COVID-19

Spring is here, spring is here, life is skittles and life is beer

I’m off to get my second shot of the Moderna vaccine this afternoon. I’ve heard from several people that they didn’t feel well the next day. In anticipation, I’ve taken tomorrow off. If I feel bad, I’ll lounge about the house and rest. Otherwise I will probably grab a camera and go on a long photo walk. I just got my Pentax KM back from Eric Hendrickson, who repaired it after it was damaged in a fall. I’m itching to put some film through it.

One of my sons works in a plant that manufactures the Moderna vaccine, so I’m happy that’s the vaccine I got. He’s been working a lot of overtime as the plant meets demand. Not long ago I tried to work out a time when I could see him, but we couldn’t find a time that worked for both of us. “I’m just too busy saving the world,” he said, nonchalantly.

Now that Margaret and I are in the vaccination process, we’ve expanded our bubble a little to include some family members who are also in the vaccination process or are vaccinated. I sat in my brother’s condo Tuesday night and shared a whiskey and conversation with him. Margaret’s sister was in town recently and we had her in one evening. We recognize that the vaccine doesn’t eliminate risk, and we know our understanding of the risk is based on good but incomplete information. We’re comfortable with our choices.

We made it through the winter! Spring has arrived in Indiana. Our tulips are up and the callery pear trees are in full, flower, their rotting-shrimp scent in the air. It’s been a little chillier than normal for this time of year, but there have been a couple evenings warm enough for us to walk over to the Mexican restaurant near our home and enjoy a meal on their patio. That was so welcome! I stayed home all winter, except to do the family shopping and to walk the neighborhood. I was starting to feel cabin fever.

I took our bikes to a bike shop for a tuneup. Margaret has a nice Trek bike and of course I’m still riding my old Schwinn three speed. Mine needs new brakes and tires too. I chose a shop I’ve not used before, a little family-run place right by Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, which is one of my favorite photographic haunts. I lucked out — the technician I spoke with went to Schwinn school 40 years ago to learn to service bikes just like mine, and he had gumwall tires in stock to fit my bike. Schwinn uses an odd tire size, and lots of bike shops don’t bother stocking it. Last time I got new tires, ten years ago, they couldn’t find gumwall tires so they sold me solid black. The bike looks just that little bit more authentic with gumwalls. Here’s a photo of my Schwinn from 2009, shortly after I bought it from a Craigslist seller. Those gumwall tires are probably the originals from 1986, when the bike was manufactured.

1986 Schwinn Collegiate

The bikes should be done in a couple weeks, at about which time temperatures should consistently be above 60 degrees during the day for comfortable riding. I know people who put on layers of cold-weather gear and keep riding even in freezing temperatures. I am not among them! I ride in warm weather only.

But as spring emerges, Indiana has done away with its mask mandate. It looks like our Republican governor bowed to mounting pressure within his own party. Some counties immediately announced that they would retain the mask mandate, but others, including the one in which I live, are following state guidelines. I went to the chiropractor on Wednesday and none of the employees wore masks. I don’t know just yet how best to respond to situations like this.

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35 thoughts on “Spring is here, spring is here, life is skittles and life is beer

  1. The bike is a beauty, and I’m glad it’s getting used. My personal cut-off for ‘too cold’ on the bicycle is 15F. As the Norse say (or so I’ve read), there is no bad weather, only bad dressing…..

  2. Victor Villaseñor says:

    Congrats on your second shot, my parents just 10 days ago got theirs. Slowing clawing back some normalcy to our world.

    “I’m just too busy saving the world,” yikes! I suspect you didn’t had much of a comeback other than a big smile.

    That Schwinn looks gorgeous! Have fun Jim!

  3. Jim, I used to ride a 10-speed white Schwinn with curved handles fast down steep hills with two centered vertical speed changing black rubber covered paddles when I was a young lad living in Huntington, Indiana. Good memories. And thanks for sharing all those details.

    • I can picture your Schwinn! I like upright handlebars, which is one reason I gravitate to bikes like mine. I sort of wish I had a five-speed hub (not derailleur) but those are quite rare.

  4. New Mexico often ranks last in listings of social, health and economic well being. So, we have all been pleased to see recent news reports that the state is currently in the top spot for Covid vaccinations. Credit goes to the governor who has followed the science, along with a very effective online registration system.

  5. Olli Thomson says:

    Good luck with your second shot. The side effects seem to be very hit and miss with no obvious pattern. My work colleagues and I both got the Moderna shot last month. While we were all fine after the first one, some of us had a bad reaction for 24-48 hours after the second while others had nothing more than a sore arm. Thankfully I was in the second group.

    Unfortunately a lot of people (not generally my colleagues I should add) think they’re bulletproof after the vaccine and start to get complacent, but this seems crazy to me since there is so much we still don’t know. I’m sure it must be frustrating to be somewhere were the political leadership won’t lead. Even here in Bulgaria where we have some of the lightest regulation in Europe masks are compulsory in all indoor public places and people overwhelmingly follow the advice. The U.S. can be a frustrating place at times.

    • So far my arm is sore and I feel tired, but I’m not particularly achy or feverish. So I guess I’m having a good experience with the vaccine.

      I don’t imagine changing my behavior all that much more until enough people are vaccinated, for some yet-undefined value of “enough.”

      The US is particularly broken at the moment.

  6. I got my second dose of Pfizer on Sunday and had hard time Sunday night. Worked from home on Monday. Felt fine by Tuesday. California is slowly opening up. Our positivity rate is hovering around 1.5%. Vaccines are available, starting today, to everyone 16 and older. Masks are still the order of the day along with social distancing and limited capacity in restaurants and shops. I don’t mind the crawl, walk, run approach our state is taking. We all need to be in this together. The only way out, is through.

    • Our positivity rate is 5%, on a 7-day rolling average. That’s not bad, but it’s not as good as CA’s 1.5% to be sure. You’re right – the only way out is through, and we must do it together.

  7. Roger Meade says:

    My wife and I completed the Moderna shots about one month ago. She had a bad couple of days afterward, but I had essentially no reaction other than a slightly sore spot on my shoulder. We feel pretty confident of protection now, and we have begun eating out at a few local restaurants, and visiting with a few also protected friends. It feels very good to return to a bit of normal.

    That is a nice bike you have. I had a similar Raleigh I bought about 1970 or so. I sold it at some point and wish I had it back. It was a nice grey metallic and was very classy looking, like yours.

    • Margaret and I have talked about whether we’re okay to eat in restaurants or not. So far, we’re not ready for that. Fortunately, the weather is starting to improve and we will be able to eat on restaurant patios again.

      My Schwinn is a good ride. I still miss the bike I had as a teen, though, a maroon AMF Roadmaster 3 speed. It was a great bike.

  8. Nice bike! I got my second Pfizer shot last week. It laid me out flat for a bit but that’s a small sacrifice given the alternative. Hope you skip the reaction so you can go out and play.

  9. ” I took our bikes to a bike shop for a tuneup…of course I’m still riding my old Schwinn three speed. Mine needs new brakes and tires too…I lucked out — the technician I spoke with went to Schwinn school 40 years ago to learn to service bikes just like mine, and he had gumwall tires in stock to fit my bike. Schwinn uses an odd tire size, and lots of bike shops don’t bother stocking it. ”

    Ah yes, Schwinn’s oddball tire sizing. They call it 26″ x 1 3/8″ but it’s different than 26″ x 1 3/8″ on other bikes. As far as I know there is only one maker of the Schwinn (ISO 597) tire size, so yeah, you are lucky that they had the gumwall instead of solid black!

      • If/when you need to buy tires again, just make sure the tires are listed as “597” not “590” in ISO size–it should be on the online listing and on the tire sidewall. There are a few online listings for “Schwinn sized tires” that are actually 590! It’s a big pet peeve of mine.

  10. Andy Umbo says:

    Love the old Schwinn, and love the old three speed configuration. Never owned more than a three-speed when I was a kid, and went everywhere with it. Miles and miles. I’ve owned a few high-end multi-speeds in my adult life, gone now, but am currently looking for a five to seven speed, with the internal three-speed hub configuration, not the stacked gears on the hub with a derailleur. I need a few more speeds, but want to stick with the simplicity of the internal hub shifting! Tough part is finding a bike that has that great old upright seating, like your Schwinn, and the old Raleigh three-speeds. I’m too old to be bent over a bike, and years ago started putting front “flat” bars on my bikes before manufacturers starting making their bikes with them (I used to use high-end tandem bike rear bars).

    As for masks, I’m still appalled at the stupidity of politicizing mask-wearing. Most all my friends agree that we are going to still be wearing masks in high density situations during the winter cold and flu season, probably for the rest of our lives, since we’re all amazed at finally not getting someone’s winter cold for the first time in years! I’ve been going to San Francisco for 40 years for work, and always wondered about all the old Asian women wearing masks all the time; well I’m on board with that now!

    Just as an aside, as one of the few people who have actually read the constitution entirely through in recent times, when I worked for the census in 2009 and 2010, I can say with all authority, that there is no part of the constitution that gives anyone the “right” to to promote or be a part of behavior that spreads disease and kills other people! Every time I see a “mouth-breather” on TV talking about their constitutional rights, and how they don’t need to wear a mask, I can be pretty sure they’ve never read the constitution, and if they have, they didn’t understand it!

    • I would love to put a 5 or 7 speed hub in my Schwinn. Maybe someday. I love not having the hassle of the derailleur.

      I’m fed up with people who stand on “rights” as a reason not to wear masks. Your right to throw a punch ends at the other person’s nose.

    • A minor quibble, but I would argue that the Constitution doesn’t confer any rights at all, but only constrains government from exercising power beyond certain delineated boundaries. I think the oft used phrase “Constitional rights” is misleading.

  11. tbm3fan says:

    Well I am now all covered. Had the virus between Nov.29 – Dec 13th for the required two weeks away from people with zero effects on me. Got the Pfizer vaccine in March once again wit no effects. My wife who gave me the virus did get sick for 10 days and did get a rash after both Pfizer injections. Mask stays on for now since obviously no long term studies can yet be completed as to how long a vaccination lasts. My gut feeling is short term and not long term so booster shots to cope with the new mutant strains that always come around.

  12. Ah, spring. Autumn is here now, have been touring with our caravan (trailer) for two weeks, looking forward to seeing what is on the six rolls of film I shot. Vaccine is just starting to roll out here, I think in New Zealand we will all get the Pfizer vaccine, although I will not be eligible until July probably….

      • We have the great luxury of time because good decisions have eliminated Covid in the community here! The other benefit has been the ability to choose one of the better vaccines based on real world effectiveness. Very grateful to be here!

  13. We got our Pfizer shots a few weeks ago. We were exhausted for a couple of days but ok now. I am wearing a mask in public places but am still convinced that the jury is out on their actual benefit. I am perplexed at how states like Michigan are a Covid disaster at the moment and we are not.

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