Lockdown minus three days: Cases 102
Watched Jacinda Ardern's alert level four announcement live. Got a weird feeling. It's like being a character in our very own epidemic movie. I've seen 28 Days Later, I know what happens. One minute it's a virus, the next, you're tackling a zombie with a chainsaw. Note to self: must check we have petrol and chainsaw oil. Went out to pick up kids from school. Cars were zooming about all over the place, people looking alarmed. The kids were panicky when I picked them up. It's going to be a long month for them without seeing their mates.
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Lockdown minus two days: Cases 155
First day at home, although I ran into town to do some last minute jobs before the shops shut. Emergency haircut, new watch battery, USB cord. Sent husband to buy 10 litres of paint. He came home empty-handed, reporting queues out the door. Two out of the three kids did their schoolwork, the third one obviously plans to put up a fight every day. Can't keep them out of the pantry and the fridge. They are taking advantage of us working from home and being distracted to continually stuff food down their necks. They are moaning about not enough lunch food. We have plenty of bread and eggs. I'm sure we can cope.
Lockday minus one day: Cases 205
Ran out of bread and eggs. The wheels started to fall off. Oldest son couldn't get his laptop to connect to the wifi. Daughter skulked in her room. Youngest son couldn't work out his online maths, refused to email his teacher for help, rejected my offers to give him a hand and had a meltdown. Tried to buy paint at Mitre 10 Mega. "Any chance of a 10-litre pail of Resene quarter tea?" I asked the saleswoman hopefully from my approved physically-isolated spot two metres away. She just smiled sadly at me. "None at all". Things brightened up a bit when we took the kids out biking for an hour. Heading home through empty streets was eerie, made eerier still by the national state of emergency alert that came through on my cellphone en route.
Day One of lockdown: Cases 283.
"Is it Thursday today?" my son asks. Three days in the house and we're already losing track of time. We have three kids online doing school work and two parents also online trying to work. The internet is frustratingly slow and keeps dropping out. We've run out of bread. I keep intending to do the whole earth mother thing and bake some but I only remember when I'm hungry which is useless. When I finally get organised to brave the supermarket, clutching my weekly list, husband insists I wear a face mask. To coin a favourite phrase of my oldest son, I feel (and certainly look) like a right dick with one on. But when I get in there, there's a few other right dicks with face masks on too. I buy what I hope is enough food to last my family a week. After I get home, I sneak a look at Facebook. From my news feed, the isolation has clearly got to a few already. I think they missed Jacinda's 'be kind' memo. Be kind people, be kind.
Day Two: Cases 368
I thought I would have a lot of time to read books and watch movies. But it's two days of lockdown and so far I haven't watched a single movie or read even a page of my book. I don't know where the time goes, but it goes really fast. Our morning pleasure is reading the NZ Herald which gets devoured from cover to cover although my husband always gets to the sudoku first. I get out of the house once a day and go for a bike ride or walk. But so far, there's not been much time left over for anything else. Once you factor in work and cooking and housework and being with the family, it's actually surprisingly busy being locked down. Even the kids' pet bunnies are busy - they're rearranging the stones on the patio in a possible precursor to digging their way to freedom.
Day Three: Cases 451
It's Saturday. Husband has been sized with a fit of energy and decided the house needs some reorganising. Beds are moved, tables carried around, furniture rearranged. We all have to scurry to help. This is only the beginning, however. Every piece of furniture or bed moved reveals evidence of our slovenly housekeeping beneath. Dust, hair, bits of rubbish and a plethora of dead pine beetles. We are soon hard at work with cloths and cleaning spray and the vacuum cleaner. Afterwards, a two-hour bike ride around town has everyone in good spirits. We zoom along the car-free Lake Terrace in the fresh air although it's a sombre return trip along Heuheu St. The closed businesses still have signs in their windows with cheery phrases like 'new styles arriving daily!' in stark contrast to the darkened frontages and empty footpaths.
Day Four: Cases 514
A bad day all round. As part of a self-isolation challenge, youngest son and I were having a balancing competition with a swiss ball. The ball slid out from under me, I got flipped over and hit my foot on the sofa on the way down. Now I'm limping around the house, unable to put any weight on it at, furious with myself and too ashamed to ring the doctors to ask for help. Things only get worse when my boss calls to confirm what I already knew: there will be no community paper during the lockdown. I am gutted. I go to bed worrying about work, kids, money and whether life will ever be 'normal' again. I am woken regularly during the night by the pain in my foot.
Day Five: Cases 589.
First thing I see when I log into my work computer is a notification of a nasty comment on our Facebook page accusing us of fake news. Sigh. Donald Trump has a lot to answer for. I don't normally do this - free speech and all that - but I delete the comment. Sod off keyboard warriors. We can take constructive criticism but this kind of thing is so irrational it doesn't deserve an airing. I am trying to get a story written when my youngest son comes in, whining. He wants to bike down to the local reserve and play around there but he doesn't want to go by himself and his older sister is in her room looking at her phone. He ends up crying. Then somebody rings to tell me that a woman I know has died. I end up crying too.
Day Six: Cases 647.
The sun shines, the lake is flat. It's a super day to be outside. Unfortunately, I am inside, slaving over a hot computer. A friend who has taken annual leave during the lockdown texts to say she is drinking beer at lunchtime and tending her garden. I am drinking coffee (strictly limited to two cups a day), being driven mad by the slowness of the home internet and fighting the temptation to bite the furniture. I finally get outside at 5pm with the husband, where we can appreciate the beautiful evening. The kids, who have been whining all day about us coming to the park with them, elect to stay home.
Day Seven: Cases 708
I reckon a couple of device-free days each week might be a good idea. I suggest it to the kids. They all shriek 'no!' in horrified tones.The Ministry of Education has sent out a suggested daily schedule for kids while they are in lockdown. It looks great. I suggest it to the kids. They all shriek 'no!' in even more horrified tones. But, overall, a better day. My foot is improving. The weather is nice. The kids haven't fought. The glacial pace of the internet connection is making it virtually impossible to do my work but I am keeping on. And the government backs down, just a very little bit, on the community newspapers decree. On the downside, we've run out of peanut butter and most of the fresh rabbit food. The rabbits will have to slum it on pellets and manky home-grown spinach and kale for a couple of days until I go back to the supermarket. After all, this is a lockdown and we all have to make sacrifices. Starting with them.