Hey, Washington Governor Inslee! Shut down the State for the entire month of April?

How, pray tell, do you expect the government of Washington to operate with no tax receipts?  In case you hadn’t noticed, the State runs on Sales Taxes and the B & O tax on all businesses, large and small, regardless of profits.  No receipts, no revenue.

What happens when the revenue stops?  How many government employees will be laid off?  How many government offices will close?

I’m waiting.  Answer my questions.

…crickets…

BoardedUpSeattle

Dispatches from Furlough, Day Five

First, here’s a little something I recorded last weekend, before my furlough even started.  We had a massive hailstorm, which lasted about 15 minutes, and covered the back yard in snow.  Some of it was still around in the morning, too.  This was from my bedroom window on the second floor, and you can see Kikyo on her perch watching.

Today, the real Day Five, I ventured out to the grocery store for orange juice and some other stuff (did you know that the Wuhan Coronavirus is causing a leap in the price of orange juice futures?).  I used to like going grocery shopping, but now it is a chore, uncomfortable and, they say, potentially deadly if you get too close to another person.

When I got home, I did some of my always-favorite activity, reading my Wall Street Journal.  See who keeps me company.

CatOnJeans

Yeah, she’s sitting on my just-washed jeans.

I will now vent.  I deserve to, having been idled for a week.

WAAAAHHHH!!!  I WANT MY PRINT SHOP SOFTWARE BACK!!!!  Software MacKiev still has not released a Catalina-compatible version of The Print Shop, my favorite program on my computer, which I have been using since I got my very first computer in 1993.  They say it will be released “soon”, but I am beginning to wonder what their definition of “soon” is.  I make all sorts of projects with that software, including address labels and signs.

I did 25+ minutes on the rowing machine today, still adding one minute per day until I get to 30.  I’m way behind on my Rush Limbaugh podcasts, and listening to the podcast makes the rowing less boring.

And, our “stay-home” edict has now been extended all through the month of April.  It suddenly occurred to me that my nail salon is closed, and I am going to need a pedicure long before the end of April.  I am really not looking forward to having to cut my own toenails again. I’m really bad at it, and my nails are thick and ugly due to psoriasis.  Ugh.

Bye!

Color me Surprised. Pleasantly surprised.

I can’t believe I am actually saying this, but I think the normally-stupid Governor of Washington State actually did something very good today.  This action leaves me shaking my head in bewilderment, but smiling.  It so happens that, today, Inslee vetoed $445 Million in spending passed by the heavily-DemocRat Legislature.   This is simply unbelievable!  Finally, there is something more worthy of taxpayer dollars than the usually-Leftist policies that get funded in Washington.  I’m betting that whatever was funded and vetoed probably won’t be missed.

The second unbelievable action was taken by the Leftist Mayor of Seattle.  Now, the city has been shuttered, and streets empty of traffic for many days in Seattle.  What Mayor Durkan did in support of all the essential workers in town was to make all parking in city paid-parking zones FREE.  Yes, essential workers, who are the only ones allowed out of their homes, now will find all the parking meters and pay-stations inactivated.  No more pay for parking, and no more time limits on parking.  The powers-that-be in Seattle are dominated by “get the people out of their cars and into government transportation” Leftists, and parking has become very expensive, both on the street and in garages and lots.  It’s great that they have taken pity on those who must use their private vehicles.  At least for a while.

Dispatches from Furlough, a continuing series

Today is officially Day Four of my two-week furlough from work, due to the economic effects of the Wuhan Coronavirus.  Last Friday just before noon, we were told that our aerospace manufacturing factory was shutting down for two weeks, due to a falloff in business, including customers pushing out and cancelling orders.  For the purposes of this continuing series, I will only be counting weekdays as part of the furlough.  I have ample vacation time saved up, so this will mostly be a forced vacation.

I have opted into the company’s text-messaging service, so I have heard via text that two employees in our factory have contracted the COVID-19 illness, and they both work in the same area of the factory.  It is interesting that this particular area is almost completely enclosed to separate it from the rest of the factory (due to machine noise and fumes).  My work area is on the opposite side of the building.  Even before the factory shutdown, many office employees, including the majority of our department, were working from home.  But I was going in to work every day, because my particular job involves carrying things to the shipping and receiving departments, and I really didn’t want to be working from home while my husband was already working from home.  I did like the relative quiet, which made it easier for me to do my job.  Our entire state of Washington is under a “shelter in place” order from our stupid governor, so my furlough promised to be uncomfortable confinement.

Being the incendiary person I am, I defied that shelter-in-place order on Sunday.  It was a nice day, so I got in my car and drove up to the Skagit Valley to check out the tulips.  Every year in the month of April, they have the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which normally draws thousands of flower-viewers, who clog up all the 2-lane roads in the valley, stopping by the side of the road to take pictures of the flowers in the fields.  Not so this year, since the Festival has been cancelled, due to the “social-distancing” edict from the all-powerful State.  The group who runs the Festival has added insult to injury, by turning off the Tulip Cams, so we shut-ins can’t even view the flowers on the Web! Please note that the header on my blog is a picture of those Skagit Valley Tulips from a previous year.  I enjoyed my drive, and when I got there, the traffic was pretty light, but NOT totally gone.  There is a roadside farm stand, Snow Goose Produce, and they were mercifully open!  I didn’t stop there, but there were some shoppers.  In my drive among the fields, it became apparent that it was still a bit early for the tulips to be in full bloom, and I didn’t get any tulip pictures.  But, I did get one picture.

SkagitBlueberries

I do believe these are blueberries, and they are not ready yet.  I did not get out of the car, but just turned around and drove back home.  On the way, I noticed a few things.  The Walmart and Home Depot were open.  And the big Outlet Mall at Tulalip was closed. I wish I had taken a picture of their empty parking lot, which on any weekend is crammed with cars, many from British Columbia.

Monday was the start of the real furlough.  I had decided that I was not going to waste my time off, and made my plan to get some exercise every day.  In my bedroom resides my Concept 2 indoor rowing machine, and I vowed to use it every day.  I started with 20 minutes, and I am increasing my time by one minute every day.  Today, I did 24 minutes; when I reach 30 minutes, I’ll do 30 per day each day.  Most of my time has been spent reading, my very favorite activity.  I am always behind on my Wall Street Journals, so I am catching up this week.  I’m also spending some time on Ricochet.com, both posting and reading.  Ricochet members are very smart, and very diverse, so I always learn something.  Since many of us have to stay home, our Ricochet Birders group is getting lots of action, with members describing which birds they see from their windows.

Hubby and I have gotten out to do some allowed activities, like grocery shopping.  I have always liked going to the grocery store, and I appreciate those trips even more now.  I also made a Costco run on Tuesday, to pick up a prescription, and get gas in the car.  Wow, the price of gas is sure down!  My car uses premium gas, and this week’s price was over $0.35 lower than last time.  And the Costco parking lot was half empty.

Owing to the rapidly-sinking stock market, I was able to call Vanguard, who manages my investments, and cancel this year’s Required Minimum Distribution from my Regular IRA account.  I am glad that the Feds allowed me to cancel this year’s distribution, since the amount is based on my balance on December 31, which was a great deal higher than it is today.  I really don’t need the money, since I am still working (I hope I will have a job to go back to).

Both Hubby and I are in the over-60 high-risk group, and so far both of us are well.  We’d better be!

Welcome to Seattle, where police respond to name-calling…

But not to burglary or assaults in progress.  Thanks to Todd Herman of Radio Station KTTH for bringing this story to our attention.  This link takes you to the story on MyNorthwest.com, where you can listen to the 911 calls, and read about the new initiative on the part of  a local media figure, and the (Black, Female) Police Chief, to stop Hate in Seattle.

The Police in Seattle are already seriously understaffed, and have basically stopped responding to most property crimes.  Officers know that the city government basically thinks of them as Pigs, city government being run by 1960s radicals.  No wonder that the city can’t keep police, and more resign than are hired.

I feel sorry for the citizens of Seattle, who are basically on their own in protecting themselves.  The last gun shop left the city last year, when the government imposed onerous taxes on their businesses and their merchandise.  Sad, really sad.

How Seattle businesses prepare for the 2-week “Stay at Home” edict-Updated with Yep!

Remember Seattle?  The city on the Left Coast with the huge homeless population living in tents and under tarps on its streets?  The city where street people are allowed to remain on the streets if they don’t want to “accept help”?

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The city has announced plans to clear away a homeless encampment under the south end of the Ballard Bridge. About six people are still living at the camp. (Genna Martin, seattlepi.com)

This article in today’s news just made me laugh (and vow, once again, to stay the hell out of Seattle, which won’t be difficult since the entire state is under the order to stay home unless involved in essential activities).

So people don’t break in and drink our alcohol”: Stores board up for stay-at-home order.

BoardedUpSeattle

Look away for a few minutes, and your livelihood is trashed.  Except for the fact that these businesses were already in danger of going under, due to the order that all bars and restaurants close, to slow the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus.  In this case, the cure may be worse than the disease for small businesses.

Update 3-27 And here it is-the article describing exactly what those business owners feared would happen:

Seattle restaurants hit by thieves, vandals, during coronavirus closures.

Right on time.  Welcome to lawless Seattle.

…Only Tradeoffs…Healthcare workers spread death..Updated to add link to article

…Only Tradeoffs…Healthcare workers spread death..Updated to add link to article

Yes, that’s exactly what has happened here in the “Hot Zone” of the Seattle area.  The epicenter of the novel coronavirus epidemic in the US is a long-term-care facility in Kirkland, Washington, with the ironic-seeming name of Life Care Center of Kirkland.  It is thought that a patient had a family visitor early this year (exact date unknown), who had been to the Wuhan area of China recently.  That visitor left, and returned to the East Coast, possible seeding that area with the virus also.  That visitor infected a staff member at the center.

Not knowing that she was infected, the staff member went about her duties at the center, coming into contact with multiple patients, and when she became ill, continued to work at the center instead of staying home and taking care of herself.  The Federal investigators who were called in to sleuth out the reason for all the patients who became ill, found out that the highly-contagious respiratory illness was basically spread all over the Life Care Center by ill employees.

And then, those same ill employees left for their second jobs at other area LTC facilities, taking the disease with them.  Nursing-home aides are some of the lowest-paid healthcare workers, and many of them need multiple jobs in order to pay the bills.  And, in order not to lose pay and benefits, they go to work sick.  Here’s where the tradeoffs happen.  Nursing-home aides usually have very little education or training-a course can take as little as three months.  Nursing-home owners have incentive to pay their employees as little as possible, as most patients’ bills are paid by Medicare or Medicaid, which have fairly low reimbursement rates.

The average nursing-home resident is aged, frail, infirm, and vulnerable.  They are very susceptible to any kind of bug that happens to be around as a general rule.  With not enough available staff to meet everyone’s 24/7 needs, patients are sometimes neglected; infection-control rules honored mostly in the breach, and this can lead to the spread of disease within the institutional population.  Then, when underpaid nurses and other staff move among multiple nursing homes, disaster can follow.  Edit on 3-22: RushBabe links to this story, to back up my information above.

That is what is happening now in Washington State.  Deaths are over 70, and the majority of those deaths are occurring in nursing-home residents.  Tradeoffs…  If you pay your staff more, enabling them to give up that second job, you can train them better in infection-control techniques (which start with simple hand-washing), and you will have healthier residents, decreasing the need for medications.  But…your costs increase commensurately, and you have to raise your rates to whatever private-pay patients you have, since Medicare and Medicaid pay fixed rates.  The nursing-home owner is now caught in the cost-trap.

More tradeoffs…  If you are a low-paid healthcare worker, you are trained to take care of yourself, so you can take care of your patients.  You are taught infection-control and avoidance, but hand-washing and disinfecting take time, and your patient is moaning for you.  Your salary is too low to pay all your bills, so you take a second job.  And when you get up in the morning feeling under the weather, with the sniffles, you realize that, if you do the right thing and call in sick, you lose a day’s pay, putting your finances in peril.  So you go to work anyway, and put your patients in peril.  What to do?

Indeed, what to do?  I don’t have any answers.  Better training all around would help keep nursing-home residents healthier.  Nursing homes have been known forever to be substandard when it comes to cleanliness, staffing, and medication-handling.  Perhaps more use of volunteer cleaners could enable staff to concentrate more on residents.  In any case, this coronavirus epidemic has shone a big spotlight on the long-term-care industry, and perhaps new answers will be found.