78 thoughts on “March 31, 2020: End FY19”

  1. Oh man, thanks for the flashbacks to my days working for public companies. The end of the fiscal demand "pull forwards" were always insane to me, richly incentivizing our customers to just go ahead and order part of the Q1 demand this week. How odd that Q1 was always an uphill struggle...

  2. Today we end 1991 Rewind. But there's still no live baseball in sight. So, what to do?

    I thought about jumping into another rewind season. But I'm still hoping we'll have some sort of a 2020 baseball season, and I don't want to stop a rewind season in the middle. So, starting tomorrow, we will introduce Random Rewind!

    With the help of random.org, each day we'll choose a Twins season of the past, 1961-2019. Then we'll randomly choose a game within that season. So it could be any game the Twins have played. We could get a game from August 8, 1988. We could get a game from May 6, 2012. We could get an important game in the middle of a pennant race. We could even get a game 163! Or, we could get a meaningless game from a lost Twins season. It's all in the hands of random.org.

    Anyway, I hope you'll enjoy Random Rewind. And I hope it will be a short-lived feature, and that it won't be too much longer before we have live baseball again.

  3. Update for the joint:

    The recently passed CARE act, or stimulus bill, or coronavirus bill is going to help small business. Talked to my banker yesterday. In a nutshell, I am able to apply for an SBA loan through his bank. Very little paperwork with no collateral. I should be able to borrow a fair sum of money to put us in a good position to open up. 8 weeks after loan origination, I can apply for loan forgiveness on 8 weeks of payroll/benefits, lease payments, and utilities (gas, electric, transportation costs, water, telephone and internet service). The remainder of the loan will have first payment pushed back 6-12 months and there is a 4% cap on interest rate. Frankly, a lot of stress in my life has been relieved. I can start paying all my staff their average wages/tip from prior to 2/15. They can pay their bills. I can have enough money in the bank to successfully re-launch once we get the all clear. We had some savings set aside that would have let us scrap by, but we would have opened on a shoestring budget. Now we can do things right and open with confidence. I may even take a portion of our savings and purchase some chairs and bar stools to spruce the place up a bit. I will say that I was skeptical that the government would help out small business to this degree. We are very grateful. On another note, I am amazed at our community up here. Our sales have been nearly half of our normal sales this time of year. Lots of regular guests come in almost daily to purchase take out or curbside. I think in the last 2 weeks we have sold about $6k in gift cards. I know some of you have commented on here or texted me your concern. We will be good. Stress level is still there. I am contemplating shutting down completely in the near future. If (when) we get a fair amount of cases in our area, I will probably shut down for a week or two to protect our staff. We are working on a new menu anyway, and that might be a good opportunity to shut down, retrain and deep clean.

      1. Had a nice long chat with the company your in laws own. We are looking at ways to pay it forward as we can.

    1. I'm glad things sound like you'll be able to come out of this in a decent spot, and your people will too.

      You're a good man, zooom, doing so much to take care of you staff.

    2. Great to hear this update, hopefully other small business are finding themselves in a similar spot.

    3. This is great to hear. I haven't yet had an opportunity to look into the contours of this part of the bill yet (hopefully it'll work for my one employee too...), so I'm glad to hear it is happening for small businesses, and so quickly!

    4. Glad to hear things are, well, better than they could be, anyway. May it all work out for you in the end.

    5. I had my hopes that you'd get some better news out of this -- good to hear. With luck I'll have a walleye sandwich in front of me this July!

      Decided to send in my fed. taxes early ($241) -- government needs it more than I do at this time.

      1. Thanks. Unfortunately, the knee "fix" is on hold until this all blows over. I am trying to get my exercise in, which is a challenge. Basically, I can manage a 30-45 minute brisk walk right now. Jogging is out of the question. We are going to pick up a second bicycle soon (as our awesome 30 year old Cannondale was stolen at the U of M this fall). Hope to get some longer bike rides in.

        1. Biking is really good for the knees. I can’t run and can only walk so fast because of missing cartilage/arthritis, but I have zero pain when biking so I can get a good aerobic workout.

          1. Its great for ankles too. I had some nasty tendinitis in both achilles tendons a few years ago and finally got back into biking, which completely eliminated the problem.

    6. Glad to hear it. I look forward to coming to visit sometime...y'know, at the rate I get out anywhere...maybe I should buy a gift card to add to my collection.

    7. Second on being happy to hear you'll get through this. I'm really hoping the food and drink industry comes out of this ok and also that it kills our tipping system.

  4. I just spent four hours (four!) on a grocery run. I hate grocery shopping, but I’m the only non-immunosuppressed or quarantined adult in two households. We typically shop at HyVee, which is a total sh!tshow. They routinely reconfigure the stores to make you search for items — Wait, where is the dried fruit now? — to the point that you can’t be sure if they still carry something or if they’re just out — I could swear they carried miso paste.... Sometimes they just don’t stock things for a while, and then suddenly, they reappear.

    HyVee was totally out of TP, canned cannellini beans, dried beans of any kind, the nice strawberry preserves, katsu, and the aforementioned miso paste. I snagged the last jar of active yeast in the joint. There was only one check-out line open when I went through, and the person running it clearly hasn’t run a checkout before. He did an excellent job of bagging, however, which is highly unusual these days. HyVee doesn’t carry the brand of peanut butter we like, and were out of other stuff we usually get there, like katsu, and some stuff my brother-in-law asked for. So it was off to Woodman’s. Woodman’s had everything but the katsu & miso paste. They’re sensibly rationing TP and bags of flour; HyVee is not, and thus is out of stock. I went to the local mom & pop butcher for ground beef, then stopped at the Vietnamese market. They had miso paste and katsu, but every bottle of katsu had a Best By date of January or February 2020.

    I gave up & went home, katsu-less. Once home, I stripped to my skivvies, disinfected my personal items, and took a shower.

    1. We are doing only drive up for groceries. I am staging canned goods in the garage for up to two weeks before bringing them in. My wife is not good at any of this stuff and she is putting food put directly into the refrigerator and not properly washing produce. Sigh.

      TMI SelectShow
      1. Spoiler SelectShow

        Half-Life of the virus on various surfaces ranges from a couple hours to like 8 hours. If you can leave dry goods in the garage for a day or two, you will be very, very safe.

        1. I think the initial declaration, and still by some stubborn agencies, of not requiring masks has done the most damage. I strongly suspect future studies will say that was the number one thing we in the US should have done to stymie the spread. Doing grocery pickup is a reasonable second choice since you don't have to get close to anyone.

          1. The #1 reason to wear a mask is to prevent / remind not to touch face. It is not necessary for prevention unless you are in constant contact with the virus (health workers) or you have the virus and are in close quarters with others, like at home. That said, there was a choir practice that had multiple contractions, and it's thought that the heavy / loud exhalation when singing can (possibly) cause spread.

            1. Reducing or preventing inhalation of the particles of a respiratory illness is extremely important. Studies of SARS indicate mask wearing was more effective than frequent washing of hands.

              1. CDC is starting to admit this. They were just trying to stop hoarding by the general public when there was a shortage for medical workers.

    2. Within 5 miles of us I can choose between 4-5 different grocery brands, and usually two different stores of each of them, so we can find pretty much every item not named "TP". We're going a couple times a week, and combining with takeout or drive-thru while we're at it. One tip I heard recently is to not touch anything unless you intend to buy, which is good advice.

      1. We're going a couple times a week

        Well, your TP should last at that rate, but you're going to need to see a Dr when this all blows over.

    3. 2 college kids at home. Man, I forgot how much they can eat! We (my wife) are hitting the grocery store every other day it seems. Our local grocery store has been pretty calm. They have a warehouse off site and buy all non-perishables in bulk, so we haven't seen too many shortages. Also, I can purchase from fresh produce and meats from our business, which helps.

    4. I tried to go to Costco today at 11. The parking lot was packed and there was a huge line to get in. I bailed and went to my grocery store.

      Almost no flour, absolutely no yeast, almost no dried beans, yogurt, etc.

      People are weird. I like to bake bread, although admittedly had not baked in a few months. I can't believe there are that many people out there who think the bakeries are going to shut down (or that bread bags are going to infect them).

        1. Could be. I’m in utter disbelief at the flour shortage, particularly since bread itself seems to be in usual supply. I find myself a bit skeptical that people are baking that much. Mrs. Hayes has been baking three loaves a week — one for her mom & aunt, one for her brother, and one for us — and we haven’t quite gone through the sacks I bought two weeks ago. What I got today is for the next two weeks, possibly a bit longer.* Maybe some people are baking more than that, but more than three loaves a week? Although, again, the store that is rationing — one bag, any size, per family, per day — had some of each type (AP, bread flour, whole wheat, etc.) in both 5 & 10 lb sacks, with multiple brands available, while the store that is not rationing had nothing but a couple sacks of Pillsbury bread flour and a few small generic bags of AP.

          * The virus is supposed to peak here around 22–29 April; I want to get one more top-up run in before we really have to hunker down.

          1. Purely anecdotal, but in a tech slack food channel I'm a part of, at least 20 people are learning how to bake bread from some of the more seasoned (heh) bakers there. Most people are baking ~ 1 loaf per day and posting pictures of the crumb and whatnot to get pointers and improve their loaves.

            1. Your anecdotal evidence is correct, baking is a category seeing a sustained surge in sales (vs. something like canned soups, which saw a very fast spike and then decline). Refrigerated Condiments are one of the only other categories with sales higher than initial rush, guess people now know they are stuck at home for a while and want some good sandwich ingredients?

              A retail data guy

              1. As a veteran bread baker, I told my wife that I would prefer that I make the bread that we consume. She tried to order a jar of yeast... no luck yet.

                1. Thread on making your own yeast if you want a challenge

        2. A few weeks back, when this was all ramping up, our grocery store was out of bread. So I made some, but I like doing it, so no biggie.

          Bread's back at the store, people seem a little calmer, so we're still good.

      1. I guess katsu isn't its proper name? I do mean the "Japanese Worcestershire sauce" one would serve alongside tonkatsu. Does it have a proper name, or is this a "steak sauce" kind of situation?

        In any case, I use that sauce for all kids of stuff, sometimes in combination with Worcestershire sauce. It's a key ingredient whenever Poissonnière asks me to make sloppy joes , for example.

        1. Ahh, yeah, tonkatsu saasu (literally "sauce" translated into their syllabic). Katsu is just a fried cutlet of some kind. The bottle we have claims it's a "Fruit & Vegetable Sauce". We've got to make a Mitsuwa run soon if you want me to pick some up.

            1. Yep, that's the one. We had a lot of suitcase space on our way back so we filled it with a bunch of the basics like that at about half the cost of the States.

          1. Today was specialty grocery online order day — put an order in to Penzeys (we’re alarmingly low on a couple of staples that weren’t updated in the database I made to track such things), another for a jar of tonkatsu saasu, Yellowbird Serrano, and a 100-pack of Feather razor blades. (That one should hold me for a while; I last ordered a 100-pack back in 2014.) I contemplated a 1.5 kilo tub of Maldon sea salt, but held off for now.

            Next, an order to Kickapoo for coffee. Usually I’d get that at the co-op, but I don’t fancy a one-item run that involves an apparel change & decontamination shower.

  5. Random map recon fact of the day.
    I had not realized that Duluth was closer to Michigan than it is to the Twin Cities metro.

    1. We're in an odd position here that even though we're across the Missouri River and west of St. Louis, we're actually closer to the Mississippi River and Illinois.

    2. If I were cheaptoy’s neighbor, I’d be almost exactly equidistant between Thief River Falls & Memphis. The former is just the next state over, the latter has four states between us. He’s nearly, but not quite, equidistant between Denver & Montreal, too.

      1. My parents' house in NW Iowa to Circle Center in Indy is the same distance as Austin-El Paso.

        I've made that Iowa-Indiana drive dozens of times. To do the same and not leave the state I started in would be nuts.

        1. My brother and sister both lived in Texas at one point. Someone mentioned to me how convenient that would be to visit them both on the same trip. They were 630 miles apart - 10 hour drive.

          1. I love the fact that both the east- and western-most borders of Texas are closer to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, respectively, than those borders are to each other.

      2. I've occasionally had drive to Thief River Falls and back in a day. It's crazy that those days were the equivalent to driving from Washington, DC to Chicago.

        1. My mom & Pa got their first teaching jobs in Thief River, but my dad already had a teaching job in southwestern Wisconsin. Given their joint custody arrangement when I was a kid, I went from Thief River to the La Crosse area (or the opposite) every three weeks. That’s basically Minneapolis to Kansas City by distance, though it’s shorter by time thanks to the interstate. Looking at it now, my kid is about the only thing that could get me to make that trip every three weeks.

      1. Cool. Bookmarking this one!

        Edit: Spoiler alert...The answer is pretty much always: water.

        1. In 2006 this was a thing for a brief time, with a function on Google Maps. I wrote a blog post about it at the time. In relevant excerpt:

          From my very old blog SelectShow
    1. Not work related:
      Damage aside...that's pretty remarkable.

      Work related:
      You have a RailVac sitting in North Platte if you want a hand with debris cleanup. i don't see...any ballast there.

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