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Watch Your Step…

We are living in absolutely insane times dear reader! Unparalleled chaos and confusion as we enter our 3rd year with this pandemic; yes – 3rd year! There was wild and widespread fear this time two years ago as we all took-in the dire warnings of the experts on this virus – doom and gloom. We watched the death counter rise daily and all hid ourselves away in our homes. All, that is, except those who had to go out in it and keep society afloat: the “essentials”.

Then we began to understand that this virus, while certainly lethal, was not such a terrible threat to almost all of us. I plotted the numbers into my spreadsheet daily and quickly recognized that while most all of us were likely to catch it if exposed, we were quite unlikely to get seriously ill from it and even less likely to die from it. Of course that is little solace to those who lost someone to COVID because a huge number of people did lose their life to it.

As we understand it now, the overwhelming majority of deaths were old people – above age 70. That number was 78% in my state; 78% of our COVID deaths were above 70 years old. And the other revelation was that over 75% of the US deaths had at least four pre-existing medical conditions. So not quite the killing machine it was first portrayed as.

Then cases began to fall in the summer of 2020 and we all relaxed, only to have it reemerge in the fall. But at the same time, they began talking about the vaccine and that whole saga began, for me culminating in the spring of 2021 with my two doses and hope for a full return to normalcy, which only “sort of” happened. After a long time trying, my daughter finally got pregnant so then it became all about the risk to her and the unborn baby and not the risk to us. Ultimately that all turned out fine with a beautiful and healthy baby boy.

Then the omicron variant hit and we all ran for the hills again, despite knowing that this variant was far less severe on an average healthy human. And we did so because – who wants to take that chance of being the one who catches it and dies. And I find that fascinating in that we have and annual flu season and, in some years, have had deaths ranging as high as 100,000 people from it. And consider that the flu season only lasts four or five months at best. So that is a lot of deaths in a short period of time yet many folks barely blink an eye at the flu. And I predict that this may well become the case with COVID in the future: an annual virus, freshly mutated for the winter season, for which many will go get a flu shot; and many will not.

My family are fully past their up-close and personal COVID experience. The two youngest had very minor symptoms, low-grade fever mostly. The oldest grandson had some aches along with his low-grade fever and my daughter-in-law had some achiness and loss of taste. My son remained unaffected from having a household of four active COVID cases, but he is vaccinated. But they all came through it just fine, thank God. And while we had a sleepover with the kids here just a couple of days before they became symptomatic, it had no apparent effect on my wife or I.  

In celebration of their return from quarantine, we had our usual sleepover Friday night with the grandkids, and then added Saturday as a second special night. When I brought them back home Sunday afternoon, I noticed my son was preparing to move his old refrigerator. Their old one had begun to fail so he found a friend who had a friend who was remodeling and was giving away his old refrigerator which was still working perfectly. He and his oldest boy and I had picked it up the day before and moved it into his kitchen and got it up and running.

I didn’t have a lot of time because we were supposed to go babysit my daughter’s baby while she and her husband went to pick up her new car at 5pm. But I had enough to move a refrigerator so I asked him if he was ready to get it outside. His concern was that it bigger than the new one and was going to be a tight fit through the door. We decided to remove the doors and take it out sideways and we would be good. We pushed/slid it through the house to the front and then slipped a dolly under it to get it out the door and down the three steps to the yard for pick-up. And that’s where the fun began.

There is no good way to move a refrigerator through a door, over a threshold, and down three steps; but to me, a dolly was not the best way, mostly because one person has all the weight and no visibility and it seemed ripe for disaster. So I figured what the hell – we’re two strong men and refrigerators are really not all that heavy anymore; we could merely pick it up and carry it out. So I had him lower the dolly down flat on the floor. I tried lifting my end and found it quite doable so I got a good grip and picked up my end. He then picked up his end and we had my grandson slide the dolly out from underneath to clear the path.

I got through the door and we made it down the three steps without issue, now just 40’ or so to the street to leave it for the city pick-up. And with about 5’ to go, that’s when all hell broke loose. To this very minute I still can’t fully understand what happened or how it happened, but the next thing I know I am falling over backwards with a refrigerator coming down on top of me! I don’t know for certain, but I seem to recall a flash thought of self-preservation as I came to grips with the realization that a refrigerator was about to fall on me (the heavy end too) so I believe I threw my right leg up in an attempt to deflect/move the mass over the top of me to the side. And whether it was intentional of simply instinct or luck, the refrigerator landed on the outside of my right my thigh just a little above the knee.

We – the refrigerator and I – ended up on the ground, me on my back and the refrigerator on its back next to me on my left. I was acutely aware of a severe pain in my leg as my son came running over to see how bad it all was. He asked if I was alright and as I grimaced, I said I was fine but my leg really hurt so I need a minute. He said “what about your hand? I think you need a bandage”. I honestly had no idea what he was talking about but when I looked at my left hand, I was absolutely shocked to see a rather ugly looking cut on my index finger – more of a fillet than a cut actually – with a large piece hanging off.

I managed to get up on my feet (well, more like on my foot as my right les was not yet self-disposed to taking any weight) and said “yeah, a paper towel or napkin would be good right about now”. My daughter-in-law came running with paper towels so I could try to stem the flow and that’s when I noticed my ring finger was also bleeding, and then noticed the cut on the little finger making it three out of four. We eventually got Band-Aids on all three fingers and my leg slowly became agreeable to helping the left leg hold me upright and things began to calm down again.

Very embarrassing. As we moved the doors over to the refrigerator, I wondered aloud what had happened – what I had tripped over. Well, his front walkway to the street is cement but does not go all the way to the street – it stops about six or eight feet from the end of the lawn. And the lawn is around two to three inches higher than the cement. So I seems that while walking backwards, I did not pick up my foot highly enough and my heal got caught on the edge of the lawn, causing me to stumble. And carrying that much weight, a stumble is all it took to send me sprawling.

To be clear here – this was not age-related! I could have just as easily have tripped and fallen at 40 years old. It was not too heavy and it was not too far to carry it. I simply tripped. But to everyone else, they see a almost 66 year old fall carrying a refrigerator and automatically attribute it to age. That is simply human nature to think that. But it really and honestly was not age; if it had been too much for my slightly older body, I would not have even made it through the door and down the stairs. It was just bad luck. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Today, the day after, is far better than last night. My leg is swollen and hurts like the dickens but I can get around just fine. No bruise, at all. I rarely bruise on my legs and if I do, it can be up to a week later. The fingers sting a bit, but far less than last night and are coming along nicely. So all in all, a not so good moment for me and a terrible moment for my son who was horrified having to witness it! But it is over and done and behind us.

My PC continues to give me trouble not charging. I have a great support warranty with Dell and have been working through it, but without much success. They sent me a new AC adapter but that didn’t resolve it. Then they sent a tech to my house who brought another new AC adapter and who changed the DC jack in the laptop. I knew that wouldn’t work as I had already changed the DC jack (I didn’t tell them that) so I knew it was not the adapter or the jack; it is arbitrary in that sometimes it will charge and other times it will not, so I believe it to be software related – something in the BIOS perhaps. But Dell is now convinced that I need a new motherboard so they are sending a tech here today to change out the motherboard, which is a really big job; a little scary too. We’ll see where this ends up I guess, but I thought I should get something written and posted before I lose my laptop, possibly for a while…

I’ll provide an update once all is done; in the interim take joy in the fact that January is half over already so our coldest weather is also half over. February can certainly be cold, but not like January. And February brings the promise of spring with the first flowers appearing somewhere around the second or third week. Stay warm dear reader, stay warm and stay well!!

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