I started blogging years ago mostly as a way of keeping in touch with my friends and family who – thanks to my somewhat nomadic life – are scattered all over the globe.
I suck at keeping in touch with people. I’m not great at email, I despise talking on the telephone, and I have a select group of people that I do video calls with. And I’m an extrovert!
For the next few weeks, this will be a ‘lock down diary’ – so feel free to ignore my posts until normal transmission resumes some day in the future – after all, most of you will be living your own lock down lives too.
I want to record this event for myself, and particularly for my children. My son is only 5.5 years, and I doubt he will remember any of it when he grows up. What is happening around the world, and to us in New Zealand is of a magnitude I’ve never experience in my life time – and I pray I never do again.
On Friday I hugged my cousin S and my friend J, as they left our wee dinner party, for we didn’t know when we might see each other again. It was a surreal moment.
After a moving church service on Sunday, attended by 13 of us, the consensus was that we would continue to meet until directed otherwise by the government or the church. I was quite surprised by this choice, but every single person there was frazzled. Our brains were overloaded with all things COVID-19, and the situation that was unfolding daily. Many of the people at my church work for the government, several of them heavily involved in the crisis response. One person’s job was to run the numbers on the amount of deaths in her field. Can you imagine?
Monday morning is my usual grocery-shop day. Only I am on week two of mandatory rest to help heal damaged tendons in my knee, so I can’t go. Rev G decides he’ll do the shopping on Tuesday. I think this is fine, because I don’t think we’ll go into Level 3 in New Zealand until later in the week.
We manage to get a phone consult for Miss E with a doctor, as Miss E still has a cough which has gone on for over seven days. We are sure it isn’t the ‘rona, but are concerned she may need medicine to shift the cough. She’s already had a week off school. I’d like to send her if I could, as she is totally fine except for the odd bit of coughing. She’s been totally fine for about five days at this point. The only reason I want to send her is because she is new at the school, and just starting to settle and make friends.
The doctor diagnoses a virus – that is not COVID-19 – and says, “Normally I’d tell you to send her to school, but there’s other people’s anxiety to consider at the moment.”
The Doctor is of course, totally correct. Miss E stays home.
As Miss E is quite perky, I sit her down and tell her I don’t think she’ll be able to return to school before lock down begins. She flips through our craft books and marks which crafts she wants to do.
Deciding to save Rev G yet another trip out, I order over the internet the craft supplies we need, plus some Easter Eggs, that we can stash away. I am predicting a sombre Easter.
I go online to check what fresh horrors await me today, to discover I have just caught the tail end of the government deciding to move us from Level Two to Three, and then Level Four at 11:59 on Wednesday.
I immediately call Rev G because I know he won’t have heard the news, and tell him to quickly check how crazy the supermarket is. We have plenty of emergency food, but not a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables since today was our normal stock-up day. I’m concerned it may take days for panic-buying to calm down, and curse my knee.
The shopocalypse is taking place as he drives by, and we decide we can wait!
I thank God for what we do have.
I talk to my children about what’s happening. Miss E (7) watched the news with me on Saturday, so she understands that Level Four means no school. In the last few days I have needed to watch the news, something I have rarely done for over a decade; it’s always far too depressing.
I think I have explained the ‘stay at home’ situation to them. Five minutes later my son asks Rev G to buy him something from the shops. Yeah, he doesn’t get it.
We watch the news together as a family for the first time ever; I’m hoping that it will help the children understand what it all means. That we can’t pop to the shops. We can’t go to the playground. We can’t see their friends. A snippet on the panic buying helps my son to understand why we don’t want to go to the supermarket right now. Even though they have iceblocks.
I immediately start conserving food despite the fact that I know the supermarkets will be open throughout. Our portions are slightly smaller, and we explain to the children that waste just won’t be tolerated. They take it pretty well, and eat dinner with little complaint for a change. My husband and I think COVID-19 may be a game changer for their picky palettes.
Even though we are normally pretty good at using up our food, I suddenly notice outrageous waste. I quickly throw the dregs of a 2-day old cooked chicken and some starting-to-get-manky veg into a pot to make soup. If getting veggies in the shopocalypse turns out to be difficult, this will provide good nutrients. This is my way of panicking.
I have invited my parents and my brother to a Zoom meeting, although we use most of the time getting it set up properly for my mother. I thank God I have a tech-savvy husband who can do that. We have a lot of fun singing songs and generally being silly, and end with a prayer.
Rev G had the hymn Jerusalem stuck in his head as he prepared his sermon. The line, “I shall not cease from mental fight” stands out to me.
I haven’t yet met anyone who is blase about having to stay put for a month. It’s a huge ask to give up our normal lives, but it is absolutely the right decisions. I tell my kids that they are lifesavers.
I am mostly worried about the mental side of being cooped up this long. I am a sensation-seeking extrovert – a person who loves new, novel things. Where ever I live, I can tell you all the things to do in my area, because you can bet I’ve done most of them. Even though I’m a stay-at-home parent, I’m rarely home for a couple of days at a time, unless I’m unwell. I’m not wired that way.
My children are not wired that way either. My son is like me – he needs to get out. He is very, very social, and quickly gets irritated and naughty towards his sister if cooped up with just her for company. Rev G and I have just come off the back of having the kids for over seven weeks when we were between homes, and it was exhausting. We had friends and places to go then too!
I’m chomping at the bit to go for a walk, to exercise, like all the experts are cautioning us to do. Only I can’t right now because of my injury. Hopefully my knee will continue to improve so I can at least get out into the walking track near my house.
I go to bed exhausted from the day’s events.