Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Friday, May 15, 2020

Hello Michigan!

[This was written over a period of several days while we tried to find internet]

Saturday May 9th

Well, we are now living in Michigan for the summer. We had planned to be up here for a couple weeks, not for six months. But we couldn't figure out a way for my snowbird parents to live up here now that we've taken my dad's car keys away from him. So the only solution we could come up with was for us to become reverse snowbirds and spend the summer living in the cabin on my parents' property. We got here on the first of May and have been scrubbing and sorting 30 years of accumulated debris. What's really weird about the whole thing is that my parents furnished the cabin with stuff from the house I grew up in. It's beyond strange to be using the same dishes, pots, pans, utensils, etc. from when I was a little kid.

As this is now our new normal, we went through all our clothes and decided what would come to Michigan and stay, what we would carry back and forth, and what will stay in Florida. There was no way we could have ever fit even 10% of what we had packed up into my parents' mini-van. We thought we were going to have to UPS the stuff up here, but we found out that one of Debbie's cousins runs a business that hauls snowbird crap between Michigan and Florida, and for a fraction of what it would have cost us to ship it any other way. woot.

In pandemic news, moving to Michigan means we are now under the rule of some wanabe Mussolini. The governor of Michigan has the place locked down tighter than nearly any other state and for longer than most. Everyone knows about the protest in Lansing, but the news media has it all wrong. The protestors are not "white supremacists" or Tea Partiers". They are ordinary people that are being forced into homelessness and even starvation by a lock-down that is mostly unnecessary anywhere in Michigan other than Detroit. The county we are in has had exactly 2 covid-19 deaths. The county that is less than a mile to our north has had zero deaths. So once again, the entire state is being punished because Detroit can't get it's shit together. Everyone likes to blame it all on poverty and GM closing the factories, and that certainly didn't help matters. But Detroit was a wreck long before GM sent all the jobs to China. For my entire life, the rest of the state pays for Detroit's incompetence. I can't count the number of times that the state legislature has taken money away from the local schools here in order to have more for the Detroit schools. Detroit goes bankrupt through corruption and gross stupidity, and the rest of the state gets to foot the bill. So now counties that have less than a dozen cases and no deaths have their economies (still reeling from the Volcker recession) stomped in to the mud yet again. But on the other hand, they didn't vote for her, so why would the Governor give a shit about them?

Weather-wise, we thought we had lucked out. The first day we were here, it got up into the 70's. But that proved to be a teaser. The last two days have been barely making it to 40 with 20-30 mph winds. And SNOW! Not just a few flakes, but actual SNOW on the GROUND! I could have died happy if I had never seen snow again. I'm staying inside wrapped up in blankets as much as possible, but we are still having supper with my parents every day. I "run" across the yard as fast as I can go screaming like a little girl the entire time. At least I'm getting some exercise....

One good thing that has come out of the whole pandemic thing is that people are getting a taste of what a low-carbon lifestyle is really like. No windmills or solar panels or electric cars; just a lot less of everything. Michael Moore is pushing a video on his YouTube channel that more or less puts paid to the whole Green New Deal type thinking. The mainline environmental groups have always pushed the fantasy of everyone in the world living an American, middle-class lifestyle fueled by solar panels and windmills, but as anyone who has lived off-grid knows, it's just that; fantasy. The simple truth is that you cannot run the national electric grid on power that disappears whenever the wind dies down or the sun sets. The intermittency problem can be partially solved for an individual household by using batteries, but how do you build a battery that can store the terawatts of juice to last North America for several days? Add in the electric vehicles that we are all supposed to be driving any day now, and the problem increases exponentially. It. Can. Not. Be. Done. That should be tattooed on the forehead of every politician who has signed onto AoC's Green New Deal. The irony is that the attempt will likely create more environmental destruction than if we just keep on the way we are until the fossil fuels become too expensive for general use.

The elephant in the room is population. Prior to humans breaking into the planet's carbon stores, human population never exceeded 1 billion. We are well on our way to 8 billion. What does that say about our low carbon future? Exactly. Look around you; only one out of every eight people gets to live. There are several ways that can happen, one of which, ironically, is pandemics. We could try something like China's now-abandoned one-child policy, but doing so would create a demographic disaster even worse than what we see in countries like Japan. We are in a trap; we've painted ourselves into a corner that has no way out that doesn't look like the scariest parts of the Bible.

Thursday May 14

We've more or less settled into the cabin. The weather has improved somewhat. We used the couple of nice days to tackle my dad's shed, which has become filled with tools and random junk over the last 30 years. It was so bad that even getting in the door was a challenge. A dozen or so garbage bags later, we are starting to make some progress, but we still have a long way to go. Once we are done there, we will start on my mom's shed which is almost as bad as my dad's was. I can't figure out how two people who lectured me for my entire life about how having things takes away from what is important in life could have accumulated so much useless crap.

I'd also like to get a small garden going. There is a large fenced area on the property that my dad planted for years. Then it just got to be more than he could handle, so the garden has sat fallow for several years. There is no way I can do anything like he used to in my condition, but I can do something on a smaller scale. Now that we are allowed to buy seeds and plants (and temperatures have stopped dropping into the teens at night) I need to get my butt into gear.

We are going to go searching for a wifi connection, so this may actually get posted before November...

Friday May 15

We have internet!!! We ran into the Verizon and picked up a Jetpack. I was playing with it all the way home. Works great even in the cabin! I doubt we can stream video, but for most of what we do, it works just fine. There is no data caps, but there is throttling after a certain point, but unless we start trying to binge-watch X-Files episodes, I don't think we will ever get anywhere near our cap.

Woo Hoo!