beating back the cold.....opt in or out for testing?....better days

This Week in Lincolnville: Help! I’ve got knitting in my lap

....and I can’t get up
Mon, 01/10/2022 - 11:15am

    It was such a nasty day. Rain on top of snow on top of ice. Windy too, which meant my drafty old house was freezing. Not that we haven’t employed every strategy known to Mainers to tighten up the house over the past 50 years, but those icy winds always find a way in.

    The woodbox was getting low as I chucked one piece of firewood after another into my two stoves to beat back the chill. Now, I’m perfectly capable of putting on boots and rain gear (on top of the puffy winter jacket) and trudging out to the shed. Two years ago, we built a sturdy new woodshed and equipped it with a big-wheeled cart. Three wagon loads, hauled across the front yard to the kitchen door and then carried in by the armful, fills up the woodbox in no time.

    But it was cozy, sitting by the crackling fire, feet up and knitting. Maybe somebody else would bring in the wood. Like the grandkids.

    As age creeps up and every day brings new aches and pains, I fight with myself on days like these: should I play the old lady card or the strong-I-can-do-anything card? On the one hand, giving in to the limitations of age will only bring them on faster while getting up and doing hard stuff will surely keep me stronger longer. Right?

    In the end I opted for the grandkids.

    In 10 minutes they had the woodbox overflowing, with help, I should add, from their dad. That dad has had plenty of experience carrying in wood for these stoves. In fact, his entire childhood until he, and one by one his brothers, escaped and went off to college. We used to say their enthusiasm for leaving home was all about the dryer.

    College dorms have dryers. We don’t. Some bright idea we had back in the beginning that the nice, dry wood heat shouldn’t go to waste. Why pay CMP to dry our clothes? We’d just hang them all over the house. I still do.

    Those early mornings they spent ironing dry their jeans before school would be a thing of the past. But I’ll bet freedom from carrying in wood was also high on the list.

    So, that’s how I argued myself around to the Grandma role; carrying in wood is good for kids. Makes them strong and useful. It worked for their dad and his brothers. And I could keep knitting.


    MONDAY, Jan. 10

    Recreation Comminttee, 4 p.m., Town Office

    Selectmen, 6 p.m., Town Office

    TUESDAY, Jan. 11

    Library open, 3-6 p.m., 208 Main Street

    WEDNESDAY, Jan. 12

    Library open, 2-5 p.m., 208 Main Street

    Harbor Committee, 6 p.m., Town Office

    Planning Board, 7 p.m., Town Office

    THURSDAY, Jan. 13

    Broadband Committee, 6 p.m., Town Office

    FRIDAY, Jan. 14

    Library open, 9-noon, 208 Main Street

    SATURDAY, Jan. 14

    Library open, 9-noon, 208 Main Street


    AA meetings, Tuesdays & Fridays at noon, Community Building

    Lincolnville Community Library, For information call 706-3896.

    Schoolhouse Museum by appointment, 505-5101 or 789-5987

    Bayshore Baptist Church, Sunday School for all ages, 9:30 a.m., Worship Service at 11 a.m., Atlantic Highway

    United Christian Church, Worship Service 9:30 a.m.  via Zoom

    Our household has had a couple of Covid scares this week. I woke up with a cold one morning. It felt like a cold, like every other of the hundreds of colds a 77-year-old has had. But what if it was Covid? My d-i-l has had good luck scoring Covid tests at Walgreens; they limit you to four boxes (that’s 8 tests) and she brought home two for me and two for their family.

    Though I tested negative with the home test I wanted to be sure, so I scheduled a test with the ARC (Acute Respiratory Clinic) drive-through testing site at Waldo hospital. You call your primary care provider – we used to say “doctor” – to set up an appointment or, if you don’t have one, you can call 207-505-3040. I got an appointment that afternoon.

    Both PenBay and Waldo have these ARC sites. It takes about 2 minutes, and the swab is gentle. Not like the earlier tests where, as one guy said, “they stuck it all the way up to my eye!” The result of my test came back the next day. Negative.

    Then a few days later the LCS (Lincolnville Central School) nurse reported that a pool test, done in a class one of our kids is in, was positive for Covid. This is the method schools are using to keep ahead of Covid spread. Once a week every student and staff member in each class or pool, that is every child whose parent has opted in, is swabbed  and those swabs are tested as one.

    When school nurse Alicen Heintzman is notified that a pool has tested positive she immediately tests each of the students in that pool, that is, the ones with parental permission, to determine which one is positive. And then, all those parents are notified that someone in that pool has Covid. A positive test, whether the kid is symptomatic or not, means a period of quarantine, staying out of school and away from others.

    And of course, if the pool test comes back negative, everyone can breathe easy, assuming that no child in that class is carrying the virus that day. To learn more about this process and to opt in if you haven’t yet, read about it in this week’s Lynx.

    Our potential Covid patient had the ARC test and we all waited anxiously for the results. Saturday evening, as Don and I were watching a movie downstairs, we heard an eruption of shouts upstairs and a whirlwind of kids running through the living room and jumping on us – “negative!!”

    It’s just plain weird, isn’t it? They’d just gotten an email reporting those results, 8:30 on a Saturday night. I get my woodbox filled via a text. Yes, we text upstairs-downstairs all the time. It’s like living in alternate worlds. Heating with chunks of wood cut in the forests we’re surrounded with, while nearly every other interaction with the world beyond those stoves is incomprehensible on the level that burning wood is.

    Perhaps that’s the way people felt when they first encountered electricity or gasoline-powered vehicles or photography or telephones. Or plastic. I often wonder what a world without plastic is like.

    But now something more akin to chunks of firewood, a virus that arose naturally much as a forest does, is stopping us in our tracks.

    For most of the months since March 2020 when we were first locked down and everything seemed to close, when a trip to Hannaford’s felt like a venture into the wilds of the jungle where any bad thing could happen, I didn’t know anyone who actually had Covid. It was all those other unlucky people I saw on TV, hooked up to machines with masked nurses and doctors hovering over them, the pop-up mortuaries in big cities, the occasional survivor being wheeled out of the hospital to the applause of the staff after months of treatment.

    I lived in a bubble, just like they told us to do. We even thought of ourselves as part of a pod.

    But now? Every day we find out who has it or had it. And “who” are our neighbors, our friends. Whole families come down with it. And recover. My partner got it, had a few days of feeling punky – “I’ve had worse colds” he said – got the Regeneron infusion and within the week was back to walking 3 miles a day.

    We’re learning to live with it. I’m glad I didn’t have it, glad the grandkids have escaped it – so far. Just like everyone else on this planet, I just want it to be over.

    The painting I posted this week is the work of my long-time (as long as I’ve lived in this house) friend, Lacey Kellett. As she said when she sent it to me, “Aren’t we all looking for something good to be coming?

    Just a Reminder

    We read and see in the news that this pandemic is wearing everyone out. People wait in line for hours to get tested, hospitals are overwhelmed, more and more are dying and only 62.5% of Americans are vaccinated. And all the scientists, doctors, public health people say full vaccination is the only way we’re going to get out of this.

    Still, any of us can get a free Covid test if we have symptoms or if we’re a close contact of a Covid patient. And get the results in a day or two. A friend’s relatives from Kentucky, visiting here for Christmas, were pretty sure they had it, got tested when they got home and have now waited nearly two weeks and still haven’t gotten results.

    Seems like Maine, in spite of the obvious surge in cases here, has its act together. But at great cost in human effort.

    Putting together the pool testing program at the school has taken many hours to plan, get information, coordinate and then make it work. Teachers have had to learn all new ways of teaching with last year’s all remote and this year’s remote for the quarantined or on snow days.  

    Just making sure everybody’s mask is on and on properly must be exhausting. Nobody works harder than classroom teachers, wrangling anywhere from 15 to 30 energetic kids all day. Now they’re expected to protect them all from Covid.

    Town employees work extra hard; last week’s booster clinic is an example.

    Hospital workers are stretched beyond endurance. Lincolnville’s Lisa Jackson, a critical care nurse at Waldo hospital, posted her thoughts on Facebook.

    Ministers, instead of standing in the pulpit facing their congregation put together weekly services on zoom with all the complications that entails.

    Restaurant owners have to deal with seating, table settings, sick or absent employees, take-out menus and then hope enough patrons will come to make it all worthwhile.

    Airlines have to deal with rage-filled (fear-filled?) passengers on a regular basis.

    Can’t we all just be kinder to one another?

    Beach Schoolhouse Renovation Project

    On a better note. The Historical Society has collected about 2/3 of our goal in just half of the Capitol Campaign year: $222,347. Progress continues every day on renovations to the old building.

    Best of all, an active group of volunteers have been meeting weekly to sort through the LHS’ collection in preparation for a grand opening sometime next year! Better days are coming….


    The family and friends of Molly McKeller are in my thoughts as they lost her so unexpectedly last week. Her obituary is here.