Illinois Entering Phase 4

Tomorrow, Illinois is entering Phase 4 of its recovery plan. I am not sure whether the video I am posting here, will stay long enough, but I am going to give it a try.


It’s a long video, but I wanted to post the whole thing because there are lots of important things in it. The most important message is very simple: although we’ve made lots of progress, the virus is still there, and there is still no vaccine. I really hope that people will behave responsibly.

Public health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike had strong words for people who refuse to wear a face covering in public. She said it is “a game of Russian roulette.” She even pronounced Russkaya ruletks in Russian!

I am hopeful. I am glad the State of Illinois has such good leadership. I hope that people will behave responsibly. This morning on WBEZ, I heard a discussion about students returning to colleges in the fall. Hopes are that there will be positive peer pressure because you can’t really police students on campus. And that’s my hope as well. During the current health crisis, the younger generation appeared to be more responsible than the older one, on average, of course. We shall see. I will be posting about our reopening, and about the health situation in the state.

Capital in the Twenty-First Century Moview

I do not remember how that movie ended up in my watch list. After I started to watch Siskel From Your Sofa movies, all the third parties started to send me their newsletters, so it should have come from one of those. I was intrigued by it’s description and was looking forward to watching it.

Maybe, I had too high expectations, but the movies left me with a question: so what? Everybody should pay taxes? Richer people should pay higher taxes? Yes, I know, I agree, so what now?

Not like I didn’t like the movie, I liked it, but still…

If anybody is interested in watching, here is a list of current and future virtual screenings: Capital Movie

Financial Relief

I want to write about these things not because they made a big difference for me, but because they are good things.

I have two gym memberships – one at Anytime Fitness, which is five minutes’ walk from my house, and the other at LifeStart, which is in our office building. I rarely use the latter one, but I found it’s a good idea to have it just in case. Naturally, both gyms are closed since mid-March. I didn’t expect any of them to stop charging membership fees, but they both stopped. In fact, LifeStart charged the April fees on April 1, but then they sent an email to the members saying that since they had to close all facilities, they will apply the April fees to May (and I am guessing, that if Illinois doesn’t open in May, they will transfer these fees to June or whatever).

And at the same time, they are streaming a lot of live classes for free! I believe they have six classes a day, and also nutrition seminars, and stress-relief techniques, and lots of other activities, and personalized workouts – you name it! I was delighted to see a yoga class held by my “second-favorite” instructor. I had him at LifeStart when I worked at Enova and was very sad that I lost him :). And now, since these online classes are available to all the LifeStart members, regardless of the specific location, I can attend his classes three times a week!

Back to the good things. My parking permit at the Palatine train station is automatically renewed every month. The other day, I saw an email with the words “Parking permit” in the header, which usually indicates that the fee for next month was charged. But when I opened that email, it read: we realize that most likely, you didn’t use the parking facilities in April, so we are applying your April fees for May.

And the last surprise came from the Federal Student Loans. I still pay the last of my Parent Plus loans (and Vlad is paying it back to me). I knew that the temporal suspension of the Student Loans repayment was a part of the relief package, but I thought that everybody would need to apply. Once again, to my surprise, I received an email that my scheduled payments won’t be auto-debited till the end of September. For me, it does not make a material difference to my budget, but I was happy for Igor and Vlad, that they both have that relief. And it’s great that no applications are required – it’s the Student Loans forbearance for everybody. I feel good that at least some thing are handled in a sensible way.

The State of the United States

I don’t understand how officials of all ranks issue their orders without even thinking about the consequences—both for the economy in general and for each person.

I can’t imagine the impact on the entertainment/catering/restaurant business. All so sudden and so abrupt. I talked to Vlad yesterday; he said he would be fine, but he worries about other employees in the bar, people who are paid hourly wages, and who now will get no paid time off, and no tips. That is such a significant portion of the country’s population! They have no safety net, no savings. When I was talking to Vlad, just twenty hours ago, he was saying that the closing will only apply to bars and restaurants, that the fast-food cafes will stay open – not anymore!

I do not understand how people are expected to manage: schools are closed, daycare facilities closed, and you should not ask grandparents to babysit, and you are still supposed to work. And some are not even allowed to work from home.

Last week I was saying that the world is canceled. But I was optimistic – this week, it is even more so now. I could not even imagine how many things could be canceled. Most of my volunteering is canceled, including the youth shelter; they do not reply to my emails, although they sent a generic email about preventive measures. I do not want to think that I was the only person who answered that I could come. The Forest preserve volunteering was canceled last weekend, which made me mad – ten people outside – really? The weather was bad anyway, but I was still upset with the fact itself. The only volunteering which is keeping the schedule is Clinic escorts. I went to escort on Saturday. It was a bad idea because it was cold, and I do not tolerate the cold when I need to stand in one place. But I felt I needed to do at least something good.

Continue reading “The State of the United States”