowed to play last night so I am curious if the postponement had as much to do the differing quarantine rules in the US and Canada. If I have things straight, players testing positive for Covid in the US need to quarantine for 10 days. In Canada it’s 14. So was the game postponed so that any newly positive Bruins players wouldn’t be stuck in Canada for an extra four days? I guess it’s possible. I also wonder if maybe the Province of Quebec pulled the plug. The Bruins are playing in Ontario on Sunday and that game has not been mentioned yet.

Now we get the news that the NHL has postponed all games involving the Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, and Colorado Avalanche through Christmas. Eight days. According to the article, the Panthers have the same number of cases among players as the Bruins, and they both have more than the Avs. Calgary leaves everyone in the dust. If the Bruins have as many cases as one of these three teams, why aren’t they included? Why hasn’t Sunday’s game in Ottawa been axed too? Is a longer shut down for Boston imminent? I would think so. For the sake of everyone’s health I would hope so.

What a mess.

The Olympics are looking less and less likely, especially if I am right about the issues with the lengths of quarantines. Word is that athletes testing positive during the games will be subject to China’s quarantine process which can run for up to five weeks. I don’t know the specifics, and I could have details wrong (I am basing this off of hearsay from half-listening to hockey podcasts while I work), but being stuck in China for a month would be a seriously tough pill to swallow for NHL players.

Again, what a mess.

Here’s hoping all of the positive testing players recover quick with a minimum of symptoms. Everyone involved so far is twice vaccinated so hopefully the vaccine is doing it’s job and keeping people from getting too sick. No hospitalizations, please.

Also, here’s hoping it doesn’t get worse.

Lucky 13

Today is Monday the 13th of December 2021. It is the one year and nine month anniversary of me being sent home from work. Today marks 1.75 years since the start of my personal pandemic lock down. It’s been 640 days. Now I know that there was a couple of months there where we were back in the office a few days a month, but I see that as an aberration rather than a break from the shut down.

Jen and I were talking about it the other day. It doesn’t feel like this is ever going to end. It doesn’t feel like we are ever going back to the pre-2020 normal. This is normal now. It felt like a kick in the balls 640 days ago and it still feels like a kick in the balls today. It’s just a kick in the balls that we’re kinda used to now. Does that make sense?

I was looking back on some pictures I put up on Flickr last year and it reminded me that I was referring to the holiday as “Covid Christmas”. This year needs to be “Covid Christmas 2” (or would it be better to call it “Covid Christmas Too”?). At some point it’s just going to morph back into a plain old Christmas, because this is it now.

Welcome to normal, folks. We’re here for good.

The Stir Crazy Files – Episode 79: Socks

I haven’t posted a stir crazy since July. I haven’t stopped thinking about it, it just means that all of the quarantine lock down Covid bullshit we were flipping out over 1.75 years ago has become normal and the things that used to be normal are now abnormal. This one in particular might be better allocated to a Rob-is-getting-old-and-stupid file than stir crazy, but this is what I got so this is what I got.

Yesterday morning, I was just out of the shower and I was getting dressed. I sat on the bed, lifted up my left foot, put on my left sock, and put my foot down. Then I lifted up my right foot, put on my right sock, and put my foot down. Then I lifted up my left foot and… wait a second…

Now if that were it, then it would be funny and I would feel like a tool and that’s it. No, there was one more thing. It wasn’t picking up my left foot and seeing that there was already a sock on it that clued me into my doofusness. No. I realized something was wrong when I looked on the bed next to me and couldn’t find the sock that I was looking for. I couldn’t find it because it was on my foot.

I hereby declare myself: Dumbass.

Wallet Fail

In our Covid-19 Lock Down Household, we are still trying to avoid going out in public as much as possible. That means we are still regular users of Instacart for our grocery shopping needs. My wife is a power user. She’s amazing. If there is something out there to be found, she finds it. It’s incredible.

Today was a first for us. We have had Instacart shoppers leave us thank you notes. One left us a zip lock bag with a couple of disinfectant wipes in it. One shopper left us a thank you note with a little bag of M&Ms. I think we’ve had that shopper twice. That is my favorite shopper. Obviously the M&Ms aren’t eaten, but it’s the thought that counts.

Today though, the surprise gift was something special. It was a wallet. Okay, so it wasn’t a gift, but it was definitely a surprise. A nice little leather wallet. Jen was able to text the shopper and let her know, and I left the wallet outside where she could get to it. It’s all set now.

Yeah, that was a new one for us.