Corona Diaries – Lockdown #4, #5 and #6

Things are starting to blur.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday who knows. Morning active-wear, afternoon jammies, let’s go for another walk/ride/, do another online exercise class, cook some more food…..

Sunday was really flat, Nixon had a bad day yesterday but today we got back on track. I’ve stopped watching the news so much, turned notifications off on my phone, decided that checking the NZ Herald app 773 times per day was not helping anything, and I’m literally solely focussed on the day ahead and making it as smooth as possible for our family.

Like any other day, there are the arguments about brushing teeth, showering (gross boys!), who said what, or who gets to choose which Hello Fresh meal will be cooked for dinner, but the fundamental urgency of how we move through our days has shifted. I wonder just how this will adjust when the lockdown is over. How will it be possible to revert to a world without social distancing, without paranoia around our 6-year-olds rubbing their hands all over every surface in the public realm, without those whiplash-inducing head spins to identify from exactly which direction ‘that’ cough came?

Will we be the generation that forever stockpiles hand sanitizer? After we are able to buy it again of course!

For those overseas, we are on Stage Four Lockdown here in New Zealand. Our borders are completely closed, each family must self-isolate at home, only leaving for essential supplies or services such as groceries or medical attention. All non-essential businesses are closed and non-essential travel is limited to exercise withing our immediate neighbourhood. People are working only from home if they are able, otherwise, the mandatory business shutdown is in force for 4 weeks.

Meanwhile, we have been watching Australia and the USA fail to act with such urgency and force, as people keep dying.

It feels like we fell asleep one night and the world changed in a matter of hours.

Dave has worked from home for years so compared to many families, we are finding the lockdown not quite so jarring in its totality. Nixon is probably struggling the most. He is an incredibly busy, social little boy who has been relishing the freedom of cycling around our neighbourhood over the past few months, constantly exploring and playing with his friends – our parent network of Mums and Dad’s keeps everyone up-to-date with the location of the Boy-Gang at any given time. Now he must stay home with only his family for face-to-face company and attention.

Our days now start a bit later, we are all sleeping a touch longer without Ethan’s 7 am departure for school. I plan our F45 workouts the night before and Dave and I slowly head for the garage whenever the coffee kicks in. Ethan and Nixon play basketball in the driveway every morning and a family walk is mandatory for everyone. The boys complete their school work, we cook, bake and catch-up with our friends via ZOOM workouts, HouseParty, Facetime or Skype. Nixon and his pals have slowly adapted to online communicating after first attempts saw he and his friend yelling back and forth for an hour “CAN YOU SEE ME?!”. We have been bike-riding in the early evening, though to be honest I find this quite stressful as the sheer number of people and kids out and about can make social-distancing quite hard on the footpaths.

I was fully prepared so food and entertainment and exercise equipment are a-plenty, however, the daydreams about what we will do/eat/visit when the lockdown is over have begun.

I haven’t laid down any grand goals to aspire to over the isolation period. I literally just want my little family to be as happy as possible, for Dave to be able to keep working without any huge increase in stress due to the boys being home, to somehow maintain motivation to keep working out
(it feels like it gets harder every day tbh) and perhaps to read some more books.

That’s all I want aside from health for my family.

Skipping stones in the Riverhead River
Our stunning neighbourhood lifting our spirits on our daily family walks.

Book Club 2020: Shakti, Rajorshi Chakraborti

Shakti Novel by Rajorshi Chakraborti

Oh my lord, where to start with this one.

It took me ages to finish, and I really wanted to finish this book sooner rather than later.

Shakti, by the author’s own admission, is a weird book. Its rambling narrative covers merely days but stretches on for e v e r . And ever.

Here’s what I enjoyed about this book;

  • India! I wish more local flavour had been included in the storyline.
  • The modern, feminist heroine Jaya. Her internal monologues are humorous, insightful and provide (rare) historical context into her current situation.
  • The ending! The final, very dramatic introduction of even more characters (there are SO many in this novel which I think is one of its downfalls) is as black and white as it gets throughout the story. And it works. The book finishes well, albeit taking a long time to get there.
  • The politics. Again, I wish there had been a little more time spent on this aspect of Indian life, fleshing out the motives and means of those in charge would have added more depth to the mystical powers bestowed upon selected women.

I felt like I was lost the entire time I was reading Shakti. Not entirely unenjoyable but definitely confounding, fast-paced and I wasn’t sure if half of what I was reading was relevant as it seemed to disappear from the storyline as soon as I turned a page.

In short (from the publicist), if ‘psychic warfare, nefarious deities, right-wing regimes, internecine attacks and the vicissitudes of life in a hectic city’ are your jam, then give Shakti a whirl. Chakraborti is a great writer and I’m keen to read more from this Indian-born novelist who now lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Published by Penguin Random House, February 2020

Purchase online now from Mighty Ape using my affiliate code > TAKE ME SHOPPING!

Corona Diaries – Lockdown #3

It’s Saturday here in New Zealand, our first Lockdown Weekend with a few more to come.

It’s very typical late March weather, gorgeous blue skies, cooler temps throughout the day, I’m actually wearing sweatshirts here and there!

That’s one of the nerve-wracking things I worry about, how bad is Coronavirsu going to be as we head into Winter? Imagine the paranoia of getting ‘regular’ sick and stressing that is Covid-19? Worries like these feel like a pot of popcorn on the stove, jostling and bumping each other, trying to smash the lid off so they can see the light of day and really kick the anxiety up a notch!

The boys haven’t lost their shit yet (neither have I!) so I’m very proud of all of us. Dave and I are keeping our daily routines going as much as we can. It’s super important I reckon. I was vacuuming yesterday (I do this every day) and Ethan asked why I was worried about the house being tidy, “Noone is going to judge us, Mum!”. I replied that I try to tidy up every day so why would I stop now? Keeping expectations familiar and structured works in our house and both the boys rely on these behavioural cues to navigate their days.

So, as usual, we did F45 in the morning, Nix, Dave and I went for a walk, the boys played basketball then went for another walk……..we grabbed the kids ice creams from the dairy…..

Yeah normal as lol.

I’m trying to do one *extra* little housework job each day so our house may be in a better state at the end of lockdown then it was at the beginning. And I do mean LITTLE job – there’s definitely no need to rush! So today I cleaned all the mirrors and the plan for tomorrow is to wipe down and disinfect all of the windowsills.

Sunday is sounding epic!

Corona Diaries – Lockdown #2

I placed what will probably be my last click ‘n’ collect grocery order 8 days ago with today being the first available time slot. Dave is our designated Grocery Shopper (only 1 per household) so he ventured out into the wild to pick up the goods.

The queue was uniformly spaced 2 metres apart, snaking the length of the carpark as people waited to be let into the store, one-in-one-out. I asked if it felt good to be out there, doing something quite normal? His reply was that it was the most abnormal experience ever. The shoppers were all pleasant and calm, lots of face masks, but so subdued and quiet. He said you felt stupid if you had to back-track through the store having forgotten something as you knew so many people were waiting outside and the pressure to hurry felt immense. The shelves were mostly well-stocked, with limitations on obvious things – luckily Dave and I haven’t eaten bread in months (years for me) so what I have purchased is lasting well for the boys.

Though it was great to see the checkout staff protected behind perspex screens, it was yet another, very visible reminder that something is terribly amiss both here and all over the world.

Today I worry about the paranoia that is quietly peeking through the curtains now and then. Dave carried some groceries inside in a banana box and set them on the kitchen bench and I felt my stomach do a nasty flip-flop. Who knew what germs and viruses were crawling all over that box which had flown around the world from who knew where? I broke it down as quickly as possible and disinfected the bench.

How do we come back from that aspect of a lockdown and virus that has brought the world to its knees? How do we return to normal after we have been walking past our friends in the street, giving them a 2m wide berth whilst simultaneously desperately wanting their familiar companionship?

The boys once again had a really good day, they seem to be coping well so far – ON DAY TWO lol. They both did some schooling, played basketball, jumped on the tramp together, we went for a walk, Nixon once each with Dave and I. The marvels of technology are definitely helping, I did a Gravity class with my friends from F45 via ZOOM. Workouts on your own are self-flagellation at it’s finest but seeing everyone suffer together via a live feed somehow helps. And we’ve had coffee chats and Houseparty Friday drinks with our local friends………………..

We’re trying.

But it’s all just like living in a sci-fi novel that you can’t quite believe you are reading.

Corona Diaries – Lockdown Day #1

Today I;

  • Did 5 pull-ups in a row for the first time (with technique so bad it looked like I was hauling myself into a tree to escape an alligator but heyho)
  • Ate 7 Lindt balls in 20 minutes to celebrate the fact that I hadn’t eaten any Lindt balls in 8 weeks – BRAVO
  • Had voffee (virtual coffee) and completed a group workout over Zoom for the first time
  • Listened as our 15yo suffered through getting Nix to focus through his entire reader, and thought “these sibling moments will be the gold that comes out of this lockdown”, and also thought “thank God it’s Ethan and not me!”
  • Laughed as Nix had a Facetime playdate with a friend and they spent the entire time asking “CAN YOU SEE ME?!” and making fart noises
  • Washed a blanket. That was the extent of my ‘extra’ house-wife-ing, I have to pace myself you know, can’t get too ahead, there are 4 weeks to fill in after all!
  • Barely checked the Herald app or watched the news for the first time in weeks. We are in isolation, what more do I need to know?
  • Didn’t fight with Dave, can’t say the same for the kids!
  • Lost the dog (again, 2nd day in a row). Found dog, he’s surprisingly quick for a blind old man.
  • Made 2/3 beds before 8am. Happy with that.
  • Got out of jammies quickly but have been in activewear since was first active this morning. Dubious hygiene kicking in quick lol
  • Up too late writing this list.

Good night! Hope day 1 was a box of birds for you my fellow locked-down New Zealanders! xx

The Corona Diaries – The Night Before Lockdown

What’s going right now around the world (and at home here in New Zealand) is so mind-blowing, that I feel compelled to diarise it (Old School Blogging if you will) for NO other reason but to document the day-to-day developments of the virus and its effects on the Kiwi way of life for my kidsand whoever comes after them.

This is it. It’s happening. T-2 hours until New Zealand shuts up shop and stays home for 4 weeks.

In the space of one week life has changed.

Since the weekend life is barely recognisable. I wrote this on Saturday and didn’t publish it (or finish it lol) so I might as well include it here as it sums up what I was feeling then;

Sunday 22nd March 2020

So these posts aren’t going to be fancy, you won’t be entertained with aesthetically pleasing pictures, or probably any pictures. I just want to record these strange, strange days before I forget them and the boys forget them. They are living in a bit of a bubble*. I mean that’s our job as parents right? Nixon is 6. He doesn’t need to see the visuals that are coming out of Italy right now. Row after row of ventilated patients, struggling for breath with strange, plastic bubbles over their heads.

That shit is terrifying.

As is all of this Corona Virus business.

Yesterday our Most Epic Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern, addressed the nation (FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER), all proper from behind her desk a la American President but not orange. She announced the New Zealand COVID-19 alert levels, stating that we are now at Level 2, with Level 4 being the most severe.

Not going to lie. This put the fear of God in me. You know that instant icy cold, stomach drop feeling? Yes, that. And a quiet wee cry.

Dave, Ethan and I sat and watched the address at lunchtime. Nix was out scooting around the neighbourhood with his boy-gang – these kids have been rubbing their germs all over each other at school every day, the collective-Mum-conscious deemed this weekend of socialising outside posed them no greater threat than their classroom and communal toilets at school.

But I digress.

I am prepared. I’ve been taking this seriously from the second the first report out of Wuhan hit the news. Like I said on Instagram, I’m very much a pragmatist, a realist, with slightly glass-half-empty tendencies. I have been slowly collecting activities, educational resources and some new games for Nix in the event that schools will close. I very much feel that they will…….

*How strange I used the word ‘bubble’ to describe the boys oblivion as it has now become a bit of a catch-phrase here to describe how we are to live in order to protect those in our ‘bubble’.

Well, look how that turned out! I went to F45 at 6.40 am on Monday with a feeling that it would be my last class. I called Dave on the way home and told him to keep Nix home from school. Ethan had already left for the day as he had an NCEA English assessment he wanted to complete. The week prior we had become used to watching the midday address from Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health, keeping us up to date on Covid-19 and how it was tracking in NZ. He did his usual stand-up job, throwing a shout-out to the front-line workers, totally unflappable and patient with the shouty reporters. But then he announced the Prime Minister would speak at 1.30 pm and the dread settled in.

I popped up to the dairy for a bottle of milk before Jacinda spoke. What is the most normal task in the world has now ironically become the extent of any further excursions from the house for the near future. I think we all felt the alert level was going to be raised to 3. The alert system announcement via the national address on Saturday was a well-timed soft intro to what was coming and the clues were there – “this could change at any time – and it could change quickly.”

Tomorrow we are in lockdown and can only leave our homes for essential supplies and services. I’m sure many Kiwis were devastated today by the news that visiting at The Warehouse did NOT constitute essential shopping but Westies were cheered by the news that liquor stores would stay open due to the Trust’s weird licensing laws. Will peeps joyride from around Auckland to buy a bottle of Jack? No doubt.

West is best.

The kid’s schools have been amazing. Nixon’s had online learning rolled out less than 5 hrs after the announcement on Monday, complete with work for the week and the promise of a vlog from the teachers each morning to give the kids a little bit of facetime and familiarity. He was up with the birds yesterday, clamouring for ‘Home School’ to begin at 6 am (fml), and slept in today until after 7 – that’s pretty much a Nixon record as long time lurkers will know. So I think the novelty of home-based learning wore off after the first day!

Yesterday was a bit of a rollercoaster of ups and downs, complete with nasty, negative people IRL and online but today was pretty great. E took Nixon outside for an hour-long game of basketball (PE Lesson thank you!), I did my 2nd day of solo F45 – hereafter referred to as Jack45, wonderful friends dropped off a squat rack/ chin-up bar and some kettlebells for the home gym, Nix and I had playtime on the tramp and in the garden, did a live-streamed kids exercise class, Dave played Uno with Nix and a friend and his daughter via Houseparty and we had a drink with friends on Facetime and watched trashy tv.

Not every day will be like this. I’m straight-up ready for this to be one of the hardest periods in my life but I’m also optimistic about what this time means for our family and our way of life. This period of enforced slowness reduced economic frivolity and mandated family time will be life-changing if we can keep positive and ensure our bodies, as well as our minds and spirits, stay healthy.

And that’s the goal shared by the entire human race right about now, isn’t it?

xx