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Cold and Windy Spring Day

Portable Greenhouse

Tuesday was the last time I started the automobiles.

I plan a drive in each of them later today to make sure the batteries don’t drain. With gasoline selling for $1.259 per gallon I’ll don a protective mask and gloves and fill the one I missed while out to buy groceries.

It’s a maintenance mode of living as we wait out the coronavirus pandemic.

Strong gusts of wind had me bring the greenhouse seedlings into the garage yesterday afternoon. If it did blow over, I didn’t want to lose the work done since February. It’s still standing this morning.

Overnight ambient temperature dropped below freezing, so when I return the plants to their shelves after sunrise I’m going to run a space heater out to warm them. The forecast is ambient temperatures around 50 degrees after noon. The sun should take over warming by then.

The death count in Iowa due to COVID-19 was 29 yesterday. It’s not as bad as in New York where they are digging mass graves, running out of morgue space, and recruiting mortuary workers and out of state funeral directors to help with the volume of work as bodies pile up. Projections in Iowa are there will be plenty of mortuary workers to handle the expected 565 COVID-19 deaths projected by Aug. 4.

The pandemic is real and people who own and operate small businesses are getting antsy. Under normal circumstances a small business owner is eligible for unemployment payments only if they pay in for themselves or their employees. Most sole proprietorship operators don’t.

There is discussion in the national media about stimulus bill funding for small business owner payrolls to make sure they make it to the other side of the pandemic. People I know in this situation, who have applied for unemployment to Iowa Workforce Development, had their claims denied. There is a lack of information about how this provision of the stimulus will work, or whether it even exists. Bottom line is the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been too little, too late.

With non-essential business shut down three weeks ago, small business operators are having trouble making ends meet without their regular cash flow. Some are considering returning to work to resolve the stress. It’s easy to say that’s not a good idea during a period of contagion, but our household is financially stable and as such, mine is a perspective of privilege.

As retired workers, our family relies on our Social Security pensions. Politicians floated the idea of increasing Social Security payments temporarily this week. That doesn’t seem necessary. The main thing about Social Security should be to ensure that the trust fund is solvent now and beyond 2034 when if nothing is done it will begin to run out of money. That’s a worry for another day in light of the pandemic.

After Tuesday’s trip to the wholesale club we are provisioned so we can make it through the end of the pandemic. According to current projections the peak is expected to be April 27 although it will take some time past that date for the CDC or Iowa Department of Public Health to give us an all-clear.

For now, I’m focused on planting the garden. If the pandemic continues into summer, we’ll need the produce.

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