Quarantine Chronicles Day 59: Ideas? I don’t know, they just come to me

Oh, so now it’s looking like some of us will be told to stay at home through August. You know what, fine. I’ll just sit here and wack at the keyboard for another 80 days or so. It’s not like I have any other grandiose plans like grabbing my lunch pail, getting in my car and going to work like I used to do back in the late 1970s when Jimmy Carter was president. Every morning my phone alerts me to the fact that I have no scheduled events today. The last scheduled event I had was on St. Patrick’s Day and that turned out to be just another early casualty to COVID.

But if I’m going to sit here and do this for another 80 days or so, I’m gonna need a new batch of ideas. And I got some here:

Day 74: Become an e-trader: Why sit around watching your money disappear into a fine, green haze as the government takes it away to buy fighter jets and golf-cart rentals? There are many ways to invest online without leaving your home. Don’t squander that COVID-19 relief check on bread and apples. Instead, with a few wise investments (think companies that stand to make a lot of money off COVID) you will be able to live in a palace with a full staff rather than staying playing solitaire all day in your laundry room.

Day 75: How to get back on your feet after taking a bloodbath in the stock market. Can you sue E-Trade or other online investment companies? Yes, you can, and I’ll show you how. Will you win? Let’s find out!

Day 89: You can make an authentic and decorative whale-oil lantern at home. Step one, make a lantern. OK, now you’ve gotta find some whale oil, and it’s not easy because the only way you can get it is from North American Inuits, who have been given special whaling rights, or go off the coast and get it directly from a whale. It burns nicely though, and it gives your rooms a nice, cozy glow.

Day 90: What’s the best way to extinguish a whale-oil fire in your living room? I’ll explore the pros and cons of water vs. carbon dioxide vs. calling 9-1-1 and letting the pros handle it.

Day 93: You’re in good hands. I’ll show you the best way to file a homeowners or renter’s insurance claim in the odd chance you have a mishap with, say, a whale-oil lamp and you kind of burn up part of your house.

Day 94: You’re in greedy, blood-sucking heartless hands. OK, so the claim didn’t work out because, apparently, you were “negligent.” I’ll give you some good DIY YouTube links that can help you rebuild your house yourself.

Day 95: Stay focused, please. I’ll give you some tips on keeping a laser-like focus on DIY YouTube links so you won’t go drifting off into watching videos of Styx performances and Conan O’Brien sketches instead of how to rebuild your house.

Day 101: Life in the great outdoors: Camping during the COVID era. Who says you can’t camp during the stay-at-home order? I’ll give you some tips on how to use your own backyard as a “national” or “state” park. All you need is a tent, some sleeping bags, s’mores fixin’s and a fire pit.

Day 102: Oh, for God’s sake, can’t you do anything without setting yourself on fire? Flaming s’mores burned down your tent? Here are some ways to make a sleeping fort using beach towels, blankets and lawn furniture. Bonus: How to turn your fire pit into a koi pond.

Day 125: Two to tangle. So, your spouse is in lockdown, too, and you’re constantly bickering with one another in your house, which suddenly seems remarkably tiny. I’ll suggest some fun ways to spend fun time with one another, such as a spirited game of Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble or other games from your hall closet.

Day 126: No ‘Trivial’ matter. So, game-playing just led to more bickering and it may seem you need a professional mediator. I’ll offer some tips from a professional couples counselor that may help rekindle that love spark between you and your S.O.

Day 128: Rolling pin vs. cast-iron skillet. When things escalate quickly, there are plenty of tools to help you and that person who won’t shut up even for a minute negotiate and settle your differences, and many of them are common household objects that can be found in most American kitchens.

Day 167: Build your own boondoggle. I’ll teach you step-by-step on how to build a replica of the Queen Mary using nothing but airplane glue, several boxes of UCO Strike Anywhere matches and, for some reason, high-octane gasoline. It’s educational, fun, and, if you carefully follow my directions, relatively safe.

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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