I’ve had an ongoing low-grade anxiety prior to, and for most of the time since, my last update. It’s given me a phantom sore throat at different times, and there’s been a Covid-dream or two. The horror stories of Italy, the UK, Spain and New York, and the fact I’m 2 degrees from Covid deaths, have instilled a fear that I didn’t have even a month ago. The fear response makes me worry for my very active, and youthful, 70-something mum—wanting her to keep only to herself to minimise all chance of exposure. My nurture response, though, is to be glad she has some physical company, for loneliness can be just as detrimental, and we’re on the other side of the state border. For now, it’s a trade-off. And, I hope, we may not get to the point where we aren’t allowed even to have one visitor in our own homes, like where the UK is now. Early signs point to our infection rate flattening out, which is the goal of the physical distancing. It does prompt some hopefulness, but that may be premature. No doubt I’ll be refreshing ABC news for some days, yet.
So, anyway, let’s put the lid on that box and put it back into my mental attic.
Our floorboard situation was resolved during the week and we’ve moved our recreational activities back downstairs. Recreational activities now include making ice cream. Matt bought an ice cream machine, as thought to churn away the spare hours in the day. Our first batch of basic vanilla is in the freezer, right now. I’m gradually falling into a new routine. I was busy enough throughout the week on marketing tasks and removing my own SNS nail polish that the days went by much quicker than they did in the two weeks before.
I’m working on folding more art into my days. I’d been going to my regular Thursday afternoon art class for a year when we went into isolation, and I was working on a portrait of Kristin Hersh. I’m in the last stages of it, and need to devote another hour or so to finessing the details now that I’ve changed the background colour.
My latest artistic efforts involved going through all my old Coles & Woollies mags, taking photos of the recipes I wanted to keep and ripping out pages and images that I thought might be good for collage. So I’ve fired the long-neglected Pinterest app back app for inspiration.
March has finally ended and I’m wondering how many people are waiting for this long-running April Fool’s prank to be declared. Is there more to come? A colossal swarm of bees turning on humanity for destroying the environment would be a topical karmic retribution.
There’s plenty speculating about what the other side of this thing might look like for the economy. I do have some optimism that we’ll emerge a little more socialist. Workers unions will reclaim some of their importance. Some services will come back into government hands. If nothing else, the pandemic payments have shown that the previous social safety net wasn’t safe at all. I am hopeful we’ll eventually end up with a far better and robust socialist leadership, even if we have to wait another term of LNP government.
I haven’t been thinking much about the long term, at all. I’m very much about getting through each day, making sure I’ve done something productive—ticked off a couple of boxes, and mentally planning each day’s dinner. That’s about the extent of it. Floorboards are being laid today and we’ll be properly back downstairs by the weekend. I keep saying that once we get our normal space back, I’ll be ready to create a new routine that covers some school for the kids, reading time, exercising time, and creativity. Whether or not we succeed is another matter.
Last weekend, I opened up an old Facebook group that I’d created for our townhouse neighbours to the rest of the apartment complex. I printed out notes telling people how to find the group and stuck them up at the entrances of the difference buildings. Within a week, I had 65 people join and they’ve already been posting helpful messages and calls for help with various things. I went back out today and stuck some more notes up because the cleaners (or someone) took the first ones down. It’s a small act, but it goes some way towards creating the community I hoped for when we moved here.
Not too much has happened, today. Some laundry, some art, some playing Boggle with Lincoln, Fraser made choc chip cookies, I did some worky things. The arvo routine of sitting on the balcony with an alcoholic bevy is starting earlier. Friday was 4pm; today, 3pm. it’s 4:30 now and I’m one cider down and we’re watching the rain fall.
Matt’s beard is getting bushier.
Our downstairs space is still bare concrete, but we’ve brought inside the couch and chairs. It’ll rain tomorrow, and we wanted to set the telly back up down there. Meanwhile, with the xBox still upstairs with the kids, they barely mix with us. I’m hoping the floorboards are in by the middle of the coming week, so we can establish some better balance to the endless number of days stuck inside.
I walked with my friend Anna, today, at the prescribed distance apart. A couple of hours around the neighbourhood, finishing up at the new Coles supermarket. These are the highlights, now. Risky trips to the supermarket. Matt and I were, let’s face it—excited—by local famous pizza restaurant 400 Gradi’s pop-up mercato. All your favourite Italian supplies at large scale: bags of flour, pasta, eggs, tinned tomatoes, enormous Nutellas, deli meats. We’ll be back there, no doubt.
Every day I do some marketing task in hopes of reviving at least a little remote consulting work. Matt continues to make calls.
We are comfortable and privileged. Every day I think about the people stood down from work; the women and children subjected to increased domestic violence; the inadequately supported elderly; the hospital workers who are being exposed every day. Our inadequate systems that our governments stripped bare in the name of a fucking budget surplus. I pay taxes for services. I don’t pay taxes for the government to sit on my money and be smug about it. Lift our whole society up with my money, you heartless fucks!
So I went with the least imaginative journal title possible and I’m going to stick with it.
Lockdown is becoming more stringent with more shops closed as per last night’s press conference. Today, the boys have been upstairs, playing on the computer etc, while I’ve done a bit of marketing work and Matt’s been getting on with BAU phone calls.
Matt and I had an outing today to pick up and drop off some bread to people, then I went for a short walk to the IGA for milk, margarine and tonight’s dinner.
We started watching Bob’s Burgers last night to give Lincoln something new to watch when he gets bored of the XBox. We’ve received some holiday homework from year 7 maths and music. Everything else is wait-and-see.
Fraser stayed up super-late last night winning his FIFA Xbox games. That improved his mood.
When the floorboard are relaid, and we’ve moved everything back into place, downstairs, I’ll re-establish some more productive routines. For now, we’re basically glamping and making do with the reduced living space.
Day 2 of official #StayHome, but our second week in. Victoria’s state premier, Dan Andrews, has called for schools to close and so this is technically day 1 of school holidays. And you know what we did? We went ahead with this goddamn-ripping-up-of-our-downstairs-floorboards, because we’ve already been living with these mouldy boards for two years now. So, we kept social distance rules and got the fuck out to Bendigo for a drive. Sorry neighbours!
I know that our sanitising is not up to scratch. We’ll have to get more serious about antiseptic wiping of deliveries, and washing any fruit & veg, and after we’ve been outside–the vigorous hand-washing. And, DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE!
Mr16 is suffering the most at the moment. He’s missing spending time with his girlfriend. 😭
Tonight I would have been flying to the US to roadtrip from San Francisco to Portland with one of my close friends and then spend a few days in Austin for a much-anticipated conference. Along with thousands (millions?) of other people, events have been cancelled, fights have been refunded, and destinations are almost, if not already, in lockdown. Coronavirus has taken its toll on China, is taking down Europe and is working its way through the US. Australia is doubling in numbers of infected every 3-4 days, at this stage.
Matt and I both went to the gym last Monday, for the last time. We sent Mr12 to school camp with some trepidation, but confident that they wouldn’t be catching or spreading beyond their own small group while they were out in the bush. We’ve kept Mr16 at home this past week, but he’ll need to go back into school for a couple of assessment tests. At least, that was the notice from school yesterday. Things tend to change every day.
We’ve mostly been staying home since last Friday and have been through some challenging emotions and conversations with each other. Last weekend, I was grieving the loss of my travels. I’ve been angry with Matt for his black & white stance. I’ve cried for the businesses and people who will not survive this. I worry about my mother, by herself in Sydney. Some parts of the day feel normal, other parts feel ominous and radically changed forever. And more than I wish, the closing scene of the 2000 release of On the Beach replays in my memory: Rachel Ward and Bryan Brown watching the sunset from the beach as they lay together, possibly the last people on earth, dying from nuclear fallout.