Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Chapter Forty-Four

October is here and the weather is finally cooling off. The humidity is going down, helped along by the fact that the average rainfall for the month has fallen sharply from an average of six inches last month to two inches for this month. What this means for Sissy is that it is time to clean the house in and out. As clean as she tries to keep things – has to be for things to stay sanitary and infection free – the lack of air conditioning and other issues associated with lack of electricity has made it very difficult to keep the house as clean and fresh as in prepandemic times. Where most people do their big, yearly cleaning tasks in the spring, many people in Florida do theirs in the Autumn or early Winter.

Sissy discovers a problem this time around. As Sissy plans her strategy with regard to adding all the extra cleaning into their already busy chore list, she realizes just how low her soap and cleaning supplies have become. She knew this day would come, but it is still hard to get to this point in her supplies. It really shows how long they have been trying to piece things out and make things work without all the conveniences that they used to have at their disposal.

Sissy has heard people are advertising on the local bulletin boards that they are making soap and are willing to barter. On Scott’s next run she is going to ask him to try and get some. Mr. Jones had also put about that some of the older ladies plan to give soap making a try, but she can’t wait. She needs to get some cleaning done now while she has a block of time to work with. Sissy pulls out her book of recipes that she started making when she first began prepping, turns to the cleaning section, and looks to see what she can make to replace what she is short of.

First, for a spray cleaner, she decides to use a white vinegar solution. Vinegar is multipurpose and lasts years in unopened gallon jugs. Sissy bought cases of the stuff prepandemic and has also replaced some that she has used when they had the grocery store vouchers Scott earned for that remodeling job. To use vinegar as a spray cleaner she mixes it one part to one part water. For tougher jobs, like mineral build up around the faucets and in the toilets, she uses the vinegar straight. Smells somewhat, but not too bad after things air out.

To replace the abrasive cleaners like Comet and Ajax, she makes a soft scrub cleaner using baking soda. Baking soda is a great deodorizer for the drains too. Another cheap prep item she still has cases of.

The windows of the house get a good cleaning using a rubbing alcohol and vinegar solution. Rubbing alcohol is getting in shorter supply so is isn’t wasteful. She takes one cup of rubbing alcohol and one cup of water. To this she adds one tablespoon of vinegar. She has the girls spritz it on the windows and then wipe it off with a soft, lint-free cloth. Paper towels are now a luxury. Sissy still has about three dozen rolls stashed away inside a box spring in one of the bedrooms, but she is saving them for as long as possible.

Sissy still has plenty of commercial furniture polish and wood soap. First, she and the girls dilute down the wood soap and clean all of the furniture surfaces. Then after the furniture has completely dried, they polish the pieces with lemon oil. That helps to drive the musty smells from the house even more.

There are some really grimy areas of the house that need some tougher cleaning. Even with daily sweeping and mopping, the tile floors through out their entire house need a good scrubbing. For this Sissy uses a solution of diluted, non-sudsing ammonia. Sissy is glad that she still has rubber gloves that are useable because she has to scrub the floor by hand in several areas. Bringing the garden containers in and out every day really does a number on the floor, the grout is completely gone in some places, but the security of their food supply easily trumps the extra housework.

The bedrooms, which are the only carpeted areas in the house, have the walls washed and the mattresses sprinkled with baking soda and then brushed. They then rinse the plastic mattress protectors as best they can and hang them outside. After these are thoroughly dry, they are put back on the mattresses. The mattresses are still in very good shape because of these protectors and Sissy is glad that she had invested in the good, heavy grade plastic ones. The few places that the plastic has begun to tear are quickly repaired with water proof tape. The pillows are taken care of in the same way, as they too have plastic protectors on them.

As for the carpets themselves, Sissy had purchased a couple of non-electric floor sweepers prior to the pandemic. These are good for surface dirt and dust, but are pretty hopeless for embedded dirt and sand. Their vacuum cleaner died several months ago. Scott tried to fix it, but it was hopeless. Scott’s shop vac still works and Sissy decides that unless an emergency arises to prevent it, the next time the power comes on, they will spend the day vacuuming all the carpets over and over until they get out as much sand as possible. They may even pull up the carpet and re-stretch it. Sissy thinks, "if you’re gonna clean, you might as well clean right."

They did have three large area rugs to deal with. These are rolled up, taken outside, and beat to get as much ground in sand out of them as possible. They have a couple of bad spots that they clean by making a paste of baking soda, rubbing it onto the spot, allowing it to dry and then brushing it off. It isn’t a perfect fix, but it is better than it was. Their rag rugs from the kitchen and utility area are washed pretty regularly with the clothes so nothing major needs to be done with them.

All of the bed and bath linens in the house are given a close inspection. A bunch are set aside into the mending basket. Between socks, underclothes, and linen that basket is always full. Luckily Sarah seems to really enjoy sewing and she is getting pretty good at it. For a middle schooler, that is an amazing skill to have. Out of necessity, all of the kids are getting handy with a needle. Sissy just hopes that her needles and thread last for as long as she needs them to. A good sewing needle is a pricey barter item.

The pots and pans also need additional scrubbing. She does this using baking soda and elbow grease. Thank goodness for cast iron cookware though. Her non-stick pots and pans, though convenient, are terrible for cooking on the grill and out of doors. When the family is lucky enough to have the electricity on, they use the non-stick cookware, but they haven’t been very lucky in that way lately. The cast iron stuff is seeing a lot of use as are the big aluminum pots that she boils water in. She has a couple of dark speckleware pots she uses in the solar oven.

The oven is a horrible mess, there is no way around it. It is one of the tougher cleaning jobs. Sissy had not gotten around to stocking oven cleaner when the pandemic hit. It was just one of those things that she forgot about. But, the oven can no longer go without cleaning or it is going to become a fire hazard. She tries something that she read in some frugality magazine. She puts a half-cup of full strength ammonia into a glass bowl. Then she sits the bowl inside the oven and closes the door. She allows this sit overnight. In the morning she is able to wipe away most of the grimy build up. For the few places that are still gunky, she makes a paste of baking soda and scrubs those areas with a worn out toothbrush. Again, not quite as squeaky clean as she remembers the commercial products cleaning, but then again she has let it go a long time. A second overnight with ammonia might work, but it will have to wait as she still has a lot of other stuff to do.

In the bathrooms, mildew is getting to be a real problem. You wipe at mildew and scrub it, but because it gets imbedded into surfaces, it is very difficult to get rid of permanently. And with no air conditioning to keep the airflow going in the interior bathroom, the shower stall is getting particularly bad. Sissy still has a small supply of chlorine bleach. It is running out its power to be a water sanitizer so she decides to use a small amount on the mildew and on the cutting surfaces in the kitchen. She takes three-quarters of a cup of bleach and mixes it in with a gallon of water. Sissy asks James to use the same solution on a couple of places outside where the algae is making for slick walking surfaces. But, she is very, very careful to not use any bleach product around any other type of cleaning product, especially when she is using ammonia. Mixing bleach with other things can create a poisonous gas capable of suffocating living creatures, including humans.

October isn’t just the month of cleaning. Sissy is kept busy taking care of everything being harvested from the garden. After seeing their garden compromised by the hurricane and hot weather, having all of the fresh produce to eat was a real treat. This month they harvest jicamas, broccoli, broccoli raab, okra, more mesclun greens and arugula, mustard greens, yellow crookneck squash, scallop squash, cucumbers, and a funny little roly poly zucchini that looks like green eggs whose seeds came from a child’s gardening kit. The first of the heirloom seedlings start to produce as well. There is a weird radish that looks like a white carrot and another radish that is a Chinese heirloom that is white on the outside but watermelon pink on the inside. Both are really strange looking, but that doesn’t stop them from being good eating.

Best of all, some of the heirloom tomatoes have also started to make. There is the Red Tumbler cherry tomato, the Sun Gold cherry tomato, an orange colored tomato called Tangerine, and there is also a Golden Sauce yellow plum tomato. And boy, are they producing. A couple of times per day though, Sissy has to go outside and check for hornworms. With many of the bird populations decimated from avian influenza, the insect population is exploding. The bat houses that James and Sarah built months ago have a lively colony roosting in them and bats in the neighborhood are helping with some mosquito control. Tom Cox and his sons have a gppd trade business going building bat houses. The work is proving a therapeutic outlet for his son with anxiety issues.

With a good population of snakes around, the rodent population is also under control. In those places without these natural predators, pests run amuck. In Sissy’s case, her secret weapon is the peahens that live in the orange grove. The male peacocks are still arrogant and standoffish, but the peahens come when she calls. Sissy pulls off the hornworms from tomato plants and tosses them to the birds and they gobble them right down. Its as good as having geese patrolling things. They are just as noisy too. She is still careful to avoid any potential contamination, but so far no one on the web has reported infections in peacocks or peahens, apparently not all varieties of any one species of birds are susceptible to the current avian influenza.

This month Sissy also plants rows of beets, burdock, carrots, onions, parsnips, salsify, shallots, and turnips. For greens she plants broccoli, cabbage, celtuce, collards, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens and spinach. She plants English peas and more strawberry baskets just because she has the room. She figures they may eventually have enough extra food for trading.

Towards the end of October, Sissy’s brother shows up again. This time he has their father with him. Sissy is stunned and the whole family shares an ecstactic reunion.

"I sure do wish your Momma could be here but I can’t risk her getting sick. Let’s step inside. I need to talk to Scott. We’ve got a proposition he’ll be interested in."

Sissy’s brother has come up with a scheme that will likely only work a couple of times because of shipping limitations. But, if they can get three drivers to drive straight through with no breaks, avoiding the problems with driving too many hours for each driver, they can actually get between check points they have to cover in less than 24 hours. Their destination is the Kentucky and Tennessee area where they are desperate to trade some of their homegrown supplies for some sugar from south Florida. The brother has a load of sugar on board. Sissy’s father is going to be the second driver and they want Scott to be the third driver. Scott has his trucker’s license and it is still up to date. They will make the run, see family, pick up what they can in trade and be back in under a week making a hefty profit even after it gets split three ways.

This makes Sissy’s heart sink. It is hard enough to watch Scott drive off into potential danger when he leaves to manage the properties every week, but have him driving several states away? And to have to make the decision so quickly? But there really is no decision to make. It is too good an opportunity to pass up. They’d get cash to split for some of the load, but they would also get trade goods that might not be available around home.

So it is quickly planned out. Sissy throws together a good supply of food, mostly fresh that they can eat on the go, refills their water reserves, and off they go. She and the kids cannot stop watching as the truck drives away. They stand there for a while longer after it is finally out of sight and then Sissy shakes herself and gets everyone back into the house.

"When daddy be back?" little Johnnie asks.

"They said they would be back in a week more or less," Sissy replies.

James hesitantly starts out, "Dad said that Tom and Barry would be around if we needed anything but . . . I don’t want them coming in the house.’ More forcefully he adds, "Dad said I was supposed to make sure everything gets locked down at night and keep you all safe."

"I know sugar." Sissy replies carefully to acknowledge his growing need to prove his maturity. "I wouldn’t go to Barry or Tom unless it was an emergency we couldn’t handle anyway. We’ll do for ourselves. Dad was just trying to cover all the bases. He asked us, me in particular, to push really hard to keep our disinfection protocols priority."

"We’ll stay safe, won’t we guys? And we will help mom lots and lots and before you know it, dad will be back and maybe he’ll bring everyone a surprise," says Rose to the youngest children.

"I miss Daddy!" cry Sarah and Bekah in near unison.

"I know sweethearts. But Daddy felt that this was a really good chance to make up for the money he can’t make around here right now. As a matter of fact, it is a chance that is too good to pass up, no matter how we feel personally. The pandemic won’t be around forever and we have to be ready for when the rules go back to the way they used to be. This is going to require cash, which is something too few people have too little of right now."

"Like what kind of rules? I don’t understand." asks Bekah.

"Like paying all the insurance premiums, mortgages, and taxes that they stopped to let everyone try and prepare. They are already talking about doing it now even though there are still areas that have a lot of panflu in the community. Daddy just wants to be able to take care of things the way he used to."

And that is true. The pandemic has lasted longer than anyone had anticipated. And the economic impact has been bigger as well. A lot of people have lost everything, financially speaking. Not even Bill Gates’ Foundation has been unscathed by panflu economics. Not even Bill Gates himself has gone unscathed. He and his wife were caught on some kind of European tour when the air traffic quit running and are rumored to have died over in Eastern Europe. A lot of people that ran the large corporations have been affected directly by infection, or their families have. No one with any amount of money has gotten away scott-free. Even the mega-rich members of the entertainment industry – those with no permanent homes who lived off of fast food and restaurant fare – have found out that their potential worth of yesterday means nothing to their current value. Many died when they were abandoned by their personal entourages of managers, personal assistants, and body guards.

Sissy herself, ever practical, realizes how important it is while Scott is away for her family to stay grounded and active. The garden producing well and keeps them busy. But with the good comes the bad. The white flour is almost all gone. Sissy still has some baking mix so they aren’t totally without light bread, but fairly soon all that there will be left is cornmeal and tortilla flour and not much of that either. Even the acorn flour she made back in August and September is gone. Sissy has been using bread as a way to put some calories into their work laden diets. Bread is also a way to make the other food seem like it is going further. She doesn’t know quite what she will do when it all runs out. She knows other people in the neighborhood are either paying the high prices at the grocery or going without. She wishes there were a third option, but isn’t aware of what it could be at the moment. She got an email from her aunt last month saying how the local mill is as busy as it ever was prepandemic. "Must be nice," she thinks, though she tries not to be envious, that gets her no place fast. There are enough other issues that need her time and thought.

The holidays are again looming on the horizon. Bekah and Johnnie are growing out of all their clothes and shoes. They still haven’t heard from their insurance companies regarding any of their claims, not even on their policies that are held by Citizens which is run by the state of Florida. Other items in her food storage are beginning to run short. Scott’s work van really needs an oil change but they can’t find any to trade for. And she can’t support the family’s needs out of their yard forever. The compost can’t keep up with all of the soil depletion though she is doing her best.

There are just so many things to worry about and now she has no one she can talk to them about. Scott just left, and she is feeling left behind. She can’t take the chance and go out much because what if she gets sick? Who could the kids turn to? About 5 miles from here there is an active outbreak of panflu. She can’t count on any kind of immunity. And what if Scott, or her father or brother, get ill while they are away and on the road? What if Scott brings it home without realizing it until it is too late? What if he doesn’t come home at all?

"OK . . . I’ve got to stop this," Sissy abruptly says to herself. Scott’s leaving has freaked her out more than she thought it would. "It is time to get busy and work off some of this anxiety and paranoia." She is shaky enough that Rose and James probably see it. She needs to stay in control or they might all start falling apart emotionally.

"How would you guys like to surprise Daddy? Think we can complete the whole chore list before he gets back?" Sissy asks the kids.

With the indoor cleaning pretty well under control, it is time to move on to the outside of the house. Sissy looks and thinks, "The yard never was a showcase, but good gravy it looks very reggledy-taggledy now."

The front yard doesn’t look all that much different except that a lot of the normal landscaping plants have been replaced with edible items. Celtuce, burdock, salsify, horseradish and many other unusual food plants were interplanted with herbs and some semi-tropical bushes like azaleas and hibiscus. There are also patches of edible flowers like bee balm, basil, borage, calendula, chamomile, and anything else they have seeds for. There are also the two grape fruit trees. The grass is scraggly and sand shows through in many places where it isn’t covered with oak leaves and her attempts at planting edible ground covers. The wintergreen and houttuynia are only doing so so since it has been so hot. There isn’t much they can do with the front yard for now except rake up the latest mess of leaves, a never-ending job. They have been cutting the grass with a scythe or swing blade to keep it from getting too long and they keep any fallen branches picked up and put into their woodpile as part of their normal chore schedule.

Now the backyard is a different story. During the day the backyard looks like you have stepped into a huge edible landscaping experiment. There are vines climbing the fences on all three sides of the yard. There are barrels, large and small, containers of all shapes and sizes, hanging baskets of every description in almost every available space. There are several old bathtubs serving as raised planting beds (currently holding several varieties of potatoes). Amidst all of this are hung flattened cans strung on fishing line and odd pieces of wire and twine to act both as burglar alarms and as metal scarecrows to keep marauding animals (and people) out. Then there is the in-ground pool with its faded blue cover where they store their non-potable water. There are bat houses on a couple of old antenna poles and under some of the eaves of the house to help those blessed little creatures who keep the mosquito population from taking over the world. The compost bins are homemade and in need of some reinforcing as they are beginning to lean. Lastly, but certainly not least, is their water catchment system. This includes a series of jury rigged pieces of metal flashing, gutter, and rain barrels with screening to keep out as much debris as possible.

At night the family brings in all of their movable containers. People still have their gardens raided pretty regularly by both human and animal predators and with seven mouths to feed, Scott and Sissy just barely make do. The yard will never make the cover of House Beautiful but it helps to keep them fed.

The one major outside task that Sissy feels must get done is to expand their compost pile system. She wants to add another bin. They have two, but she would like to have at least one more. They have an old wooden pallet that they are going to dismantle and use for this purpose. Scott said not to ask where he got it from, so she figured there was a story there she might not want to hear.

One of their problems is that, even after just one year of intensive gardening, Sissy can tell that the sandy soil is getting tired out. Even if the pandemic comes to a halt tomorrow the economic infrastructure is going to take some time to repair; perhaps many years. She figures she will be feeding her family out of the garden for some time yet. But without replacing the soil nutrients and some decent plant fertilizer she doesn’t know how she is going to accomplish it.

Sissy really envies the ground her extended family has in Kentucky and Tennessee. That is real dirt. Sure, some of it Is clay, but by and large there Is some nice black dirt for them to grow things in. The sand here in Florida lets both water and nutrients slip right through with barely a by-your-leave. There is hardly any organic material in it. She is doing well to get the compost into the ground to build up the soil, but still, the intensive growing she is doing is eating the nutrients up just about as fast as she can put them in. The days of being able to go to a store and pick up all the fertilizer and insecticides you need are gone for a while, maybe for a good long while. It is just one of many worries that Sissy is trying to come to grips with.

Another is that Rose really needs college books for next semester. She has done well this semester as Scott went out to the college and was able to purchase the books at a discounted price since they were so overstocked. But where is the money coming from next semester? Will her laptop hold out so she can keep doing the online work she needs to do? What happens if any of their home computers fail?

As homeschoolers Sissy’s family has plenty of educational material for the four children that haven’t entered college yet. To make up for the deficit in the educational options – many people are refusing to send their children to the public schools due to the danger of infection – she is also writing lessons for Barry’s granddaughters and Tom’s two sons. The kids aren’t going to school together exactly, but they have formed a sort of neighborhood correspondence school. If the power is on, they keep in touch by computer on a bulletin board Sissy was able to set up especially for this purpose. If the power is off, they keep in touch by "Fairy Ferry," which is a play on a wildly popular children’s book series where people kept in touch using owls. The kids write letters and the adults place them in a PVC tube that has been attached to a tree in their backyard. Even the older kids play along although the boys prefer something that is closer to a Star Wars theme than a bunch of fairies flitting about. They are even playing games by mail. So far they have figured out how to play chess, scrabble, checkers, and trivia games by mail. The kids are proving to be incredibly resilient if they are given the right tools to work with.

Three days after Scott leaves, Sissy has just about reached the end of her extra chore list and the end of her rope. She has way too much time to think about what could be going wrong with the men’s venture, and it plagues her so much she can hardly sleep at night. For example, last night she sat up as long as the solar batteries lasted on the lantern and sliced pickles for pickling and prepared seven quarts of pasta sauce from the yellow plum tomatoes that came in. News reports that talked of a third major wave of pandemic infections beginning out in California making its way eastward did absolutely nothing for her peace of mind either. The reports are so ominous in tone that those few people who have returned their kids to a classroom setting are pulling them out left and right.

Sissy is pondering all of her worries as she pulls weeds in the front yard flowerbeds to throw into the compost pile. The sun is beaming down on her back when suddenly it is replaced by a looming shadow. She quickly turns around to find a half dozen women looking down at her.

"Uh, hi. What’s up?" Sissy asks hesitantly as she stands.

"You homeschool all your kids."

"Yeah," Sissy replies cautiously.

"And you’ve been sharing some of your school stuff with a couple of families in the neighborhood."

"Well, just Barry’s grandkids and Tom Cox’s kids. Why?"

"We need them too."

"You need what too? Uh, I mean, what is the ‘them’ you need? I mean … oh heck, what are y’all talking about?" Sissy says as she gives up on grammatical correctness.

"You’ve heard that another wave of panflu might be coming this way."

"Well, it never really went away," Sissy replies. "A few blocks over those people, the ones that were bringing in the fish to sell, came down with it. So, another wave is bad, but . . . "

"Yeah. OK. Whatever. But our kids need to be in school. Some of us are going crazy with the kids just sitting around gloomily all day or getting into mischief left and right. But, they can’t be ‘in’ school right now. It’s never been a problem for you. And now you’ve fixed it for other people. We want that. We want someone to give us something to work with for our kids."

"You can. Homeschooling isn’t against the law. Just send in your letter of intent to the county."

"But what else do we need to do? We don’t know anything about teaching."

Sissy comes back with, "Did you teach your kids to walk? Did you help them learn to talk? Did you potty train them? Did you help them to learn to dress themselves? What about their numbers and colors? Did you help them with their homework once they started school? If you did any of that, then you have already been teaching and training your kids. You don’t need to learn to teach. You already know how."

"What about lessons? You’ve already done this for every grade there is from preschool through highschool. Word has it you have even started helping one of your kids with college level work. We need that. You have something we need and we are willing to trade for it. What would you take for teaching our kids."

"Whoa. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to get done what I need to get done now. If you are asking me to share my lesson plans with you, no problem; but, if you are asking me to do the actual teaching, I just can’t."

"But we need . . . "

"Wait, let me explain. To qualify as a homeschool child in the state of Florida, you as the parent need to be responsible for the teaching and training of your child. I can’t be your child’s teacher. Now, I can do some tutoring in the form of giving you lesson ideas, but you as the parent need to implement them. That is the way the laws are written here in Florida."

"Oh. Look. I know we are coming off pushy, but we are scared. We don’t want to run the risk of losing our kids. But some of them are driving us Gawd all mighty crazy! But we also don’t want them to fall behind or turn out ignorant. We don’t have the money to put them in a private school and we don’t have the electricity to keep up with any of the virtual school programs. We’ve got to do something and like we said, we are willing to trade for it."

After a brief prayer that she isn’t getting herself in over her head, Sissy asks, "When do you want to start?"

"As soon as possible."

"How many kids and in how many different grades are we talking about?"

"Well, we are not the only families. We only represent the families that need some kind of educational option for their kids. If you total us all up there are about twenty families on this street, or right off this street, with about 55 or 60 kids between us. Maybe more because some people have inherited kids from other family members, but say no more than 75 total. And we’ve got at least a couple in every grade from pre K to 12th grade."

"Good gravy. I had no idea there were that many kids in the neighborhood. Do you know if everyone has a dictionary? Even better, have everyone make a list of all the books they have in the house. I need to know what kind of resources everyone has. If we can get this done in the next couple of days we’ll try and start next Monday."

"So you’ll do it? You’ll teach our kids?"

"No but I’ll help you to teach your kids. One thing up front though, you are going to have to be realistic. I’m one person. I have my own way of doing things and they might not work – probably will not work – for every family or every kid. I’ll give you ideas and I’ll try and facilitate some ways that you can apply it in your own homes, but you will do the teaching. For older kids its fairly easy. By the time they get to a certain age, all you can do is facilitate their learning, provide resources for them to work from, encourage them. The little ones require more one-on-one work especially as you are teaching them to read. If what I’m offering doesn’t work then I can offer suggestions, but I’m not the school system. I can’t individualize every lesson for every child. And I can’t make your kids learn if they don’t want to. The discipline, grading, and record keeping will be up to each household."

"OK. So what do you want to do this? We haven’t talked price."

"Um. Look. I’m not looking to make a killing off of this. In fact, I’m not real inclined to get paid at all because this is more of an experiment than anything else right now. A ‘payment’ would obligate me and I’m not there in my thinking yet. I’ll do this because it sounds interesting and I know some of your kids. I don’t want to get bullied and it felt like that was what was happening there for a while. Let’s just leave it as a friendly gesture on my part for a while, that way if any of us becomes uncomfortable or find its not working, we can pull out without a big fuss. OK?"

"Hey, sounds good to me. I was afraid you were going to ask cash to do this," one woman says.

"Yeah I was too and my husband just lost his job . . . again," another woman chimes in.

"Isn’t your husband the one that used to work down at the boatyard?" Sissy asks.

"Yeah, he’s been trying to pick up work here and there, but he hasn’t found anything steady in almost a year."

"That’s a tough thing to be going through," Sissy says as she files the name for later because she knows that Scott is looking to add another two men to their crew so that they can split work between two teams.

As the women leave Sissy wonders what she has gotten herself into. She also wonders what Scott is going to say about this. As she heads to the disinfection station to clean up, she realizes this isn’t just more work for her, but it means more work for Scott. Since she’s not allowed to risk exposure – and boy is she glad she remembered to wear a mask and gloves – Scott is going to have to act as the delivery person.

"The logistics of this little project are starting to get complicated," mulls Sissy. "I wish Scott was here to talk them over with."

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